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The Mental Load Of Motherhood

The Mental Load Of Motherhood

Posted on: Sunday 16 July 2023

Amy is walking away from the camera pushing a pram, the foreground is framed by leaves

 I don't really like to write 'negative' posts about motherhood, so before you dive in and read this one I'd just like to clarify that it isn't a negative post. I do, however, like to be realistic and I think it's important to talk about the reality of motherhood, which is a ridiculously vast spectrum of thoughts, feelings and experiences. 

I hate to sound like the most cliche mother out there, but having a baby really is the best thing ever. Actually looking after my baby isn't really the difficult part; now I'm not saying that sleepless nights, poo explosions and nap fights aren't difficult, but the good definitely outweighs the bad by a long way and I love him so much that those difficult times are worth going through. What is difficult is the mental load. 

In my eyes there are two sides to this mental load of motherhood. The first is that you are constantly thinking for two people (or more if you have more than one child, which I literally cannot imagine). Is my child warm enough? Is he too cold? What time is his next nap? Is he hungry? Is he thirsty? What do I need to take for him when we leave the house? Are his teeth hurting? Is he happy? These thoughts often overshadow those of my own wellbeing, which means I often neglect to do simple things like drink enough water or put suncream on myself. Instagram is full of well-meaning 'happy mum happy baby' quotes about mothers making sure they look after themselves and get a break from this, but let me tell you it is easier said than done. 

The other side to the mental load of motherhood is the never ending 'admin' that comes with having a child. The meal planning and food prep, making sure everything is washed, making sure you have everything you need when you leave the house, keeping up with appointments and tasks to do with their wellbeing. I'm sure I could go on. And this is all on top of the general life admin that has nothing to do with having a baby and becomes the last thing on earth you want to do. 

These are the things that make motherhood difficult. So when I, and others, are talking about the realities and difficulties of motherhood, it's not because (as some people will criticise) we are ungrateful for our child and it's not that we're not appreciating the precious time we have with them. It's because we are carrying a pretty hefty mental load, which is constant and never ending and yes, difficult. 

Unfortunately I don't really have anything useful to say, I don't have any magical tips on how to navigate the mental load of motherhood and I certainly can't suggest ways to relieve it. So I suppose all I'm saying is, if you're in this situation you're definitely not alone. We're all in this together as mothers so lets watch out for each other and vent to each other when we need to!


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