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You don’t have to split everything evenly to be equal partners in your marriage

The dishes aren’t done…again…and I bet he hasn’t started anything for the kids’ dinner either…yep, sure enough! Okay, I’ll get that done, as usual!


Having these thoughts occasionally is completely normal for most couples. The trouble comes when you feel like it’s always unbalanced, and you are responsible for taking care of most of the day-to-day chores and activities in the relationship.

You look around and see each thing that needs to be done: laundry, food, errands, and you do them because, well, they need to get done!

Time passes and slowly you start feeling more and more frustrated and angry— perhaps you even start to resent your partner for not helping more, and it’s easy to start believing they simply don’t care that these things need to be done and don’t care about your sanity.

Let me state the obvious here: resentment is not good for a relationship. It erodes the feeling of mutual support and respect that is crucial to a healthy relationship.

Here is the good news: this is fixable, and there are some very simple strategies you can use to start bringing balance back into your relationship.

Try these four strategies to improve the quality of your relationship and reduce resentment and burnout between you and your partner.

1. Be clear about when you need help

It’s important not to assume that your partner can read your mind and see when you are overwhelmed and stressed. It may seem obvious to you, but not necessarily to everyone else.

Be clear about both when you need help and what you need help with.

It’s easy to assume that the things that feel important and obvious to you should feel that way to your partner, but each person has different priorities and a different tolerance level for messes, etc.

Be willing to accept that this won’t match up perfectly with your partner’s idea of what’s important, and recognize that that has nothing to do with how much that person cares about you.

2. Allow your partner to do things their way, not yours

If you are the person who is most aware of things like messes around the house, kids who need baths, or when the bills are due, you are most likely to step in and take care of those things first. This may be because they bug you more, or simply because you’ve gotten into the habit of paying attention to them and taking care of them regularly.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that those issues are not on your partner’s radar, but they may jump out as important for them later than they do for you. Also, you’ll likely have different ideas of what it looks like to do a good job on those tasks.

So, if it hasn’t been done yet, or it isn’t going to be done “right” you might as well do it yourself now, am I right? While this attitude is understandable, it makes the cycle of getting burned out and overwhelmed worse.

Getting balance back means letting go of some control and allowing your partner to figure out their way to take care of things. This may mean they don’t do it as soon, as quickly, or as efficiently as you feel you could, so you will have to make peace with that if you want the help. It took you time to work out how to do each of those things so well, and the same goes for your partner.

3. Don’t try to split everything up evenly

Interdependence is not a dirty word. It’s not a bad thing if you and your partner to rely on each other for certain things.

The term codependent has gotten a lot of attention in psychology over the past few decades. It gets thrown around alot and, frankly, misused and misunderstood in casual conversation. This has made it difficult for people to understand that interdependence, or people relying on and supporting one another, is part of being human and not unhealthy.

Healthy relationships are not made up of two people who split everything evenly—they are made up of two people who have figured out how to split responsibilities in a way that makes sense for them and doesn’t feel like too much of a burden.

For example, if you hate budgeting and your partner is good at it and doesn’t mind taking care of it, let them! Be involved in financial decisions and understand your finances, but there is no need to split that task 50/50. Work with your strengths and share the tasks that neither of you particularly wants to do.

4. Talk about improving your relationship when you aren’t fighting

One common mistake I see couples make is to only address issues while in the middle of a fight. It’s so tempting to tackle problems head-on while in the heat of the moment, but it’s rare that you make much progress while you’re both mad and defensive.

Any suggestion you or your partner make when you’re both angry is likely to get shot down pretty quickly. Instead, try bringing it up another time, when you are both in a good mood and doing something you enjoy, like going out to eat or relaxing on the couch in the evening.

Try starting the conversation by being curious about how to make the problem better, instead of listing the ways in which your partner could improve, or pointing out how they are doing things wrong now.

For example, “I feel really overwhelmed by the housework lately, and I’m trying to figure out how to change that.” You can follow this up by asking what your partner is willing to do more of, rather than focusing on telling him or her what they don’t do enough of. You might be surprised how open your partner is to your suggestions when they are posed in this light!

It’s important to remember that a relationship is a blend of two unique people, both of whom need to be invested, flexible and open to change for it to be successful.

It’s your responsibility to ask for what you need and make space for it to be possible to help you, but it’s your partner’s responsibility to be open to listening and making changes when necessary.

These skills aren’t complicated, but it takes some practice to incorporate them as a natural part of your relationship. If you can practice communicating what you need in a caring and non-attacking way, and share responsibilities according to what you both are good at and willing to do, you can help keep anger and resentment out of your relationship for the long haul.

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Summer heat has a way of making the house feel smaller, more congested, with less room for the air to circulate. And there's nothing like the heat to make me want to strip down, cool off and lighten my load. So, motivation in three digits, now that school is back in, it's time to do a purge.

