Make Your Own Coloring Book

I added more pictures for coloring – there are now more than 750 to choose from!

Try it now!

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How Working Moms Differ From Working Dads

A common misconception about working moms is that they are on equal footing with working dads. We assume that if mom is working, the kids are in daycare or have a nanny, so moms who work are no different that dads who work.

We have to consider, though, what kind of support working moms and working dads have at home. It turns out working dads are much more likely to have solid support at home than working moms do. Dads are more likely to have a stay at home wife, or a wife who only works part-time. Dads are also less likely to be single parents.


All data comes from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Click here for details.

Spouse At Home

Working dads who are married are more likely to have a stay at home spouse. 29% of working dads have a stay at home wife, while only 5% of working moms have a stay at home husband.

Women are also more likely to work part-time, so even if both parents work, dads are more likely to have a wife who works just part-time, and is available at least part-time to manage family life.  14% of working dads have a wife who works part-time, whereas only 3% of working moms have a husband who works only part-time.

Adding together the green slices, 43% of working dads have a wife at home taking care of family life at least part-time, whereas only 8% of moms have a spouse at home managing things while they’re at work. Dads are 5 times as likely to be able to focus solely on work, put in extra hours, and generally not be pulled away to take care of home life because they have a spouse as backup to take care of those things.

Single Parents

Working moms are also significantly more likely to be single parents (yellow slice). Of the households where mom works, in 28% of them mom is single, so there is no spouse available to help her manage family life.  Of the households where dad works, only 9% of those dads are single dads who are managing working and kids all on their own.

Division of Labor

From the orange slice above, we can see that women are also more likely than men to have a spouse who is also working full-time.  64% of women have a spouse who works full time, whereas only 48% of men do. To add to this imbalance, data from Pew Research show that even when both parents work full time, moms end up doing more of the childcare and housework.  When both parents work full-time, mom is still more likely to:

  • Volunteer at school
  • Do meal planning, shop for groceries, and cook
  • Do the laundry and kids’ clothes shopping
  • Get kids up, fed, dressed, and out the door in the mornings
  • Get kids bathed and in bed in the evenings
  • Track and make kids’ medical appointments, research and choose doctors, take kids to their appointments and stay home with them when they’re sick
  • Choose and sign up for kid activities, arrange and drive carpool
  • Buy kids’ friends’ birthday presents
  • Handle holiday celebrations, including coordinate with extended family, buy presents as needed, clean, shop, and cook
  • Find and hire babysitters
  • Read school newsletters, sign permission slips, track grades, help with homework, and communicate with teachers
  • Plan, book, pack, and unpack for family vacations

Working Moms Have Less Support At Home

Although on the face of it it seems like working moms and working dads are on a level playing field, we need to recognize that for the vast majority of women, that’s not the case. More than one quarter of working moms are single moms, and another two thirds of them have a spouse who works full-time. For these women, more, if not all, of the childcare and housework falls to them.

The next time you are in a meeting at work, look around the room, and recognize that 92% of the moms in the room are either single moms or have a husband who is working full-time.  The same is true for only slightly more than half the dads in the room.

Given this information, we shouldn’t be surprised that women make less than men, their careers advance more slowly, and they are less well-represented in government, in fortune 500 companies, etc. We need to recognize that working dads have significantly more support at home than working moms do.

The question is – should we try to address this, and if so, how?




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New Feature: My Lists

I added a new feature — previously on the phone and now also on the PC — that lets you see all of the lists you’ve created in one place.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

iPhone showing My Lists

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MORE Custom Clipart

There are now 1417 unique images to choose from to make your own custom picture checklist. Below are some of the new images recently added, or click here to check out the complete list!

There are now 1417 unique images to choose from to make your own custom picture checklist. Here are some of the new images recently added:


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How Parents Can Share the Load More Equally

Once I became a mom, the topic of how to share the work of raising children and keeping a house has been a constant in all of my conversations with other parents. It seems to be on everyone’s minds – whether mom stays home full time, or dad stays home full time, or both parents work outside the home, it is incredibly hard to figure out how to divide up the work in a reasonable way.

One thing is pretty clear, though – around the world the majority of this work falls on women, whether they work outside the home or not. Recent studies show that although many more women hold jobs outside the home than 40 years ago, and are even increasingly the primary breadwinner, women still do the majority of the housework and childcare (JapanBritainCanadaUSA).

