It’s been a while.
Like, a really long time…. It wasn’t until I had a friend reach out asking why my blog wasn’t accessible that I realized I had been denying myself of this outlet.
The truth is, blogging – although it’s a way for me to put my thoughts into cohesive, tangible sentences, and a way for me to express myself freely and creatively – it’s also a way for others just outside my circle to hold things against me. What was once creative expression has become a means of pinning me down.
So I closed it off for a while.
But today my need to express takes over my need to carefully consider the emotions of others. And here I find myself typing away, once again putting thoughts together just as I used to.
I also took some time to focus on myself and dig a little deeper into the depths of my very being, and do what you might call a “self analysis”.
Here is what I discovered:
Not just tired meaning I’m falling asleep all the time, but mentally exhausted. Tired from carrying the weight of a family, a career, volunteering, being a wife etc. Add in a few nights of lost sleep, and you’ve got a recipe for burn out. You see, moms are not just individuals. We carry the weight of everyone else in the family unit as well as our selves. Our brains are constantly wired to be on and tuned in to everyone else’s needs and daily requirements.
I recently read something about Mental Load and I found it to explain PERFECTLY what moms experience on a daily basis. We don’t just work, clean, and make dinner. Our brains are hardwired to take care of the small details. Remembering appointments, teacher meetings, deadlines for school trips, when the baby is due for vaccines, unpacking lunches and repacking for the following day, making sure the bills get paid on time, planning Christmas gifts, scheduling dinners, picking dirty socks up off the couch or kitchen floor, making shopping lists, assigning chores… the list goes on. And it’s no wonder us moms long for a solo trip so we can ACTUALLY relax.
The article I linked explains Mental Load perfectly. If you have a few moments if your already busy schedule, I strongly recommend the read.
“So why don’t you just stop doing it all?”
Seems like a logical explanation. Until you realize that no one else is going to do it. And leaving the lose ends untied is far more challenging than just staying on top of everything for everyone. And when we ask for help, it comes off as nagging. Surely the kids will not schedule their own doctor appointments (that’s just not realistic), and asking your partner to take on more can put a strain on your relationship. And, well, sometimes teaching someone how to do a new task is more overwhelming than actually doing it yourself.
So what do we do? We carry the weight.
We pick up the socks, we fold the laundry, we go through old toys, rotate wardrobes and buy shoes to replace the ones they outgrew. We schedule appointments, update passports, book parent-teacher interviews, and scrub toilets.
Of course, your partner is likely a team player in all of this. I know my husband is the one to handle taking out the trash and making sure it gets put out on the curb every Monday. He also manages plowing the driveway after every snowfall. He is also primarily responsible for picking up Finn from daycare every day, and also starting dinner prep when he gets home from work on days that we have the big kids (hello, shared custody schedule!) He will even go out and grab me a box of tampons the day my period starts – no questions asked. So I have a lot to be thankful for for.
I really don’t mean for this piece to sound complain-y; but I do hope the weight of the Mental load resonates with some of the readers. We aren’t just DOING a lot; we are thinking ahead about all the things that NEED TO BE DONE. Sure, folding laundry is a pain in the ass. But so is laying in bed trying to relax, but all you can think about is the 497 tasks you didn’t accomplish that day, and how you plan to carry them over into the following day – along with the new tasks tomorrow will bring.
Maybe all we need is a little recognition. A pat on the back perhaps. So mothers: this is my ode to you. We are amazing, strong, and resilient creatures. I see you. I see you tired and struggling. But you got this. You do.
When you lay awake at night, completely unable to shut off your brain – I’m there with you. And when you’re waiting on hold with the doctor’s office, grumbling about each minute as it passes – know that I am also there with you. When you’re typing an email to your child’s teacher, asking your co-worker to read it and make sure it doesn’t sound too bitchy – girl, I am definitely with you on that one.
The Mental Load we carry might be heavy at times, but I promise you. It’s appreciated. You are a rare and priceless glue holding that family together. They might not know it, but I do. You are irreplaceable, and loved beyond measure.
You. Got. This.