Nothing causes as much controversy as the role of a stay at home mum or dad, well apart from breast vs bottle, when and how to toilet train, and vaccinations.

But we’re not here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, we’re just here to offer a few tips on how to get the balance right so the one at home with the kids doesn’t feel like the hired help, and the one who comes home from paid work doesn’t feel like they’re getting the raw prawn.

Neither of you clock off at six

Sorry but kids are a 24/7 job with terrible working conditions and no pay, but they can be rewarding – especially when they eat their vegetables without complaining; or when they’re asleep.

On top of generally keeping them alive there’s constant feeding, cleaning, homeworking and de-nitting.

Accept that you won’t get a real day off for the next eighteen years.

But… schedule in some downtime

Rather than flinging the baby at your partner to go and start dinner, spend some time just chillaxing as a family.

Sit down, take a load off, watch the kids play or gurgle. Even if it’s just ten minutes, you’ve both taken a moment and transitioned into family time. Trust us, the dishes, laundry and other chores will still get done, or be there tomorrow.

Agree what the SAHP’s job description is

Is it reasonable for them to do all the cleaning during the day, pay the bills, buy the groceries, sign the school forms, iron the dish towels?

This probably depends on how many children you have and their requirements.

Agree what is expected of each other, but remember, as there are days you don’t get anything on your list done at the office due to unforeseen circumstances, the same is true for the parent at home.

There are also jobs that can combine downtime with chores. Ironing or folding washing while you catch up on your favourite TV show makes it not feel like work.

Divide and conquer

One does the cooking, the other washes up. One’s on mornings the other on bedtime. However you work it, work it out together. And have it agreed and written down somewhere so neither of you forgets.

Give each other a night off

It’s easy to give up things like the gym, a drink with a friend, your hobby or passion but it’s important to keep some things for yourself as well.

Sure it’s a compromise but a night each week (or an hour a few times a week) helps you feel fulfilled and multi-dimensional.

Imagine that, having something to talk about that isn’t work, the house or the kids!

Remember if one of you does overtime, the other does too

If one person has to work late or on the weekend. that means the other picks up the slack at home so both of you are doing overtime.

When the one who’s been working the extra hours gets time of in lieu or is able to get back to their regular hours, negotiate some ‘me time’ each.

That way you won’t get resentful. And it might be a good idea to book the babysitter so you can both enjoy some time off together.

If you’re on holiday the children still need to be cared for

Sorry but just because you’re on a plane or poolside doesn’t get you off being a parent (unless you’re staying somewhere with a kids club which is THE BEST IDEA EVER).

We’ve all seen it, the dad watching the movie on the plane while the mother paces up and down the aisles with a crying baby, or the dad playing in the pool with the kids while mum lies poolside with a book.

This is fine if dad then does the nappy change in the airline toilet, or mum then supervises the kids on their next activity. Just play fair people.

How do you split the responsibilities in your house? SHARE with us in the comments below.

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  • Great points are raised in this article.


  • Oh wow – ME! I am a stay at home Mum to 4 kids. Often, I get asked why I don’t work (1 in primary school, 3 in high school) – but I do. I have a big house that needs to be cleaned, food to get prepared and my youngest to be picked up and dropped off from school. I swear, I dont go coffees during the day, I dont watch tv, and spare only about half an hour for lunch. My life is crazy. I dont know how working mums do it.


  • I am a stay at home mum and I do everything concerning the kids and the home. Come the weekend, we tend to take time off to do things together


  • Very true … It’s hard work to say the least … You don’t get an hour lunch break or morning afternoon breaks either .. Stay home parents should be appreciated more I agree


  • We’ve managed to split it quit well I think. It’s usually about who’s doing what and when, there is no set rule in our household of which chores are who’s.


  • We have a very traditional household where I do the inside jobs and my partner does the outside. It works for us.


  • Some great suggestions and useful advice – thankyou!


  • Some good suggestions. I always find our biggest argument is ‘who had a harder/busier day’ and who is more tired than who!! We have agreed that we both work really hard doing very different things. My husband manages a team of people (who often act like children!), while I manage actual children and all that goes with it. I’ve also put a stop to either of us mentioning that we’re tired. It’s kind of a given these days and I don’t think it helps to talk about it all the time!


  • It’s all about communication and having realistic expectations. Teamwork is also so important


  • We have had great issue with getting a balance. Taking care of kids is hard work. That’s why childcare costs so much. lol


  • this is just great


  • Great article has sparked conversation here


  • love reading these


  • So true neither clocks off after typical work hours. We’re constantly changing who does what depending on who can handle what on different days. My favourite is when my husband has spontaneously moped the floor while I put the baby to bed.


  • i always felt it is so hard to play fair, or even so sometimes you feel like you are doing more or why isnt your partner helping more etc. So i find that no matter just tell each other how you feel. If you want your partner to do something, ask him, that way you might feel more balanced. i am very happy that my husband doesn’t mind looking after the kids during the weekend morning so i can sleep in a little and also to play with them when he’s back so i can unwind a bit after each day of play.


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