I felt ashamed to be one.
It’s 8 p.m. on a Thursday night. I’ve been up since 5:30 a.m., when my littlest woke for his morning feed. His older brother woke an hour later for his cereal, at which point my 3-year-old woke to serenade me with yet another rendition of “Frere Jacques.” From that point, I fed three kids breakfast, got them dressed, assembled and packed a school lunch, did the dishes, brushed four sets of teeth, loaded four bodies into the van, and dropped my son off at school (which is easier said than done with two siblings along for the ride).
Then, an hour and a half later, I returned (again with siblings in tow) to host a “healthy eating” lesson for the class. After that, I loaded three kids back in the van to go home, where I then fed them lunch, did the dishes again, and did homework with my oldest son in between putting my youngest son down for a nap and reading a book to my daughter. I prepared and served dinner, washed dishes again, tidied and vacuumed the apartment, bathed kids, brushed teeth, got jammies on, sang bedtime songs, recited prayers, and put all three kids to bed by 7 p.m.
I do this alone — every weekday and occasionally on weekends (except on the days hubby lends a hand in dropping kids off at school). I often find myself utterly exhausted when all is said and done. I’m no stranger to hearing, “I just don’t know how you do it,” and to be honest, some days I don’t know myself.
Don't get me wrong. I love my kids. I love my husband, and in spite of what my intro may suggest, I love our life and am proud of what we've built as a family. I'm not looking for any pats on the back or praise (only the most outrageous Mother's Day gift, that's all... I kid, I kid!) The only problem is this one little question nagging in the back of my mind. At the end of the day, after I've done so much, Why am I left feeling like I did so little?
Why do I constantly feel that what I've done isn't enough? After 15-hour days, I somehow feel guilty sitting down to rest. Whenever people approach me to offer help, I often wonder if they're thinking, How can she be tired? She's not working. Why is it I often feel I have to justify every minute of my day, explain that I really am doing "so much"?
Sometimes when people call or stop by the house, I almost feel guilty if anyone sees the kids and me relaxing or watching a TV show. Oh, we were just watching a quick show before homework. Dinner's on the stove. I've gotta run. Many times it's true, but why do I feel the need to explain? I am not accountable to anyone. Not even my husband, who has been harping on me to take it easy, take a nap once in a while. Why do I constantly feel I need to do more?