It's Time to Stop Pretending the 'Invisible Work' Moms Do Never Wears You Down

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Lucky Orange Pants/Facebook

There are two sides to parenting. There's the physical stuff, like buying grocercies, driving kids to and from school, and pacing around the house until the baby finally falls asleep. But it's the other side of parenting, the vital yet invisible tasks that take up so much of a mom's mental space, that often goes unappreciated.


Like many moms, Cameron Poynter of the blog Lucky Orange Pants is "the Keeper" of the family. In a Facebook post that's been shared over 42,000 times by parents who feel exactly the same way, she explains the exhaustion that comes with being the person who's charged with keeping track of, well, everything.

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lucky orange pants
Lucky Orange Pants/Facebook

"I am the keeper," she writes. "I am the keeper of schedules. Of practices, games, and lessons. Of projects, parties, and dinners. Of appointments and homework assignments." But if you're a keeper yourself, you know your duties extend far beyond school work. We're constantly concerned with making their childhood magical, too. "I am the keeper of rituals and memories," writes Poynter. "Of pumpkin patches and Easter egg hunts. I am the taker of pictures, the collector of special ornaments, and the writer of letters."

And let's not forget to add keeper of the peace to the pile of things we're responsible for. "I am the keeper of the peace. The mediator of fights, the arbiter of disputes, the facilitator of language, the handler of differing personalities."

first day of school photo

And while some of the time we're happy in our roles as keeper of all the things, "Most of the time, the weight of these things I keep resembles the upper elements on the periodic table -- lighter than air, buoying me with a sense of purpose," explains Poynter. We all have our moments when the emotional weight of being responsible for so much is just too much to bear. 

Poynter wonders that if part of the reason being a Keeper can get overwhelming is because unlike a meal our spouse and kids can praise or a job where we get a performance review, so much of the things we "keep" and the work that we do is invisible, which makes it easier to be taken for granted. "My husband and my boys are kind and generous and they love me hard. And this is by far the greatest job I have ever had," she writes. "But sometimes being the Keeper is exhausting. Because you feel like you're doing it alone."

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Being a parent is an amazing, wonderful privilege. But that doesn't mean we can't also admit that it's also really hard at times. We can love being the Keeper of all the things, and still have moments when the pressure of being responsible for it all feels like it's too much. But she tells us to remember that even when it feels otherwise, what we do matters in a major way.

"So to all of you who are keepers, I see you. I know the weight of the things you keep. I know the invisible work you do, which doesn't come with a paycheck or sick leave, is what makes the world go round," she writes. "I see you. And I salute you."

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