Why a Parent's Brain is Exactly Like a Crazy Coat Pocket
I have this bright orange winter coat that people constantly comment on. Today was no different. When I walked into work, my hands were in my pockets trying to keep warm. My coworkers enjoyed joking about this ridiculous coat. I quipped back, "you know what's ridiculous? How much crap I have in this pocket."
I then proceeded to pull out a handful of what I call parent garbage. The contents included a binky, a straw wrapper, a school visitors pass, a receipt from Costco, headphones and my 10 year old's silver capped molar that fell out during a basketball game last week. My 20-something childless coworkers all laughed when I displayed the contents, wondering how all of this had come to live in my pocket. If they only knew how much this pocket represents what parents do.
This pocket was like a metaphor for a parent’s brain. It is a perfect representation of the bigillion things I focus on as a parent. It shows the cause of mental and sometimes emotional fatigue that parent's experience just because they are parenting. It is because as a parent I shoulder the worry and concern for the social/emotional struggles of the kids as well as the day to day schedules. I am the one that is the keeper of the household schedules, the family know it all; juggling sports practices and games, doctors and dentist appointments, who needs a haircut, when the school projects are due, which parent or grandparent is picking kids up from babysitter/school.
While I don't view any of my "parent tasks" as a burden or garbage like in my pocket, I do know that they can take over mental space causing me to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes I need to take a moment, evaluate what is in my "parent pocket," see what I can condense, hand off or just get rid of all together. Then take a deep breath and forge ahead.