Apparently even today, thank you cards are important even for birthday parties. The world ends if you forget. It obviously means that you are an ungrateful, horrible human being if you forget to do something that only takes but a moment of a time to send. How dare you?
How dare I. My youngest son had his birthday in September. I’m usually very diligent, sending out the thank you cards to the ones who like them within a week. To be fair, they were promptly written out. That’s the last we saw of those cards. Did we send them? My gut tells me no. My gut tells me that they were shuffled around in the hub of activity that is our house. There is the option of resending it, only the realization that I forgot a seemingly simple task over a month ago may have past the proper time to send it according to etiquette rules.
The fact is, we were busy. I spend more days that not reading emails from my youngest son’s teacher informing me of struggles he’s having in school. I have to manage the anxiety of my youngest son without letting mine get in the way. I have to spend more time than I’d like to admit in a day explaining that no, there isn’t a tornado or the fact that a paper was accidentally brought home isn’t the end of the world. It’s not easy like the days of monsters hiding. Now, monsters seem to be everything and there’s seemingly nothing I can do to stop it.
Every morning, I wake up at 6. I make sure my oldest is up and ready for school. I then start work. I’ll get started writing out blogs, most of which I end up tossing in the pit of despair known as the “Drafts” folder. I consider if I even want to blog today or revive the “Deleted Blog” series, where I put out those aforementioned blogs that I have (for whatever reason) decided not to post. I opt against it. (Though honestly, writing this now I probably will start using these as filler when I’m stuck with writer’s block or busy with appointments and can’t put a blog out, just for consistency’s sake.) I edit emails for clients. I lurk Reddit for Overwatch League/Overwatch news (and other things, because I’m now a constant Reddit lurker) to help me come up with ideas for blogs. I accomplish a lot in that one hour, which people don’t realize because “I don’t have a job”. I do. This is my job.
Then the morning gets crazy at 7. This is when I start the struggle of waking up my youngest. I listen to him cry and yell at me because we’re going to be late for school. Then as I walk him to school, some days I have to listen to him sob about how he doesn’t want to go to school. I walk back to the house to calm him down only to hear “WE’RE GOING TO BE LATE FOR SCHOOL!” By 8:30am, I realize that I have already been beaten down by failure for the day. It takes the rest of the day to work my way up from this feeling of being the worst mom on the planet. I spend the rest of the day working. I finish up my blogs and make sure they are scheduled to post on time. I stream to get my name out there, to raise my “brand awareness”. I work for my clients, writing articles and doing whatever else needs to be done. Sometimes, I don’t even finish everything I need to for work until 11pm. This includes family responsibilities of cooking, laundry, and trying to calm down my child because something set him off. If I’m lucky, I’m passed out by midnight. Sometimes the estimate is a lot later. Sometimes I wake up a lot earlier and get started.
At some points during this schedule, I have to handle making sure my oldest gets his overpriced class ring. I have to start getting him signed up for swimming. I have to research new ways to work with my youngest on managing his “quirks”. I spend a lot of time doing things that people don’t see. But, I obviously had time to mail out a thank you card and there’s no excuse for that level of inconsideration. It doesn’t matter that every day feels like you’re drowning because something has gone wrong so much that you sit back and wonder what you failed at to get to this point. The simple act of not sending out a thank you card epitomizes the guilt that I feel on a regular basis. The guilt that I’m not doing enough. I look at my house right now. It’s not a complete disaster, but it’s pretty messy. Will I get around to cleaning it today? That’s going to be a hard “no”, but I figure I’ll just not sleep tonight to get it done. Or I’ll pass out of exhaustion and get judged for another failure.
That’s the problem though. As a mom, I’m programmed to feel like I’ve failed at everything. We’re taught to think that our best just isn’t good enough. We’re supposed to feel guilty for our shortcomings. I spent too much time on my “not-work” because “writing isn’t a job” and I should have been cleaning for 8 hours while making sure I handle sending out a thank you card. My life is simple enough, right? We dwell on these perceived failures. I’ll probably think about that thank you card and wonder if it ever made it out all day. I’ll worry about being judged or have people think that I didn’t appreciate them because I forgot proper etiquette. I’ll worry all day about my child at school, who just now had a moment of hysteria about going to school. Because today, like yesterday, I have failed. Even if I didn’t really fail, I failed. If you know a mom, she probably feels like she failed today to. Let them know that they didn’t. They need to hear it more than you think.