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Is the Mental and Emotional Load Shared in Your Household?

“I need the older children in the family and my husband to step up and help out. I feel like I’ve taken up all the slack and their responsibilities have remained the same. My husband says I just need to ask him for “help” but that just puts it on me to manage everything. I’m frustrated and exhausted and he doesn’t get it.”

“I am literally drowning in overwhelm while my husband is having a great time working from home! Because I’m picking up all the pieces keeping everything together.”

“I told my husband that him “helping” around the house is not enough anymore. He’s an adult and he needs full ownership of at least 50% of keeping our lives together.”

Over 1,800 parents, mostly Moms (98,%) have shared their pandemic stories for our research study. And they’re drained from doing more of everything: housework (78%,) kids activities (54%,) and childcare (73%.) Although they’re overwhelmingly married or cohabiting, in the pandemic, only 30% state their partners are doing more housework or childcare. The gendered division of household labor for Moms partnered with Dads isn’t new. And it’s a corrosive undercurrent for many couples.

The consuming nature of parenting and running a home, has ballooned during Covid. Although the physical work is considerable, the mental energy to plan, triage and react to countless daily choices, adds strain to the situation.

Although some couples successfully divide the work, few share the mental load. And that’s often where the perception gap between Moms partnered with Dads lies. But what if we could make all that hidden work visible? Does it change the conversation between couples?

Mind the Gendered Gap

“I’m doing all the emotional work of parenting (my spouse does only non-emotional tasks like grocery shopping and lawn mowing)…)

“…My personal routine has been overshadowed by helping/dealing with everyone else. If I try to work out, I’ve got kids hanging all over me, when I’m trying to work during nap time my husband wants to chat always preceded by “I know you’re busy but, just real quick…”

A recent Morning Consult survey echoes the stunning Continue reading “Is the Mental and Emotional Load Shared in Your Household?”

The Traumatic Effect of World Events on our Mental Health

“(I need) positivity for moms, free therapy, anything to help me from being crazy.”

“The increased responsibility and decline in available resources for myself and my child (has been hardest.) Our outlets and interactions are limited and it’s taking a toll on the mental and emotional health of myself and my son.”

“A deadly virus, reduced access to health and therapy resources, increased isolation, no alone time and homeschooling while entertaining a toddler (has been hardest.)”

Since our pandemic study began in March, mental health has remained a top concern among over 1,500 surveyed parents, mostly Moms (96%.) And absent self-care or childcare they’re pretty distraught about what’s happening at home. But the murky big picture is adding pressure. After a fraught US election season and social justice reawakening, world events continue to trigger sadness and fear. And for many, political issues are also, deeply personal. So, it’s vital to protect our mental health. “I tell people to guard your heart. Guard your time, guard your energy, guard your personal space and be very intentional about who and what you let into your space,” said Dr. Nicole C. Braithwaite, Psychiatrist, Trauma Specialist and Entrepreneur.

Because There’s A lot to Stress About

“Social unrest and COVID-19 surges.”

“Racial violence, highly polarized country.”

“The loss of Continue reading “The Traumatic Effect of World Events on our Mental Health”

You Deserve Time Alone. But Mindfulness Helps When You Can’t

“They said that they were losing themselves. Losing who they were. And didn’t know if they would be able to resolve it until their kids went off to college and I wasn’t okay with that idea. I wanted to find a solution to that problem,” said Melissa Mueller-Douglas, Founder of MYRetreat and Licensed Social Worker.

We spin ourselves in blurry, hyper-productive circles while our families rest. If we get a chance to sit down, guilt shows up to steal our joy. If you’ve fantasized about a retreat, someplace sacred to regroup, you are not alone. Personal space in lockdown is rare. Before Covid, there was growing acceptance that we need breaks, from doing everything for everyone else. Momcations were on the rise. But the idea that caring for our wellbeing needs to be extravagant or even ‘secluded’ is dangerous. It’s true, most Moms crave self-care alone, but that desire can be self-destructive when conditions make time ‘alone’ infrequent or impossible. Like in a global pandemic.

Bliss is the 90 Minute Reset

Melissa has elevated the concept of retreat to Continue reading “You Deserve Time Alone. But Mindfulness Helps When You Can’t”

How To Create Healthy Relationships in a Culture of Toxicity

What makes a relationship toxic? “They lack the following: empathy, compassion, respect, mutuality and reciprocity. And they may also include the following, invalidation, disrespect, gaslighting or insulting. It’s both what’s missing and what’s present,” said Dr. Ramani Durvasula, Author, Clinical Psychologist, Professor and Relationship Expert.

Our lives open to new levels of fulfillment with the relationships we have. And we all want satisfying careers, romantic partnerships and friendships, but it requires careful navigation. Maintaining self-love, confidence and respect, while balancing the needs of others gets tricky. How do we hold firmly onto our values, yet stay vulnerable enough to grow?

