Motherhood is an exciting phase in a woman’s life. It is easy to delight in the first few kicks inside the womb. The first sweet smiles and coos also never fail to make a young mother happy. But, as the responsibility sets in, the reality of an invisible load also becomes a reality.
What is the Mental Load of Motherhood?
This phrase describes all the cognitive labor that a mother does to keep a household running. For example, it is not only about having a healthy child. Behind this feat are the lists of grocery, pediatric schedules, and piles of laundry, only to name a few. Even as a mother is doing one task, a hundred others are in her mind. Without the proper support, this mental load could become burdensome.
What Happens When The Mental Load Becomes Too Much?
Experiencing burnout from carrying this invisible load can lead to more health problems. Examples are sleep disorders, mental health issues, and episodes of headaches and nausea. When a mother ceases to function to her full capacity, the whole household would feel the effect.
How Can a Mother Cope?
Telehealth therapies could help a mother unload some of her burdens. She could talk with a professional therapist who could give her some techniques. Managing the pressing mental load of motherhood would be more bearable. But, aside from this, some strategies can make the life of a mother easier. Here are a few of them.
Treat Your Partner as Your Greatest Ally
Most mothers feel burdened with the mental load. When they do, they start to feel resentment towards their partners. This should not be the case. Remember that your greatest ally should be your partner. The best that you could do is to keep communication lines open.
More often than not, your partner is clueless about the weight that you carry in your mind. They are oblivious that there are a hundred things that need to get done. It is not only about ranting about your to-do list. Rather, it is about asking your partner to share the burden of these tasks. More than the chores, your partner should also show involvement in the planning stage.
Delegate and Outsource
If your household consists of older children, you may want to assign them some chores. In doing so, you do not only make your load lighter. You also teach your children responsibility and life skills. Make sure, though, that the tasks assigned to them are age-appropriate. You might also inject some fun while doing these chores so that it serves as a bonding time for the family.
Outsourcing is another way not to get burdened with the mental load of motherhood. There are now many professional services involving household chores. You could call a professional cleaner or send your laundry to a reliable laundry service. You only need to find the ones that pass your standards.
Sharing the weight is the first step to lighten the burden of the mental load of motherhood. But due to society’s preconditioning and stereotypes, a woman may still find it hard to let go. For example, you have given a task to your spouse or child, but you still dictate how to do it. Also, there is the tendency to repeatedly check what they have done. In extreme cases, you might find the urge to repeat the tasks you have given them. Avoid doing these things at all costs.
You need to accept that your way is not the only correct method. Though their strategies may be a bit different than yours, learn to respect their efforts. For you to be free of the weight of the mental load, you must have the willingness to share it in the truest sense.
Pursue “Me Time”
It may seem noble to see a mother devoting all her time and energy to her family. But, there is nothing noble with serving others to the point of burnout and exhaustion. You must remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup.
Thus, you need to be steadfast in carving time for yourself despite your busy schedule. Self-care is not selfish. It is an act to ensure that what you give others is your best version. It does not even have to be expensive or elaborate either. You only need to give yourself even 10 to 30 minutes of me-time a day. This is enough to make sure that your mental health is in prime condition.
Motherhood presents a woman with some daunting challenges. It does not have to feel like an endless list of things to do. You must not also feel like you have to go through everything alone. Sharing the mental load of motherhood is possible and necessary.