Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What does your partnership look like?

A family is like a team and every family I know manages the roles and responsibilities of their team differently. These days anything goes, it's about what works. But of course our histories and family of origin have an impact on what we expect from our home life. I've been thinking about that since I read this article about how woman who grow up in households where the dad participates in the housework are more ambitious in their careers. I guess I'm one of those women. Both of my parents worked. My mom was lucky to be able to be with me for the full first year of my life, but after that she continued working as a psychologist and pursued her PhD in psychology. I had wonderful nannies, and then a great preschool I still have fond memories of. But I also saw my dad at home a lot. He worked as a camera-man and editor and he did his editing out of a home office. His schedule was therefore flexible. I remember him cooking dinner. He would sew up rips in my clothes. He helped me with my homework. And he also worked in this cool room with large screens and a computer and I would go in there and watch him cut and type. I guess I saw him do everything. And I saw my mom do everything too.

And without even consciously choosing to turns out that is the situation I have now with my husband. We both work, and we both take care of the household. We've fallen into certain habits that makes the system efficient. For example, I'll write up the grocery list and then D will get the groceries. He'll do the dishes in the morning and start the dishwasher and I'll unload the dishwasher in the afternoon. But we both cook (depending on who feels like they have the most time that day). We'll both do laundry. We'll both clean (or we sometimes treat ourselves to a cleaning service). It works for us. I know other families have other situations. Luckily I work from home so I can take a 10 minute break during the day to make the bed. And D works for himself so he has the ability go grocery shopping in the middle of the day. It's a constant dance but luckily we do have the ability to fit things in when we need them to get done. And I am constantly thankful that I have a partner in this and that we can work as a team.

How did the family you grew up in effect how you have structured your current family? What works for you and what doesn't?

And on a separate but related note, this is an interesting piece about the sometimes negative effects of societies preference for two-parent households. Worth a read.

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