By Sonya Rhodes, PhD. and Susan Schneider, authors of The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match: How Today's Strong Women Can Find Love and Happiness Without Settling (William Morrow), on sale now!
These days, many women earn a large share of their family's income.
Congratulations! You should revel in your accomplishments and ignore certain vintage types who pop out of the woodwork every so often to claim that wives should make less money than their husbands. Please -- it's 2014
Good intentions aside, though, there are just as many obstacles facing women in their family lives as there are at the office. So, today's hardworking women should resolve to "lean in" at home, just as you do at work.
1. Assert yourself! Do not avoid confrontation, even if you generally don't like it. Here's a good way to open: "I have been meaning to talk to you about X, which has been bothering me."
2. Stand by the fact that initiating a discussion that way is NOT the same thing as "nagging."
3. Be goal-oriented in discussions. Don't talk a problem to death. If you start to "vent," stop yourself; otherwise, you will lose the point. Keep on topic, so that you can find a solution as quickly as possible and move on.
4. Learn the ins and outs of the family finances. Be part of all decisions about investments, and never sign anything unless you fully understand it. As many women have discovered the hard way, it's a bad idea to keep yourself in the dark.
5. Take charge. Create a written list of what needs to be done around the house. Choose your chores first. Include chores for adolescent children. Make either yourself or your partner responsible for dinner preparations for each day of the week. Be sure to put the list where it can't be missed. Refer to "it" (the list) when people are avoiding their jobs.
6. Be clear and unapologetic about bringing "invisible" chores out into the open. You and your partner should take turns staying home from work when a child is sick, hiring babysitters, making play dates, calling for dinner reservations and so on. Appeal to your partner's sense of fairness if you wind up doing most of the work.
7. Never redo a task (like re-loading the dishwasher) once someone else has done it. Many women micro-manage these kinds of chores. Your time is too precious to waste on busy work.
8. Listen carefully to family members' problems and resist the urge to be critical. Hone your listening skills and instead of being directive, be supportive and constructive.
9. Keep in mind that according to a study by the United Nations, women spend at least twice as much time as men on unpaid domestic work. Remember that the next time you pick up laundry from the floor or straighten up a teenager's room or clean the bathroom when it isn't your turn.
10. Let your partner take care of the kids his way. Don't supervise, hover, criticize or micromanage. If the kids are up late on a night when it's his turn to put them to bed, it's his problem, not yours -- take a hot bath or read a good book.
11. If you are feeling burnt out, don't hesitate to ask for help. Delegating is the key to good management.
12. Accept the reality that you might be more organized about household responsibilities and that you may need to remind family members about the list.
13. Avoid discussing the kids or the mortgage when you and your husband are out on a "date." Use this special time to relax and enjoy each other's company.
14. Think before you automatically say, "I will take care of it." Delegate the to-do list fairly (and avoid unnecessary resentments that are sure to boil over eventually!).
15. Initiate sex. You can reject the idea that making the first move is always the man's job. Be clear about what turns you on and what doesn't. You have just as much right to sexual satisfaction as he does.