It’s an honor and a challenge to keep track of the moving pieces of a home. Beyond the shopping, cooking, and cleaning, there’s the education and emotional needs of kids, the connection with a spouse, and–if there’s time left–care for my own body and mind. No wonder I’m tired a lot of the time.
A few years ago, I came across a term that helped me frame my exhaustion: “mental load.” It’s the responsibility of noticing needs, making decisions, and overseeing outcomes. Homemakers have a thousand things to think about, a household of people and goods to tend to. Check out Dr. Lucia Ciciolla’s work for more about her studies on mental load and its effect on women.
A passage from one of Swedenborg’s posthumous works gives me some peace when the busy-ness of earthly life gets overwhelming.
Before the battle [a soldier] raises his mind to the Lord, and commits his life into His hand; and after he has done this, he lets his mind down from its elevation into the body and becomes brave; the thought of the Lord–which he is then unconscious of remaining still in his mind, above his bravery. And then if he dies, he dies in the Lord; if he lives, he lives in the Lord. (Charity 166)
Sometimes I feel like I’m in the trenches, battling combat fatigue. So I try to schedule times of “raising my mind,” like regular reading of the Word, prayer, and blessings at meals. In between those times, it sounds like I can trust the Lord to carry my intention through the rest of my life. He promises to lighten my burdens and give me rest–not from our work, but in my soul.
Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. (Matthew 11:29)