Freedom From The 'Mom = Task Master' Trap

I'm late, I'm late for a very important date!

Cinderelly, Cinderelly / Night and day it's Cinderelly / Make the fire! Fix the breakfast! / Wash the dishes! Do the moppin'!

A man’s work is from sun to sun, but a mother’s work is never done.

We're liberated, progressive women, right? We know (intellectually, at least) that the work isn't all ours to do. We know that nothing has to be perfect to be good.

But all that knowing is not enough to protect us from the strong and powerful urge to become....

Mom, The Task Master!

We laugh about it (to keep from crying). That Mom gets to be the 'Bad Guy', the one who's no fun, the one who must always be managing people, places, and things.

And then we're sad.

We're sad because we want to be the Fun One, we want to slow down, we want to laugh and play and cuddle and let there be dishes and laundry left out forever and that be okay.

And we're sad, and resentful, and want it to be different, but there's just so much to do!

I have little kids. And it's true, the work is never done. There are always more teeth to be brushed, breakfasts to be made, lunches to be packed, forms to be signed, clothes to be folded. Always more.

If you believe your worth is determined by how much you get done, then you'll never feel okay, you'll never relax, you'll never let go, because there is always more to do.

To be more than the Task Master - the one who's got time and space for an impromptu lap snuggle, a run through the neighborhood, a messy dessert before dinner - you must believe that you are good and worthy and safe even when there is work left undone.

This is hard to believe. For me, too. I feel safe in Task Master mode. I don't like the discomfort of leaving things undone. It makes me anxious and worried and fearful that I'm not doing enough, and, therefore, not enough.

But I've decided that the discomfort is worth it. I don't want to be only the Task Master in the family. So my house is a mess (like, really, it totally is). We eat simple, heathy-esque meals that take no more than 15 minutes to make. They sleep in their day clothes, find 'fresh' clothes in either the dryer or the hamper, and bathe only very occasionally.

These are the prices I'm willing to pay to be a bit more present, lighter, looser as their Mama. Again, I don't always succeed. It's soooo easy for me to be consumed with the potent power of Task Master. But I don't like who I am when that's all that I am. I don't like who we are, as a family, when that's all that I am.

We recovering Task Master Moms need to stretch our comfort zones and find moments of believing we are good and safe, even when we unhook from all the work and deadlines and tasky-Task-Tasks.

For today, reminder yourself of this truth at least 100 times:

Nothing needs to be perfect today for everything to be okay.

We are the believers. The ones who know everything will be okay, even when our own puny minds pressure us to believe otherwise.

We are the believers. The ones who know everything will be okay, even when our own mothers, and neighbors, and partners pressure us to believe otherwise.

We can show them another way that is better for everybody.

You can be the Fun One, the Relaxed One, the Easy-Going One.

There's room enough for you to be more than Task Master.

It's safe. Everything is okay.

With love and optimism,

Dr. J