Let's talk about the mental load for a sec.
"The mental load refers to the invisible and often unacknowledged mental work that goes into managing and organizing household and family responsibilities. This can include planning, organizing, delegating, and coordinating tasks, as well as remembering important dates and information. The mental load is often carried disproportionately by women, and it can contribute to feelings of overwhelm, stress, and burnout. It is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that can include emotional labor, time management, and decision-making, among other factors."Whether or not your partner is a mother, a gift that we all can appreciate is alleviating some of that burden. Here are some tactical things that you can do to help someone with the mental load. If these are things you already do, then think about some of the things your partner automatically does, where you can step in and help so they don't have to worry about it.
Pro tip: Try to complete the entire task, not just part of it. Especially if you know your partner will step in to finish the job! If you don't know how/where to start with some of this stuff, do research, get creative, and try to figure it out to the best of your ability before asking your partner.
- Take care of food (and everything related to it) for the week for everyone in your household.
This includes all groceries, cooking, clean up, and packing lunches and snacks. Your partner shouldn't have to do anything but show up and eat! Another way to do this is to find a local meal prep place and pick up meals for the week.
- Clean the house.
The whole thing. Don't forget the details. Here is a checklist. Or, hire someone to come deep clean everything.
- Fix the things that you two have been talking about fixing forever
Been talking about taking care of the weeds? The leaky faucet? Painting the thing? Complete those things!
- Wash everything.
No time to clean the whole house? Wash things. Sheets, blankets, pillows, laundry, towels, rugs, throws. And dry them, and put them back!
- Coordinate school and extracurricular activities.
Got little humans that have lots of activities? Take care of everything related to those activities. Prep snacks, wash uniforms, coordinate carpools, fill out forms...
- Pre-morning prep.
Are your mornings crazy? Think about things you can prep the night before to make things easier for your partner (and yourself) in the morning. Prep coffee and breakfast, charge all of your electronics, lay out everyone's outfits...
- Scan the calendar
Take a look at the calendar and see if there is anything coming up that you can act on in advance. Do accommodations need to be booked? Birthday gifts purchased? Reservations made?
- Give your partner some time to themselves.
Take care of what you can (dishes, laundry, kids!!) and give your partner the day to do whatever they want. Bonus points if you know what they want to do and can help (i.e. supply the snacks?)
Remember that the mental load is not just about the physical tasks, but also about the emotional burden of managing everything. It's not a traditional 'date' or gift, but it's something anyone can appreciate :) Happy Mother's Day!