How To Make Family Home Life Fairer And Reclaim Your Time: An Exploration Of The Invisible Work That Women Do
If you’re a mother, then you’re probably familiar with the feeling of your partner not pulling their weight around the house.
Whether it’s dropping their child off at extra-curricular activities, packing school lunches or doing the garbage collection – women in heterosexual relationships still do far more than their fair share.
The good news is that there are ways to make your home life run smoothly and fairly.
This book will show you how to reclaim your time and make sure that everyone is contributing an equal amount in your household activities.
You’ll find out exactly what “invisible” work women are doing, and how it affects our mental health, plus why we need to get back into our passions despite our long list of menial tasks.
Most importantly, you’ll learn how to make your partner play fair so that everyone at home can have a balanced and stress-free experience!
The Consequences Of Women Shouldering The Mental Load Of An Unbalanced Marriage
The unfair division of labor in many families is an all-too-familiar problem.
Many mothers find themselves shouldering the majority of the responsibility that comes with looking after their family, from organizing and preparing meals, to attending to their children’s emotional needs, to doing the grocery shopping and laundry -all tasks that are often seen as “women’s work”.
This phenomenon has been referred to as the “second shift”: an unpaid load on top of a mother’s job or other obligations.
On top of this, most husbands tend to stick with their single day job and rarely do much extra work for the family.
What’s more, when it comes to emotional labor -like handling different family relationships or calming down upset children – it is usually mothers who are expected to take on more duties.
This can be incredibly taxing, not just physically but emotionally as well.
And then there’s also the mental load; mothers have a mental checklist going all day long as they try to keep track of all their family obligations.
The Devastating Effects Of The ‘Second Shift’ On Mother’S Lives
Having children often comes with an invisible load of extra work that many women are not prepared to take on, and the second shift is costing them their marital happiness, physical and mental well-being, as well as financial security.
A recent survey found that over 7,000 American moms place their stress levels at 8.5 on a 10 point scale and women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders than men.
This added workload has even been linked to lower levels of marriage satisfaction, since mothers tend to do more housework and childcare than their male partners.
The pressures of the second shift can impact a woman’s career negatively due to her having less time to focus exclusively on her work alone.
This results in fewer salary increases, opportunities for career progression, and promotions for mothers.
Recent studies have even discovered that for each child she has there is up to a 10 percent reduction in her income – creating what is now known as the mother tax.
It’s clear that without adequate support mechanisms this issue will only continue – taking away marital happiness, well-being, and financial security from many women who are simply trying to balance home life with professional aspirations.
The Unfair Devaluation Of Women’s Time In The Home: Why We Need To Revalue It And Split Household Duties Equally
When it comes to getting a fair deal at home, men and women often value their own time more highly than that of the other.
This is especially problematic in relationships where one partner works outside the home while the other takes on much of the unpaid labor inside.
Eve found this to be true in her own relationship when her husband expected her to take care of getting rid of garbage, even though he had been home all day.
Sadly, attitudes like this are too common and must be addressed if couples want to achieve a fairer division of labor.
The key is for both partners to value each others’ time equally – regardless of whether somebody is being paid for it or not.
In order for this mindset to occur, both participants need to recognize that time can only be measured in terms of hours worked and not dollars earned.
Both partners should also realize that they have a finite number of hours in the day, just like their partner does, so it should be equally shared among things like childcare and household tasks.
The Importance Of Pursuing Your Passions As A Mother: Keeping Yourself “Interesting” And Achieving A Fairer Division Of Labor
Motherhood should not come at the cost of self-fulfillment, yet women are all too often expected to sacrifice their passions and interests in favor of housework and childcare.
Ellen was a successful businesswoman before she became a mother, but when her husband encouraged her to sell her business and focus solely on raising the children, he unknowingly caused the fulfilling passion of design she once held dear to fade away.
Soon Ellen found herself lost in conversations as she could only discuss mundane topics such as news about children and pets while never mentioning her passions.
Without pursuing passions integral to who they are, many mothers feel they are not considered interesting either by other people or even themselves.
Eve interviewed hundreds of American women who had given up hobbies and interests due to exhaustion from demands placed on them by family life and careers.
