No words on a book cover have ever resonated with me deeper than those of Fair Play by Eve Rodsky, “A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much To Do (and More Life to Live)”. They spoke to my soul when I first saw the book in late 2019.
I first learned about Eve Rodsky, the author of Fair Play, and her book on Instagram. I participated in a program called the Renegade Brand Bootcamp with Amy Jo Martin in late 2019 and one of the women in the program with me, Amy Nelson, Founder of The Riveter, had posted on her Instagram about Fair Play. I quickly went down the rabbit hole and had ordered the book in less than an hour. (NOTE: I had not read –or purchased – a book in so long, Amazon probably thought there was a unauthorized login to my account.)
It was Christmas 2019, my husband, 2 little girls and I were headed to Scotland for the holidays and Fair Play was my gift to myself; a commitment to unplug. I remember how hard it was to get more than a page of Fair Play read at a time between dispensing Dramamine to my kids on the plane, finding downtime over the holiday season and just having the mental bandwidth to read, but I loved every second of the book. It just clicked for me.
I told every member of the family about the book I was reading by author, Eve Rodsky, even if my excitement was met with blank stares or accidental disregard. It made me feel alive to A) be reading a book and B) to be reading a book that felt like it was written FOR me!
I read the book cover to cover and became enlightened with each chapter and concept in Fair Play. Some concepts that REALLY resonated with me –the ones I found myself telling friend after friend—were as follows:
- First of all, accounting for all aspects/tasks it takes to run a household.
- In business, we’ve heard the mantra, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Why did I not think of applying this to personal life?
- INVISIBLE work is the killer.
- It weighs us women down and it is invisible to our partners. How could I ever expect my husband to “appreciate” my household contributions, let alone contribute to them fairly if he can’t even see them?
- In order to first enable equity in the home, you must first GET RID of the tasks that don’t serve you or your family.
- We can do the things we see our friends do, that we may have even been modeled for us to do growing up, but if it doesn’t serve YOU, it’s YOUR responsibility to shed it.
- Conceptualize. Plan. Execute. Gosh, I LOVE this one. This method, rooted in project management allows for a systematic, timely, and controlled process that benefits a project’s stakeholders.
- It’s not enough to just have your partner stir the taco meat for the family dinner to be considered “helping.” One must first conceptualize, “We need dinner this week. Tacos will be for dinner.” Then plan, “We need X, Y, Z ingredients to make the tacos. I will go to the store on Monday to get these items.” And then execute: “Make the tacos for dinner from start to finish.” See how only stirring the taco meat can allow a husband to feel he “made dinner” and a wife to feel resentment for having to do it all?
- Lightbulb moment: Not only does CPE fairly distribute invisible work and the release mental load, CPE gives a HUGE “what’s in it for me” factor to one’s partner. I found myself micromanaging my husband’s approach to bathtime, feeding the kids and even putting on their coats with my frequent interruption (and quite frankly unwelcomed interjection) leading us nowhere but both sides feeling like our respective efforts were devalued and then unfulfilling. But with CPE, the task is owned by one party from start to finish so any micromanaging or unfair intervention by the other party would not happen in the first place; therefore, resulting in efforts valued and a feeling of fulfillment.
- All time is created equal.
- An hour holding a hand at the pediatrician’s office is worth the same hour spent in a board room. I admit, I think this one is easy to struggle with because money makes everything complicated and work systems aren’t set up to make us believe this. But, looking at the equity of one hour compared to one hour really opened my eyes.
These particular learnings were so empowering to me because I value time. I have always been a strong time manager and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve studied masterful approaches to productivity and time management like “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown, so the reality of not having enough time always led me to feel like I was failing at my strength. And in all fairness, my masterful time management was established and “perfected” around my life before children.
As a champion for work life integration, I value being able to “do it all” but only if “IT ALL” is what YOU truly want to be doing and this is foundational to what Fair Play is built upon. There is no point to doing “it all” by yourself as a woman and as a caregiver if “it all” is defined by what you *think* you should be doing whether your mom friends do it, your mom did it or Instagram makes you think you should.
In Fair Play, Eve Rodsky advocates for doing what YOU value as a couple and that is only possible if you reduce the size of your load (and that should be a team decision between you and your partner; not just on you to figure out). Furthermore, Eve’s Fair Play covers an entire concept that she calls, “Unicorn Space,” which speaks to how women deserve to be interested in their own lives and that means not losing one’s identity once one becomes a mother. It’s the permission to claim fulfillment by doing what uses you unique talents, gifts and interests. To me, this is exactly what I define as being “intentional” and “fulfilled” as a Work+Life Integrator. I reject the overwhelm and lack of focus that comes often and easily to our busy lives when we try to do it all and lose ourselves in the process.
As the Founder and CEO of Hay There Social Media, I see the profound impact having an outlet to use your professional talents has on women’s lives everyday. I’m proud to say that the women we teach how to start and run their own social media businesses are claiming their Unicorn Space. I agree completely that women should be able to be fulfilled in whatever they do, in whatever professional or personal outlet they find and Fair Play by Eve Rodsky explains this approach so well.
For years now, Eve Rodsky has been delivering these conversations around the globe about the importance of equity in the home. From Davos (pre-pandemic) to countless forums online through 2020 and 2021, Eve states that equity in the world starts in the home.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020 and working from home with kids (wfhwk) became the rule, not the exception, I’ll never forget seeing post by @FairPlayLife that said,
My comment was (1/2):
To which, Eve Rodsky responded:
As we approach 2022 having ALL witnessed our work and home dynamics being flipped upside down, I’m encouraged to see the awareness of fairness and equity in the home as a first step to a solution. Because as they say, awareness is truly the first step to change. I highly recommend Fair Play be Eve Rodsky to any woman out there looking for “A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much To Do (and More Life to Live).”