Emotional Load - are you carrying it?
There may be help around the house, but in the end it falls to you to make sure the decisions are made, all the pieces are coordinated and that the small mechanics that make the house logistics run smoothly are not forgotten, and most of all that everyone is happy and have what they need.
‘That email about the change of times for football training, when was it again? … Does that mean re-arranging Sam’s lift after school, and have we got enough clean kit for tomorrow? … There are payments to make for the garden work and the school trip; … revision books to order,… and party gifts to stock up on because we have a run of them coming up…. And a packing list to make for the Easter holidays. … Rats I’ve forgotten another friend’s birthday and I’m meant to have signed a form for school. …I haven’t spoken to Mum for ages and her GP asked to speak to me too.... And I think the puppy is due his next round of shots and I’ve still got to work out what to do with him when we are away...’
This is the never-ending conversation running in the background – usually in parallel with demanding and all consuming work responsibilities, where there is an important trip to plan for, the next Board meeting coming up, and a conference call with the US in about 10 minutes.
The emotional load means always having to remember and make things happen at home.
According to Gemma Hartley, author of Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward, defines Emotional load/labour as ‘the unpaid, often unnoticed labour that goes into keeping everyone around you comfortable and happy. It’s emotion management and life management combined’.
And while we don’t like to be the ones drawing the gender lines, in general it is women who still assume responsibility for this on behalf of the household.
Sure, your significant other tries to do the right thing and does what he or she can. But they might have to be asked or instructed or left reminder notes or cajoled.
But it’s up to you to know what needs to be done and when. It’s permanent, exhausting background noise that fills mind-space and stretches your capacity.
And it can directly impact your professional progression and ultimately your chances of reaching the already tough goals you set for yourself.
How can Emotional Load be managed?
1. Look for tools that make things work better.
This might be as simple as a household ‘Whatsapp’ group for quick and instant communication for everyone, including housekeeper or nannies – or a shared house calendar with all the commitments and activities, holiday dates for everyone to see.
2. Intelligent delegation.
There will always be things that for any given reason, it makes sense for you to take care of. You’ll know what they are.
Rationalise. Delegate the rest.
If your household support network were a business, who on the team would be best qualified to take up the task, and take full responsibility?
If having looked around you, the support you need isn’t there, find it.
At Consider it Done, we have a PA team of detail demons who offer solutions to pretty much anything that life brings along.
That allows you to offload and delegate as much or as little as you need to in order to manage the emotional load, with the confidence that it will be done competently and calmly.
4. Build in time for yourself.
This isn’t being selfish. It’s essential. A happy home includes you, and your success in all areas depends on your ability to have time to yourself, to think, relax, talk to people, and enjoy the life you’ve built.
Our clients tell us our service is life-changing because we have the ability to relieve them of this emotional load, free up their mind-space and allow them to focus.
Learn more about how Consider it Done is your Strategy for Success and can help you alleviate the emotional load.