I get it, honey. Being a working parent is hard. You know how I know? Because I’m one too! There is soooo much to remember (the train schedule, meeting times, deadlines), plus so much to do (washing the kids’ sheets, blankets and bottles for daycare, responding to birthday party invites, signing permission slips, helping our preschooler with homework, buying food and feeding our family, for starters). As wonderful as you are, many days, I feel like I’m doing and remembering most things for our family.
I love that you cook your own dinner and do your own laundry. You’re the epitome of a grown-ass man ... in most ways. But you do this weird thing: You ask me to remember things for you. It’s not that I don’t want to help you. I do. And yes, between the two of us, I do have the better memory. The problem is I have no unused brain space. In fact, I prioritize all the info in my head so that when my brain gets full, as it does on a daily basis, low-priority stuff, such as when the next season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is up on Amazon and when CVS coupons expire, disintegrate to make room for high-priority stuff, such as that I need to have given feedback on three feature stories before I sign off from work for the day and that our baby needs his liquid vitamin as soon as we all get home.
It’s exhausting, and sometimes impossible, to find an empty, properly prioritized mental filing cabinet for all that you’d like me to remind you to do.
“Remind me to get a present for my sister’s birthday.” (I wound up taking care of it myself.)
“Remind me when I can’t find my headphones tomorrow that they’re in my jacket pocket.” (I didn’t. You found them anyway. Gold star for you.)
“Remind me to register for open enrollment.” (I didn’t, but I’m really glad you remembered so we can have another year with health insurance.)
Babe, I’m not a Google calendar. You know what is? A Google calendar. Do you know you can use it to set reminders? Of course you do! You’ve actually asked me to put reminders in there for us. I'm also not your administrative assistant.
I’m fully aware that you’re more helpful to me than your father and grandfathers were to their wives. I appreciate that so much. But even though you might think we’re on equal footing at home and at work, we’re so not. If we’re ever to be, I have to do less for you so I may do more for me. And that doing includes remembering and reminding; anything that requires thinking is a chore. I know you agree, otherwise you would remember your own damn things.
This article originally appeared in Working Mother.