The Mental Load of Motherhood and Why Moms are Expected to Do it All

Updated: Aug 17

I was tired. So tired. And hungry.


I had been up every 2 hours nursing my infant.


And I was close to tears.


My husband hopped out of bed and took my daughter out of our room. He came back a few minutes later with some water and a slice of cake that he'd made to celebrate surviving our first week of parenthood. (yes, we celebrated her first week!)


I ate a little and went back to sleep.


My husband was given 6 weeks of paternity leave. And he took all of it. He changed more diapers than I did before my firstborn turned 1-year old.


And this, sadly, is rare.


More likely, women are home alone with their newborn. Their partner is back at work. Their partner wasn't offered paternity leave or wasn't encouraged to take it.


And moms, by nature of being home, get better at changing diapers, feeding the baby, learning the schedules, and all the things that come with being a parent.


And dads don't.


Society tells us that dads aren't as capable. But really, it's that moms have had more practice.


So, what does this have to do with productivity, you may be asking?


A lot.


Society tells moms that we need to do it all. We're the default parent, keeping the family functioning. While also running a business or managing our own career. Dads get to go to work and come home to be the fun parent. And, we shouldn't ask more of them because they're not very good at it anyway and it's just easier if we do it all ourselves.


This leads to exhaustion, overwhelm, and burnout.


And it's not true.


This can be changed, no matter how old your kid(s) are.


Things shift when you start having conversations with your partner about everything it takes to run a household.


You stop feeling pulled in too many directions.


Others in the household start doing things.


Yes, the conversations need to happen often. And, there are ways to hold them without feeling like the nagging partner. They need to include agreement on a number of things. It’s not just mom telling everyone else what to do. It’s deciding who is fully taking over a task.


For example, one person is in charge of helping the kids make their lunches every night after dinner. From unpacking today’s lunches to packing tomorrow’s and cleaning up the mess. There is one adult on this task.


Maybe it’s one parent who is fully in charge of kids’ activities. Signing up for soccer season. Making sure everyone has uniforms and shoes that fit. Ensuring everyone has a ride to and from practice and all the games are on the calendar.


Yes, it takes time. And practice for everyone!


But wouldn't you rather change things now than spend the next few years feeling like it's all on you?


This is possible.


Use the book Fair Play, by Eve Rodsky to guide you. Or contact me. This is a big part of the work I do with my clients!


Start today. Your future self will thank you!

 

Valerie Recore is a productivity specialist, a time giver, and a decision-maker. She works with overwhelmed and overcommitted women. She’s been there. She gets it. She has 2 kids, a husband, her own business, and occasionally a social life. She too has felt like there’s too much on her plate. With a background in mental health and corporate training, she’s ready to guide you toward a better relationship with time. If you’re feeling pulled in too many directions, she’s here to help. Visit her website at www.strideproductivity.com to learn more.


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