So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

“I need to pick up a gallon of milk on the way home. Better get two. It’s amazing how fast the kids go through that stuff. I suppose that’s what growing kids do, though. That reminds me, they are overdue for their annual exams . . . I have to fold the mountain of laundry on the sofa tonight after dinner. Wait, no, it’s bath night, and we have to finish that science project. Do we have glue? I think we do. Maybe. Better add it to the grocery list . . . I need to start a grocery list. I can probably remember those two things—milk and glue, milk and glue, milk and glue. Maybe I better just write it on the back of this receipt. I can go to the store this weekend when the kids are visiting grandma. I still need to pack their bags. I can’t forget to send their allergy medicine. I wonder if there’s enough left to get them through the weekend? I’ll just grab another bottle while I’m at the store. I should probably get something for dinner, too. Spaghetti, maybe? It’s easy. But, I’m sick of spaghetti. I’ll just get McDonald’s on the way home? I’ll get the apple slices instead of fries—healthier, right? That will free up a little time to fold the laundry. Better toss another load in while I’m at it . . . ”

These are the thoughts that chase a mother through her day. The small voice that is ever-present in the back of her mind. It begs answers to questions, prompts reminders, and holds tidbits of information about soccer schedules and grocery lists. Some have called this the mental load, invisible to everyone, but heavy in its weight of expectation—and responsibility.

Its existence has been challenged by nay-sayers, who believe the mental load of motherhood is self-imposed. To that I say, maybe so. We are natural providers, caretakers, and protectors. It’s innate to our role. For that reason, most of us assume these responsibilities without even realizing it. One small thing here, another there, and before long our minds are filled with a million little things. Sometimes we worry, sometimes we ruminate, and sometimes we forget.

Midnight laundry, last-minute party favors, and overdue appointments with the pediatrician hold steady chatter in a mother’s mind. We place the needs of others above our own, leaving little time for ourselves, little time for our minds to rest. Evenings are spent making meals, helping with homework, and giving baths. We are always planning, and checking items off the ever-growing list in our minds.

We shoulder the weight of the little things not because we have to, but because we want to. Although this can be cumbersome, we don’t get angry or discouraged, but we are often exhausted. No one hears the whispers but us. No one feels the weight but us. This is why we are exhausted. This is why we can be fragile. We aren’t martyrs or control freaks, we just want the absolute best for the ones we love. So, we carry on long after our bodies tell us to rest, completing tasks and planning for what’s to come.

We aren’t too proud to ask for help when we need it, but the mental load isn’t something we can hand off when it becomes overwhelming. It doesn’t work like that. We will gladly share the tasks and responsibilities of parenthood, but the chatter of the mental load always remains, even if only as a whisper. Because mothers are the gatekeepers. We are the last line of assurance that everyone has what they need. We see what’s missing, even when no one else does—it’s our gift. So, we carry this load out of love, because we care deeply.

And we always will. 

You might also like:

To the Tired Mom in the Middle of the Night

I’ll Hold You Instead

But Mommy, You Were Too Busy

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here! 

We shoulder the weight of the little things not because we have to, but because we want to.

Jorrie Varney

Jorrie is a registered nurse and mother of two. She writes about the reality and insanity of motherhood on her blog http://www.closetoclassy.com/. Jorrie loves to laugh and snuggle her babies as often as she can. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

I’m Giving My Kids the Summer Fun I Never Had

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys playing in the waves on the beach, color photo

I love that my kids hate school. Stay with me here . . . Yes, I absolutely love that year after year, my boys cannot wait to ditch school for summer break, that they endlessly bemoan the academic year and cannot wait for June.  I love it because it is normal. I love it because it means they enjoy being at home and implies that I make summers fun for them, or, rather, allow summers to be fun for them. I love it because I always dreaded summers when I was growing up. Dreaded them with knots in my stomach...

Keep Reading

Mothering One Day at a Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding daughter in matching shirts, color photo

As I sat with my growing belly, full of anticipation for the arrival of my firstborn, the possibilities were endless for this little girl. Maybe she would lean toward the arts and be a dancer, writer, or musician. Or maybe she would take after her great-granddad and become a scientist. And maybe one day she would be a mother too. Dreaming about the future was fun and exciting. But then she surprised us with an at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis. Special needs were never included in my dreaming sessions.    All of the sudden, my hopes and dreams for this new...

Keep Reading

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

I Know It’s Just Summer Camp but I Miss You Already

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Kids by campfire

You would’ve thought I was sending you off to college. The way I triple-checked to make sure you had everything you needed and reminded you about the little things like brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water about a thousand times. You would’ve thought I was sending you to live on your own. The way I hugged you tight and had to fight back some tears. The way you paused before leaving just to smile at me. The way I kept thinking about that boyish grin all the way home. The way I kept thinking about how you’re looking...

Keep Reading

I Want My Boys To Become Men of Character

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boys with arms around each other by water

I’m a single mama of two young boys. As a woman raising young boys, I’ve thought a lot about how I want them to act—as kids and adults. We joke around that I’m not raising farm animals, and we don’t live in a frat house. I’m trying to plant seeds now so they grow into men with positive character traits. They burp, fart, spray toothpaste on the sink and somehow miss the toilet often, but I’m trying to teach them life lessons about what it means to be great men and gentlemen.  Interactions with other men provide opportunities for us...

Keep Reading

Until There Was a Boy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother looking at son and smiling, color photo

I never believed in love at first sight . . . until there was a boy.  A boy who made my heart whole the first time he looked at me.  A boy who held my hand and touched my soul at the same time.  A boy who challenged me and helped me grow. A boy who showed me that, even on the worst days, the world is still a beautiful place.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything A boy who reminded me how to laugh until tears ran down my cheeks. A boy who tested my patience...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Heart Remembers These Sweet Moments Forever

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and baby laughing

Motherhood gives you all the feelings. It’s hard not to be utterly thankful for and grieve the little things of your last baby, trying to take in all of the firsts and lasts. Every bin of clothes and baby gear packed up produces a tiny crack in a mother’s heart, breaking just a little bit more each time she says goodbye. It’s not that she needs those baby clothes, but it’s the memories each outfit held that are difficult for her to let go of. She does not want to forget those beautiful moments. When she looks at that bin...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

No One Told Me It Was the Last Time You’d Be This Little

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young son playing in ocean

No one told me it would be the last time I rocked you to sleep. A cry in the night, the haze of a dimly lit room, our rocking chair worn brown. We were the only ones in a little world. No one told me it would be the last time I carried you on my hip. The way my body shifted—you changed my center of gravity. Your little arm hooked in mine, a gentle sway I never noticed I was doing. No one told me it would be the last time I pushed you on the bucket swing. Your...

Keep Reading

The Only Way to Freeze Time Is to Take the Picture—So I’ll Take as Many as I Can

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two kids sitting in wagon, color photo

Life ebbs and flows. Seasons come and go. One of the reasons I take so many photos is because they are the only way to make time stand still. They provide a nostalgia that can’t compete with anything else. They help us remember the exact moment captured and show us how fast time is fleeting. It doesn’t matter if their texture is glossy or matte. It doesn’t matter if they are in a frame or on a screen. It doesn’t matter if they are professional or if someone’s thumbprint is in the upper corner. All that matters is the moment...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime