I recently read an article about kinkeeping and the "invisible burden" it puts on women. Despite the fact that in our family, the majority of the tasks mentioned are done or at least shared by John, the article really got me thinking. (I don't know if it's because it's mostly John's family that requires kin-keeping, or because he's a thoughtful person in general, or because he enjoys planning vacations. Anyway, not the point.)
The article begins with an example: the woman is directing her husband to dress the baby in the outfit gifted by his mother, since she is visiting. How does she even remember? THIS is the invisible burden placed on moms. To remember every single tiny and for-the-most-part insignificant detail. To arrange every particle into place. To make sure it all happens, if not where, when and in what outfit it's supposed to.
You may not even notice. You're likely not meant to notice. It's the type of stuff you only notice when it's NOT done (Laundry, anyone?). But it's mentally draining.
Here are some examples I thought of quickly.
Putting things back where they belong. CONSTANTLY.
Cleaning behind ears.
Remembering special days at school.
Checking clothing, socks and shoes for holes and fit.
Signing kids up for activities.
Remembering the location of just about everything in the house, even if it's not where it's supposed to be.
Remembering how much we have of any given ingredient, toiletry or food item at any given time.
You might even go so far as to add:
Making sure clothes are clean.
Keeping the house stocked with food.
Planning and making meals.
All those things that may appear to magically get done (or NOT) if you don't see them happen.
Here's a better example with laundry. Laundry piles up in the basket. You can see it. Someone washes it and puts it away. It's probably mom, at our house. No big deal, if you stay home it's probably in your job description.
Also in the job description is washing sheets. Much less obvious. Unless someone throws up on them, you probably have to remember to wash them. Just a teeny little effort to remember, but there are a million of those things and it adds up. Moms remember everything and it takes a toll.
For some more examples, here are two blog posts I wrote about taking Sienna to swim lessons and packing for our trip.