• Jo-Ann Finkelstein, PhD (for The Feminist Parent)

It’s All in Her Head (and It’s Exhausting)

Updated: Feb 26, 2021

The 'mental load' is hurting relationships. It's time for a cultural shift.


New Yorker Cartoon by Suerynn Lee


One thing I know I don’t want my daughter to shoulder alone if she ends up in a long term relationship with a man is the “mental load” that almost always falls on women. Unfortunately, if the next 20 years looks anything like the last 20, it’s almost inevitable that she will. This is especially true if she chooses to have children. Research over the last two decades by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has consistently found that women employed outside of the home shoulder 65 percent of child-care responsibilities, and their male partners 35 percent. This holds even when women earn more in their actual paid jobs than their male partner.