Invisible Labor- have you heard the term?
It isn't easy. For example, right now I am sitting cross legged on the floor in a corner of the vets waiting room. We chose this clinic on a recommendation from our last vet that moved away. But it's walk in only, which means today- I am as far as I can get from the other folks and I have been waiting for 45 minutes. I expect to be waiting for another 45.
While I sit here, I’m scrolling and texting and working on my phone. I have to be focused enough on my dogs to keep the baby border collie in line. He’s got some anxiety issues and a history and I want to be there to keep him calm, safe and create a different experience for him.
It occurs to me that as the mom, I am the one caretaking these two pups for an unknown number of minutes to ensure their health. We’ve had animals in our lives for 18 years- and I don’t think my husband has ever taken them to the vet. I do it. Much like I take the kids to all of their appointments. I also make those appointments.
He's not absent, or unavailable, but we've created a habit of me just handling everything. We’ve used excuses like, "he can't, he's at work”- but what do people do that don’t have a willing house wife? The privilege of a stay at home mom that sits in the waiting rooms working on her phone while taking care of the necessities that go along with caring for creatures and babies?
"Invisible Labor" has been making the rounds for a few years. We hear the term in podcasts, therapy, books and interviews. It’s also been called “emotional labor” but I think they are 2 related but different ideas. What is it? The best definition is:
“Shit someone does that goes unrecognized.” by writer Khe Hy
Sounds about right. As I work with my family to share that invisible labor, talking about it with other moms has been very helpful. I hope my sharing is helpful for you too.
Stay safe and mask up,