My Husband Finally Sees the Ticker

We were both victims of patriarchal notions.

Maria Chapman

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Photo by Cut in A Moment on Unsplash

On a recent evening, I decided to make the ticker visual. Every woman who is a wife and mother (or has mild to severe anxiety) knows precisely what I mean when I say ticker. Most cis-hetero men are scratching their heads. That’s okay — Hubby did too.

The ticker is the running list of tasks required to keep the household and the kids in working order. Order paper towels, feed the dog, kid needs new shoes, kid outgrew summer clothes, pay the doctor, order groceries, plan a birthday party, call a plumber. . . the ticker shows up when your brain isn’t occupied with something challenging.

You’re cutting chicken — order dish soap.

You’re folding laundry- sign up for summer camp, the kid needs new shoes, the dog needs vaccines.

It’s worst when you lie down to sleep at night. Like a hamster snorted a line of coke before jumping on a very loud treadmill at a breakneck pace — in your head.

The ticker robs us of daydreaming; it robs us of strategic thinking power, it robs us of rest.

The ticker sucks.

The ticker is also necessary.

I used to think I had a fantastic partner because when I tossed him something from the ticker, he often caught it, sometimes completed it, and always said it wasn’t my job to manage everything.

Except that it was my job. The ticker was mine. He didn’t even see it.

I thought that was just how it was supposed to be. I grew up seeing women everywhere handle the ticker while their husbands came home after work and relaxed. I internalized that messaging. Hubby did too. We both fell victim to it.

Then, I started my own business while managing two different neuromuscular diseases. Suddenly I couldn't handle the ticker anymore. Nor did I want to. I needed to offload part of the ticker, know and trust that it was taken care of, and free up my brain power to do the money-making things that support our family.

I made the ticker visual by opening a spreadsheet and typing into it every time a ticker item launched itself into my brain over the course of an evening. Eighty-nine items…

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Maria Chapman

Maria Chapman is the CEO of Connected Ghostwriting, LLC. She writes about mental health, social justice, relationships, and business leadership.