The Mental Load: How Women Carry The Weight Of The World

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The Mental Load: How Women Carry The Weight Of The WorldIt’s often said that women carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. A recent study has shown that this is actually true — at least when it comes to parenting. The mental load refers to the unending list of tasks that need to be done in order for a household to run smoothly. The anticipation of needs, the strategy to meet those needs, and the follow-through of those plans are a large weight to carry for any family. This burden falls disproportionately on women who are responsible for full-time jobs as well as this invisible load.

Business Wire referenced a statistic that stated that 86% of working moms say they handle all family and household responsibilities and 72% feel it’s their job to stay on top of kids’ schedules. Despite a large percentage of women now also working outside the home full time, the mental load still remains largely unmoved.

Women in this situation may feel like they’re always responsible for everything. They may find themselves constantly juggling tasks and feeling overwhelmed.

Here are 5 ways to know if you carry the mental load:

  1. You’re always the one who is replenishing supplies and food in the home. You feel solely responsible to ensure that everything is available in the home and you make that happen regularly
  2. You are in a constant state of remembering. Family members will often ask you if the home has something in stock or where it is located. You are expected to know what is available at any given moment.
  3. You are the one to anticipate and coordinate doctor appointments, camps, school holiday schedules, etc. and ensure everything is done on time. This can even include coordinating plans with your partner’s family.
  4. Your partner is unable to anticipate or meet the needs of the children without direction.
  5. You have to explicitly ask for “help” from your partner. Typically you will need to be very specific in your requests and little is contributed outside the exact delegated task.

When discussing mental load, women will often reference the fact that their husband is the breadwinner and works a full-time job as the reason why he carries so little. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that in 2019, 57.4% of women participated in the workforce and 69.2% of men did. That number is close enough that the mental load should be spread more evenly across households.

There are tons of amazing articles online that can help you recognize and address mental load. Oftentimes, a role reversal helps partners see the invisible load, but it still may be difficult for them to identify with the pressures women carry daily. Talk openly with your partner about how you’re feeling and share responsibilities equally. If one partner is doing more than their fair share, it will only lead to resentment down the road.

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Hello! I'm Jessica. I grew up in Northern Indiana where I joined the Navy right out of high school. After 3 deployments and some amazing port calls I married a fellow sailor and began a family. We moved around a few times in search of a forever city. After a few visits to the Chattanooga area we fell in love and set in motion our move to the highly recommended Signal Mountain. I am slowly chipping away at my marketing degree while working part time at a local marketing agency. I am also a huge portrait photography lover and have a small studio up here on Signal Mountain where I shoot luxury portrait for children and women. You can check out my work at www.venyaportrait.com. We have 2 kiddos, Jazzy(6) who's larger than life and Joseph(3) who is taking his sweet time growing up. We have always planned to adopt as well and are currently awaiting a match for a big sister in need of a loving home. I also volunteer as a court advocate for abused and neglected children in the area. It's a great program and you can check out more at https://www.tncasa.org/. You can find me binging true crime podcasts and dark drama shows late at night. I'm a serial hobbyist, I'll never turn down an iced coffee, I actually try hard not to cuss like a sailor and I love meeting different kinds of people.