Forget the spring clean—who has time for that? Those last few months of the school year are busier than the first. And summer's warm weather entices our family outdoors on the weekends, which doesn't leave much time for re-organizing.

So, I seize the opportunity when my kids are back in school to enter my zone.

I love throwing open every closet and cupboard door, pulling out anything and everything that doesn't fit our bodies or our lives. Each joyless item purged peels off another oppressive layer of "not me" or "not us."

Stuff can obscure what really makes us feel light, capable and competent.

Stuff can stem the flow of what makes our lives work.

With my kids back in school, I am energized, motivated by the thought that I have the space to be in my head with no interruptions. No refereeing. No snacks. No naps… I am tossing. I am folding. I am stacking. I am organizing. I don't worry about having to stop. The neat-freak in me is having a field day.

Passing bedroom doors, ajar and flashing their naughty bits of chaos at me, it's more than I can handle in terms of temptation. I have to be careful, though, because I can get on a roll. Taking to my kids' rooms I tread carefully, always aware that what I think is junk can actually be their treasure.

But I usually have a good sense for what has been abandoned or invisible in plain sight for the lack of movement or the accumulation of dust. Anything that fits the description gets relegated to a box in the garage where it is on standby—in case its absence is noticed and a meltdown has ensued. Crisis averted. Either way, it's a victory.

Oh, it's quiet. So, so quiet. And I can think it all through…

Do we really need all this stuff?

Will my son really notice if I toss all this stuff?

Will my daughter be heartbroken if I donate all this stuff?

Will I really miss this dress I wore three years ago that barely fit my waist then and had me holding in my tummy all night, and that I for sure cannot zip today?

Can we live without it all? All. This. Stuff?

The fall purge always gets me wondering, where in the world does all this stuff come from? So with the beginning of the school year upon us, I vow to create a new mindset to evaluate everything that enters my home from now on, so that there will be so much less stuff.

I vow to really think about objects before they enter my home…

…to evaluate what is really useful,

...to consider when it would be useful,

...to imagine where it would be useful,

...to remember why it may be useful,

…to decide how to use it in more than one way,

... so that all this stuff won't get in the way of what really matters—time and attention for my kids and our lives as a new year reveals more layers of the real stuff—what my kids are made of.

Bring it on.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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For many years, Serena Williams seemed as perfect as a person could be. But now, Serena is a mom. She's imperfect and she's being honest about that and we're so grateful.

On the cover of TIME, Williams owns her imperfection, and in doing so, she gives mothers around the world permission to be as real as she is being.

"Nothing about me right now is perfect," she told TIME. "But I'm perfectly Serena."

The interview sheds light on Williams' recovery from her traumatic birth experience, and how her mental health has been impacted by the challenges she's faced in going from a medical emergency to new motherhood and back to the tennis court all within one year.

"Some days, I cry. I'm really sad. I've had meltdowns. It's been a really tough 11 months," she said.

It would have been easy for Williams to keep her struggles to herself over the last year. She didn't have to tell the world about her life-threatening birth experience, her decision to stop breastfeeding, her maternal mental health, how she missed her daughter's first steps, or any of it. But she did share these experiences, and in doing so she started incredibly powerful conversations on a national stage.

After Serena lost at Wimbledon this summer, she told the mothers watching around the world that she was playing for them. "And I tried," she said through tears. "I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

In the TIME cover story, what happened before that match, where Williams lost to Angelique Kerber was revealed. TIME reports that Williams checked her phone about 10 minutes before the match, and learned, via Instagram, that the man convicted of fatally shooting her sister Yetunde Price, in 2003 is out on parole.

"I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Serena says. "It was hard because all I think about is her kids," she says. She was playing for all the mothers out there, but she had a specific mother on her mind during that historic match.

Williams' performance at Wimbledon wasn't perfect, and neither is she, as she clearly states on the cover of time. But motherhood isn't perfect either. It's okay to admit that. Thanks, Serena, for showing us how.

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There are some mornings where I wake up and I'm ready for the day. My alarm goes off and I pop out of bed and hum along as I make breakfast before my son wakes up. But then there are days where I just want 10 more minutes to sleep in. Or breakfast feels impossible to make because all our time has run out. Or I just feel overwhelmed and unprepared.

Those are the mornings I stare at the fridge and think, Can someone else just make breakfast, please?

Enter: make-ahead breakfasts. We spoke to the geniuses at Pinterest and they shared their top 10 pins all around this beautiful, planned-ahead treat. Here they are.

(You're welcome, future self.)

1. Make-ahead breakfast enchiladas

www.pinterest.com

Created by Bellyful

I'd make these for dinner, too.

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