Thriving Relationships//

How to Divide Essential Household Tasks With Your Partner

One person can’t do it all.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is shifting the dynamics of work, parenting, and the home. With these changes comes new (or amplified) sources of stress, especially for women, who regardless of whether they work outside the home, bear two-thirds of the work it takes to run a household and a family. That’s where Fair Play comes in — a system created by organizational management expert Eve Rodsky that helps couples rebalance domestic responsibilities so that both people in the relationship can thrive. In this series, Rodsky will draw on her knowledge from creating Fair Play, and offer tips to empower you and your partner to share the load while navigating this new normal together. 

Groceries. Home Supplies. Emergency Planning. Meals. Cleaning. Dishes. Garbage. Laundry. Tidying Up. Repeat. On a “regular” day, these are some of the most demanding, highly repetitive and time-sucking household tasks.  In fact, these responsibilities cause the most daily tension, according to an original Fair Play survey of over 100 households.    

Now, on top of everything else that’s happening around us, these tasks cause even greater tension — especially if only one person in your household (you know who you are) is taking responsibility for most, if not all of them. Our current circumstances demand new considerations and careful planning. We now have to ask ourselves: 

  • Is it safe to go to the grocery store? What stores have the shortest lines and the widest aisles? 
  • What do we do if antibacterial soap and wipes are out of stock?
  • What is the emergency plan if someone in our family gets sick?
  • Who’s preparing three meals a day, seven days a week, PLUS snacks for your partner + kids + pets? 

Each night, discuss what you and your partner each have scheduled for the following day. Divide the workload until you achieve what feels equitable and fair. You may need to have this conversation frequently to ensure that you are each digging into the most labor-intensive aspects of domestic life. Once you decide who is doing the task, remember that person is responsible for the full conception, ownership, and execution of it.  These specific household tasks take an abundance of mental prep-work and actual time. No one person should be tasked to do them all — it isn’t sustainable.  

Microstep
Identify one household task that is causing tension — and write it down to be shared later.
Creating a successful relationship requires being honest about what isn’t working — first with yourself, and then with your partner.

Up Next: The kids aren’t returning to school until [feels like never]?!? We’ll cover what kids require during social isolation — friendship and social media, discipline, homework, and “watching.”

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