How My Help Was Hurting My Family

familyIt was one of those days when I felt like the worse mom ever, the worse wife ever. You know those days. When you come home from work, you have a splitting headache, the day was absolute crap and all you want to do is get home and cuddle your babies.

Then it happens. You enter the house, step over the toys, clothes and shoes strun about, head into the kitchen and stare at the pile of dishes in the sink. You proceed into the bedroom to change out of your work clothes and glimpse the two heaping mountains of laundry awaiting your arrival. Then your partner asks, ” What’s for dinner?” It’s an innocent enough question. Not one that should put you over the edge in their view. Not one that should send you into hysterics. But right then and there you lose your ?&%$.

The pressure from having all this stuff piling up on top you is to much. The overwhelming responsibility of feeling like everything is just sitting waiting for you to get it done. Sometimes, some days it is too much. However, if I am honest with myself. I know this literally was a house of my own making. Somewhere along the way in my journey through motherhood. I got the mistaken impression that only I can cook food, only I can do the laundry and only I can touch the floor to pick up things.  Why would my family every venture to do any of these things? I had always done them.

This my friends is called enabling! Yes, I am an enabler. I have enabled my husband to play video games while I cooked dinner. I have enabled my children to think throwing clothing on the floor is ok. I picked it up, I made the food. I have driven myself bat guano crazy trying to keep up this enabling façade.

Maybe I felt more superior, more important, more needed by allowing this to go on. But that’s the thing about overdoing it. There comes a point when you can not do anymore and you are crushed by the weight you have loaded upon yourself. So there I stood in my closet feeling crushed by a simple question of what is for dinner and all the expectation, false disappointment and self-pity I feel welling up inside me.

I tell you this story as a cautionary tale. I made a desion to stop the madness. The next morning I didn’t make breakfast, or lunch. I let the laundry sit in the basket. I left the dishes in the sink. Yes, my house is a wreck but that’s just it. This  is not only my house. It is our home. How dare I think that I am alone in caring for it, or cleaning it or living in it. So I made a decision to let it go. Yes, it is hard…really hard to walk past that lone sock in the hall or leave the half eaten cereal bowl right where it is. But I’m learning. I’m learning that it is not all on me. I’m learning that the only real pressure in my house is what I create for myself. I am learning not to be an enabler… and whether they like it or not, my family is learning too.

5 thoughts on “How My Help Was Hurting My Family

  1. Good for you! No one can take care of everything. Working outside of the home plus doing all of the housework is about as close as most people get to trying. They’ll learn to pick up after themselves a little bit better eventually. It’ll probably never be as clean or as good as if you did it yourself but tidiness and cleanliness really are important learned skills.

    p.s. I think I sent you a message by accident. Sorry!

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