We are moving into our relationship theme on the podcast, yahoo! In this series, we’ll be talking about romantic relationships, friendships – all kinds of relationships. To kick things off, Laura Danger joins me for a conversation about the division of labor and invisible labor in relationships.

I first learned of Laura on TikTok, of course. She is an educator and an advocate and unapologetically champions for equitable division of labor at home and in the workplace. She raises awareness of the insidious undervaluing of care and empowers domestic engineers to fight back.  

Whether you are in a relationship or are single, don’t turn off this episode. Laura’s advice is helpful to everyone! 

We talk about:

  • The Fair Play method: what is it and how can it help couples or even people at work (5:09)
  • If you are uneasy about opening a discussion about fairness in domestic relationships or workplace responsibilities – Laura offers advice on a good place to start (17:25)
  • Everyone deserves rest, space, and time for their own fulfillment (24:19)
  • How to respond to or set boundaries with someone who makes a comment about the division of labor in your relationship (37:02)
  • How to address domestic labor and division of labor conversations when in a new relationship (46:15)

“You have 24-hours in a day. How much of that are you going to give away and for how long?”

Laura’s website
Laura on TikTok
The Fair Play Method book
The Fair Play Method cards
Register for the Daring Way Retreat
Follow Andrea on Instagram and meet her new puppy!
Make Some Noise book
The Bold-Faced Truth podcast


Laura Danger is an educator and an advocate. Danger unapologetically champions for equitable division of labor at home and in the workplace. She raises awareness of the insidious undervaluing of care and empowers domestic engineers to fight back.

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Laura 00:00
And when you can value your own time and see that your time and energy are finite, like you said, you only have so much of a of a battery, you have 24 hours. How much of that are you going to give away?

Andrea 00:15
You're listening to Make Some Noise Podcast episode number 447 with guest Laura Danger.

Welcome to Make Some Noise Podcast, your guide for strategies, tools and insight to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea Owen global speaker, entrepreneur, life coach since 2007, and author of three books that have been translated into 18 languages and are available in 22 countries. Each week, I'll bring you a guest or a lesson that will help you maximize unshakable confidence, master resilience and make some noise in your life. You ready? Let's go.

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. I am so glad that you are here. We are moving into our relationships theme on the podcast, we're going to be talking about romantic relationships, friendships, really any kind of relationship because we're all in them. And I wanted to start out with a guest today Laura Danger’s our guest, and I found her on TikTok, of course, and she will she'll tell you about the work that she does. But what hooked me in her work is she explains very, I don't even know how to describe it. I'm not going to describe it. Well, she does a really great job of explaining the division of labor, whether it's the division of labor in relationships, or the division of labor at work. She does mostly talk about relationships, but don't turn this off if you are single, because I think her advice is helpful to really anyone. And if you are ever in a relationship, especially in a heterosexual relationship, where our gender roles have been kind of taught to us, either explicitly or implicitly, since we were young, then Laura is going to be the person that you're going to want to listen to about this particular topic.

Also, if you haven't already checked out my retreat that I'm hosting in September, I am so excited about it. The it's The Dring Way, it's the methodology based on the research of Brené. Brown, and it's in Asheville, North Carolina, it's going to be amazing out in the mountains out there. We're renting one big house, and it's an AndreaOwen.com/retreat. If you are on the fence, and this is because it's a big deal, I totally get it. And I want to make sure that you're making the decision from a place of just knowing that it's an absolute yes. So if you're on the fence and you want to jump on like a 15 or 20 minute call with me, I am opening up my schedule to take some of those for people who are interested in the retreat and want their questions answered and just kind of want to do a gut check. So the retreat is at AndreaOwen.com/retreat. Easy to find. And if you do want to have a quick call with me, just shoot us an email support@AndreOwen.com. And we'll get that all set up for you. I'm really excited about it. And I hope that you check it out and see if it's a good fit for you.

