How Men Can Work to Split Up Housework More Fairly

How Men Can Work to Split Up Housework More Fairly

So sit down and talk. First, do a chore audit with your partner; there are plenty of worksheets available online if you don’t know where to start. Ask your partner detailed questions about what you both want done around the house and how to fairly split up tasks. Also— and this is crucial— you must set agreed upon standards, what Eve Rodsky calls a “Minimum Standard of Care” in her book Fair Play. You and your partner may not personally have the same lines regarding cleanliness. That’s OK! But you can both agree to change the sheets once a week regardless because that’s what human adults do, or you can agree to mop the kitchen twice a month even if it doesn’t seem dirty. That way, if you’re not the kind of person who notices grimy floors or remembers how long ago you laundered linens, it doesn’t matter; the schedule is set. When you have these agreed upon standards, which might seem nit-picky at first, you eliminate disagreements and resentments. You take out the trash bins because it’s trash day; you vacuum the rug because it’s vacuum the rug day.

Take full responsibility for your chores.

Rodsky  insists that C.P.E.—conception, planning, and execution—of a task should belong to one person. If you’re in charge of lawn care, for example, you shouldn’t be relying on your partner to pick up yard waste bags; you’re just asking for them to buy the wrong kind, thereby creating even more work. Same goes for your partner. Once you divvy up tasks, you have to be fully responsible for every facet of all your chores.

Spend more time alone with your kids.

Lockman says that one of the best ways to equalize the household work load is to be alone with your children more, starting from a very early age. As she puts it, “human beings learn by doing. None of this is instinct. So fathers who are alone with their babies have the opportunity to become confident that they are as much a primary parent as their wives.” Neither parent should feel more competent or responsible than the other.

If it’s available to you, take paternity leave. The benefits—including lower divorce rates, closer ties with children, and more equitable divisions of housework—last for years. Not only does this bond you better with your children, but it also helps alleviate stress for your partner, gives them more time to build their life outside of children, and it fights the commonly-if-subconsciously-held assumption that children are inherently the responsibility of mothers. Yes, it’s tempting to spend any free time with the whole family, but bonding with your kids where you are the only adult around is vital.

Show off.

According to legend, even Bill and Melinda Gates have struggled with equitable divisions of labor around the home. Apparently, when one of their daughters started going to a school farther away from their home—a school that Bill was really pushing for—Bill offered to do the school drop off. After he did, more and more dads in the community started dropping their kids off at school as well. As one parent put it, “If Bill Gates…can drive his kid to school, so can you!”

Lockman freely admits that this story is an outsized example. “But,” she says, “the fact is that we’re influenced by what we see around us. So the more men step up and are publicly doing these things, the more other men will step up and publicly be doing these things.” Being very public about your fatherly duties might inspire the men around you to do more, too.

Remember that initiative is hot.

If you came into your job every morning and asked your boss, “Hey, what am I supposed to do today?” you probably wouldn’t have a job for very long. Housework is work; no one wants to be doing it. Think about the two of you as coworkers—if you’re slacking off and waiting to be told what to do all the time, that ultimately creates more work for your partner. Find out what tasks need to be done with your partner, agree on them, divy them up, and then execute them without prompting. That last part is key—“I want you to want to do the dishes” became a cliché for a reason.

Household work is one of the parts of being an adult that kind of blows, much like bad knees, worsening hangovers, and colonoscopies. You are going to have to do some tasks that you don’t like, and maybe even some things you think are pointless. You don’t have to like the work, but you do need to do it.

Besides, there’s evidence that men who do more work around the house get laid more.

How to Avoid Housework Arguments

Author Eve Rodsky created a game, Fair Play, to help keep the peace.

Source : Sophia Benoit Link

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