Book Club: Dr. Reivich’s Pick05/02/2013
Division of Love
Positive Parenting by Dr. Karen Reivich
I was talking with a friend the other day about the division of labor in my house. I was going on about how doing laundry for a family of six (me) is more work than food shopping and cooking dinner for a family of six (Guy). Three things struck me as I listened to myself drone on about the ever constant whirl of the washing machine and the fact that my hair will never lay flat because of all the extra static energy transferred when I fold. First, I complain way too much. Doing laundry, although not fun, is not exactly a Herculean task. Two, my husband Guy is really great. He’s an amazing cook and I’m lucky to be married to him. And three, Guy and I not only have a reasonable division of labor, but perhaps, more important, we have a really solid “division of love”.
I don’t love doing the laundry and I know Guy doesn’t love grocery shopping, but it’s got to get done. That’s the labor part. What I do love is watching my kids play sports. I played sports throughout school and still have a competitive spirit (secretly I do believe winning is everything) so it brings me crazy joy when I see Aaron check someone during a lacrosse game, watch Jacob grab the baton and sprint for all he’s worth, or see Jonathan return the opponent’s fierce serve. And Guy is a fantastic musician. He was a drummer back in the day and can still carry the beat so he loves listening to Aaron jam on the guitar; Jacob and Jon improvising fills on the drums and Shayna practicing the high notes in My Favorite Things.
It won’t surprise you then to learn that I do most of the sports related activities with the kids: driving to practices, buying the equipment, attending their games and Guy does most of the music related activities: driving to practices, attending performances, organizing fund raisers.Similarly, I enjoy writing so when it comes to editing the kids’ essays and reports, I’m the parent on duty. Guy likes to tinker so you can imagine that when it’s time to help the kids build bridges out of toothpicks or design catapults, Guy is the parent who helps. If I think about how Guy and I have carved up the parental tasks, more fall under the division of love, than the division of labor. In fact, taking 10 minutes to make a Division of Love list has helped me to appreciate Guy more and to grumble less.
With Father’s Day approaching, I encourage you to sit down with your spouse and create your Division of Love list. You might discover that you can make some trades so that you both do more of what you love – which just might make the labor part less annoying.
Karen Reivich, Ph.D.
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