26 Nov The Mumma Mental Load 5 tips for sharing the load
I’ve been thinking a lot about the exhaustion us #WarriorWomen are feeling at the moment, especially in the lead up to Christmas and the silly season. I feel like we are all just holding on, going through the motions until we get to Christmas and then collapse in a heap on December 27th!
I feel like there are some things we can do to try and combat the exhaustion and i talked about #selfcare on insta the other day and how we need to take time out for ourselves, by ourselves to nurture our ‘selves’.
To take that to the next level, we need to consider everything that’s going on in our heads too and i’m specifically talking about the mental load – all the things we have to think about for our families. Its time to share the load, both the physical and the mental.
What is the Mumma Mental Load?
Organizing the business of family and life stuff that needs to be done on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. All the planning work somehow seems to fall on the women of the family! And for most of us, it’s not always fun!
Australian Census data from 2016 shows that women are still doing the bulk of the housework, between 5 and 14 hours per week, whereas men are doing less than 5 hours of unpaid work in the home per week. Say Whaaaaaaaat? I know, it’s 2018. Why is this still happening? This doesn’t even consider the mental load, the things we have to ‘think’ about before any physical unpaid labour even happens.
How can we share the load?
There are five things you can do to share the mental load with your other half:
- Go on a mini holiday
Now this might not be possible before Christmas so maybe put it in the diary for early January. However, you can still take a Saturday off between now and Christmas and focus on your own #selfcare.
For your partner to really feel the effects of your mental load and for you to get a break from the load, you need to book in at least a few days away from your family. Take the girls and go on a girls’ trip. You need to ask your partner to write down the things he does, including housework, but also things he has to think about that need getting done during the time you are away. That way, if he writes things down, you have the start of a list you can use to divide up the tasks when you get home and have that conversation.
2. Stop writing three-page instructions when you leave the house for any amount of time
This of course relates to your mini-break. DO NOT under any circumstances leave a list of things he needs to know. Tell him things he might need to be reminded of such as sports or kids parties, but don’t leave any list about anything you would do, especially bedtime routines, food to cook (do not under any circumstances leave pre-cooked meals either) or where to find things. This is your partner’s time to fend for himself and really think about his parenting role. Fathers are not babysitters – they are parents!
3. Stop stepping in to avoid disasters (unless it’s a safety issue)
If you have issues with control, this one might be difficult for you, but it’s essential to the other person’s learning and growth. Let them handle the spilled milk or the poo explosion. Let them deal with the tantrum if it’s happening in his space and you are in another room. Let him cook the food the way he wants to, especially if it means he may fail at meeting the children’s million mealtime demands.
4. Let GO
The house does not have to look like a Vogue Living magazine cover every single day. Nor do your children have to look like models every day. A bit of dust and dirt won’t kill anyone (unless you have a family member who is extremely allergic). Ease up on the expectations. Learn to relax in the quieter moments. I know that’s easier said than done, but it’s important if you want to show your family you can let go of the little things. This is really important for kids to learn also. If they see their mumma having a mental breakdown because there are crumbs on the floor for more than half a day, they will learn that behaviour from you. They’ll take it into adulthood.
Part of letting go is also delegating. Once you have that list of all the things you think about and do for your family, you need to assign each task to a person in your family, including yourself and your partner, making sure things are equal and doable.
5. Share the planning
If you are going on a holiday or camping trip, or even on a picnic down the road, everyone should help to plan the event. So this applies to Christmas too. Get the kids to help decorate the house and put up the tree. Get Dad/partners to input for the meal planning and shopping for food. Send dad out to buy presents – you are not SANTA (I’m a believer :). Get everyone involved in the lists you need for Christmas and make sure the planning is spread evenly.
I know some of these things might be hard for some mummas. I know that it is easier said than done! I also know that i want my sons to see their father participating in the family load. I don’t want them growing up expecting their partners will do the thinking and planning for them………….and if i had girls i would want them to see their mum being an equal in their family so they grow up expecting to share the load in their own families.
Equality for women means we have to let go of some things and hand over the reigns more often.
I hope in the lead up to Christmas you can put some of these things in to practice and start off 2019 on a more equal footing.
love to all you #WarriorWomen
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