There was a recently published article in the NYT profiled titled “ Mom: The Designated Worrier”
In full disclosure, I haven’t read it, but I’ve seen a lot of discussion about it. (I’m breaking my own rule here, the one I established when Lean In came out: “I refuse to discuss this book with people who have only read critiques of it, and not that actual book.” That was a really good policy. I should probably take my own advice but then, I wouldn’t be here, so)
Anyway, I’ve heard a lot recently about “invisible work”, the things you do around your life that no one notices but that everyone needs: cycling out the kid’s clothes when the season changes. Packing for a family trip. Getting an oil change for the car. Whatever. The routine stuff that one person just does, unnoticed. Invisible work. Worrying probably feels like invisible work as well.
I like what Joanne Wilson had to say in response to that article and that concept:
I would be fully shocked if I came home one day and Fred had prepared a meal for the family. It just wouldn’t happen. I took that under my wing a long time ago. Roles are good. It makes for great partnerships. Setting them up from the beginning is important. Getting lines crossed and blurred can create frustration and resentment. Truth is, it is like a company, everyone plays a part and roles become more defined as the business grows.
It is interesting seeing our younger friends get married and have kids. They are the next generation and the lines are more blurred but at the end of the day the roles become defined. You just have to be happy with your job description. Someone has to be the organizer, someone has to execute, someone has to worry, someone has to pay the bills, someone has to etc, etc. Just be clear who has what covered.
“Roles are good. It makes for great partnerships”. I like that. It’s not about one person doing the stuff the other person doesn’t want to, it’s about each person understanding clearly the work expected of them and of their partners… and feeling like the work they do is recognized and needed….and equitably distributed.