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I Don't Want to Be Everything to Everyone

My goal for 2021 is to start being more like a dude.

It’s an unspoken understanding that females are the more loving, giving, and domestic gender, so things automatically defer to us at home, don’t they? We are also Olympic multi-taskers at work, while remembering when our kids’ dentist appointments are and to buy a gift for their teachers...all while making a grocery list in the margins of our notepad when we’re in a meeting.

We’re sort of wired to juggle it all, so we tend to do just that, at the cost of our sanity.

When men help around the house, I’ve heard women say, “Oh, I’m lucky because my husband helps around the house.” Is that lucky or exactly what marriage should look like? I have literally never heard a man say, “Oh, I’m lucky because my wife cooks and cares for our kids.” It’s just understood that, yes, duh, of course she does that. No extra credit or praise is dished out to us for things that seem to come “naturally” to our gender.

I’m one of the “lucky” ones who has a husband who divides household labor equally with me. I wouldn’t be married to someone who thinks it should all fall on me. The struggle comes when it just comes easily to me, so I take the ball and I run with it. And run. And run. And run, when I don’t really have to.

Yes, we’re rock stars who hold it all together, but what’s more impressive is when we can take a step back and breathe life into ourselves, so holding it all together isn’t so draining. We need time away from the juggling, but women generally struggle at having fun and letting loose like men seem to do so easily.

When I'm in constant giving mode, I get grumpy and resentful. No matter what social media might fool you into thinking, that’s pretty normal. Being a wife and mother does not fill me up so much that I can leave myself behind, the same way no man I know is entirely fulfilled by being a dad or husband. They need more, and women, we need more. Let’s start admitting it without feeling guilty about it.

Most men’s groups focus on outdoor adventure or reaching personal goals, but women’s groups almost always revolve around being a mother. There’s value in discussing motherhood with fellow moms to help encourage each other, but where’s the fun? Women create these groups, so we have no one to blame but ourselves. I’ve honestly never heard of a fathering group. Being a dad is not guys’ main topic of conversation when they hang out together, and I love that because we all deserve a break.

Men are generally better at allowing themselves to not feel guilty or worried when they step away. They have “man caves” and “guy time” that typically includes playing games and just shooting the breeze and hanging out.

I crave those same things, and I suspect most women do. I need laughter, connection and stupid, dorky memories and inside jokes with my friends. If I don’t have that, my life starts to lose its edge.

Maybe most men have it easier because we’ve allowed it. We’ve given them the gift of living life in the more peaceful lane at home, while we white-knuckle it and have a thousand to-do lists scratched on notes everywhere. Maybe the reason for a sometimes unbalanced division of household management is because women tend to stress out more and feel the need to pay more attention to details. Whatever the reason, I want some dude energy in my blood.

I want to carve out time to hang out with my friends to just let loose and be ourselves like men do. I don’t want to sit around a campfire chatting about our kids and online learning. Poo to all that. Crank up the music, pull out the corn hole, and crack me open a dark beer, and make me laugh so hard it comes out my nose, would ya?!

Why can’t we women do more of th