For hours, you’ve been lying down on your bed, with your eyes closed and wanting to get a good night’s sleep. Then suddenly, everything that needs to be done comes rushing to your mind; the laundry work, the unwashed dishes, the meal plan for the week, playtime with the kids, the pile of toy mess made by the kids, dentist appointments, not forgetting to remind your husband to pay the bills, and so much more.
Being a wife and mother, you may feel overwhelmed and even unprepared for all these tasks at hand. You thought being married and having a child would be a breezy walk in a wonderful park. Nope!
Breaking news: physical chores such as cleaning, cooking, or any tiring type of work cause mental stress. A mother’s well-being is affected by a high mental load. They are no longer happy in their current relationships.
9 out of 10 married women feel that they are solely responsible for household management. The burden of managing the home causes women to feel overpowering anxiety. In this article, we will tackle the burden of the mental load of motherhood and how to cope with it.
Defining Mental Load
Simply, the mental load is the invisible task or labor that is related to family management. The mental work of managing the home doesn’t only revolve around the physical work that has to be done but all the more making sure that the job gets done.
In a household of two persons who both manage to share the obligations, one partner often does the bulk of the work, especially the thinking part. This is usually because one of the partners is contributing more to the relationship than the other.
According to a study, the mental load of motherhood can foresee the household’s needs and its members. It also means being able to make decisions on how to accomplish the tasks and check the progress.
Behind The Scenes: What It’s Like To Be A Full-Time Mom
When you first become a parent, you often hear people say: “You are the best mom for your baby.” This is very true. No one can take care of your child, and even your husband like you do.
However, due to the great demands of motherhood, you can’t help yourself from visiting Mr. Google and researching about everything you feel you need to know right away.
There are so many dos and don’ts. There is so much unsolicited advice from friends and family. How can you manage and put a balance into all of these?
Expectations of Motherhood
In a husband and wife relationship, moms have been defined solely to be home managers. They felt they had no other choice other than that of childcare and caring for their partners. Husbands were tasked to be the breadwinners and are not demanded to help with house chores.
Women’s work was considered flexible, while men’s labor was deemed to be strict. Thus, women have more time to handle their offspring. Taking care of cute little kids and watching them play is wonderful, but doing that day in and day out can eventually be exhausting.
Women are highly recognized as persons who can wear multiple hats at the same time. They can be washing the dishes while simultaneously thinking about the decorations that they need to get done for their child’s birthday party.
They could be cooking dinner while supervising and teaching the school kids their school work. This is why many moms are physically tired. This is just the tip of the iceberg. A shift has already begun, and women are no longer confined in this work description.
Working Moms Vs. Stay at Home Moms
Which is better, staying at home and taking care of the kids or being able to go out and work outside of your home? Economic conditions now push parents, both moms, and dads, to create work and home adjustments to make ends meet.
Studies have indicated that moms are happier and more productive in the home environment when they are given the opportunity to work outside the home during their little one’s infancy or toddlerhood compared to stay-at-home moms.
Being at home and taking care of their offspring, and organizing the home can both be productive and tiring for a mother. The majority of full-time homemakers experience the pressure of motherhood. They lack sleep and time for themselves.
Are children better off having a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, or a single working mom? Who are we to judge? Whatever your situation or circumstance, maybe, you are doing a great job! Being able to manage your loved ones and home is no easy feat.
Effects of Mental Load in a Mother’s Health
There are 3 out of 5 working mothers who say that they still think of their offspring, husband, and housework while doing their day jobs. This comprises 69% of the women to say that thinking of household responsibilities are creating mental load for them. Burdened by mental load, women are at high risk of acquiring various health problems.
Postnatal depletion or physical depletion is common for moms after giving birth. This is both a physical and mental weakening mainly caused by giving birth and breastfeeding. This can recur over the years due to the stress and strain that comes with motherhood.
Before giving birth, you have a very sharp memory. You can remember everything that has to be done without the aid of your organizer or your phone’s alarm clock. Right after birth, you seem to forget some of the things you need to do. You are grateful for your phone’s alarm system.
Before giving birth, you might only have ten items on your list per day. Now that you are a mom and partner, you have 20-30 items that you need to check out on your list daily. Don’t sweat it, mommy. There are just some things that are out of your control.
Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Due to the overwhelming workload, psychiatric disorders are common in women. Moms caring for their offspring of varying ages are at high risk for suffering depression. They have to meet and provide the needs of each of their children who are developing differently from each other.
Women experience more headaches than men because of hormones, stress, and lack of sleep.
Unburden Yourself from Mental Load: Coping Tips
Moms can never do away with the mental load. We have to applaud mothers for doing a good job considering the bulk of the work and the mental load they face every day. You can’t just make a mommy quit in a flick of a wand. It is so hard for them to turn off the mommy switch. They would constantly think about their husband, offspring, and home.
Here are some tips on how to ease yourself from mental load:
Delegation of Tasks
Communication is the key in every relationship. Have a conversation with your partner that this is both your family and life and everyone should try to contribute to doing house chores the best they can. You can assign house tasks to your husband. Get your kids involved in age-appropriate chores. Make an organized system of delegating chores—for example, laundry for you, dishes for your son, your daughter to take care of the dog, grocery shopping for your husband, etc.
You can create a meal plan as a team. This way, everyone will enjoy every mealtime together. You can also make a monthly calendar to know what each family member is doing or expecting. Each member can then remind each other of the activities and events. Doing this can lessen the mental work as a mother, and work can get done.
Time for Self-Care
Mothers are recognized as superwomen. But, all superheroes have weaknesses, and you are no exemption. You are taking care of everyone, but who is taking care of you? Spare yourself a few minutes every single day in your schedule for some “me time.”
You can wake up earlier than everybody. Grab a hot coffee and have a warm shower because you don’t get to experience that when the kids are awake. Set regular appointments with your doctor for check-ups. Never compromise your health and well-being. Who will take care of your family when you are sick? Think about it. You deserve to take care of yourself.
Divide the Work Load between Partners
You may feel embarrassed to ask for help from your partner. You would appreciate it if he acts on it without you asking him. Parenting is a two-way street. Explain to him why working together is better and beneficial for the whole family.
Share this article with your partner. Sit down for a hearty conversation. Being able to spend time with your partner will lessen the emotional labor that you are feeling. Also, don’t forget date nights. Even if you both are busy, always prioritize date nights. It is a time to bond and talk about everyday struggles and life events. A happy couple will create a happy home for the children.
Work in the Home Is Never Done
You are not a terrible mom. You don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. The noise around you can be suffocating. You don’t know which one is helpful or trustworthy. Remember, work in the home is and will never be completely done.
There will always be improvements and adjustments. So keep your chin up and swim your way effortlessly. We know there is so much invisible labor at hand. The overwhelming feeling of motherhood should not hinder you from seeking help and support.
Do You Find This Article Helpful?
If yes, talk to us here at Kentucky Counseling Center (KCC). Our team of counselors will help you navigate your way into maintaining a blissful household life and assist you in making your marriage and home relationships better.