The modern husband is more involved in parenting and household management than ever before, but numerous studies and surveys have found that women still shoulder the majority of the workload at home. Moms are the ones ordering the next size up in pajamas and sneakers, we’re doing the gift-buying for holidays and birthdays, and we’re planning the meals and picking up the groceries, even in homes where both parents work outside the house.
Moms are burned out, stressed out, over-caffeinated, and swallowing acid reflux meds like candy, and you know what?
We’re not imagining it, according to this new study that shows becoming a wife and mother and manager of all things in your house is taking a serious toll on women’s mental health and stability.
Of the 400 women surveyed, 65% of them worked outside of them home, yet 9 of 10 also felt they were solely responsible for their family’s schedule, and 7 of 10 felt responsible for assigning tasks and upholding household standards. 8 of 10 were in charge of being up on what’s going on in school, and 7 of 10 felt like they were the ones in charge of the emotional needs of everyone else in the home.
5 of 10 moms surveyed took on the majority of the financial decisions as well, including “fun stuff” like vacation planning.
Professor Suniya Luthar, one of the study’s authors, dove deeper:
“There’s no question that constant juggling and multi-tasking at home negatively affects mental health.”
Another of the study’s authors, Lucia Ciciolla, details what all goes into “emotional labor:”
“Even though women may be physically doing fewer loads of laundry, they continue to hold the responsibility for making sure the detergent does not run out, all the dirty clothes make it into the wash, and that there are always clean towels available. Women are beginning to recognize they still hold the mental burden of the household even if others share in the physical work, and that this mental burden can take a toll.”
And it doesn’t just take a toll on the women involved either; having a mom who is feeling stressed out and mentally taxed negatively affects the children in her care, according to Ciciolla.
“When mothers feel supported, they can have the emotional resources to cope well with the demands they face. Being able to address inequalities in invisible labor can allow women and families to create households that are more functional and less burdensome, and can also spare woman mental gymnastics to find the space and time to care for themselves.”
One solution is for women to make sure they’re asking for help and support when they need it – at work, with family and friends.
One of the best things you can do – not only for yourself, but for your children, too – is to make sure you’re keeping up with your personal relationships, spending time away from your family, and recharging by doing the things that help you de-stress and feel more able to cope at home.
Self-care may be an internet meme, but it’s a real thing, and you need it, Mama. Don’t skimp on yourself.