We’re all trying to balance so much! Often times, it’s not just the business, home life and kids to keep organized, and on a schedule, often times we’re having to be responsible for the collective consciousness for the entire household. Consider how often you’re asked, “Ok, so what’s next?”. Or “You should have just asked me to do that and I would have gladly helped you out.”
So many women I serve, and some men too, will cite extreme exhaustion. Not only for the actual tasks they perform at the office or at home, but because they also feel like the CEO of operations. This unexpected job description often surprises us out of nowhere. Who put me in charge anyway? Where was that written? How do I exit this role without the whole damn ship sinking?
How did the job of knowing what’s next fall on me? I’d never asked my husband, “What’s next?” in over a dozen years of marriage. How is it that as a reasonably intelligent woman I always felt my corpus callosum log-jammed every time? Perhaps my lesson was to learn how to engage with my own instincts and activities, leaving intellectual management to other individuals. That, actually would make sense.
In those moments, I definitely know I could use help. The first thing would be to take the task-manager role off my shoulders. When was this bestowed on me? Please supply a two page answer single spaced while I dress this roast of bison and finish prepping the potatoes. Perhaps you’ve lived this too.
While the offer to help is, in itself, an act of generosity, it can annoy the living daylights out of a Mom in a Sepia state. How many CEO’s of multinational companies can think on the spot of the detailed activities to be executed by a worker who barges into his office while he’s on the phone and also in the midst of forecasting the budget for the next annum? You see it, right? It doesn’t happen. At the very least, you make an appointment or see a more junior manager. Perhaps your spouse might ask one of the kids. Ah, not a bad idea, a kid will always tell you precisely what to do to serve them.
I recall feeling totally burnt out in the early stages of my marriage. In fact, I had the feeling that if one more person asked me what they could do, I might run my laser eyes clear through their guts while launching enough swear words at them to burn off their eyebrows. They’d grow back, right?!
I once recall trying to prepare supper while nursing an infant on the breast, with a toddler pulling all the pots and pans out on the floor, stirring a pot of rice pasta with the phone in one ear speaking to the guy rescheduling to come service the dishwasher who I had stayed home all day waiting for. It was a Friday.
At that moment, my husband walks into the kitchen having just arrived home from the office, and wants to know what he can do. The first answer that popped up to the fore is, “no clue” and then, “isn’t it obvious?” or to silently turn back and offer a tear of frustration into the pasta. This gesture alone can create a ton of animosity and then spouses wonder why dinner conversation is a little stunted and the weekly sex is dwindling.
I spent years stuffing my feelings down and taking Sepia regularly until my breast finally swelled with a 1.5 inch tumour. Among this, and other dynamics, I’d say this phenomenon cost us the marriage. It wasn’t until these very same issues started to crop up in my second marriage that I began to “get it”. The whole family plumbed solutions to help relieve me of the burden of doer and decision-maker. At the time, I was running a household, half a business, part of the farm, a kids’ camp (in the summer), writing a book and doing postgraduate research. Brutal, I know!
The summation of this post is that we finally did solve it with some creative problem solving. It took a team effort, but you can read that article here.