The Invisible Load Of Mothers
We all adults have responsibilities, tasks to complete on a daily basis. And we have our own methods to remind ourselves and check them off the list when done. And we feel a sense of accomplishment every time we empty the list. Feels great, right? There is a whole sector of people who rarely have this relief. It is “All the mothers”.
02 March, 2020
Especially the mothers who also pursue their career (part time or fulltime). The list is often never ending. I have read an interesting observation, somewhere, ‘A working mother is often expected to work as if she doesn't have kids and do parenting as if she doesn't have a job.’ How true! Most of our society treats mothers as the default parent and holds very high expectations towards them. And most workplaces often consider mothers not as productive as the non-parents. This adds immense pressure on working moms and they push themselves too hard to prove themselves as a good mother and a good employee. They are in constant stress and their ‘To do list' never ends. Self-care is non-existent in their list. This eventually takes toll on their physical and mental health.
Typically, their day starts much earlier than the rest of the family. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, getting kids ready for school/day care, packing lunch and snacks, driving to work on time to work for 8-9 hours only to come home to prepare dinner, help with kids’ homework, play with kids, meticulously plan for the next day. And when they go to sleep, they don't go with the relief that all tasks are checked off their list but with the list if things that awaits them the next morning. And the weekends are filled with catching up with the things they missed to do during the week, and in making sure the children do something fun for the weekend. Then there are obligations from the extended family, hosting guests and attending family events. The exhausting list of stuff mentioned above are just the ones that are fairly visible.
Mentally, mothers are always making the list of things coming up soon, like a doctor visit or a PTA or a school game or child's health, the bills and expenses. These are often not seen by others. This mental load is very stressful and makes mothers anxious. In this whole pile of things, self-care takes a backseat and we often don't realise until we are totally burnt out. Most of these tasks can be divided between the two parents and could be managed effectively. Unfortunately, not all mothers get this kind of support. Many fathers are now realising that they are equal parents and are more willing to contribute actively towards parenting.
Unfortunately, there are challenges too. We are in a transition phase which is tricky. A major part of our society still thinks it is a mother's job and a father wanting to participate is seen as something extraordinary or being a ‘Great help' while it in fact is an equal responsibility. Young dads are often being judged by their peers as ‘not cool' for wanting to spend more time with family. And work places have zero policies in place regarding fathers. When the child falls sick, it is by default the mother who takes off and stays home. Fathers are shown no consideration for wanting to spend quality time with family. The work life balance is not maintained which is stressful for the fathers too.
The positive side of this issue is, there is a lot of awareness compared to what we had a decade ago. More mothers and fathers are speaking about it. Identifying the problem is the first step towards the solution, and now we have done that. We have a long way to go until we share the invisible load of mothers and make it easy for her. All the parents, family members, healthcare professionals, employers, the government, we all have to share the load. After all, it takes a village to raise a child and we are the village.
Hi ! I am Lavanya,
Curious and awkward human. Mother of two and currently on the job training as a parent. Tough job but loads of learning and gives me a proud feeling that I am responsible for two wonderful little humans. Enjoying this role with ups and downs. It's good. Life is fun to explore. I am here to share my beautiful motherhood and parenting experiences. Enjoy reading and be benefited.
This is personal experience and point of view of Mrs Lavanya Athreya as a mother. Happy Motherhood does not take responsibility for the contents and those not necessarily represent point of view of Happy Motherhood.