How to: make home life work for you

In the middle ages, unmarried women had a harder time finding work. They were relegated to low-value jobs like spinning wool – and that, Powrsuiters, is why the term ‘spinster’ exists today. 

Modern women have very different prospects than our medieval sisters. These days, men are the main benefactors of marriage – even if many are oblivious to the health and happiness they gain. Their wives? They’re statistically worse off – even if society refuses to believe it. Those sympathetic assurances that your single friends will ‘find the right man one day’? They’re being directed at the happiest group of all. Our favourite RomCom could have been called She’s Just Not That Into You.

Navigating the complex world of household chores is hard, and not all of us are lucky enough to be single or in a relationship with another woman. 😉 Many Powrsuiters find themselves with a partner who ignored the warnings to stay away from career women and married anyway (#HopesAndPrayersForHusbands).

If you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother.”
Paul Dolan, Professor of Behavioural Science.

It’s time to make home life work for you

When Jacinda Ardern resigned, many assumed the celebrated empathetic leader walked away to spend more time with her 4-year-old. We’re still waiting to hear the same rationale applied to a male politician who renounces their position. Neve is a gorgeous wee girl, but the double standards faced by working women and men are anything but. 

Many Powrsuiters have experienced the challenges of juggling the personal and professional firsthand. Last week, we spoke to an executive coach who works with a select few high-performing executives. While you’d assume the biggest challenges facing this group would be their immense workplace responsibilities, her recent sessions with a top-tier director have instead focused on negotiating household chores with her husband. 

Another conversation last week reinforced what we already know; household demands negatively impact women’s careers. In the middle of a (second) glass of wine at a lovely Auckland, NZ bar, an ambitious Powrsuiter announced that once women had children, it was unrealistic to hope their careers would stay centre stage. 

So this week? We’re taking action.

Maybe women can’t have it all. Perhaps we don’t even want to. But what we can hope for is a better work/life balance. So join us to defy the stats, and create a home life that re-distributes the workload, so that we can reach our career goals, whatever they may be.

Behind every great married woman is a partner who shares the load

No one (apart from Nat) enjoys cleaning. No one (including Nat) wants to do the dishes. But these chores, alongside many others, still need to be done. However, how they are done is totally up for grabs. We’ve picked the brains of experts and professional women and pulled together three approaches to fairly divide the mental load to free up time for the things that matter (pssst. That’s you).

Pay to make them go away

During Anne Elder Knight’s Growing Greatness programme, she asks participants to list all the chores they have on their plates. Then, she asks them to identify the ones they can pay other people to do. Yes, we understand there’s a level of privilege in the ability to outsource your chores – but if you do have spare cash, outsourcing could be your best investment. If money is tight, a short-term arrangement can be enough to buy some sanity – consider paying for a helping hand during stressful seasons.

Divide the doing

If we had a dollar for every time we heard that women are naturally better at multitasking, we’d be on a flight to Hawaii. Incidentally, women are not better than men at seeing mess either. What we are good at, however, is taking on the role of project manager and doer at home (while overloading ourselves at work 🤦‍♀️). But we don’t need to. Are you in a relationship with someone who is pathologically unable to remember school trips, appointments, gifts, or the shopping list? Then it’s probably time to realise your ‘feedback‘ isn’t working. Instead, split household roles into two: you can embrace the role of project manager and make sure the house runs like clockwork – but leave all the doing to your partner. Yes, it’s time to walk away from the dishes, washing machine and vacuum.

Own the task

Instead of breaking chores down by role, why not break them down by task? Grab your partner and a glass of something yummy, and create a complete list of everything required to keep your household functioning (or take a shortcut and buy this great game). Divide the tasks fairly between you and agree on the minimum standard you expect for each – i.e. do you really have to iron your pillowcases? Your tasks become your (or your partner’s) responsibility to complete from planning to execution – yep, the whole shebang. Remember to schedule regular check-ins to review and reshuffle work as required.

30 second action:

Invite your partner (or yourself) on a planning date. Change starts with understanding the status quo, so use this date to get clear on who’s currently doing what. Bonus points if you challenge yourself to determine whether it’s a fair division.

Was this helpful?
YesNo

Weekly leadership insights, straight to your inbox