I recently had a long day. A really long day. I was at the check out counter with all three of my boys and one of them was asking if he could buy candy.
By that point in the trip, I had already had to:
-Decide whether or not the 2 year old would walk or sit in the carriage
-Decide which sneakers to buy for the oldest for camp
-Decide which food to buy which would not bring us over our food budget
-Decide which popsicles didn’t have fake coloring in them
-Decide if I should let the older ones wander off to the toy section
-Decide if the little guy was ready for the next size in pull ups or not
-Decide whether I was going to buy the food for my son’s camping trip today or not
Decide, decide, decide.
CAN YOU RELATE?
My head was spinning and I was tired of making decisions.
Moms make a lot of decisions don’t we? We are constantly thinking about that present and future and making choices based on what we feel is best.
I recently read a little cartoon about something called “mental load” and I really related to it. It actually made me angry for a little while, and I had to consciously choose to not allow it to brew discontentment in my heart.
In this enlightening article published on Huffpost, the author discusses how once she and her husband had children, the general “workload” of the house increased exponentially. She talks about how she became the “Knower of All Things.”
Moms tends to carry a lot around in their heads.
Things like how the three year-old likes his toast, to how long the preteen has been on the computer to how many bowel movements the baby has had.
The more children you have, the more of this “stuff” there is to remember too.
So, what are the results of being the brain of the family?
Exhaustion. You are tired. A lot.
Stress. There’s too much to remember.
Disappointment. The kids are bound to be disappointed that something wasn’t “remembered.”
Irritation. That’s a lot of pressure!
So, what are moms to do?
Here are a few ideas that I have tried to reduce my mental load.
Write things down. I am 45 years old. I forget things. I have taken to writing everything down. Grocery lists, requests, things to do today, things to do this week…why do you think the “organization” industry is booming??
Delegate. So, there are some things I have to do, which cannot be outsourced.
I have to make sure the three year-old brushes his teeth.
I have to make sure the kids are eating healthy.
But, my thirteen year-old can pick up his own darn clothes off the floor and walk them to the washing machine. My eleven year-old can clean up his own dishes, get his own drink and other chores. I think too often we think “I HAVE to do this,” when in fact “I CHOOSE to do this,” is more accurate.
Ask for help. From the kids, but also from your partner. If you don’t have a partner, ask a girlfriend, or a cousin or a neighbor. You don’t have to do it all by yourself. This is hard, because it means giving up doing it “our” way and you risk being disappointed.
And most importantly…don’t be bossed around by perfection. We all have that little voice inside our heads saying “this isn’t good enough,” “that chair is ugly,” “more throw pillows!” Don’t allow your perceived idea of perfection to kill your joy! That’s what it does – it judges you, it judges others even. Work on contentment and peace. Say to yourself “It isn’t perfect, but it’s home.”