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Chelsea speaks with author Eve Rodsky about how society undervalues women, how women are expected to be major contributors to the household income on top of managing all domestic tasks, and how to truly create an equitable home life.

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Hello, everyone, and welcome back to an all new episode of The Financial Confessions.

It's me, your host, Chelsea Fagan, founder and CEO of The Financial Diet and woman who loves to talk about money. And one of the things that we talk about often on this channel when it comes to talking about money and career is the division of labor at home.

Most of the people watching this channel and this show and listening to this podcast are women. I'm a woman. And it has sort of shaken out over the past 30 to 50 years that women have entered the workforce in pretty unprecedented numbers.

And there's a lot of great things about that. We obviously talk about financial independence and liberation, which is very difficult to do if you don't have any of your own money, or in the case of our mothers and grandmothers' generations, weren't even able to do things like have a credit card in your name. So there's, obviously, a lot of advantages to entering the workforce in that way.

But unfortunately, during that same time, there wasn't some massive wave of men in these generally heterosexual partnerships taking up an equivalent amount of domestic labor. And amongst other things, it's put women in the very precarious position in the workplace, especially if they're mothers, of sort of not being able to succeed fully on either front because they're expected to work the way, let's say, a man might work, but also take care of their home life, and in many cases, their children, at essentially a full-time rate. We still, in general, when we look at the data, view women as generally being the primary caregiver, even when they work full-time, even when they're the breadwinner.

And while a woman leaving early, for example, to go take care of her kid or take them to a soccer practice or go to their play is perhaps regarded as skimping out on work a little bit or not taking the job seriously. On the flip side, a woman who's going to stay late at her desk and not necessarily attend to those things is going to be seen as a bad mother. We've talked a lot on the channel about how, for example, the more children a man has in his career, the more he'll see financial benefits.

He'll get raises. He'll get promotions. He's taken more seriously.

Women see the opposite effect, and it increases in that same proportion to as many children as they have. We've by no means conquered it, but we are very much in the latter ends of the revolution of women joining the workforce. And it is high time that we start having a similar revolution when it comes to domestic labor and domestic tasks.

So that is why I am very, very excited to have my guest on today. She is an attorney and activist, the New York Times best-selling author of Fair Play, which was also made into a documentary, which is so cool. And she's sitting right here with me, Eve Brodsky.

Oh, my God, yes. Can I just clap for your amazing intro? Thanks. [LAUGHS] We can wrap up and go home now.

That's it. That's all there was to learn. That's it.

That's a lot of the unlearning is what you just said, Chelsea, so thank you for that beautiful introduction. And thanks to Nuuly for supporting the Financial Confessions. Go to and enter code TFD20 for $20 off your first month of clothing rental.

N-U-U-L-Y dot com, and use code TFD20. And thanks to Chime, the most downloaded banking app for supporting the Financial Confessions. With payday up to two days early and fee-free overdrafts up to $200, they offer financial peace of mind.

See for yourself why Chime is so loved at Thank you. Well, so obviously, I teed it up a little bit, but could you tell us a little bit about who you are and the book that you wrote?

Yes, I wrote a book called Fair Play. And I just want to preface this by saying that I didn't start out-- when I was in my third grade, what do you want to be when you grow up, bored Chelsea, right? I didn't say, gender division of labor expert.

I definitely didn't say that. I think I said like astronaut. But and it definitely wasn't what I was thinking about.

I'm resolutely Gen X. It was definitely not what I was thinking about when I went to law school, where I was told that I could escape my working class background by putting my head down, and I was going to be competing on the same terms as men. And women are winning.

We are graduating from college more. We're going to get these prime, amazing opportunities. We're going to smash glass ceilings along the way.

And really, I'll say cut to 13 years later, and really, the only thing I could tell you I was smashing were the peas for my toddler, Zack, while breastfeeding a baby Ben and losing all those benefits because of the assumptions you just talked about. Well, I think you're obviously describing what I shared in the intro. And I think for a lot of people, the first sort of contextual unlearning, so to speak, when it comes to this dichotomy we see between women being empowered in the workplace and, in many cases, disempowered at home, is this idea that although, yes, for women to be able to break those glass ceilings and to be in control of their own money, that was a huge feminist victory, in a lot of ways, and was very empowering, in a lot of ways.

But it's easy to forget that it's also a really great way to devalue labor, which is exactly what we've seen happen. You effectively have twice the people in the labor of force that were 50, 60 years ago. And one of the things that we've seen is that although, again, there were many downsides, back in our parents and grandparents' generation, it was very realistic for one parent to be able to support a middle class household, even without a college education and manual labor jobs, et cetera.

Now it is effectively, we've gone from it being an empowering thing for women to be able to choose to enter the workforce to, in many cases, a complete obligation because of these depressed wages. Of course. Well, we know the dominant configuration for households are two-earner families.

So women have had to be in the workplace. And in fact, they have been since the 1940s and earlier. And really, we even had a whole childcare revolution in the 1940s to pay for that childcare when women had to take and step up and take men's jobs when they went to war.

What happened was in the '50s, and at the end of the war, in the mid '40s, when these men had to come back, it was, well, what are we going to do with all these women that are here? We need to push them out so that men can take over their patriarchal structure that they're used to having and take their jobs back. So we really, for two decades, we really had this big to push women back into the home.

