Some recent sessions have reminded me how many problems stem from people feeling that there is not fairness when it comes to household chores.
One of my female clients recently discussed her frustration that her husband seems to feel much more able to “check out” – to go talk with a friend or a neighbor or to start going on social media – while she is doing the evening routine for the children and other household chores.
She described feeling she must “ask” for a break for some personal time, whereas he can just take his break.
Believe it or not, in some couples there is a role reversal. I can think of specific clients wherein the wife is the one who spontaneously checks out for personal time while her husband feels the division of labor is unfair!
When I was in graduate school, I was taught that when it comes to equitable division of labor between partners the one thing to pay the most attention to is this:
After both paid and unpaid labor to support the household is finished – Do partners have a similar amount of time for rest, socialization, and personal time?
If one partner has almost no time for rest and personal time while the other partner has several hours per day or per week then this is a terrible division of labor.
With a recent couple, we have been working on balancing out the division of labor – and both partners asking each other for some personal time to “check out” – creating a team effort in which they are truly helping each other. Everyone is working and contributing, except for agreed upon times for rest and personal time that are equitable. This is the goal and the mission for your relationship.
And if you don’t have it, then it doesn’t matter how you have divided up the chores – it still is going to lead to resentment and conflict and a lack of intimacy between partners.
For more help figuring out your dilemmas with the division of labor in your household, please Contact a Relationship Repair Associate for a consultation appointment.