What it Means to Share the Load in a Relationship

In our ever changing world the norms are shifting as well. Women make up a good portion of the workforce, now taking on more responsibility than their mothers and grandmothers did. It was normal for women to stay at home, tend to the household, and raise the kids. Add a full-time job to that description and it makes for one hectic schedule.

The Concept of Sharing the Load

Some women are “lucky” in the way that their partner understand this work load and does their part to help manage the household. Even though more men are taking on additional tasks it doesn’t mean all of them are. Enter the concept of sharing the load.

Often in therapy the same issue continues to come up. The woman feels like she is doing everything and instead of voicing her needs she internalizes this cry for help and creates a feeling overwhelming anxiety for herself, feeling weak that she should even need to ask. Meanwhile the partner has no idea that his wife feels undervalued, overwhelmed, and stressed. It’s no one’s fault, really. Our society has established this norm, and it is a tough one to push through.

Recently I heard a partner say in response to his wife that she should’ve asked for help. And this received a moment’s pause. Remember, I said it’s no one’s fault and this is true, and while I always preach communication with your partner today I want to talk about being present.

Be Present in Your Surroundings

Young couple at home doing hosehold chores and ironing

To be present doesn’t mean you have to always put down your phone, or commit to never watching TV again. What I mean when I say “be present” is look up every once in a while and recognize what is going on around you. If you’re sitting on the couch while your partner is cooking dinner, trying to feed the baby, picking up the toys, running laundry up and down the stairs (and really the list could go on) it is obvious that they are busy. And if the energy feels chaotic around you, it is easy to ask “what can I help with?”

If you’re headed up the stairs and see that the same pack of toilet paper has been sitting there on the bottom stair for a couple days then you don’t even need to ask. Your partner has walked by it a million times and likely had their hands full every time. It seems simple but these small acts really do add up!

One evening when you get home from work, take a seat for a moment and observe. What can you do in this moment to help share the load?