All right, so let's get on with today's show. Oh, real quick before I forget, oh my gosh, I finally posted about our new puppy on Instagram. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen it. If you follow me on Instagram, you maybe didn't see it because the algorithm is terrible. But it's been one of my most recent reels you can see her and I'm definitely going to be posting her in my stories. I will have a highlight just for her. She's still a puppy. It is joyously exhausting. I'll just say that. It's joyously exhausting. She is just a complete delight to have and we're just over the moon. In love with her. Her name is Astrid. Astrid, the wonder dog.

Alright, so let me tell you a little bit about our guest today. Laura Danger is an educator and an advocate. Danger unapologetically champions for equitable division of labor at home and in the workplace. She raises awareness of the insidious undervaluing of care and empowers domestic engineers to fight back. So without further ado, here is Laura.

Laura, thank you so much for being here.

Laura 04:26
Thank you so much for having me.

Andrea 04:27
I am so excited to have this conversation. I've been following you on TikTok for a minute you must have come across my four year page in the beginning when I when I first downloaded it, and this topic is so incredibly important. So I want to jump right in. Let's, to not scare anyone, by scaring anyone, because I know you can get very specific and you don't mince words. It's like one of the things I really like about you. Now that you're gonna be mean but just I think it throws people for a loops sometimes who are brand new to the topic. So let's start and just tell us what the Fair Play Method is.

Laura 05:09
Sure. So I came to the Fair Play Method around November of 2019. It's a book written by author, New York Times best selling author, Eve Rodsky, and she's an organizational manager. She's Harvard trained. She's, she's an incredible person. But this is a system. It's a framework for partnerships. Or even if you are at work, any sort of system where you are in a close proximity working with somebody you care about. And it's to distribute mental labor, and actually bring to light the invisible labor that we so often use to build resentments at home.

Andrea 05:53
Okay, I didn't know that she also wrote the book from a place of, you know, you can use this system at work as well, I thought it was just for relationships.

Laura 06:03
It's, the book is written in, in a way that it fits very well with couples, and she uses a lot of language around partnerships. But I personally have had most of my experience with things like weaponized incompetence at work. So I have actually implemented some of this outside, just intimate partnership.

Andrea 06:25
Okay. So we definitely will are gonna have people listening who are not in relationships but who can… Who will… Their ears will perk up when they're thinking about work scenarios, I am sure, with any coworkers and any gender. So tell us kind of give us like the basics of it, and how does it help couples and people at work?

Laura 06:48
So I think the lightbulb moment for me when I first started using the system was the idea of CPE and minimum standard of care. So CPE means the Conception the Planning and the Execution of a task, right? And…

Andrea 07:05
It’s basically like three different compartments of the task. It's not just the task itself.

Laura 07:12
Exactly, exactly that. So when I'm thinking about laundry, you know, previous to me finding this system, I was like, yeah, oh, my husband and I both do the laundry, you know? He puts it in there and then takes it out and or, like, brings it upstairs. But there are so many other pieces to that, right? Like what in your mind, what do you think of when you do laundry?

Andrea 07:35
Well, you have to think about, you know, as someone who has done the majority of the laundry, I'm always thinking about the inventory of it, you know, it's like when it's stacking up, or is there a particular child in my house that needs some kind of uniform or their favorite jacket that needs to be washed during a certain time? Like, I think those are the things that I you know, and when I was younger, and I didn't do laundry that I never knew were part of the quote unquote, laundry task.

Laura 08:04
Absolutely. That's such a good point. And I do workshops on this. And that's always the example I use, because I have a daughter who, like every Sunday needs to wear the same LOL Doll dress. And if you don't have it, she gets really really mad. And it ruins our Saturday.

Andrea 08:22
Yes. Okay. So continue.

Laura 08:26
exactly like you said, like, the parts that you're talking about are the conception or even understanding what needs to happen. It's that part that, you know, this is a gendered issue. Domestic labor is not a gendered thing but it presents socially as a gendered issue often. And it happens in queer couples, too. But, so a lot of times like women are doing this, this anticipation of family needs, or even at work. So that's what the system does is brings to light that that the conception is part of the mental load.

