I got a bee in my bonnet this week, or as I like to so eloquently put it “Felt like I had sand in my vagina.”
It was all because Kim Kardashian came out and gave the following advice to women in business:
“Get off your fucking ass and work. Nobody wants to work these days.”
It felt a little tone-deaf, considering the current world landscape on the back of two years of a pandemic.
It made me think about Fair Play by Eve Rodsky, an incredible book to help anyone who feels like they take on the lion’s share of the time-consuming, invisible and thankless work in their home. You know, the work us minions do that the likes of Kim K has help for.
Anyways, back to the book. I wasted too much energy on the Kardashians for one day.
Fair Play is not just a book, it is a hands-on system to help share the mental load, rebalance your relationship and divvy up domestic duties not in an equal way, but in a way that is fair.
In addition to the paperback and audiobook, Eve Rodsky has also created a 100 card deck to accompany the book and broker the issue of sharing the mental load successfully with your partner.
The idea is that we all hold ‘cards’ for various tasks within our family lives. The Fair Play card deck contains 100 cards that represent 100 tasks within a family home with children.
Cards are categorised by the following suits:
These include tasks like laundry, taking out the bin, grocery lists and other daily grind tasks that must happen every day to keep the family home going.
The Out suit of cards contain tasks that represent things done away from the home like the school run, extracurricular sports, sorting out the car.
This suit of cards are the tasks related to the care of others, whether they’re children, other family members or parents. This could include things like potty training, pet care, homework supervision or the bedtime routine.
These Magic suit cards are moments of meaningful connection and relationship building. They include birthday celebrations, middle of the night comfort, sorting the Tooth Fairy.
These cards in the Wild suit represent life-changing scenarios like a job change, losing a loved one or moving house.
The idea is that you look at all the cards that represent tasks that take place within your family unit and decide who will CPE each card. CPE stands for conceiving, plan and execute.
The majority of women are being left with all the cards in terms of domestic fairness. Let me explain…
When I read this book in September 2021, it encouraged a conversation with my husband about cooking. I work almost 75% more hours than he does and cooking is something I really don’t enjoy. I have deep-rooted issues with food cravings and stress eating and I find the whole process of cooking ridiculously stressful. It is my most hated task. My husband enjoys cooking, so we agreed that moving forwards he would cook.
If we were to be playing the Fair Play card game though, I had failed at the recommended CPE (Conception, Planning and Execution). Shaun cooking is not Shaun holding ALL the cards and it took us another six months and me having a meltdown for him to fully pick up the card. I have to say that this was all off his own back, I didn’t ask him to do it, he could see I was struggling and now he holds the cooking card which INCLUDES meal planning, buying the ingredients and keeping on top of the store cupboard staples.
I can’t even begin to tell you the life-changing impact this has had on my mental load. Knowing that I don’t have to think about getting to the shops every other day, planning the food, keeping on top of the best before end dates etc has been LIBERATING!
This is one of many cards that we hold, but an example of the positive impact it has had in our lives.
We haven’t fully worked through the Fair Play card system yet but we did realise that one of us holding one particular card to ourselves wasn’t working. Shaun holds the finance card for us and deals with a lot of things like the utility bills. We know that this isn’t working for us as a family as I have no idea on our financial position. In this case we BOTH need to hold this card. We’ve got a sit-down meeting next week to look at our finances in full and if I’m being honest, for me to stop being an ostrich, remove my head from my ass and be a grown-up about money for the first time in my 40 years of life.
Fair Play has opened up some powerful conversations between my husband and I and it’s given me the confidence to admit to areas where I am struggling and ask for help without feeling like I am failing.
I highly recommend this book, especially the part about each parent finding their ‘Unicorn Space’ – the things we do for fun that must be encouraged, protected and nurtured.
I realised in looking at my own ‘Unicorn Space’ that blogging and writing for fun is one of mine and it’s not something I’ve done properly for many years. I hope you reading this blog right now will be a renaissance of writing for me as I work hard to carve the time and space needed for me to enjoy this Unicorn Space writing hobby of mine.
If you’re interested in my other writing through my books to help you Stop Procrastinating & Start Living, click here.
Gemma Ray is radio presenter, best selling author, communications coach and always the most filthy person in a WhatsApp group chat. Gemma tells it like it is and opens up about the stuff most people would never even dare admit to themselves, let alone put out in public.