And so that was sort of the classic Leave It to Beaver time in this country, where we saw the cultural expectation of a perfect housewife. You can see it in Mad Men. But then what happened in the end of the '60s were women started to enter male professions again.

And so there was a revolution, like you said. Women became primary, secondary earners in droves in really interesting ways. But as you said, there was no childcare, no other revolution to change the imbalance of what women were still doing from the '50s and '60s.

So now we see women are still holding 2/3 or more of what it takes to run a home and family, and they are relied upon to either be a co-breadwinner, or, in many cases, like my mother, who was a single parent, she was holding all of the tasks, or I call them in Fair Play, they're the cards. It's a metaphor. There's 100 cards that represent all the unpaid labor that happen in a home.

And you don't have to play all those cards, but that's the metaphor. My mother was holding all those cards and trying to work full-time. And we now know when women do that, because now we have the Fair Play movement.

It started as a book. It's a movement now. We have 10 years of studying women in all different family configurations and LGBTQIA couples.

But really, women married to men when they are holding 2/3 or more of what it takes to run a home and family, and they work for pay, they're getting physically sick, Chelsea. So this is not just about who left the sponge in the sink. This is about the stakes are really high.

We see hair loss, Hashimoto's, thyroid dysfunction, cancer diagnosis, diagnoses, SSRI use. And then when women are self-medicating, we see two or more glasses of wine a night. We see edibles on the weekend.

So there's a real burnout crisis happening that I think people are talking about in the workplace, but aren't really still connecting back to, I think, the last frontier of equity, which is our homes. So you talk about sort of the negative impacts that we're seeing in the home, which we've talked about quite a lot on the channel and is something that I think, in general, most women kind of internally understand to be true. I mean, you mentioned the two glasses of wine a night thing.

I mean, the sort of wine mom culture and the normalization of what is effectively, in many cases, self medicating for much more external problems has almost kind of been reframed as aspirational or taken as an inevitability, like that's just sort of what you do, or that's what's expected. And what's personally been shocking to me, so I was a nanny for a very, very long time. And now I'm in the age bracket-- I don't have children, don't plan to, but I'm in the age bracket now where many, many people around me have or are having children.

And I think I had always sort of naively believed that because I feel like the women around me are-- they're feminists, they're liberated, the men that they're married to when they're in heterosexual relationships, they're with it, whatever. Systematically, I've seen, almost without exception, the completely imbalanced division of labor just become a complete norm. It's almost like it's not even questioned that the woman will take on more of the work, that she'll leave earlier, that she will, in many cases, drop down at work, stop working, et cetera.

And this, in no way, sort of even calls into question, like if you were to ask the men in these relationships, do you consider yourself an equal partner, do you consider yourself a feminist, et cetera, I'm sure they'd probably say yes to those things and think that they were true. So when we look at how kind of inevitable it's seen as being, even in spite of these consequences you're talking about, what are some of the ways that, especially in the context of the couples themselves, you talk about reframing this? Mm-hmm.

Well, I love that you just said that there's this inevitability because I like to say it's [BLEEP] inevitable, right? Yeah. It's [BLEEP] inevitable.

This system, obviously, is in place because it benefits, like you said, certain power structures, right? As my friend Jess Calarco says-- she's a sociologist. She says other countries have chosen to have social safety nets, like federal paid leave and childcare, but in America, we've chosen to have women.

And so it's really, I think what's been really the hardest thing for me, Chelsea-- and that's why I love that our audiences overlap because we do speak to women-- is that women often become complicit in their own oppression in these issues. So I'll just break down sort of what I'm trying to reframe for women. I'll start with a story, one of the stories that started to wake me up to this inequity.

In my own home, it was a text my husband, Seth, sent me. He sent me a text that said, I'm surprised you didn't get blueberries. And it was a really tough time in my life around a lot of stories that I tell in the book about Seth and me at that time in our life, where, this was now 12 years ago.

It was sort of my blueberries breakdown anniversary. So yay, we can celebrate that together. But I had a baby at home.

That's when I was smashing those peas for that toddler, Zack, and I was breastfeeding this young baby. And what was happening around me were a couple of things. One was that my workplace was abandoning me because as you so beautifully said in the beginning of this podcast, the motherhood penalty, the assumption that a woman will become a mother-- so this is why it matters to you, Chelsea, as well, because even the assumption that you're going to be a mother will start to decrease your pay.

Right. You'll start getting the non-prime assignments. It's called the motherhood penalty.

So there's actually, the wage gap is-- and this was shocking to me. It's not really a gap of women and men. It's a gap against mothers or people who are perceived that could or will be caretakers or mothers.

And we lose 5% to 10% of our wages for every child that's brought into the world, as well as men gained 6%, like you said, of wages when they bring children into the world. So that was sort of happening to me. On maternity leave for my second son, and I was still at a big bank, they told me that they wanted to make my life easier.

And so they were going to give my direct reports away to my male colleague. And that actually was on my performance review as the only thing I wanted to do, which was learn to manage other people. So that was really painful.

And so I was being abandoned by my workplace at the same time I was being abandoned by my partner in these assumptions. As one woman who's now a big Fair Play advocate said to me, what you've taught me, Eve, is that I don't have a magical vagina that whispers to me in the middle of the night and tells me what my husband's mother wants for Christmas. Right.

So that assumption, right, when you can trade that for structure decision-making, that's really the Fair Play movement. But in the beginning, 12 years ago-- or no, it was in 2011, 2012. So 10 years ago, I was really suffering under these assumptions of my husband thinking, because he made more money than me, I would do more unpaid labor.

