And we wonder why we’re tired…

Monday’s are always big days for me. There’s a weekend tidy up to do, an overflowing inbox, work and planning the week, plus life with a 2 year old and big kids. I’m not alone, I’m just one Mum, having a crack, like millions of others out there.

Want to know what my day looked like?
It’s not interesting, but it’s bloody full.

6.20 am: Day begins with Maggie yelling to get up. I’m happy with 6.20
6.21am: Out to the couch to get her milk, while she watches TV I write morning blog post
7.00am: The bigs start to arrive one by one and literally start fighting with each other in the first 2 mins
7.10am: Get breakfast for the big two and try to negotiate with Mags about what she will eat
7.15am: Rob gets up and gets me a coffee
7.20am: Get a load of washing on while Mags decides on breakfast and drink coffee
7.25am: Strip the linen on our bed and throw every bit of washing to be done on the floor. It’s MASSIVE
7.30am: Get Maggie breakfast
7.32am: Maggie wets through pj’s and has to get dressed
7.40am: Get first load of washing on the line, unpack all bags from the weekend
7.45am: Ask Harper to get dressed and brush her teeth etc
7.48am: Get second load of washing on
7.50am: Clean up Maggie’s breakfast and start to tidy up kitchen once Rob has done lunches
7.52am: Ask Harper to get dressed again
7.55am: Kitchen cleaned and shut down
8.00am: Put out fights between Daisy and Harper over hair brushes or the way the wind is blowing
8.02am: Ask Harper to get dressed again
8.05am: Get new sheets on our bed and add to the immense washing pile
8.10am: Get second load of washing out on the line
8.15am: Ask Harper to brush her teeth now she has actually gotten dressed
8.16am: Stop girls from fighting as they are now brushing teeth at the same time
8.17am: Get third load of washing on
8.20am: Start to clean the house room by room as I realise it’s pretty fezza
8.40am: Get third load of washing on the line, no room for more so that’s done
8.45am: Dyson the house as far as I can before battery runs out
8.50am: Rob takes the girls to school
9.00am: Put Playschool on and turn on computer to answer emails
9.15am: Get third load of washing on the line
9.20am: Answer emails and work in between Maggie
10.15am: Pop around to Lucy’s to visit
11.15am: Home and get Maggie to bed
11.30am: Start work answering emails, reply to social media questions, editing work to be resubmitted, planing schedules, pitching work, editing photos, doing online banking, buy tickets for school concerts, chase invoices, add further to do’s, dyson the floor once the battery is recharged
1.00pm: Maggie waked and she watches Playschool while she wakes up and I work next to her on the couch
1.30pm: Lunch for Maggie and I, negotiate over whether she can wear swimmers or not. Continue to work on my phone in between
2.30pm: Washing off the line, 3 loads folded and put away
3.00pm: Finish the last of the #maintenancemonday cleaning, edit some photos
3.10pm: Girls home from school, get afternoon tea sorted
3.15pm: Put out fights between the girls AGAIN
3.45pm: Kids playing so duck on computer to answer emails
4.00pm: Homework begins, help both with questions in between Maggie asking why she doesn’t get homework and have a tantrum about that
4.20pm: Start dinner, schnitty so cut the chicken, egg, flour and crumb it, fry it in between keeping Maggie entertained and help Harper with a new project she is working on and help Daisy with Maths
5.15pm: Dinner is served for the family
5.16pm: I literally run out the door for my exercise for the day as it’s the only time I have left as Rob is out tonight
6.00pm: Smash out 5kms, get in to Rob cleaning up, girls in the bath but he has to get back out to his office to finish a job
6.15pm: The screaming from the girls in the bath brings me undone, get Maggie out
6.30pm: Big two emerge from getting clean and into pj’s
6.35pm: Jump in shower
6.50pm: Sit down on the couch and answer social media comments and have a scroll as well as reply to text messages that I got on the weekend and never replied properly to. Work out some dates in the diary with friends and family for future catch ups
7.15pm: Get Maggie into bed
7.16pm: Get onto computer to get some work done
7.30pm: Get big two into bed to read
7.45pm: Maggie calls out and starts to demand I sit in her room while she goes to sleep, grab laptop and answer late emails that have come through from clients
8.15pm: Lights out on big two, Maggie asleep
8.20pm: Write blog post
8.55pm: Hit publish and turn off laptop
8.58pm: Go reheat dinner and eat it

Now I will sit, watch some TV and collapse into bed around 9.30pm. All to do it all over again.

There doesn’t seem to be any down time much these days does there? The fact that we can work remotely from anywhere means that we spend way too much time, doing just that, working. We can be so available, to so many people, all of the time, that it doesn’t allow much time for much else.

