What if I just stopped?
Stopped cleaning, homeschooling, playing, researching, remembering everyone's birthdays, doing all the gift shopping for every single occasion ever, planning our entire social life, reminding everyone to call their relatives, sharing pics of the kids for family to see, making shopping lists, making sure everyone's relationships are intact, making sure everyone feels seen and heard and loved all the time, decorating the house, making fun activities for the kids to do, making everyone's appointments, making sure everyone's clothes fit even though they grow every week, reading to the baby, handling the details of every family event, fostering everyone's changing passions, teaching my children to be emotionally intelligent, reading the books that tell us how to parent and be married without killing each other, making sure our kids learn the value of charity and giving, making sure we always have perfectly perfect family portraits, meeting everyone’s physical needs including those of my husband, making ridiculous Pinterest-y birthday cakes for every birthday, creating craft activities, dragging a resistant family out the door to do fun activities only to find they thoroughly enjoy themselves every time and still forget to thank you for thinking of it, freezing the apple slices and mashing the sweet potatoes for the baby, keeping in touch with friends and family on behalf of all of us so we don't lose important relationships, paying special attention to each child in the unique way they each need including taking the lead on identifying signs of our son’s anxiety and working through it with him, finding ways to save money, finding clever ways to preserve our children’s memories so they always have access to them even if Facebook goes away one day, knowing where everything is or magically being able to find it in under a minute, making the children’s Christmas lists for the rest of the family, knowing when the baby is going through a mental growth spurt and how to help him through it, worrying about stockpiling supplies for the winter of covid-19, getting everyone dressed three times each day, finding new potty reward charts because the others haven't worked, making sure we follow special family traditions, creating new family traditions of our own, turning the brown bananas into banana bread instead of throwing them out, busting my ass to make sure Christmas is magical and wondrous every single year, trying to gently but firmly coerce my husband into making appointments I can't make for him, trying to look at least somewhat youthful and appealing each day even though it's an uphill battle with three kids under 5 and nowhere to take them because there's a global pandemic, figuring out clever ways to make every occasion fun and memorable even though we can't do anything the "normal way" right now, staying up all night trying to get a blog started to make us some extra money so I feel like I actually contribute to this household which seems fucking insane considering this list of things I already do that are totally invisible and thankless but are still my job and seem really important to me but not to anyone else and yet if I didn't do them everyone's lives would be a mess but I don't make money so it doesn't count as real WORK!!!!!!!
I can't just stop.
Some days I really, really want to. Some days - most days - they don't see it or care that it gets done without them noticing. Some days I want to just stop doing it all so they can see how much I do but I know stopping isn't in my job description. So I keep going.
Maybe someday they'll notice. I think it'll be too late for them to thank me, but at least they'll have had a nice life, right? I do it because I love them more than I love myself. And that will never stop, so neither will I.