How to Effectively Cope With the Mental Load of Motherhood
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It’s the one thing that no one really talks to expecting moms about.
The mental load that comes with motherhood.
Perhaps it’s because it’s something that is difficult to describe to someone that isn’t already experiencing it.
But, it is challenging. Perhaps one of the most challenging things that is part of being a mom.
I know what it’s like to feel like you’re drowning in your own unrelenting thoughts. It can bring anxiety and stress. Far more than there should be.
I actually touched on it a bit in this post –> 3 Effective Ways to Overcome Postpartum Struggles
So, that’s what today’s post is about. If you’re in that place where you’re constantly overwhelmed and cannot stop thinking, then this is for you.
It’s one thing to acknowledge the mental load, but in truth what we all need are practical ways in which to deal with it.
1) Stop Multi-Tasking
I know, as women we’re kind of brilliant at this.
I mean, my husband gives me such a hard time about having a million browser tabs open all at the same time.
Multi-tasking can be a very useful skill to have, don’t get me wrong. The problem with it is that there’s the risk of getting distracted.
Like when you’re supposed to be cleaning a room and you go to put something away in another room and then see a job there that needs doing.
You start on that job and quickly get distracted from your original one.
The result is that while you’re busy doing all those little jobs you never quite finish one completely.
This not only leaves you feeling unproductive, but only adds to your mental load.
Now, instead of having one job to complete, you’ve got several.
My practical tip would be to focus on the one job you have to complete and don’t allow yourself to get distracted. Set a timer for yourself if you think that will help.
2) Write Things Down
Do you write lists when you pack for a trip? I can’t pack without one!
In truth, I write lists all day long for everything. There’s something about being able to get the words on paper that allow my mind to free up some space.
If you find that you feel overwhelmed by all there is to do then try writing it down in list form.
Then, prioritize the items on that list.
This article discusses a really useful tool in working towards productiveness –> The Power of the Three-Item To-Do List
It’ll mean that now you can focus on what needs to be done instead of constantly having to rehash your todo list in your mind.
This can be especially helpful if you’re struggling to fall asleep because you’re thinking of every little thing that needs to be done.
Keep a notepad and pen beside your bed so you can ‘brain dump’ it all and let your mind rest.
3) Delegate & Forget
Mama, you may think that the responsibility of the entire household weighs on your shoulders, but it does not.
Or at least it doesn’t have to.
We’re so guilty of trying to do and be everything for everyone in our home but often times that is beneficial to no one.
You are not a maid.
You’re probably a wife, a mother, and a homemaker. Yes, you can serve your family in love, but serving your family can also look like teaching them how to work as a team.
Delegate the household duties out between family members.
This will likely mean you’ll have to let certain things go. Jobs may not be done to your standard, but you need to evaluate what is really important.
Reducing your mental load will likely make you more fun to be around and that is a win for everyone in your household.
4) Plan Ahead
This takes work but it will mean less work in the long run.
My sister’s wedding is early next year. It’s over 6 months away still.
This week I organised our accommodation.
Some people thought I was crazy, but you know what? I don’t care.
We will have three kids at the time, one of which will still be a newborn.
It is also the peak of summer here in New Zealand and accommodation is both expensive and difficult to come by.
All of those facts were adding to my mental load.
Any list-makers here? My life is so hectic at present. I have lists upon lists upon lists. It’s the only way I can turn my brain off and get some sleep. I’ve been utilizing my planner and two notepads more than ever. At least they’re pretty, right? 😂 • • • • • #momlife #motherhood #momblogger #mommyblogger #letthembelittle #planner #motherhoodthroughinstagram #momblog #planneraddict #plannerlove #socialmediamom #plannercommunity #motherhoodunplugged #parenthood #plannergirl #plannernerd #momsofinstagram #mommylife #candidchildhood #uniteinmotherhood #childhoodunplugged #erincondren #plannerstickers #filofax #plannerjunkie #planning #maternidade #motherhoodrising #parenting #kikkik
Now that it’s organised, I don’t have to think about it for 7 whole months. That’s one less thing for me to have to deal with.
If there are things that you find are playing on your mind see if you can sit down and make a plan so that you don’t have to keep thinking about them.
A daily example:
Another example is meal planning. I am personally useless at getting a decent dinner on the table if I don’t have a meal plan.
Why? Because there are so many other things to think about during the day that dinner time seems to magically arrive and I haven’t had a chance to even think about it.
And then let’s face it, by 4 pm my brain is fried from dealing with toddler meltdowns and teething babies.
I meal plan monthly (which you can learn how to do via the email course below). It takes me less than 30 minutes to do and it means that I don’t have to think about dinner for the rest of the month.
5) Practice Self-Care
We underestimate the power of rest.
I often have to remind myself that even God rests. It is the example that He has set for us.
Work will always be there and unless we intentionally make time for it, rest will always be pushed to the wayside.
I recently wrote an in-depth post about the importance of self-care and how to practically implement it –> How to Make Time for a Shower: 5 Self-Care Tips for Moms
It’s something I feel passionate about because it can take you from existing to truly living life in all its abundance.
Motherhood is not martyrdom. Having the attitude that it is not only is unappealing to others but it benefits absolutely no one in the long run.
You burn out and your children learn that that is how a mother should be.
Implementing daily self-care will hugely help with reducing the mental load that comes with motherhood.
The power of rest really is underestimated.
I hope these tips give you a jumping off point for dealing with your mental load.
It takes practice to get good at it, but you will get better. Old habits can be difficult to break but giving yourself the ability to balance your mental load will allow you more joy and fulfilment.
That is worth the effort, I assure you.