As moms, we’re master planners and organizers. It’s one of the many jobs we hold in addition to physical responsibilities like chores we do at home.
Not only do you do the majority of chores, but you’re also spending your day organizing, scheduling, and making sure that stuff gets done. Your family might depend on you to direct them on what to do, including your partner or spouse.
You are the one keeping track of food inventory, meal planning, and list making.
You are the one making plans for appointments, school activities, and deadlines.
You are the one tracking the family’s emotional and physical needs.
It all adds up. You might not realize it but the role of manager at home adds to your mental load.
Invisible labor paired with physical labor is a recipe for overwhelm and fatigue. It’s hard to prevent burnout when you’re constantly worried, right?
It doesn’t end there; it can also put a strain on your relationship with your partner/spouse.
How many times have you watched your partner relax on the couch while you’re still zipping around trying to get stuff done at the end of the day? They might even respond with “Let me know if you need any help!”
While it’s a considerate offer, it proves that you are expected to be the one to manage and take the initiative.
This is one example of the mental load you might be dealing with. In this post, I’ll cover 7 ways to reduce the mental load so it’s not always on you to make everything work.
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How to Reduce Mental Load When You’re Overwhelmed
1. Discuss Expectations
Don’t wait for your partner to take the initiative, have a discussion with him or her. Find a common goal to work towards so you’re on the same page. Don’t expect help, establish it upfront.
Discuss in advance what responsibilities you need help with and be clear that what your expectations are regarding their help. Not just the physical chores but the relief of being the “manager in charge” of what needs to be done around the home.
This doesn’t make you selfish and it doesn’t move the burden from you to your partner. I say frequently in my posts, that your family is a team, and you work together. It’s correct to share the mental and physical load appropriately and fairly.
2. Ruthlessly delegate and outsource
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard moms say they are drowning in tasks. They can’t keep up with it all. I hate to say it, but we don’t have superpowers. We all have a limited amount of time and energy.
Be ruthless and shameless when it comes to delegating and outsourcing. Have someone else handle the meal planning, the list making, and the appointments. If you can’t have an actual person do it, let technology do it. There are many free apps that you and your family together can manage life. Here’s my list of life management apps and technology you can use to delegate tasks.
3. No sweating the small stuff
I feel it’s worth mentioning because as a mom, I’ve worried about things that I realize now didn’t matter that much and didn’t make me or my family happier for it.
Change the habit of worrying about the little things that don’t matter. A little bit of clutter, a meal not made from scratch, social events not meaningful to you. These little things can be made into big things that will drain your energy real fast.
Instead, focus on your priorities and leave the rest. If focusing on what matters because everything is a priority, you need to read this.
4. Surrender control
Do you feel uncomfortable letting someone else take over a responsibility you manage?
If you are the kind of mom that needs to be in control of it all but are facing the burden of mental load, then it’s time to start letting someone else take over.
It’s not easy, I get it but if your wellbeing matters to you and if you’re tired of being the manager in charge, surrender some control.
If it’s a matter of perfectionism, please read Embrace Less and Thrive for practical tips to fight perfectionism and simplify your life.
You don’t have to be in charge of everything and if you’re not, it doesn’t mean life will fall apart. Also, don’t feel that if you lose the title of do-it-all-supermom you’re not doing a good job or that you’re a bad mom.
Doing it all does not equate to being a good mother.
If you and your partner are using separate calendars it will be difficult to share the load. Changing to a shared calendar to add appointments, chores, and tasks will make it easy for you and your partner to communicate, assign responsibilities, and mark tasks complete so you don’t have to worry about them.
Figure out which works best for you – a physical wall calendar or a digital calendar. Choose only one so there’s no confusion or added hassle.
It might get some getting used to if you’re used to managing the schedules yourself. Once you get the hang of it and you and your partner are consistently using it, it will help lighten the mental load.
Here are some good options for shared calendars.
Digital shared calendars:
6. Get it out on paper
Mental load is what you hold in your mind, taking up bandwidth. Don’t overstuff your brain! Get it all out on paper.
I don’t recommend that you write yourself long to-do lists but it’s better to write a list than letting it all float around in your mind and to try to remember to do it all. That is too much stress for anyone to handle.
Grab a notebook and write it all down. After you’ve freed it from your mind, you can prioritize the stuff that matters, delegate, and outsource where you can.
7. Simplify as much as you can
Are there some areas in your life that feel harder to do? Are your mornings disorganized and chaotic? If so, then it might be time to simplify your morning routine.
Think multitasking is your jam? Sorry to say, but this adds to your mental load as well. By committing to one task at a time, you are simplifying your life and freeing up valuable mental energy.
Is clutter slowly eating away at you? It might be time to declutter and keep only what is valuable and what you use regularly.
Struggle to concentrate because of too many distractions? It could be a good idea to reduce the stimuli like screens and create a space for you to concentrate without interruptions.
Are meal planning and grocery shopping exhausting? Time to outsource!
If you struggle with any or all of these, there is always a way to simplify them. Start simplifying by delegating, or eliminating tasks that are not important or valuable to you.
For the things that are important, like a workable morning routine, focus on the priorities, plan and prepare on paper and make sure your family is involved in the process.
You can still be organized and on-top of tasks but should never at the expense of your mental health.
Mental load is a real problem and it’s important that it is discussed with your partner so you are not carrying all the burden.
Take the time today along with your partner/spouse to plan, simplify and share the responsibilities where appropriate.
Share these tips with them so you and your family can simplify life instead of making it harder than it needs to be.
I hope that these 7 tips will help you lighten your mental load so you can tackle this motherhood journey with energy and clarity.