Calendars. Schedules. Diaries. No matter what you call it, they are never easy. Managing your own is hard enough. Managing it for the entire family is a whole other challenge.
In a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Kasey highlighted the difference between being and feeling responsible for a household task versus simply doing the task. Check out the article here 'Dad doing half of domestic works is a good start but still not enough'.
Time after time I have seen this distinction play out in how a family organises their household diary. In these situations, a task is when one parent reads the school newsletter, enters an occasional event into a diary or, much to their partner’s frustration, asks when the next sports game is… The parent is simply doing the task 🤦
The other parent who has taken on the role of responsibility, whether they chose this role or it just happened that way, feels and acts quite differently.
The responsible parent deals with the multitude of school events and activities. They have to find and enter the events in a calendar. They have to recognise and sort out clashing events. That have to complete forms and permission slips by the due date. (That is, only when they remember). They will find themselves searching for the answer for their partner, despite them both having access to the same emails!
In 84% of Australian households, it is the mother that has taken on 100% of this responsible role.
The challenge of being responsible is the amount of TIME it takes. The parent spends many hours entering events into the calendar. They spend many more hours organising their families agendas and even more hours searching for one email with the right information. Time is, however, limited.
This responsible parent gives time to make sure everyone in the family knows who, what, where and when. However, family calendars fill up quickly. Sports games. Band practice. Birthday parties. There are hundreds of things they need to keep track of each week. Add in various to-dos and must-dos that pop up and they quickly find themselves a parent stuck deep in the woods.
It's easy to miss something. It has happened in the past and it's likely to happen again, making them feel like bad parents. But they are not.
These responsible parents are awe-inspiring. From their dedication in doing right by everyone to their ability to give it their all every single day.
But (and I mean a big BUT) it comes at a cost. They are already busy, often maxed out. And the weight of this responsibility compounds their exhaustion. Feeling drained, they suffer through the lack of time, which can impact their work.
To balance and manage their responsible role, they may go down to part-time work, settle for an easier role or try to outsource as best they can. This isn’t easy. The disproportionate share of responsibility affects them, and their family.
The most important thing in a parent’s life is their children. They love them to bits, but they don’t love their diaries.
myWhānau has been formed to address this very issue. We recognise the time-consuming task that is managing the household diary. We believe that the responsibility shouldn’t fall on one parent's shoulders and can be a lot easier with a family assistant. We have their back.