Working Moms

4 Steps to Effectively Explain Mental Load to Your Husband as a Working Mom

Working moms, do you constantly feel like the household’s chef, maid, event planner, and project manager all rolled into one stressed-out package? You’re not alone – studies show mothers carry a staggering 80% of a household’s “mental load.”

What exactly is this pervasive mental load weighing you down? It’s the never-ending to-do lists, chore charts, and family schedules whirling through your brain. The constant life admin of running a household while also…you know…working and raising humans.

Chances are, your partner has zero clue just how mentally draining this unseen workload can be. In this guide, we’re breaking down how to explain mental load to husband in a way that bridges understanding and fosters a true partnership. No more carrying the entire household’s operations alone!

Read More: How To Help Someone with Burnout: 10 Ways To Get Them Back To Normal

Understanding Mental Load

how to explain mental load to husband

Let’s start with a definition, shall we? The mental load refers to that never-ending whirlwind of to-do lists, grocery inventories, and event planning constantly swirling through your brain. It’s the invisible task manager uploading files to your subdirectories 24/7.

As author Gemma Hartley explains:

“The mental load is the never-ending torrent of domestic labor that nobody sees because it’s carried out silently, about a thousand tasks per woman every single day.”

Just think about it – you’re the one who has to mentally catalog when the kids need new clothes or shoes. You’re making dentist appointments months in advance while hoping the calendar doesn’t conflict with your partner’s work thing. You do the Tetris calculus of lunch packing every night.

This silent choreography of household operations takes a massive mental toll. But here’s the tricky part – most of it stays invisible to anyone who isn’t the “leader” orchestrating it all. So while your partner sees you physically unload the dishwasher, they don’t grasp the mental labor of having to instruct others to do it. Or schedule it into the calendar. Or procure those little dishwasher pellets in the first place!

That’s the insidious nature of mental load. From the outside, it’s this enormous cloud of tireless work that often goes completely unnoticed and unappreciated. Time to pull back the curtain on this very real phenomenon!

Read More: How to Delegate Tasks at Home as a Working Mom for Improved Productivity and Harmony

Recognizing Signs of Mental Load

If you’re questioning whether you’re in ‘mental load’ overload territory, here are some telltale signs to watch for:

how to explain mental load to husband

1. Constant Feeling of Being Behind

No matter how productive you try to be, you always feel behind. Your to-do list is an endless conveyor belt that never lets you get done and experience that glorious “caught up” feeling.

2. Nagging and Reminding on Repeat

You find yourself nagging your partner and kids constantly about basic tasks – taking out the trash, cleaning up after themselves, getting ready in the morning. Reminding them of the most obvious things feels like your second job.

3. Mental Chatter Galore

Your brain won’t shut off, even during precious “me time.” A constant loop of schedules, checklists, and plans runs laps in your mind while you’re trying to read, watch TV, or just veg out.

4. Irritability and Burnout

The smallest thing can set you off into a spiral of irritability and burnout. Dealing with everyone else’s incompetence and lack of initiative has you depleted and fuming on the regular.

5. Dread Over New Obligations

The thought of taking on even one extra activity or obligation makes you want to scream. Signing the kids up for swim lessons or volunteering at a bake sale feels absolutely impossible to squeeze onto your plate.

6. Activity Tracking Overload

To keep the family ship running, you’ve become dependent on a zillion planner apps, digital calendars, chore charts, and grocery trackers. Your phone and laptop are a digital war zone for managing everyone’s lives.

If those all sound waaaay too relatable, it’s a clear sign you’re drowning in an excessive mental load. Time to get your partner in on the operations game plan before you have a complete burnout meltdown! We’ll cover how to address this soon, promise.

Read More: Top 12 Free Tech Tools and Apps for Working Moms to Boost Productivity and Work-Life Balance

Preparing for the Conversation

how to explain mental load to husband

Alright, so you’ve self-diagnosed as operating under a debilitating mental load. The constant whirlwind of remembering, scheduling, and handling all the things has you feeling like you’re losing it. Time to loop your partner in on the struggle!

But before just venting an epic rant about carrying the entirety of the household ops, take a beat to prepare. Conversations around inequitable labor division can easily turn into finger-pointing battles. To actually get on the same page with your husband, you’ll need to approach it thoughtfully.

First, get specific about what’s weighing you down. Make lists of all the planning, reminding, and managing you routinely take on – from meal prep scheduling to family calendar overseeing to that relentless kids’ chore chart enforcement. Seeing it all written out provides powerful evidence.

Next, reflect on how this impacts you. Maybe the mental load leaves you constantly frazzled or hovering in a state of anxious thoughts. Note how it hinders your ability to be present with the kids or saps your focus at work. Getting granular about the toll it takes reinforces why change is needed.

Then consider your goals and ideal partnership dynamic. Is a simple labor rebalancing enough, or do you need your husband to step up as a true co-leader handling operational duties too? Get clear on what success looks like for more balanced teamwork.

With your thoughts organized, schedule a time to chat free of distractions and when you’re both free of hangry or overly tired moods. Frame it as a productive conversation, not an assignment of blame. The ultimate goal? Having your husband acknowledge and validate the mental load you bear.

