by Vicky Monroe
Recently I’ve seen a lot of videos on my social media feed about the mental load that women often carry. Many women become the household manager almost by default, whether they want to be or not.
Luckily I enjoy housekeeping, because my partner is pretty bad at cleaning! Back when I worked full-time, the house fell into chaos because I couldn’t keep up with all the chores while running my business. As my partner’s career has grown, I’ve been able to work fewer hours and devote more time to maintaining and running our home, which I feel is a fair arrangement.
I don’t mind chores and find them pretty relaxing and meditative. But something I do wish I had more help with is financial planning. I haven’t seen many people talk about the mental burden of being responsible for household money management. Because I’m a personal finance writer, the financial planning mainly falls to me. Although I run everything by my partner, I’m definitely the primary decision maker, which can be a bit stressful at times.
If I make a big financial mistake, it could affect our quality of life or ability to retire. That’s why I find being responsible for our money more stressful than managing our home. Basic chores are pretty hard to mess up, and there aren’t really any consequences when I do. If I burn dinner, we can just heat up a frozen meal or go get a pizza. Bad financial decisions are much harder to rectify.
Too Many Options
Since I write about personal finance for a living, you’d think it would be easy for me to manage our money. Knowledge is power, right? I actually find financial planning difficult sometimes because I’m familiar with too many different money management strategies.
I almost feel like I have information overload when it comes to finances. I second guess myself and wonder if I’m making the right money moves, or if different strategies would be better. Homemaking is easier for me because I never have to wonder if I’m loading the dishwasher right or mopping correctly. And nothing catastrophic will happen if I do it wrong.
Because I have to be a money expert at work and at home, it’s hard to switch off and stop thinking about finances. I also dislike being the “bad cop” who has to tell my partner we can’t do or buy something if we want to meet our financial goals.
Relieving the Mental Load
I’m not sharing this to whine or complain. The mental load of handling finances is something I thought might be relatable. I see many insightful comments from the ladies who read this blog, and I get the feeling at least some of you are primarily responsible for your family’s finances too. Discussions about mental load usually focus on household chores, caretaking, and appointment setting, so I wanted to shine a light on this aspect of it.
Who’s primarily responsible for money management in your relationship? Does financial planning stress you out or do you enjoy it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comments.
To relieve some of the mental load, I’m trying to redistribute certain financial tasks. For example, I let my partner handle our taxes this year. Although it was nerve-wracking to give up control of something so important, it turned out ok and we got a $600 return.
We might’ve missed out on some deductions because I didn’t double check anything. But I’m learning that sometimes done is better than perfect, even when it comes to finances.
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Vicky Monroe is a freelance personal finance and lifestyle writer. When she’s not busy writing about her favorite money saving hacks or tinkering with her budget spreadsheets, she likes to travel, garden, and cook healthy vegetarian meals.