a couple complaining about cleaning the house

Division of labor

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A big part of having a newborn is all the new chores that come with them. Sharing or not sharing the chores, both household and childcare, with your partner has the potential to strengthen or break your relationship.

Different studies present different percentages, but on average more than 50% of couples became unhappy during the first three years of their baby’s life. The question is, what can we do to master the transition into parenthood and be able to cope with the struggles of being a full-time parent?

Finding a way to successfully navigate through the stress includes avoiding the battle of the chores. The degree to which the household chores are shared or at least perceived as such tends to be a direct predictor of relationship satisfaction (especially for women). In order to allow your baby to take center-stage, you must first make sure every loose end is tied backstage, and that includes the housework.

When dividing the housework, set your priorities with your partner and discuss what is important for each of you. You’re both different so, when you start deciding who does what, take into account what each of you would enjoy doing the most. A list of the absolute no-no’s for both of you is helpful as well. If you both hate one of the chores, take turns or figure out a way to get it done fairly. Take the other person’s schedule into account, don’t force a chore or base your list on unrealistic expectations.

As a couple you’ll face many struggles, but know that the less ambiguity exists in your household and baby chores, the less likely it is that resentment and tension will take root in your relationship. At the end of the day, the list is a contract, one that may be edited, broken and discarded. The take-away here is to find out what works best for you, talk it over with your partner and give it a try. Worst case scenario, the list fails, you ignore it and find another way to make it work. The important thing is you both agree on how things will get done once your little one makes their debut.


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