Get Your Partner Sharing Responsibilities Fast (Without 100 Reminders!)

You don’t need anyone to tell you that you need help carrying the load of being a mom and running a home, on top of showing up as the colleague you want to be. There is no way that you can do it all alone and enjoy life. You need to share the load, and if you have a partner, they may seem like the obvious answer on the home front. But you may have found that sharing responsibilities with them is not as easy as it should be. 

The most frustrating element of sharing responsibilities is that partners, particularly and generally speaking, male ones, tend not to even think of or appreciate the work that goes into managing kids and a home. Things like: 

  • seeking out and vetting babysitters
  • buying presents for teachers
  • registering for kids’ activities
  • researching those milestone transitions like potty training and transitioning to a real bed
  • noticing when the kids need new clothes, shoes, diapers, etc. 

This leaves you thinking of, thinking through, and executing a lot of tasks on your own, which you know is unsustainable – and certainly not enjoyable.

Here are ways to ask for and get the help you need, avoid having to constantly remind your partner to do the thing, and navigate a partner who resists giving you that help.

How to Get the Help You Need

Get Your Partner Sharing Responsibilities Fast (Without 100 Reminders!)

There are two general categories of work that happen on the home and family fronts: the physical things (e.g., washing dishes, school drop-offs) and the mental/administrative things (e.g., figuring out where the holiday celebrations will be, booking flights, figuring out what to pack; researching and setting up home maintenance repairs).

Here are two things that you might be running into:

  • Most partners see and help with the physical things because they actually see those tasks happening, but because they don’t see the mental/administrative things, they don’t think to help with them; and
  • Most partners want to help – they just, as stated above, don’t always think of what work needs to be done and need more direction before they can help. 
READ MORE: 9 Healthy Relationship Signs That Show You And Your Partner Are Meant To Be

So, How Can You Get Your Partners Sharing Responsibilities for Work They Don’t See?

One option is to offload as many of the physical tasks onto your partner’s plate and keep the mental/administrative to-do’s on yours. For example, you could have your partner do as much of the following as makes sense to free up your time for the mental/administrative to-dos and some fun in your life: 

  • school drop-offs and pick-ups
  • extracurricular activity-related driving
  • making meals
  • washing dishes

This accepts the reality that some partners will never think of the mental/administrative tasks and trying to get them to (e.g., by delegating) will be a waste of your time and energy. Instead of putting yourself through that frustrating experience, this approach lets you free up more of your time from the physical tasks to have time to take on the mental/administrative to-dos. 

(If your partner struggles to agree to this, keep reading.)

Get Your Partner Sharing Responsibilities Fast (Without 100 Reminders!)

Another option to consider is to break off whole portions of the mental/administrative work and give those specific portions to your partner. Just as delegating work in the office is easier if you can unload a whole repetitive task on a colleague, consider doing the same here. Focus on the things that you know will circle back relatively frequently or are headaches when they do come up, like kids’ sports sign-ups, equipment gathering, and related scheduling. 

For example, your partner can take your four-year-old to their annual wellness check (especially if you’re too nervous about handling all of those shots). If any referrals come out of those appointments, let your partner take the lead on scheduling the appointments, taking the child to the appointment, and doing any follow-up actions on that front. If this works, hand off all wellness checks to your partner so it’s clear to both of you who owns those tasks.

So, whether it’s handing off medical care, certain sports registrations, or all kids’ birthday party celebrations (including getting a stockpile of presents for other kids’ parties), think of the things that you could break off and give to your partner fully. It might take time to explain what to do the first time or two, but it will help you so much from here on out.

Continue to shift this divvy of labor as life evolves. You can always experiment and reevaluate.

READ MORE: Marriage Problems: The Crazy Ups And Downs Of Real Life

How to Avoid Having to Remind Them All the Time

You might have tried to divvy up responsibilities before and found yourself having to constantly remind your partner to do the things. For example, they kept forgetting to vacuum every week, so you had to remind them to do it each week (or just do it yourself).

