So much to say, so little time. But the good news is that I got to sleep in until 8am today. Winning.
The topic I’d like to write about (but sadly there’s no way I can cover it today) is one that a friend brought to my attention recently. It’s that men today may be more involved with their children than perhaps our father’s were (in general), and women today may be more involved in the work force than our mother’s were (in general), but despite that women today are by and large still expected to carry the full weight of the mental load in the household. And it’s exhausting.
This is definitely true in my household. I’ve brought it up to my husband before, but with very little acknowledgement or change. I decided that it would be worth revisiting.
-pause to see client-
-client is running late-
I told my husband that a female friend of mine had sent me a comic that resonated with me, and I wanted him to read it, but I wanted him to read it from an objective standpoint. I wanted to know his thoughts.
He started reading it and within two minutes stopped and said, “This is just about what a bad guy I am. I don’t want to read it.”
I was like, “No, it’s not! I told you to read it from an objective standpoint. Come on. Try not to make it personal. Just read it objectively.”
So he continued. At the end, I asked him what he thought. He said it was really hard not to take it personally. I shared how validating the comic was to me. I think that the message—that women carry the mental load in the household despite taking on just as much work outside of the home as men do—is entirely accurate. I feel it all the time.
-client is ready now-
I also explained to my husband that I didn’t intend this as an attack on him. I believe that he is a product of his upbringing, and I don’t blame him for not taking on more of the mental load. I also gave him credit for being more involved that many other men I know. He does his own laundry, does the dishes on occasion, and once or twice a year he might spontaneously do something extra like clean the floors. (Seriously, that is more than most men I know -eye roll-.) What I would like is acknowledgement that the “mental load” is a real thing. I’d like him to at least make an effort to recognize that this is something I am doing every hour of every day of every week.
After that I’ve tried to make more of an effort to help him see. For example, earlier this week I was complaining that I was hot because I had to work out in the common living area while the dryer was running. My husband was like, “Well you’re the one who decided to run the dryer right now…” and I was like, “Yes. Because I had to. Because our daughter doesn’t have any more clean pajamas, which is something that you would know if you were carrying the mental load.” I said it very matter of fact, like this was the moment we were talking about. Like, notice the invisible work I do all the time.
The comic pointed out that even delegating is mental work, but I don’t believe that change is going to happen overnight, so I still delegate. For example, usually I drop our daughter off at childcare two of the three days that she goes, and my husband drops her off one day and picks her up every day. Yesterday I proposed that he drop her off and pick her up every day. It’s mindless work and it frees up my time to do things like put up seasonal decorations, put together a list of developmentally appropriate toys for our daughter, schedule doctor’s appointments, etc. He didn’t even argue with me about, which I really appreciated.
Okay, I’m going to end this here. My next client is in two minutes and I need a second to stare at the wall.
Who am I kidding I’m going to reread this to see if it needs editing…
Until next time <3
Last updated September 05, 2020