The Tremendous Mental Load of Motherhood


Resources > The Tremendous Mental Load of Motherhood



January 24, 2023


Image of many sticky notes on a bulletin board to represent the mental load of motherhood.

The emotional toll of being a mom is real, significant, and yet frequently disregarded. Although it’s always been with us, the mental load of motherhood came into stark reality during the pandemic. The sudden shutdown of schools and daycares overwhelmingly impacted moms throughout the US, further adding to the overload of this “hidden work.”

At Jewell Chiropractic, we support families of all sizes and in all stages through bodywork and our in-person groups. We see, honor, and recognize the work that parents do, and we are here to help you feel your best as you raise your children. Book your next appointment or sign up for a class to get the “you time” you deserve.

Recognizing the Emotional Labor Moms Perform

The mental load that moms carry goes by many names:

  • Hidden Work
  • Invisible Labor
  • Cognitive Labor
  • Worry Work

Basically, the mental load refers to all the family management planning, thinking, and organizing work that tends to fall on a mother’s shoulders. Keeping track of school schedules, doctor appointments, play dates, and sports practices requires tremendous energy and brain power. And this labor often lands in the mom’s lap, even in homes where most “chores” are divided quite evenly between partners.

mom, dad, and daughter cleaning their house and mopping floors

One 2019 study indicated that while parents tend to make decisions for their children together, the moms do more anticipating, researching options, and following up on results. The mental load piles onto the mother’s shoulders.

And it’s exhausting. 

Tips for Navigating the Mental Load of Motherhood

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to avoiding so much invisible labor is that many moms don’t even notice they’re doing it. This level of caregiving seems to happen without anyone intending it. 

Here are a few tips and tricks for helping to lighten the mental load you’re probably carrying.

Acknowledge It

Awareness of how much you carry is the first step to alleviating some of the burden. Since this so-called “worry work” is essentially invisible, it’s important to recognize and honor everything you do. Write down each piece of your family’s life that you manage, from home and car maintenance to school schedules and piano lessons. 

Delegate and Release

Image of a mom and dad lying in bed and talking as they add schedules to their phones

Choose at least a few of the tasks on your invisible work list to hand over to someone else. If you have a spouse or partner, talk with them about which items they will handle. Can they schedule the car’s oil change instead of you doing it? Could they wait on hold with the doctor’s office to schedule a well-child visit?

Then – and this is often the challenging part – you need to let that task go. It’s their job now. They may do it differently than you or even “make mistakes.” But to truly lighten your mental load, you need to delegate and release.

Schedule Your Self-Care

A burned-out mom can’t do the things they want to do for themselves or their family. Schedule breaks for yourself to give your mind and body some love. 

The Jewell team supports your self-care in many ways. In our Portland, OR, office, we offer chiropractic care , postpartum services, and massage therapy to help your body feel its best. And we have parent support groups to provide community and connection. Schedule your time with us today to help ease the weight of the ongoing mental load of motherhood.

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