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Le Cheat Sheet

The Rebalancing Act

We’ve all read about—and maybe even lived—the problem of women shouldering too much of the domestic work load. But Eve Rodsky, in her new book, "Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much To Do (and More Life to Live)" focuses on what can be done. Right now. In your own home. Rodsky’s system comes down to this: 4 key rules, 100 household tasks and a card game for dividing them. It goes far beyond how do I get my husband to take out the trash and asks how do I identify what’s most important to my family and work with my partner to create a home life that honors those values? Here are a few key takeaways on your journey to playing fair.
Written By
Liz McDaniel
Visibility equals value.
When Rodsky first started thinking about this book, she made a comprehensive “Sh*t I Do List” and sent it to her husband. More than a litany of complaints, it was a way to make the invisible work visible and, therefore, valued. It’s an important exercise that goes both ways. Looking at everything together also enables you to throw out the tasks that don't really matter to you or your partner.

All time is created equal.
This is Rodsky’s first rule and it’s an important one. In her conversations with over 500 men and women, Rodsky quickly discovered one universal misperception: men’s time is viewed as finite while women’s time is viewed as infinite. Another surprising finding? Women are just as likely to devalue their own time. Before you can rebalance the domestic load in your home, both you and your partner have to recognize that even the smallest of tasks takes time and all time is created equal.

Ownership is key.
Even more important than who does what is how they do it. According to Rodsky, “Ownership belongs to the person who first remembers to plan, then plans, and then follows through on every aspect of executing the plan and completing the task without reminders.” Only when one partner takes complete ownership of any given task is the other partner free of the mental load it requires.

Start where you are now.
This rule of Rodsky’s requires that you ask yourself who you are, who you’re married to and what you want out of playing the game. The answers are an important place to start your rebalancing act.

Consider the Happiness Trio.
Rodsky defines the Happiness Trio as Friendship, Self-Care and Unicorn Space (not as weird as it sounds and put simply, time and space to explore interests that are unique to you). This is something that both partners need for a marriage to thrive, so it's worth taking stock of any major imbalances and going from there.

Also, FYI, women are NOT better multitaskers than men.
For this gem, Rodsky consulted one of the country’s preeminent experts on brain science, Dr. Pat Levitt, who told her: “I don’t know of any research data that shows women are better multitaskers than men. Even when folks designed studies to prove that women are better at multitasking, nothing was really there. My guess is that women are doing more of the household organization and domestic work not because her biological variation makes her better at it, but because of cultural influence. She’s bought into the message that she is better at it—and she believes it.”