Dear Family Whisperer,
It’s the same every year. They bring me breakfast in bed, and I get a 24-hour break from my normal routine. It’s as if my husband has been replaced by an alien who does the dishes without reminding. The kids hand me homemade cards that bring tears to my eyes. But what about the rest of the year? The other 364 days, I’m constantly schlepping, catching up on chores, remembering and reminding. I often feel alone and overwhelmed. Sometimes, I try to get my DH to do more and the kids, who are 8 and 11, to at least clean their own rooms. But mostly, I just accept that I’m stuck with the whole enchilada. What else can I do?
Dear Resentful Mom,
There is a different way that will change your perspective and your attitude: Adopt a family-centered version of “motherhood.” When they wake you with a tray of pancakes and roses and handmade cards this year, thank them and tell them how much you appreciate them. But also use the moment to usher in a new year of family consciousness in which everyone — not just you — is responsible for getting through the day. Your children (and DH) can do more than you realize.
Start with these five important resolutions that will make your life easier throughout the year, improve your marriage, help your kids become capable and competent and make your family stronger as well.
1. I will remind myself that I matter. There’s an “I” in family — a collection of them. Each I deserves to get what he or she needs… including you! Like many women, you’ve probably internalized the message that “mothering” means Doing It All. But think of the “lessons” you are inadvertently teaching the future adults in your household — your children.