Take a step back for a second and remind yourself of the bigger picture: having to remind them (then being accused of or feeling like you’re “nagging”) is not fun. But neither is doing it all on your own – don’t swoop in and just do it. 

Instead, consider helping them set up a reminder system that allows you not to be the reminder-er.

To be clear, in the beginning, give them the breathing space to be their own reminder-er. See if it works — often it does. Don’t micromanage if you don’t have to.  

Get Your Partner Sharing Responsibilities Fast (Without 100 Reminders!)

However, if it becomes clear it’s not going to happen unless something changes, ask them where they keep track of their time and tasks. If it’s in a digital calendar, consider having them calendar the task at a time that works for them (e.g., 30 minutes once a week “vacuum the house”). If they don’t use a digital calendar, consider setting a weekly alarm to go off on their phone that says the same thing.  

This will help them remember to do their tasks without your involvement. 

While it might feel weird to set up this system with them, it’s no weirder than you having to remind them to do the thing each week; so might as well go with the weird option that reduces your weekly resentment.

Also, have hope. So many partners are willing to help, and they pick up the ball and run with it once they know what to do (and are reminded – hopefully not by you). Fingers crossed you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

READ MORE: 20 Marriage Tips That Will Change Your Relationship

How to Motivate the Resisting Partner

Get Your Partner Sharing Responsibilities Fast (Without 100 Reminders!)

Let’s say you do all of this but your partner still isn’t helping and seems put out that you’re even asking. 

Eve Rodsky has made the following lightbulb-moment observation: surveys of heterosexual couples show that male partners believe they are doing the majority of the housework. As a result, they’re less willing to take on more. However, Rodsky hypothesizes, they only believe this because they don’t see the full amount of work going on in the home, so they don’t appreciate all of the work in play (aka all that you are doing).

It follows that if partners understood the total amount of work that goes into running a home and family and that you’ve been carrying the vast majority of the load yourself, they’d be more willing to help out.

To make all of the work on your plate visible, lay it all out in a calendar. Make as much as you can visible in there – the getting kids up in the morning, packing lunches, running bath and bedtime, etc. And don’t forget the mental/administrative stuff, like researching potty training, registering for activities, filling out all of that school paperwork, and calling the pediatrician. Block time for each task and, if applicable, repeat the blocks where it makes sense. 

Once you’ve made it all visual, show that to your partner. It’s an effective way to show them how many tasks are on your plate, how frequently they happen, and how they pop up at all hours of the day — interrupting your work day and jeopardizing your sanity.

It might overwhelm them to see it, but perhaps that’s exactly what needs to happen for them to understand why you really need them to take over Thursday kid pickups. 

Added bonus of this approach: it helps you clearly see where you need the help so you can ask for the specific help that would make a difference to you – and receive it.

These conversations can be difficult and awkward, but they often lead to you getting the help you need, as well as healthier, happier marriages. One study states that in marriages where tasks are shared equally, both partners’ satisfaction in the relationship is higher. This is likely because of Rodsky’s point that with everyone on the same page about the total amount of work and sharing responsibilities more equally, it improves understanding and communication while reducing resentment.

So, get out that calendar, make those invisible to-dos visible, and start sharing responsibilities – whether it’s just the physical stuff or specific parts of the mental/administrative things, too. Get yourself the support and breathing space you crave – and improve your relationship in the process.

Once you’ve made some progress in sharing responsibilities, Need The Love Spark Back In Your Marriage? Get some tips here!



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Get Your Partner Sharing Responsibilities Fast (Without 100 Reminders!)
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Daily Mom
Daily Mom
Daily Mom is an online parenting magazine for women who are looking for information and education to be a better mother, parent, wife for their family. It's a combination of your favorite parenting and mom blogs, shopping, fashion and cooking Pinterest boards, parenting advice websites, how-to and DIY posts, product features and the best fashion magazines all packaged neatly into short easy to read a rticles with gorgeous photos We are a team of passionate women writers and editors on a mission to educate, inspire and help women, moms and parents all over the world by providing informational articles on all aspects of womanhood and motherhood

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