I Finally Managed to Split the Mental Load with My Spouse
We found household harmony with family management app Maple [SPONSORED].
Yes, it’s possible to make peace with your partner on chores!
When my husband and I were proud new parents, we quickly established an equitable routine for splitting childcare and chores. Mostly, I managed the baby, and he managed the house. It worked—until it didn’t.
Now, six years later, we have two kids and an infinitely more complicated set of logistics. Our oldest is in school, while our youngest is in daycare. Our son takes hip-hop and swim, while his sister takes ballet. We attend double the playdates and birthday parties. We make an endless supply of lunches and snacks. Nearly every week we ferry our kids or cats to an appointment: the pediatrician, the pulmonologist, the allergist, the dentist, the veterinarian. We clean. Constantly.
Our previously equitable arrangement slowly morphed into one where I managed most of our household logistics. Call it the mental load, invisible labor, cognitive labor, or any other name, but the fact remains: In most heterosexual marriages, women are the ones who handle the bulk of family management. Mom is the CEO of the household. She reads the parenting books, picks the potty training method, researches the summer camps, manages the calendar, communicates with the school and much, much more. Even though, as a reporter who covered women and caregiving, I was well aware of this outdated dynamic, I wasn’t able to stop it from manifesting in my own marriage.
That is, until I finally stumbled across a solution that actually works: household management apps. The thing is, Millennial dads want to help. Research shows the majority of new dads believe caregiving should be split equally between partners. My husband was equally frustrated that our family’s to-do list seemed to reside mostly in my brain. We downloaded an app called Maple, and suddenly we were seamlessly coordinating our household organization—together.
Nothing feels better than checking an item off your to-do list—together.
We keep track of our chores. The Maple app allowed us to create a list of household tasks. Even better, we could mark them as recurring on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. Together, we sat down and created a list of all the chores we would ideally accomplish each week and month, and assigned them to ourselves. (The app provides suggestions, too, in case you forget something.) Maple is also available on desktop, which made it super easy to sit down together and coordinate. If one of us isn’t able to tackle something, we simply reassign it to each other. (Thanks babe!) That’s where one of the app’s best features really helped: You can easily “share gratitude” for your partner, thanks to a drop-down menu of options, like “Thanks for being in my corner” and “I couldn’t have done it without you.” It might seem silly, but those little messages of appreciation really go a long way toward soothing ruffled feathers when one partner feels like they’re handling a heavier-than-usual load.
It’s incredibly easy to see where you left a conversation. No more misunderstandings!
We easily collaborate on projects. In just one week, we coordinated updating our passports for the whole family, writing a letter of recommendation for our mutual friends, applying to preschool programs for our daughter, and purchasing gifts and cards for my grandmother’s birthday. Normally, all those moving parts would be worked out via text, and something would inevitably be forgotten in a flurry of messages. But Maple allows you to create Household Topics, and link them to chats, events and tasks. For example: we created a topic titled “Passports,” chatted about where we should go for processing, scheduled the date on the app’s calendar and created a task list for everything we’d need to bring. Easy, peasy.
Every family event is here to see. We both manage the calendar. One of the things my husband and I already did pretty well was manage a shared family calendar. Thankfully, Maple syncs with Google calendar, so we simply imported our calendar, and started using Maple’s, where we could tie events to topics. When we’re planning out our meals for the week, we chat about what we’d like, create a grocery list and then schedule a trip to the store on the calendar, for example.The best part of a household management app like Maple is that it makes everything visible. So much of parenting is anticipating the next adventure and planning for it. Now, thanks to Maple, we create Topics for every event on the horizon and we can split the load of worrying, brainstorming and planning ahead. I might still be our family’s CEO, but now I’ve got a very strong COO in my corner.
This newsletter was paid for by Maple and written by Audrey Goodson Kingo, Editor in Chief at Mother Honestly.