Working Mom’s Viral ‘I Don’t’ List Becomes Rallying Cry for Every Stretched-Too-Thin Mama

Working moms know burnout and the pressure to be perfect like the back of our not-so-freshly-manicured hands. But with so much on our plates and so many unrealistic expectations, do we ever stop to think about the things we don’t do? Working mom Holly Wainwright thinks we should—and rightfully wrote about all the things she doesn’t do, for herself and for all the moms who need to hear what other moms aren’t doing.

The Australian mom’s MamaMia article starts by asking if the reader is doing enough. In your sex life? In your career? In your kids’ lives? In your marriage?

“Are you squeezing the most out of every minute of your day? Chasing your dreams? Being true to yourself? Refusing to take no for an answer?” she asks.

Though we all want to say we are, let’s be realistic. There’s no possible way we’re giving 100 percent to all of these at the same time. We’re just not.

“I didn’t think so. I told you, you’re not doing enough,” the head of content writes. “How could you possibly be? You’re a woman, living in an age of extreme expectation. Superwoman Syndrome has shaken off its shoulder pads, pulled on its activewear leggings and buddied up with Hustle Culture to provide you a continual feed of All The Ways You Could Be Better. If you’re a woman with a child, then throw in a dose of Peak Parenting, and the bar for a successful life is now so high the Hubble telescope would squint.”

So true, Mama. The author explains that our social media culture—“go get ‘em memes,” ads for productivity apps, and successful-women stories served to us through the various algorithms—causes us to compare ourselves to the über-successful women around us.

This mom-of-two experienced extreme burnout herself and realized it was she who was participating in the unhealthy glamorization of our lives through social media.

“I realized that I’m part of The Problem. My life, from the outside, looks like I ‘do it all.’ And from the inside, of course, it feels like I barely do anything. The nature of many women is that we can only see our shortcomings and never our strengths.”

She goes on to say that it’s OK that we don’t do everything, and that we don’t realize all the things other moms aren’t doing because we only see the versions of their lives that they want us to see. The perfect, Supermom versions. Hence her “I Don’t” list.

Every single mom, ahem, person, has a number of things they simply don’t do. Whether it be cleaning the dog bed, exercising every day, decorating for the holidays or entertaining, no one does it all. A few examples on this Aussie mama’s list: “I don’t make birthday cakes.”

“I don’t iron.” (Come on, who irons?).

“I don’t cut the sandwiches into heart shapes.”

Though there are countless things we do for our kids, our spouses and our managers, publicly admitting what we don’t tackle is a reminder to everyone that no one does it all. And it’s OK, nay, necessary, to skip some tasks.

We’re drafting our “I Don’t” lists right now.

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