The Mental Load Struggle Is Real

Here’s the thing, love of my life: I’m not your mom

Anja Boynton
Human Parts
Published in
8 min readOct 28, 2018

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Photo: Motortion/Getty

This morning, I woke up early for a work call. I walked out into my living room and was disappointed but unsurprised by what I found.

I made dinner last night. Baked lemon-herb chicken, garlic bread, mesclun salad with fig balsamic dressing, and grilled artichokes. It is my ambition to cook on most nights, but lately, that goal has felt out of reach, just another unchecked box on my ever-expanding to-do list.

My husband washed his own plate, cup, and fork — a habit he began after I asked him not to leave his dishes for me after meals. I washed everything else, but, distracted by my chronic back pain that was flaring this weekend, I neglected to transfer the leftovers from the slow cooker to the fridge. This morning, it was still sitting in the slow cooker. I know he saw it because it was next to his mini-blender, and I heard him make himself a smoothie last night after I went to bed. After sitting out all night, the extra food is in the trash now.

Two of his jackets, worn yesterday, were still draped over the armchair.

The coffee maker still held the damp grounds from yesterday. The pot contained yesterday’s coffee.

Several plastic recyclable items were in the trash.

The strainer basket in the sink drain had been taken out and set aside despite my frequent requests to not do that, and the sink drain was plugged by chunks of wet food that I had to dig out.

In this home, I am the noticer.

This Sunday morning, I got up around 8 o’clock. I cleaned out the coffee maker and made fresh coffee. I made my 9 o’clock work call. I finished cleaning the kitchen. I picked up his jackets. I took the plastic recyclables out of the trash, rinsed them, and put them in the recycling bin. I cleaned the cat litter box. I started a load of laundry. I took out the trash and recyclables. I sat down to write this piece. When I’m done, I’ll finish a couple of work projects, clean up the bedroom, finish the laundry, make dinner, and go to yoga class.

This Sunday morning, my husband was still in bed at 11 o’clock. He will get up in the next hour or so to have some…

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Anja Boynton
Human Parts

RPCV, tree-hugger, taco enthusiast, shrill feminist. I write about culture, relationships, religious deconstruction, and whatever else is on my mind.