Mental load, or cognitive labor, refers to the invisible, non-tangible tasks involved in running a household. Whatever your household looks like, you may be feeling the impact of having all the responsibility of keeping that household running falling on you.
Sociologist Susan Walzer published a research article in 1996, called “Thinking About the Baby,” pointing to this household gender gap. She found that women do more of the intellectual, mental, and emotional work of childcare and household maintenance. They do more of the learning and information processing. They do more worrying (like wondering if their child is hitting his developmental milestones). And they do more organizing and delegating (like deciding when the mattress needs to be flipped or what to cook for dinner)
Many of us identify with how overwhelmed, stressed and fatigued full mental load can feel. If you’re struggling and want to make a change in this space, we’d love to see you in our free Masterclass on this topic on Feb 2nd at 11am.
We have been assisting our clients in this space for many years and are passionate about helping women share the load of running a household. In this masterclass, Caroline is going to share how to identify mental load, how to communicate it with you family, and strategies to put in place to reduce it. All of which she practices herself to maintain equality in her family.
Take the first step in reducing mental load and welcome a stress-reduced life. You can sign up by clicking the link below.
Mental load comes in all shapes and sizes. Whatever the cause, reducing mental load starts with good communication. We know this can be a challenging thing to tackle, so, here are our four steps to opening a healthy line of communication and reducing mental load.
Step #1: Be OK with asking for help.
This can be a challenging place to start. If you’ve been carrying the mental load for some time, you may feel like it’s your responsibility and that it’s unreasonable to ask for your family’s help; it’s not. You deserve to feel the lightness of mind that your partner does. To achieve that, you need to come to terms with having to ask for that help. After all, your family can’t read your mind.
Step #2: Let go of the expectation that your family can read your mind
It can be easy to fall back on the wishful thought of hoping someone would realise the stress you’re feeling without you having to explicitly explain it to them, however, it’s unproductive in the goal of reducing mental load. Try to gently hush the “why do i have to tell them” thought, and shift that mentality to an optimistic place of being glad/excited to finally be on the same page.
Step #3: Communicate using ‘I’ statements less than ‘You’ statements.
The goal is for you to enlighten your partner on how you’re feeling in an attempt for them to understand what they can do to help. Centering the conversation around yourself limits the chance that your partner feels like they need to defend themselves, and therefore increases the chance of a productive conversation.
Step #4: Be specific
Give realistic and recent examples of the unspoken tasks that you manage to keep the household running smoothly, and suggest examples of ways your partner could take on some of the mental load.
It won’t change overnight but having the conversation is the first step. Then, the next time you’re feeling an increase of your mental load, the conversation will be a little easier.
You deserve to feel free and light. The responsibility of running a house (on top of everything else) is a huge one, and your stressed and overwhelmed feelings are completely justified.
We hope that you’ll join our masterclass on the 2nd of February where we’ll go into more detail together and help you make real change in this space.
See you there!