I think about this story, The Mental Load so often, about the sheer load of stuff that we are thinking of, all of the time. It’s not just the physical stuff, it’s all the other stuff we have to think about…car services, budgeting for the rates that are due next month, chasing payments and making bills, feeding children, caring for emotional needs…shit SO MUCH.

How is your mental load?
High to very high?
How do you take time out just to CHILL?
How can we all make ourselves a little less available?
And how was your Monday?

Painting by Raymond Casas. Could not find a source for the illustration.

Comments

  1. I ran into an an old mate at whilst taking my daughter to the very delayed doctor today. Was a joyous time with a 6 year old with an ear infection, a 2 year old angry that I wouldn’t let him play with the water cooler and a 7 year pissy it was a student free day.
    Kate: You look shit.
    Me: I feel shit and you should my house.
    Kate: It’s not that bad remember some people can’t drink coffee or wine, or have 4 kids.

  2. My mental load is intense, exhausting and relentless. It is such a bone of contention for me right now I can’t even go there. So I won’t. However, I read your schedule for the day and am bloody fascinated by the number of loads of washing you got through in the morning. My front-loader machine takes a good hour and a half to get through a load (that’s with me selecting a pretty quick cold cottons cycle). Am I doing something wrong/unecessary or did I just pick the wrong machine??!!! My washing basket is NEVER empty. Help!!!!!

    • Oh good I’m not the only person who got hooked by the speed of the washing machine…
      My children are grown so my days aren’t that hectic any more but I sure do remember those days and now looking back I wonder just how I did do it.

    • Oh man! I noticed that too. My standard wash takes 50 mins and the sheets/towels wash takes 2+ hrs!! (Oh my god insane, right?). I purchased the machine pre-kids. *facepalm*

      The mental load of a mother is always intense. I take my hat of to mums who also work from home. I would not get anything done!

    • Same! Unless I select ‘quick 30’ my machine runs for 1 hour and 45 minutes!!! Absolutely bonkers. And as I live in England now, you can bet on a sunny morning when I decide to hit ‘start’ on a load, by the time it’s finished it will be grey and raining… I reaaaalllly miss being able to wash, dry and fold multiple loads a day in Australia. Drying clothes here, in a 300 year old cottage, in wet weather is the stuff of nightmares.

      • Me too! We moved back to UK last year. There was actually a bit of sun on the washing yesterday afternoon and I felt a bit misty eyed about the hot, dry days when washing was out on the line for minutes before it was done!

      • I can relate – though I’m in Sydney we’re in a dark unit and I can’t dry items on the balcony cos surrounding neighbours smoke. It’s like we’re living in a laundry with clothes hanging to dry everywhere – otherwise we’re relying on the dryer. It hate it! How do you cope in winter? Rely on the dryer too?

        • I wish! We don’t have a dryer, or anywhere to put one! Damp smelling washing that takes 48 hrs or more to dry is the norm… Hate it!

    • Ha! Everyone wants to know. My washing mating has a super quick cycle and it does the trick for me every time so I never use any other setting.

      • Oh, you are so lucky! My super quick setting on my machine in France turns out whites and light colors that look like they never even got washed.

        Come to think of it, my machine in the US does the same crappy job on the longer setting. They’ve ruined them by making them water saving.

        Reading about your day was fascinating but made me tired, Beth! You have so much energy, though. 🙂 Brava, girl.

  3. I am an extreme over thinker so my mental load is probably heavier than it needs to be but like you said, it’s just the way of the woman/mum/wife/worker right?
    Twice this year I’ve gotten to a point where everything was just too much. The first thing I do anytime I need for my head to be quieter is log out of Instagram ( my only social media ). That instantly gives me mental space & I am SO much more productive. Another thing I’ve trued really hard to do is allow myself more chill time. I get so caught needing to be constantly doing stuff ( I think I’m trying to prove something because I’m a SAHM. What exactly I’m trying to prove by running around like a blue ass fly I’m not sure…). If the house isn’t clean at the end of every day it’s ok, there’s always tomorrow. I’m getting better at delegating to my teenagers who are totally capable of doing washing, cleaning bathrooms, washing dogs ( or small children ). And I’ve come around to the fact that my family love simple food so meal planning has become super easy. These are the things that help ease the load but I have to constantly remind myself to go easy on myself- I’m not as unhealthy/fat as I think I am, I’m not as shit a parent as I think I am, I am doing my best in that moment!
    And as for today? It was good, easy, a nice start to the week. Thanks for asking x

    • You could have been writing about me reannon.

