What books have changed your life?
Each of us have those books. You know the ones. The ones that transform us. The ones that forever alter our way of thinking and empower us to change in unexpected ways. Eve Rodsky’s Fair Play has been one of those transformative books for me.
Diving into the universal problem of unequal labor in the home, Eve pioneered a system in her book Fair Play that helps couples and individuals maintain their sanity, identities, careers, and marriage. Yeah. It’s that powerful.
In addition to being a bestseller and a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick, Fair Play is a game-changer of a book. It presents a new hands-on, solutions-based strategy helping couples divvy up chores and responsibilities — in a way that saves time (and anxiety!) How it works? Dealing, shuffling (and re-shuffling) a deck of cards.
In developing the Fair Play system, Rodsky interviewed more than five hundred men and women from all walks of life to figure out what the invisible work in a family actually entails and how to get it all done efficiently. With four easy-to-follow rules, 100 household tasks, and a series of conversation starters for you and your partner, Fair Play helps couples prioritize what’s important to their family and who should take the lead on every chore from laundry to homework to dinner.
“Winning” the Fair Play game means rebalancing your home life, reigniting your relationship with your significant other, and reclaiming your Unicorn Space — the time to develop the skills and passions that keep you interested and interesting. Ready to deal in?
I am. And I am totally fangirling here because Eve was gracious enough to answer some questions for my Talking Shop series!
Everyone, I’d like to introduce you to Eve — and the Fair Play system.
If someone wants to get started with the Fair Play system, but needs to take baby steps, how can they begin?
Start with a communication shift! The first and most important thing we can do to start is to communicate when Emotion is Low and Cognition is High. Many women I interviewed for Fair Play said their number one communication vulnerability was the need to give feedback in the moment—but that is precisely when your partner cannot hear you.
I devote multiple pages of Fair Play to explaining the neuroscience and psychology around why it is better to wait for it. The Fair Play couples that are playing now and benefiting greatly are telling me that their weekly check-in is the key. Many couples have moved their check-in up to nightly. Schedule a time when the kids are in bed to have time to check-in. Bring some ice cream or alcohol and set a timer for 10 minutes. Go over the schedule for the next day or week, what tasks need to be done, and who is in charge of what. This is also a good time to communicate about issues you ran into throughout the week.
Why is Fair Play so important in modern-day marriages?
I interviewed over 500 men and women for Fair Play, mirroring the US Census, and the pattern that women do two-thirds or more of the domestic labor for their children and home is not news.
The core finding of Fair Play is that men, women, and society view men’s time as finite, and women’s time as infinite. Men get way more autonomy over how they spend their time (and much more often they are paid for their hours in the day) and women are expected to spend their last waking moments in service of the home and children. It is time to invite men into their full power as caregivers and I am hearing from more and more men that are doing just that.
What tangible benefits does the rebalancing of responsibilities have for couples?
TIME! When my husband took over managing the logistics of extracurricular sports for my two sons, I gained back six hours of my week. Those behind the scenes work and planning included, what is the game schedule? When do you have to provide the team snack? Who is driving the carpool? Once my husband understood how “ownership” invites a stronger and more fulling parenting role, he willingly offered to do more – and without any “nagging” reminders from me. A win for both of us!
What was the journey like for your relationship while developing the Fair Play system?
When I got that blueberries text, I was truly at my breaking point and now we are in a better place than we ever have been. Though it took seven years of research and writing a NY Times Bestseller, to get here – I am so thankful we did! Developing the system in my own relationship really helped to shape what it is today. This year when I went on my book tour, Seth had to hold all of the cards, for weeks at a time, and he did it with grace, humor, and generosity.
What is one thing you wish women better understood about the need for empowerment and Unicorn Space?
I want women to understand that they have the right to be interesting and interested in their own lives beyond being a worker, a partner, and a parent. Too often women get lost in the milestones society puts in place for them – get the diamond ring, have the fancy wedding, have the baby. But then women hit each of these milestones and are left feeling empty, they have forgotten who they are as a person. I want women to embrace their Unicorn Space so that they can step into their full power in this world.
I’m giving away a copy of Eve Rodsky’s Fair Play. To enter, follow me and Eve on Instagram (@kasee_bailey & @everodsky) and comment on this post with your thoughts on how the Fair Play system could benefit your life. Giveaway ends 6/23/20, 11:59 CST.