The Mental Load: The Fantasy
“Girls are raised to romanticise taking on the mental load.”
For the most part in our culture, girls are brought up to romanticise both the remembering and executing of the tasks that keep a family going.
Look at the toys girls are given, and the games they’re encouraged to play.
See how they rehearse their future roles, and come to see these tasks as cute little ways to express their love.
They practise taking care of everyone’s needs through their dolls and stuffed animals.
They enjoy making home – planning, decorating, remembering, organising.
There get complimented on how kind they are, how loving, how giving.
How they know what others need.
They get so much praise for this work!
Teachers tell parents how helpful their little girls are, as if that’s what they’re in school for.
Children see who does what, and they take it all in.
Girls work out how they’ll be good mummies when they grow up.
The Mental Load: The Reality
And then they do grow up, and feel the weight of the responsibility that all of this really entails.
Putting a delicious dinner on the table looks cute, but meal planning, shopping, knowing what’s running low, tidying the cupboards while you put it all away, remembering the kids have run out of their favourite cereal and you’ll be the one they’re disappointed with even though you did all of this – do all of this, every time… suddenly it doesn’t feel cute any more.
The planning, executing, choosing, remembering, organising, ordering, scheduling, budgeting, noticing, knowing, and the telling – they’re not cute any more.
They’re a burden.
And where men have never carried their share of that load, they don’t get it.
“I just asked where it is,” they say, baffled, if you let out even a hint of irritation at being asked, again.
Maybe you suppress your anger, to avoid their defensiveness?
And the disconnection starts.
Mental Load Resentment
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