When I began my maternity leave, I created that instinctual bubble around myself and my new family. This was where I got to grips with being a mother. I was learning my child’s own language and having to instinctually understand their needs.
That bubble was safe and comforting. I remember there wasn’t much else I needed to worry about and I had permission to do so. It created this secure environment that told me it was ok to almost focus on this one, very important task.
In the real world, we take on a lot. It may not look like it from the outside but our minds are constantly whirling. If we’re not thinking about what we need to do next, we’re thinking about who needs us and what we actually want.
So, it’s no wonder when you feel that slightly overwhelmed, the easiest part to negate is thinking about your own wellbeing.
Because you don’t have to hurt anyone else in the process.
There’s been a lot of talk online recently on a woman’s mental load.
The women’s mental load comes down to the mental responsibility a woman instinctually takes on within the home.
It’s not often that you can hear something as simple as that yet relate to it in every single way.
I’m sure most can relate to being able to tell your partner exactly where their keys are. You know where they left that piece of paper they scrawled a phone number on, or you still explain how the laundry is separated. This is all a mental load that is put on at least one parent in many households even today.
In your bubble, that space is your safe haven. You pride yourself on being the one needed all the time. I felt a sense of purpose and importance being the one in our home who just knew everything and kept a tight ship.
I started to notice that this mental load began to take its toll when I wanted to find enjoyment in things purely for myself again.
As children become more independent, you find that something needs to change and that mental load becomes heavier.
Even though I started to get back into work or hobbies, I still felt like there was a lot of noise and not much mental capacity left.
On the surface, things can seem routined and thought through, but it can be easy to forget about something that has become instinctual for so long.
When it comes to the couple dynamic, it can be a complex and emotional ride.
What is so important in your successes – independently and as a partnership – is understanding each other’s mental load.
What I have seen from brief conversations is an attempt to explain your mental load to your partner and then expecting them to just change.
Whether it be allowing someone to take the mental load or you accepting the mental load, both of these habits are a process to rework.
They take commitment and understanding from both ends. It can’t be as simple as telling someone to ‘step up’ or ‘step away’.
Every day we are creating new habits for ourselves based on what we learn from the world around us and what we have grown to understand.
This can be a long process of rewiring these habits but it is possible. A couple must create a safe space for each of your to explain your understanding of how things are and how you would like things to be.
These conversations are the epitome of a successful partnership and only can continue to work once you understand these habits.
So, make this your sign to check in with each other. Once you open these topics of conversations regularly you can build a continuous strong partnership for the ongoing future.