However it is essential that mothers find time for pursuits outside of home life if a fairer division of labor between couples is sought.
The majority of men surveyed in Eve’s interviews showed immense pride in their partners achievements outside their home career, urging them to keep following what made them happy before becoming a mother in order to be relieved of some time consuming domestic responsibilities.
Mothers drastically improve their lives when they refuse to give up who they are for motherhood.
Pursuing personal activities makes one more “interesting” both to oneself and others which ultimately gives mothers another dimension in their relationship with partner and friends alike.
Eve Rodsky’S “Fair Play” Game Encourages Partners To Divvy Up Domestic Labor Through Fun, Engaging Card Game
The “Fair Play” card game is the perfect way to get a better understanding of who is doing what in your home.
Developed by Eve Rodsky, the game consists of 100 playing cards divided into five categories; Home, Out, Caregiving, Magic and Wild.
Each of these categories contains tasks that parents and families must complete every day or week – from household chores such as taking out the garbage and making packed lunches to more care-focused work like toilet training your children or reading them bedtime stories; from one-off events like birthday celebrations to larger undertakings such as relocating.
When you play the game, each card is dealt to the person usually responsible for completing it.
Everyone should be aware of who is supposed to do it, so no one can say “that’s not my job”.
Each partner will then take turns drawing cards until all 100 have been completed.
In this way each individual will come away with a clearer understanding of how much labor he or she takes on actively in order to keep the home running smoothly.
And from there it’s just a matter of finding ways to rebalance the workload in a fair manner!
Reject Unnecessary Cards And Prioritize Activities That Matter To Both Partners
When dealing the cards in Fair Play, it’s important to take the time to understand which activities matter and to whom.
You and your partner should not receive any cards by default – even if you’ve been the one doing a particular task for years, don’t assume that others will either.
It’s also vital that neither of you deal out cards on the basis of gender stereotypes.
For instance, when Sara was refusing to go to her son’s birthday parties anymore, she expected her husband to become angry.
Instead, he agreed with her!
He didn’t care about going either and their son hadn’t seemed all too thrilled at attending them either.
This made it clear that they shouldn’t have an “attending birthday parties card” in their deck.
If something doesn’t hold value to both of you or your family as a whole, it shouldn’t be dealt into your deck.
Take the time when dealing the cards to really consider what each activity means and who values it the most.
That way, you’ll be able to make sure everyone gets what matters them the most without getting overwhelmed by tasks that are not particularly valuable in their lives.
How “Fair Play” Creates Visibility For Family Responsibilities
Eve Rodsky’s “Fair Play” system revolves around the three steps of conceiving, planning and executing a task.
This is the key to ensuring that all family tasks are visible and given the appropriate credit.
For example, when preparing meals in the house, there is more work involved than just cooking.
Beforehand, someone has to conceive of what to make for dinner (what recipes should we use?), plan for it (making grocery lists) and then execute on this (actually cooking).
When it comes to these household tasks we need to ensure that each of these steps is shared fairly.
One family Eve interviewed was an example of how CPE splitting can result in catastrophic consequences.
The mother assigned her husband the job of taking their daughter Lucy to a friend’s birthday party but failed to share with him any extra information concerning where or when.
Consequently, her husband missed not only the party but several calls from his wife as well!
This situation could have been easily avoided if they had a system in place accounting for sharing all three parts of CPE – conceiving, planning and executing – responsibly between both parents.
Then neither would be left with too much responsibility or knowledge gap needed for executing the task successfully
In her book, “Fair Play”, Eve Rodsky explores the deep inequality in domestic labor between men and women and provides a solution to help couples get closer to an equitable division of chores.
By understanding who is doing what, and then using Eve’s “Fair Play” card game, households can be organized more collaboratively.
Rather than taking revenge when your partner doesn’t complete a task they were assigned – which won’t solve anything – it is better to have an honest discussion about how the tasks will be re-allocated.
This requires communication and an effort to come up with a win-win solution that both partners are happy with.
Overall, Fair Play offers practical advice on how couples can reimplement fairness into their day-to-day lives, so that nobody feels like they’re shouldering too much of the burden when it comes to domestic labor.