In a couple, women still do 70% of the household chores and child care, in addition to their work.
- Mental load is the preoccupation with planning family life, daily obligations and appointments and can appear as ruminations at any time of the day.
- Often still worn by women in the couple, it not only increases stress, but also fatigue and can create tension.
- In a couple, it is therefore important to properly distribute the tasks and obligations of the week by regularly making an inventory to realize the time spent by each.
The equitable distribution of the mental load is not only a question of equality in the couple, but also of the appeasement of frustrations and tensions in order to help each of the partners to better reconcile their life between work and family. It is also an example that we give to our children.
What is Mental Load?
Being preoccupied with planning family life, daily obligations and appointments is called “mental load”. This notion is added to the realization of all the tasks of daily life in the form of ruminations at any time of the day. Often still worn by women in the couple, it not only increases stress, but also fatigue and can create tension.
According to the most recent studies, over a week, men devote about 10 hours less than women to various domestic tasks, without of course taking into account this mental workload (“Timetable” survey carried out by INSEE).
How else can household chores and mental workload be shared within the couple?
Start by making an inventory of the obligations to be done throughout the week, regularly in the year, especially in the event of change, makes it possible to realize the time spent by each one.
After having done this preparatory work, each partner can choose the tasks according to their affinities (laundry, dishes, meals, purchase of clothes, garbage can, bathing the children, medical appointments, etc.) and undertakes to s occupy it entirely or in turn. Using a family calendar visible to all can also be useful.
To limit the mental load, it is better to try to define when each task should ideally be done to avoid frustrations and blame.
Each partner must thus accept that it is the responsibility of the other to do the task incumbent on him and that it is not necessary to add criticisms which will only provoke conflict. On the contrary, if your partner is unable to accomplish his tasks, take the time to discuss it to identify what his blockages are and how to organize himself differently.
With this new distribution, everyone can encourage each other by thanking each other for positively reinforcing the actions in a sustainable way.
Find out more: “Exit the mental load!: 7 keys to an egalitarian life as a couple” by Marie-Laure Monneret.
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