No I can’t just!!

I read this brilliant article by Pick Any Two recently. It is all about how as Mothers, we carry the invisible burden of keeping the family together. It is up to us to remember birthdays, (on both sides!), buy and post cards and presents, phone distant cousins, keep up to date with various illness and milestones and remember who bought your child which outfit so they can wear them when you see the person.

It got me thinking. The article is aimed at Mothers and I think it is more often Mothers that worry about that kind of thing but I started thinking about all the things you need to remember when you are the primary caregiver to a child.

Feeding. If you have a baby you need to think about when they will need to feed, where will you be, who will you be with, do you have enough milk, bottles, a spare bra and top for leaks, for older children, do you have enough snacks, even if you get caught in a traffic jam, where are you going to have meals, a drink?

Change bag. Do you have it, is it packed correctly, checked whether the clothes are the right size, nappies, wipes, nappy bags, cream etc etc. When they get older do you have spare pants, spare clothes in case of mud, wet wipes for emergencies?

For school. what is show and tell this week, where is their library book, do they need sports kits, musical instruments, have you done their reading, their homework, have they got their water bottle, do they know what the lunch options are?

Friendships. Any playdates this week, what are they going to eat, any food allergies, likes/ dislikes, (not just your own children to remember now), birthdays, parties, have you rsvp’d, chosen meals, bought an appropriate present, wrapped it, bought a card, got your child to write it?

Your friendships. Have you returned that text, (you can read more about how I feel I’m a rubbish friend here), called someone overdue a chat, did you find out how the worrying doctor appointment for your friend’s daughter went, bought, wrapped and posted a card and present for a birthday you can’t get to, remembered your friend’s children’s birthdays, booked babysitting for a night out with another couple, planned that drink you’ve been talking about for months, invited people round for dinner, bought the food, cooked it?

Life. The food shopping, online or in person, what do you need, what are you cooking every night for the whole week, what ingredients will carry you through until the following week shop, if you’ve got behind, when can you go, when do you have time to sit down and take the time to fill up your virtual basket, and then when will you be home to wait in for your hour or two slot, have the time to unpack?

Admin. Did you phone up about that parcel that never arrived, logged on to give that meter reading that was overdue, first taking 10 minutes to reset your password because you have no space in your brain to remember the 55 passwords you need on a regular basis and might or might not contain a symbol, a capitol letter or have been created by your partner.

Home. Is the spare room clear, you have your mother in law coming at the weekend, where is the spare bedding, is it clean, matching, where have the pillows gone, they were definitely here last time you had guests, can you see the bed, has it become an overspill for the laundry factory you seem to be running, those christmas boxes need a new home, where shall they go, up in the loft, but if you do that you need to move some stuff around, which will take a few hours. You swiftly realise that to put the stuff in the boxes away, you need to have somewhere to put them, debate ordering some new furniture, go to the shop or have it delivered, wait in for it to arrive, build it, put it into place after moving the stuff that is already in the space, debate where to put the stuff that is removed, back in the spare room, shut the door, decide to deal with it later in the week.

Washing. Does everyone have clean pants for the week, is it going to be sun or snow or both, is there a load on the line, in the machine already, you really really need to go through everyone’s wardrobes and remove everything that is too small, schedule in a few hours for that.

Cleaning. Is anyone visiting this week, what day, can you get away with not hoovering, why can no-one be in the house without causing epic mess, how can we spend 10 of the 13 hours they are awake out of the house and yet the whole house still looks like a cyclone has been through it, how does everything get so sticky?

Work. Have you replied to the urgent email yet, replaced the one decent skirt you had that you ripped on the door handle last week, renewed your tube or train pass, been through your briefcase which is embarrassingly full of old paperwork and makes you look totally dis-organised when you have to sift through a wodge of pictures from nursery before finding that vital contract you were up until 3am finishing.

I’m going to stop here because it’s making me exhausted just thinking about it, this list is no means exhaustive either, if your child is ill you need to add in medicine, do you have it, does it need to be kept in the fridge, what time will you need to go home for it, when do they need to take it, with food? And don’t even get me started on self care, when do you shave your legs, dye your hair, pluck your eyebrows, put on make up for the school run?!

