Ahem, husbands: Marriages improve when couples split the chores

An idea to borrow from the kids: A chore chart of your own.

Ahem, husbands: Marriages improve when couples split the chores

What’s the secret to a strong marriage in the early days of parenthood? It may be as simple as as hanging up a chore chart for mom and dad and splitting responsibilities down the middle—even when (or especially when) mom is only working part-time.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues, marriages suffer when moms believe they are sacrificing their careers and doing more than their fair share at home. As a trend, the researchers also found part-time working moms “experience greater parenting inequalities” than working dads.

But there is good news: A solution may be as simple as having a serious conversation with your partner about responsibilities inside and outside of the home, says Jill Whitney, licensed marriage and family therapist.

“Women who are mothers and also work outside the home often feel they handle more domestic responsibilities—and they often do,” Whitney says. “They look at the householding and childcare that gets done, see that they handle much more than half of it, and resent their husbands for not carrying more of the weight.”

She says men with the best of intentions are still surprised to hear their wives feel this way. The way they see it, they’re doing a lot more at home than their own fathers or grandfathers.

That’s why it’s important for couples to have some hard and honest conversations—and not just about how much work each partner is doing at home, but about what working outside the home means to each partner.

Finding the right balance will look different for every family

While some women very much want to stay home with their young kids, others are happier to work full-time, Whitney says.

“Some women find part-time work the perfect balance of personal challenge plus time with kids. But for others, working part-time means constantly feeling they're not giving enough to their jobs or their kids. All of these are legitimate ways to feel,” she explains.

If you feel torn in 100 different directions and think you have too much going on at home, honestly communicating that to your partner can prevent resentment from growing and may present an opportunity for compromise.

That’s because dads may welcome a new balance, too

Men also have mixed feelings about work and may embrace a conversation that helps shift some of the money-making pressure off of them. Not every dad is going to want to be a stay-at-home parent—but more and more are opting into the role, at least on a part-time basis.

“Some dads deeply wish they could have more time with their kids,” Whitney says. “They may be envious to be missing out on family life.”

If that means helping out with sweeping and dusting a bit more often while mom is away at work, we may be pleasantly surprised to hear how many dads are down with that compromise. And, as the new study shows, that may very well result in happier moms and marriages.

Rarely is a woman more concerned with what her body needs than when she's pregnant. We start to question and research everything, right? From swearing off turkey sandwiches to diving down the rabbit hole of prenatal supplements that make up what we lack, the stress of overthinking is real, mama.

One of the main reasons we launched the Motherly Shop is to help take some of that stress away. We've tracked down the best brands and products developed by people (and in many cases, women!) that truly work to serve the needs of real mamas, especially throughout the overwhelming transition into motherhood.

That's why we knew we had to introduce mamas-to-be to the science-backed and expertly-formulated protein collagen for pregnancy from Needed. And as one of our bestsellers, it's clear you've been looking for it, too.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

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