Feb. 14, 2022

Ask Amy: How Much Complaining About the "Invisible Workload" is Allowed?

Talking about the invisible workload isn't one and done. If the default parent doesn’t make it visible, who is going to see what they do? But in order to keep these conversations peaceful and productive, start by considering what you hope to gain.

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How can you talk about the division of labor in your home– particularly if you're the one doing most of that labor– in a way that's less complain-y and more effective?

Listeners can email us their questions at questions@whatfreshhellpodcast.com, which is where we received this week's question:

Where is the the line between verbalizing the “mental load” and not talking everything to death and annoying myself and my partner in the process? I want him to recognize and understand all that I do as a stay-at-home mom to keep our house and family running, but at what point should I just put my head down and do my “job”? I do view this as my job and I wouldn’t have it any other way, so it makes it confusing to decide what to verbally “offload” and what to keep to myself.

Talking about the invisible workload isn't one and done. It's invisible to everyone except you, the default parent who's doing it all. So we think you do get to talk about it. But in order to keep those conversations peaceful and productive, start by considering what you hope to gain.

Is it "I see what you're doing, and it's a lot, thank you?" In that case, be clear that you're asking for appreciation and gratitude.

Is it that your partner needs to change little things he or she is doing ("soaking" pans in sink, we're looking at you!) because they're taking your work for granted without understanding how that makes you feel?

Or is it that you're actually drowning in all that you need to accomplish on a daily basis, and you need your partner to step up and take on significant responsibilities right now?

Decide your goal for the conversation, set up a time to discuss it, and then start (and end) what you have to say with your specific request. Asking for what you need will make it more likely your spouse will understand what to do next, and will hopefully leave you feeling a little less "annoying" for speaking up.

In this episode Amy recommends this interview with Eve Rodsky, author of FAIR PLAY: https://www.whatfreshhellpodcast.com/changing-the-invisible-workload-with-guest-eve-rodsky/

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