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Fair Play

Article Date
July 14, 2020

Who says adulting can’t be fun? Eve Rodsky transforms the daily drudgery of parenting and domestic responsibilities into a playful game of life. Spoiler: You absolutely do not need to have children to read this title. Pet parents and anyone cohabitating can use Fair Play to divy up domestic tasks in a way that nurtures greater communication and respect for one another’s time. 

I wish I had this book when I returned to work four years ago. There were so many responsibilities I performed on auto-pilot that were lost in translation as my family adjusted to my absence from routine parts of our day. The invisible circus I had intricately choreographed when my children were young was outdated and needed to be updated to better account for their maturity and independence. Fair Play does a great job of mapping out those often unseen responsibilities so that families can share, transparently, those tasks that need attention.

The book uses four rules, 100 cards of Fair Play and 7 simple steps to split responsibilities equitably. The rules are pretty simple: Respect one another’s time equally, make time for the interests or activities that make you interesting, start where you are, and know your values and standards. 

Fair Play cards represent responsibilities and are divided into five categories: Home, Out, Caregiving, Magic, and the Wild suit. The Home suit has the most Daily Grind tasks, these are responsibilities that are repetitive (often endless). Think laundry, groceries, meal prep, cleaning. 

The Out deck encompasses activities outside the home and responsibilities that make life outside home successful. This includes everything from auto care and paying the bills to vacation planning and community service. 

Caregiving cards cover everything from health insurance to estate planning and parents to pets. It’s the nuts and bolts of daily life in contrast to the Magic suit. Magic here addresses gift giving, romance, thank you notes and holiday traditions.

The Wild suit has the least daily grind cards. This section deals with job loss, moving, aging parents and home renovations. These are the big stressors that too often go ignored until the inevitable makes them unavoidable. 

Lastly, two Unicorn spaces make room for passion and purpose. These cards give parties permission to cherish and nurture those interests that sparks meaningful fulfillment. I’m not talking girls’ night out, think instead about going back to school, photography, playing an instrument (interests too often lost in the daily grind). 

The 7 steps of the game are pretty direct. Players set up ground rules for respectful communication, identify which cards are essential to their deck, divide up responsibilities in a way that is respectful of one another’s time, clarify expectations, claim unicorn spaces and take a vow. 

I introduced the book to my husband, but ended up drawing my children into the conversation. As young adults, one day they will run their own households and the fun format and creative concept of the book made the material very accessible. Everyone walked away with a greater understanding of what tasks needs to be done and a better appreciation for one another’s contributions. 

Tired of feeling like the default adult for the daily to do list? Curious about what tasks need attention to keep a household running smoothly? Give Fair Play a read.

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