“What’s on your mind, honey?”
After pausing and weighing in on how complete my answer would be to his question I end up offering my typical answer that would maintain the casual conversation.
“Nothing really”, I said.
A statement that couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
Then I added, “thinking about the kids and wondering how they are doing with the grandparents.”
This was less of a lie because I really was thinking of the kids.
Truth be told, in my world, like many other moms, my brain is constantly spinning. I can’t tell you exactly what I was thinking at that very moment he asked, but in the minutes before he asked?
It was nothing and everything, and it was a whole mess of things in between.
This constant mental checklist is full of daily life events, to-dos and worries.
I need to buy more contacts before we leave for our vacation next week.
Am I all paid up with the babysitter?
Are my children getting enough vegetables?
I missed a deadline at work.
Do I suffer from anxiety?
Maybe I should check with my doctor, which reminds me, does my son need vaccines?
I should call the doctor, the school is going to want an updated copy of his records.
Did I register him for school next year?
He needs new clothes for school, he’s grown so much.
Oh no! The clothes, I forgot to take them out of the washer and put them in the dryer, again.
Did my son really eat chocolate cake for breakfast?
Make a note in my phone: look on Pinterest for kid-friendly recipes with veggies, create grocery list, call doctor, schedule work meeting, put clothes in dryer if they don’t need to be washed again because of the smell they probably developed from sitting there way too long.
I miss my children. I hope they’re having fun with their grandparents but I am ready to pick them up.
That’s the thought I offered when he asked, which barely scratches the surface of what’s going on inside my head.
It’s not because I can’t tell him all of those things because I know I could. He’s my best friend and he can take it. The reason I didn’t tell him was because…
I have what they call mom brain. Every single day. There’s even a name for it, called the mental load. This is the reason so many of us feel tired even though “all we do” is stay home. Or those of us who balance working outside the home too? That thought is absolutely exhausting.
You’ve probably had a mom friend reply with “I’m tired” after being asked how she’s doing.
While sometimes it’s sleep deprivation, this is not always the cause. It goes much deeper than this. When my husband comes home from work, I ask him how his day was because I love him and I care. However, the entire time, my mind is still spinning.
If you’re a mom you probably get what I’m saying, right?
Who will switch the laundry if we don’t remember to? And if we don’t bother with the vegetables then the children won’t get any. The doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, vacation packing lists…s
We constantly have an invisible checklist running in our brains.
This is a heavy mental load that we all carry.
I’m not trying to say we need to fix this like it’s a bad thing. I’m not sure we can fix it because we care about all of these things. Maybe it’s enough just to acknowledge that this is what we go through. That there’s a reason we get so tired even when we feel like nothing is getting done.
This is because everything that hasn’t been done and everything that still needs to be done is playing in an endless loop in our heads.
To all you mama’s out there, you’re absolutely amazing and incredible. You’re like that fancy bottle of glue that costs $20 because it holds the heavy stuff together while being completely invisible. Maybe it doesn’t have to be this way though. Maybe there’s something that can be done to help us.
What if the next time your spouse or a family member asks you, “What’s on your mind?” you tell them in more detail. This may help lighten the load, even if only temporary.
If they look at you like you just stepped off the crazy train, then find a mama to share the load with, because she will understand and chances are will have something to share as well. This burden is invisible but it’s heavy. Let’s be open and honest, and share with each other so we don’t feel so alone in all that we are carrying.
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