If you’re anything like me, your day is timed to the second, tenuously balanced to make sure you include everything that you need to achieve, your mind frantically flipping through your mental to do list, always slightly distracted trying to remember everything for the next day, and the one after that too.

So when my husband drops a casual; ‘Can you just…?’, followed by a seemingly tiny favour in at breakfast, is it so unreasonable that I want to scream at him but settle for a death stare over the children’s heads as my day unravels into chaos in my already choked mind?

After all, looking after kids is easy isn’t it? Don’t we just spend our days hanging out at the park and drinking coffee………? 😉

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96 Comments

  1. This is so true and when you list it all, it seems a lot but as Moms, we’re all juggling those things all the time. We do it so often that it seems so normal. Love the drawing. I would have thrown a fit too!

    • Yes, seeing it written down makes my knees wibble! We are amazing really aren’t we! Glad you like the drawing, it was a very quick sketch! 🙂

  2. So true, it can be terribly overwhelming at times. And the first person to ask a question gets their head bitten off

    • That’s so hard, when I’m mentally planning my day and someone tries to talk to me! I know that’s why I’m so snappy! Thanks for visiting.

  3. so so true. We do so so many things each day. Its all the little things that get unnoticed but that add complication and stress to our day. oh I hear you!

    • The worst ting that can happen for me is an unexpected setback. Like the internet going out when I need to do some work resulting in a 30 minute wait on the helpline. That’s what throws me out and sends me into a tailspin! Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

  4. Sooooo true,
    I literally do all the organising in this house, I write the weeks schedule on the board for everyone each and every Sunday.
    I spend my days entertaining kids whilst sorting the many to do lists and Christmas, well done even get me started on that!

  5. oh it is exhausting isn’t it, just seeing it all there together in one list WOW, great post, think I’ll book myself a spa treatment after reading it lol #bigpinklink

  6. Couldn’t agree more! The dreaded “can you just” is often met with death stares! I always feel like I’ll never get to the end of my lists! Great pots – we should give ourselves a break sometimes! xx #bigpinklink

  7. …And when you have a day off (very very occasionally) you end up having to text the husband to remind them. Sexist? Maybe. True? Definitely!

    Mums rock. We do a lot more than drink tea and play games!
    #Bigpinklink

  8. Gosh this is so true and very apt for me as today it is both my dads and my mother-in-laws birthdays. Of course, I’ve bought all the cards and written them! I’m quite fortunate in that my husband works from home a lot so he often cooks and cleans (but it’s ALWAYS my job to do the food shopping – with both kids in tow). Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink

  9. Oh my goodness, I had to start skimming by the end of the list I was getting palpitations…I’m sat in front of a huge pile of admin that needs filing, two complicated forms needs filling in, the washing needs to go on, I think I should probably feed my child at some point later, I need a shower, got to decide to sew or stick preschool name tags, you’ve reminded me of a birthday I need to sort for tomorrow and and and aaaarrrgghhhhh! So I’m ignoring everything for half an hour while I drink tea and #bigpinklink comment…and relax. True though there’s more to this life-min lark than I thought x

  10. Blimey, just reading this list exhausted me. And also made me realise how shockingly shit I am at most things on this list, especially Admin. Which is worrying as it’s what I do for a job. #bigpinklink

  11. This is SO true. My husband once made the mistake of asking me, “What have you done all day?!” and I swear to you, it’s a miracle that he is still alive!! He never asked me again!! It’s exhausting being a parent, it’s relentless, 24-7 with no lunch breaks or time off! It’s 9.30 in the morning and I have already done a full 3 hours work and am flagging already, thank god for a little blog break!! #bigpinklink

  12. I completely relate to this. Especially as my partner has arranged a ‘police investigation’ style wall chart of tasks to do now we have just moved into a new house, and can’t understand why I have not managed to cross anything off on it every day when he comes home to a hot meal and a fed and bathed baby to play with before bedtime. #bigpinklink

