From the moment I wake up, to the moment I finally fall asleep, I feel the mental load of motherhood. I jolt out of bed and immediately begin making a list of things that need to be done and in what order. It’s like a juggling act that starts every morning, and I know that if I drop one thing, it will all go to shit.
And yes, my husband helps out. He cooks and cleans. He helps with the laundry and plays with the kids. He’s a great husband and dad, and I’m thankful for his help. But no matter how evenly we try to split up chores, the mental load of remembering ALL.OF.THE.THINGS. always falls on me.
Every mom is familiar with the invisible mental workload that comes with having kids. It’s all the thankless tasks that go unnoticed unless we forget to do them. We’re all familiar with the things we juggle all the time, like:
The seemingly endless list of chores and errands. I’m the one who keeps track of what needs to be done. It’s that to-do list that kickstarts my day and keeps me up until my brain exhausts itself at night.
Keeping track of everyone’s calendar. I figure out transportation and meals around everyone’s school/sports/lessons/etc. I know who needs to be where, and when. I’m the one making sure no one’s left behind (literally).
Getting shit done. I’m the one who makes sure the homework gets turned in and that projects are completed. I make sure permission slips get signed and forms get returned. I keep track of birthdays, parties, and gifts. And I work and have my own deadlines to keep track of, on top of everyone else’s.
Communicating with teachers and other parents. I’m the one who attends parent/teacher conferences and PTA meetings. If there’s a carpool or playdate that needs to be organized, chances are I’ll be the one reaching out to other parents. If there’s a birthday party to RSVP for, there’s a 99.9% chance I’m the one who’ll have to do it.
Looking after everyone’s emotional needs. I check in with every kid and try to make sure I’m there to listen whenever they need me. I do what I can to give them extra love and support. All while trying to make sure my husband feels valued, too.
The crushing guilt. I always end up wishing that I could’ve accomplished more or spent more quality time with my family. It’s the shame I feel after losing my temper, and the crippling fear that I’m becoming all the things I disliked about my own parents. It’s the weight that comes crashing down at the end of every day, and the list of things we wish we could have done differently.
There’s a lot of stress and extra worry that comes along with being responsible for remembering everything. The mental load is inescapable and it’s exhausting.
My husband helps out, but if I know if we were dependent on him remembering everything, he’d forget. No matter how many calendars I wrote things down on, we both know we’d be setting ourselves up for unwanted arguments. And, as heavy as the mental load can be, I know I’d have even more anxiety if I weren’t in control.
And it’s why it’s so important that our significant others help in other ways. The majority of the stress of parenthood falls on us, so I don’t think it’s so much to ask that they do the dishes sometimes. After all, we’re in this together, so we should help support one another however we can.