Thursday, November 3, 2016

Invisibility is Not a Superpower



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.

12 comments:

  1. I am not a mom so I can't relate to invisibility like that, but I have been invisible as a woman, and that pretty much sucks, as well.
    Carol
    http://carolcassara.com/what-price-love/

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    1. I definitely don't think that Mom's are the only ones who feel invisible, Carol. It certainly does suck.

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  2. I think all mothers feel that way Mandi however, once the children have grown we seem to finally discover who we are and that we do have a voice. It takes many women until midlife or when they become empty nesters to rediscover themselves. http://www.sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au/midlife-motivation-10-quotes-to-inspire-your-day/

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    1. That is a lovely thing for me to look forward to, Sue.

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  3. I remember the exact moment that I felt like you when I looked at my son and said, "I am your mother. Not your servant!" Now that I have an empty nest I have rediscovered my voice and you will too. You seem to have found it even with a full house by writing your blog. I see you and hear you Amanda!

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  4. It's so easy to get caught up in the daily tasks and point to you to-do list as your accomplishments. But a list of chores is not an accomplishment. Raising a compassionate, caring and helpful child is. But if you're asking your children for help and not getting it, then maybe it's lesson time for your children.

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    1. Very good point, Jennifer. Thank you!

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  5. Ugh. Yes. Yes yes yes. This resonates with me hard. I'm an introvert as well, but man, do I wish to be seen sometimes. Heh though I will say this probably lent itself well to my becoming an online entrepreneur and a FB live fanatic ;-)

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    1. Yes! Thank goodness for the internet :)

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  6. This is so true - I can really relate to it. & I am a fellow introvert who always quite liked the idea of invisibility too!

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