And then those imbalances started to grow. And then all of a sudden, you're stuck being the fulfiller of someone's smoothie needs. And it's nothing you ever thought your life was going to be.

And then you wake up one day, and you say, is this it? And then you start drinking mommy juice, and then your life sort of unravels. So for those of you who don't have children, maybe, like Chelsea, you're not going to want them after this.

But I will say that the hardest thing, as I was being abandoned by my workplace and my spouse, was everybody around me that was smart and strong did not have a handle on this issue. And that was what was scaring me. So I remember this one day, we were on a breast cancer march close to here in downtown LA, same time frame.

And as I was having the blueberries breakdown and looking around to who was doing it better, I was noticing on this march, it was a very interesting day because there were women like you. There were these very empowered women. Not everybody was married to men.

But there were a lot of-- there were 10 of us. The majority of us were married to men, had kids, Oscar-winning producer. There was a head of stroke and trauma with us, these really powerful women that we're talking to today.

And what I noticed that day was we had this great morning from 9:00 to 12:00. And then we were supposed to go eat dim sum right next to the march. We were honoring our friend who had been diagnosed and cured.

And we were all in pink outfits and glitter on this beautiful day. And then literally 12:00 happens. 12:00 noon happens, and it's like the reverse of Cinderella. We literally turn into pumpkins because we start getting inundated.

And I'm watching all these women around me. Like, why are we all on our phones? And I'm looking over their shoulders, and they're getting texts, like, where did you put Hudson's soccer bag?

If you want me to take him to the soccer practice, you need to have packed me the bag. What's the address of the birthday party? I'll meet you there.

Do you want me to bring-- did you want-- is there a gift wrapped? Did you want me to bring a gift? My favorite was my friend Kate's husband.

And he texted her, do the kids need to eat lunch? Let them starve. And so what was the hardest part, though, about that day wasn't like, what the hell is happening?

Like, screw this. It was every single one of those women, every one of them looked at me and said, it was awesome that you made us that lunch reservation, but we left our partners with too much to do. And Chelsea, they left me.

They left me to bring a perfectly wrapped gift to a birthday party. They left me to find Hudson's soccer bag, to feed their kids lunch. And I was feeling so sad that day, really overwhelmed and sad.

And so I said, you know what? I had my first act of resistance. I want to count up how many phone calls and texts we received, and they let me do that.

So before everyone left, we sort of pooled our texts and phone calls. We had 30 texts-- sorry, 30 texts and-- I'm forgetting exactly now-- something like 25 phone calls over 10 women in 30 minutes. And it was the amount of overwhelm that we received that day was just the beginning of unleashing, again, sort of this movement to say, we don't have to live like this anymore.

Having it all does not mean doing it all. And unless we start to invite men into their full power in the home, we will never be on parity to be rich. We will never have the ability to make the type of money that men make in this country.

We will never be in C-suites. We will never have the type of ownership because at the end of the day, we are being saddled with hours and hours and years and years of unpaid labor. And that's just not OK.

Well, first of all, what a nightmare story that is. I mean, I know that it happens every day. Oh, I remember-- 30 phone calls and 46 texts.

Well, that's-- For 10 women over 30 minutes. It's really just so disturbing to me how normalized that is because when you hear it-- and I'm sure even these same women, if they were looking at that situation objectively, would be like, this is pathetic. How old are these men, you know?

And even amongst the, again, sort of superficially-- what's the word-- couples that are superficially at parity or what have you, you'll still get the dynamic of the man getting enormous amounts of praise for doing the absolute minimum that should be expected of any person. But I had mentioned I was a nanny for a long time. And I pretty much exclusively worked for very high earning couples who were both very career oriented.

And that was definitely one of the earliest things that I was like-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] Well, I mean, to be fair, some of them-- OK, this is a crazy fact, but almost every single couple I nannied for, I think maybe 100% are divorced. Oh, wow, wow. Which is not terribly shocking when you kind of saw what was going on in a lot of those households, but, A, first of all, it was exactly what you were describing to a tee in the sense of almost universally every woman was coming home at 6:30 to be able to be there for the kids' evening routines, man strolling in at 8:00 easily, sometimes later.

All of that was just completely normalized. But in most of the households where I was full-time, sometimes I was live-in-- I was often one of multiple when it comes to childcare. And it really did leave me with a-- I mean, and I am in no place to answer this myself, but I would be curious as to your answer.

Do you think it's possible to be good, present parents when both parents are extremely career oriented? Well, it's a great question. Yes, if you can answer this one question.

If I could ask the men in those relationships whether or not they the name of their child's dentist. That's insane. How do you not the name of your child's doctors?

Yeah, exactly, right? So I'll ask you out there, does your partner the name of your child's dentist? And by the way, I always say that to lots of men in big conferences, and I always get a whole slew of men for telling me why they don't know that or telling me Dr.

Goldfarb and looking up the name. I'm like, you know what, dude? I don't care about the dentist.

It's a metaphor. Just share the load. Share the load.

So, yes, I do. And there's one couple that I love that actually-- this wasn't in the book, but this just happened recently. And this sort of gets at the crux of what Fair Play's about.

And I think it's a good story because the secret formula, if you're going to be both career oriented, and I do think that's possible, and I do think women can be in their full power. But it really takes a secret formula of boundaries, systems, and communication. You need all three of those things.

