Dear Family, I Quit

He only eats six foods.

  • I need to get better at meal planning.

  • I hate meal planning.

  • Do children's vitamins actually work?

  • She only has five words.

  • We need to clean before the speech therapist comes.

  • When does she need her next vaccines - was that six months or three?

  • When should he start reading?

  • They need new books.

  • When should we start potty training her?

  • The Beach Trip.

  • We need a new sitter. So I need to talk to people. SHIT.

  • We need to clean the house. Screw it. We need to look on Groupon and find someone to clean the house.

  • Are we teaching him emotional intelligence? He seems so frustrated lately.

  • We need to go through all of the toys and get rid of so many of them.

  • I should reorganize their room. The kids would play in there more if I made it more appealing.

  • When should we take her out of the crib? How is that going to work?

  • He wants a dog. I want a dog. No way can we handle a dog right now.

  • We don't eat dinner as a family. That explains everything.

  • He needs a step-stool so that he can cook with me.

  • I should update their Amazon wish lists.

  • He needs pajamas.

  • Are they getting enough one on one time?

  • Are they getting enough family time?

  • We should be getting out more on the weekends.

  • How is my social anxiety screwing up his social life?

  • We keep missing the 'community meetings' at school.

  • Race. Race. RACE.

  • There are so many terrifying conversations coming.

  • Why is her poop like that?

  • Is this a sensory thing?

  • Is that?

  • Are they ever going to listen?

  • How do I get her to stop biting?

  • Is there already jealousy between them? Shit. Yes.

  • Do we discipline them differently based on gender? Shit. Yes.

  • They need more structure.

  • We have got to turn off the TV.

  • Is there anything we can do to get her to keep her clothes on?

  • I need a sitter schedule. A solid one.

  • Lice at the school. Fun.

  • Are there going to be shitty comments about how black kids don't get lice? We cannot afford bail money.

  • HOLY CRAP IS HE SERIOUSLY OUT OF DAYCARE ALL WEEK NEXT WEEK?!?!?

These are some of the things I worried about today. This is just the kid stuff, not Adam, my business, or my running list of personal worries. I'm one of those people who only ever wanted to be in charge because my anxiety would eat me up if I wasn't. How do you know that it's all being done right unless you're doing it yourself?

But it isn't being done right. There is no right.

Adam asked me tonight what he could take off of my plate. I asked him why it was my plate.

That's the heart and the center of it. I'm the scheduler, the asker, the planner, the manager of our house. He's the doer. Running a family takes management, someone has to hold the plans in their head.

My head is full, though. Taking things off of the plate is no longer enough. I need to put the plate down. I need to step away from it. I need Adam to step up to the plate. (I need this metaphor to let me go)

My son hasn't been to the dentist since my daughter was born. Is it because we don't value dental care? No. Is it because we don't think that good dental habits need to start early? No. Is it because we don't have coverage or couldn't afford it? Nope.

It's because I run two businesses and have two kids. It's because he was born in summer and she was born in the fall, and none of their medical schedules sync up at all.  It's because I keep thinking that if I could just get more organized, I could juggle all of the balls.

This even as I tell my clients every day to PUT. THE. BALLS. DOWN.

I don't know what the answer is - for my family or yours. We're talking about it. We're trying to figure out what fair looks like, what a division of labor that plays to our strengths looks like. We are trying to figure out what partnership looks like. Because when it comes to managing this family alone? I quit. 

If you know a single parent please take a moment and reach out to them today. Let them know that you see them. Ask them what you can take off of their plate. There is always something we can do to help.

Graeme Seabrook