I was a guinea pig for myself in many regards last weekend, because I’ve been tossing around the question: can a woman do it all?
I’ve polled my friends, projected myself into the wife/mother role (usually when I’m exhausted beyond the ability to form a complete sentence and think, “And to come home in this state to … babies??”), and was glad for the opportunity to nurture a 6-, 3-, and 1-year old the whole weekend. I had help, but I turned most of it down for the sake of my experiment.
I was your ideal image of an OCD mom of three Saturday and Sunday.On our family agenda was a baseball tournament both days in a town 30 minutes away.So I packed picnic lunches, a blanket, snacks, bottles, drinks, baseball gloves and balls and sunscreen, tossed my unwashed hair into a pony tail (who has time to shower with three kids?!), donned my Capri work-out pants and team T-shirt, loaded all three in the SUV and away we went.
Thankfully I packed 350 wipes, because I used every single one of them.The chocolate animal crackers were a hit, as were the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, milk, apple juice, apple slices, cheerios, Wheat Thins, sunflower seeds and raisins.The babies fell asleep on the way home, and I carried them both inside where they completed their naps and the 6-year-old had rest time.
Later, it was dinner, bath time, keeping them inside after bath time, playing catch, watching TV, and then bedtime.There were the whimpers at night, which I mostly ignored, and the early rising and chilling on the couch until the rest of the household woke up.
There were also a lot of hugs, kisses, snuggling and cuddling, crying when I left the room, and trying to keep up with me.
The experiment proved my suspicion.Women can do it all, but she might not do it all well.
I didn’t get as much housecleaning done as I would’ve liked, I was folding laundry late at night, the work I would’ve done at an earlier hour wasn’t done till much later, and by the time the house was quiet I was numb and not much use for anything else.
And this equation did not include a husband.
The experiment was faulty for many reasons, which provide both pros and cons.I’m sure that if the children were actually mine, and I did have a husband, I’d find a way to do it.I’d adapt. Somehow.Also, I knew there was an end in sight.Their mother returned Sunday night and my shift was essentially over.That provided immediate relief, and also a “light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel” outlook when a few moments got rough (like at 1:30 a.m.)There would be no such outlook if I were actually the mom.
This line of thinking has been at the forefront of my mind for awhile, because my new job means I’m physically disconnected from my family a lot, which I can afford right now because I’m single, no kids.But in the back of my mind I know that if I were married, and especially with kids, I would not be able to maintain my workload, and rest comfortably that I was giving everything 100 percent.
My weekend proved that to me.
I’m not stressing over what that means for me right now.If I were married, I would worry about it a little more.If I were a mother, I’d worry about it a lot.But I’m neither, and so I’m not stressing.
I am aware, though.And now I have a better understanding.