Fair Play starts with the system because that's the easiest because it uses a lot of workplace techniques, right? Like, it's just basically an ownership mindset, saying, Chelsea, if I worked for you, I'm not walking into your office and saying, hey, Chelsea, what should I be doing today? I'm just going to wait here until you tell me what to do, right?

Like a SIM that has no free will. Yeah, exactly. So we know that context, not control, is the way to a healthy organization.

So Fair Play is all about that. It's giving the full context. And we can talk more about that.

But the story that I think is really interesting is these two-- I'll call them Richard and Amy because that's another friend's couple. And I don't have the permission to use this couple's real name. But they're both career oriented.

And they started to enter Fair Play now that they have to do more hybrid work to get back in the workplace. And as I was telling you before, there are these 100 cards. Some of them are more straightforward, like dishes, groceries.

And by the way, with a partner, there's 60 cards that apply to couples without kids. So I always say, if you have a roommate, you should do Fair Play because who wouldn't want structured decision-making, instead of those magical vagina assumptions? Right.

So this couple tells me that they're working on Fair Play. And one of the core tenants is ownership. So Richard decides to take over the magical beings card because he really liked Santa in his family.

Elf on the Shelf is something that he wanted to do for his kids. And he also took over the tooth fairy. So they tell me that the first time after they sort of looked at the cards and decided what they were going to own, that it was their daughter's second tooth that the tooth fairy didn't show up.

The tooth fairy didn't show up, right? So what I liked about the story, though, was what Amy told me the dynamic was before Fair Play and what it was after because, again, this is the two-earner household you're talking about. So before Fair Play dynamic, again, was Amy's holding most of the tasks for the family, super overwhelmed.

And she would have said to Richard, if he had forgotten the tooth fairy, that their child's life is over, that he'd ruined their dreams, that she would never let him take over any other task, which would then let her end up being more burned out because it's that toxic message of, well, in the time it takes me to tell him/her what to do, I should do it myself. So she would have taken that on. She would have used these words to him, all or nothing sort of communication-style.

And he told me-- and he was very open about this-- he would have blamed Amy for not reminding him to put the dollar under the pillow. That was their dynamic. So now, post Fair Play, their dynamic was that he had already-- the structured decision-making of owning magical beings in advance, he knew that he messed up in that he forgot to put the money under the pillow for the tooth fairy.

So he tells me that Amy backed off, and said part of this new ownership system is that you carry through your mistake. I will leave you alone to work everything out with our daughter. So he tells me he emails, and creepily, he gets a response.

There's somebody who answers that email. Thank you,, whoever you are. She writes back that because of the supply chain issues, it's hard to get teeth delivered on time.

He prints this out for his daughter, and he reads it to her and says, if the tooth fairy is late, she brings double the money. And now he's never forgotten-- Oh, my gosh. --a tooth fairy since then. But what I love about that story is that it's so small.

It's a very small story. There's a lot of others in Fair Play that are much bigger changes than that. But that couple, I know, is going to be able to-- if they continue like that in that practice, will stay as a two-earner couple and be able to do it.

Hmm, yeah. I mean, listen, none of the men I nannied for were doing [BLEEP] like that. I can tell you that right now.

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Listening to these stories and definitely seeing the stuff I saw-- and again, they're basically all divorced now, so it did play out in that way. But listening to these stories, again, as an outside party, it's hard not to feel like how are these women not eaten alive with resentment 24/7? Like, I'm eaten alive with resentment on their behalf.

For them, yes. Do you think it's more that they are, and they just deal with it, or that it's so banal and so expected that they don't even think they're entitled to be like, what is wrong with you, you adult toddler? It's such a great question.

Thank you. I never get to really dig this deep. And I will.

I think it's really important to talk about that. The dynamic that allows for that, for what you just asked about, was really the hardest thing for me with Fair Play because the book had to become more than the system. So in the workplace, I could hand you a system of boundary systems and communication, teach you an ownership mindset, and that would be easy.

But the hard part about writing Fair Play was that it almost required a trigger warning because the first half of the book is really hard for a lot of women to hear. And that is that it's not your fault that we're in these dynamics. And that's the problem.

A lot of sort of these more feminist, quote unquote, households, like you said about the men who would say that they were equal partners, there's also a lot of shame involved because women don't realize it's not their fault. So then they can't admit or say anything to other people that their partner is not a full partner. So then we're all sort of suffering in silos.

So I had to break open by sharing my life with Seth. And Seth's like, what the hell? You're writing a book about me?

I'm like, yeah, I am. And that was the hardest part. But I will say that the hardest unlearning for me-- and this is the trigger warning part of the conversation-- is that this is so deep, Chelsea.

It's so deep because the Keyser Soze moment for me was that this is nothing to do with the tooth fairy or the blueberries. This has to do with how we value women's time. So when I realized that we've been conditioned since birth in our society to view our time as if it's infinite like sand, and to protect men's time as if it's finite like diamonds, that's when everything came into place.

And what I mean by that is if you don't believe me that women's time is considered less valuable, not valuable, you just have to listen to societal messages that tell you that breastfeeding is free. It is an 1,800 hour a year job. You have to notice-- you've talked about this, occupational segregation, right?

Women's professions, on average, are not paid the same as men's professions. So if women enter male professions, salaries automatically come down. If you're a woman of color and you enter those positions, salaries automatically come down.

