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Jugglers' Helpers

Enlisting the home team

by Florinda Pendley Vasquez  |  5134 views  |  1 comment  |        Rate this now! 

And if you're married or living with a partner, recent studies suggest that equitable sharing of domestic responsibilities is a key to work/life balance. Complaints about husbands who don't help out, or won't help out, or do a lousy job of helping out, are legendary, but I think the first and last of these categories can be addressed. If a husband doesn't help out because he's never home, and/or he just hasn't been asked, there's at least potential for conversation about changing the status quo, and that's hopefully a first step in making it happen. As for the "lousy job of helping" partner, that may be where we need to cede some control, and decide whether the problem is truly a bad job, or a job that's just not done the way we'd do it - and if it's the latter, is the way it is getting done acceptable and reasonable? In any case, discussion is important; we can't reasonably expect our partners to know how we need them to help without talking about it, and it seems that just as many arguments in this area result from unvoiced assumptions and expectations as do from actual transgressions.

If these concepts would be new to your household - and I hope they aren't - there may be a need for some family meetings and team-building exercises to help lay the groundwork for your system, and to get everyone on board with making it work. That's key, since non-participation - including forgetting one's tasks or repeatedly doing them poorly - could be construed as passive-aggressive resistance and undermines the system for everyone. In any case, the home-team approach takes clear communication, realistic expectations, and a willingness to let go and relax just a bit. It can be a win-win for everyone, and it just might help you stop giving 110% - since you shouldn't have to, and you're not the only player.

And I'll stop with the sports clichÄ—s now, except for one - go, team, and good luck!


About the Author

Florinda is a wife, mother, stepmother, blogger, and accountant employed by a Southern California nonprofit agency.

Read more by Florinda Pendley Vasquez

1 comment so far...

  • In some cases, just having the kids elsewhere for a specified amount of time, at reliable intervals, may be the most help the other parent has ever provided. That certainy describes my childrens' father! He was also one who WOULD NOT do any housework. Worse, not only did he not pick up after himself, he criticized my housekeeping! Astonishing, really...

    In this relationship, I have a partner, in every sense of the word. I do most of the household stuff because I'm home more, because it bugs me more, and because, as long as he knows where HIS stuff is, he doesn't see the rest. BUT... we have assigned chores, and we all do what we said we would. Additionally, he'll do a sink of dishes or some other concrete task if he sees it needs to be done. And finally, any time I want someone him to do something, I just say so, and he does it. If he can't, he says so -- politely, and generally with an apology and a reason, from which point we can negotiate, or perhaps choose to just let the mess lie for now!

    WHAT a welcome change from that first guy...

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 4th October 2007