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Working Overtime

Updated: May 22, 2023

Throughout the course of a typical day, I feel like I’ve worked 3 full-time jobs. Besides my 9-5 as Chief Marketing Officer for a digital marketing agency, I am Chief of Staff for the Mason Family and Chief Operations Officer for the Mason Household.

Woman holding headphones up to her pregnant belly

None of these jobs are any easier than the other, and all require my constant attention, leadership, and planning.


This isn’t abnormal for working moms. I’ve been in mom groups ranging from Facebook “Due Date” groups, where everyone is expecting in the same month, to localized groups, and groups specifically for professional women. The struggle of being a working mom is always a hot topic.


Invisible Labor

What makes it a hot topic? It’s not the concept that working moms can’t deal with, it’s the expectation. It’s the fact that keeping a household running, keeping small humans alive, and having a job–whether it be for financial obligation or fulfillment purposes–is really hard. It’s also expected to just be done by the mother.


Don’t get it wrong. This is not the article to read if you’re looking for partner bashing. My husband does an equal share of the routine daily labor in our house. Because of the “invisible

labor,” coined by American sociologist Arlene Kaplan Daniels in 1987, I feel myself taking on a bulk majority of our household care and caregiver responsibilities.


“Shit I Do” List

Eva Rodsky, author of Fair Play, the wildly popular book on this very subject, calls her list of “invisible” tasks that take more than two minutes her “Shit I Do” list. Here are things I think about as the bearer of my household’s invisible load.

  • Deep cleaning the house

  • Switching out kids’ clothes for sizes or seasons

  • Coordinating household maintenance or repairs

  • Hiring babysitters

  • Managing our nanny

  • Cleaning the bathroom sink

  • Packing kid lunches (and sometimes my husband’s)

  • Meal planning

  • Grocery shopping

  • Meal prep

  • Cutting the kids’ nails

  • Keeping household items stocked

  • Organizing + managing the kids’ belongings

I could go on and on, but it should be noted that if I walk into a room, I will survey the room from top to bottom and have an ongoing, never-ending list in my head of everything I need to do in that room. I’m convinced my husband can walk into that same room and feel peace knowing that I haven’t asked him to do any tasks, so he doesn’t think anything needs to be done. (How? I don’t know. But I’m certain this happens!)

Pregnant couple holding woman's belly

Mom’s Mental Health

How is this high expectation of working moms weighing on our mental health? I can’t be the only one who has more days gasping for air instead of having that exhale of relief. There’s no way I’m the only one who yells “I DO NOT WANT TO BE YOUR MANAGER” into the void when my husband asks me how our mop works. What helps? What works? At the end of the day, how can we make sure working moms are taking care of themselves too?


I’ve found it the most helpful to actually connect with my partner. If I break down my walls and share all the things in my brain, maybe he can take on some of that burden and work to equalize our caregiving or task coordination slowly over time. So many times, I just assume it’s easier and faster to do it myself instead of taking the time to explain the WHY and HOW that my husband might actually not know or have on his radar at all.


Can We Find Balance?

The short answer is yes. It can take time, it can take effort, but best of all, it can help improve your personal development and build up your relationship with your spouse. Be open and honest and invest in therapy if you’re able. A connected couple that communicates and is empathetic to each other’s needs in an ongoing fashion

will produce the mom with the least-heavy mental load. It’s important to remember that you have the same goals–to have a happy, healthy family and home.


 

Written by Brittney Mason. Bria and Todd photographed by Rae Marcel

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