You can stop doing all the things. Here’s how.
As mothers and women, we hold a heavy mental load.
We want to be able to step away, and let our partners take some of the load, but it is difficult.
We know that women tend to be the labourers of the household tasks, childcare, and the emotional work in the relationship. The challenge with continuing to manage a high mental load is that you risk developing overwhelm, which may lead to anger and resentment in your relationship. Resentment often builds in our relationship when we do not feel the relationship is equal.
One of my suggestions for dealing with the mental load, instead of taking over tasks, is to step back and let your partner do it.
Let your partner learn how to do it, just like you have had to.
The trick to this? Do not criticize your partner when they are engaging in the task. Give them the space and support to learn and try things, even if it’s not perfect.
But, how do you actually do this? I’m breaking it down in this week’s video.
How do you start to step back and let your partner take the lead? Follow my 4 A’s:
The first step to handing over tasks to your partner is awareness. Being aware of when you step in to take over, or step up to complete the task is important. Consider the following questions to help increase your own awareness:
- When do I tend to take over tasks?
- When do I say “it’s easier if I just do it?”
- What things/tasks do I become the ‘manager’ of the job?
Identify what is important to you and what is not. Sometimes we end up taking over tasks that may not be overly important to us, and we may want to let them go so that we can avoid overwhelm.
- What is really important to me?
- On a scale of 0-10, where 10 is the most important thing, how important is this task to me?
- If it is not important, am I willing to let go of it?
- Looking at this task overall, how could I slice it thinner so that I am not doing it all?
An important part of being in a relationship is asking when you need help. Asking your partner to take over a task is an important realization that you can let it go and leave it to them. Give space when your partner asks you to help or complete a task. Instead of jumping right into the task and helping your partner, work with your partner to encourage them to complete it. Here you are focusing on building their confidence and trust between you two that they can complete it. During this stage, it is key to avoid criticisms or guidance.
- Ask your partner to take over a task. Give them the complete task from start to finish.
- When they ask for your help or opinion with the task, avoid solving the problem for them. Try to give them confidence that their decision will be okay.
- “I like x, y, z. I trust your decision for what you make for dinner tonight.”
- “I see you want my validation on making this decision. I want you to make this decision and I will be okay with it” (and mean it!)
- Avoid critiquing the outcome.
The final stage is to provide appreciation to your partner. No matter what the outcome is, part of building your partner’s confidence in completing the task is to show appreciation.
Whether it was exactly how you did it (or the complete opposite!), showing appreciation towards your partner is a key step in allowing your partner to take on more tasks, giving you the space to lighten your mental load.
- “I appreciated that you <<fill in the task>>, and it gave me the space to <<fill in what you did instead or how it made you feel>>.”
- Top Tip: Avoid critiquing or sharing what your partner did wrong.
Looking to get unstuck in the repeating arguments in your relationship?
We all get into patterns when communicating with those we love. The challenge, however, is when this pattern continues build and stops you from being able to solve your difficulties.