Often in domestic relationships, resentments can build over time about perceptions of inequity in the workload
involved in maintaining the home environment and taking care of home life, in general.
It is important to the health of a domestic relationship that both people feel taken care of and supported by each other at home. One good way to do that is to look at the way responsibilities at home are managed and shared.
Although equity is important, equity should be seen in a holistic sense, with both people’s personal needs
Often, both people in the relationship work at jobs outside the home. In those cases, cooking, cleaning, and other home maintenance jobs should be looked at as shared responsibilities, rather than one person assuming the lion’s share of the responsibilities with the other filling in at times as a favor. When a couple has children, time and energy devoted to caring for the kids should be done in partnership, as well.
When creating a system of shared responsibility, two things need to be explored:
1. What are the tasks that need to be done?
It is helpful to make a list of things that need to be done and when / how often.
2. What are the individual needs that should be factored in when splitting up the work?
For instance, if one person works at a really physically taxing job, he or she might need some time to rest
after work, vs. diving right into chores. Maybe that person’s share of the more physically taxing chores can be done primarily on the weekends or after a period of rest in the evenings.
If one person is at home with the kids all day, he or she might need some “down time” fairly early in the
evening before gearing up for night-time routines. Structured activities are a good way to approach this.
Maybe when Mommy or Daddy gets home in the evenings, it’s reading time for 20 or 30 minutes while the at-home
parent takes a short break. It’s good to be creative and avoid doing things “on the fly” so that consistency
is more likely.
What does each person enjoy doing and / or feel good at? It’s good to split things up in ways that feel positive
for each person. What would be fun to do together?
The most important thing to remember is to be open and communicate about your needs and feelings. Without judgment or anger, just lay things on the table and look at what work needs to be done and how both people can
share the load in ways that feel comfortable and mutually supportive.