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Handling the invisible load in a Tennessee divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2023 | Divorce

Many things can cause Tennessee parents to seek a divorce after so many years together. More often than not, it might come down to how responsibilities were split when they were married.

It’s common for wives to take on more responsibility for raising the kids and maintaining the house. Even after the divorce, though, the full weight of parenting will still fall on whatever parent took the lead before the split.

What is the invisible load?

The invisible load is the mental weight of being a caretaker that – hypothetically – all parents carry. It refers to the mental calendar of afterschool activities, the list of allergies, the research into making decisions and more. Things in the load might include (but are not limited to):

• Remembering children’s favorite colors, books, interests

• Remembering specific events from the school day

• Taking the time to notice changes in attitude, appetite, etc.

There’s no easy way to measure the load in a way that would make sense in the divorce proceedings. However, the parent doing more work will notice it.

Discussing the invisible load

In the best-case scenarios, the other parent isn’t aware of the invisible load but is willing to take it on. Because you’ve always carried the load for them, they haven’t ever had the opportunity even to consider carrying it for themselves.

Sometimes, divorce and split custody will cause the other parent to step up to carry this load without you saying anything. Other times, the other parent needs a gentle nudge.

You can start by splitting “duties.” For example, tell your ex that they should be the one handling the children’s extracurricular activities, and you’ll handle getting them to and from their social engagements. They’ll handle all of the things related to the extracurriculars and you’ll handle all of the visits with their friends.

Retraining your brain to carry this load isn’t easy and doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll need to be patient with your ex as they learn to carry this load. It will take time, but it’ll be worth it if you and your ex can have an equal role in parenting your children.