How to Enable Fair Play in the Running of a Household

Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and even more Life to Live) by Eve Rodsky

Running a household can be an exhausting challenge for families. Much of the work that goes into it can be categorized as “invisible work . . . because it may be unseen and unrecognized by our partners, and also because those of us who do it may not count or even acknowledge it as work . . . despite the fact that it costs us real time and significant mental and physical effort with no sick days or benefits.”

We live in a society that doesn’t value childcare or housework; both important and essential jobs that have to be done. Oftentimes, it leaves one partner with little time to do anything else. However, everyone needs space to become the best person they can be. This means that we all need interests and passions that we can freely pursue.

Rodsky breaks it down like this, “Whoever you are and whatever you do, you still need time and space to engage in something outside of the work you do for money to make you come alive. Unfortunately, many of us confuse financial success with personal value, and for this very reason, a large majority of the individuals I spoke to were reluctant to consider carving out time from their schedule for an activity that wouldn’t generate income.”

She believes that we need to share our passion with the world. She writes, “when that thing you do for you is extended outward to include others, it becomes more meaningful, purposeful, and therefore even more fulfilling.” If you are not sure what your passion is or how you can carve out time for it, reading this book will help.

Rodsky shares a plan to help us all find a little more time in our schedules. It basically boils down to budgeting all of the household tasks like we would our finances. A good budget assigns every dollar a specific job. This household task budget does the same thing by accounting for 100 activities that regularly need to be accomplished inside and outside of the home. These include both small and large jobs.

Her strategy is to make sure that each partner in the relationships agrees to take on certain tasks. These tasks can be traded off regularly or remain static. The important thing is that whoever is responsible for the task needs to “conceive, plan, and execute [it] . . . without reminders, half-ass efforts and excuses, or soliciting a ‘good job’ for completion.”

She writes, “Couples who adhere to the Fair Play CPE approach experience the most dramatic shifts away from dysfunction, resentment, and passive-aggressive behaviors in their relationship and toward more time-saving efficiency and feelings of fairness in the home.”

All of this makes me realize that I should be doing more around the house. I never have to worry about running out of clean clothes because my wife stays on top of the laundry. There are plenty of other tasks she does on a daily basis that I truly appreciate. I didn’t think much of all these tasks before, but they truly add up and I need to shoulder more of that burden.

Rodsky has great ideas in this book that will help you to get your partners on board with divvying up the household tasks better so that you can both free up time to pursue some hobbies or passions. What a great idea!

My List of 2020 Reads – my annual reading b(log) *updated frequently