And then the planning piece is, like you said, when does it need to get done? Do I have time? Am I going to be able to get the load setting the timer? I need to make sure that I have 45 minutes for that because it's a hot, you have to wash it on hot. Do I have all of the supplies? And then the execution piece is like 1/3 of the entire task. That's totally like would you rather be the manager of your household every bit or would you rather have someone tell you what to do? And just pull it off.

Andrea 09:34
A lot easier to have somebody tell you what to do.

Laura 09:37
Totally, totally.

Andrea 09:40
Mentally. So I recently wrote a book that came out last summer called Make Some Noise and I talked about how one of the themes is that as women and as young girls were raised to you know, social programming is that it is our job to make everyone else comfortable and we do not cause a rucus. So we don't speak up. And we, you know, we put everyone else's comfort before ours. And, you know, I can relate to… And I didn't really, I think… In my first marriage, we didn't have children, but I definitely, my God, the feminist in me, like wants to throw up when I say this, but like I would pack for him, like, if we would go on a trip, I would just pretty much did everything, partly because it made me a little bit bananas, because he would wait to the last minute, and he would complain about it. And so I'm like, let me just do it. It's just easier. But again, we did not have children.

When I had when I had children. We started out the marriage where I stayed home and then I started a business, right when my kids were babies, which is like another story for another time, the conflict that that caused. And I still ended up doing the majority of the load. And I remember one time, this was not, okay, I'm gonna give you an example of how not to fix this problem. And I'm sure that you have heard this story. I got so mad one day, I wrote a list of all of the things that I am responsible for in the house and then I wrote a list of all the things my husband was responsible for. He was responsible for, I mean, I could definitely count on one hand, how many things that that he had from conception to completion, which was like the yard. And I think that car maintenance that was, that's the only two things I can think of. And, I mean, everything down to who, who gets the Halloween costumes for our children, right? Who RSVP’s for the birthday parties and makes sure that you know, what kind of gift the child would like, and getting it wrapped. And my husband had no idea that I did a lot of these things. And we got into this big argument about it and he said, Give me some of those tasks. And I paused and like my first thought Laura was, but you're gonna fail at them. If that's my children, yep. So I don't want to do it to you. I don't want to give it to you. So is that a common?

Laura 12:17
Oh, 100%. Like, it's, you know, what's so amazing is the first thing you said was like, it makes you want to puke thinking about it. And, and that's, that is like, I wish I could just shout that from the rooftops because so many of us who feel like, you're like the feminist in me. We have been raised that we don't need anyone to tell, we don't need anyone, I'm gonna pay for my own stuff. I'm gonna manage my own life. This is the life I want to live. So I'm gonna do it. And then when we see that someone who claims to love us, is taking this time from us and not valuing our energy. It's like, embarrassing. And so it's like, you know, I've got a feminist husband, but I keep trying, it's not working the way I want it to work and so instead, I'm just going to be a strong, independent woman, I'm gonna make this work. And you end up so resentful. And Eve Rodsky says she did exactly the same thing, the should I do list. And I basically did the same thing a couple of years ago. And I was like, you don't see what I'm doing. You think you're helping, but I don't want to I want to help you. I'm gonna help you around the house. You tell me what to do and I'll help you. It's so that like, it's such an embarrassing issue. And the more I talk about this, even with friends, who I thought had like super supportive, awesome husbands, they're like, no, I'm keeping it all together for us. I pack for him. If he doesn't do this, it doesn't get done. It feels good to have it in the open.

Andrea 13:54
Yeah. And I want to I want to say this, that this is definitely not an interview where like, me and Laura are gonna like bash men. I want to say, no men were taught this, like there were. You know, women, and again, we're generalizing and gender rising. We were taught to take care of people and do all the tasks and men were taught to receive the convenience of that. So t's not their fault, but it is their responsibility to change.

Laura 14:23
Exactly. And I really, like my husband is actually a Fair Play Certified Facilitator. With me, we both went through the training together. And we have these conversations constantly, which are men, I feel like a lot of men are still taught that their main role is to be a financial provider. And so when women are taught all of these different ways to show up for each other and to bond and be intimate, and so many men are robbed from that knowledge and even taught that the only way that they can be relational to women is in a romantic way.

