Need Your Partner to Share In The Mental Load? Now, There’s An App For That.

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We are living in THE digital age and there is literally an app for everything.

While YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat top the list as some of the most popular apps in the world there are other apps that make our lives so much easier. Banking apps, mapping apps, shopping apps.

Always forget where you park your car at Target? There’s an app for that.

Want to know the best time to dash out of a movie to pee? Yup, an app.

Person of little words and just want to answer your messages with “Yo”? Ridiculous? Yes. But, you guessed it, there is an app. 

And now? There’s one that could singlehandedly save your marriage. Or sink it. Depending on how it works for you.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled ‘Goodbye Honey-Do List, Hello Shared-Labor App‘, couples are turning more and more to job sharing apps to help divvy up the domestic duties.

There has been a significant shift in the dynamics of the family home over the past few decades. Gone are the days of Suzy Homemaker greeting Bringin’ Home the Bacon Bob at the door with slippers and a beer in hand. Dual-earner households are much more common and men are taking a more active role in parenting and running the household. 

While the division of labor at home is improving, it is still not equal. In 2018, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that:

“On an average day, 84 percent of women and 69 percent of men spent some time doing household activities, such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or household management.”

Women also spent more time doing the household activities, with women spending an average of 2.6 hours/day compared to 2 hours/day for men. Another study published in Springer’s journal Sex Roles, found that women consistently perform more housework than men do, regardless of how much they work or their income.

And this inequality can breed frustration and resentment. But fear not, because apparently technology has the solution to ensuring that each partner is pulling his or her weight. Because of course it does.

So forget couples counseling. Forget old-fashioned face-to-face communication. Forget nagging, and arguing, and honey-do lists. The road to marital bliss is paved with purchases of task-sharing apps from the App store.

At least, according to four couples interviewed by the WSJ. The couples have all adopted project-management apps originally created for the workplace to keep things at home running smoothly and fairly. And in their words? “Using digital task trackers has been a marital game-changer.”

That’s right, all you married folk. A shared to-do list may just be the answer to your very own happily ever after.

One couple uses Google calendars to keep track of the family’s schedule and Notes to keep a running list of things that need to be done. Each of them takes on chores that the other one dislikes. 

Another couple uses the project management app, Asana, to assign each other tasks and deadlines for completing them. Things such as fixing the kids’ Lego table and folding laundry. I mean, really, I CAN’T imagine this going south. AT ALL. But Megan Harper swears that it works for her and her husband, Michael. She says:

“With the app, there’s no question of who’s responsible for what – you had this thing due and you knew it was due. It keeps our marriage from having problems.”

One of the couples tried sharing a to-do list for a while using the Wunderlist app, but it was mostly ignored. (Read: the wife attempted to give her husband a digital honey-do list but he wasn’t having it.)

It wasn’t until Sara Blanchard created a new category titled “Stuff That Needs To Get Done Because I See It Every Day And It Is Driving Me Crazy,” that her husband, John, decided to take notice.

She included things such as, “Pull down guest room cork board neatly,” “Clean up kitchen drawers and LINE THEM,” and “Erase memory of printer and get rid of it.”

She is definitely explicit in giving instructions. Except for the one that said, “Spray paint sun.” I feel like that could have used a bit more clarity. 

Feel like you may need a bit more motivation than just checking things off of a list?

Guess what? There’s an app for that too. Labor of Love allows users to assign values to tasks and accumulate points. You can then choose rewards based on the number of points you have. Like Air Miles. 

I fear that my to do list would be literally endless. And what exactly is deemed worthy of making it onto the list? Once I started actually tracking all of the things that need to get done in a day, in a week, a month, my anxiety would go haywire and I’d be boarding the train with a one-way ticket to crazy town. 

The reality is, an app can help in dividing up the physical tasks, like grocery shopping, cleaning, and booking appointments. It can help to keep your family calendar straight, and your grocery list up-to-date.

What an app can’t do? 

An app can’t make your partner actually perform said chores. It can’t guarantee that your partner will do what you want him/her to do happily and willingly. It can’t ensure the equitable split of domestic duties. No matter how great the app is.

It also can’t split the burden of the mental load. For regardless of how helpful the father of your children may be, the reality is that the majority of mothers shoulder the weight of the invisible workload of parenting. All of the little things that we have to remember that add up to big things. The things that keep us up at night, worrying.

Sure, technology can make our lives easier. As much as I love a to-do list, and I really really do, I don’t think I’ll be using this in my own marriage. What do you think? Would you use an app to share the household duties?

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