Momplex: a complex unique to motherhood.
A friend of mine's Facebook status read something like this: "kids and hubby gone. What am I going to do with myself all day? Good thing I have chores to do or I'd go crazy. "
I completely identify with her sentiment. Here I sit, kid and responsibility free because of the miscarriage and I'm fighting the urge to clean, craft, fold laundry, pull weeds, wash the car, etc. There's so much to be done, I certainly can't just lie in bed, right? If I just relaxed, surely the whole world would see me for the lazy slob I am.
I've never, in the history of all the world, heard anything remotely similar come from a man's mouth. No man would ever feel guilt for having a day for himself. He would do whatever made him happy. Work in he garage, hang with his friends, stare mindlessly at ESPN.
Moms, however, have this notion that simply being is not ok. We must constantly be in motion. Surely, our worth is defined by our busyness, right? Our productivity is our measure of value. We simply cannot sit. We cannot have an unproductive moment.
Sadly, we even schedule our "down time" (also known as Girl's Night Out). After we put it on our over-filled calendars, we then create a schedule of what will do for our down time.
I think this mindset is, in part, fueled by experience. We know, as mothers, when we have a few minutes, we need to make the most of it. If the kids are around, they will, without a doubt, have a need the minute we try to accomplish something else. So, if you do get a break and they are happily engaged in something else, you best get to work 'cause you never know how long you've got.
For the most part, though, I think we have this completely unrealistic ideal in our mind of what constitutes the "good wife" or "good mom". Busy = better, right?
Why do we have to give ourselves permission to relax? Why do we need an excuse to decompress?
Now, you know I'm not advocating laziness. Or sloth-like behavior. I'm not a fan of avoiding responsibility.
But, there is always going to be some thing that needs doing. There will never be a time when we will have it ALL done. If you're worried about running out of things to do, you can stop right now.
So why not give yourself the chance to be happy in the middle of it all? Why shouldn't I feel ok with watching mindless TV one day of the year? Why shouldn't I be ok with not putting the laundry away right this minute? Do I really have to multitask every chore? Fold laundry while I'm on the phone? Play with the kids while I organize my shopping list?
Can I devote my time to a singular activity and be guilt free about it? I should be able to. It should be ok forego the chores in favor of reading with my kids. To read a good book while my body heals this weekend. To enjoy a TV show while my kids play nicely.
We have value simply by virtue of being alive. We are so much more than the "to do" list. We owe it to ourselves and our kids to act as such.