The mental load is a term many use to describe the project management of household and childcare tasks. Emma, a French comic artist, describes the mental load in some detail here. It is often the unseen tasks that women tend to do that others may not notice. The weight of this can weigh heavy.
This is not to say that in some households the roles are not more equal or even reversed. However, the mental load is often the burden of women. Statistically, women are more likely to do the majority of the household and childcare tasks. This study by YouGov suggests that women undertake far more household chores than men.
How has this changed during the pandemic?
During the pandemic, many women have noticed an increase in their mental load. In many countries, women found themselves not only trying to work from home but also tending to do more of the parenting, childcare & home educating compared to men. Coupled with the fact that everyone is constantly assessing risk and living in uncertain times, it is no wonder that parents are more exhausted than normal.
2020 has been tricky for many due to the lack of social interaction with peers. For women, it is common that the burden of the mental load is acknowledged and validated by other women. Getting together for a cuppa and putting the worlds to rights may not solve everything, but it can feel good to know you are not alone.
Here is a video of Early Nourishment peer supporters & myself discussing the mental load. We noticed this often fell into different sections from a parenting perspective.
Peer support and chatting with others can really help to lighten the burden. Our drop-ins and groups are the perfect places to meet others and get peer support. However, there are times when you may feel you need more support – take a look at our looking after yourself page for further links.