Guest blog by Jami Ingledue
My husband and I thought we had this whole equal marriage thing figured out. We are a modern couple, after all. He is perfectly capable of cooking and cleaning. I know how to use a drill and do yard work. There were times I worked full time and he took care of the house, and there were times when he worked more and I picked up more of the load.
Equality. An egalitarian partnership. Occasionally we had to work some things out, but overall: no problem.
And then we had kids.
It’s impossible to describe just how much the workload increases when kids come along. But one of the most difficult things about the work of parenting is that so much of it is invisible.
So one parent—let’s be honest, usually the dad—can think they are doing the same amount of work as the other. But sometimes they can just be completely unaware of all of the many things that the other parent—usually the mom—is completely taking care of.
Often the most tiring aspect of this work is being the “Knower of All the Things.” So often the mom is the one who holds all of the behind-the-scenes knowledge about all of the many things involved in raising a kid. The one who plans, who notices, who anticipates, who researches, who worries. This is often referred to as “the mental load.”
“The mental load” is not just one job though: it is pervasive. It applies to nearly all aspects of raising kids and managing a household. EVERYTHING.
Why is it so often the mom who carries the mental load?
before the next Christmas
gifts for our own families. All of the Christmas gifts, plus extended family.
time with their cousins. Organizing playdates with friends, knowing who they are hanging out with, who they are having conflicts with, who is a good influence and who is not.
Managing the family calendar, anticipating schedules for each season, noticing conflicts: this takes up a huge amount of brain space.
Planning and shopping to a budget, but also noticing what staples are running low, knowing what everyone will actually eat at any given time, knowing when someone must be having a growth spurt because they are eating enough to feed a small army, balancing health concerns with treats and favorites.
this starts with you.
If you need help with managing your invisible load, then you’re in the right place.
Heather Pye empowers women to make positive changes by coaching on communication, mindset and organisational strategies.