So many mums don't even realise how significant their mental load is until someone identifies it as a 'thing'. The mental load is essentially the invisible thoughts and work involved in working, managing a family, a household and everything else that goes into running your and your families life.
It refers to not only doing all the things you need to get done, but also remembering and managing all those things to ensure they've been done.
The mental load might look like this...
Your child needs to start daycare...so you have to find daycares, book tours, analyse rates, fill out childcare subsidy applications, attend tours, decide on a childcare, complete enrolment forms, coordinate drop-offs, factor in sick-days, remember to purchase name stickers, school bags, extra clothes, iron-on labels, extra shoes, drink bottles, hats, remember to fill the bottles and formula, ensure the carers are across your child's routines, check naps daily and manage bed time based on 'awake times', ensure you have the groceries to prepare dinner each night, have dinner ready so they're not late for bed, remember to take things in for show and tell, sign forms for excursions...and the list goes on.
If you've ever had a million thoughts running around in your head and that feeling that you just can't keep up...that's the mental load...and you should keep reading.
Here are three strategies that will help reduce the mental load in motherhood.
1. Write everything down
It sounds simple, but getting everything out of your head and on to a piece of paper is one of the easiest ways to ditch the mental load.
Because remembering all the things you need to get done weighs on your mind more than you know. So if you write everything down, you remove those things form your mind knowing that you're not going to forget about them.
2. Delegate responsibilities, not tasks
We're often told to deal with the mental load by asking for 'help' to do things. Whether it's housework, ordering groceries, looking after kids lunches or paying bills, as soon as you delegate a task, you are still the person responsible for ensuring that task gets done.
So instead of delegating a task, delegate a responsibility to someone else. If that's your partner, have open communication and come to an agreement that they will take on the entire responsibility of doing that job. An example might be, that they are responsible for not only ordering the groceries, but deciding what's on the menu for the entire family for the week, working out what you have in your pantry and fridge, adding to the list throughout the week as you run out of essentials, ordering everything for the week ahead and keeping up to date with weekly shopping budget.
That is actually delegating the responsibility to them rather than just one of those many tasks involved in managing the weekly groceries.
3. Letting go of some of your expectations
There will come a season in your life where your house is perfect, your ornaments are beautifully displayed, your bed always made perfectly, your washing always folded away and your sink constantly empty of dishes.
In that season, you will miss the pitter patter of little feet, the laughter, the chaos and the joy that little people bring to your life.
So let go of the things that don't matter as much. Let go of the expectations you set for yourself. That's not to say you should live in filth...because there is something beautiful about having a clean and tidy house.
But just remember not to rob yourself of the joy of your season because you're putting too much pressure on yourself.
Choose to be present over perfect.