The Top 10 Things to Make Life Easier for Black Married Mommas

In my own mind, my life is not easy. But I know fully that others would consider it a charmed one.

In the muck and grime and mundanity and daily minutiae of my existence, it’s easy to feel bogged down by bills, housework, limited free time, virtually no spousal alone time, work schedules, school demands, the five- and 10-year plans, and all the little pushes and pulls that are the goings-on in the lives of Black Married Mommas.

Then, of course, I read, witness or hear something very sobering that makes me feel like a spoiled child – some statistic, some figure, some memoir, some essay, some nugget of research that shines a light on how privileged I really am and makes those entitled whines simmer down a bit.

For example, according to the Center for Research on Globalization, the average Wal-Mart employee makes just $12,000 per year, with half of the company’s workforce estimated to qualify for food stamps. Moreover, while I bitch and moan about the hectic life of a working mother, the Center posits that 20 percent of employable Americans are actually jobless or under-employed.

So, yes, it could definitely be worse for me, and is worse for countless numbers of men, women and children who live in the shadows of American materialism and over-consumption.

But as I look at which aspects of my life are the most challenging and difficult to navigate, I’ve come up with a list of the Top 10 Things to Make Life Easier for Black Married Mommas.

1. Hire a cleaning company to scrub the house from ceiling to floor, window to crevice, even if the figure is in the hundreds of dollars.

I never catch up on all the cleaning that needs to be done at our house. Seeing disorder and dirt bothers me and does something negative to my mood and psyche. No matter how many loads of clothes I wash, no matter how many sinks full of dishes I clean, no matter how diligent I am about vaccuming each week, my house never really feels clean. My initial research shows that it could easily cost $800 for my house to be scrubbed fresh to levels approaching sterility. I am beginning to think it might be worth it; that way, I could be in maintenance mode, rather than playing catch up and never making any real progress.

2. Take a bath at least once a week.

Since we moved into our current home, I rarely take baths. Our bathroom has only a shower, and the bathroom with the bathtub has become the Little Ladies’ territory by default. It would do my mind and body a world of good to block out a period of time each week when that bathroom becomes Momma’s sanctuary. I’d use the bath salts I’ve bought but rarely used, hide away the kids’ bath toys, get a good book and pour a glass of wine. If I timed this as the kids were going to sleep, maybe my husband could be greeted at bedtime by a refreshed woman, rather than a weary and fatigued one.

3. Get a professional pedicure every once in a while.

I used to be very diligent about caring for every aspect of my physical self. I paid particular attention to my feet, giving myself full-fledged pedicures every two weeks. Well, as our elders might say, “Dem days is gone!” I spend more time attending to my daughters’ hair, their outfits, their skin (rubbing them down in lotions and shea butter) than myself. Getting a pedicure would put myself back on the priority list – make me feel like an agenda item, instead of a meeting minute that keeps getting pushed back. As a runner and as someone who’s pretty frugal, I could easily talk myself out of this. It would be hard to make this a consistent reality.

4. Dress up, even if there’s nowhere to go.

I have a vision – the supreme night out that I have yet to live. It looks something like this – my husband and I decked out with absolutely nowhere to go. We decide to hang out at a posh jazz club with a band performing the real deal, not that smooth jazz shit. We eat great food, even better dessert and I am summoned to the stage to perform a poem. I’m totally unprepared, but serendipitously, I have one memorized and perform it to perfection. Thereafter, we are joined at our table with men and women of all ages and races, and have the best conversations ever on social issues, race, news stories, politics, vacation spots and education.

I don’t see this happening,

However, one thing we can aspire to is get a babysitter more frequently and become more intentional about what we do . . . when we do. Dressing up breaks up the monotony of the expected and raises the magic of the evening into an event, rather than just a date.

5. Finish my “room of my own.”

Writer Virginia Woolf said that every woman needs a “room of her own.” A place to think, to debrief, to breathe, to be just be. I could not agree more. While conventional thought claims that the entire house somehow belongs to the woman and, therefore, men need “caves” and basements as their domestic playgrounds, I think it’s the women who get left out in having their own space at home. The kitchen is not my room, for obvious reasons. The kids’ rooms are their own. Everywhere else is a shared space, often overtaken by the children’s stuff or their very bodies, as they follow me all around the house. We have a room that has been designated as my space, but have yet to remove its clutter and re-fashion it into the sanctuary I hope it becomes. More than anything, I look forward to having a space to write with minimal distractions.

The remaining items on the Top 10 Things to Make Life Easier for Black Married Mommas will continue in an upcoming blog post. What's in your top 10?


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