Whoa, Mama!

The overwhelming pressure of present-day motherhood
Written by Irina Gallagher

Muse of Discovery by sculptor Meg WhiteWord of warning, this isn’t meant to diminish the importance of parental caretakers as a whole, but to shed light on the roll of the primary caretaker, who, in the U.S. is still predominantly the mother.

There I was, sitting in a room full of moms and kids all clanking old kitchen apparatuses. It had been a particularly difficult week – the moon and its impending fullness and Mercury and its retrograde-ness did nothing to help. As I clinked my red plastic plates together, I was thinking about how overwhelmed, overworked, frustrated, exhausted (sure in a sense of little sleep, but more so in an energy-deficient sort of way), and maxed out I’ve been feeling lately. Finally, here at music class, surrounded by a bunch of toddlers, there was a moment of respite – not in a complete silence way, but in the “thank goodness there’s a chance for me to just sit and rest for a minute and not have to engage in conversation of any kind, not have to keep my small kid from falling into a sink full of dirty dishes while slipping off a step stool, not have to harp on my big kid to finish a five minute bit of school work which she somehow transforms into a draining forty-five minute task, not have to give my opinion on anything, and not have to keep people from yelling excitedly while jumping from bed to bed or rolling off the couch” sort of way. While this 3 minute kitchen music play-along break was nice, I was in a negative mood this particular morning and was dwelling on my own issues rather than actually savoring the moment.

As I was thinking of an onslaught of responsibilities, my focus returned to the class. I looked around the room and noticed that most of the moms seemed to be lost in a bit of a daze while banging their spoons against ice cube trays. I don’t think it’s farfetched to think that I was not the only one in the room feeling maxed out – from the mom who works six days a week while managing to homeschool her children to the new moms adjusting to their completely altered lives as parents to the moms who are steadily (dare I say courageously) keeping their shit together while bringing a second, third, or fourth kid into the family units – here we sit, quietly and collectively exhausted.