So we've been taught literally since birth that our time is not as valuable as men's time, and we're supposed to guard it. And if you still don't believe me, you just have to call 50 schools, like I did for Fair Play over the course of 2012 to 2015, and ask those schools, why do you call women first? And it was always-- it was never, oh, they're first on the list of the contacts.

No, it was more like, well, men don't pick up. We don't bother men. And so we have a whole culture guarding men's time.

And so once you realize that that seeps into our collective psyche, so-- and I was guilty of this. And that's what I write about in the book, where there's four things that it starts to make us say to ourselves that make it, like you said, OK, so we're not living in seething resentment. But ultimately, we end up in that seething resentment, and that's where all that sort of the resent-o-meter 10 happens in a lot of the divorce. 80% of divorces in this country are initiated by women.

We can't fucking take it anymore. But up until then, the way we stay complicit in our own oppression is that we say one of four things to ourselves. We say either, one, my husband makes more money than-- this is, again, the heteronormative.

But this actually happens in LGBTQIA couples, too. My partner makes more money than me, and so I should do all the unpaid labor. But as you know, because this is your world, the problem with that is that if you start taking on more unpaid labor because your partner makes more money than you because of the already inherent wage gap between women and men, then you will never get to parity because that's always going to be the case, right?

So that's not the answer, to do more unpaid labor. The answer is to fight for equal pay, for equal work. So you can't get into the time is money thing.

So if you say that or if you say, my job is more flexible, that's why I'm the one doing the unpaid labor, we now know women who are doctors and they're married to lawyers say that their jobs are more flexible. And if you switch it, that women are lawyers married to doctors, guess what? Their job is more flexible.

They say their job is more flexible, right? The other three things that we say, which is, again, long answer to your question, we often say to ourselves we're better multitaskers, that somehow women are wired differently to notice things. That's a complete fallacy.

There's no gender difference in our brains in how we multitask, not at all. And if you don't believe me, you can just look at my book. I talk about four or five or six different ways we debunk that, including the neuroscience.

There is no gender difference in how our brain works. And the third and fourth one that I think are really hard, the third one is we talked about before. In the time it takes me to tell him or her what to do, I should just end up doing it myself.

We think we're saving time in the short-term, but that eats up all our time in the long-term. The hardest one, though, was the women who said to me, yes, we're both colorectal surgeons, but my partner is better at focusing on one task at a time, and I can find the time. We can't find time, right?

We're not Albert Einstein. We can't [BLEEP] a space time continuum. I wish we could, but there is very, very different expectations in this culture of how women are supposed to spend our time.

And God forbid, Chelsea, we try to be anything other than a parent, a partner, and/or a professional. Then society literally takes its hammer and beats us down with it. And so that is why I believe that we're not always walking around in seething resentment.

I think society has done a great job conditioning us to value our time less than men's and to give the permission to be unavailable from their roles to men because we think their time is more valuable. It's a lot. And it's not.

That was a lot to unpack. No, it is. But I mean, listen, I think that's all-- obviously, it's true and valid.

And I think what's so striking about it is-- so I mentioned that, basically, everyone I worked for is divorced. And some of them I'm still quite close with, one of whom on a very friendly basis. We're very similar in age, and she-- well, not that similar, but not that it wasn't-- usually, when you're a nanny, there's an extreme separation between yourself and the family.

And in this case, there really wasn't. But she had mentioned to me that she feels like she has so much more time and such an easier time as a mother of three children post-divorce. Of course.

Because she's like, now, there's certain days a week and month where they are actually not my problem. And I actually don't have to manage it. And there's a very clear division of, when it's my time, it's my time.

When it's his time, it's his time, as opposed to essentially the extreme burden of having to pretend that this is a shared responsibility all the time when it is absolutely not. And I think for mental health, even for their interactions as a couple, I think they're so much better off now. And so my question is, seeing that that is, for some, a solution, if you have, again, in a heterosexual marriage, if you have a husband who is not willing to do this or who just isn't able to do it if you try, do you think that that is a cue for that couple to separate? 100%.

Yeah. So, yeah, 100%. I think for me, I have a post-it wall of all the ideas that I want to incorporate into my next book.

And one of the first post-its I ever put up is I started to think about Fair Play as a book because it was a system that Seth and I were using and couples around us were using from 2012 to 2016. And then sort of once Trump got elected, I decided I really wanted to do something in activism. And I was saying, wow, this unpaid labor thing is really changing my marriage with my partner.

He doesn't assume I'm the blueberries buyer anymore. And that's how I started to think about putting it into a book. But one of the first mission statements I had for Fair Play as a book, it had a big post-it that said divorce or married people because the relief that women were getting-- and of course, that's a privileged narrative.

There was not relief for my mother because my father's custody arrangement was a Wednesday. There was a Kentucky Fried Chicken on 14th Street and Second Avenue. I grew up on Avenue C and 14th Street in Lower East Side.

And so that was our-- her custody arrangement was that he would sometimes come on Wednesdays to take us to Kentucky Fried Chicken. And most of the times, he would disappoint us. So she was dealing with the emotional labor of us-- Oh, my God. --waiting by the door and our father not coming.

So in those situations, right, divorce is not an answer. But I do think that what I've seen for people who are willing to have a co-partner, someone who is willing to share custody, there is a lot of learnings from those couples. And what I want to tell you, the most important learning I found was that that's when I found Fair Play is a love letter to men because what I realized that those men were telling me, a lot of my early interviews were couples that were divorced or men who were in second marriages, where they were doing a lot more unpaid labor.

