Family Diary & how it saved me from the mental load!
Hello, hi, how are how you?
I am an everyday mum of FOUR over here. Struggling, the same way you are- so bunker down, today's blog is a real insightful blog about how you can actually make change in your life VERY EASILY and see some huge results!
Let's talk mental load.
The burden of a family, household, work and volunteering falling straight on your shoulders? I hear you! ;)
Recently we went for a lil getaway (cute right!) fam bam holiday, just a few hours drive away.
Scrolling the grab I saw a graphic- the mental toll preparing for a vacation for a mum vs a dad. Now, please do not get me wrong. My man is fucking epic. He is the epitome of a perfect dad. He dotes on his daughters. He cooks, he cleans, he helps out. However.... let's set this straight. 1. He wasn't always this way and it took drastic measures for him to realise I was DROWNING. 2. We went away for a cute lil get away and I will just roll off some of the tasks that yours truly did:
Packed the kids bags
Packed the toiletries
Packed the food
Remembered the spare undies
Packed the bodyboards
Packaged the sunscreen
Remembered to empty the fridge, lock the house, organised the washing, charged iPads, planned the air BNB, calculated the times of the distance...
He, however (even though being ace!) jumped in the car with his lil backpack of board shorts- half way down the road going "Oh.... did you remember xyz?"
Yep, yes, uh-huh.
My little brain working in over drive to remember the simplest things in my mental check list (that often keeps me awake at night!)
Sound familiar? - everyone nodding away together!
Okay, I am going to change your life in a few simple steps.
Firstly, this step is a bit of an eye roll one:
TALK- speak up. "I am not Wonder Woman. I do not want to be responsible for knowing that Tuesday is blue sports uniform day and Thursday is the other sports uniform colour day and on Wednesday's they wear small socks and one twin doesn't like pink underwear and the other one only has a red cup. "
Usually, if your man gives a shit- he just simply doesn't realise. You are fried. It isn't about it being 'hard' it is about your brain having to remember so many random things and tasks that keep the household going and ticking over. "YOU SHOULD HAVE ASKED!" ..... I don't have to! Say it how it is- you shouldn't have to nag or ask multiple times. A respectful relationship is a two way street.
Here is where the game changer comes in:
1. Go to Kmart, office works, a cheap shop and buy a yearly diary. A double page to a week is my go to.
2. Set boundaries- "hey fam, shit is changing around here, starting with this..... A FAMILY DIARY"
3. Sit down with your partner and go over the week together on a Sunday. What is on, where will he be, what is his domain, what is no longer your mental tasks.
4. Here are mine:
Grocery shopping lists
Care for the kids- who?
Bin days and what bins
Who needs to do school pick up
On days that it is his responsibility for pick up- he is the one in charge of letting anyone know if he will be late, or the sport drop off coordination. This allows my day to run knowing he has that covered- I won't need to coordinate to ring school and let them know if he is running late- it is his day to operate that task- without my brain constantly checking the time for if he is late.
5. Stand by your word! It will take a few weeks of "mum, what are we doing today after school?" response- "look in the diary" FOR EVERYTHING.
6. Reduce your expectations. Be prepared that this will not go smoothly all the time- it is okay to fail. You do not need to be in control. LET IT GO. Meh.. the floor isn't cleaned how YOU would clean it... (okay Wonder Woman :P)
7. DELEGATE- Assign chores to each family member, in the diary of course.
8. Don't even think about a task that isn't assigned to you- your man is capable of dressing the kids without your prior knowledge of their clothing preference, or being able to figure out that the traffic is bad on a Wednesday, so they need to collect from 100m down the road. The whole idea is to give your mind space from the tasks and events we should and can share as a family.
9. Involve everyone. Anyone who plays a role in your household- include in this system. Cleaners, kids, grandparents, aunties, babysitters, who ever you have in your life to keep your household operating- include them. "I will no longer be responsible for letting you know what hours I need you- it will be in the diary for you to check over. " Or if you have smaller babies- bottles, meal times and nanny changes. This was a game changer for us with twins! I didn't need to debrief- I could check the diary and know, okay two hours until a feed is due.
10. Keep it in eyes view of everyone and use it religiously.