Parent Power Play: Benefits of Splitting Family Duties at Home

If you’re a parent, there’s probably a stereotype about you. Maybe you’re the mom who is supposed to do it all, or you might be the hapless husband. 

Or, just maybe, you’re the “mean one” while your partner is the “weak link.” As infuriating as these stereotypes are, they seem to be everywhere.  

 Thankfully, most people know better than to try and live the stereotype. After all, families are stronger when parents present a united front as often as possible. 

 From discipline to household chores, a balanced approach to family life is the ultimate parent power play. And when it comes to this particular power play, the benefits speak for themselves. 

 Here are just a few benefits of splitting the family duties at home: 

Happier Parents 

When one parent shoulders the majority of parenting pressures, they usually end up miserable. In the past, there weren’t many ways for unhappy spouses to leave the situation and still maintain contact with their kids, which led to even unhappier families. 

But today, people have more options. With all that progress, however, it is still best to try and solve the problem before it gets that bad. 

The best way to head off this problem is to have an honest conversation. It might get tense or awkward, but keep in mind that the whole point is to create a stronger marriage. And, to do that, you need a stronger partnership. 

This conversation should include things like how both partners feel about the division of labor. It’s important to touch on the mental load that goes along with running a household. Everything from tracking when groceries run low to tidying up small messes to coordinating schedules takes up a lot of energy. 

If it’s all being shouldered by one person, they’re going to burn out.  

After you get through the conversation, you can redistribute some of the workload. Once the family settles into this new balance, both partners will find themselves in a much happier marriage that is stronger thanks to the open communication and shared approach to family life. 

 A Stronger Marital Relationship 

When people are happy in a general sense, their relationships tend to be happier. They have more energy for communication and intimacy, both emotional and physical. 

 It creates a sort of feedback loop that leaves each member of the relationship generally content with their lives. 

Achieving the right balance might take a few delicate conversations, but this kind of overall happiness is worth it for the sake of a healthy marriage. Not only are the individual people happy, but they feel supported in their marriage, which creates a stronger bond. 

Although it is important to have a life outside of your marriage, there is no denying that married people do better when they’re happy in their situation. This might seem a bit obvious, but it wasn’t that long ago that people thought marriage—good or bad—was the thing that improved people’s lives. 

We now know that a healthy relationship is the goal. Sharing parental workloads is one of the best ways to make sure you’re cultivating a happy, healthy relationship. 

Happier Kids 

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Happy wife, happy life.” However, that’s not exactly true.  

It’s more like “Happy parents, happy kids.” This is because kids—for all that people think children are oblivious to adult concerns—are actually very perceptive. They might not understand why their house is tense or unhappy, but they can pick up on it.  

When kids live in tense households, they can develop unhealthy coping response. In some kids, this manifests as anxiety which has been tied to drug addiction in a variety of studies. 

Other kids might lash out or misbehave. In either case, the child suffers and that’s not what any parent wants.  

Children who grow up in more relaxed environments, on the other hand, tend to have better coping mechanisms. If their parents model open communication and shared home responsibilities, they will learn those skills early on. 

This allows them to approach their own relationships with better communication skills and an understanding of how to share duties, which creates another feedback loop of healthier relationships. 

Better-Functioning Households 

Although the psychological benefits of shared family duties are impressive—and important—they’re not the only reason to balance the scales. In a much more concrete way, your household will run better if two people work together. 

While one person can run a household on their own, some things are inevitably going to fall through the cracks. That’s a lot less likely to happen when parents work together.  

If only one parent knows what groceries are needed—and which brands the family eats—then that person is the one who has to do the grocery shopping and cooking, too. But if both parents have access to something like a shared family tracking app, then everyone has access to the grocery list. This, in turn, creates an expectation that everyone knows which brands and foods are pantry staples. 

If both parents are fully aware of the schedule as well, it becomes a lot easier to get everyone where they need to be. Better scheduling also allows each parent (as well as other family members) to find time for the things they like a little more readily, since they know when time is available. 

 This creates not only a balance in the way household duties are divided, but in time spent on family needs and personal needs as well. 

You’ll also find that you have more time to focus on fixing other sore spots, too. This new family life balance will open up the door to prepping meals and cooking at home more, so you can pass on fast food. 

Or if you all want to get more active, you’ll find it easier to arrange hikes with the whole family. A balanced life opens all sorts of doors you just don’t expect! 

The Takeaway 

No relationship will ever be perfectly balanced. What counts as balance for one family would be wildly unbalanced for another, because each family dynamic as its own quirks. 

But overall, family duties can tend to wind up on the shoulders of one parent or another if you aren’t intentional about splitting the workload. The best we can do is work to rebalance the load.  

Shifting duty balances can take time. There will probably be a few hiccups as everyone settles into the new way things will work, but with all of the benefits it brings, the work is worth it. 

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