I Carry the Mental Load in My Family and I’m Exhausted


I know what my son had for lunch today.

I kept track of what time he napped, whether he pooped or not, and his daily activities, all while keeping up with the chaos of my workday. I know when my husband’s chiropractor appointment is, and I know that he needs to reschedule his yearly eye exam. I have dates for my own appointments logged as well, and information saved about our health insurance options for open enrollment. I keep a running shopping list every week for groceries, a mental inventory of our pantry, dinner ideas for the adults, and accommodations for the toddler who eats nothing these days. I keep track of the nights we’re supposed to grab dinner with friends, plan the menu for a tailgate we’re hosting this weekend, and store the information from the potty training book that I just read. There’s a separate list for Amazon items that I need to order, an ongoing list of “to-dos” that need to be done at work, a calendar of deadlines for side projects. There’s even room for the names of and unique details about each of my 50+ clients, birthdays of each family member and friend in our lives, and the numbers crunched for our entire family budget.

I keep all of that in my head.

I go to bed, thinking, and wake up thinking. I glare at my husband as he naps peacefully on the couch. How can he just fall asleep like that?! Doesn’t he have anything to think about?! I fume.

I try to outsource. My husband physically helps with lots of items around the house, but the mental weight of the planning and organizing and delegating and scheduling, the remembering and reminding, is massive. It falls squarely on my shoulders, and it seems to increase every day with no end in sight. It builds, and I organize, moving things from mental list to mental list. I cross items off, and just as I think there’s space to breathe, there’s something else to remember for someone.

And it’s exhausting.

I can’t help but wonder, what does it feel like to not have to be in charge? How did I become “in charge”? Is it just my personality, I’m just the best fit for the job? Maybe it was decided on one day, and I didn’t realize it. I call for a revote.

I daydream about not having to be in charge. I think what would happen if I just stopped remembering everything for everyone for a week? Maybe one day I’ll get the guts to experiment with this. I’m also legitimately worried that our house would be in shambles by the end of a venture like that, so for now, I just continue on.

I take note of that fact that my son needs a new toothbrush while I brush my teeth, I set alarms and reminders for the next day to make sure all of our obligations are kept, and I try to shut my brain off long enough to grab some sleep.

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Miranda is a first time mom to 1-year-old Avett. She works full time as a social worker and admits that this professional work influences her parenting style and blog content greatly! Especially because her husband is a social worker as well. Miranda and her family live on the near south side of Indianapolis in the fixer upper they have recently gutted and renovated. Miranda was born and raised, for the most part, in Indianapolis. In her free time you can find her with her family trying a new Indy brewery or restaurant, or showing Avett one of the many great things about Indianapolis as a city! Miranda also enjoys yoga, hiking, traveling, swimming, writing, and sharing every experience with her family.