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La charge mentale après l'arrivée de bébé - BIICOU

The mental load after the baby arrives

The mental load after the baby arrives

What program is this for the machine? What do we eat tonight? By the way, where are the little one's pants?

Olalalala, just reading these few words could raise a mother's tension well above its limits in no time.

And yes, in this article we are going to talk about mental load, especially after the baby arrives. But since we're starting to know what it is (it's about time!), we thought we'd give you some ideas on how to get rid of it.

So now my good old mental charge, you take your coat and go!

Brief reminder, all the same, for those who missed the information, what is the mental load?

We could take a long, very long time even to answer this question but in summary the mental load is the fact of having to think about everything that needs to be done, or should be done (household, professional, personal tasks, etc.) in at the same time, all in a world of over-demand. That is to say, to manage the present moment but also the “after” moment then the unforeseen events or, next level, to think about everything that could possibly happen or not happen.

Basically, the mental load is your brain turning into a pressure cooker, ready to explode and bring the house down.

So to avoid burning out, here are some ideas that will help you, we hope, to lighten this load and find some free space in your thoughts to put everything you want in there instead.

We prepare the battlefield

Unfortunately, the subject of the distribution of tasks after the baby's arrival appears too little in the program of childbirth preparation courses, and yet it could be the subject of a very complete chapter.

To compensate for this lack, consider agreeing on a post-baby mode of operation, even if it means setting up a schedule or even a pact (but very real, we are not talking about an agreement like “wakatépé baboun” ).

So yes, it's neither glam nor spontaneous, but at the same time glamor and spontaneity have gone without warning on a desert island upon your return from maternity ward so, while waiting for their return, you might as well find solutions.

Let's get back to our subject. The idea is not to create an Excel file with equations with two unknowns but rather to meet in a calm place to divide up the “domestic work” according to your affinities, your abilities and the time each person has. Well, for sure, no one will fight to be in charge of the ironing (although), but try to make sure that everyone has their way.

A little concrete example: if baby is on a bottle, try to share the nights, each in turn, that way no jealousy! And if baby is breast-feeding, the partner can help prepare the necessary equipment before nighttime and prepare a good, nourishing breakfast for the morning, just to lighten mom's weight a little.

We strongly advise you to put all this down on paper, keyboard, tablet... So that your good resolutions don't end up crushed under the pile of laundry, stained with mashed bananas and dragged for 100m like a cuddly toy chewed on for 10 years.

We communicate


We know it's annoying, but your partner doesn't read your thoughts.

For him or her to know what is important to you, there is no other solution than to tell them. Don't forget that you are parents of the same child but two very different beings. What is important to you may be insignificant to another.

So when we feel that the valve is going to let go, rather than ruminating and managing our emotional overload alone, we wait for the pressure to go down and we start a little “confessional” discussion. And there we don't hesitate to say anything that poses a problem to us, even the most insignificant thing.

Firstly, you will no longer keep all that in your head (go 1GB of free space gained) and secondly, your partner will surely make an effort to understand your point of view and perhaps change certain habits.

If you have trouble communicating calmly, don't hesitate to write down everything that comes to mind so you can come back to it later. You will then be able to sort out what was really important or not and talk about subjects that deeply affect you with your partner during a calm moment.

We hand over the hot potato (what do we delegate)

Easy to say!

The problem is that we more often tend to say “I'll do it myself”, to go faster, rather than asking our partner for help. The crux of the matter is that one shouldn't have to ask their partner for help since, as far as we know, neither parent is made steward of family life when the baby is born . However, this role is still assigned in most cases to the mother. But we can't 100% blame dads either, who often only benefit from a short paternity leave and are therefore, in fact, less present than the mother in the first months. The fear of doing wrong can therefore set in very quickly.

So while waiting for all this to evolve, we delegate. It will probably take you a little extra time and patience to explain and repeat, repeat, repeat… But in the end, you will no longer have to ask for help and your partner will feel more involved in daily tasks and in his relationship with baby.

On the other hand, delegating also means accepting that the result does not meet your requirements 100%. So ok you might not have dressed your child in a striped sweater and houndstooth pants for his back to school, but look on the bright side: everyone will remember him and that will do you good files to come out on his 18th birthday.

We let it flow

More precisely, we try to let go. Ask yourself what is really important to you, within your relationship and your family, but also what you need. Try to think about yourself and not what others expect of you.

And if you want to watch a crappy series while eating 1kg of popcorn or do your nails rather than empty the dishwasher during your baby's nap, no one will blame you. GO FOR IT !

Thinking about yourself can also mean taking time for yourself, disconnecting.

Spend some time without your baby, each on your own. A beer with your friends, a solo run...This will allow you to clear your head, let yourself go and regain your composure. In the same vein, we invite friends to the house in relaxation mode (SOS frozen meals if you're really lazy). We'll take our minds off things and who knows, maybe they'll even give you a little helping hand ;)

Keeping in touch with people outside your family cocoon will surely allow you to spend the first months with a little more gentleness and lightness.

Finally, even with the greatest will in the world, it sometimes seems impossible to overcome the mental load and the weight it can represent from an emotional point of view. In this case, do not hesitate to talk to those around you or to a professional.

We also strongly advise you to read, and have your partner read, the comic strip “ Had to ask ” by the illustrator Emma, ​​explaining wonderfully and in an accessible way what mental load means.

So happy reading and courage to all!

The mental load is taboo, we will all get through it!

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