Fully Loaded—The ‘Mental Load’ of Running a Household

Fully Loaded—The ‘Mental Load’ of Running a Household

A recent article in The Atlantic discussed this very topic—how one adult in the household usually carries the load of ‘keeping track’—of schedules, of what chores need to be done, of what items need to be picked up on the next trip to the store. Author Joe Pinsker describes it as one person serving as the “helper,” while the other serves as the “manager;” it is the manager that is tasked with “noticing what must be done.”

                While Pinsker’s article focuses on how male and female couples have become more equitable in this responsibility, I would like to focus on just what it entails and why it is so draining. A personal concierge can help carry that load, making it less draining for all involved—male or female.

The Inventory of a Home—Tangible Items

                Let’s stick with the term ‘manager.’ Whoever is the manager of the home is keeping a tally—whether written or mental of what needs to be purchased when. Some items, like soap, toilet paper, shelf-stable food items, you may want to “set and forget,” meaning that a lot of the item is on hand—so  that you’re not constantly running out of it. Other items, like perishable fruits, vegetables, and dairy can’t have a high level of ‘par’—they’ll spoil before you use them up. Regardless of when the item is purchased, the manager is the one keeping track of that schedule.

Intangible Inventory

                The manager of the home is also keeping track of schedules—when appointments are taking place, renewals of licenses, subscriptions, etc., and those things we don’t even think of as being on a schedule—changing linens, replacing filters. The helper may execute many of the tasks on the schedule, but it is the manager who knows the schedule intimately.

                Have the last two paragraph’s exhausted you? Add onto that work deadlines, if the manager of the home is also working outside the home, and it is easy to see why many families live with a high level of stress. If the home manager happens to have aging parents, then those management responsibilities compound exponentially. Even in homes where the management responsibilities are split fairly evenly, it becomes clear why families are under substantial pressure.

How a Personal Concierge Can Co-Manage Your Home

                A personal concierge doesn’t just perform the tasks needed to keep a household running smoothly; they can serve as a resource for when you are so “mentally fried” that you can’t remember everything that needs to be purchased or scheduled. A personal concierge builds a relationship with you and your family, learning your likes, dislikes, routines, and habits. Just like for you, the ‘noticing is in the doing.’ Did your concierge purchase and put away the groceries? Then she has noticed the items you are ‘low on,’ made a note of it, and has it on file for the next shopping trip—just the same as you would do. Is the concierge tidying and doing laundry? Then she knows the last time those sheets were washed.

Are You Ready?

                Not everyone is comfortable having a ‘stranger’ become so familiar with their lifestyle. A level of rapport and trust must exist between a family and their personal concierge. For those willing to open up and allow a personal concierge to share in the ‘mental load’ of running their home, the benefits are immeasurable—less stress, peace of mind, greater clarity and focus, to name but a few.

We trust our children to babysitters and au pairs, our lawns to landscapers, and our nails to manicurists without considering them outrageous luxuries. Trust the co-management of your home to a personal concierge and gain the ‘luxury’ of one less thing to think about.