We're no rookies at this whole marriage gig. Nope, with over 10 years under our belts, we're finally getting the hang of it. But our kids, well, they keep throwing us off our game, don't they? Every time they outgrow a particularly difficult phase, we think we're finally in the clear. But we should know better. With kids, there will always be some new challenge. And as we've found, the older the kids get, the harder things become to manage. With school and activities, it feels like we have far too much to juggle. And I cope by leaving you little daily instructions all over the house. I'm sorry if they annoy you — I know you're always willing to help. But when I'm losing my mind trying to get it all done, it's the best way to remind myself (and you) that I need it.
You see, mothers often carry the mental load. We remember the birthdays and the schedules and the to-dos. But it can be heavy to carry alone. We often drop stuff, and when we do, we feel like a failure. This has happened to me more times than I can count . . . on both hands. Remember how I once forgot it was John's turn to bring snacks AND Lucy's dress rehearsal? I sat on our bed and cried because I felt so ashamed. But that day, like many days, the mental load got too heavy for me to bear.
And as the tears skipped down my cheeks, I'll be honest: I felt a little resentment toward you. I wondered why it felt like everything always fell on me. I wondered why you weren't in charge of some of these things. Then, it clicked. As I wiped my tears, I realized I had never asked you to take on some of my mental load. Never once did I say, "Hey, I need your help." And that's on me. Because I know that you would have picked up the snacks for snack day and driven Lucy to her rehearsal. You're always willing to do whatever needs to be done for our household to run smoothly. So I resolved to be better about telling you when I need a hand.
Since then, I've learned not to hold resentment toward you. We are a team. And I know that you're not an old-school father who goes to work and comes home only to put his feet up and drink a beer. You jump right in and start doing chores and handling the kids. So, leaving you instructions to help with the endless list of to-dos running through my head is another way I'm sharing our parenting responsibilities.
I promise I'm not nagging — I just need you to help balance this mental load, too.
I hope that you know that the neon pink notes that I stick on your bathroom mirror that say things like, "Remember to pick up John from basketball practice," "Lucy needs 16 Goldfish snacks," or even, "It's spirit week: pay attention to the calendar" aren't me being passive-aggressive. I'm just asking for help. Those little reminders are the things that keep me up at night, the things that can make our life seem so unmanageable at times. I promise I'm not nagging — I just need you to help balance this mental load, too.
I finally learned that we have to function as a team, especially when it comes to marriage and family. I'm grateful that you can handle some of our daily tasks, because with you helping with the mental load, I know we can put on a spectacular juggling act.