You’ve been lying on your bed for hours with your eyes closed, waiting to drift into a good night’s sleep. Then suddenly, everything that needs to be done comes rushing into your mind: the unwashed laundry and dishes, the meal plan for the week, playtime with the kids, the scattered toys left by the kids, dentist appointments, reminding your husband to pay the bills, and other tasks that need to be done.

As a wife and mother, you may feel overwhelmed and even unprepared for all these tasks. You thought being married and having a child would be a breezy walk in the park.

Physical chores such as cleaning, cooking, or any tiring type of work can cause mental stress. A mother’s well-being is affected by a high mental load. This causes them to be unhappy and discontented in their current relationships.

Nine 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. This article will tackle the mental load of motherhood and how to cope with it.

Defining Mental Load

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 must be done. The person must also ensure that the job gets done well.

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 partner contributes more to the relationship than the other. 

According to a study, the mental load of motherhood helps a mom 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 a woman first becomes a parent, she often hears people tell her that she is the best mom for her baby.” This is very true. No one can take care of your child, not even your husband, as you do.

However, due to the great demands of motherhood, you can’t help but google and research everything you feel you need to know right away.

Motherhood has so many dos and don’ts. There is so much unsolicited advice from friends and family. How can you manage and balance everything that your role entails?

Expectations of Motherhood

In a husband and wife relationship, moms have been defined solely as home managers. They feel they have no other choice other than childcare and caring for their partners. Husbands are tasked to be the breadwinners and are not demanded by society to help with house chores.

Women’s work is considered flexible, while men’s labor is seen as 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 do for their child’s birthday party.

They can cook 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 to this work description.

Working Moms vs. Stay-at-Home Moms

Which is better, staying at home and taking care of the kids or going out every day to work in the office? 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.

Managing the household and taking care of their offspring 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 may be, you are doing a great job. Being able to manage your loved ones and home is no easy feat.  

Effects of Mental Load on 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 who say that thinking of household responsibilities is creating a mental load for them. Burdened by mental load, women are at high risk of various health problems.

Memory Gap

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 now depend on your phone’s alarm system.

Before giving birth, you probably only had ten items on your list per day. Now that you are a mom and partner, you have 20–30 items that you need to tick on your list daily. Try not to sweat it. 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 for the needs of each of their children, who are at various stages of development. 

Women experience more headaches than men because of hormonal imbalance, stress, and lack of sleep.

Unburden Yourself from Mental Load: Coping Tips

Moms can never do away with their 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.

That said, it is very 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:

1. Delegation of Tasks

Communication is the key in every relationship. Have a conversation with your partner and discuss that this is both your family and life and that 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 can be assigned to you, your son can do the dishes, your daughter can take care of the dog, and your husband can do grocery shopping.

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 your mental work as a mother and help ensure that everything gets done.

2. Setting Aside 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 some time every single day in your schedule for your “me time.” 

You can wake up earlier than everybody. Grab some 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 if and when you are sick? Think about it. This is why you should to take care of yourself.

3. Division of Work Load Between Partners

You may feel embarrassed to ask for help from your partner. You would appreciate it if he acted 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.

Being able to spend time with your partner will lessen the emotional burden that you are carrying. Also, don’t forget date nights. Even if you both are busy, always prioritize date nights.

Date nights are opportunities for you and your partner to bond and talk about everyday struggles and life events. You will create a happy home for your children if you’re a happy couple.

If yes, talk to us here at Kentucky Counseling Center. Our team of counselors will help you navigate your way into creating and maintaining a harmonious and organized household and assist you in making your marriage and family relationships better.

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