Last week was one of the longest, most stressful weeks ever. It was the first week back after winter break, everyone was on the wrong sleep schedule, we were all getting over colds, and our kitchen sink had started leaking. On top of all this, I came back to work with a mountain of things to do, emails to answer, and worries to contend with.
By the time Friday rolled around, I was done. As I sunk into bed Friday night, barely able to keep my eyes open through my nightly Netflix binge, I started fantasizing about the weekend. I thought about all the TV I was going to watch, the books I was going to read, the fun times I was going to have with my kids, and all the delicious nothingness I was going to partake in.
What ended up happening that Saturday morning—and what ends up happening most Saturday mornings—is that as soon as I got some sleep and let the grind of my work-week go, I was faced with my responsibilities at home. And they felt absolutely crushing and overwhelming.
I don’t have time to do much cleaning during the week, so I clean my house from top to bottom on Saturday mornings. In theory, I actually don’t mind cleaning. I kick my family out of the house while I clean, which makes it almost feel like “me time.” I have a small home so it only takes me under two hours to finish, and my rationale is that if I get it done first thing on Saturday, I have the whole weekend free for fun.
LIES. LIES. LIES.
Cleaning doesn’t feel like “me time” at all. And I somehow forget that on top of that Saturday morning cleaning spree, I’ve got to do laundry (my husband does it, but I help). I’ve got to pick up extra items at the grocery store (we do online shopping, but still have to pick up a zillion little things) and make sure my kids do their homework, bathe, and do their chores.
The narrative that the weekend is going to be this time when all the stress and anxiety magically melt away is bullshit. What I have noticed is that my feelings of fatigue and stress are replaced by something else entirely: ANGER.
Yep, weekends make me mad as hell. I’m pissed off by everyone and everything I see. And sometimes it gets out of control.
This past Saturday was one of the worst “Mama is pissed” days yet. I lost my shit on my seven-year-old for forgetting to put his bathrobe in the laundry. I went on a tirade against my 13-year-old for leaving a dirty plate on his bedside table. And my husband was so scared to be around me that he shut himself in the bedroom while he listened to music and folded laundry.
Now, I am not really much of a yeller, so when I got into a screaming battle with my little guy over his bathrobe, he was so sad and surprised that he crumbled to the floor and cried. This kid is always so freaking honest and clear about his feelings that it blows me away sometimes.
“You scared me when you screamed,” he said. “Why are you so mad?”
Why are you so mad?
His question brought me to the floor, and I sat there along with him, shedding a few tears myself.
“I don’t want to be mad,” I told him. “But I just have so much to do all the time and it’s hard to not feel mad about that.”
Oh my goodness, my anger and resentment do run deep sometimes. I think some of it is justified. Both of my kids are in school, but raising two kids with both parents working full-time is a lot. We can’t afford before- or after-school care for our kids, so we tag-team childcare constantly. We don’t have money to hire a cleaner, or a babysitter, or anything, so my husband and I do it all.
I never, ever get a break.
My husband is great and he has been taking on even more chores lately, which is a good thing. But of course, so much of our planning and the “big picture” stuff falls on me, so that’s a lot. I pretty much plan our weekends—how we are going to get everything done, and fit in our social plans and rest along with it.
It probably doesn’t help that I’m a perfectionist. I can’t let my house just be messy. I can’t let work slide. I can’t give up my role as the family planner. And I’m terrible at asking for extra help. Just awful.
So I hold the overwhelm and resentment inside until it basically explodes all over everyone on Saturday mornings. I hate it. They hate it. It’s not good or healthy for everyone.
I’m working on changing it. I’m considering cutting my corners and saving my pennies to see if I can afford a housekeeper once a month or so to help (I also have to get over my pride to do this). I’m talking about my feelings with my therapist. My husband and I are in an ongoing, active conversation about how to can make both the household chores and the mental load more equitable.
Most of all, it has helped me (and I thank my beautiful seven-year-old for this) to acknowledge that the anger is a thing. It’s a pattern. I’ve become more mindful of it, more painfully aware that it isn’t something I want to feel—or spew at others—anymore. Especially on Saturday freaking mornings.