  13. When you see it all written out like that, it’s pretty overwhelming, isn’t it? I tend to overlook friendships (I haven’t seen most of my friends in ages), cleaning (I’ve given up on tidiness) and admin (I still haven’t sorted out the baby’s nursery start date yet). I think I’m going to go lie down now. #bigpinklink

  14. It seems so overwhelming when you list it, but you are right… we do all of that, every day. It’s exhausting at the best of times. I don’t have family close by, so I asked my OH to step up. It’s not that he didn’t want to, but I don’t think his brain is geared for it. He took C out the other day for four hours. When I met up with them, I asked what he fed him. He went erm, some bread (he had bought a bagette for dinner later) and the froth off my coffee… Our boy is 14 months. Now I always back snacks and food for him/them when they go out. Just another thing to add to my list… Great post! #bigpinklink

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x

  15. aww I love it, love it, love it and then on the one day the hubby has the kids he’s all – “it was a doddle’ – we will ignore the unbrushed hair and teeth, yesterday’s pants, the chips for tea, the turning up late for a playdate, unwrapped present – but, hey, the kids had a blast and “daddy is so much fun mummy!” it gets me as well lovely! #BigPinkLink

  16. Ha ha ha. Brilliant post. And so true. ‘Just’….such an overused word and one that never really does justice to the task that someone is being required to do. Father often says to Mother ‘can you just…’ and she shoots him a venomous look. Mind you, she’s just as bad: ‘can you just pass the remote/flip my chair up/ pass me a cushion/make me a cuppa’ – this when she has me on her lap ready for feeding.

    And you’re right – all that listing is exhausting!!! #bigpinklink
    xx

  17. Great post!! So true. Im glad someone else has these issues!!
    Lx
    http://workingmumy.blogspot.com
    #bigpinklink

  18. When you see it written down like that it is amazing how much needs to be done and I must admit some of it isn’t being done so well by me at the moment as blogging seems to take over a bit. My hubby is great though and does his fair share of a lot of things. He doesn’t iron but does most of the cooking and washing and bathroom cleaning is his thing too. I am lucky!

  19. this is very true. exhausted reading it haha. I went on suitcase strike this weekend. we got back from hols and I just left the suitcase unpacked. Why’s it always flippin me to do it!! #bigpinklink

  20. Scary, when you list it all out! No wonder I forget things! And this is a normal week – when you add in birthday parties, PTA events, and don’t get me started on holidays….! I’m stressed just thinking about it!

  21. I love this! Can so relate to it. Chaos in my house most of the time! X #bigpinklink.

  22. YES!!!!! When you see it all written down like that, we have so much to fit into such a small amount of time!! My brain is always in meltdown! Just yesterday I had a tentative text from my friend asking if I was going to her sons party tomorrow-I’d pinned the invite on the notice board and forgotten all about it. So today I’ve been scrabbling around getting a card and presents, making sure the kids have something presentable to wear, and my husband also reminded me DT had a Drs appointment today I’d forgotten all about! My husband gets quite annoyed when I can’t fit all his extras into my day, I should show him this list so that he gets a better picture of what I really do!!
    Thanks for a great post, most fabulous cohost!!

  23. Wow, I didn’t realize just how much we moms actually have to worry about! I am exhausted just looking at that list, which reminds me, I have to get my kid up to get ready for school! Thanks so much for hosting #bigpinklink

  24. I’m so glad someone else thinks the way I do! So many thoughts in our heads at any one time, right? I agree with that “husband suggests one thing and I want to throttle him from across the kitchen table” sentiment. It happens to me all the time!
    #bigpinklink

  25. So very true…sneaks off to sit around drinking coffee x #bigpinklink

  26. A great post and so so very true. A woman’s work is never done. Yesterday we got home from a weekend away and within half an hour I’d unpacked, put a wash on, made a feed, made packed lunch for school, taken meat out the freezer for today’s dinner and then went on to get the big one bathed! Endless!!! #bigpinklink

  27. Wow! I now feel rather overwhelmed 😉 This is all so very true, but when you list it like this it really becomes even more daunting and impossible than in real life… maybe that’s because I just conveniently forget it or move it to my to do next week list (for the 8th time in a row!) The password one is a particular irritation for me. Don’t these companies know what a stress they are putting on our already chaotic lives?

