The Mask of Motherhood

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Yesterday on Monday, I baked.

I did three loads of laundry, tidied the house, made minestrone, went shopping, and made cupcakes.

Which sounds impressive when you know I have a nearly five month old baby. Until I tell you that I had a staff of three.

Yup, one to mind the baby, one to sort out five months of mail (bills, superannuation for two people, and health fund stuff), and one to help me read the recipe and do the baking, since I am so damn sleep deprived.

Mark was home sick, so he was primary baby wrangler, Dad did the paperwork, and then Mum came over after work to help me cook my first ever batch of cupcakes. And thank god she did – apparently sleep deprivation messes with your ability to read and follow simple instructions.

I read “The Mask of Motherhood” before the boy was born, and can see that the “mask” has fallen on me a little too. Which is funny.

I never thought I would be a mother, I never thought I had “it” in me. Which I suppose made it easier for me to quit my job and live off Mark while I was so ill during the pregnancy. I felt ok about not pulling my weight financially because my physical impairment was a shared burden. And Mark absolutely supported me and my needs every single day.

But now I am a Mother. With a capital M. And I don’t feel entitled to anything.

Thank you one and all for your insightful and supportive comments. I am going to do a lot more thinking about this, maybe one day it will make sense to me.

In the meantime, I’m asking for help.

I need it.

2 thoughts on “The Mask of Motherhood”

  1. Once upon a time in NYC, where help is rarely requested or offered, I was struggling to haul about a month’s worth of single-girl laundry (all black, lots of undies) down the front steps of my apartment building. It was like being on a stage, outdoors, in full public view, and when I was about halfway down the steps, a few dozen people walked by coming from the subway, and twas then the laundry basket fell over, with dirty laundry spillage everywhere. And there’s me, way too proud — and horrified — to ask for help.
    As if on cue: ‘Hey, do you need some help?’ asked a voice from down on the sidewalk. A young, nice-looking guy wearing glasses. ‘Nah, I’m fine,’ I said, cavalierly ignoring the spill.
    He made a funny face, like ‘Yeah sure you don’t’ and then came up the steps anyway and carried the basket down to the sidewalk (politely ignoring the scattered undies). I was so grateful, and when I told this later to a friend, she laughed long and loud and then said, ‘Barb, that was the universe telling you in a really nice way it’s OK to ask for help.’
    And she was so right, and I have never forgotten that!


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