Sarah Buckley Friedberg needed 15 long bullet points and more than 1,000 words to sum up all of society’s requirements of a working mom because, well, it’a lot.
The Massachusetts mom of three posted the to-do list on Facebook after a long day and an “epic” tantrum from her 3-year-old, Buckley Friedberg, 35, told USA TODAY.
The post has since been shared more than 52,000 times.
“I originally wrote it just for myself and my friends,” explained Buckley Friedberg, a microbiology manager for a medical device company. She eventually made it public at a friend’s request. “It seemed to really be resonating with people.”
‘Be Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy’
Buckley Friedberg starts off by writing about going back to work while breastfeeding but still trying to still “break the glass ceiling and excel at your job.”
The list continues: Lose the baby weight, get eight hours of sleep a night, and maintain a “Pinterest worthy house.”
That’s not all: “Take the Christmas lights down. Recycle. Be Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the birthday planner, the poop doula (seriously when will this end), the finder of lost things, the moderator of fights. Be fun. Be firm. Read books. Have dance parties,” she writes.
Later she pokes fun at theme days at school and keeping up with how quickly kids grow out of their clothes.
Then there are the appointments – doctors appointments, IEP (individualized education plan) meetings, back to school nights.
Buckley Friedberg’s tone grows more sarcastic with each additional task: take a vacation (with what vacation time?), date your spouse, have a hobby, make sure you have friends. Oh, and don’t forget self-care – “SO important.”
Amongst all of this, she writes, “Enjoy your kids…because before you know it all of this will be in the past.”
Then in a final mic drop, “I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to lean OUT. Thanks for coming to my Ted talk.”
Her husband helps, but she carries the ‘mental load’
The more than 12,000 comments on the post were mostly supportive. Many chimed in saying things like “so true,” “amen” and “nailed it.”
Others wondered if she had any help at home: “Shout out to all mom’s that raise their children with full love and care because there are a lot that don’t. But my one question is where is your spouse while your (sic) doing everything?” wrote a Randall Ralston.
Buckley Friedberg assured Ralston that she does have a “wonderful” husband, a pediatrician and “does at least half of the work around here.”
“However at the end of the day, if one of the kids is sick, the school calls me,” she said. “Both of our email addresses are listed in the class directories, but my name always goes on birthday invites. It is the mental load and scheduling that sometimes falls more on my plate.”
Research proves it
In her book, “Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving,” Sociologist Caitlyn Collins revealed that U.S. mothers have it the worst compared to other Western industrialized nations when it comes to work-life balance because they lack cultural support.
Collins wants to disabuse moms of the notion that if they tried harder or found new parenting hacks, they can finally manage that type of stress.
“I want to tell mothers that this is not your fault,” Collins writes. “It is powerful how much women have internalized the idea that if they just tried harder, it wouldn’t be this way. And I say, ‘No, this is not on you. You deserve better.’ And that is brand new information for a lot of women to really hear that.”
Buckley Friedburg calls it “surreal” that her late-night rant is getting so much attention, but she is encouraged by the positive feedback and hopes more people will share the not-so-glamorous side of motherhood.
“We (moms) have to prioritize and sometimes that means not getting everything done perfectly, or at all. It can be tough to not always feel like you got everything done, and it is nice to feel like other people experience similar.”
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