One of the hot topics right now in the momnewsmedia (just made that up), is the concept of the “mental load.”
We stress, and sometimes we break over the mental load of momming, working, being a wife or partner (if that’s the case) and keeping up with…well, everything. The endless lists upon lists: what will the kids eat tonight, do they have clean shoes for tomorrow, when is that doctor’s appointment, is this weekend booked with something, is that rash just from the heat, etc. etc. etc. Even trying to get out of town without kids for a break adds a list on top of the list (I just did this: is there enough food for the caregivers? What will we do with the dog? Where are their health cards?)
And then it just happens… you can carry the weight and burdens and stresses of momming for only so long before something has to give. Usually, what breaks is our sanity, our sense of self, or our ability to enjoy all the little things that parenting does give us.
My mental load is a result of having two kids under 4, a marriage to manage, a house to run and a business to run—a business that feeds my family. I see the stress of the mental load on other moms faces too, no matter what life circumstance you are in.
So what do we do? We delegate, of course, as much as we can (if we’re not a control freak like me), or we push some things off. Some of us are already trying to practice mindfulness, and trying just to “be in the moment.” But it’s hard. And what do you do when it’s all too much? Many moms out there I’m sure can relate to just wanting to hide somewhere, let everyone get up to their own devices. There are lots of days when we just want to stay in bed, amiright?
But with the understanding that we carry a mental load, I think we need to help each other get to a place where it’s manageable. If you have an issue that someone can help solve easily, talk about it. If you can hand off something to your partner, a helper, anyone—just do it.
I think the concept of mental load is pretty timely as women continue to try to do and “have it all.” But the one thing I’ve endeavoured to practice is the art of not letting that weight be carried by my kids as well. For me, a good reminder to off some of the burden of the “mental load” is that if I’m overburdened, my kids are the ones who get less attention.
We have been talking a lot about self-care lately, so I’m asking – what role do you think the mental load plays in our happiness as mommas? I’m wondering if other moms are trying to relieve that heavy weight a little bit—how are you doing it?