Daycare messaged, Aniston needs diapers again. Spring is officially here, the kids need new clothes. What size are they again? It’s so nice out, we should grill. But wait, I didn’t get anything to grill at the store last weekend. I’ve literally had to pee for the last 45 minutes but I have to finish this paperwork for later today. Brigham will be 4 soon, I need to call and schedule his well-child visit. This house is disgusting; the dishwasher needs to be unloaded. Did I even say hi to my husband when he walked in the door?
You get it. At any given moment, at least 10 tabs are open in your brain. Moms are the Project Managers of the family.
Mental load can be defined as the invisible tasks we all do to manage our lives (and others, ie. kids).
Mental load itself isn’t necessarily well-studied. Research does show that women are primarily responsible for household duties and organizing family schedules in order to provide seamless days and nights. Studies have shown that 60% of moms are thinking about their children and/or husbands while at work and 90% of women believe they are responsible for household tasks.
The Effects of a Too-Heavy Mental Load
What happens when you put too much laundry in your washer? Nothing gets fully clean or your washer stops working altogether.
What happens when you have a busy day at work after being up all night with a sick kid? You’re exhausted.
Similarly, the mental load can get too heavy. With a heavy mental load, comes a higher level of stress. The more stress we are under, the less happy we are with life. The less happy we are, the more anxious we become. A heavy mental load is not sustainable and burnout is inevitable.
How to Lighten the Load
What needs to be done immediately? What’s on a deadline? Is it okay if the dishes sit one more night in the dishwasher?
Divide and Conquer
Have a conversation with your partner or those in your circle/village. What can be delegated to allow for space in your world?
Ultimately what allows you to feel relaxed? Is it an hour at the gym? Day date with your girlfriends? Nail salon manicure? Laying in bed binge-watching Netflix?
It’s always important to remember that everyone is a work in progress. In case no one has told you today, you’re doing great.
I know you’re strong, mama, but you don’t need to carry the weight of your world on your shoulders.