We discussed all of this and her newest book, “Don’t You Know Who I Am?”: How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility. Ramani, an expert on narcissistic abuse and champion for positive relationships, shares wisdom about how to protect our Continue reading “How To Create Healthy Relationships in a Culture of Toxicity”

Do You Know How Motherhood Helps Your Career?

That’s Right. There’s Upside to the Work/Life Juggle!

“I didn’t realize it would be psychologically painful. It surprised me, how it would all feel, going back to work when my child was 2 months old,” Said Dr. Yael Schonbrun, Clinical Psychologist, Author and Co-host of the Psychologists Off the Clock podcast. 

The hard parts of working Motherhood are felt immediately. Within hours of returning to work, we fight to compartmentalize. We think about what our kids and our jobs need. All. Day. Long. Even if it were possible, just trying to quiet that inner dialogue, feels disloyal. As if we’re trying to make Motherhood’s messy emotions smaller. Less demanding. Work, once a refuge, begins to fragment us.

What about the sunny side? We rarely think about the Continue reading “Do You Know How Motherhood Helps Your Career?”

Wondering How to Honor Your Values With Better Boundaries?

Use Design Thinking as a Tool to Prioritize Your Values

Pre-kids, self-care and personal growth fit into our ‘spare time.’ That extra space between activities. Perhaps after work and life’s other obligations. Post-kids, there is no extra space anymore, we have to make it. To make it, we must set boundaries.

Intellectually we understand this but working it into real life is different. After sharing results from the Personal Boundaries survey April Seifert, Entrepreneur, Psychologist and Supermom, took a group of us through a ‘Design Your Life For Values Based Boundaries’ webinar that blends the best of design thinking with psychology. Moms are hungry for more space. Why is making it so difficult? Just like assembling sippy cups, Pokémon® rules and the afterschool calendar, we must learn.

Does Your Calendar Reflect Your Values?

Moms generally power through the lists of ‘shoulds’ like machines. We ensure our families are well cared for and cut corners for ourselves. Relaxation is a foreign land we never visit. Protecting some time to take care of ourselves, when there isn’t any extra, means Continue reading “Wondering How to Honor Your Values With Better Boundaries?”

When Did You Stop Trusting Your Gut Instinct?

One Woman’s Journey to Improving Her Health & Discovering a New Career

“I always had digestive problems.” Said Heather Wise, Author and Holistic Wellness Coach. We met for lunch after connecting at a conference. Heather said, “I realized I had food sensitivities and wanted to understand why.” She began researching possible causes while pursuing her Master’s degree in Public Health. “The more I learned the easier it was to advocate for myself. I had the information to back things up (with my doctors) and that was empowering!”

Have you ever worried the signals from your inner-compass aren’t clear? Have other people’s doubts led to self-doubt? Despite being dissuaded Heather’s instincts, that her sugar cravings and digestive issues had a solution, led her to Continue reading “When Did You Stop Trusting Your Gut Instinct?”

Can You Stay Vulnerable & Emotionally Strong on the Public Stage?

An interview with Kim McLarin

Building a Portfolio of Professional Interests

“I’m triaging so many things. It feels like my days are filled with ‘Yes, No, Maybe, Next,’” said Kim McLarin, accomplished journalist, author, professor and activist. I laughed and asked if she planned it this way. She nodded, “Yes, I wanted each component but, I’m doing a lot.”

Kim, like most, vacillates between feeling she’s doing too much or too little. Many of us want a portfolio of professional interests. Diversifying income can lead to better security and satisfaction. However, building the different work streams requires more than just adding a side-hustle. It’s transitioning from worker-bee to Empress. It’s showcasing your expertise as a speaker and content creator. It means stepping into the limelight while juggling plates that are already full. Many Moms, whose schedules are hostage to the illness-and-childcare gods, are wary of Continue reading “Can You Stay Vulnerable & Emotionally Strong on the Public Stage?”

Is The Myth of ‘Having it All’ Hurting Our Work/Life Boundaries?

Work. Is. Different.

“I generally prioritize my family and work over myself,” admits one surveyed Mom. “I am the breadwinner … and turn myself inside out at work to try to keep my standing there. Then I come home and want as much time as I can have with my kids. And there’s little time left for me. I feel like my kids are little once and I can’t get the time with them back.”

Nearly 200 Moms shared their struggles, triumphs and feelings in the survey about setting personal boundaries. The context and consequences for drawing lines at work are different. Somewhere in the back of our minds, despite grim statistics about the motherhood penalty, we believe there’s a loophole. We were promised life without limits, and want to prove to ourselves that being great Moms while doing Continue reading “Is The Myth of ‘Having it All’ Hurting Our Work/Life Boundaries?”

Can I Please Get More Capacity For Mother’s Day?

We Need Capacity.

Capacity in the form of emotional space and mental energy to process all of the inputs.

Almost overnight, my kids have gone from needing my help to eat, to learning how the world works. It’s a fundamental shift. It’s more than just survival now, it’s teaching them to be good people. They have so many questions, like why are people happy or sad? When to defend yourself or walk away. Why are there different rules for boys and Continue reading “Can I Please Get More Capacity For Mother’s Day?”

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