The mental load: The thankless tasks

I read an article on the Guardian online about the ‘mental load’, did you read it? If not here is the link, it’s well worth a read. It just made sense of everything I have been feeling in the last year.

Your partner comes home from work, you are knackered, but the house is a tip, what exactly did you do with your day? You are sure you spent the day caring for your toddler and tidying, but there is nothing to show. Your partner is probably (secretly as he doesn’t want to start an argument) thinking, you have it easy, they have to trek to work everyday and you get to…chill? That might cause them to resent you a bit and you might resent them as they don’t fully recognise what you do. That is when the ‘mental load’ comes in, as the article explains, the mental load is invisible – and there lies the problem. It is all the stuff you don’t see

  • The constant tidying and picking up after people
  • Mentally making note of whats running out and what you need to buy
  • Mentally making note of what clothes & shoes your toddler has and when they will grow out of them
  • Budgets – monthly, holiday savings, Christmas savings etc etc
  • Holiday planning
  • Managing the family calendar
  • Bills bills bills
  • Renewals of insurances
  • Paying toddler classes
  • Cleaning every inch of the house
  • Selling toddler items, ready for the next lot
  • Present buying & planning
  • Cooking & meal prep
  • Childs progression
  • Keep vege plants alive
  • Medical appointments for the family
  • Repeat prescriptions
  • Planning weekends away and budgets
  • Keeping toddler alive day to day
  • Childcare planning

Those are just a few of the things that most of us have to think about, for us full time Mum’s/Dad’s who have businesses or blogs, we also have that thrown in. That is A LOT of stuff that just happens and no one knows it has. This is a load that mostly falls to women, or stay at home Dads. My partner is great, I do feel supported, I feel he does a share, but it is only when we made a list of what we each do, it is apparent, even in our equal relationship, I have a way longer list, and I think we are both to blame. I think I should have made the list before now, and asked for help before now.

I have been feeling slightly overwhelmed lately and think the article just made me have a PING moment, I have over stretched myself, and something has to give. In fairness it has been a busy year, buying a house, renovating it, learning to drive, travelling abroad for work etc.
I am lucky that my partner gets it totally and wants to do more, he wasn’t angry at the list or annoyed, he knew I wasn’t having a go, as I do feel he does a lot, but I am just doing too much and he didn’t realise, because it is invisible and he doesn’t see it, and I just carry on doing it all.

I have read some blogs lately, saying women can’t have it all, they can’t be a stay at home parent and run a business or work part time, because something will suffer. Well before I discovered the ‘mental load’ article, I would have agreed, but now I say bollocks. Yes we can! Providing we are not overloading ourselves with mental tasks that could be shared. No we can’t do everything, and we shouldn’t have to. We don’t have to. I think a lot of couples I know would be the same as me and my partner, they just didn’t realise it was happening and of course should be sharing it all out and would going forward.

I would highly recommend making a list of what you think about week to week and what physical tasks you do, a column for both you and your partner, and just see how it all falls. My partner and I talked it through, we moved some to his column, or said we will share some of them and work together more, as a team, because that is what we should all be, parenting teams. We went into it equally together and that is how it should go forward. Please don’t let it all get on top of you, and if you can’t share them out, ask yourself do you really need to be doing everything on the list? Can you drop somethings?

We our going to look at ours again next month and see how we have progressed.

Fingers crossed!

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Day 2 inside with a sick toddler: WTH is with kids programmes these days?

Day 2 and Hallie is still not well, day 2 is always the worst because you are tired from being up with them the night before. You just want to pop out, anywhere, even a small walk, but you can’t.

So instead it is another day of Calpol and Peppa Pig. Children’s TV isn’t what is use to be. What happened to Sooty or Playdays. Does anyone remember Greenclaws? That was the BEST show, A huge green monster that lived in a greenhouse, that would put a seed into a tree with a very loud lady, and out would come an amazing plant, like a chocolate plant, great TV.

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And what do we have to put up with now, Peppa Pig, who is pretty bratty and lives in a world where people don’t believe Mummy pig can hit the top of the hammer bell at the funfair. Today I downloaded the Peppa Cinema Experience for Hallie to watch, as a treat because she is poorly, she is currently loving it. No one warned me about the highly annoying beginning and in between bits, but at least I can leave the room here, I couldn’t have done that at the cinema!

Also I loved Postman Pat back in the day, but he’s changed. I feel it is a sign of the times that Postman Pat is over stretched in his job. He rarely completes a special delivery on time, and has the stress of the helicopter to contend with, as well as his van and bike. Poor Pat Pat, there’s just too much going on.

The only thing getting me through these shows (is blogging obvs) but mainly Hallie cuddles. All she wants to do is cuddle and its lovely, she is quite affectionate anyway but especially so today. I am hoping for a better night tonight, it is an awful feeling having to wake them up to give them medicine, but her temp was high so I had no choice. She normally loves it, but not at 2am. The only time you wake a sleeping child!

