I did listen to the Best of Both Worlds episode on Division of Labor & Mental Load the other day, and I found myself nodding along with interviewee Allison Daminger.
I was out walking, so I snapped some screenshots to remember particular segments that spoke to me.
This is a topic I feel like I would love to sit and have a long discussion about with I don’t know who exactly. Probably some other moms that understand? 🙂 This is one of those “mom life” topics that sort of buzzes around in my head ALL the time, but yet I’m never quite able to pinpoint what it is I’m feeling. I thought the woman they interviewed did a good job of verbalizing some of these feelings!
Here are some favorite quotes from the episode:
“We’re used to thinking about cleaning and cooking as chores, as work. We can probably say who does them in our household. But for many people, it’s probably more of a stretch to say who does the noticing in your household? Who remembers when you’re running low on toilet paper?”
*Yes! The “noticing”. I love this. This is 100% something I do more of, generally speaking. It is absolutely a source of “mental load” for me. Doesn’t mean my spouse doesn’t help, but noticing + doing is not the same as just doing when asked.
“A big issue that I hear from people when they are trying to allocate a mental load more equitably is that it’s really hard to delegate. Because you have all this knowledge in your head. And carving out one little piece of it, to tell your spouse to sign up for baseball.. Well, if you know, like, all the baseball leagues in the area, and you know the schedule for your family…it’s going to be hard for your spouse to just carve out that one little piece.”
*(nods head). Yes again. This is such an issue. When someone has historically not dealt with a particular thing, they get very “out of the loop”. And then what happens is that the mom basically says, “Oh, forget it. It’s too hard to even explain/delegate. It’s easier if I just do it myself.”
“A thing that I did see often, was that a lot of people, mostly women, were just feeling stressed and run down and anxious, yet they felt like their partner was contributing….and it was hard for them to articulate WHY they felt like it was so burdensome. I think what happens is that a lot of this work is invisible. So you don’t really get credit in the same way that you do for driving your kid to soccer practice, or cleaning up the kitchen after dinner.”
*Yep. The “invisible work” is real. The signups, the teacher emails, the forms, the team snack, the school donation, lesson time coordinating. All the things that magically “happen” while no one is looking.
“Moms get a reputation for being anxious, uptight, worriers. And I think it’s a complicated issue, but one piece of it is that they often have a lot more to worry about. They, in many cases, will be the one who is on the hook if something goes wrong. For example, if you forget to schedule a babysitter, it may be your work that gets sacrificed. Or, if your kid shows up to daycare without their swimsuit, the daycare people will probably judge YOU rather than your partner.”
*I often feel this, too. Sometimes I think Ivan brushes certain things off, saying, “well, that isn’t even really necessary.” But in reality, it kind of is! The end of the world? Maybe not. But does he really want his kid to be the only one that doesn’t have a soccer uniform at game time because we forgot to place the uniform order?? Or the only family in the class that didn’t turn in the school “fun run” pledge donations?? Probably not….
I have a million more thoughts on this topic, but, I gotta run! Time for a meeting. Have a great day!
I am grateful for podcasts!! I really, really enjoy them!