How to avoid the mental load?
Do you need to organize your everyday life? If you haven't done so, click here to receive advice from other organized parents. And don't forget to download the free app Coorganiz, to easily share your calendar, useful documents and the important things to do.
The mental load is the state of being constantly preoccupied by your family’s organisation. Here is our advice on how to avoid it!
This weekend, the term “mental load” came up a lot on social networks, in particular through the publication of a comic strip by Emma, an illustrator committed to various causes such as politics and feminism.
The short comic book tells the story of a mum who invites her colleagues to dinner one evening on a week night. Her guests arrive and her children still haven’t had dinner. So she invites her guests to have a pre-dinner drink while she finishes feeding the children. Nobody is watching the saucepan containing the dinner for the guests and it ends up boiling over. Her partner, annoyed, says ‘What did you do!?” and she answers “I did everything, that’s what I did” and he naively replies “You should’ve asked. I would’ve helped!”
The mental load or burden (or whatever you want to call it) is the state of being constantly preoccupied by the organisation of your family, your house, of taking care of your parents… in short, anything that turns your brain into an endless to-do list and prevents you from devoting yourself to the present moment.
What are the best ways to reduce this mental load that undermines us and damages our concentration and our efficiency? Here is some enlightened advice from other organised parents…
Learn to delegate
This is the principle cause of the mental load, when you think that no-one can help you in accomplishing certain tasks because you are the only person who holds all of the information about the family or who knows how to do things. It goes without saying that if someone else does it, it won’t be done as well, but asking your husband, like Emma, to keep an eye on a saucepan is not an insurmountable challenge.
If you don’t delegate, then the burden of stress falls on you and it becomes more difficult to delegate to your entourage. Single parents encounter more difficulty in getting help on a daily basis in this respect. Strategies need to be put into place for your local and friendship networks: share school runs with your neighbour, ask your mother to babysit one evening… it’s harder to ask for help, but once you get started you will see that mutual assistance works.
Don’t stop there! Apply all the delegation techniques that you use at work….here are some practical suggestions for delegating like a boss at home as well as at work.
Everyone is responsible
Make your children take some responsibility from a young age. Teach them early on to clear their plates after each meal, to put their dirty washing into the laundry basket instead of leaving things on the floor and to put the jar of Nutella away after they use it. These are the small everyday things that will save you some time that can be better spent with your kids.
Children can also be made responsible for their timetables during the week and for preparing their own sports gear, painting equipment, etc… Your vocation in life is not to be one giant family post-it! Display timetables in their bedrooms from an early age and get into the habit of checking with them each evening to make sure that everything is ready. They will get used to it quickly and forgetting something one day is not the end of the world, but a way for them to realise the consequences of not having prepared their things.
Good organisation is organisation in which everyone participates – not just you: to do this, you need to share information as widely as possible. As we already said, you brain should not be the entire family’s data repository. What is the worst thing that could happen if you weren’t there? Nothing or not much? That’s perfect; you are well organised and anyone can take the baton. If everything comes to a standstill when you are not there, then you should share information a bit more often.
We call that Co-Organisation!! Sharing the right information, delegating and allowing others to replace you. To do this requires a little forward organising… in an ideal world you could take on an organisational assistant. Yes, in your dreams!! Someone to whom you can give information once and who will take care of passing on the right information to the right people at the right time.
Look no further!
With the Coorganiz App you create the organisational groups you want. A single message to Coorganiz and it will transmit the right information to the right people at the right time in the shape of an event or a task, with automatic reminders. No more taking up mental band width! Simply text “The baby-sitter should prepare the swim bags tomorrow evening” when you think of it and Coorganiz takes it from there….AHHH, take a breath! The children’s diaries and the contacts are shared in relation to each person’s role and that way, all the members of the organisation will have the necessary information and they will no longer depend entirely on you. AHHH, take another breath!