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Mothers everywhere are increasingly the breadwinners. This title looks great on paper, but with it our “mental load" gets only heavier. When my son was first born I, too, fit that role. I would wake up, feed my baby, take him to his grandparent's, teach all day, pick up my son, and then do all of the evening stuff at home. My weekends were filled with grading papers, cleaning, meal-prep, and one squeezed-in activity with family or friends.

Sleeping was difficult. My head would rest on the pillow, but the to-do list piled up like a stack of books, keeping my eyelids open. I never felt caught-up. After reading some recent research, turns out, I wasn't alone in accumulating this “mental load."

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The research was conducted by Business Wire and proved that when women are the breadwinners, we take on more responsibilities outside of work compared to their husbands. Yes, on top of bringing home more money, they truly did it all: cleaning, cooking, paying bills, and the planning all of the extracurriculars. All of this is known as the “mental load."

According to the annual report in Bright Horizons Family Solutions (BHFS), the mothers are the ones who perform and plan almost all of the family matters. This load is often far too heavy for one's mind. The report shared that women were more than twice as likely to volunteer in their children's schools, make the schedules, and assure that all of the family's responsibilities are met.

It's no wonder that the term “self-care" had to be invented and made a part of the lives of mothers. With carrying the brunt of the mental load, we need to remind ourselves to go for a run, plan a dinner with our friends, or read a book. Although women are now working right next to men in the work arena, the jobs in the home are still unequal. If a mother can work full-time, and even bring home more money, then her partner can certainly carry more of the mental load at home.

But, they're not. According to the BHFS report, “86% of working moms say they handle all family and household responsibilities, 72% feel it's their job to stay on top of kids' schedules, and 63% have missed work to take care of their sick children." And although this seems greatly unfair to women—and it is—men are feeling this injustice as well.

Fathers today want to be more involved in parenting and in the home. But according to the same report, they are feeling judged by their colleagues at work for doing so. For example, “46% of dads feel burnout due to not having enough time with family at home. Further, they are 9% more likely than working mothers to wish their employer offered more family flexibility and 32% more likely than mothers to give up a 10% raise for more family time."

Women are making strides in the workplace. It should be applauded that stereotypes there are slowly diminishing. Yet, the traditional roles of the 1950s within the home are still blazing. Yes, it's encouraging that mothers are turning into the breadwinners, but we should not continue to carry most of the mental load.

When I worked full-time, I should have asked more of my willing husband. He could have handled the bills, or the scheduling, or scrubbed the toilets for that matter. Instead, I carried that mental load myself—to the point of burnout. Now that I work part-time, my mental load is much lighter, and I'm finally sleeping better, too. But to be honest, there are times when I feel like I sacrificed my career.

In hindsight, I should have simply spoken up, and given more of the at-home responsibilities to my husband. My mental load would have felt lighter—and I would have, too.

Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:


Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking. Late Wednesday night news broke that Rivera was missing and presumed drowned after her 4-year-old son, Josey, was found floating alone on a rented boat on Lake Piru in Ventura County, California.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Ventura County Sheriff's Department Capt. Eric Buschow said the mother and her preschooler were swimming near the boat Wednesday afternoon. Josey got back into the rented boat after the swim but his mother did not. The preschooler was later found by other boaters, sleeping alone in the boat. Rescuers were able to figure out who he was because Rivera's wallet and identification were on the boat.

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Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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