Sharing The Load With Your Partner: 5 Steps To Ease Off The Pressure During Festivals

Festivities can be exhausting. And during such instances, it is only fair that all duties are split between both parents equally to avoid over-exhaustion. Sharing the mental load with your partner and working together as a team can help ease off the pressure and improve your relationship.

By URLife Team
19 Dec 2022

Have you recently felt the need to practise breathing techniques for instant calm or perform yoga to destress? Is the pressure of performing at work while juggling family life getting to you? We all carry some different kinds of invisible load, it helps to have partners who we can lean on when responsibilities become overwhelming.

A 2017 study from Ohio State University in Columbus showed that women are more involved in taking on the household and child-rearing duties on their days off compared to men, who would spend their time in leisure activities. This exclusion of men in household and parenting duties puts an additional burden on women, wrecking their mental and physical health. And this burnout usually goes unnoticed by the partner who does not carry the major caregiving duties, especially during the festive seasons. Invisible labour, as most people call it, can be frustrating as it goes unnoticed by your partner. Eventually, it can take a toll on your relationship, unless you break the chain and voice your need for support.


Related story: 5 Easy Mindfulness Habits To Improve Your Mental Health


Why is Sharing the Mental Load Important?

By lifting the heavy-duty load of everyone’s expectations of following social norms that expect mothers to be the primary caregiver, the festive season can be challenging for many. The burden of remembering tiny details that require extreme attention often falls on a woman's shoulders.

Many studies have researched the role women play as caregivers, whether it is caring for elders or children. Moreover, a 2020 study titled, Unfolding Unpaid Domestic Work In India: Women’s Constraints, Choices, And Career, shows that unpaid domestic work that contributes to productive activities plays a major role in creating economic and social well-being in a household. If talk about this domestic work in numbers here is the international figures: men spent 83 minutes in unpaid domestic work while women spent 265 minutes on average. In India, men only spend 31 minutes performing domestic chores while women spend approximately 297 minutes.


Related story: What is Your Parenting Style


How to Navigate Parental Duties During the Festive Season

Even if you’re the primary caregiver, there’s nothing wrong with asking for another shoulder to share the workload. In fact, you must ask for help for your mental and physical well-being. Here’s how to explain mental load to your partner and navigate parental responsibilities during the festivities:


1. Have the ‘Shared’ Mindset

Think like a team. Both of you have to work as a team to make your relationship work. And this team effort also applies to sharing duties and committing. If you have always been the one taking up the responsibilities, it’s time to let the load fall on your partner equally. Hence, talking to your partner about dividing your parental workload is essential.


2. Delegate Responsibilities One at a Time

Reassigning the household chores between you and your partner can be a tough process, but be patient and work together to resolve issues. It might be possible that even after multiple discussions, you hit a dead-end and might think that sharing duties is not your cup of tea. But hold on, there’s a solution.

Consider other tasks that you do and see if they can be reduced instead of focusing solely on a single activity. For example, you can ask your partner which other tasks they would like to voluntarily do instead of the ones that they’re not willing to do.


Related story: 5-Step Guide For Your Complete Festive Season Self-care


3. Discover New Parenting Roles

Inquire about how your partner feels as a parent rather than assuming they have taken a backseat. Ask them about the difficulties, surprises, fears, and joys of being a parent. Being curious about their perspective can help widen the lens of understanding the issues you have with working collaboratively.

Be considerate of family history, as it plays a role in each individual's parenting style and degree of participation. In some cases, one parent may take the lead without even realising it, possibly due to societal expectations and stereotypical and gender-specific roles passed down through generations. Acknowledging the influence of the environment in our lives can enable positive changes.

For example, you might have grown up watching your mother do the conventional kitchen duties while also handling a child by her side. If multitasking seems too much for your liking, ask your partner to be a helping hand in the kitchen or switch roles with you.


How to Manage Kids During the Festive Season

Parenting is no easy feat, especially when both parents are working professionals. A single parent has the additional burden of managing their career while taking care of their child's needs. With mental labour playing an increasingly important role in parenting, it can be difficult to take care of the child while managing professional obligations and family calls.

The invisible load that often falls at the feet of mothers when it comes to childcare cannot be ignored, yet, is still rarely recognised for its importance in a child's development. This places immense pressure on mothers who shoulder most parenting duties while trying to keep up with their career goals and other personal commitments.

To mitigate this problem, consider taking days off from parenting duties, where your partner can step in so that you can have the day to care for your needs.


Remember, There is no ‘I’ in Team

Becoming a parent is about functioning well as a team. Making sure you both participate in raising a kid is critical to forming an exceptional bond, not just with each other but also with your child. Hence, sharing the mental load and helping one another to develop a harmonious relationship is important.


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