There are a lot of things you prepare for when you’re about to enter parenthood.
You know you’re going to be sleep deprived, you know things will be challenging, you know you’re going to buy/wash a bazillion diapers, you know things are going to change a bazillion diapers.
What you don’t know, is along with all these things, there is another item added to the list. It’s one that is constantly running in the background and one that you probably don’t even realize is there but it is just as exhasting as the sleepless nights.
It’s called the “mental load” and I was first introduced to it by this BRILLIANT comic. Seriously, you need to take 5 minutes and read it.
So what is the Mental Load? The notion that you always have to remember everything.
It’s the running checklist you constantly update in your head. Looks something like this.
You go to put a dish in the dishwasher. You get there and realize you need to unload it. As you’re putting dishes away, you remember that you have to pick up sippy cups at the store because your toddler smashed the last one and you had to throw it out. CRAP, you forgot to take the garbage out. You start to tie up the garbage bag a remember you also need to buy garbage bags because you’re out. You go to the closet to take out a plastic bag you stored there and see the kids have left a mess on the floor. You chide yourself for not making them clean that up before they went down for a nap. SHIT, you were going to start a load of laundry at nap time. You trudge up the stairs to grab your laundry and make a mental note to try and read a chapter of that book you left on the stairs. This goes on until you finally get to sit down to have a glass of wine when you realize your clean cups are in the dishwasher you forgot to unload.
It’s that OH so common feeling about doing shit all day without actually getting anything done. Sound familiar?
The good news is, you’re not alone. While typically this is known to be present in mothers, I think it’s a common side effect of parenting.
There is so much going, in addition to remembering your own stuff, you now have to remember stuff for yourself, for your family and everything in between. The struggle is VERY very real.
I also found managing this load put a lot of stress on myself and my husband. I took it all on myself and began to resent him when realizing he wasn’t taking it on as much as I had.
Here are some tips on how to manage this:
Make a list
Are you laughing at me right now? I know, I am too a little bit. Who the EFF has time to sit down and make a list? Ok, let’s be realistic.
Open a note on your phone. In said note, use the talk to text function and blurt out all the things you have on your mind and things you want/need to accomplis. MAKE SURE SELF CARE IS ON THAT LIST.
Then, after the kids are in bed and you’re watching Netflix, take a second to prioritize that list. And don’t tell me you’re REALLY into that episode of Friends you’re watching for the 50th time. I know you’re just mindlessly scrolling the ‘Gram. So multitask. You’re a mom for god sake, you’re a MF pro at it.
FOCUS FOR GOD SAKE
Now, when you start to chisle away at that BEAUTIFUL list you just made, try and focus on one or two of those tasks at a time.
My biggest struggle (and maybe because I have ADD) I’m terrible at finishing one task at a time. I somehow feel like if I do 90 all at once, I’m more productive. Then at the end of the day I’m exhuasted and haven’t accomplished shit.
So whenever you’re in the middle of something and feel pulled away, remember to STAY in that task for a few minutes more.
Listen – it’s hard when you’re a parent and you’re pulled in 100 different directions. Sometimes this isn’t always possible and I totally acknowledge that.
Funny Sidebar: It took me a good 2 weeks to write this post because I started it, got pulled away and then forgot about it. So. It’s not always perfect.
How do you manage the mental load? Plsszzzz share your tips here or DM me on Instagram.