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[The real voices of mothers! This is how to solve the problems of housework and childcare.
Part 1: How Does Everyone Else Do It? How do you divide up the “nameless chores”?

 Mam Smile, winner of the 2022 Tokyo Women’s Activity Promotion Grand Prize, is an organization that promotes mothers’ reintegration into society and community revitalization through the production of the free childcare information magazine ” Itabashina” and other activities.

 This issue is a special project by Mam Smile! We will be presenting the real voices of mothers we have met through our activities to date regarding housework and childcare in a series of three articles.

 The theme of the first session is “How do people do it? How do you share household chores with others?
 The “nameless chores” are those little chores that don’t have a clear name, such as refilling the detergent or changing the garbage bag. Each one may be a small task, but they are all necessary for the comfort of the family. It is important to know how to share the “unnamed chores” with others, because if they are done regularly or carried by one person alone, they can become a huge burden.

Moms’ True Feelings about “Housework with No Name

 We hear that dads are sharing household chores more than before, but when we actually asked mothers about “nameless chores,” we heard a few complaints….

… “They’ll go to the dump, but it’s harder to collect all the trash in the room, and they won’t do that.”
… “They’ll throw the bottles away, but they won’t go so far as to remove the labels and caps.”
… “They refill my hand soap, but they don’t notice or tell me that they don’t have any stock of that refilled stuff.”
They do everything from running the machine to hanging the clothes out to dry, but they wash them with the sleeves still in the machine and hang them out to dry without stretching out the wrinkles.
… “I don’t know about details such as getting the kids ready for preschool unless you tell me.”

 Many said that fathers are unaware that there are “nameless chores” in the first place, or that they “end up doing them themselves” due to differences in how to do them and the hassle of asking them to do them.

Our family’s ingenuity is revealed! How to divide up the “nameless chores

How can we successfully share housework and childcare, including the “chore with no name”? We asked mothers for their specific ideas.

<Visualization of housework
Write down what you want Dad to do on a piece of paper and post it where you can see it.
The white board is used to write down condiments, tissues, and other items that may run out of stock and share them with others.

Whiteboard photo

I will organize and position things properly so that my husband can also clean up the small stuff.
Keep stocks of hand soap, etc. in a visible place.
Post a checklist of the morning process when the child arrives at school, and the supporting adults can look at it to standardize the preparation process.
▪ Write the morning preparations and the tasks and help when you get home on magnets and put them in order. The child flips over the ones that are done first.

Magnet Board Photo

<Simplification of housework
Use home-delivered meal kits 3 days a week.
Utilize housekeeping services.
The menu should be determined by the day of the week, such as curry on Fridays, pork miso soup on Sundays, and so on.

<Application Utilization
The couple shares the schedule of their child’s vaccinations and medical checkups with a scheduling app.
・Create a LINE group to share letters from daycare and school with the couple.

Diagram of information sharing on line

Report, contact, and consult on LINE as soon as you think of something, such as what’s in the refrigerator, what you bought, or irregular schedule changes of the children. Tell them what you want them to do and why.

line exchange

<How to Communicate
When they did it, I would say, “You did all the way to ________? Thank you!” and exaggeratedly tell them.
I try to be specific, such as, “I would appreciate it if you would brush out the wrinkles when you hang the laundry to dry. I would appreciate it if you would brush my child’s hair before drying it with a hair dryer,” “I would appreciate it if you would let me know when there is not enough toilet paper left when you change the toilet paper,” etc.

 All of the mothers’ realistic ideas for dividing household chores are worth trying!
 Some mothers also said that by working from home more often, their fathers began to pay attention to household chores that they normally didn’t see. It may be important to ask your father to take care of the entire house once so that he can see the big picture.

Use the checklist to understand the current situation

 First, it is important to know that couples have “unnamed chores” and how they are divided among them. Based on mothers’ comments, we picked up some typical “unnamed chores.
Checklist of household chores with no name


I actually asked my dad to do the checklist…

 By working on the checklist, the fathers realized that the burden of the “unnamed chores” had been disproportionately placed on the mothers, and they wanted to share the workload more in the future.
 If mom and dad can share the workload well, it will lead to a better marital partnership. We encourage couples to discuss “nameless chores” together!


Click here to read the second article, “What is your daily schedule? How to share housework and childcare responsibilities to get through a busy day” article is here.

Click here to read the third issue of “What’s Hard When Your Kids Are in Elementary School? The Troubles of Elementary School Moms” article is here.