Explaining Mental Load to Your Husband

how to explain mental load to husband

One of the biggest challenges for many couples is how to explain mental load to husband in a way that facilitates understanding. Start by defining what you mean when you refer to the “mental load” or “worry work.” Spell it out as the constant planning, organizing, and delegating of all the household operations that need to get done. The to-do lists, calendar tetris, chore oversight, and inventory monitoring that allow modern family life to function.

Provide some quantified examples to illustrate the sheer scope, like: “Last month, I had to handle 57 separate household tasks beyond my regular office responsibilities.” Or “On an average evening, I juggle 12 different childcare choreographies while also meal prepping.”

Then explain how this unseen emotional labor impacts you personally. Maybe it manifests as anxiety, inability to relax, lack of personal time, or compromised work performance. “Carrying this operational burden makes me feel overwhelmed and resentful toward you at times when I need your partnership most.”

The key is having your husband acknowledge this very real phenomenon that often flies under the radar for men. He needs to comprehend not just the workload, but the mental toll it takes. Collaborating on ways to share the mental load – not just physical chores – should be the goal.

Provide concrete suggestions for how he can help lift some of the burdens, like owning certain household domains (perhaps he schedules all kids’ appointments moving forward). Or offer to implement a “worry work” or “emotional labor” checklist you both tackle parts of daily.

The path forward will look different for every couple. But by naming the mental load, spotlighting its impacts, and positing ways to share the mental load and plan collaboratively, you’re opening his eyes to an often invisible experience.

Understanding Your Husband’s Perspective

how to explain mental load to husband

As you’re talking about the mental load and all its intricacies, make space to hear your husband’s point of view too. His reaction may run the gamut – from being initially defensive to expressing guilt over simply not having realized the extent of what you juggle.

It’s okay if he needs some time to truly grasp that the mental load can feel as draining as physical housework. For many men, the very concept of running simultaneous household operations is foreign territory. They aren’t hardwired with the same worry tracks that mothers inherently develop.

He may argue that he does his part by taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, or handling pool maintenance. And those visible Acts of Service do matter! But gently explain how the mental load encompasses so much more invisible planning and coordinating.

If he gets hung up on the fact that you’ve chosen to own certain responsibilities, remind him that it likely wasn’t a fully conscious choice. More likely, you took over organizational duties by default – doing what needed to get done because he simply didn’t realize the work involved.

Give him space to ask questions and better understand what exactly you’re feeling bogged down by. Is it the relentless barrage of scheduling requests? The mental zap of having to enforce chores and rules? The lack of ability to turn off “mom brain?” Homing in on root stressors creates empathy.

The goal isn’t making him feel like a bad partner, but increasing awareness of how the mental load impacts you. With open and blame-free conversation, your husband can start recognizing all the formidable operations you perform behind the scenes.

Read More: “I Feel Like I Don’t Connect With Anyone Anymore” — Why Do You Experience This?

Working Together to Lighten the Load

how to explain mental load to husband

With your husband finally grasping the soul-sucking realities of managing the mental load, it’s time to get him in the game as an active partner. The goal? Ensuring that one partner doesn’t fall into the habit of chronically carrying the entire household and family operations burden.

Start by auditing all the rotating tasks and things that need constant juggling. From kid activity schedules and meal planning to house maintenance and gift tracking, everything is up for redistribution grabs. Determine which domains he can fully own moving forward to remove them from your mental load as well.

For example, maybe your husband starts maintaining the family calendar and schedules because those Tetris choreographies drive you bananas. Or he takes charge of meal prepping and grocery inventory since that’s his love language. The division of labor doesn’t have to be 50/50, but it should feel equitable to both partners.

Then look at creating shared systems for managing responsibilities that remain jointly owned. Having a centralized “mental load” hub or changelog where you both add to-dos, reminders, and mental noise can reduce the individualized burden.

You may need to coach your husband initially on anticipating needs and planning ahead – skills that likely come more innately to you after years of practice. But over time, the cognitive labor should feel more balanced.

Remember, the goal isn’t to just transfer your mental load onto him in full but to develop a true partnership around household operations. Be a united front sharing planning duties, tracking issues, and coordinating schedules as a team. With you both chipping away, that mental weight will gradually feel lighter!

The Takeaway

Figuring out how to explain mental load to husband in a productive, non-confrontational way is tough but crucial for any working mom’s well-being. By defining the mental load, providing examples, expressing impacts, and suggesting solutions collaboratively, you open the door to increased awareness and partnership.

The conversational journey won’t always be easy, but building your husband’s understanding of this oft-invisible labor ultimately leads to a rebalancing of duties. With reduced mental burdens and designated operational roles, you can reclaim headspace for being more present at work and home.

No more shouldering the entire household management load alone! Approach the talk with empathy, embrace his perspective too, and remain solutions-oriented. Slowly but surely, you’ll redistribute cognitive labor into that coveted equal partnership you both deserve.

About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

No Comments

    Leave a Reply