Mental Load: all those seen and unseen details and to-dos of life swirling around in your head, that are crucial to the smooth running of your family. Never finished. Always churning. Tends to feel heavy and at times overwhelming
Being a mom comes with many responsibilities, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the mental load of motherhood.
The mental load most often includes the invisible, emotional labor that comes with being a parent. Everything from remembering birthdays and appointments to planning meals to keeping track of family schedules to remembering what foods each child likes.
While this mental load can be shared between parents, it is most often shouldered by mothers.
Overcoming the mental load of motherhood involves simplifying and can help reduce stress and make motherhood more enjoyable. Here are some tips to help you overcome the mental load of motherhood:
Practical Tips for Overcoming the Mental Load of Motherhood
1. Create a daily routine and honor it: Having a daily routine can help you to stay on track by creating a routine for the day. This includes: wake up times for kids and parents, meal times, tidying/cleaning times, times to be out the door for school/church/ etc. By having a basic routine of what your normal day looks like everyone is able to know what to expect and what is expected of them. Be sure to STICK with this routine.
2. Prioritize your tasks each day with a TOP 3: Take a look at your daily to-do list and prioritize the there most important tasks. These are the tasks that need to be done that day. This might include: taking returns to the store, picking up groceries, or prepping dinner. Once you have completed those tasks, you can move on to another set of three. Working in this manner focuses your attention on one task at a time which improves your productivity and efficiency.
3. Keep things organized: Kids are messy but when everything has a home tidying up at the end of the day is easier. Take some time to work on organizing your home in a way that gives every item a home. Work with your family so they can also know where the home is for everything. An organized home can make a huge difference in reducing stress and simplifying your day.
4. Complete small tidies throughout the day. If you leave your mess of the day for the end of the day I can almost guarantee you will become stressed and overwhelmed. Instead, institute family tidies throughout the day. A morning tidy to reset after breakfast, an afternoon tidy to reset after school and before dinner, and an evening tidy to close up the house for the night. Get the whole family involved because many hands make for light work!
5. Learn to say no: As a busy mom, it can be easy to take on too many responsibilities and commitments. But learning to say no to non-essential tasks and activities can help you focus on what’s most important.
6. Take care of yourself: This is always a hard one as a mom because our brains tell us that wasting time on a walk or workout or dinner with a friend takes away time that we could be using for our to-do list BUT we “perform” better when we feel better. In other words, you will be more efficient, and productive, and you will have a better mental outlook during the trying times.
7. Delegate tasks: Another key way to simplify the mental load of motherhood is to delegate tasks to other family members. This can include things like having your spouse take on some of the household chores or enlisting the help of older children to help with younger siblings.
8. Communicate effectively: Communication is key to overcoming the mental load of motherhood. Make sure to talk to your partner and children about what needs to be done and what’s important. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and working together towards the same goals.
9. Use tools to your advantage: There are several tools that can help you stay organized and ahead of things. Using a daily planner to keep track of your to-do lists, meal planning, schedules, and more is a great way to stay organized. There are also calendar apps that can help you to sync your schedule with your partners and keep the whole family on the same page.
Related: Your All-in-One Daily Planner
10. Simplify your meal planning: Preparing meals can take up a lot of time, especially when you’re trying to feed a family. To make things simpler, try to plan your meals in advance and carve out a time each week to grocery shop.
Related: How to Create a Weekly Meal Plan
11. Routine meetings and planning sessions: none of the things listed above will make any difference if you do not have a plan to make them happen. Pick a time each week when you set aside time to have a family meeting. This will be a great time to talk with your partner about the upcoming week’s schedule and write out your meal plan for the week. This is also a great time to outline the to-dos of the week and determine a plan for how things will get accomplished during the week.
Related: 6 Ways to Improve Your Mental Load
The Role of Taking Care of Yourself
When moms routinely neglect themselves and their needs not only does their physical health suffer but so does their mental health.
It can be very difficult to feel optimistic during busy times when your mental health is not optimal. I highly recommend taking time to pour into yourself so you can be the best version of yourself for your family.
Here are some additional tips on how to make motherhood more joyful while simplifying the mental load:
- Find joy in the little things: Motherhood can be demanding and stressful, but it’s important to find joy in the little things. Take time to enjoy the simple moments, like playing with your children, reading them a story, or cuddling with them.
- Cultivate a sense of gratitude: Being grateful for what you have can help shift your focus from what’s missing or difficult in your life to what is good and positive. Take time each day to jot down 3-5 (or more!) things you are thankful for!
- Make time for hobbies and interests: As a mom, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of motherhood and neglect your own interests and hobbies. But taking time to do something you enjoy can help boost your mood and reduce stress.
- Connect with other mothers: Connecting with other mothers can provide a sense of community and support. Join a mom’s group, meet up for coffee with some fellow soccer moms, or simply set aside time each week to call a friend and catch up.
- Incorporate humor and fun: Finding humor in the every day can help you find joy and lighten your mental load. Incorporate fun into your routine! Such as having a family game night or a dance party in the living room can create memories and laughter.
- Practice self-compassion: As moms, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect and to meet the needs of our family. But it’s important to remember that we’re only human and that it’s okay to make mistakes. Practice self-compassion by being kind and gentle with yourself when things don’t go as planned.
- Make time for your relationship: Whether it be your partner or friends, it is crucial to make time for the relationships that matter to you. Fostering strong relationships will help you to feel loved and supported when times become overwhelming.
- Get outside and enjoy nature: Going for a walk, having a picnic in a park, a taking a family hike or bike ride can provide a sense of peace and perspective and make you more joyful.
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness can help you live in the present moment and find joy in what’s happening right now. Incorporating mindfulness practices like meditation, yoga, or journaling can help you feel more grounded and less overwhelmed.
- Move your body: Take time to find a physical activity you enjoy. This could be running, going on hikes, dancing, or strength training. Taking care of your body will improve your mental health and outlook. It will also give you more energy to take on the busy days of motherhood.
It is important to remember that motherhood is not easy and comes with a lot of responsibilities and pressures, but it is also a wonderful and joyful experience. By simplifying the mental load and taking care of yourself, you can find more happiness and joy in this fulfilling role.