    • Reannon, you’ve got nothing to prove as a SAHM, you’re doing one of the hardest jobs in the land – CEO of your family! I also think the mark of a good parent is one that worries they’re doing a shit job. It means we care and we’re tuned into our kids needs, as opposed to blundering naively and blindly onwards thinking we’re flawless. x

      • I think I’m proving it to myself because nobody else gives a hoot what I do during the day but I need to be able to say to myself “ you don’t get a pay cheque this week to show what you are doing is worth something but you’ve done X Y Z & that’s worth something too “. And my friends constantly tell me that the fact I often lament that I’m shit at parenting means I’m not too & I do try really hard to remember that. X

    • Nailed it. This post is spot on?

    • You are a star, truly. Try not to beat yourself up, easier said than done xxx

      • Thank you Beth. And yep, MUCH easier said than done but I keep trying because overthinking & beating myself up for all my perceived short comings is bloody tiring!

  4. I’m exhausted reading that. I fit my writing into the nooks and crannies of life too. Your schedule is chaotic and beautiful at the same time. I’ve succumbed to the day of day care for the 2 year old and now the angels sing on a Monday….. and Friday. It proved to be so incredible for him and me that I’ve increased it to two lol. Now instead of buying useless items I think of that second day care day. Thanks for sharing.

  5. All of the above (except my wash cycle is 45 mins). How do I chill – I’m doing it, a cup of tea and your blog!

  6. Robyn Jokic says

    Oh goodness I feel for you, I remember those days.
    I have three children…two daughters and a son.

    The eldest(who is now 39 married with 3 gorgeous kids) was into netball/dance/singing (singing involved me driving her to gigs at crazy hours of the night to the back of beyond)

    Our son(now 25) all he wanted to do was soccer and school footy which for years was my job to get him there when hubby was away for work, while juggling everything else.

    The baby(now 20) she was happy with dance until as she got older wanted to add school netball and nippers, so as you do you say OK (I was completely insane at that moment or she got me when I had a few reds…..its a blur)

    We managed to make it all work, oh don’t get me wrong there was a LOT of yelling back then but to see them all living their dreams it was worth it, so soldier on girl there is light at the end of the tunnel so to speak LOL. Thank god for family and friends is all I can say to keep the sanity an the odd drinkie as well.

  7. I always think that governments should pay one member of a family at least a day a week for the ‘job’ of running a family -> appointments, meal planning, laundry, blah, blah, blah

    We are at the end of a teaching semester and 8-days out from a 9-year old’s tonsillectomy which has taken us back to multiple wake ups every night and general misery and sadness. Can’t even get him to eat ice cream. Two weeks out from a tummy bug that involved each child having a night of puking multiple times. I am just. so. tired.

    Know that I have (stupidly) high expectations of myself and should chill – but all I can think about are all the things that aren’t done (7-year old’s birthday party – she has stopped asking). Feel that I might be slipping into old age without having ever paused at the pinnacle of has-her-shit together sophisticated adult. Bit sad really 🙂

    • Good luck with the op – while recovery may be painful in the short term I truly hope it’s the end of it for you. Get some rest now if you can…you’ll need it ahead. Thinking of you Cath x

  8. Sophie McEwen says

    There’s this fabulous new podcast called “Ladies, We Need to Talk” with Yumi Stynes – available via the ‘ABC Listen’ app. One of the recent (weekly) podcasts was on this topic….”Time to name (and shame) the mental load”. It’s a great podcast, perfect for when out walking. I thoroughly recommend it to everyone.

  9. Oh good grief – my mental load is so huge, i am surprised I don’t have to tow it behind me on wheels! I work 8 shifts a fortnight as a nurse at The RCH in Melbourne – 1.5hrs away from home. My husband also works – 20 minutes away – thankfully he is a little flexible. We have four girls. Life is crazy. My husband is ace and does all of the things, BUT answer me this – who is the one that plans each week, ensures there’s a vague meal plan and food in cupboards? Who makes sure all. of. the. things. are sorted and ready to go? Who does the appointment making and scheduling, then all the worrying about whether ANYONE WILL LOOK AT THE BLOODY CALENDAR!
    Oh – it’s tough, but fun. Somehow we manage.
    Beth – I would like YOUR washing machine. Oh – and my children argue about which way the wind blows too – that and where they will sit at the dinner table. I chill by running. Or walking. Or sitting on the toilet with the door closed and a good book.

  10. Oh this was a FAB post. One question for you. How do you get your big girls into bed at 8.15pm? My 12 and 9 year old won’t budge if it’s before 9pm…….I know it’s bad but I don’t know what to do!!! My 5 year old is in bed by 8pm. I’d love it to be earlier and now with daylight savings it’s even harder.
    Our days are so groundhog with work/cleaning/kids. When does it get easier?!

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