Emotional Labor: 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.

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.

We use the term “emotional labor” to distinguish between the physical effort of doing these things and the emotional burden of taking responsibility for them.

Problems With Emotional Labor

When one person bears too much mental load for everyone, they will likely feel emotionally exhausted, overwhelmed, and anxious.

One effective way to illustrate emotional labor is with the Conceptualization, Planning, and Execution (CPE) model, which Eve Rodsky coined in her book, Fair Play.

Conceptualization, Planning, and Execution

Tips for Balancing Emotional Labor

Talk About It As with all things family, parenting, and relationships, open and healthy discussions are an essential tool to cope with and prevent emotional conflict.

There’s no one-size solution for dividing household C, P, and E, but simply knowing that all three exist and can be separated greatly benefits household emotional wellbeing.

Divide the  C, P, and E

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