Millennium Mom

Friday, November 28, 2008

True Partnership

The first cardinal rule in my book is "it takes a partnership." In all honesty, the original heading was "marry the right man." When I shared the manuscript with friends, they gave me the honest feedback that maybe the heading wasn't right. As I didn't want people to feel bad about their marriage if they didn't have a partnership, instead I wanted women to get some tips for how they could go about forming a better partnership with their husband, particularly around managing the home and children.

It would be and is nearly impossible to have a job/career and children if you do not have a strong partnership with your spouse or partner. This doesn't mean it has to be 50/50. It has to be enough that you will not go crazy and you feel you have the support you need. The important thing is you determine what level of support that is.

I have a "cheat sheet" of common tasks in the household in my book that you can go through and "assign" ownership to them. The easiest way to start the conversation is to be open and honest with your spouse. Let him or her know that you are struggling a bit and need more help. After you open up this conversation, then just ask him or her "what don't you mind doing?" What are the tasks that don't bother them. For example, in our house for Arnie it is mowing the lawn, doing some laundry and bathing the kids. Then ask them "what do you really dislike doing?" If you both dislike the same tasks, then determine if you can afford to outsource it. If you can't, then maybe split the tasks.

When you are done you should have a list of who will do what. In our house it is still about 60/40 me, but that is fine. I can manage that amount and still love life. Every now and then I will begin to lose it. After trying to "hide it" or not let it show for about three weeks, it builds up too much and then I break down to say "I need you to do more." It's a bit of swallowing your pride...I still haven't figured out why doing a lot is pride, it must be in female DNA or something.

So as you give thanks, and hopefully your spouse or partner is something you are thankful for, and look forward to a new year before you know it, I encourage you to take a look at the workload and have a conversation if it is out of whack. For those of you reading this who are not married, I recommend having the conversation before kids enter your life, as it will come like a brick wall so you should be prepared.


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