There is a lot that needs doing around a modern house and looking after a child demands constant attention from at least one parent at a time. Discuss what you both want and need out of living as a family. Figure out who is going to do what around the house and if it seems fair. Instead of assigning a strict 50/50 ratio of the workload, try to balance it instead. This will help both you feel more productive, happier and valued.
Assess your respective workloads by making a list of what you already do for your child and around the house. Once everything is on paper you may be surprised to see a big difference in the number of tasks one of you has to do. Some tasks may be really unpleasant or you may be better at something that is on your partner's list. Try swapping items on the list and compromising so that you are both happy with your assignments.
Your baby has a list of needs that takes priority of all the other ones in the house. It is a good idea to make a list of things that need doing specifically for your baby – this can be done before the birth of your child. If you’re not sure of everything that needs to be done, consult with family members or friends who have had children already. Most of the direct childcare will be done by the mother in the first few weeks after the baby has been born. Breastfeeding, changing nappies and constant monitoring of the baby will take its toll on the mother. The father or spouse will need to concentrate on the other supporting tasks and chores during that time.
To make division of tasks and chores truly fair between partners, traditional roles need to be re-evaluated and a more modern approach considered. If you stick to the old ways of doing things the father will feel left out of the initial growth and development of the child and the mother will feel overworked and under appreciated.
Consider using paternity leave or maybe the father can use up holiday time to help out with the baby. A father's help is needed more after the first month since that is when the baby starts spending more time awake. If the father is not involved enough during the early stages of the child's development, he will be less interested in doing more than his share around the house to make up for the mom's deficit in housework. The father needs to build confidence with looking after the child and that can only happen with experience.
Any decision you make regarding chores and child responsibilities need to be made with consequences in mind. If one partner has to work longer hours and cannot do as much as the other with the child, there must be no feelings of resentment from either party. Any bad feelings between parents will affect the child, directly or indirectly.
The key to getting everything done smoothly around the house is to anticipate what needs to happen and to ask for what help you want directly. Don't just say that you are overworked and need help; instead you should request assistance for something specific that will make your job easier. Honest communication and empathy are good tools to use during busy times at home.
Making a schedule of tasks for both the household and caring for your baby is crucial. Once that has been formulated, it is easier to take turns doing duties at different times of the day. Swap tasks and times so that you free up mornings and evenings for each other, or allow your partner to sleep a bit later on one weekend morning while you take the next one. The task schedule is meant to be flexible so that if one partner is ill or has had to work late on their job the other one can take over some of the duties.
If you can afford it, consider hiring someone to do cleaning and washing around the house once or twice a week. While this costs you money, it also frees up time for you and your partner to spend together or with your child. Make full use of time-saving electronic household appliances, such automatic washing machines and dish washers. Do as much of your banking, shopping and bill paying as you can online. Being able to do work from home for a day or two per week will save you time that would have been spent travelling to work and it allows you to spend more time with your child during the day.
Remember that having a child changes the way your house is run. Priorities are different and you should not expect your house to be as clean, neat and orderly as it was before your child was born. It does not have to be perfect in appearance, merely functional and safe. Discuss with your partner how clean your house needs to be and what needs to be done to keep it that way. Leave the major clean-ups for the weekend when you have a couple more hours on hand. Working together on some tasks can free up time for being together later on in the day.
If both parents are involved in all facets of their child's growth and development, as well as keeping the house going, the family unit is stronger. This co-operation between parents serves as a good role model for children when they are growing up.