The Mental Load From Motherhood: Real Mom Talk | BabyGaga
Parenting is all about partnership, where . But is this always the case? Is your partner ACTUALLY meeting you halfway? Whether working or stay-at-home, most will tell you that some partners barely do their fair share or need to be reminded and directed to handle certain chores. This leaves mommies responsible for their 50% of parenting and and organization and planning everything else. Most moms globally can relate to this burden, which is known as the "mental load."
And while the modern dad is doing more at home than previous generations, moms still take on more childcare and household duties. Read on to learn more about how moms often take on invisible responsibilities, which are also disproportionately weighing them down.Via Pexels
In 2019, Motherly conducted their and discovered that most moms (61%) report taking care of most household duties and responsibilities themselves. 62% of moms reported having less than an hour of alone-time on the last day in which they weren't expected to take care of any sort of obligation.
Another survey by revealed how common it is for American moms in heterosexual relationships to shoulder more housework duties than men in their lives, with most of this work being invisible.
Whether it's , keeping track of school schedules and activities, booking the nanny, replenishing the toilet paper when it runs out, getting the meat out of the freezer, checking homework, laundry, etc. Small, behind-the-scenes tasks that barely get noticed when it's been handled, only when it hasn't. Now add the hurdle of virtual school coupled with inadequate resources for an external release, thanks to COVID-19 lockdown, and you've got the perfect recipe for a mom crisis. And it isn't just handling the tasks that become too much; it's constantly thinking and worrying about them, especially for working moms.
The of 2017 also revealed that 69% of working mothers admitted that their household chores created a mental load, while 52% of them felt burnt out from the load of it all. What's more, this mental load can cause various physical and mental health symptoms, and the link is often missed.
According to , here's how mom mental load creeps up to mom's health:
- - Handling personal matters, family issues, and work can be hard and stressful. Moms are getting overworked at work and home, and not being able to step away can cause mental health issues, with the commonly reported issues being depression and anxiety.
- Sleep Deprivation- While lack of sleep is common for new parents, it can go on long past the newborn phase, eventually affecting other parts of life. Most moms experience insomnia, which is usually fueled by mom guilt and the demands of being a mom exceeding her mental and physical capability.
- Memory Gaps- The excessive mental load can cause memory loss. Moms who experience constant fatigue that cannot be solved by sleep will have a hard time concentrating and experience poor memory.
- Headaches- Women get headaches three times more than men due to hormones and stress levels. This, plus insomnia, burnout, and anxiety linked to the mental load, can cause constant headaches.
- Substance Abuse- It's okay to have the occasional momma wine-down when you're relaxing. However, when the emotional burden and stresses linked to a heavy mental load led to excessive use of alcohol and drugs that it causes impairment, disconnect with loved ones, and being unable to handle your usual daily duties, then you may have a substance abuse problem.
Priscilla Broomall, a stay-at-home mom to two boys, tells her story, "I skip meals, miss workouts, and lose sleep. There's just so much to do, so I put myself last a lot. The kids consume your world, and I find myself moving on autopilot so much that I make not-so-healthy decisions for myself. I don't regret it, though. It just comes with being a mother."
Another mom narrates her story on , saying how overwhelming it is to be the CEO of her household. A position she never applied for. And even though her husband helps out, she's always doing small stuff to keep the home running.
She says, "But, even though he handles certain chores, there is always me, magically elfing behind the scenes—managing the stuff that makes his duties possible. I tell him what time to pick up the kids and who has what practice when. Without me, there wouldn't be dishwasher pods or garbage bags, and they're certainly wouldn't be toothpaste for brushing or new library books for bedtime stories."
A mom tells how hard it is to strike a balance between motherhood and work life, "You only have one life with many dimensions. There is no such thing as work-life balance. Work doesn't fit into neat, 50/50 buckets. It could get a bit messy…."
- Stocktaking- Identify everything that goes into making your household run. That way, your family is more aware of the actual distribution of labor, helping make informed choices about how to ease your burden and share it with both parents.
- Ask your partner- If you're feeling overwhelmed, ask your partner to help you. Let him make appointments, speak to the kids' teachers, help with grocery shopping, etc.
- Draw boundaries- Say no to things that do not align with your needs or that you can't handle. Also, know your limitations and refuse to force yourself into situations. It will help manage the load and give you some well-deserved alone time.
- Ask your village for support- can split responsibilities with other mom friends or reach their parents for help with scheduling.