Ugh, those second marriages. And so what I was hearing from the men was not, I never wanted to help my partner. It was more of a, I really, really truly didn't know my role in my home.

And because we never talked about it, that's back to the-- we talked the secret formula. We're talking systems. We're talking boundaries around our time is diamonds.

We're now coming into communication. When you don't ever talk about these issues, assumptions leak in. And then two things happen.

Women were saying to me that the thing they hated most about home life was the overwhelm, the complete overwhelm, the inability to shut off, the fact that they had no time choice over how they used their day, that their time is predetermined for them as parents, partners, professionals. But men were saying that they really honestly truly felt that they couldn't get anything right. And so it really was a blow to their ego, and it kept them away.

And so what was really interesting about divorce was that men are entering care. And they're entering care in the ownership mindset, which is really what Fair Play is about, practicing having to own something, right? I mean, there are couples, I will say, out there where I'm seeing the women still ordering Postmates for lunch to their co-parent's house.

And that is horrific. But-- Couldn't pay me to do that. --when I see it do well, when I see it happen well, finally, men are entering care and saying, now I understand the full ownership mindset of what it looks like to not only buy the mustard, but to notice that my second son, Johnny, likes yellow mustard with his protein. Otherwise, he won't eat his dinner.

Monitor the mustard in my house to make sure we have enough when it's running low, get the stakeholder buy-in from my family for what they need on the grocery list-- that's the planning, and then go to the store. And what those men were telling me is this is the first time I'm bringing home yellow mustard and not bringing home the spicy Dijon where I was getting [BLEEP] yelled at every time because I'm bringing home the wrong type of mustard. So when you have the ownership mindset of holding that conception planning execution together, then it changes your life, but oftentimes, men are not having that life changing experience until they're in that divorce setting.

Yeah, I mean, well, listen, again, the seething resentment, I just-- all of these men, send them off to a penal colony, honestly. They'll learn the ownership tasks on breaking some rocks. How about that?

Oh, and by the way, I want to just say, so the men who were the early adopters in 2012 of Fair Play were coaches, who say to me, knowing your role is like the whole reason why I coach because you're not going to put your point guard in for your center unless you're like LeBron James or something, and military spouses. I was very impressed because, again, the systems idea of ownership was something that came more naturally to them. That actually doesn't surprise me, but it is good to see.

Good for you guys. Late to the game, but happy to see it. But it's interesting because there's, obviously, I think, if you're already in this situation, as so many women are, your only option is to try and improve it, right, which is exactly what you do.

But I think for a lot of women, my husband and I, there are so many reasons we don't want to be parents. But I think a big part of it is that the only way I could ever see myself being a parent is if I'm like a Don Draper, and I'm rolling in at 9:00 PM, and my stay-at-home spouse has just been doing 100% of everything, and I just get to breeze in and kiss the kids and be the hero, maybe get them a toy every once in a while. And my husband feels the same way.

So it's like, OK, clearly neither of us is going to ever be comfortable even remotely stepping into that role. But I have a lot of-- I do have a fair amount of women in my life who have not passed through to that other side, where they're already now in this situation, which seems, again, not universal, but it seems very, very, very common and ingrained, even now. And their kind of dilemma-- and I think they're women who maybe are more on the fence, not about whether even they necessarily want children, but if they can have them, in the sense of what I don't feel comfortable with is assuming that primary care responsibility.

My husband or partner says that he will be a 50/50 or that he'll be the primary caregiver, but when you have so many societal forces and messages bearing down on the couple, it seems so unlikely or difficult at minimum for that to really stay through. And obviously, once you make the decision to have that child, there's no going back, right? And so, before you have kids and maybe even before you get married, short of-- I mean, you can't really sign a binding contract for this stuff, but what are the kinds of conversations you recommend before making that decision to at least do everything you can to avoid the possibility of ending up like that?

And I will say, Fair Play has been really, really powerful for couples before and without children because we do know that men do 5 to 15 hours a week less once kids come along, right? That's huge. That difference is huge.

Yeah, less, less, and you're thinking they're going to be doing more to step up. And it doesn't happen that way at all, like you said, for all those reasons that you just described. So the beauty of what, again, a Fair Play type system does for you is that it is really about, as we said, earlier trading those magical vagina assumptions-- or, again, it doesn't have to be a magical vagina.

It could be a magical penis assumption if you're in a gay relationship, and somebody makes more money. It's trading all those assumptions for actual structured decision-making. And you can practice before kids.

And the beauty is that that practice does carry through. Oh, good. And so you practice on the 60 cards.

You practice on the 60 cards before you add another 40. And what you're practicing, again, is really understanding and dividing up what I call the daily grinds. So there are cards in the Fair Play system that men traditionally do because they can do it at their own time, like pay bills, be the money manager, which is very problematic for many reasons, which is why we're here.

We don't want any men holding that card if you're married to women. Want women to a lot of what's going on with their finances. But when men can start working and starting to practice the daily grinds, which means they're doing things not at their own timetable.

So a meal, a dinner has to get on the table at dinner time, not on Saturday morning when you can pay their bills. So it's really like meals is a really good one to practice with. Cleaning.

Cleaning is a great one to practice with. Laundry is a great one to practice with. And what you basically do, even garbage-- so Seth and I, we started with garbage when we were changing the dynamics in our household.

