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Asking Your Partner for Help

Have you ever wondered how women juggle career and home? Balancing career with family and other responsibilities can be extremely difficult. Today on the blog, Dr. Carlene Link joins us to talk about how she balances her career with her family through a healthy relationship with her partner.

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Wake up, get dressed, chug coffee, wake and dress the kids, make breakfast, shuffle the kids to school, scramble to get to work, come home to make dinner, do homework, workout, clean up, pack lunches, catch up on some work, prepare for tomorrow, go to bed. Sound familiar?

As women, many of us have assumed the majority of traditional household and familial responsibilities in addition to maintaining our own career, whether that be full time, part time or staying at home to raise children. It is exhausting and mentally taxing for one person to bear the brunt of these activities and truthfully, unrealistic. As our responsibilities grow, our own self care and needs are pushed aside. When I feel drained, this affects my relationship with everyone around me and also impacts my personal happiness, which is not fair or right.

But, should it be this way?

We simply cannot do it alone, and nor should we. A partnership means figuring out how to split household responsibilities. Asking our partner for help within the home is necessary; making our partner a REAL partner (shout out to Sheryl Sandberg) is a must!

How can we do this?

Finding partnership balance will certainly look different for each one of us. When we welcomed our first child, I knew my husband needed to pitch in with additional help. I also knew I wanted to show my children they had a father who helped at home. Having two parents who contributed within and outside the home was extremely important to teach them how to help their future partners. I hoped to show them their mom didn’t have to do it all.

Our partnership has been a work in progress, but I know if you do not ask, your partner will not know. Open communication is the first step in figuring out what works best for the two of you and your family! I am fortunate my husband has split child responsibilities with me from the beginning: midnight feedings, changing diapers, staying home when one is sick, and helping me get them ready before work. He may not do most of the cooking or deep cleaning but he will grocery shop, fold laundry, vacuum and unload the dishwasher. If I am working late, I leave him a short list of a few chores he can quickly do to make my week easier. He bathes the kids, tucks them in, and takes them to birthday parties, and this is special time he gets to have with each of them.

Showing our kids how they have parents who work together at home will break the cycle of placing unrealistic burden on one of the partners. It is one step closer to achieving gender equality in the home, which hopefully will translate to an improvement of gender equality within the workforce.

The key to any partnership is finding what works best for the two of you. While it certainly may flux during different seasons of life, keeping communication as open as possible will allow you both to ask for help, divide the responsibilities and include the children as part of the plan as they grow. I believe this is one major component to living a fulfilled and happy life together!

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