I’m Not the Boss

This post is old. If it had hair, it’d be gray. It’s been sitting in my draft folder while I fumbled around with the idea of posting it or keeping it for myself. I don’t care to air out Willy and I’s dirty laundry. The more I’ve thought about it, however, the feelings presented have more to do with motherhood than anything else. In any case, Willy and I have moved on from where we were when I wrote this. I’m sure many of you can relate and that is why I have decided to share this post with you. Here we go…
Both of my parents owned their own business. Because of this, I knew from a young age that I never wanted my own business. That’s because I never want to be boss. I like the idea of clocking in and clocking out and leaving work both figuratively and literally.
What I didn’t realize when I became a mom is that I also became a boss. Becoming a mom is by far my greatest accomplishment. I rarely talk about the downsides of motherhood because truth be told, there aren’t many.
Except that I have become the boss.
I loathe that role.
And it happened by default. I realized it following this conversation the other morning:
Me: “Maybe you could set an alarm to wake up before 10am to help me out on Saturday and Sunday mornings”.
Willy: “Why didn’t you wake me up?”
I’ll save you the details of the hissy fit that followed and say that I answered with, “Because I’m not your boss”. Somehow it’s become my duty as a mom to manage our lives. That’s the role of a boss after all, right?
And by boss I mean I’m the nagger, the organizer, and the sleep deprived over-worked worker. I’m the one that goes to bed at night still thinking about my business.
And by business I mean my household. I run over things that need to be done the next day and how to do them most efficiently. I multi-task, because you know, I’m a mother.
I love my role as mom. I hate my role as boss. Yet it’s my role as mom that gave birth to my role as boss.
I’m sure I’m not the first mom to feel this way. My gut tells me this is all too common. So I turn to ya’ll. I want to hear your thoughts. And advice.


23 Responses

  • I feel the same way sometimes. Why am I the one who is suddenly in charge of our day to day operations. Why is it that I’m always being looked to for all the answers?

    Congrats on moving up, voting every day!

    • Yes, sometimes it feels that we are charge of everything. It’s mentally draining to have the ducks all in a row at all times, isn’t it? I think us moms need to get together and have a beer. Thanks for voting, it sure means a lot! πŸ™‚

  • I have no advice I’m afraid. But I wanted to say how well you wrote this…it’s like you read my mind! You’re right that IS the down side about being a Mum is the boss lady part. My husband calls me ‘mrs boss’ and although we jest about it I forget how much I loathe that all the niggly little bits are my job to sort, organise and work out when I think he’d be pretty good at it too if only he didn’t think it was somehow my role to do it…
    But like I’ve learnt so many times it’s not worth fighting over…I need to make the ‘mrs boss’ label work in my favour and get what I want! I’m not sure how quite yet….but when I do I’ll let you know!


    • Yes, yes, yes, make it work in your favor. I insist on a back rub every now and then and don’t feel bad about it one bit. Sometimes the boss gets to put their employees in their place, right πŸ˜‰

  • Ha, I learned that from watching mom and dad too — I never want to have my own business. And, you’re right, running a household as a mom IS a business (except you don’t get compensated; or maybe you do–with hugs and kisses). I’ve heard from many people about how women seem to “naturally” fall into the role of ultimate caretaker/planner/organizer/etc. I think I would resent this. I’ve become pretty good at looking out for myself; not sure how sane I would be looking out for others. You juggle everything pretty damn gracefully. I know you’re not alone. And you have one of the “good guys” out there, even though he pisses you off sometimes πŸ˜‰

  • oh, my dear, I, too, can commiserate. While I have type-A tendancies anyway {you can say it “bossy”}, being the household boss is no joke.

    So many times I have said to my husband, “I want to wake up and be you.” No worries. No mountain of responsibility on my shoulders. Of course, we all know the supportive men/daddies in our lives have their own fair share of worry and responsibilities, but…..

    So, to all us overworked, overtired supermoms lets wear our capes well and keep the wine chilled and keep on keepin’ on.