Cant wait for her to be better, hate seeing her poorly.

 

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How horrible is it when your little one is ill. I think the temperature bit is the worst, when they just don’t know what to do with themselves. Hallie woke up early from her nap and just kept repeating ‘hot hot hot’ over and over again. She didn’t even want her ‘bar’ (Goodies bars), so I knew something was wrong!

She is currently taking comfort with Peppa Pig and her Dumbo teddy, which she absolutely hates, but whatever she wants is fine. I sense a long night ahead, and to top it off I think I am getting it, which is good as I will know how she is feeling and can help her, but also bad as I will know how crap she is feeling. But we all know, if we do get sick, especially when our children are sick, you have to carry on regardless.

High temperatures always make me edgy, and very worried. Calpol is currently working its wonders and she is starting to feel a bit cooler (fingers crossed). It’s when they are so lethargic and a bit delirious that is really worrying, then they have Calpol and within half an hour they are more themselves again and you wonder how you got so worked up.

Tomorrow will be filled with lots of cuddles and ‘Peppa Pigs First Cinema Experience’, we missed it when it was at the cinema, sadly, but I think she deserves it tomorrow.

There has been two highlights of this spat of illness so far;

  • Hallie using my hand and arm as a tissue.
  • Hallie putting her snotty finger in my mouth

 

So it’s not all bad!

Hopefully she will be feeling better by tomorrow, and won’t have too bad a night. But if she did seem to get worse, I wouldn’t hesitate to call NHS 111 to speak to somebody, or if I was really worried I would go to A&E. Nothing is more important than your children’s health, you are not a burden to anyone.

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Things can be tough after a c-section, but because you have a new, beautiful baby, you hardly even notice. I guess that’s the trouble, you are so busy with your baby it is hard to make time for yourself, for you to heal, but you must. It can seem a long road, when all you want to do is care for your baby and get out and about, but don’t push yourself, if you take your time it will happen quicker!

Here are a few updated tips from my experience post c-section…

  • Don’t lie in bed; get moving as soon as possible and get a shower it will make you feel better, (don’t shower alone, my mum helped me, but the nurses on the ward can help too).
  • Look at the stitches; I didn’t dare look and made my mum look at first, when I did pluck up the courage I wished I had from the start as it wasn’t bad at all, and it made me feel better. Also if there is any change with them, at least you will know, and you can see your wound heal.
  • Get some huge knickers; you will not regret it, and yes you will wear them for way longer than you need to, they are just TOO comfortable! Some nice high waisted knickers, a size bigger than normal, and they will sit nicely above your scar area.
  • You will have a lot of tablets to take home, but don’t worry, they will help you and don’t forget to take them!
  • Take your injections, all of them; it isn’t a pleasant thought, but they are honestly not too bad, and if you don’t want to inject yourself ask your partner or friend.
  • Pain is there for a reason, so listen to it; don’t do too much, your body will tell you when to slow down, but don’t over do it as your tablets will mask your aches and pains at first, so just chill!
  • Sleep (ha!); this might sound impossible, but your baby sleeps a lot in the beginning, so leave that housework, lean on others, and take a nap.
  • Don’t bend down! Get a litter picker, lifesaver. Put everything at your level, in baskets with all the baby stuff in, so much easier.

It can be a frustrating time, but all you need to worry about is recovering and doing what you can for your baby. Take advantage of the time to just sit and cuddle your baby, whilst watching boxsets – bliss.

 

 

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It’s my BIRTHDAY! | Gift ideas FROM toddlers

IT”S MY BIRTHDAY! I thought I would blog this morning so I can relax the rest of the day. I have been very lucky, and woken up to some very special gifts from my little Hallie (my partner has done well). So I thought I would include these gifts in todays post, as there are some great ideas to give to our partners, from our children.

1. First up we have a custom made ‘Mummy’ necklace that Matt made with Hallie. It has lots of animals on it so she loved making it. She does now think it’s hers, but I am sure we can share. Matt sourced the bits separately on eBay.

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2. A mould of their hands and feet – not such a pleasant experience for Matt, as Hallie hates anything on her hands. This was apparent when I opened it and she turned away in horror. This is also from eBay.

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3. A large canvas from Photobox – a lovely keepsake for my new office. The quality of the pictures are amazing! They really do spend a lot of time making sure they go out looking great.

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4. The card! Helping your toddler write the card is always a heart melter – but this idea from Matt was amazing! He sourced hard board from B&Q, connected it with string and helped Hallie have a fun painting session making it! Page one was the front with the ‘Happy Birthday Mummy’, page two was Hallie’s favourite animals from her books/the favourite noises she likes to make, page three was inspired by Hallie’s favourite books again – with flaps to lift and see special moments we had together. He really did do well!!

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Good job Hallie! Can’t wait for next year already πŸ™‚

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