August 28


5 Steps to Share the Load

By Cassie

August 28, 2023

domestic equality, help with housework

Learning how to share the load is essential to reducing stress at home. Being responsible for the bulk of domestic work is often pointed to as one of the most stressful things for women. And not only is it a huge stressor but it also has a profound impact on mental health, relationships, and earning potential and career outcomes. Doing the bulk of the heavy lifting with housework and childcare creates burnout, resentment, and causes missed days and missed opportunities in the work place. Learning how to navigate this tough situation and get the much needed help at home is a complete game changer. Here are the 5 proven steps you need to take to share the load.

1. Make a List

So much of the domestic load goes completely unnoticed. We simply do these tasks on autopilot and this makes it impossible to get everyone pitching in. The truth is, you might be the only one in your house who knows what gets done or needs to be done. It might seem like you’re the only one who notices even the most obvious of tasks. And I get it, it’s frustrating, I mean, seriously, why doesn’t anyone else seem to even see the overflowing sink?!?! So, making a list might feel like a whole lot of mental labor that shouldn’t need to be done. But, it does!

This step will help you create clarity about everything that needs to be addressed so you don’t end up picking up all the odds and ends. If you want a head start on this consider grabbing the Fair Play Cards. And if you’d like to learn a little more about why you’re the only one noticing that mess be sure to check out this post.

How To:

Carry around a notebook or create a note in your phone and jot down all the little things that you do throughout the day. Keep this going for a week or so, then review your list and add in anything that may have been missed. Don’t forget seasonal items such as weeding, back to school prep, and holidays. And remember that domestic tasks come in all shapes and sizes including making phone calls, checking emails, and so much more. Be sure to account for these items as well.

Give yourself a big pat on the back for all you do! Treat this process like the creation of a tada list! Encourage all your family members to make their own lists as well so any contributions they are making already can be considered in future steps.

2. Define the Details

Now that you have your list it’s very important to define the details. When sharing the load it’s essential that the person who takes on the task takes it in it’s entirety (when possible). That means you don’t become the default person who handles all of the supporting pieces. So, for example, doing the laundry means collecting it, sorting it, stain pretreating, cycling it through the machines, ensuring there are laundry supplies, remembering what gets hung along with any other specific instructions, folding it, hanging it, and putting it away. Whew… no wonder why laundry is such an exhausting and daunting task!

When you have complete clarity about the details of the task it’s easier to identify who’s responsible for it and exactly what that means.

How To:

Grab your list from step one and review each item. Imagine that you’re teaching a young child or an alien how the task gets done. Start at the very beginning and spare no details. And don’t forget about the supplies needed, after all, they don’t magically show up in your house. You likely keep track of all of them and ensure they are replenished as necessary but if you’re no longer doing that task that will prove impossible.

3. Consider the 3 P’s

The 3 P’s of sharing the load are proficient, particular, and peeved. Each of these needs to be considered to share the load with ease and confidence. But they do not need to be considered equally so let’s take a look at what each of them is and their role in the process.

The least important of the 3 is proficient. It can be helpful to lean into natural talents and think about who is best at which tasks. However it’s important to recognize that most people can learn most tasks and become proficient. Taking the time up front to teach others in your home how to do various tasks pays off in the long run. But sometimes we simply don’t have the time and proficiency need to be considered.

The next P is particular. This refers to the consideration for how particular each member of the home is regarding certain tasks. While there always needs to be a defined base level of completion (as you have likely identified in step 2) there may also be some aspects that go above and beyond that. Be cautious when adjusting for this second P because again others can learn to do tasks in a particular way.

The most important P is peeved. That’s because in order to share the load it’s essential that (except in special circumstances) each person does their tasks without the involvement of others. So, if there is something that will peeve you or someone else in the home if it’s not done or not done correctly this needs careful consideration.

How To:

Go back through your list and highlight anything you would struggle to let go of. This can’t be everything on the list so be careful while doing this. In addition, start thinking about who may be reliable to do which tasks. For example, I can always count on my husband to take out the trash because it peeves him just as much as it does me when it’s over full.

4. Divvy the Duties

Now it’s time to figure out who does what. One of the best ways to divvy the duties is to do it by holding a family meeting. Sharing the load is easier done when each person in the household is able to have some input and even choose some of their tasks. It’s important to consider which tasks you’d most like to reduce or eliminate from your list, who can do them, and when it comes to kids helping, who will teach them and supervise (spoiler alert: that isn’t always you).

How To:

Arrange a time and day to review your list. If there are children in your home it can be helpful for the parents (or caretakers) to meet first to get on the same page. Start discussing what each task entails, who will be responsible for it, and who will supervise or teach the task. It’s very important that all carers are involved in the supervision and teaching in order to model equitable domestic labor and share the mental load. It can be beneficial to meet regularly as a family to reassess and rotate tasks so everyone learns all the tasks. That said, if the task is incomplete it can’t be passed on to anyone else until it is done. It seems like there is always a task or two that no one likes. If this is the case in your home either rotate that task weekly or have each person do it for themselves if possible.


Having the right tools for the job can make all the difference and be very motivating. Finding out what each person feels they need to do their tasks is very helpful. We have several neurodivergent people in my family, all with different sensory struggles. Having supplies like aprons, gloves, and soft cleaning cloths is very important for us and may be helpful for some of your family members as well.

5. Let it Go

I know this can be difficult to do but it’s essential that you let it go. If you do the tasks that are assigned to others or endlessly remind them you’ll find it impossible to share the load. It’s ok for there to be natural consequences for a job undone. For example, I don’t cook if there are dishes in the sink and my partner doesn’t wash clothes that aren’t in the hamper. It isn’t your job to go behind everyone else in your home and ensure things are getting done. The only time this would be on your radar is if you are the person who has signed up to teach or supervise someone else. This may be very difficult for you to do at first and you may find that you are far more peeved by certain things than you thought you’d be and need to reassess in your next family meeting. But if don’t let go you can’t share the load.

There will be plenty of mistakes, messes, fumbles, and frustrations along the way. Especially if you’ve been carrying way too much for way too long or doing the work of others. But, it’s well worth the effort and if you continue to be consistent you will find that there are profound benefits to sharing the load. Will it be done perfectly… well, that’s unlikely, but it will be a lot less overwhelming. And maybe, just maybe you’ll finally have some time to do something just for you!

If you’d like to learn more about how to reduce stress in your life and receive weekly group coaching to help you upcycle your real life into your best life be sure to check out Inner Circle. Your membership includes a wealth of resources, courses, live events, community and so much more for less than the cost of your streaming service. See you there!

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