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The 50/50 Relationship: Does it Exist?
by Darlene Zagata

Whether you are married or just living together, the fact remains that you are in a relationship. You, as an individual, are one half of the whole that comprise a relationship. From my point of view, I see both people in a relationship sharing the responsibilities. But this is not always the case in many situations. When a relationship involves children, there are many more responsibilities that must be dealt with and should be shared.

I was one of the lucky ones because the relationship I had with my husband was one of compromise. We worked together in sharing the responsibilities of raising a family. When my husband worked outside the home, I had the primary duties of caring for the house and kids. When his health began to fail, I went to work and my husband became the primary caregiver to the children as well as taking care of the household duties.

Recently, I've noticed a trend in which many young couples are producing full-fledged families almost straight out of high school but are unwilling and unprepared to put forth the effort required to care for their families. What I hear quite often from the young people I know is this: the young women say "He doesn't help me," and the young men say "I go to work, then when I come home she expects me to clean the house and stay up with the kids."

Of course, this dialogue is sometimes reversed if the woman is working and the man is home. Both the facts remain the same. Each wants to blame the other for not doing his or her fair share.

In cases where both individuals work, you might have a situation where two tired parents either learn to compromise or expend a great deal of their time and energy arguing with each other.

It comes down to this: Learn to work together and get organized or keep blaming each other and watch the relationship fall apart.

If one person in the relationship is working full-time then the other half must learn to cope with the kids and handle the domestic chores. One rule of thumb that always worked for me when keeping up with the housework is this: Keep on it. What I mean is this: Don't wait until the house is a total disaster before you start to clean. Do little things throughout the day. Wash the few dishes that are in the sink instead of waiting until it is overflowing. Throw a load of laundry in the washer while you make the kids a snack. It makes a world of difference when you keep control of the housework rather than letting it take control of you.

One of the biggest problems that arise in overwhelmed working-parent families is lack of time management skills. Another problem is lack of discipline, not only in their children but also in themselves. Some of the young parents I know are exhausted because their children are still awake long past midnight into the wee hours of the morning. These parents then have to get up and go to work. They are burning the candle at both ends and the flame is becoming a weak flicker. This is not good for the parents or the children.

The parents need to set rules for their children and stick to them. Children need schedules and guidelines. Even as adults, there are some schedules that we must adhere to. Children should have a regular bedtime. Designate an area in the home to be the play area for children instead of letting them play throughout the house. If you don't have enough space in your home to create an "official" play room, it can be a bedroom or the living room, but make that one room the play area. It is easier to clean one room when pressed for time rather than the whole house.

Many exasperated parents could make things easier on themselves if they would manage their time more efficiently and set rules for themselves and their children. Don't play the blame game by shirking your responsibilities off on your partner. There are plenty of single, working parents who manage just fine.

Develop a program that fits your needs and then work with it. Remember, a relationship is a compromise. If you can't work together, the relationship won't work either.

Related Articles:

Surviving the First Year of Marriage - Creating a Successful Foundation

Controlling Behavior, Loving Behavior

Darlene Zagata is a freelance writer. Darlene is the Managing Editor of RITRO.com and she co-authors a column with her son at RaisingASon.com. She is also a Review Editor for MyShelf.com and an Editorial Reviewer for The Writer's Room Magazine. Her book of poetry "Aftertaste" is available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Her first book of fiction, "The Choosing" is currently in the process of publication. 

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