Andrea 15:01
Right. Usually through sex.

Laura 15:03
Right? And so how do we… It's work it's real work to undo that, and step into a role at home where it's like, no, cleaning up the dishes means you value me, I that is a gift to seeing who I am.

Andrea 15:21
Yes. And I forgot to mention the thing that I did that was really unhealthy when I made the list, and I and I was so resentful. And that's not a good place to come at an important conversation. And I don't remember where I yelled it in the conversation but I said, have we ever, ever run out of toilet paper? Ever? Can you ever remember a time in our relationship, even before we had children that we have ever run out of toilet paper and had to use paper towels or tissues? No. Do you think that the toilet paper… And I use that as an example and I said I'm always thinking about the inventory of our house, paper goods, kids socks and underwear, dog food. I know, all of that information and kind of switching gears, but it's directly related.

I recently did some continuing education for my coaching certification. And it was on brain science. And he was talking about how our executive functioning is like a cell phone battery. And we only have a certain amount. You know, it's not it's not this bottomless pit of energy of mental energy. And he was naming all of the things that cause battery drainage. And it was all of the things that women typically do. It's the decision making. It's the moving from task to task. It's that mental load that you talked about, of having to take care of so many things. And also we tend to be multitaskers, which is actually not that efficient. So mentally draining. I just like go on and on about my own woes. So for those that might be that might feel uneasy about opening a discussion about fairness and domestic responsibilities in their relationship, or even at work, and I'm assuming it's slightly different, you know, conversations. What advice do you have. Like, where's a good place to start?

Laura 17:25
I think that the first place to start is valuing your own time. You can't, it's about boundaries, right? You're saying no to things that don't serve you. You're saying no, I'm not going to carry the whole entire family here, I'm not going to create the life for all of us so that you can say yes to being less resentful, so that you can say yes to what Eve calls Unicorn Space, but as like sanity space. Like clear mind space, permission to be unavailable to your roles at work as a partner, as a parent, where you're just not responsible for other people. And when you can value your own time and see that your time and energy are finite, like you said, you only have so much of a of a battery, you have 24 hours. How much of that are you going to give away and for how long? And I think once you can talk yourself into that, and do whatever it takes, if that means 20 minutes, and then like, get the wedge in there until you have an hour a week or two hours a week to yourself protected. It empowers you to see what that feels like. When you have that space. You can be like, you know, I like this. This is important to me. My time is valuable. My interests, my friendships are so valuable.

For me that clarity is what empowered me to come to my partner and say, you know this, this is life I want to live and I want to live it with you. I chose you for a reason. I want to see us show up as whole people and actively together. Because right now, I feel like a lot of people in this unequal balance at home are living parallel lives where they're facilitating for their partner. Everything so it's actionable. And yeah, it starts with yourself.

Andrea 19:28
Okay. First before you say I heard these two women yelling on a podcast about how you don't do enough around the house.

Laura 19:36
Right, right. And what it is for me, it goes back to what I said about I've said it a million times. I'll say it a million times until it's heard. Men round themselves down when they don't think their active participation at home is important. Because it's a legacy, it's connecting with your family, it's showing your loved ones that their time matters. It's not just… I can't remember the author's name, but he says I got divorced over dishes. Incredible author. But he says like, you know, I would leave the dishes in the sink over and over and it's not valuing my partner's time and that is a vestige. It does. And it ends marriages. You don't want that.

Andrea 20:18
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I have two things that I want to ask you about that I'm sure are arguments that you hear a lot. And the first one is, what do you say when men push back and say, but I work 40 plus hours a week, I bring home a great salary, my wife stays home, we made that decision. She enjoys it. She's good at being the mom. That's her job, and my job is at the office and I come home and I don't want to do extra tasks and extra work that's on her. So what do you say to that argument?

