It all came down to some blueberries. Eve Rodsky was a working mother of two, frantically juggling about 100 things on an afternoon “off” (picking up her oldest, packing snacks, dropping off a FedEx package, returning children’s shoes, and drafting a contract for a client), when she received a text from her husband: She had forgotten to get blueberries at the grocery store. The blueberries were for his smoothie. He expressed “surprise” that she had forgotten them. When the text arrived, Rodsky burst into tears.
It wasn’t really about the blueberries.
(It’s never really about the blueberries.)
It was about all the invisible work she was doing outside of her actual job. “Without any negotiation or conscious acquiescence, in my new role as CEO, task manager AND worker bee of our family’s never-ending to-do list, I performed hours of work that went unnoticed and unacknowledged by my husband,” she writes in “Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (And More Life to Live.)” (Putnam, out now.)
Something had to change. Rodsky is an organizational management specialist by profession, and as she dealt with new motherhood, it occurred to her that she could use her expertise to achieve better practices in her own home.
She decided that the best way to deal with invisible work is to make that work visible.
She created a “Sh*t I Do” list — an Excel spreadsheet for the ages, with input from just about every woman she knew — that detailed every single thing she did, “from grocery lists and Costco runs to replacing light bulbs and laundry detergent to making sure the bathroom has at least one back-up roll of toilet paper…” She triumphantly emailed the list to her husband, who responded with an emoji of a monkey covering his eyes. A new system was needed in the house, she decided; lists wouldn’t be enough.
“Fair Play” is the result, a time- and stress-reducing solution designed to rebalance the household and improve harmony. Using task cards divided between couples, it helps couples prioritize what is most important, and who should take the lead on the many pieces that make up a household.