I’m so tired. Dog tired. The kind of tired you feel all the way to your bones. I know you are, too.
I had three days off this week. And by ‘off’ I mean I didn’t get paid. Not that I wasn’t busy, not that I didn’t do plenty of things. Hard things, exhausting things, the things that are necessary to keep my family afloat. I don’t have days off, really. I know you don’t, either.
I have to close tonight. I have to open tomorrow. I have to go to work in the morning to serve breakfast to families while my own family is at home having breakfast without me. Someone will be rude to me, someone won’t tip, even though I’ll jump through fiery hoops to keep their coffee hot and make sure there are only two eggs on their plate, even though the menu clearly says three. I’ll worry about their cholesterol while someone else worries about brushing my kids’ teeth. I’ll sub out pancakes for toast and bring extra butter and humor the old man who stares at my boobs instead of my eyes while I take his order. I’ll clean up some scrambled egg mess made by some asshole kid who won’t say thank-you, made by some asshole adult who won’t say thank-you, either. I know you will, too. Or maybe you’ll deliver a baby during your 11th hour while the Dr. gets the credit, or sell make-up to a woman who will treat you like you’re 19 and stupid instead of a 35 year old mother of three. You’ll miss morning cuddles or bed time stories. Someone else will kiss your kid’s scraped knee while you kiss a strangers ass.
I know, mama.
We’ll fantasize about how nice it would be to not have to punch a clock, convince ourselves that the mommy guilt would disappear if we didn’t have to work so many doubles.
We won’t quit, though. We’ll go back next week. We’ll go back the week after. We’ll keep going back because we need the extra car, we need the groceries, we need the money to pay for soccer teams and piano lessons, even if it means we sometimes have to miss the games and recitals. We keep going back because we know the mommy guilt would be worse if we didn’t.
Nothing brings on mommy guilt quite like repossession.
I’m proud of you for going back, mama. I’m proud of you for soldiering on. I know it sucks. I know it’s hard. I know all about the voices in your head that tell you you aren’t doing enough. I hear them, too. I know how bad you miss your husband, how hard it is to feel like two ships passing in the night. You give each other a quick kiss or a high-five or a bitter stare as he tags in and you tag out. Somewhere along the way you became a childcare duo instead of a handsome man and a pretty woman who had nothing better to do than snuggle on weekends.
I know, mama.
Let’s make a deal. Let’s pretend like we are Forrest Gump and Bubba. I’ll lean up against you, you lean up against me, and that way we don’t have to sleep with our heads in the mud, okay? When I go grocery shopping at midnight and you are my checker, I’ll be kind and soft and gentle because I know you miss your kids, too. I know someone else tucked them in tonight. When you go out to eat dinner on Wednesday, you’ll be nice to your server because you’ll know that she’s fighting the same war you are. You’ll know that you are on the same side. You’ll know that she missed back to school night or open house or her kid staring in the school play.
And then one day, my kid will win the Nobel, yours will win the Heisman, they will all win Grammys and Oscars and Emmys. They’ll give speeches thanking us for working so hard for them. They won’t remember that we missed bedtime three times a week. They’ll remember that they had a private education, a brand new batting helmet, a beautiful pair of ballet slippers. Everyone will tear up at how amazing and selfless we were. We will hug and cry and pat each other on the back.
And then we’ll all go get drunk.
Happy Friday, Friends
go. do. be.