- The Slow Down
- Sharing the mental load can be a beautiful moment.
Sharing the mental load can be a beautiful moment.
There's a level of impossibility to dismantle the mental load on one's own. When you start to work on reducing the mental load in your own life and you live very closely with someone else, it’s nearly impossible without working with them.
It’s important to note that a partner isn’t limited to a romantic other half; it's anyone committed to supporting you and vice versa — a significant other, co-parent, or your life-long best friend. It could be siblings supporting each other in taking care of aging parents. All of those pairings are definitions of a partner. It comes down to a mutual commitment to shared responsibilities and outcomes. I believe the definition of a partner means sharing the load. While things may not be 50-50 all of the time, in successful and healthy partnerships there will be a seesawing of support most of the time.
I believe the definition of a partner means sharing the load.
A recent Instagram post framed the consistent imbalance of this shared load as a parasitic relationship. It was a purposefully hot take, but it got me thinking about the times that the balance feels more like 80-20. Whether it’s what we want or not, sometimes we can get comfortable with how things are. I think especially as women the burden of the mental load can lead us to say, “I got it. I'm going to do it myself.” That can sometimes come from a place of control, but it’s also connected to our cultural and narrative stereotypes around gender roles where women are supposed to be holding the family together and doing all of the things. But the point is reducing the mental load, that takes both partners. If you aren’t sharing the load, you can’t reduce what you carry. And you can't unload something without having a place or a person to pick up that load…or it’s not getting done. There's real beauty in redemption, love, and an opportunity in reducing the mental load with your partner.
There's real beauty in redemption, love, and an opportunity in reducing the mental load with your partner.
When communicated in a healthy, safe way, just the initial acknowledgment of the mental load that one person holds the majority of the time can be a powerful moment for both people. As the person who holds the mental load, being able to share that means your partner can hear what your thought process is like. The reality is that sometimes we just see that certain things get done, and the one not holding that piece of the mental load doesn’t really know what it takes. Making this a practice in your relationship can be a beautiful moment to connect, communicate, and even create collaboration. That communication is at the heart of truly reducing the mental load. By laying it out on the table, you can share your reality, the countless steps and the unseen effort. It's a vulnerable moment that can open a beautiful conversation.
Letting your partner know what you're going through also gives them the space to share how they can help. Sharing the load is a two-way street, and I see it paved with understanding, empathy, and, most importantly, grace. Maybe there's a task you've been handling that your partner is more equipped to tackle efficiently. Maybe there’s a different way you can approach certain tasks. Maybe there are things that can be set to the side after all. Embrace the power of partnership, start the conversation, and let the beauty of collaboration ease the weight.
Reducing the mental load is a journey, and it's not a solo expedition. With regular communication, seesawing support and collaborating around your strengths and differences, you could even find joy in shared responsibilities.