The mental load and how to embrace mum life through play

Expert Advice 10 Jul 24 By

Young woman lying on bed with smiling baby
(Image: Getty Images)

Expert tips on how to make parenting that little bit easier.

By Parent Educator, Genevieve Muir from Connected Parenting

Unlike a regular 9-5 job, being a parent is a 24 hour one, you can’t just push a task to a “tomorrow job”, close your laptop and call it a day, so why are some parents so reluctant to say that this is their full time job?

Being a Parent Educator and a mother of four myself, I understand first hand how hard being a parent can be and recognise the pressure that we put on ourselves to ‘get it right’.

It’s time for parents to be proud of their full time role, and for our broader community to rally behind and celebrate them. Embracing your ‘Mother-era’ is all about redefining femininity and acknowledging the time and energy that goes into being a parent.

Embracing your ‘Mother-era’

More and more Australian women are welcoming this era of their lives and encouraging men to do the same, to combat social norms and shift ignorant perspectives around what is arguably the hardest job any of us will ever do.

Many people think the ‘Mother-era’ begins from when a baby is born, but the hard work ignites from the moment a woman finds out she’s pregnant. Research shows that pregnant women are basically endurance athletes. In fact, scientists report that the physical intensity of carrying a baby is equivalent to running a 40 week marathon!

Young woman lying on bed with smiling baby
Gen says being a mum is “arguably the hardest job any of us will ever do”. (Image: Getty Images)

Understanding the mental load of motherhood

In addition to the physical stresses that mothers go through, the mental load can be just as intense if not more. Although fathers also experience the mental load, for women it’s a little different. Women in general are biologically wired to make sure that they are caring for and thinking about the people they love due to their higher levels of oestrogen.

This is why mums usually have a never-ending ‘to-do’ list of work or domestic chores that is constantly spiralling around in their heads. I’m sure many mothers, including myself, can relate to this overwhelming feeling, and with millennial fathers sharing more of the parental load than previous generations, it’s important for fathers to also
be aware of this so that they can better support their partners when stepping into their ‘Father-era’.

To encourage more parents to embrace this exciting yet tough era of their lives, BabyLove Nappies and I have developed the revolutionary ‘5 a Day of Play’ guide which is specifically designed to not only to boost children’s social and emotional development but also to make parenting that little bit easier by providing practical expert tips to give parents a greater sense of purpose and confidence.

Parenting educator Gen Muir is a mum to four boys.
Parent Educator, Gen Muir is a mum to four boys. (Image: Instagram)

As a mother myself I sympathise with the game of ‘mental load ping pong’ that we play in our heads at the end of a long and demanding day. To help alleviate the intensity of this feeling and limit parents beating themselves up and overthinking every little decision they’ve made, the ‘5 a Day of Play’ guide explores 5 core play concepts that are clear, concise and easy to implement into your everyday routine with your child.

5 core play concepts

1. Messy World Play: Embrace chaos, explore, get messy, take chances. Discover how mess fosters kids’ sensory growth.

2. Me and You Play: Just 10 mins makes a difference. Dive into presence to nurture kids emotional safety through play.

3. Rough and Tumble Play: Rough and tumble play builds more than just muscles – it hones balance, coordination and social skills too.

4. In It To Win It Play: Healthy competition helps to fuel creativity, critical thinking and self esteem.

5. Let’s Get Silly Play: Laughter is parenting’s secret weapon. Turn bad days into good and reset in a moment just by being silly.

The ‘5 a Day of Play’ guide cuts through the noise of the constant stream of parenting advice online and gives parents what they need to rest easier knowing that they have done an incredible job for their child’s overall development if they have implemented just one core play concept into their day which can be as simple as spending 10 minutes blowing kisses to your child while cooking dinner.

The guide even arms parents with ways that they can make change time more efficient with BabyLove’s new Bluey print nappy pants. These fun nappies allow parents to take control of what’s usually a chaotic task and feel like they are owning change time which is a huge win for parents and children alike!

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