You have to treat your partner fairly in a relationship or you haven’t
got an equal relationship. If you love them, this is one of the most
basic ways to show it. And regardless of your background, educa-
tion and culture, the only fair thing is for both of you to put an
equal amount of time and effort into running your lives.
In other words, no lounging about with your feet up when you get
in from work while your partner gets the dinner ready. No lie-ins
every morning while they get up with the kids. You should both
put in the same amount of work. That means if you both get up
together in the morning, no one stops work until everything is
done and then you both stop at once. So if you get in from work
and your partner is busy cooking, take over from them, or get some
housework done, or put the kids to bed, but dont put your feet up
until they can join you.
Of course, you don’t have to divide everything exactly, you can do
whatever you prefer. In our household, I do all the washing while
my wife does all the shopping. It suits us both that way. I get up
first, but I generally need quite a few little breaks from the kids on a
bad day (bit of a short fuse), whereas she gets up a bit later but then
just keeps on going when I need to disappear for a few minutes. I
might relax while she’s finishing a few chores early evening, but
that’s because at the end of the evening I do the rounding-up chores
(letting the dog out, loading the dishwasher) while she heads
straight for bed. So we don’t do exactly the same things, but we
both feel happy that the division of labour is equal on balance, and
neither of us feels used or abused.
RULE 49
104
T H E R U L E S O F L O V E
Share the workload
RULE 49
105
R E L A T I O N S H I P R U L E S
I’ve heard certain people – almost always men I might add –
patiently explain that they’re earning all the money and working at
a tough job all day while their partner is just staying home with the
kids. This constitutes much more effort, and therefore it’s only fair
that their partner does more in the evenings and at weekends. They
need more rest after all that effort.
If this is your attitude, let me tell you something. I’ve done a lot of
things in my time, including both hard physical work and exhaust-
ing, creative-thinking type jobs. I’ve been sole breadwinner and
been in a relationship where I earned only a proportion of the
household income. I’ve also done my share of staying at home all
day with the kids. And I can tell you, mate, which is the toughest
by a million miles, and it ain’t going out and earning the money.
Looking after pre-school children all day is more physically and
emotionally exhausting than anything else I’ve ever done. If you
don’t believe me, I suggest you take some holiday from work and
try it for a few days just to see if I’m not right. If your partner
weren’t there to raise the family, you wouldn’t be free to go out and
earn the bread. So let’s keep a fair mind and share that workload
equally. And if anyone deserves an extra rest, it’s the one who’s got
the children all day.
NO LIE-INS EVERY
MORNING WHILE THEY GET
UP WITH THE KIDS

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