And what was really interesting about garbage, which is a traditionally male task, was that it was, all of a sudden, Seth said, OK, if you want me to CPE garbage-- that's the acronym of Fair Play Conception Planning Execution-- then I understand now that I have to put a liner back in the bag. And I also have to get the little garbages all around the house, like the mini ones that sit in the bathroom, and dump them into the big garbage and actually take all of that out and then put our bins on the street on the right trash day and bring them back up. So there was actually a lot more involved in garbage than he was anticipating.

He was just sort of taking the garbage out and throwing it in the bin. And then I'm dealing with the aftermath of putting the liner back in and moving the garbage bins out. So when he decided to take that on, it still was really hard for me to let go, even on that one task, because I just had lost accountability and trust in our relationship because he was bringing home spicy Dijon every [BLEEP] time, right?

And I'd asked for yellow mustard for years. And I didn't want to trust him with my living will. And it was sort of getting out of control.

So when you lose accountability and trust, that's really what you have to rebuild, and that's what we're talking about here. We're talking about keeping accountability and trust before kids, maintaining it, and actually keeping it through the transition in your life to either, if God forbid someone gets sick or has a kid, those are what I call the wild cards. So for Seth and I, what the breakthrough of Fair Play became was that the ownership mindset wasn't enough.

It's enough in the workplace because you can hire me, and I will say, the assumption because you're paying me is I'm not going to say to Chelsea, hey, what should I be doing today? I'll wait here till you tell me what to do. But in the home, that's so much of our dynamic.

So I realized the real breakthrough for me was adding into the system something what we call now the minimum standard of care, which comes from the law. It's how we adjudicate whether someone did something wrong. Like, if you have a McDonald's coffee cup on your lap, was it McDonald's fault that you spilled that coffee on your lap?

It's asking what a reasonable person would do. So when you start to add that conversation in, then the conversation about garbage becomes much more serious. It's not just, OK, you get the bags, you take it out.

It became Seth and I really sitting down and investing in communication, which, again, is hard, right, Chelsea? People don't want to invest in communication. They don't think of it as a practice.

They think of exercise as a practice and meditation, but not communication. So Seth and I started checking in every day. And I said to him, OK, so here's my deal with garbage.

I had to really think about it. I journaled over garbage. And I grew up in a single parent household, as I said to you earlier.

It was this apartment on the Lower East Side. My mother worked late nights. She tried to get her tenure-- she was a professor of social work.

They gave her the night classes. They always gave the shitty classes to women back then and still now. And so she was not home.

She asked me to put my disabled brother to bed. As I started to get older, I had to go into the kitchen, close my eyes. The way you deal with cockroaches in New York is you switch on your lights, you let them scatter first, and then you can do your thing.

So that's what I did. And so what I said to Seth is when I see a banana peel out of the garbage or not handled, that's who I am again. Like, I'm a latchkey kid dealing with a disabled brother, and I don't want to [BLEEP] go back.

I'm done with that part of my life. And then by being able to be vulnerable over garbage, then Seth was able to say to me, well, I slept on pizza boxes in my fraternity, so I think I actually like garbage. And I had a housekeeper growing up.

So either it's going to be I take it over because I care more, which would be terrible, because that's what all women are doing. That's how we got into this Resent-o-meter in the first place. Or Seth can say to me, the minimum standard of care is I care about it because you care about it, is that garbage will go out once a day.

It's not going to go out every hour, especially on weekends when you want it to. It will go out once a day. And that was it.

Garbage started going out. And that dynamic of those types of communication practices is really the most important thing, I'd say. Get into the habit of having an emotion is high-- emotion is low, cognition is high conversation every single day.

Make it like exercise where it becomes a practice. That is the way to domestic parity, recognizing we still need paid leave, and we still need universal childcare and all the things America hasn't given us so far. Yes, I mean, that is the framing of this conversation.

We go into it all the time here. But OK, so you have a lot of, obviously, really thoughtful, sound advice for people who are in these situations who may be entering these situations. Now, for people outside of it-- so you, obviously, talked about speaking very candidly with your girlfriends.

Now, listen. No overworked, overspent working mom wants to hear a child-free woman on a four-day work week with a dual income household be like, it looks like you're really-- Struggling over there. --being taken advantage of here. So I'm really not the person to shepherd that conversation.

But in general, if you are someone who sees a loved woman in your life who is in this dynamic, or a person of any gender who is in this dynamic, how do you recommend you broach that conversation? And I really appreciate you say that because so many people don't broach the conversation. And they sort allow people to flounder.

And it's just, it's not the right thing to do. It really requires courage to sit someone down and to talk to them about this last frontier of equity, something so personal in their life. And so what I would say, as an outsider observing this, you don't have to do it.

What we've created with Fair Play were lots of entry points to this conversation. We have a Fair Play documentary. We have a podcast.

We have a newsletter. What we're trying to do is we're trying to make this a movement so that no person out there in this dynamic feels that they're alone. And so I think that's the number one thing, is to remember that we're just sitting with the unlearning.

Sit with the unlearning with somebody. Instead of shaming them, like, how did you get into this dynamic, it's really more that I see you're struggling, and I listened to this woman who has been studying this for 10 years. And the thing that I'm most concerned about is her research that showed within 10 years of the dynamic that you're in, that 100-- it wasn't 99%.

