Have you heard much about ‘mental load’? I’ve been reading a lot about it at the moment, because I feel that I am becoming overwhelmed by it all. I love being organised and making lists – but I feel like I carry way more of the ‘mental load’ then my partner does.
You know the scene — you’re making dinner, scheduling immunisations and developmental check ups, keeping children amused, wondering if it’s bin night and answering work emails — at the same time.
All the while, you are being peppered with questions by your nearest and dearest “where are my shoes?”, “do we have any cheese?”, “what time is swimming lessons tomorrow”, “what are we doing next Saturday night?”.
But even if you know this experience well, you may not have the language to describe it.
The mental load is all the mental work, the organising, list-making and planning, that you do to manage your life, and that of those dependent on you. Most of us carry some form of mental load, about our work, household responsibilities, financial obligations and personal life; but what makes up that burden and how it’s distributed within households is not always equal.
Recently, we have moved. On top of solo parenting, 5 days a week, I looked for new homes, applied for new homes, organised the removalists, packed up all of our stuff, organised the disconnection and re-connection of electricity, gas and internet, sorted out the money for the new bond and rent, unpacked all of our stuff, cleaned two houses, returned keys and organised the return of the first bond.
Now, I know that my husband is working – but I also have a part-time job and three children under the age of five to look after.
And it’s not just moving homes…
Let’s talk about birthday’s and Christmas… Now, don’t get me wrong, I love making my children’s birthdays and Christmases super special. But you can guarantee that my husband has no idea what is in the presents being unwrapped, or what we will be eating on that special day, or helped planned out the logistics of it all.
And life in general. I am the person who keeps on top of preschool requirements, swimming lessons, immunisation schedules, dentist appointments, hair cuts, bill payments, the last time the car was serviced, changing the sheets, washing the floors, cleaning in general, shopping lists, meal preparation, the brushing of teeth…I could go on.
All I know is that I can’t keep doing it all by myself. Something has to change.
Living in the same house might be a good place to begin?
Reading some of these blog posts and trying to put them into practice, might be another…
- Here are some tips on how to share the mental load with your partner.
- How my husband and I use productivity apps to share the “mental load”.
Are you swamped by the ‘mental load’ in your household? How do you share the mental load with your partner? Do you feel that there is more mental load on us then in previous generations?