If your female partner often feels frustrated about the number of household tasks she carries out in comparison with you, she’s certainly not alone. Study after study has indicated that women shoulder most of the burden of household and parenting labor.
“It is true that in cisgender heterosexual couples where both partners work full time, it is often the female doing more work around the house and when it comes to caring for the children,” said Rachel Needle, a licensed psychologist and co-director of Modern Sex Therapy Institutes, told HuffPost. “While we have certainly seen changes towards equality in this area, it is likely that these beliefs are so ingrained that it is often what is expected both of ourselves and our partner.”
She noted that many adults observed this unbalanced dynamic in their childhood homes as they grew up. Given the disparity between maternity and paternity leave offerings, society seems to reinforce the notion that child care should be more of a woman’s priority than a man’s.
Clearly, the world still has a long way to go in dividing household labor more equally. But in addition to general goals of social progress, men have other incentives to do their part.
“Research shows that heterosexual couples who share household chores have sex more often!” Needle said.
Shifting the status quo can feel daunting, but it’s actually quite simple. Here, Needle and other experts break down eight small but actionable steps men can take to balance the division of labor at home.
Acknowledge Your Partner’s Work
“Men can start by acknowledging both the physical and mental load women may feel when they are responsible for domestic tasks, as well as homework helpers, party planners and household managers,” said relationship therapist Judith Aronowitz. “Many women have to keep all these balls juggling in their heads all the time.”
She emphasized the value of feeling seen and supported, and she suggested showing appreciation regularly. Acknowledge that your partner’s time is valuable and consider whether your time has been prioritized above hers.
“Reflecting that you see how much she has been doing and telling her how much it means to you and supports you will help to make the invisible visible,” said Kaitlin Kindman, a therapist and co-founder of Kindman & Co. “You may even notice that feeling genuine gratitude for your partner also helps you feel more connected to her, which can fuel more motivation to take over some…