    • I’ve totally used that one too: “I want to wake up and be you”… If only we could all switch roles for just a day or two, I think we’d have such a better sense of where one another is coming from! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • ahh this is a real struggle in our home too. My husband owns his own fledgling business. This means he is literally always working (or wanting to be sleeping or is actually sleeping). Consequently, I have the direct-deposit-paycheck job with retirement and health insurance. And i can never (well not anytime soon anyway) leave the job I have because we need those things to take care of our kiddo & ourselves. But because husband is always working, I also have to be the boss of the house and the boss of the kiddo and fill the role of both the primary breadwinner and the stay-at-home mom (meaning i do every load of laundry, pack every lunch, pick up every toy, make every dinner, you get where this is going). … it is HARD. really hard. but when i get super annoyed at the sleeping beauty who is still in bed at 10am, you know what i think about? YOU. really, i do. you wrote a post a while back about just learing to be ok with being the one who has to carry the lion’s share of the parenting responsibilities and how you manage frustration or anger with your partner. and i think about that and i reflect on the fact that i want the life i have. I enjoy going to work, i adore my child, i don’t want any other husband, and in general, i can’t complain about the big stuff, so i have to let the little stuff go. That, and once in a while I cash in some ‘credit’ and sleep in until 10am myself (or sneak off for a facial & pedicure afternoon). and i try hard to always remember the good far out numbers the bad, and there is always more coffee to get you through the day.

        • Ha! It’s funny to hear myself be referred to as a hero, LOL. Sometimes it’s hard to take your own advice, but I think that’s exactly what I need to do. In any case, we’ve moved on. It’s all about communication and validation. I needed Willy to hear where I was coming from and I needed validation that sometimes my role as the primary caretaker is difficult and overwhelming.

          When there is no solution to the fact the role of mom and caretaker and bread winner (in your case) is difficult, you just gotta embrace it. Thanks for reminding me of my own words πŸ™‚ And thanks for sharing your thoughts, it means a lot.

  • I voted because I love coming here everyday… it’s like opening a good book. A funny, happy, inspiring, pretty cool book.

    ps – your number 11 now – woohoo!!!!

  • The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Old saying. Still true. Get used to it, mom. Carry on gracefully and don’t become a bitch and all will be well. We aren’t kings, we are moms. Vickie

  • I’m an old guy with two beautiful daughters – I have always had my own business, which according to my wife, required me to put in 12 hour days and another 2 hours of work when I got home. I probably didn’t help out that much around the house or with the kids. I was old school – dad worked, mom stayed home with the kids and managed the house. Things changed though when my wife decided to go back to work part-time,damn her! Now she was also a bread winnerer! Being the responsible person that I am, I figured that if she was working, I guess, I would have to pick up some of her duties! I cut my hours down at work so I could be at home more. I now had to change diapers-yuk-, get the kids ready for school, take them to after school functions,etc.etc.etc. I remembered thinking many times during the day, I can’t wait to get back to work so I could ” relax” a little. With that being said, I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. If a couple can pull it off, I think it’s a great idea for a couple to experience what their spouse has to go thru during a day. In today’s world where it is almost mandatory to have a 2 income family, it is very difficult to remain sain with your spouse. It takes a lot of commuincation,compassion, and understanding between the two of you. My words of wisdom -if anybody cares- would be to make sure you take some time during each day to thank your spouse for what they do – it’s hard being a parent but remember that you both chose to have kids and that brings responsibilities with it. Take time to smell the roses eventhough the smell may smell like shit.

    • Wow, I had no idea old guys read my blog πŸ˜‰ Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Your beautiful daughters sure are lucky to call you dad… sounds like you made a lot of sacrifices for them. I agree, having kids is hard work. I just took the time to thank Willy for all he does, per your advice. I’ll keep doing that. It feels good. And I truly mean it. He does do a lot. We both do.

