The Ten Commandments of Mental Load Sharing

14 December, 2022 • Par De Saison

By Julie and Marie-Andrée from De Saison, Art of living and working

Let's face it, talking about the mental load, reviewing the rules of the game and teaming up as parents on a daily basis is an everyday challenge that sometimes comes with a great emotional charge and requires good communication skills. For the exercise to remain benevolent and constructive, do not neglect mental preparation!

Julie and Marie-Andrée from De Saison - Art de vivre et de travail have prepared some reminders and preparation exercises for you to make collaboration and communication more fluid throughout your exercise.

5 Commandments for a Caring Parenting Team

1- Your dream parental team you will visualize.

It is well known that great teams are excellent at visualizing their dream and it is this dream that guides them on a daily basis. Do you dream of developing an amazing complicity? Do you both want to improve your game as a parent team? Establish a balance and build a fiery collaboration? What would that look like on a daily basis?

Each on your own, take the time to visualize your definition of the ideal parenting team down to the smallest detail. Also take the time to put it into words, so that you can talk about it clearly. Remember, to mobilize other team members, your dream must be inspiring and win-win!

2- Your needs you will identify.

“It is better to speak to the I”: is this advice that you have already heard? We will go further by suggesting that you talk to the "I" of your needs rather than letting the discussion slide into blame, perceptions, past situations or feelings for too long. Admit that "I need help", it goes better and it is less refutable than "I find that you don't help me enough", right?

In addition, when our personal needs are clear (to have more time for ourselves, to slow down the pace, to rest, to find our weekends, to team up), we can co-build our solution around these, we thus gain a lot (a lot!) of time.

3- Your priorities you will order.

“We can do everything, but not everything at the same time”, is another popular adage. By adding the priorities of one spouse to those of another spouse, it is possible that we end up with too many priorities. Our mental load also comes from our desire to do too much and our desire to excel in everything and at all levels, all at the same time. We then scatter and it's proven: multi-tasking is less efficient than single-tasking. To feel satisfied, it is better to identify our real priorities, in the right order. First individually, then together. We will thus be able to commit to them together, plan our schedule in coherence and avoid over-committing elsewhere.

4- Space for the needs of the other you will arrange.

Who says teamwork says compromise and reconciliation of points of view. When looking for THE right solution, points of view clash! To transform confrontation into co-creation, it is necessary to leave space for the other to express themselves and to consider their dreams and needs even if they are different from ours. To get involved, everyone must feel seen, heard, autonomous and see meaning and pleasure in it (it's scientific). Relax the atmosphere!

5- A common definition of success you will write.

Before dividing up tasks and roles in the family, take the time to share your ideals to write together a definition of success that is common. How do you measure the success of your parenting team? Be factual and do not hesitate to define in precise terms what a well-kept home, well-educated children, a healthy family life, a happy couple and parents mean to you. Without falling into perfection, ask yourself what your threshold of satisfaction is and where “just enough” is.

Organize the family load over time: 5 commandments to move from intention to action
Mental load management is also a matter of time management

1- White time you will reserve for yourself.

The first time :

Take time away from everyday life to organize the functioning of your parental team? Who's done this before? It's been a long time since marriage preparation classes are the norm, hasn't it? True, it's an exercise that, the first time, takes a bit of time, so why not break it up into several short moments and put them on the agenda? Like a meeting between partners, well! At the office, we bring a lot of donuts, so remember to make it pleasant and relaxed.

Over the weeks:

Co-leadership requires a lot of communication and collaboration. We still have to identify the right time to talk about it and celebrate our successes!


Managing your mental load, for us, is done through a series of daily and seasonal rituals. Every day (or as needed), we take 15 minutes to unload our minds, take inventory of our needs (priorities), reconcile needs, revise our game plan and review our agenda. This agility allows us not to accumulate the mental load and not to carry all of it with us during the day. It's also the best way to reclaim our time and ensure we get to action in a timely manner. We do it at work, so why not do it for the household as well?

2- Your diaries will look at you.

This white time is the one we always forget to place! So start by making room for these strategic moments in your daily life, individually and together. Also, don't forget to give yourself personal white time for activities that are important to you and that are beneficial to you (depending on your priorities) such as sports, outings with friends, family time, lovers or your leisure and entertainment. The important thing is that everyone feels that their needs are being considered.

3- Shortcuts and help, you will agree.

Thereafter, observe your calendar and choose times for your family responsibilities throughout your work time. It's overflowing ? Remember to split tasks into micro-tasks, use your transitions well, think about allowing yourself shortcuts or calling on outside help.

4- Realistic in your expectations you will remain.

Desires and expectations are elastic, but time is mathematical. Did you know that adopting a habit takes an average of 21 days? There is no point in wanting to improve everything at the same time. Take it one habit at a time and remember that it's okay to slip. Don't (mutually) slap your fingers. You just have to start practicing again for the habits to take hold.

5- Satisfaction rather than perfection you will aim for.

No one manages to do everything, all the time and on time. Keep your agility, your learning spirit and your sense of humor. The performance society is tough, but remember that what you're looking for is a sense of satisfaction: the satisfaction of knowing that priority needs have been addressed. Relax, have fun and give yourself time to unwind from the day. There will always be tomorrow to start over.