Mary Herrington via Working Mother
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Like every woman I know, I have what my kids and husband call a “mental mommy moment” about once a quarter. The other night I’d had enough. I’d asked. I’d begged. I’d pleaded. I’d threatened and yet nothing changed. Crap was still all over the place. Garbage left out. People being completely clueless to their surroundings.

No matter how hard I try to be nice in the mental mommy moment it all comes out wrong. I think I am simply telling them the truth of their actions, and they hear blame. I think I am being rational, and they hear me being accusatory. I don’t want to become that woman who is screaming and pulling her hair out just to be heard.

I really don’t care about the towel left on the floor or the dishes left on the counter. The truth is I feel invisible and like Cinderella without the Fairy Godmother intervention.

What comes out as anger at the children and the husband for not doing tasks is honestly my inner-self screaming out: “SEE ME!!! I WANT TO BE SEEN! I WANT TO BE HEARD!”

Yet, I feel like I am yelling into a chasm of dark nothingness to those with ears who choose not to hear.

For example, I like making dinner. I enjoy sitting with my family. But I feel like a used napkin, ready to be tossed afterward. They all leave the table once they're done eating and go off and do their own things, leaving me, discarded and alone, to do the cleanup all by myself.

One goes to put her nose in her phone. The other goes to play Legos. The spouse goes to watch TV, and then WATCHES me clean up the kitchen by myself and wonders why I am upset when he comes in and puts his hand on my back and kisses my cheek.

Are you kidding me?! I don’t want your kiss on the cheek! I want your lips talking with me while we clean up together. I want your hands, dirty, alongside mine as we do dishes, wipe down the table and the counters. And while we’re at it, I want the kids lips talking and hands getting dirty too. I’m raising future adults, not spoiled brats!

I don’t want to be invisible, only to be seen when my family’s needs aren’t getting met. “Moooom! I need toilet paper!” “Moooom! I have no clean clothes!” “Honey! Where are the car keys!?”

Last night, I went so far as to tell them to hire a chauffeur, a chef and a housekeeper because obviously I am not needed. What’s needed is a staff who can serve their needs because that is how they treat me. I’d had enough.

They stood there speechless. I wasn’t screaming this time. I was sane. I was quiet. I looked them all in the eye and told them I am more than just MOM. I have a name. I have wants and needs, and they do NOT include doing dishes and laundry, picking up garbage left on counters or taking care of anything they, themselves, can do.

MY wants and needs are important and valid and will no longer be put by the wayside to serve their selfish wants. Please understand, my family is not malicious. They are simply clueless and self-absorbed. I suppose I’ve played into it by doing the work. I don’t like living with cockroaches and sharing my home with other uninvited “house guests.” But I can’t do it alone all the time.

It’s been 24 hours. Thus far, they are remembering to pick up after themselves. They are not asking me to do things they can do. At 10, 19 and 48, that means they can pretty much do almost anything. The dishes have been put away by the entire family.

Last night’s dinner was cleaned up by everyone, with dancing involved during cleanup. They even exclaimed that it was fun to do together. Maybe it will become a trend?

When everyone pitches in, it makes it more fun for all and goes faster. Mom doesn’t go mental, and the laughter is back. Here’s to hoping it stays this way for at least a month! If not, there’s always next quarter’s mental mommy moment to be prepared for.

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This article originally appeared on WorkingMother.com.

 

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