It was 100% in our study were physically ill or self-medicating for stress-related illness. So that's, I think, a really good way to broach it, by saying I'm the tarot card or Magic 8 Ball reader here, and someone's telling me that they have the data to show that within a decade, you're more likely to be physically ill. And I don't want that to happen to you.

Obviously, the being physically ill and self-medicating, I think, is an example that most people can identify as having seen in their own life, maybe having experienced in their own life. But I think a lot of women, especially when they're more psychosomatic illnesses, are really taught to either discount them or normalize them. And I think, as you mentioned, for example, I know that obviously you would be very familiar that we've seen a massive uptick in the amount of psychoactive drugs being taken by women, SSRIs, benzodiazepines, et cetera.

And there's a lot of-- I think there's sort of a dueling-- what's the word I'm looking for? I think there's a lot of conflicting thinking about it. Even an individual woman might be of two minds about it, where, on the one hand, we want to take these things seriously and say, this is a medical issue that needs to be treated.

On the other hand, I do think it's probably worth acknowledging that one in four, I think, is the stat of women in a certain age bracket in this country being on some kind of psychiatric drug is probably not a great sign and probably not sort of the universal, sustainable solution, is just medicating more and more people. So how do you recommend women balance sort of taking these things seriously, but not accepting them as just a norm of life? Yes, that's a great question.

And actually, I feel like I wrote a whole second book about it. This second book I wrote, Find Your Unicorn Space, was sort of the horror, Chelsea, of realizing that when women were getting time back, they were reporting to me in the past 10 years that they didn't know what to do with it. And I was sort of really-- Girl, go to a movie.

So, or back to the Financial Diet, coming back to your core message, that they were using it on things I didn't want them to use their money on, like crystals and expensive bubble baths and fillers and plastic surgeons and chasing something. And so really, what I will say, the balance, I think the delicate balance here is what you're saying in terms of validating these concerns. Not just saying, oh, it's in your head.

It's really not. We know now that this unpaid labor dynamic does take a physical toll on your health. And that's what we've been talking about for this hour.

But I do want to introduce these concepts of understanding that, really, this idea back to the boundaries and burnout, that I think we've really, unfortunately, taken burnout to the wrong-- to the Financial Diet side of things, which is people think they can spend their way out of burnout from all these very expensive cleanses or whatever, meditation retreats. But really, I wish I could tell you, a meditation retreat, a one-off meditation retreat was the antidote to burnout, or that a walk around the block or a drink with a friend is the antidote to these things. But really, the only antidote that I can really present consistently is that the antidote to burnout is being interested in your own life.

That's it. And it's not just, like I said, the one-off interest of like, oh, that was a fun [INAUDIBLE] night. It's actually the consistent in being consistently interested in your own life.

And that's a really hard-- and what I mean by that, there's been a lot of push towards happiness books and gratitude. You're gratitude journaling yourself to death. And I don't believe in that.

Not that I'm a Jew. I believe in gratitude. Our whole religion's based on it.

But what we were seeing, as I start to research this second question of what women should be doing with their time, if they free up that time, it was that so much of what we were occupying our time with-- and I'm getting-- I feel like you're asking me these deep questions, so I'm going to go a little nerdy here. So just stay with me for a second. So women were occupying their time with things that are classified in the literature as hedonic well-being.

So that's happiness without-- that does not characterize as happiness with meaning. So that's like binge watching Netflix, or like we said, sort of psychotropic drugs, or what I did during the pandemic, emotionally eating my whole way through the pandemic, through, like, 18 different banana bread recipes. So the hedonic well-being is happiness without meaning.

Women also report a lot of meaning without happiness. That's caregiving. And we know that people would rather be in a root canal chair than take care of their own kids.

And by people, I mean me as well. I would much rather be asleep in a root canal chair than take care of my kids. Let's just be honest about it.

It's fucking hard work. So there's a lot of opportunities in women's lives for happiness without meaning or meaning without happiness. The intersection of when happiness meets meaning is where you get a lot of psychological well-being.

And that's what I call unicorn space, these active pursuits that make you, you. This podcast is a unicorn space, for example, because it has the three things that are in a unicorn space, which are curiosity. So you being curious and your wonderful questions have led you to have a very loyal audience.

You have connection with others, right? You're actually sharing yourself with the world. And then you complete something.

That's the hard part for a lot of women. So even if you hated that episode or how you looked or how you sounded, you actually upload it. You take the time to edit it and get it out in the world.

Curiosity, connection, and completion are hard to do. And that's why I call it a unicorn space because it's like mythical, magical. It's amazing, but it's like a unicorn doesn't exist for women.

So really, the antidote to burnout, all these things we're talking about, is to validate that in midlife, many women lose the permission to be interested in their own lives. Mm, well said. And that is really what-- that's the harder-- it's a harder sell than telling you I can make you feel better by selling you a $1,000 crystal.

Damn. Well, very well put. I feel like I learned so much from this conversation.

I'm sure all of them did as well. Obviously, we've said it quite a bit. But what's the name of that book again?

The book is Fair Play. You can find-- and again, if you don't have the resources to purchase the book, we have a lot of free resources on the website, too. Also, go to a library.

Go to a library. We are constantly-- I love libraries. --plugging the library on this show. It's so underrated as a resource.

So thank you so much, Eve, for being here. And thank you guys all for tuning in. And we will see you next Monday on an all new episode of The Financial Confessions.

Bye. Thanks, Chelsea. Bye, everyone. [MUSIC PLAYING]