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The heavy mental load that moms carry

There’s this mental load mamas carry all day, every day. Even sleep doesn’t give them a break from all the thoughts inside their head about their babies. A mama is simply on all the time.

She is her child’s entire world

Those little faces look up to her for everything. The hundreds of questions she answers every day are always directed at her because she is their entire world. The way their little feet follow behind her every step is a reflection of their need to be with her.

The eyes that look up to her and the arms that stretch out to her are reminders that she is their comfort. She is their first thought when they wake up in the morning and the last face they want to see before they close their eyes at night.

The endless mental list

Her children just want to be close to her, but there’s so much else she can’t help but see. She notices the dirty dishes in the sink, the laundry piled up on the couch where it waits to be folded, the toys and crayons and books that are pretty much everywhere.

She tries to look into those little eyes, tries to focus on their needs, tries to not see the work that is always in front of her, but she knows for every minute she stops there will be five minutes of work she has to do later.

Being present is difficult

Mamas want to live up to everything they see shining back in those little eyes that look up to them. They don’t want to be so overwhelmed with thoughts of all the work to be done that they feel like they’re cheating every time they stop to play with their precious babies.

There’s a lot of regret being carried around as part of their mental load. There are too many days when a mama’s head hits her pillow without relief, leaving thoughts of unsaid words or, even worse, words of harshness rolling around inside her mind.

Just holding it together

Mamas feel this need to have everything a certain way, to have a clean home for their families, to have meals on the table, to keep the laundry clean, to provide educational play time without sacrificing creativity, to read that bedtime story, to make sure they are giving enough hugs, to speak words of kindness even when their patience is wearing thin, to make all the appointments, to keep every day on a perfect schedule while allowing for spontaneity too, to simply do all the things while also having it all perfectly balanced.

Mamas don’t have the luxury of treasuring what they know will be gone one day like all the older mamas tell them over and over. They’re too busy doing it all, holding it all together, feeling it all.

Mamas feel it all.

Mamas never stop feeling.

Mamas carry it all around, locked away inside, deep down where no one else can see.

They don’t usually show it, but mamas need help – don’t be afraid to ask for that help.


Sandy Brannan, author of Becoming Invisible, So Much Stays Hidden, Masquerade, and Frozen in Time, teaches middle school and high school English. Sandy's idea of a perfect day is one spent creating memories with her grandchildren. This usually includes coloring and reading a lot of books. You can read more of Sandy's work on her blog at

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