Recently, my hubby and I sat down together to watch the new Fair Play Documentary. If you haven’t yet heard about it, it’s a 90-minute film by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, created in partnership with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine. And it’s based on Eve Rodsky’s book of the same name, Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much To Do (and More Life to Live).
Who should watch this documentary?
Anyone who lives in the same home with a partner…or anticipates doing so one day! Truly, everyone needs to see this film. I probably wouldn’t show it to my kids just yet, as Eve does use some honest and colorful language throughout. But I will insist they watch it in a few years, before they head off to college.
If you currently have a partner, I strongly recommend that you invite this person to watch the film with you. If you happen to be at your wits end about how much of the invisible load you’re carrying, frustrated about something in the way your household runs, or just looking to kick-start a conversation with your significant other about how division of labor happens in your own home, watching this film together is an excellent place to begin. The film’s webpage also includes some helpful tools under “Resources” about how to invite your partner to watch it with you.
What’s the tone?
The film was both serious (the topic is a heavy one) and simultaneously funny (Eve is hilarious). It was both thoughtful, and playful. But most of all, I appreciated that it was optimistic. The key takeaway for me is that if we are able to make the unseen mental load more seen, then we can actually do something about it.
My general opinion of the film?
Two thumbs up. Definitely. All of the information the film presents is backed up by research that is creatively presented, and by real-life stories that truly resonate. The graphics they used to present data and concepts are fun to watch. Eve is funny. Her husband, Seth, is very human. And the interviewees are racially, ethnically, and economically diverse. We hear from both English and Spanish-speakers. Same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples. And the experts were a beautiful lineup of some of my personal women’s empowerment crushes (looking at you, Anne Marie Slaughter, Pooja Lakshmin, and Joan Williams!).
What to do after you watch it?
As I said above, the film is meant to be a conversation starter. The Resources section on the film’s webpage contains a list of questions you can use as a couple to discuss the content afterward. Or, you can just ask your partner for his or her reflections.
My husband and I asked one another the simple question, “what did you think?” after we watched. This took us in a whole bunch of directions. Jason, my husband, had an immediate – and very concrete – idea about how we could be coaching one another in a more structured way in our respective businesses. It was a brilliant idea – one we’d never thought of before – and one we’ve now put on our calendars.
And for me, the film raised a specific division-of-labor issue I had been wanting to raise. The film helped me to articulate this issue as something I wanted to model for our boys.
The bottom line?
Even if you think you’ve got the systems in your home down pat, you’ll learn something from spending 90 minutes watching this film. I’ve been studying this division of labor stuff for a while. My husband and I have been having weekly planning meetings for the better part of a decade. I became Certified Fair Play Facilitator earlier this year. And even still, the film gave me new ideas.
Given how we manage our homes is so very connected to our own past and our own beliefs, this work is truly a never-ending conversation. The Fair Play Documentary is an important next stop on any division of labor journey you may be traveling.
Want to dig deeper into your own household’s division of labor? Curious about the Fair Play system? Join me and fellow Fair Play Facilitator Alyssa Goodman, MSW, for two retreats on this topic this fall!
- An In-Person, Day-Long, Mindful Return “Fair Play” Retreat on Friday, September 23, 2022. How we divide household tasks and chores is a large point of stress for many working parents. As Certified “Fair Play Facilitators,” Lori Mihalich-Levin, JD, and Alyssa Goodman, MSW, will co-lead this day-long in-person retreat to dig deep into the time and fairness principles of Eve Rodsky’s book, Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live). This retreat will be held at The Journey Space in Glen Echo, MD(just outside of Washington, DC), from 10am-4:30pm Eastern on Friday, September 23, 2022. The cost is $250, which includes a nourishing and yummy lunch, and space is limited to 15 fully-vaccinated people. First come, first served. You can register here.
- A Virtual, 3-Hour Mindful Return “Fair Play” Retreat on Friday, November 4, 2022. How we divide household tasks and chores is a large point of stress for many working parents. As Certified “Fair Play Facilitators,” Lori Mihalich-Levin, JD, and Alyssa Goodman, MSW, will co-lead this half-day retreat that digs deep into the time and fairness principles of Eve Rodsky’s book, Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live). This half-day retreat will take place from 1:00-4:00pm Eastern on Friday, November 4. We’ll meet via Zoom, cultivate relationships with one another via breakout rooms, and limit the retreat to 3 hours given our ongoing Zoom fatigue. Cost is $125, and you can register here.
Want more practical tips on working parenthood? Check out my book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave