This Is Us: So Many Beths

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

This is not a hot take on Beth and Randall’s relationship in This Is Us. I’m not in that writer’s room and I don’t know if their marriage is in trouble or if it was just saved. The truth is that none of us ever know, in those major moments in our lives, whether we have just saved everyone or lit the match that will burn it all down.

This isn’t about that Beth. This is about all the Beths. Because there are SO MANY BETHS and there may be more of Beth in you than you think.

Last week I published an essay that got a huge response. Over 10,000 people have read Stop Grading Your Husband On A Curve and the messages and emails that have poured in since have shown me that so many mothers who married “one of the good ones” are struggling.

There were the Beths who had to stop reading and cry before they could finish.

There were the Beths who feel guilty wanting their husbands to share the load because they are SAHM.

There were the SO MANY Beths who signed up for the #MyMotherload Challenge, but didn’t follow through with it because they were too scared to face what their lives have become. They were too afraid to face the anger it would unleash.

Fear.

Anger.

Self-doubt.

Resentment.

Guilt.

This isn’t what any of these Beths thought marriage and motherhood would be. This isn’t what they want for their lives. And this isn’t what any of their Randalls want for them either.

We didn’t choose this and the vast majority of us are not doing this on purpose. You started dating, you lived together or got married, the kids came and life just kept moving. And maybe you talk about politics. You’ve talked about patriarchy and capitalism. You’ve talked about making sure your daughter can play sports if she wants and your son can take dance classes if he wants.

But you don’t talk about how patriarchy and capitalism have taught you what a good relationship is. You don’t talk about the fact that your family life is set up for his convenience. You don’t talk about what the default expectations are. You never chose them. And eventually they start to chafe.

He’s a good guy and a good father, but he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t see. And you don’t even know why you’re angry all the time - just that you are.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook and asked for examples of mental tasks that you carry that are invisible to your husband. She got over sixty responses. But we know that it’s more than the mental load - it’s emotional and physical, too.

And there is no framework readily available for changing it. There isn’t even one for talking about it. And if you can’t begin the conversation, how can you hope to make meaningful change in your life? That’s actually what the #MyMotherload Challenge is all about - helping you to make the invisible, visible. If you haven’t signed up for the challenge yet, DO IT. It will give you a baseline to start this work from.

But what we really need is the next step. We need to know what to do to set down the mental load, the emotional, and the physical. How do we help our Randalls to truly see us?

How do we talk to them about what is going on in our marriages in a productive way?

How do we untangle the balls of resentment, confusion, guilt, and anger that are choking so many of us?

How do we steer our relationships from the ruts of patriarchy and capitalism that we’ve fallen into and make actual choices about what we want them to be and how we want them to feel?

That’s where my heart is. That’s where my work is. If you’ve been reading and following and waiting for an answer - here it is. On Friday, April 5 I will host Break Free of Your Motherload, an hour long online class where you’ll get answers to these questions, a new way to look at your relationship, and exercises to help you make changes in your life.

There are so many Beths out there. But no one is writing our lives for us. We get to choose. I hope you’ll choose to join me.

Graeme SeabrookComment