What's Fair In Your Home?
Written by Psychologist, Daniel Chable
I’ve often had discussions with new parents about what is fair when it comes to distribution of work with a baby in the house.
How much work should each parent be responsible for?
The best definition that I have been able to find is as follows:
- When one person is at work, that’s their job,
- When the other person is looking after the baby, that’s their job,
- When both people are at home, all jobs belong to both.
The other one that seems to be important when personal time/space is at a premium is:
When one person has the opportunity to do something for themselves, the other person should also do something for themselves, before the first person does something for themselves again.
If you want to create considerable resentment in your partner do the following:
- Insist on going for a drink with the boys on Friday nights and come home drunk.
- Insist on having dinner on the table upon your return from work and then read the newspaper in the bath and then lock onto the television.
- Insist on playing football/cricket and attending training/practice for the entire season.
- Insist on reading all of the weekend newspapers prior do doing anything else.
- Insist on sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday morning.
- Insist on spending the entire day doing something with your mates on at least one day of every weekend if you aren’t playing cricket, football.
- Insist on leaving your clothes around on the floor or leaving things around the house.
- Insist that your only responsibility is to work at your job and bring in the pay cheque.
- Adopt the belief that its actually your money rather than joint money that is earned.
You may find, as many men have, that within a short period of time you will be able to return to living like an adolescent without any adult responsibilities. Some might say “bliss” but the emotional and financial costs are enormous.
Most people learn how to be people, partners and parents by watching how their parents behaved. We all tend to believe that we should live like they did. But their way was neither right not wrong, it was just their way. You have to ensure that you and your partner share the same views about roles and responsibilities otherwise the $*#@& will hit the fan sooner or later.
How do you do this? One word: COMMUNICATE. If you are prepared to share roles, responsibilities and privileges each of you will feel valued and respected. As somebody said a long time ago:
Do onto others as you would they do unto you.