Introvert crash

One of those weeks, y’know? When work is bonkers and on top of that, there is official socializing to be done because an important visitor is here. So last week was a whirlwind of crazy preparation, logistics, organizing, re-organizing as schedules got changed. And then hosting, hosting, hosting. Two nights of socializing back to back, plus the stress of uncertainty (the only certainty in life) of whether I would receive approval to travel to a work meeting (still waiting – I only started this process in January /sarcasm) which is quickly approaching and will require plane ticket booking that can only happen after approval is received.

Saturday, I crashed. I woke up so unhappy with my life and the world. There were tears. There was a little bit of curling into a fetal ball. I’m not gonna lie. I sat in the bottom of my tub for a long time just feeling the shower pelting me and breathing.

And my boyfriend was very concerned initially, and very supportive overall. He just wanted me to feel better. We were quiet. We played Diablo III. We did a late night run to the grocery store and picked up Buffalo Bleu chips (family sized bag) and watched a movie while we ate the entire bag.

And by Sunday, I had collected myself enough. My friend J came over and we wrote quietly, each on our own device, while sitting on the couch with a pot of good English tea between us (and eventually fresh veggies as well). I got a chapter edited and another four pages added to my novel. She got to a turning point in her story. Then we all went for dinner at a local restaurant because I didn’t really know what to make.

This week has been a bit rough to go back to work. The rest has laid a thin veneer on, but it’s tenuous. People are surprised that such a result could come from socializing because I’m a friendly, social person, but that’s the thing. I’m an introvert. I can be social, but it takes a lot of energy. Being a part of a social committee at work is important to me, because I’m a huge supporter of work-life balance and improving morale through positive actions. But after a party, I need a rest without socializing because I’ve drained my bank.

I have more intense socializing coming up, but I think I’ll be okay. I’ll just do my best. And breathe. Breathing helps…

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I probably just made a lot of my female friends angry

So, it started popping up in my Facebook feed maybe yesterday. And I finally clicked on it, just to see what this prank video was all about. A fake job interview for the most horrendous job in the world.

But much like the strangers kissing video, this too was an ad. For a greeting card company. In the lead up to Mother’s Day.

The video describes a slave like existence to 24 candidates, under the job title of Director of Operations. No pay, no breaks, no vacation, 24/7/365 work with the promise that statutory holidays will be busier than normal. Of course, all the candidates probably immediately expect they are being punked. I mean, who would work a *job* like that??

Then the guy reveals that the job is being a mother and everyone gets all weepy and say how awesome their mothers were too.

And yes, a lot of people’s mothers are and were awesome. Mine is awesome and she put a hell of a lot of effort into raising us to be well adjusted and fully functional human beings.

But there were associated links below the video that really intrigued me and I liked them way better. They explained why that ad (which, let’s be fair, did exactly what marketing is supposed to do – it put out an exaggerated or oversimplified statement to elicit an emotional response to drive sales) was insulting to women, and to families.

The articles are here and here.

I think one of the most important points made in these articles is that motherhood isn’t a job, it’s a relationship. Kind if like being a daughter isn’t a job. Do you consider getting married the equivalent of being hired to be a wife? Then why would you reduce an important relationship to the status of a job?

I’m not saying that being a parent isn’t difficult and doesn’t take a lot of time and effort and sacrifice and energy. What they said in the video is true – parenting is tough. But notice that I use the word “parent”, because there’s an additional relationship there (if you’re lucky). That with your partner, who is also a parent and also tired, struggling and trying to do his or her best. In the heteronormative sense, there is a father who is also working at raising children. Alongside the mother.

Also, I find it extremely insulting to the men in the relationships to say that it is all on the mother, all the time. That is not true unless you have a martyr complex and/or an unhealthy relationship with your partner. You are one of two adults, and you should be working on this together. Just as you both have different opinions on movies or chip flavours, you also have different opinions on parenting styles. Which doesn’t mean that yours are right and his are wrong (or vice versa). Communicate effectively and you should feel less like a drudge and slave and more like a woman who is handling several important relationships at once.

And yes, I recognize that I am being very opinionated for someone not in that relationship. But I may end up in that relationship at some point (i.e. being a mother) and I hope not to consider it to be one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had.

I hope to consider it one of the greatest relationships I’ve ever had.