It’s the question dreaded by exhausted moms everywhere: “So, how was your day?”
Each night when it surfaces I have to decide whether or not to drag my husband down into the rabbit hole of to-do’s I can’t seem to escape. Usually though, I'll just change the subject because I’m too tired and overwhelmed to go all Britney circa 2007 at the dining room table.
I’ll pretend to enjoy dinner even though I’m secretly eating quicker than everyone else because I want to get the dishes done and put my kids in the bath on time (I haven't tasted a meal since 2014). I rush around in hopes of having a few minutes to relax at the end of the night.
But alas, when the kids are finally asleep I realize there are still lunches to pack, emails to write, laundry to do. My brain runs double-time as I go over the list of things that need to be done tomorrow and next week and the week after.
"Make dentist appointments, look for dance classes in the area, reorder contacts, pay water bill, grocery shopping before someone at school calls CPS because my kid is eating Goldfish crackers and Swiss cheese for lunch."
It turns out I’m not the only one feeling this extra, sometimes crippling, weight. It’s called the mental load and every mom you know is carrying it.
Sometimes referred to as the “third shift” (the one that follows the work shift and dinner/homework shift), the mental load is the behind-the-scenes work that makes your family function. It’s planning, scheduling and problem solving. It’s appointment scheduling, gift giving, activity coordinating. And honey, it’s exhausting.
Understanding that I’m not the only one who feels this way (a.k.a., hearing I’m not just a weak ass bitch) sent me on a journey to find relief. Here’s what I found:
- TALK about it. Answer the dreaded “how was your day” question truthfully. Your hubs may run for cover and regret ever asking...but hopefully he'll offer to help (for his own safety).
- PLAN ahead and together. Give your partner a chance to carry some of the weight. Try not to yell at him for folding the laundry like a toddler... he's trying.
- BE HONEST about needing time to hit the reset button. Even if it’s just ten minutes to sip some tea (ahem, Snarky Tea) on the patio; take the time. You deserve it, girl.
- LAUGH as often as possible. When you’re checking out at the grocery store and the cashier informs you that your baby had a blow out and it’s all over your t-shirt…. just laugh and know they’re going to have a great story for their co-workers later (yes, this happened to me and yes, I cried in the car).
My husband may mess up some lunches or dress our children like circus performers but having his help reminds me that I’m not alone. And you're not alone either girlfriend (I'm here if you need me, btw).
So when you’re feeling the weight of your mental load bearing down, grab some low hanging fruit and share it. Whether it’s a friend to vent to, a partner who wants to help or a parent who can offer sympathy, share the weight and lighten your load. You’re totally not a weak ass bitch.
XOXO Tea & Sisterhood,
PS - If you're suffering from mental exhaustion like me, our Wake The F**k Up blend can help! Instead of leaning on caffeine (and wine), this blend packs a punch with Yerba Mate, a natural stimulant, to deliver an even, steady dose of energy.
NOW GO AWAY - I'M TIRED!