The Mental Load of Motherhood
The mental load of motherhood is REAL!!
Why didn't anyone tell us that your brain never really goes to sleep after you become a mother? It's constantly going and going like the Energizer Bunny, even when you try to take a rest. Any other mothers out there realized that since your baby was born, it takes longer to fall asleep at night? I would be laying in bed thinking about all the things I have to do the next day, mentally checking off my to-do lists (which never seems to get smaller) and then… is the baby monitor on? Let me check that before I fall asleep and can’t hear my daughter call out for me. Did I put on her white noise? Shit! I forgot! *sneaks into her bedroom to put it on and upon leaving, sees an unopened lunch kit, empties it of dirty bowls and utensils and returns to bed* Meanwhile my husband has fallen asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow (about half an hour now). He most likely didn't even notice that I'd left the room and all I can do is side eye him with envy and try to quiet the noise in my head so I can get some form of restful sleep.
As moms, it's our responsibility to love and care for our children but sometimes that turns into carrying ALL our family's concerns, fears and to-dos in our head... ALONE... ALL THE TIME. This only became apparent to me recently when I found myself washing clothes, breastfeeding, reminding myself to do some Googling on a rash I saw on Xaryah and thinking about scheduling doctor and dentist appointments for Leroy and myself at the same time. Now, by now you guys know I have a village of support, so why is this still happening to me? What the hell is my problem?!
Moms are overloaded with thoughts constantly, which makes us feel like we are literally carrying the weight of motherhood... even though we have a ton of help and support. We're the ones who must remember diaper bags, grocery lists, phone calls, birthdays, anniversaries, deadlines, appointments... We’re the ones who are supposed to have it all under control, running smoothly, always on time with not a hair out of place.
Honestly, I think this is something that society has imposed on mothers. We're the do-it-all person, the glue that holds the family together, but these expectations to manage everything skillfully and without flaws put us under immense pressure. These expectations that society has bestowed upon us makes us feel like this is how it is meant to be... and we forget that we don't have to carry this motherload alone. We've even been socially conditioned to refuse help at times since it's considered weakness or an inability to be a proper mother.
Ooh? Did I mention it's worse when you're a working mom? *faints*
As a result of this, we have so many women who are overwhelmed, completely burnt out, extremely stressed, exhausted, lonely and constantly anxious... but when a mother has a breakdown, the first thing someone (in most cases it's their partner) asks is, "Why didn't you say something?" or "You could've asked". Are you kidding me? How?!
Thankfully, millennial partners have begun breaking this stereotype where mothers have to do everything. Many partners, including my husband (Kudos to you my guy!) have been sensitized to the mental load of mothers and now, their emotional intelligence is so in tune that they pick up even the slightest misstep in our walks of motherhood. We now have many partners looking forward to spending quality time with their children and take the load off the mother (even if for a minute).
I saw a quote that said, "Behind every mother's smile is a person who worries. She worries because she loves" and if that isn't the best description of the mental load of motherhood, then I don't know what is! At the end of the day mama, you're a fricking badass! Don't feel ashamed to lighten the load a bit.
Ask for help and don't wait till you're extremely overwhelmed to do so.
Communicate clearly and early to your partner so nothing is left unsaid.
Let go a bit (let your support do things their way sometimes; even if it's not perfect).
And of course, give yourself grace... You're human after all!
Lots of Love,