  • Honestly never been a blog reader – I guess I did not know what I was missing. Came across you after you featured a vintage piece from our etsy shop and then featured us πŸ™‚ Thanks! Anyways, just wanted to say wow – when I read this post I felt like you were reading my mind and reading everyone elses comments I felt less alone in the good times and the tough times – thanks! About to have third boy in about a month and I am riding the emotional roller coaster of balancing full time work, motherhood, etc and wondering how will I add another one πŸ˜‰ Thank you to you all – because I needed this today!

    • This comment made my day. Lisa mentioned that you were pregnant with your third… congrats πŸ™‚ I wish you a comfortable rest o’ pregnancy and a seamless transition to mothering three! xo

  • I really REALLY REALLY relate to this post, and I do appreciate it when bloggers get REAL. My girlfriend and i were just talking about the perfection portrayed by blogs, and how that seems to exacerbate our own insanity.
    I am pushing 37-38weeks pregnant (i say it that way bc my midwives decided to change my DD last minute, for funsies), my family just moved from Florida to Oakland, CA, I stepped down from working fulltime to stay home with our 3yo daughter (a welcome choice), and my husband went from freelance designer/musician to FT web designer at an ad agency. Whew. I feel every day the pressure to manage every aspect of our lives, of the baby’s birth and subsequent care, our daughter’s life and routine (and discipline), cleaning, etc. I’m so exhausted, and it never seems to be enough.
    A book i’m currently reading which is both incredible, and a little bit depressively realistic, is Naked Motherhood by Wendy LeBlanc. It really sheds light on all the shit piled onto mothers, and how poorly society treats us. I know I’m struggling, and my relationship is strained. But like another commenter said, I love my life, I want to revel in my children’s young lives, and there is no other man I want. So I guess I can accept that this is a difficult season to navigate and try to hold on.

    • I agree… sometimes I read blogs where the mom has like a gazillion kids and still looks stunning and the kids appear dressed and fed and everything is perfect and it makes me insane too. I get it though… Everyone likes for their blog to be a positive place… No one wants to go online to read about someone elses problems… but being truthful isn’t synonymous with being negative, per say. It is what it is. Being a mother is hard work. And it seems no matter how different you think your relationship is from others, when you have kids, your roles fall into very traditional standards almost by default. It’s a tough adjustment.

      You have a ton going on. I know the feeling well of never being able to get ahead. Sometimes I think I just need an entire week off of being a mom so I can get caught up on things. I have a feeling it still wouldn’t be enough time. I try to remind myself that it’s all temporary. I’ll bet you’re having some pre-birth anxiety too… I tend to get myself all worked up before a major change so that when the change happens, it pales in comparison to however hard I thought it would be. You’ll do great mama and you’ll find ways to feel more organized.

      Best of luck. I’ll be thinking of you πŸ˜‰

  • I struggle with being the “boss” too, sometimes. However, I also realize that it’s a personality thing for me. “Planning” is in my blood (even my business card has “planner” in it!), but there are definitely days I wish I could leave that part of me at work, come home and have someone else figure out what’s for dinner, to fill out the picture day form, to pick up new crocs for Kale’s “indoor shoes” and to say, “oh hey, I was at the mall and picked up this new shirt for you.” But as much as I THINK that would be nice, I know I’d have a hard time not double checking that the form was filled out and the shoes were the right size, etc, etc.

    I also think there is a reason that I fell in love with a “non-planner.” Because I often need a reminder to slow down, relax, and put the list down. Don’t get me wrong – there are definitely days I curse Kris for “floating through life” (an actual thing I say to him at least once a month).

    But I get where you’re coming from. Being a mom puts a whole new layer of ‘being the boss’ on an already bossy life and sometimes that can be really frustrating.

    • I couldn’t agree more. And I totally get the falling in love with a floating through life kinda man… That’s why at the end of the day it’s best to embrace our roles as they are because there really isn’t anything I would change. Nonetheless, it’s okay to loathe our roles from time to time too. ‘Tis being human, I suppose. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚


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