Mom (and any other related duties)
By Maude Goyer, aka Maman 24/7
Flowers and chocolate are great. Same goes for a homemade breakfast or a meal at your favourite brunch place. A massage? Why not! But for Mother’s Day, what moms really want is a bit of space.
Now, I’m not talking about physical space. Between the office, home, the soccer field, the car or public transit, the aisles at the grocery store and the drugstore, moms don’t occupy many other physical spaces, be they public or private. The idiom “to get off the beaten path” doesn’t necessarily apply to today’s moms : their strict routine forces them to take the same steps and follow the same path, again and again.
Ah, that famous routine! Moms, of course, know it by heart, being its gatekeeper. They know it so well that they sometimes become trapped by it. Being spontaneous, doing things without thinking about them beforehand, without preparation… these luxuries are all out of reach for busy moms. Not only do they have to go along with their daily work/eat/sleep grind – they also have to work around school or daycare drop offs, homework supervision, meal planning, chores, the kids’ endless string of weekend activities, coordinating appointments… and any other related duties, of course.
A recent American survey indicates that mothers work close to 100 hours a week, the equivalent of 2.5 full time jobs. It also reveals that they get only 1 hour and 7 minutes of “me time” per day, which is basically the time required to shower, sit down in front of the TV and fall asleep.
A terrible way to spend those 67 minutes of fatigue and vulnerability would be to check Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook – we all know certain posts have a way of making us feel guilty. Where do these other moms find the time to do it all? Do they possess superhuman qualities?
In most cases, the answer is no. There’s a regular, tired, sweatpants-wearing mom hiding behind most of these super-curated profiles. One of my blogger friends suggested the following tactic: every time I feel a negative emotion after reading or seeing someone’s posts, I should unfollow them. Now that makes sense!
Now here’s another important space to focus on: turning off our phone, disconnecting, refusing to cave to pressure, distancing ourselves from other people’s opinions, making our own decisions according to OUR family’s values and needs. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but where’s the harm in trying?
Space is also about our own mental hard drive, which is often oversaturated. How can we share that load? That weight should be shared among all family members, children included. But how? Now THERE lies the question. There are as many solutions as there are families and lifestyles. A good start would be to have an open and honest discussion about it. Another good idea would be to get fathers involved as soon as their child is born. Educating our boys and girls without consideration for gender stereotypes could also be helpful in improving future generations.
For now, let’s make sure we listen to the moms around us and lend them a helping hand! They need it… and not just on Mother’s Day.
Journalist Maude Goyer has always been interested by the various matters surrounding family and motherhood. Freelancer for many magazines (Coup de Pouce, Vero, Planet F, Chatelaine, Enfants Quebec, etc.), radio and tv shows, her Facebook page reaches a committed community. She is also - and above all! – the mom of two children aged 8 and 11 years old.