Hey dads! Have you heard of the hospital fantasy? It sounds kinky, but it has nothing to do with sexy doctors or sponge baths. There is a scene in the movie “Bad Moms” where an exhausted, neglected stay at home mom, played by Kirsten Bell, asks her friends if they also share her ultimate fantasy. Which is to be in a not too serious car crash that would land her in the hospital, so she would be the one to be taken care of, and she would be free to watch TV and do nothing. Relatable to moms? I high fived the screen.
The Mental load
Being a mom is tiring! Our super power to be light sleepers after childbirth is just a small part of it. Most importantly is that we keep mental notes of everything. We fill in weekly itineraries, come up with a healthy meal plan, which has to be followed up with a groceries list, keep up the laundry, vacuum crumbs, help out in school activities, plan doctor appointments, keep track of seasonal wardrobe changes, buy gifts for special occasions, keep track with our kids development charts, find activities for the kids to do, find the best diaper deals online, pack for lunch/swim class/holidays, clip teeny tiny fingernails and much more.
The cycle doesn’t end. “You should’ve asked” is a comic by Emma that perfectly explains what the mental load is. We have left the 1950’s a long time ago, yet the caretaker tasks are often for the women in the household.
Dads, it’s not entirely your fault. A lot of women feel the pressure to be the perfect multitaskers. It’s what society wants us moms to be and we moms actually feel guilty when we cannot fit 48hrs in a day. Whatever the reason is, we deserve a break. Give her some time off of having that mental load and let her know that you have got her back. We all need some alone time once in a while, undoubtedly. She can fill her cup again and this helps her to be happier and better at what she needs to do.
Morning rush hour
Mornings are hectic in most households, but it is a different level of play when you have preschoolers in the mix! Babies need to be changed, fed and changed again. Toddlers will fight the toothbrush/ potty/ clothes/ breakfast.
Here are a few things that need to be done and make it easier for everyone to leave the house:
- Pack the diaper bag. Make a list with your partner so you know what should go into the bag. Have it ready and stocked up.
- Prepare the kids lunch bags. Stay up to date of what you are allowed to pack for school. Some schools do not allow nuts and/or sugary foods.
- Pack snacks! Nobody wants to deal with a hangry child.
- Prepare for the weather. Is it going to be rain gear or sun hats? Is the footmuff installed on the stroller for the strong chilly winds?
- Wipe the kids little noses and mouths before leaving the house and we are good to go.
Let her sleep in
Plan it together the day before, so she has time to wake up by herself (instead of “Maaamaaa”), have a hot shower and enjoy a cup of coffee with breakfast. You could go to the shops with the kids or take them for a long walk. Or even better..
Plan a day away with the kids
Take the kids swimming, go to a museum or visit a park. Your partner will have time to read that book that she has on the nightstand for forever. Catch up on her favorite show. Take a nap. Or eat a bag of candies without having to lock herself in the pantry.
Make a list of what your family needs and if you are not sure which brand or version you should have, make photo’s of the items at home. Kids ran out of shampoo? Put it on the list. Not enough toast for school lunch for the next 2 days? Put it on the list. To finish the task, put away the groceries when you return home, foldaway the bags and the crates that you’ve used.
Eliminate the time you spend on your phone while mom is busy in the kitchen taking care of the warm meal. This will allow you to spend some quality time with the kids. Learn to make your children’s favorite wholesome meals. Therefore you won’t have to order take out when your partner wants to have a night out with friends. Set and clear the table with the kids. All little bits help.
Mothers often feel caught between wanting to direct or letting you find out how to do things yourself. The biggest help you can offer is to be present and to be hands on. Even if you are not sure how some of the things are done. The good news is that parenting is something we learn on the job. Let the experience be your teacher!