I remember the days before motherhood when I believed that invisibility would be the superpower that I would choose if I were given the option to choose any superpower at all. As an introvert who is often exhausted by large groups of people, the idea of disappearing at will has always appealed to me. In fact, I often joke that having Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak at large parties would be a godsend as my personality tends to send me into a lone corner avoiding conversation at all cost.
Motherhood has been a great joy for me and I am so grateful for my three wonderful children and all that they have taught me. However, my time as a wife and mother has also been a study in invisibility. I have lost myself inside the busyness and the role of motherhood.
My children and my husband love me- I know this to be true. But, so much of my daily actions are unnoticed. I wake early to clean, make breakfast and help the kids get ready for school, go to work for the day and come home to run kids to activities, clean, make dinner, run errands and the myriad of other duties for the day. It is never-ending and exhausting. I don’t believe that my husband or children have any idea just how much I do for them and for the household—and I imagine that I have some responsibility for that fact, as well.
I have gratefully given up so much of myself for my family and wouldn’t change that for anything. I love my children and would do anything to help them to be healthy and happy. However, it would be nice to just be seen—to truly be seen for who I am as a person and not simply for the contributions and sacrifices that I make for this family.
There are times that I will speak (ahem, holler) to my family to help me with something—cleaning, cooking, etc. Many times no one will answer me. In fact, some days it seemed that most everything that I have said within the walls of my own home fall on deaf ears, whether it be a request for help, an opinion or an ‘I love you’. I have begun to wonder if I am, indeed, invisible.
In fact, this invisibility seems pervasive and happens outside of the home, as well. As a mother, I think the world tends to marginalize me as simple and void of important opinion. In a college course that I once took, the teacher asked us all to say what the most important thing we had ever done was. I immediately answered that being a loving mother would be the most important job of my life. My reply was greeted with laughter from around the room. The room, full of mostly single men, seemed to find my response hilarious—disbelieving that this would be a job of pride for me.
And so, living inside of this invisibility for the fifteen years that I have been a mother has made me realize that invisibility-- the idea of which has fascinated me for years-- is not the superpower that I imagined it to be. It is painful and lonely. There are days when I wonder if anyone would notice if I was missing from the world or if only the pile of unwashed dishes and the empty cupboards would be noticed.
I no longer know who I am without a litany of daily tasks before me. I am lost somewhere underneath the never-ending to-do list, the invisibility of a strong-willed and opinionated woman lost underneath an anonymous life of repetitive motions, unseen by the words at-large.
I am in here, underneath this cloak of namelessness. I am crying out to be seen. I renounce the “superpower” of invisibility and instead choose the power of voice. I am ready to be heard.