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.
For some, the silver lining of shelter-in-place may be an uptick in creativity and self-discovery. I continue to hear the most inspiring stories from men and women all over the country who are finding or reclaiming their “Unicorn Space” in social isolation.
I define Unicorn Space as the active pursuit of what makes you uniquely you and that you share with the world. Even in small doses — which is all most of us have time for right now — Unicorn Space is essential to your ongoing sense of self, the health of your partnership, and your ability to model what a full and meaningful life looks like to your children, friends, colleagues, and community at large.
Here are some examples I’ve seen:
- Max, the lead singer of a rock band, has created online singing lessons for kids who want to rock.
- Helen has finally achieved one of her life’s goals: she’s learned how to make bagels.
- Lucas is learning to play the piano for the first time — at age 50!
- Johanna has started an organic vegetable garden in her side yard.
We must balance this global moment of grief by infusing our lives with meaning and purpose that goes beyond caretaking and basic survival. Tapping into that “thing” that makes each of us come alive is vital to our mental health and our sense of self.
Even if only for a few minutes every day, engage in an activity (beyond household responsibilities) that feels meaningful and brings you joy. Think about an active pursuit that gives your life a lift, and that you can share with the world via phone, email, social media, or from your front porch. If you find yourself making an excuse like “I don’t have time,” you must make the time. Continue to rebalance the division of labor in your home so that you and your partner both schedule time for Unicorn Space into your daily calendar.
What happens next? Remember, the most direct and effective way to avoid imbalance in your relationship is to check in daily. It’s all about communication!
Follow @FairPlayLife for more tips and tricks to help you through COVID-19. Wash your hands and communicate with grace!