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As parents, do we ever really “switch off”, like fully unplug I mean? Remember those trips in our 20’s with not a care in the world, saying yes to that millionth margarita without even another thought. I mean truly sitting around and just “relaxing”, with ZERO (yes ZERO) parallel thoughts. Not one thought about whether I packed this or that for lunch, or did I turn the TV off before we rushed out of the house this morning, have I ordered this for Father’s Day or have I sorted a gift for Aunty Mabel’s upcoming birthday? I’m not sure about you but my mind is constantly on “the go” – This, my friends, is what they call the Mental Load. It’s the never-ending to-do list of all the thoughts running through in our heads – yes the ones right now tapping at you to remember this or that – they never really stop and for many of us, they just get louder the more we try to ignore them. With more women in the full time workforce than ever before, this mental load is trickling into families like we’ve not see before and we think it’s taking it’s toll. Add lockdown and, fuck me, it’s too much for many of us to deal with.
Our inability to disconnect is blurring the lines of work, home and parental roles in ways families haven’t had to cope with before. Take, for example, Saturday sports, we get up and get the family ready but tonight it’s a BBQ for a friend’s engagement and you’ve agreed to make a speech etc, you spend all the time “watching” Johnny’s rugby game thinking about what you still need to do today to get ready for the rest of the weekend and before you even realise it, the full time whistle has blown and it’s “game over”. We are in a constant state of distraction that remaining present is almost impossible. But what can we do about it all? How can we get some control back into our lives and hopefully become more effective at managing our priorities, in all the roles we have in our lives. We have looked into the “Mental Load” and here’s our summary of what we can do to help ease this burden, be more present and enjoy the important things a little more.
Sounds familiar right? We get it. You (we) are carrying this (enormous) mental load, and it’s exhausting - But Let's try fix it!Share the Load – Mental Load doesn’t just fall onto Mum’s shoulders, now, more than ever roles at home are different and divided. Research recommends that we talk openly about our challenges and feelings to others that might understand. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved, and seeking help is not a sign of weakness – it’s the opposite in fact. If this isn’t possible, try speaking to a mental health professional who will no doubt have tools and resources to help you manage your situation and thoughts better. But, before all else - SPEAK TO YOUR PARTNER, let them understand how you are feeling, they might even have some capacity and you could both feel better by being able to help each other out.
By working together to solve the issue of mental load imbalance, remember that you and your partner are on the same team, working towards the same goals. You both want that same thing, you want to be able to be good parents to your children and good people to each other, live happy and healthy lives and that’s what’s important!
It is totally possible to get on the same page with your support network and work toward lightening the mental load. Keep talking to each other. Check in often about how you’re feeling. You (we) can do this.