Since we launched Checklist Mom back in 2013, I’m often asked “Marc, why is the Checklist Mom website or app only for moms? Don’t you know that dads are also interested in organization and scheduling?” and my response is “yes, of course.” I tell them “Oh! Don’t let our name fool you, Checklist Mom is for all parents (mom and/or dad) who want more time for themselves and are committed to making their lives better by getting organized so that they will have more stress free, guilt free and drama free time to thrive.”
At Checklist Mom we believe that any parent can achieve their goals, but we emphasize that these goals can be achieved much faster when the whole family is involved, that means Mom, Dad and the kids.
However, as a dad, I know that sometimes my perception of how our family should go about getting better organized often differs from my wife and kids’ perspectives. I have to admit that this has led to a few family disagreements that were at times quite uncomfortable. But since my wife and I are both committed to being better organized, we’ve made a series of adjustments that I believe greatly improved our relationship with ourselves and our family. Doing so has enabled us to achieve our goals much faster than we ever expected.
Note that we are constantly making adjustments to better ourselves. As described in the following article “Dividing childcare and housework duties with your partner,” I’ve listed my top 5 favorite must-do adjustments that has guaranteed success in our home:
Share the load by working together
When my wife and I work together to maintain our home, everyone benefits. I’m much more involved with the care of our kids. This helps me develop a strong bond with them. The kids benefit because they see mom and dad as both being important to family life. For housework, I’m committed to cooperate, communicate and work together fairly, and as a result everybody benefits.
Redefine your goals
How do we maintain balance at home, get dinner ready, do laundry, feed and bathe the kids, and still have time for each other and ourselves? Well, instead of striving for a 50-50 division of labor, we first focus on what we both want and need. Then, we find a way to balance the load so that we can both feel good, productive and appreciated
Track your to-dos
Here’s an exercise that we found extremely beneficial. For one week, both you and your partner keep a log of everything your do at home and for the family. Then compare your lists.
- How do you each feel about the tasks on your list?
- Do you want to change anything?
- Is there any task you intensely dislike?
- Can you switch it for another chore?
While reviewing your lists, try reassigning responsibilities and finding compromises. Maybe you can agree to take turns doing the especially difficult tasks. And stay flexible even after you’ve divided up the chores in a way that’s mutually agreeable. Be willing to help each other out when you can, or even swap chores once in a while to get a feel for what your partner does.
Anticipate and communicate
Ok I admit it, my wife expects me to read her mind and I do the exact same thing, but for some reason or another we never got real good at mind reading. So we’ve learned that It’s crucial that you tell each other what you want and need. Do your best to express yourself clearly and specifically, and without blame.
For example, when you need help, tell your partner exactly what you want “Can you help with the kids’ homework so I can cook dinner?” rather than how you may feel at the moment. “I have to do everything around here or nothing gets done!” If you fight over household responsibilities, set-aside time when you’re both calm to figure out what the real problem is and how to find a solution.
Accept each other’s style
My wife and I have different parenting styles, and these differences are important gifts for our kids. But as parents it’s sometimes very hard to respect and value those differences. Instead of criticizing my wife about what she feeds our kids, I simply accept and respect that she feeds, bathes, teaches or dresses them differently than I do. If you constantly criticize your partner’s efforts, they will have angst and be more reluctant to help you in the future.
BONUS – Reward yourself and your stress free, guilt free & drama free time
When you agree to work together, you will have time to play together later. For example you could say, “If you take the kids to the playground Saturday, I’ll spend that time grocery shopping. Then we’ll have the rest of the day to ourselves.”