Confessions of a Train Wreck Mom: Leisure Time and Criticism

Lord, help me. I just got done watching an episode of Dr. Phil. Don’t judge me. It’s an addiction I’m OK having. It’s not like I’m doing meth or selling pregnancy tests online. OK?
Anyway. Dr. Phil had some rocket surgeon on as a guest. This high IQ having individual did a study and concluded that moms – stay at home moms in particular – have between thirty to forty hours of leisure time a week.

Go ahead and laugh. I did.
What made it even funnier was his definition of leisure time. Did your car break down and now you have to wait for a tow truck? That’s leisure time. Are you answering emails in the middle of the night? Leisure time. Visiting your sick mother in law and helping clean her house? Leisure time. Basically, if you’re not getting paid, or taking care of your house or children then it’s leisure time.
I honestly couldn’t figure out if I should laugh or cry or punch something. Wait. That’s exercise. Must have some leisure time there.
But, wait. There’s more.
As guests, Dr. Phil had on a young couple. Why? The husband felt his wife was lazy and not working hard enough at keeping the house clean. He felt she could do more like dust the picture frames and clean out the closet. All while taking care of their two children under the age of two. Dr. Phil asked him why he doesn’t clean if he thinks the house is so dirty. It’s woman’s work. Women are programmed to cook, clean, and take care of the children. It’s in our genetic make up.
Are you kidding me? Let’s add to this. He even went on to say he proves his point every weekend by cleaning it to his satisfaction. You know, with his wife there to watch the kids.
So, what is the husband’s solution to motivate his wife to clean to his approval? He mocks her. Berates her. Teases and taunts her. He criticizes her to the point she locks herself in the bathroom and cries. Because, that’s what marriage and relationships should be. That’s goals.
Yeah, no.

I was in a relationship like that. Nothing I did was good enough. He was the kind of guy that would unload the dishwasher right after I loaded it. I never folded the clothes right. I couldn’t even vacuum the right way. And he wasn’t gentle with his remarks and criticism. Initially, he only did this when people weren’t around. As time went on though, he would do it in front of his family or guests when they would visit.
He didn’t motivate me. I wasn’t inspired to do better. I tried to do it to his liking but always failed. What he managed to do was fill me with anxiety. It was so stressful knowing I was going to get yelled at either way. If I did it, it wasn’t good enough. If I didn’t do anything, I was lazy.

Now, don’t think I can’t take criticism. I write, I blog, I have a YouTube channel. I’m used to criticism. But the thing with criticism is this: if it makes the other person feel less than a person, you’re doing it wrong. I’m not saying sugar coat everything. You’re not Willie Wonka. But, think about how you would respond in that situation. Short version, don’t talk to people like they’re a dog on the street. Actually, I’ve heard people be nicer to the dog.

So, here’s my takeaway on this. Moms are busy. Being a stay at home mom is a full time job. If you work a full time job, you at least get to take a lunch break. Moms are on call 24/7. 365 days a year. Until the day they leave their bodies. Then we watch from whatever version of Heaven you believe in. The dishes may not always get washed. The laundry may need to be run in the dryer another time before it can be folded. And even then, it may sit on the couch for a week before it gets put away. At least the kids are taken care of. And the house is still standing.

And for a train wreck mom, that’s good enough.

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