Posts Tagged ‘conflict resolution’

If your household includes one person who works more hours outside the home and one who is the primary caregiver, you’ve likely had this exchange (either out loud or in your head): “Easy for you to say, you get to go to work! You get to have coffee breaks and go to the bathroom! You get to talk to adults!” or, on the other side of the coin, “You get to have quality time with our child! You’re at the park instead of on a terrible commute! You don’t have the stress of earning the main income!” Ah, how the grass is always greener on the other side of the parenting fence. One of you, especially at certain frustrated moments, envisions office life as all sunshine and butterflies (easily forgetting all those terrible meetings, pressing deadlines, and unappreciative bosses), while the other person can’t figure out why dinner isn’t ready and the toys aren’t picked up after all those hours of “fun” staying at home with baby. The underlying question in all these conversations seems to be: Who’s working harder here?

In our book, it’s what we call the Unwinnable Argument. You simply can’t compare, and it’s not fair to think either party has it easy. If you are feeling resentful or put out—whether you work full-time, work part-time, or are a full-time parent—talk about it. Explain how things feel to you, and then listen to your partner. Dig deep and find ways to say thank you for what your partner is doing on a daily basis…even if you secretly believe it’s not as much as what you’re doing. Remember you are in this together. Do not become one of those couples who make pointed jabs at one another, trying to prove how much tougher you have it to anyone within earshot.

Tell us: Do you and your partner argue about who is working harder? If only one of you works full-time, do you each feel resentful at times about what the other one “gets” to do? How do you handle this?

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