Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A Mile in Their Shoes (What I Learned From Mums)

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Today I have a guest post from Dave, this isn't sponsored. I just liked the content and agreed to host it. Here is a little about Dave -

Dave runs Silverback Coaching which provides a mix of Personal Development, Kettlebell and Nutrition Coaching (although not all at the same time!).  He has worked with clients all around the world to achieve life changes and he still can’t believe he has found a way to earn a living doing what he loves.  Dave and his very patient wife (Una) just passed the 20 year mark which he maintains is a triumph of love over exasperation.  They have 2 moderately wayward teenagers and a scruffy springer spaniel who desperately needs a clip.  Dave is just getting to grips with the blogging thing and provides coaching insights on a regular basis at silverbackcoaching.co.uk 

This post is inspired by the Mums but it’s really for the working Dads.

OK – back in the old days, when the work was black and white and everything looked like a Hovis advert, men did man stuff and women did everything else. We have moved on, mostly. We now have equality in the workplace (almost) but it sometimes seems less so at home. I still see clients who live out the ‘traditional’ division of labour in the home.

We have all seen ‘Wife Swap’ (yes you have – don’t lie) when the slob husband is sent off to live with the regimented wife who makes him do all the chores. Typically he runs home professing undying love and gratitude for his wife and vows to change and be more supportive in the home.

Most busy Mums are the powerhouse of the home. Cooking, cleaning, shopping, raising children, and often working part-time or running home businesses as well. And in most cases Dads have stepped up and they do an equal share of the domestic load. But how do you know if you’re really pulling your weight? How do you know if you’re really making it easy for your partner or if you’re adding to the workload?

The best way to figure this out (apart from being sent to live with someone else for a fortnight) is to switch. Now I know this isn’t always possible. I was fortunate. When I went self-employed and my wife went full-time I got to sample this. I became the home based parent and my wife was the 9-5 (plus shifts) full time worker. Did I make some realisations? Absolutely!

I now do a more equal share. My wife puts the washing in and I hang it up, I cook 2-3 three times a week (instead of the occasional weekend). I do a lot more of the small household organising tasks because it’s easier when you work from home. Not a seismic shift but enough for me to realise that we had been out of kilter.

I’ve had experiences with clients where Mum was ill and Dad had to step in and do everything for a while. In these instances I’ve seen the ‘norm’ shift as Dad realised exactly how much Mum did! As the saying goes, if you want to understand someone, walk a mile in their shoes.

Guys, if none of these opportunities present themselves, just give it some thought. Are you doing a fair share? Is there a little bit more you could do that would make a big difference?

Now this is a tricky post to write as I don’t want to come off all preachy (I certainly don’t have the right). It’s simply a reflection on this topic based on what I have seen with clients.

A side note on division of labour –

It’s about equal time, effort and energy, not necessarily equal tasks. Ladies, if you never check the tyres and the oil you don’t get to complain if he never cleans the toilet. Gents, yes you might do all the DIY but you don’t paint the house every weekend. Bring the washing in, cook a meal, take a turn.

Talk, work it out, and be kind, you’re on the same team!

So how do you do it? How do you make sure your split of the tasks is equal? Let us know and leave a comment below.

Let’s make life work!
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