I stopped making decisions today
I refused to make any decisions today. Well, aside from decision regarding me, myself and I. No one died. BUT. We didn’t leave the house, my kids had screen time pretty much the whole day, and there is still no indication that dinner will happen. It’s now 6pm.
Everyone takes for granted how many decisions the mom makes each and every day. So when I stopped making them… nothing happened. I mean, like nothing ACTUALLY happened. There was talk about going out and doing something today, but when I didn’t google, buy tickets, or decide on a location… we never left the house. It’s funny to me that once I refused to make all the decisions, everything just… stopped.
I am not a party planner
I’m not sure how it happened, but ‘Mom’ somehow got designated the decider of all activities. Probably because deciding to go somewhere, or do something, requires the prep work and preparing everyone, but still. In my house, unless I decided we are going somewhere or doing something… it doesn’t happen. Unless I get the kids ready, let the dogs out, check the doors, buy the tickets, and plan the route… We ain’t going anywhere. Even if it’s not my idea! Even when I’m not the one that comes up with the idea to go to lunch, it usually falls to me to decide where and when. Well, I’m done with that nonsense today.
What’s gonna happen?!
Right now it’s dinner time. I know what my kids will eat, and I know that I’m good with eating random shit in the fridge. Instead of making the rounds until I find some sort of consensus and either making the food or ordering the food… I’m writing this. Because it is not MY job to make all the decisions. I am not a vote collector/ tallier, short-order cook, or personal assistant. So, since I am happy with string cheese and leftovers I say MEH. If someone else wants a specific dinner, let them figure it out.
What I find the most interesting is that the day I decide I won’t be the primary decision-maker is the day that literally everything stops. We didn’t leave the house, dinner wasn’t prepared or ordered, the kids watched screens all day, and no one got the mail. In case any moms out there are wondering what will happen if you disappeared… nothing will happen. Like nothing will get done and no one will DO anything.
It’s maddening.. yet reassuring
As infuriating as it is to watch the whole world come to stand still when I refuse to do the mental work, it’s also a bit rewarding. Because I can physically see the repercussions of my mental absence. I am literally the force that makes things happen around here.
The underlying problem
The mental load. Everyone has heard the term and every woman FEELS the term. It’s the work that has no measurement, the backbone of everyday life, and the only reason anything gets done. The mental load, AKA decision fatigue, its the real reason moms, and women in general, need a break. For lack of anything better to use I will list the things I am currently carrying in my brain
- My kids need well visit checks
- There is no school on Monday the 17th
- The van needs an oil change
- The water bill never came last month
- The potential housekeeper has an appointment to come see the house next week
- The boys have a dentist appointment on Saturday
- The doors need to be refinished
- The backdoor storm door needs to be fixed or replaced
- My kids have homework due on Monday
- The shower drain is slow and needs attention
- The dogs need a nail trim
- We need more coffee/bread/peanut butter/ etc.
- The mommy/son event at school needs a signed form
- Medication refills
- The kids need new clothes that fit
- School permission slips
- Swim lessons are on Monday, piano is on Tuesday, Chess in on Wednesday…
- Meal planning for every dinner
- Packing lunches, making breakfast, keeping snacks on hand
- I need to be skinnier/prettier/hotter
Without the woman making decisions, nothing happens
Granted the last one on that list is a bit self-centered, but it’s still something EVERY woman carries in their heart, assuming their physical appearance affects their self-worth. (thanks main-stream media for that one!) However, I think you get my point. This is just a snippet of all the things I carry in my head from minute to minute. And I know I am not alone. Mom or not, this is a female problem. We’re expected to carry the mental load. And it fucking sucks.
So today I rebelled. I didn’t do it. I let everyone fend for themselves. And you know what happened. NOTHING. We didn’t leave the house. My kids did not breathe any fresh air. And until I finally opened the app on my phone we didn’t have any dinner.
For tomorrow I ordered tickets to ONE thing. Because while everyone will talk about it it comes down to ME to make it happen. I had to make the decisions. Also, I have dinner planned out. Yet another aspect of the mental load… meal planning.
It saddens me that the only gift I want these days is not to have to be the decision-maker. I want to be along for the ride, not the navigator being bullied for how no one likes the destination. Why is that so hard? Why can’t someone else figure it out for a change? Is it because if you make a decision and no one likes it you have to deal with the fallout? And clearly only a woman has the strength to fill that role?
I mean, why the fuck is it only up to me to decide what to make for dinner every night?! Isn’t it enough that I have to cook, clean, and shop for it?
Let’s just stop
So yeah, today I didn’t make any decisions. I still fed my kids, cleaned shit up, and took care of everyone when they asked. But I stopped being everyone’s personal assistant. I stopped making decisions where they should be figuring it out themselves. And it felt good. Everyone else be damned. After all, they didn’t die. They just didn’t DO anything. I will do everything I can to make this my new normal. Because frankly, my time and sanity are worth it. I am not the only one who can figure out what to do on a Saturday. I am not the only one who can come up with what to eat on a Tuesday night, and I sure as hell am not the only one who can order shit.
So today I didn’t make any decisions… and nothing happened. Maybe if I refuse to make them tomorrow SOMETHING will happen. Who knows. For now, all I can say is that figuring all the shit out is not something only women, moms or not, should do. And I think we should all stop doing it. Because fuck it, our sanity matters.