The invisible workload exists beyond the calendar.
Last week we talked about the importance of sitting down with the family calendar ASAP to get ahead of the back-to-school storm that’s about to rain down. (Some of you are already in it. Eek!)
This week, we’re shifting gears just slightly to go beyond the calendar and address the invisible workload.
What is the invisible workload?
The invisible workload encompasses the plethora of essential tasks that aren’t typically scheduled on the calendar.
They include executive function to-dos like meal planning, arranging car pools, scheduling doctor/dentist appointments, executing birthday parties, etc.
For example, a birthday party might be on the calendar, but everything it takes to get to that event likely isn’t…
Things like booking the party site, ordering the cake, planning the guest list, buying or making the decorations, picking out all the goodies for the goody bags and crafting them in Pinterest-worthy fashion.
And what about when it’s someone else’s birthday? Who is in charge of RSVPing, getting the details on the calendar, buying and wrapping the gift, and remembering to pick up the goody bag on the way out of the party so you don’t have to drive home with a sugared-up, sobbing toddler?
Mom, that’s who.
The invisible workload also includes the things you could do all day, every day and seemingly have little to show for your effort like cleaning up spills, kissing boo-boos and finding lost shin guards.
They are the things that tend to fall on you, the mom, because passing them to your partner would be harder than just grinding through it.
And I know what you’re probably thinking – especially if your partner is the bread winner – all this invisible stuff is your job.
That may be true to some on some level, however, the invisible workload is far to expansive to sweep under that blanket statement.
Bearing the brunt of the invisible workload when we have a capable partner tends to throw us into a self-righteous rage because WHY CAN’T ANYONE SEE THAT I COULD USE A LITTLE HELP AROUND HERE?
… Oh, right, because the workload is invisible. That’s why.
“Women become the she-fault parent and men feel nagged.” – Eve Rodsky
When our rage leads to nagging our partners and yelling at our kids, moms are left drowning in a sea of guilt… in addition to the rage. (It’s no wonder our hormones don’t know what to do with us.)
On that front (tangent)…
We also don’t tend to work with our hormonal/emotional baggage. Instead, we just load up those invisible bags and keep hauling them around as we step on legos and slip in the tears of spilled milk.
Imagine what life would be like if we gave ourselves permission to schedule downtime for headaches, cramps or exhaustion due to our monthly visitor.
Newsflash ladies, it’s fairly easy to predict. Plan for it. Put it on your family calendar so everyone sees it coming and can prepare their armor.
Similarly, plan pockets of time in your day to clean up the spilled milk – ’cause it’s going to happen.
In addition, schedule buffer time to get places because running late (a skill I’ve mastered) only leads to more rage.
We’ll get more into these rage-reducing strategies in our next 8-week series: Grace in Productivity. Tangent concluded.
Moms don’t want to reach the point of rage
… or nagging or yelling, or crying in the bathroom when we’re finally alone for three minutes. We also can’t keep assuming that our partner and kids know what we need or how to help.
It’s time to put the ‘partner’ back in partnership and institute a system that rebalances the workload and makes it visible. That system is Fair Play.
Don’t just take it from us…
“Fair Play outlines a system for how to divide up household tasks fairly, based on your needs” – From the Fair Play website.
Watch this 5-minute video on the Fair Play approach to managing your invisible workload. It’s from Eve Rodsky, lawyer, mother, and author of the book Fair Play. It incorporates her Fair Play Cards which offer a fair and tangible way to divvy the household tasks.
👩🏽💻 The Grace Lab
Join us on Fridays, at 2pm ET in The Grace Lab on Zoom for our weekly community call.
We start every call with a podcast chat. Where the conversation goes from there is dictated by the group. The hour flies by and we all head into our weekend with a little more grace.
Listen to the episode on tap for the week found here, then join us on Zoom! The episode is also the first one on the playlist below…
🎧 The Podcast Playlist for Busy Moms
Click on the image below to listen to this week’s podcast playlist. Remember to 💚 it to save it to your Spotify library so you can chip away at it all week while you sip your coffee, drive, walk, exercise, organize, fold laundry, cook, clean, etc.!
🐝 BIZI: An Online Community for Busy Moms
Question of the Week: How do you divvy tasks to manage the invisible workload in your house?
Post your response here in our online community (and/or check out what other moms are posting!)
At Grace in the Race, our mission is to help moms do what they can with the time, energy and resources they have; all while believing that’s enough.