Blending Healthy Families: The Stepmom's Mental Load
A new 2020 phenomenon is the Mental Load of the Mother.
As stepmoms, we tend to carry the mental load for both houses.
If you haven’t heard about it, it’s the general concept that not only do moms serve dinner - the work to pick the dinner, find a recipe, shop the groceries, make the dinner and do the dishes all adds up and becomes very overwhelming. If your kids play sports or other extra activities, all bets are off. Do they have their cleats, shin guards, practice jersey, water bottle, snack?! But don’t forget school comes first...oh crap, is their homework done???
With all that on your shoulders, it’s really hard to stay positive and take care of yourself.
Recently, I had a meltdown.
I noticed I was melting when my habits started shifting, I picked up some bad habits, and couldn’t find solutions to get back on track.
Once you identify what is throwing you off and weighing you down, you can regulate yourself. After all, acknowledgement is the first step to understanding there’s a change. So what did I do?
Take the time to clear your mind. Literally get it out of your head. Write it down - whether it’s laying it out on a calendar, writing out responses to topics you disagree on, figuring out birthday presents, etc. With this, you can get it out and take a minute to just be.
I often feel like I’m forgetting something, because if I forget and it falls onto the other house, there are consequences. So taking the time to make sure all your thoughts are out there helps lead to tactic two.
Categorize your responsibilities! What balls can drop, what ones can’t? What can you find a routine with? What can you delegate? Start owning the role and asking others for help.
It’s not always easy because we often think “If I just do it myself, it’ll take less time and get done right.” I’ve had to learn that there’s not a right or wrong way to load the dishwasher or fold laundry. In the grand scheme of what I have going on, if I let go of that control, I can put more focus on the things that matter.
Lastly, though, make time to escape. Whether it’s a night with your friends, spouse, alone or a combination of it all, make sure you’re doing something that fills you up.
I tell everyone, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Something that’s very tangible is to let the bio-parent have a movie night with the kids while you go out for a run or take a bath. It’s something very manageable for them - pick a movie, pop some popcorn - heck even grab some candy! And give them some time together and you time away.
Has this happened to you?
What have you done to overcome the stepmom’s mental load?
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE
What better food to go with a meltdown than a Pesto Chicken Melt?
With the weather cooling down, I have been in such a mood for a warm panini, toasted sub or grilled cheese. Especially when you can add in some garden goodies to wrap up the summer harvest. Adding a few nutrients to an already delicious meal is a win/win for your tastebuds and your belly.
Pesto Chicken Melt
Ingredients per sandwich:
2 pieces of whole wheat or sourdough bread
½ cup Shredded chicken
2 Tbsp Pesto
2 slices Tomato
2 slices Havarti or Provolone cheese
To make chicken:
You can purchase a rotisserie chicken, use leftovers from a previous dinner, or make your own in the crockpot.
Add a whole chicken or a variety of its parts to a crockpot with 1 cup of chicken stock or water, with 4 Tbsp of italian seasoning.
Set on high for the day or low for overnight and cook until the chicken falls off the bone.
Separate the meat from the bone.
To make pesto:
In a blender add
1 cup olive oil
3 cups basil
½ cups grated parmesan cheese
Optional ½ cup walnuts or pine nuts
Spread the pesto on one side of the bread, add chicken, tomato and cheese and grill or use a panini press until the cheese is melted!