Solving the mental load update
When we first spoke about the mental load on this podcast, there was a fringe cartoon cold. You should've asked that was going viral. It explained the mental load with such clarity that when I first saw it, my reaction was fury. I wanted to. Shift to the ground. It showed a woman with a baby and a hapless male partner who was kind, but needed to be told how to help and it so familiar. So common. So exasperating and so profoundly unfair. Journalist, Tracey spicer new. What I was talking about. It was an absolute lightbulb moment for me, I sir, Clementine, Ford's facebook page. I share with everyone and I knew that went viral swear words and it happened in the time when I realized that my life with my wonderful husband who's fifty fifty with the housework fifty, fifty with the childcare, but it was just the little things. I'm always the one who organizes school holiday care or who takes the time to look after the kids or rangers everyone's Christmas presents or birthday present in his extended family and my extended family. So after reading that I, decided to go on strike in the household so he had to do it drove him Berserk. He said this is crazy. Such little school holiday cared Australia. I said now you know my pain. Jenny talk about the mental load in your life. I think when I saw the catching was like, oh, no added that to my mental learn. About. How often I think about the mental load? That's Jenny Leong amp in New South Wales Parliament I was very lucky and I consider it to be like that. My partner was able to access paid parental leave. So he was the primary care for a significant amount of time and in that case he did take the mental Lloyd and a lot of that was then there that the what's interesting is once we're both Both. Back at work where the default position falls back and the expectation of WHO's supposed to know those things to me. Then you feel like part of it is also all of my being bad feminist because of that because I think then adds another level to it to how much you should make a deal of this or not I noticed the gender dynamic with my. Friends that are in. Relationships, they're both men they quite comfortably into stereotypes, gender roles that old without all of the challenges and the. Doctor Leah. Repent on a lecturer in sociology at the University of, Melbourne. She racist as domestic labor, and this idea of the mental load is her field of expertise. I'm going to start and say a little bit controversial. Say That everyone actually carries the mental load. So some portion of your mental load may go to thinking about your career. Some portion of it may go to thinking about your family and some portion of it may be going to thinking about your personal life and the differences, the balance across men and women. So you could imagine men are spending a lot more of their mental load thinking about how do I advance my career thinking about the day to day challenges of work. That is a very different mental load than who is going to pick up the child from daycare. or WHO's GonNa Organize School holidays or who's doing the housework wise. House a mass. And one leads to economic outcome, career mobility and one is just unpaid sometimes recognized sometimes not recognized labor. And I think that's really the difference. How do we shift the ratio? Definitely does seat more with women the. Yeah, I, K-. So we're all in agreement about that. Absolutely. Absolutely, the balance in terms of unpaid in terms of thinking about the experience is disproportionately shouldered by women. Yes. Absolutely. Once, you get your head around the idea of the mental load. You start seeing it everywhere in the lives of your friends, colleagues, your mother, your self. It. Happens to women in all walks of life and age and six urology, but it seems to hit hardest when there's a baby. So. Now, we have a name for the mental load. But. The problem is naming, it doesn't make it go away. As I was sobbing thinking. I used to be able to manage employees teams. And now I'm too overwhelmed to even manage a grocery list. And more importantly. How did I become the default for every single child care and household tasks for my family? It wasn't supposed to happen to me. This is a road ski shades La, and she's written a book called Fairplay, which is all about fairly distributing the mental load aves marriage nearly ended when her husband center, it takes saying. I'm surprised you didn't get blueberries. She was furious at the assumption that she had gone from high powered lawyer to full-time Default Blueberry shepper. Eight. Knew she had to do something about it? She says, there are a few ways to look the mental load. My favorite was a term from nineteen eighty-seven and American sociologist named Arlene Kaplan. Daniels. coined a term called invisible work. In why like that term so much is because that's the only one that had a modicum of a solution in it. Because I kept thinking to myself. Maybe. Maybe if I can make. Visible all the invisible things I was doing from my home and family for my husband, Seth? Maybe then he would value what I did.