  28. I am so telling my husband to read this post! Granted I don’t have a job to go to anymore as I have been an SAHM for the past year but there is so much we take care of they don’t even realise! I feel overwhelmed most of the time and never seem to have enough time to finish everything in my to do list! #bigpinklink

  29. Oh my goodness, yes! My head is so full up the whole time, I can barely remember my own name anymore! I work 3/4 days a week, and have a sideline business, and am a single parent now too, and I just muddle through from one day to the next…lots of things fall by the wayside, unfortunately.
    Love the drawings by the way! 🙂
    Thanks for hosting #BigPinkLink

    • I didn’t realise you were a single parent, I have so much respect for you, but I think there are some aspects where it makes life easier!! I hope you’re doing ok, your life sounds unbelievably hectic. Drawings is where I started out! They had just fallen by the wayside a bit on my todo list!

  30. I knew we were busy bees but seeing it written down really does show what a manic life we lead! Definitely panicking about how I’m going to fit everything in when my maternity leave ends in August :/ Thanks for hosting lovely #bigpinklink x

  31. This is so very true and it drives me insane! I had a melt down this weekend over this very thing. I asked Mr C if he had read the latest letter from school that we are both emailed because I had forgotten something. He replied “when do you expect me to read it. I do work” Argggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! That is all #bigpinklink

  32. I was nodding along at all of this! It’s so exhausting, I feel like I’m constantly plate spinning with remembering birthdays of the other half’s family members I’ve never actually met, and secretly repacking the (incorrectly packed) changing bag he did as a favour…. x #bigpinklink

  33. Yes we do so much more than is seen. I actually wrote a blog about feeling more like a secretary than a mom. It seems if we miss just one thing on the lists everything comes unraveled!

  34. We are literally Super Mums….
    Seeing it all in black and white makes you realise how much it is we do…and it’s so daunting! It makes you wonder how we make it through the day sometimes.
    I know people at work have it hard too, but at least they get paid and some recognition for it. We are often forgotten about and the drawing at the end is spot on. “Can you just” is one of the most annoying phrases ever… 😉
    #bigpinklink

    • It is scary seeing it written down isn’t it? I think we just cope so superbly they have no idea what’s going on under the surface. We’re like swans, serene & gliding but feet going frantically under the water to keep us afloat! 🙂

  35. Ha! This is me every. single. day. I keep meaning to get some sort of calendar / diary, but as I’ve had this intention for a couple of years I’ll probably just carry on stuffing it all into my over full-brain instead! Thanks for hosting #bigpinklink 🙂

  36. This is totally relatable – and slightly terrifying when written down and you realise how much as a mum/wife you achieve and are expected to achieve in a day. Yes those little extra things may only seem small to our other halves but in all honesty they are the things that suddenly make the epic to do list we all carry round in our heads go from impossible status to freaking miracle worker!

    • I think they are the things that tip us over from calm & in control to stressed & anxious. The things we haven’t factored in, like the internet being broken & having to phone up the phone provider. It all pushes everything back when you’ve just no time for that!!

  37. Thinking about it all is exhausting but on a day to day basis fine. I need my calendar though else loads would get forgotten & I hate blinking homework. Why is it the Mum’s job? #bigpinklink Lifeinthemumslane

    • We have a deal in our house, I take reading & he does maths. My diary is my bible, no one else looks at the calendar! I have to put it on the phone calendar so it beeps at hubs if I want him to remember something!

  38. I am soo stressed after reading this, everything you say is all very true, the to do list is never ending. Whenever we find time in the day to have a coffee it’s normally gone cold anyway. I love your little doodle! I try not to give hubby death stares when he asks me to do extra stuff cuz his job is so ridiculously demanding and he has like no free time, I do swear at him in my head though haha xx #bigpinklink

    • Yes my hubby works very hard as well & I do so desperately want to help him out, it’s just that my day is balanced so precariously there is no room for last minute changes. A month notice would be nice!

