How I "Get So Much Done"
“How do you get so much done?”
I give answers like “well my house just stays filthy” and “I get my ideas in order while mothering then smash them out when I get time”, but really what I want to say is this:
- A lifetime of white, middle class, cis-gender, heterosexual, generally mentally well, neurotypical, sans-physical disability, local family, partnered, non-traumatic life experience-related privilege; and
- My partner parents.
If the first point sounds like you, and you have a partner and the second point stung, please don't tune out just yet.
My man is the one you see wearing the bright pink backpack while somehow making finding the correctly-sized pipe fittings at the hardware store interesting for a two year old.
He is the Dad that takes our kid for a “quick walk” and comes home two hours later having had all sorts of adventures.
He is the guy that snaps together cloth nappies while watching Friday night football.
Now that, my friends, is sex on legs to a mama who places a high value on both parenting and alone time (a.k.a. me).
It’s not some template or system or business plan, it’s commitment from me to my work and commitment from him to providing me with time to do it by actively parenting.
Sometimes mums see other mothers doing the bulk of the caring/housework/breadwinning, and pity them for “choosing the wrong man to have kids with”, or even chide them that “they should’ve seen it coming”.
News flash: You can’t choose who you love (or loved). You also can’t choose if you have a ovary-busting desire to have children with that person who you think/thought is/was so brilliant yet also infuriating based on whether they hold a value or parenting or not.
He (or she, or they) is not broken if he doesn’t place a high value on parenting – but you’re sure as hell gonna feel like he’s an asshole if he doesn’t pull his weight because no one else is there stepping up to the plate when you need it.
Mama, you’re also not broken if you don’t have a high value on parenting – but you’re sure as hell gonna be made to feel that you are because women are framed as innately nurturing, ever-self-sacrificing default caregivers under patriarchy and it’s inherent villagelessness.
In a western world of nuclear families living separately, living as a couple with kids where neither adult places a value on parenting is unlikely to be a harmonious, warm, soul-nourishing place for anyone to be.
If you’re reading this though, you are likely female-identifying. You’re likely a mother. You’re likely that you do place a value on parenting.
After thousands of years of social conditions where not having a directly high value on parenting isn’t a huge drama, suddenly it is, and when one parent isn’t that into it, we hit a place of dis-ease in partnerships and lop-sided parenting burnout.
We can talk about bringing back the village and all that, but first we need to address the conundrum driving women with kids up the wall in their own home – if man-made society sucks and my husband isn’t super involved, but he’s not an asshole either… what is he actually doing with all his time?
Firstly, don’t get me wrong, there is a chance he is just a lazy asshole.
Secondly, and far more likely, he probably thinks he is providing for you in other ways in accordance with his values, that you likely can’t see because they aren’t in line with yours.
Spending hours fixing said leaking plumbing when he gets home from work when you just want him to take the kids while you take a break? Probs wanting to create a safe environment for you and not pay excess on water bills or paying for a professional plumber that would take away from money you could use on something else.
Maybe he thinks (rightly or wrongly) he’s deservedly resting and recharging before doing the next task of providing for you.
You could insert any example here, but if whatever he’s doing isn’t parenting, you’re probably gonna feel really shitted by it.
This is where it takes conversation and renegotiation.
Bringing to light gendered social conventions around child-raising and breadwinning and housework that feel SO obvious to you, but he hasn't even considered could be done differently and definitely hasn’t had it modeled for him.
Figuring out what your own needs are to be able to ask for the things that will get them met (by him or anyone else) in the first place.
Willingness to try different splits and solutions meet each other’s needs, even if that means taking time out of the things we want to be doing to provide for the other.
So no, I don’t have a business system/template/calendar/productivity secret to getting my work done.
There’s no shortcuts I can share or magic “five steps to success” bullet to offer you.
There are still late nights and snippets of stolen time while my kid’s distracted.
For the most part though, it’s just my family, this guy with a pink backpack, and a whole lot of fire that others don’t have the same opportunities I do.
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