How A Weekly Check-in to Share the Load Saves Us

Since becoming a mom 8 months ago, the only constant has been change. Life these days pivots and shifts so quickly, it’s challenging to stay on top of it all. My partner and I use the Fair Play Method to distribute household and child care tasks. This makes it easy for us to know who owns what, but it doesn’t account for the many twists and turns life throws at us each week. Which is why we’ve started a weekly check-in to share the load. Our weekly check-in meeting helps us stay connected and on top of our household responsibilities. 

Why is our weekly check-in to share the load so important?

In our family, things look different each week. From working hours to childcare and family events things are always changing. Our weekly check-in serves as time and a space to look into the next week and build a plan together. Creating this open dialogue builds clarity, trust and a commitment to each other.

The check-in removes potential for confusion, frustration or even resentment and instead creates more open and transparent communication and accountability.

What does the check-in look like for us?

Our weekly check-in happens on Tuesday evening. Our daughter is still very young and goes to bed around 7 PM each night. My husband and I usually eat dinner after she goes down. During this phase of our life, we have our weekly check-in meeting during dinner. We know this will need to shift as our daughter gets older and starts eating with us, but for now, it works.

Each week during our check-in we start off the conversation by asking each other two questions:

  1. How are you feeling?
  2. Is there anything you want to bring to my attention that worked really well or felt challenging from last week?
These questions set the tone and point us in the direction we need to go in first. There have been check-in’s where I’ve come in and said I was feeling super low. Providing my partner with this information creates an opportunity for us to address the emotions before diving into the execution of our weekly plan. It’s really hard to build a plan when someone hasn’t first been able to address their feelings. There have also been times when I’ve felt extremely excited about something, which allows us to celebrate a win before diving in.
It’s important for us both to share with each other how things are going. For example, there have been times when one of us has owned a specific task for a while, for example week night meals, and needs a break. In that case, when we ask the question about a challenge, it creates space to share that it’s time to hand off responsibility of a certain task for a little while.

By addressing challenges each week we eliminate the potential for anger and resentment with each other.

The next step is to pull up our family calendar and discuss any changes or special events coming up. These typically include:

  1. Needing to work early or late hours
  2. Daycare closures
  3. Family events (birthdays, dinner parties, play dates, etc.)
  4. Travel (work or personal)
  5. Visitors
Understanding what the schedule looks like for the next week allows us to distribute household/childcare tasks properly. Most of the time we hold on to the responsibilities we typically cover, but sometimes that needs to shift. Without the weekly check-in we’d be left scrambling.
The weekly check-in also provides us time to plan how we want to spend our weekend and to schedule date nights (including childcare coverage) which we make a bi-weekly priority. By discussing these things together we both feel like we’re equal contributors to the entire plan.

It also helps my partner see how much conceptualizing and planning (the mental load) goes into keeping our household running.

How does the weekly check-in feel?

At first we were both nervous that by adopting the Fair Play Method and our weekly check-in’s our relationship would feel too structured. We immediately found that couldn’t be further from the truth. First, we make both fun. Our check-in dinner is the most delicious and creative meal we eat during the week. We also make it light hearted and conversational. If one of us is in a particularly bad mood, we’ll reschedule. The clarity and open dialogue that both of these opportunities provide creates more room for connection and love. For us, it has built a stronger partnership because we’re both in-sync and aware of each others needs. In fact, our weekly check-in is something I look forward to each week.