Mom Does It All, But Does Anyone Notice?

Shot of a little boy throwing a tantrum while holding his mother's leg at home

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Mom runs the show! It's time to show her some appreciation!

A lot of effort goes into making a household run smoothly and moms are the ones doing a big chunk of that. There are the things we see them doing, like cooking, cleaning and getting the kids to school, but there’s also a lot of “invisible” work involved. This involves behind-the-scenes planning, organizing, and decision-making, known as the mental load. And a lot of this also falls on moms’ shoulders.

“Women aren’t just doing more labor, the labor they’re doing is mentally and emotionally taxing: anticipating and planning for how to meet the family’s needs,” explains Laura Danger, an educator who facilitates workshops on domestic labor. Mom is the one who tends to keep the social calendar, signs kids up for camps, and makes sure the grocery list is up-to-date.

These are the “invisible” tasks moms say are more taxing than they seem:

  • Staying on top of kids’ clothes - Not only do moms wash and put away their little ones’ clothes, they also have to make sure they have seasonally appropriate clothing and that it fits. So that involves shopping for new items and storing, donating or selling the stuff that is too small now.
  • Meal planning - Moms are often the ones who figure out what their family will eat three times a day, every day. They have to think about balanced, nutritious meals that are tasty and that their kids will actually eat.
  • Keeping track of what household items are needed - This includes everything from diapers to pet food to cleaning products and no one in the family really thinks about it until there’s no toilet paper in the house.
  • Managing school schedules, needs and communication - Schools send a lot of emails and papers home about what they need, upcoming events and assignments, and moms are usually the ones who respond, volunteer, buy or make what’s needed and communicate all that back to the school.
  • Making and keeping track of appointments - This takes up a lot of time, and let’s not forget the forms that have to be filled out for all those appointments.
  • Attending birthday parties - This can feel like a part-time job if your child is invited to several birthday parties a month and you have to RSVP, get and wrap the gift, take them to the party and then pick them up again, usually on a weekend when other events are also going on.

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