  39. This is a fab list, it’s just making me panic about the things that still need doing. I’m still getting my head round feeding solids to my nearly 10 month old! I’m going to shut myself in a dark room and ponder #bugpinklink

  40. Ha ha, this is my life! Our regular ‘discussion’ goes along the lines of ‘Why are you so stressed, we’re only popping out? I just need to gel my hair’.
    Oh, to only have to worry about your own hair.
    I do reckon though there are Dads who do all this stuff – surely?
    #bigpinklink

    • Oh yes! I know there are some sahm & single dads that must go through this. Although I wonder if they feel the same need to keep relationships & friendships going in the way we do?

  41. It all seems possible when you’re doing it, but when it’s written down it’s really scary …

  42. I think I moan about my forever to-do-list on a daily basis, or moan that I feel like I am doing everything, and by that, I mean everything! I have no idea how I am going to fit a full time job in, in a few months time. Surely there must be an easy way to get them to do more…..I don’t even think my husband would know how to pack our changing bag, or know what to feed our daughter. That needs to change! Claire x #bigpinklink

    • Luckily, my hubby is very good really. He will often cook tea for everyone & makes all the packed lunches etc. I think men tend to wing it with things like change bags. As another comment on here suggested, they do half of what we do but have the best time ever & are fun Dad through & through! They learn in time, you just need to give them the opportunity. By that I mean book a weekend for you in the spa & leave them to it!

  43. When you write it out like that you can really see how much there is too think about. Just so hard to fit everything you need to do into a 24hr day #bigpinklink

  44. Oh I love this post I want to print in out and give it to the O.H and then stick it on the fridge, just as a daily reminder not to mention those illusive words…’can you just’… Blooming brilliant post xxx #bigpinklink

  45. Really wanting to send this one through to my husband, but then that’s just one more job to add to the list…but it’s those seeming ‘little’ “can you just…” requests that get me!! Totally relate to this piece!!! #bigpinklink

  46. A slightly depressing (but very realistic) list … yes, you’re so right! I’m just about to take a 7mo old, a 2.5yr old and an 11yr old dog to the park and I’ve spent 20 minutes getting ready. I’ll now spend 30 seconds getting myself ‘presentable’. It must get easier, right? 🙂 #bigpinklink

  47. Ha I love it- I think I’m just going to print this out and use it as my To-Do list starting today. Might send it to Himself to read too – your sketch is perfect, really made me giggle. 🙂 #BigPinkLink

  48. Haha so true, I have so many lists for what I need to do in a day between home, work and taking care of my son..my partners sweet but the other day he made the epic fail of saying but I work the most hours…nope he just gets paid for the most hours!! #Bigpinklink

  49. This exhausted me. No joke. But was a very accurate depiction of how my mind/brain feels – I totally understand why we mums need a holiday – specifically for us! Not a day – a week. In fact a couple of weeks off a year – that seems reasonable?! Great post lovely #bigpinklink

  50. This looks almost exactly like my to do list! #bigpinklink

  51. I am so lucky that my husband shares most of this equally. He likes to plan things perfectly and that extends to the change bag and organising anything! He does hate the phone and finances though so I deal with anything to do with all that. I think the pressures of everything modern parents are expected to do can be quite exhausting for all of us! ☺ #bigpinklink

  52. A friend was just lamenting about this the other day. I understand. I have suggestions for handling the situation, but I don’t recommend that other wives behave the way that I do. LOL! #bigpinklink

  53. Such great post . Just sums up a mothers life . I did feel exhausted just reading all that but it’s funny how we just seem to do nearly all these things without thinking about it . Thanks for sharing

  54. The bare minimum everyday running of the house/kids etc. is all I can cope with and everything above and beyond that feels like too much. Unfortunately, life is full of the extra stuff.

    #bigpinklink

  55. This is so true, I think I might print it out to hold up when I get the ‘could you just…’. If we all actually wrote a comprehensive list, we wouldn’t have any time left to actually do it! LOL xx #bigpinklink

  56. Blimey how fabulous are we???!!!!! We do keep it all together. My husband is very sweet and always says I’m the one who holds the house together. Even so it does make you feel a bit frustrated when someone asks you to add something else to the invisible list.

