I will be signing my name first on our holiday cards this year. They will read as follows: “Sending love and light this holiday season. From, MY NAME, your name, our first child’s name, our second child’s name, our dog’s name.”
This order of names is not up for discussion because you have invested zero emotional labor into the production of said holiday cards.
And, no, taking a stroll on the beach with your family one Saturday morning while a photographer snaps a few photos is not emotional labor.
Emotional labor is setting a reminder on your phone that promptly buzzes on July 5th and reminds you to book said photographer for that exact perfect Saturday in September when the light is perfect but the air not too cold.
Emotional labor is color coordinating the family’s outfits so we look like we’re effortlessly not trying but obviously we are trying because I ordered the dog’s bow tie off of Etsy three months ago because it was being shipped from Bangladesh and you never know how long it’s going to take for things to ship from Bangladesh.
Emotional labor is teaching oneself the art of calligraphy by watching videos on Youtube till three in the morning because that’s the only time there is not a child on your boob, but instead of sleeping you tell yourself this is your “hobby” and your “me” time and it is normal to not sleep but teach oneself calligraphy in the hopes you can address the holiday cards in artful manner.
Emotional labor is then addressing the cards in an artful manner and going to three different post offices to find the perfect holiday stamp that expresses the same sentiment as your hard earned calligraphy.
Emotional labor is calling your mother-in-law and engaging in a thirty-minute conversation that centers around the amount you are drinking around the kids when all you really needed was her sister’s Newport Beach address because you remember that your mother-in-law’s sister spends Decembers in Newport.
Emotional labor is promptly opening all the holiday cards that arrive at one’s house and dutifully pinning them to the refrigerator because you know the emotional labor that was invested in getting that single card to your doorstep, the least you can do is plunk it under a magnet on your fridge.
We used to write law dissertations. Now we sign our names second on holiday cards.
But not anymore for this wee little household!
And I beg the ghost of Emily Post to come haunt me. You, husband, might be the “head of the household” but I’m the goddamn heart that never takes a second off, because if I did the body that is our family in this metaphorical motif I’m creating WOULD DIE.
Yours with love,