Recently, my wonderful, hunky, bearded fiancé moved back home. It was the end of four long years of long distance, and I welcomed him back to our small house with open arms. It was so nice to have someone to hug at the end of a stressful day, but there was something beginning to nag at me about the change… and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Turns out it’s something called the “Mental Load”, and THIS cartoon sums it up perfectly.
As cartoonist Emma states, “When a man expects his partner to ask him to do things, he’s viewing her as the manager of the household chores, so it’s up to her to know what needs to be done and when.” This was us! It’s unfair of me to say that it’s because he is lazy because he just moved home, but the pattern was emerging and it was not sitting well with me. Emma writes, “Feminists call this work the mental load. The mental load means always having to remember.” Ding, ding, ding!
As a person with ADHD, I’m beginning to understand that I need a lot of structure in my daily life. I need strict routines, schedules, and habits so that everything that needs to be done can get done. The integration of another person’s schedule made things really hard for me to manage, and making time to sit down and make a plan kept getting pushed back. I didn’t feel like my mental health was being made a priority, so we had an honest conversation and sat down to make a chores list and new routine that worked for both of us.
Always having to remember things like, “we need shampoo”, and “the dog’s medication is getting low”, and “the summer tires need to be put on”, etc., is exhausting and makes my already cluster-f#ck brain go haywire. Always having to remember everything for an entire household would create anxiety in any person, but when your brain doesn’t process and filter information efficiently, it is especially crippling. I can’t be the person managing and delegating tasks all the time. It’s exhausting, and holding my Hunky Dreamboat accountable for taking responsibility for things doesn’t make me overbearing or a “nag”. It makes us equal, and it will help us have a marriage with minimal resentment.
Since sitting down to plan our finances, date nights, chore schedules, and meals for the week, I haven’t had a meltdown. I feel happier in my relationship knowing that Brett will take initiative and do things without me having to ask. It also makes me more attracted to him- he’s not a weak underling in need of constant hand holding. He’s a capable, grown-ass man who gets sh*t done. And getting things done together leaves more room for enjoying each other.
I urge you to check out the comic and have a good heart to heart with your partner. Prioritizing communication and schedule making has done wonders for our overall well being, and sharing stuff like this is what this blog is about! Tell me how it goes in a comment below.