How to work with your partner to split the household workload

As you consider how to tackle all the daily to-dos that it takes to keep a household running, you’ll want to consider just how you and your partner can work together to make this magic happen. When you’re working to approach parenting as a partnership, even if one parent stays home with baby while the other works, you’ll both want to view yourselves as primary caregivers, not part-time parents. This sort of a perspective can go a long way toward both partners feeling responsible for the infinite number of daily tasks, actions, and behaviors – both small and large – that it takes to raise a child.

Acknowledge that this will take some maintenance

Even in households where the workload is split evenly before the arrival of a baby and both partners want to continue to do so once the little one arrives, things can quickly shift to being uneven after a baby is born. Oftentimes both parents will take on more housework, but research shows that even in families trying to share the work evenly, women often actually bear the brunt of the extra responsibilities and add far more hours of housework to their day.

Talk about who does what

This can be one of the more challenging times in your life to communicate. It’s also a time when it will really help you both out in the long-run to talk through the nitty gritty of just what your household tasks are, what Baby’s needs are, and who does what – including sometimes “invisible” work like nursing, making doctor’s appointments, paying bills, and planning parties – you should even list all of this out!

It might not be the sexiest thing you can do with your partner, but this important exercise will help you both get on the same page about just what it takes to keep your household running. 

Talk about who likes to do what

In addition to talking about exactly what you each do to help your family function, you should also talk about whether you like the tasks you’re currently tackling. Sometimes you really can’t get out of doing things you don’t want to do – after all, if neither of you particularly enjoys changing poopy diapers, well, you both still have do that anyway – but you might be surprised by what you find. 

Maybe one of you has been doing the laundry or doing meal prep because that’s just the sort of a routine you got into as a couple. And maybe neither of you really enjoys the task you’re currently doing, but you’d love to switch things up – because you happen to find folding clothes relaxing and your partner actually delights in cooking.

Seeing what you can do to rearrange your responsibilities so that you’re each able to do the tasks you enjoy – or to at least take turns doing the stuff that neither of you really cares for – can help keep your chores from feeling too much like chores.

Plan to revisit things

Just like Baby won’t be little forever, the tasks that it takes to keep your household running won’t be the same forever. If you and your partner make plans to regularly check in and assess what’s working and what’s not – and then decide as a team just how you can split things up in a way that works for you both – your routine can grow right along with Baby. Again, it’s not the most romantic sort of a date, but maybe you can make plans to discuss your household needs once a month over breakfast or in the evening after Baby is asleep over wine.

This is important time for you to work with your partner in ways that will, hopefully, make your household run at least a little more smoothly and help you both feel good about how you’re each contributing to make it work. And a partnership where you’re both working together in these ways is pretty dreamy.

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