4 Tips for Sharing the Mental Load

Have you ever felt, much like Jennifer Aniston’s character in The Breakup, that you didn’t just want your partner to do the dishes; you wanted them to want to do the dishes? If so, you were likely dealing with an imbalance of something called emotional labor.

The concept of emotional labor is essential to a happy, healthy household ecosystem. When we fail to recognize its importance, we open the door to frustration, exhaustion, conflict, and resentment.

What is  Emotional Labor?

There is a hidden cost to managing a household that once had no name but now goes by many. For today’s purposes, we’re calling it emotional labor. Others have also called it invisible labor or mental load.

In this context, emotional labor refers to the myriad unpaid mental tasks and emotional demands of day-to-day family and household management, such as: – Cleaning, maintenance, and other essential housework – Managing kids’ meals, schedules, transportation, etc – Keeping track of important events on the family calendar – Paying bills and balancing financial accounts – Looking after the family pets

Sharing the Load: Tips for Balancing Emotional Labor

When we don’t give enough attention to emotional labor, it will often fall mostly or entirely to one person in the family. As we’ve seen, this can lead to a variety of challenges and leave emotional needs unmet. To start managing emotional labor and sharing the load in a way that suits everyone, try some of the strategies below.

Unfortunately, awareness of emotional labor does not immediately remove the negativity it can cause, but it does give us a language to identify, discuss, and later attack these challenges.

Talk About It

Divide the C, P, and E

When it comes to building mindfulness and a positive relationship with emotional labor, it may help to break each problem down into components: conceptualization, planning, and execution.

In your family conversations about emotional labor, you may discover diverse preferences and strengths. Of course, no one will ever feel much enthusiasm for scrubbing toilets or taking out the trash. Still, try to cater the workload to what naturally clicks best with each person to the extent possible.

Play to Each Person’s Strengths

Swipe Up To Read More