That's why the start of the year is a great time to sit-down with your co-parent and have a real talk about what a more equitable distribution of tasks might look like. My husband and I, after 21 years of marriage, have tasks divided down to bodily fluids. I’m not joking.
When it comes to the kid’s blood, I get queasy so that is my husband's department. On the other hand, I am the go-to on vomit and diarrhea (no surprise there).
One of us does the majority of research on education and schools, the other is the go-to for sports, summer camps and other extracurricular activities. I tend to buy clothes for the kids, my husband buys the sneakers, shoes, bikes, scooters and other sports equipment. One of us comes up with vacation ideas and dates, the other searches for plane tickets, books hotels etc. He doesn’t mind doing the laundry, I don’t mind folding it. We play to each other’s strengths and interests and that minimizes the stress in our home.
Another idea we got from blogger Jordan Page is this: each year decide who is responsible for your anniversary and who is responsible for Valentine's day. That person makes all the arrangements, including the babysitter. And then the following year you switch. That way you are both involved in planning at least one special day that celebrates your love.
Obviously these roles aren’t set in stone but we have found that setting up our lives in this way means that we are both clear on expectations and balls don’t get dropped, followed by finger pointing and “I thought you were gonna do it” debates.
At the same time, once tasks are assigned, it is not for the other person to critique how that task should be done or assume that the other parent “won’t do it right.” Maybe they won’t do it your way…but the task will get done.
The kids get involved too. Our tween and teenager take garbage out, lay the table, launder sheets on Saturday mornings and more. They are part of our home community so it is important that they pitch in. After all, studies show that assigning chores to your kids, even as preschoolers, leads to a strong work ethic.
It's definitely not always picture-perfect, but it works well for us.
What are some ways that you could divide your household duties with your co-parent to relieve stress? And if you are a single-parent, where do you get relief when you need it. Tell us in the comments. We could all use suggestions.
KEEP CALM AND POTTY ON