    My dread every day is to hear husband shout downstairs ‘have I got any clean boxers?’ or eldest daughter ‘Have I got any clean frilly socks for school’ I am filled with dread, my heart starts beating and I realise Goddammit I knew there was something else I was supposed to do last night!!!

    #bigpinklink

  57. I’m always saying this! Mom’s have so much going on in their minds all of the time! There is so much we are responsible for it’s madness! Multi-tasking at its best but it can definitely get overwhelming. Time for your own friends is an important one! #bigpinklink x

  58. I almost screamed yes at the screen. But I’m not as effective as you. My day (although I know I need to exercise time management) is just a hopeless rambling unproductive mess. And as Hubby is a bloody star and makes their packed lunches while breakfasting them and lets me sleep in as he knows I’m up til stupid o’clock every night blogging, I get away with it so to speak. He knows I’m not coping with the house and blog etc and am constantly overwhelmed (like tonight) so strange as it sounds, I don’t push myself to make sure the laundry etc is done before we all run out of knickers! I did have a super productive 2 weeks in January where I laundered and cleaned floors like a champ…but didn’t blog once. AAAAAArgh! #bigpinklink

  59. I’m exhausted just reading this! And sadly thinking that when I go back to work it’s going to be even more exhausting. Can I use all this on my resume? Thanks for hostessing #bigpinklink!

  60. Oh wow that’s exhausted me just reading it…. We really do do a lot don’t we! Great post, I just wish it wasn’t so true #bigpinklink x

  61. There was a big fuss about this sometime last year, after an article in the news had said something about how most of the unrecognised, unappreciated, intangible work and efforts, like this type of thing you’re talking about, tends to fall to women, and is not credited. It was saying that women are usually doing a lot of draining work to keep everything together, which is dismissed as insignificant and not real work, while men tend to take on more tangible tasks and receive credit for doing them. Obviously, many men became very angry, but I think there is a lot of truth to it. You can argue about why it is the case that those tasks tend to fall to women, and about whether it is intentional that they are given limited value though they are actually important, but the fact that it is more often women who do those things, & that there is little recognition given for it being hard work, does stand, in my opinion.

    & I agree – the ‘can you just’ is irritating! #bigpinklink

  62. My ex is constantly… well can’t you just move something? Cant she just have/do/eat/drink/wear this? No she feckin cant and nor can I!!!
    #bigpinklink

  63. This post is like my brain has unravelled on to my laptop screen – there is just SO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT ALL THE TIME! I sometimes wonder how there’s even space in my head for all this stuff. Someone recently commented on the fact I’d squeezed in a nap to my otherwise insane day sighing and saying ‘the life of a Mum’ as though it’s just NAP CITY. Excuse me while I sigh in frustration for the next ten minutes xx #bigpinklink

  64. Mums are superheros it’s second nature to us now and it looks like nothing when you look in from the outside but the amount of things rattling around our brains to remember is huge. Everything needs to be timed and planned out so everyone is fed, happy and clean. Our visitors tend to be spur of the moment so I can’t get away with a last minute clean which is another thing to remember x

  65. Hi Louise, reading your breakdown nearly triggered one! My husband used ask if I could quickly do things, when I was also trying to do several other things quickly (and failing miserably).

    I never understand why it tends to me who organises Christmas, birthdays, appointments as I am most definitely the least organised out of the two of us. But you know? I probably wouldn’t have it any other way (oh my, I’m a secret control freak!).

    xx

    • I could have written this!!! I am exactly the same. I wouldn’t trust anyone else to do it ‘properly’, even though I am as disorganised as they come! 😀

  66. I just posted something on Instragram that said being an adult involved googling how to stuff and being tired. Add making lists of stuff to,do and remember and I think we’re covered. This is not the fun time I was expecting …

  67. Pingback: Blog Stars: The First Edition! - AbsolutelyPrabulous

  68. I just can’t either. My lists are on scraps of paper resembling, well, scraps of paper. So, they are constantly being recycled. How am I supposed to get anything done?
    I found you on Prabs’ #BlogStars

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