Do you feel like you do the most of the planning, organising and delegating in your house?
Are you constantly thinking about:
- What needs to be done in the home
- How it needs to be done and
- Monitoring to make sure it gets done?
You may be carrying more than your fair share of the mental load.
The mental load is invisible, unpaid and often unappreciated.
So what? I hear you ask. Why does it matter?
1. It matters for ourselves
Managing a household, a family caring responsibilities and a career takes mental energy and can feel overwhelming, exhausting, draining and unrelenting.
No wonder women are reporting such high levels of anxiety, depression and burnout. It’s not just about equality, it’s a serious mental health concern too.
2. It matters for the strength of our relationships
Carrying the load and feeling unappreciated for it often results in feelings of resentment. Resentment can build up over the years and can damage relationships beyond repair.
Sometimes women feel that it would be easier to separate from their partners than continue managing the invisible load for the rest of their lives.
My clients are commonly considering divorce or have previously been through divorces because the weight of the mental load.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. You have the power to influence positive change in your relationship.
3. It matters for our children
Whether you realise it or not, you and your partner are role modelling and children are little copycats. (If you don’t believe me, just swear once in front of them and see what happens!)
You can talk about gender equality all you want but if you truly want your children to learn gender equality you need to show them with your actions.
In practice this means that if you want your kids to ask their Dad for a snack instead of walking right past him to ask you, then you’re going to need to do something differently.
4. It matters for society
If you are using your mental energy thinking about unpaid work then that is energy and time that you are not thinking about paid work.
It is easy to understand why women so often decide not to lean into work, or apply for promotions at work, when they are already managing too much at home.
Women have been managing the mental load in the home for a long time. The census data indicates that Australian women in a heterosexual relationship do more unpaid domestic work (on average 5 to 14 hours a week) than men (on average less than five hours a week). This trend hasn’t really changed for nearly 30 years.
If the current rate of change is maintained then MenCare, a group that promotes equal involvement in caregiving, estimates it will be 75 years before men and women take on equal amounts of domestic responsibilities.
I don’t know about you, but I know where I will be in 75 years!
So, let’s start now. Today.
It starts with each of us.
In our relationships, in our homes, in towns and cities across Australia and around the world.
We have the power to speed up the rate of change.
One conversation at a time.
Ask questions, challenge assumptions and create a new way in your home, and above all else – keep talking about it.
If you need help to prepare for those conversations, build your assertiveness skills, and create a plan to improve the way the invisible load is managed in your home, then please contact me.
Because, if not us, then who? And if not now, then when?