Updated: Feb 27, 2021
Is everything you’re doing important? As a mother and professional, the answer is obviously yes, or is it? Do you feel you have to do it all? Get the kids online for school, plan meals, balance the budget, wash the clothes, and everything in between before you even login to work? Where did these beliefs come from? Do you find yourself feeling trapped, like no one else in your household can do what you do? Do you feel weighed down by expectations? Ask yourself, are these things important, or are they distractions from doing what you need to do to move the needle of your life?
Before you ride me off and tell me I don’t get it, let me explain. I have been right there with you in the chaos doing it all, working, climbing, building, and creating. Then crying, and hurting, trying to find 5 minutes alone to myself in the bathroom praying to God to get me out of here. What we are really dealing with here is accountability and the mental load. I want to help you with 3 strategies that will give you back your power, the power to move your mountains and get to doing what is important for you.
In case you are wondering what, the mental load is, let’s unpack it a bit. According to Kelly Gonsalves, sex and relationship editor, “Even in the most progressive households where couples split the chores pretty evenly, there’s still often one person who ends up doing most of the “thinking” work- also known as the mental load.”
“The mental load, as explained by Gonsalves, is a term for the invisible labor involved in managing a household and family.” This mental load typically falls on the women. What the heck? Here it is, this is what we have been dealing with. We have been busy with the worry work, and overseeing tasks so everyone has a smooth day, while we dance about meeting everybody’s needs while our own needs can sometimes go unmet. This is exhausting. So, what can we do about it?
Step 1: Speak Up and Take Accountability for How You Feel:
Before you can talk to others, you have to take accountability for yourself. Have you placed yourself in a position to do all the work? Do you believe you are the only one that can get it done? It is only right if you do it? If so, you need to take some ownership of that and reset it. You can do this by being honest with your feelings and talking with the people you love and need help from. When connecting with your loved ones, or your tribe, start with the portion you are responsible for. Maybe it is time to apologize for not allowing the help, or being critical, and even passive-aggressive. Once you have taken accountability you can move to releasing control.
Step 2: Get Over the Need to Control:
Learn to delegate. Will it kill you if the bed is made without all the decorative pillows in their perfect little place? Will your heart stop beating if your kids put their toys back in the wrong toy bins? Like Janet Jackson once sang, ‘I’m in control, never gonna stop.” I can’t even hate; control is my Achilles heel. But, to create more space for ourselves, our purpose, passions, and dreams, we need to take a note from Queen Elsa and, “let it go!” Easier than it sounds. In order to be effective offer specific examples of how your partner can help you and be comfortable with the fact, it may not be done your way. (It’s getting done and that is good enough.)
Step 3: Be Intentional About Your Needs:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Not just from your partner, but from your friends, family, and even your co-workers. Weakness is not in saying I need assistance; weakness is falling apart because we were too scared of what people would think of us. Everyone needs help. If planning meals and cooking is not your thing, but your partner loves it, let them do it. If your in-laws want to take the kids for the night and stuff them full of ice cream and cake, let them (it’s one night). If you need to pay for a cleaning service, do it. Save your sanity. You don’t have to do it all! I promise no one gets a trophy for outperforming and burning out. Guard your energy! When our energy is depleted, we can get upset, react poorly, or hurt others, when we pour from a fuller cup, we don’t feel like we are giving ourselves away. Help is beautiful. Galatians 6:2 says to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
These strategies are a starting place and good practice as you get better at taking care of yourself. Through intentionality, accountability, and communication we can share the responsibility in our lives. We can overcome and live empowered lives when we work with our tribe.
Looking for more ways to reduce your mental load and continue to move your mountains, schedule your complimentary 30-minute session so I can work with you to create strategies that will help you move your mountains, step into your power, find your passion to create a more purposeful life.