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I’ve noticed a trend amongst my friends and family. Every member of every couple things they are doing more than half of the work. Obviously, that can’t be the case.
As it turns out, there is a psychological cognitive bias called illusory superiority, wherein we believe that we are more honest, kind, thoughtful – and do more than others.
Even as we all face this cognitive bias, there must be more to the story than simple cognitive bias, right?
For most of us, it’s a combination of the bias and differing definitions of the total workload. For example, my husband would define the scope of work as physical chores like taking out the trash, doing the dishes, etc.
I define the scope of our total workload as all those physical chores, and all the planning and management of our entire household: planning vacations, shopping, school registration, after school sports registration and carpools, brunch for the Home Owners Association, dentist appointments, and on and on.
Due to fundamental differences in the way we are raised, women still take on the majority of the project management and mindshare in families, in addition to taking on equal career roles.
It’s no wonder we’re exhausted all the time. And it makes it very evident why there is such a disparity in our perceptions of what half of the workload is.
But there is hope! The most important thing to do is to sit down with your partner and clearly define the full scope of the workload, so everyone understands all the effort that is going in.
In our family, this was a huge step forward. Since my husband has a better understanding of the tangible, in home chores, he takes those on and I focus on the school orientations, PTA, HOA, etc. And we really openly communicate with each other about what we’re doing – and what help we need from each other to accomplish it all.