I find myself very interested in figuring out how to better share the workload between parents so that moms have more time and opportunity to share their talents outside the sphere of the family. Figuring out who does the dishes really can be an important step towards achieving gender equality!

In researching these ideas, I ran across an article that I found  fascinating (it’s a short 5 minute read – give it a click):

A Practical Guide For Working Parents To Divide Household Responsibilities

This article addresses a problem that has been bugging me for years.  My husband and I work hard to share the load of parenting equally, but we still struggle with sharing the mental load equally. I still handle most of the thinking, planning, tracking, and making of the to do lists. My husband aims to help with 50% of the to do list, but most of the planning work falls on me.

This article gave me an idea of a new way to try to split up the load. It suggests that we divide up the overall responsibilities, including the mental load for each responsibility, not just the individual tasks.

For example, rather than trade off taking the kids to their pediatrician appointments, one person would own “Family Medical Care”.

“Perhaps one person can manage all family health care issues. That means one party is responsible for finding doctors, arranging appointments, submitting reimbursements, paying medical bills—and filling out those camp forms. Making sure that entire categories of responsibility are “owned” by a single person helps prevent mission creep.”

The writer of the article suggests that you write down what all the responsibilities are, split them up in a way that makes sense, and then periodically trade responsibilities so that each person understands just how much work goes into each one.

My husband and I have agreed to try this approach. The first thing we needed to do was identify what all of the responsibilities are that one or the other of us handles. I looked at the article author’s lists, searched the Internet, and we talked through it together in detail. We came up with the list below. I’m sure there are things missing, but this is a great start for enumerating the huge amount of work it takes to raise kids and run a household. Use it as a starting point to talk about who does what, with a goal of making sure the mental load goes along with ownership of the task.

Taxonomy of parent responsibilities grouped by Household, Social, Year-Round Coordinating, and Daily Family Care

Click here to print this list

Here are my tips for using this list:

  • Start by documenting who does what right now. There’s good information in knowing your starting place.
  • Make changes incrementally.
  • Remember that not all of these responsibilities are equal in size or time commitment, so each of you getting an equal # of boxes is not the same as dividing the load equally
  • You can share the mental load and still have more than one name assigned to a checkbox.  For example, I do the menu planning, shopping, and cooking for Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday. My husband does it for Thursday/Friday. And on the weekends we plan, shop, and cook together.
  • Equal may not be the right goal – you need to figure out what makes the most sense for your family, taking into account who works how much outside of the home, and what skills you each have.
  • Recognize that even if one parent stays home full time, it is unrealistic to expect them to take on everything on this list. It is more than one person can handle alone even if they don’t work outside the home, especially since the person who stays home is also solely responsible for the safety, well-being, and education of the children every single minute. Yes, they will have time to fit in some of these other responsibilities too, but just like a nanny or a daycare wouldn’t handle everything else on this list, the person who stays home full time shouldn’t necessarily be expected to either. Carefully consider how much of this should be done during the ‘work hours’ of the stay at home parent, and how much of it overflows into time when both parents are done with their ‘day job’ but are still needed for the ‘second shift’ work that is inherent in raising a family and can and should be shared by both parents.
  • If both parents work full-time outside of the home, you have a great opportunity to balance these responsibilities as evenly as you can to help fight against the findings in this study which says that when both parents work full time outside the home, moms are still doing more of the childcare and housework, and that women’s careers suffer more than men’s careers do when they become parents. Women also report more difficulty balancing work and home than men do.
  • Agree on a time frame to try this (6 months or so) and then trade at least a few of the jobs on the list.

My husband and I just went through this list for our family to identify who is doing what right now. It led to some great conversations about what’s working well for us, and where we might want to make some changes to balance the load a little more equally.

This list, and how you share the load, is going to look very different for every family. You may need to edit these lists to add or remove things that make it more right for your situation.

If you try this, I’d love to hear about how it went. Did you learn anything while going through this list? Did you decide to make any changes to how you split the work? Did your experiences doing new tasks teach you anything about the relative difficulty of the tasks?

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MORE After School Clipart

I’ve added lots of new clipart for the After School Checklist based on customer requests. In particular, I’ve added an assortment of people you can use to represent babysitters, therapists, and teachers as needed!

I’ve added lots of new clipart for the After School Checklist based on customer requests. In particular, I’ve added an assortment of people you can use to represent babysitters, therapists, and teachers as needed!

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An After School Checklist You Can Edit From Work

You can edit your kid’s after school checklist from work! Changes you make online will automatically show up on the mobile list on their phone. Give it try!

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