Why women carry the mental load in relationships — Forever 39 Podcast
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From remembering to purchase toilet paper to making doctor's appointments for your kids to changing the fire alarm batteries when you fall back or spring forward — are you the one stuck with carrying the mental load in your relationship?
If you're a woman, the answer is most likely a resounding YES!
According to a 2016 article published by Time, sociologist Susan Walzer studied this very subject more 20 years ago, and found that not only do women take on more of the childcare responsibilities, but they also bear the weight of household maintenance. Walzer also found that of the 23 couples she studied, women did more of the "learning and information processing" as well — so if the kids needed a new dentist, the woman was the one more likely to do the research needed to find that dentist.
And making matters worse is that studies show that women have less downtime than men.
As we discussed during a previous Forever 39 episode, studies have shown that women have less leisure time than men. According to a report released in 2013 by the Pew Research Center, men get about five hours more per week of leisure time than women. Interestingly, men still came out ahead in leisure time even after the report factored in that men spend about 10 hours more per week than woman at work.
The tricky think about being the one that carries the mental load in the relationship is it's often invisible. It's that laundry list that runs through your mind when you're trying to binge watch the latest season of HBO's "Game of Thrones," but instead you're thinking about what you can buy your mother-in-law for her birthday, when the laundry is going to get done, and whether little Jimmy has all the supplies he needs for his latest school project.
In this Forever 39 episode, Dennis Malloy of NJ 101.5's Dennis & Judi show joins us to discuss why we think women are the ones that typically carry the mental load in their relationships. Sure, a partnership is supposed to be even, especially in this age of the working Mom, but is it really? And do women secretly want this role, or do they wish their partner would pick up some of the responsibilities?
And if you're in the mood for a little laugh, check out this comic titled "You Should've Asked," by French cartoonist Emma. We think it does a great job of depicting just how exhausting it is to carry the mental load in relationships.
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— Annette and Megan, Forever 39
Join us for next week’s podcast when we chat about why people start hating their job at 35, the stores and shopping apps we can't get enough of, and confusing nutritional studies.