Laura 24:19
A couple things to say to that. Number one, everyone deserves equal rest. If you take nothing away from the messaging, I'm trying to get out there it's that everyone deserves equal space and time for their own fulfillment. And that's not going to Target and that's not taking a bath. That's creative pursuits, that's building community, that's real fill your bucket time. And that just bleeds over into so much more joy elsewhere. But also there are tasks, like, I can't cook dinner and put my kids to bed in the eight hours earlier in the day. There are so many other things that happen outside of that 40 hours. So if you and your spouse split it up, and you're like, okay, that's her job during the day, and that's my job during the day, then it's only fair to participate actively during the rest of the time. Your fair is not my fair. It's not about 50/50. It's about finding something that feels equitable. And also, domestic labor is labor and she's working all day too, so like, let's just get that out of the way.

Andrea 25:38
One of the things I mean, this just happened the other night, and my husband, I have worked hard on this and it's not done by any stretch, like we still have to have like meetings, ongoing meetings about it. And we still have a lot of old gender stuff that we grew up… You know, I'm a Gen X or so as he like, we've had to have very frank conversations about like, what do you what do you expect? And I had to be unattached and like, not be mad. When he's like, this is what I grew up thinking was right. So yeah, there's that. And I, the other night, my daughter came into our room and she asked me a question. I had that realization that I have a lot of times that probably 80% to 85% of the time, they asked me, my children, my children asked me, when my husband is sitting right there, and even they will, my child will go out of their way to come and ask me something when they're sitting right next to their father. It's just become, because I've always been the primary caregiver, even though my husband, he would need to go back to work, but he spent two years stay being a stay at home parent. So I say that anecdote, because I mean, I don't know if your family is like this. But still, we have to constantly remind I have to consider my children. Like there's another parent who's capable of making those decisions. I never knew how exhausting decision making could be until I had children.

Laura 27:03
How old are your children?

Andrea 27:205
They're 14 and 12 now, yeah.

Laura 27:06
What do you do in that circumstance?

Andrea 27:09
You mean, when she comes in the room and asks if you can have a snack because it's like, 930. Sometimes, if I'm really tired, I will say mom's clocked out. Dad answers all questions, or I'll say like, I'm not answering any questions. And I think it might seem like, well, you just spoke words, like, does it make for you to say, I'm not answering any more questions versus yes or no to the snap question. A couple things. I'm sending a message like I'm trying to teach and train. And like, I'm drawing a line of like, no, this, some changes need to be made, which I guess is kind of the same thing. But that's what I do.

The other argument I wanted to ask you about was women who, who really like being, you know, having that role of the stay-at-home mother, they are fulfilled by it. They get a lot of joy from caretaking. And I'm sure you get pushback on that of like, this is what I want to do.

Laura 28:11
Yeah, and, obviously, that's wonderful. As long as you feel comfortable in your partnership, and you feel empowered, and you feel like you have the same autonomy. I think that's the thing that I've come to realize is that, unfortunately, due to the way our society is structured, you are not free unless you are financially free. And I've heard a couple of great suggestions like having time compensated, if possible to have your own savings account, just so that you have discretionary funds. It doesn't have to be a point of contention at home, it can just be like, I don't want to have to ask you because asking for permission to spend money and asking for permission, it sets up this power dynamic and it messes with that, that equality and that that equity at home. So I feel like as long as you feel empowered…

And I've been talking about it a lot lately, which is this issue of not being able to walk out the door without leaving instructions. So I really like Fair Play because one of the main ideas is that each partner at least has a chance to hold they call them you know, hold that whole card. But experience from conception to execution, each of the daily grind tasks both partners feel empowered. A couple of years ago when my daughter was very young, I felt really anxious leaving the house and that was on me to really start valuing my time and stepping away and empowering my husband to be a full caregiver. And now I'm like, hey, I've got something Saturday, I put it on the calendar. Are you home? And he'll be like, yeah, I got it. I can walk out the house. I we've just we've established what a weekend lunch looks like like, we both know the schedule. So I feel autonomous. I have agency I can do the things I need to do with my life and I don't feel trapped. So as long as you don't feel trapped, good for you. But if you do feel trapped, I feel like it's kind of a red flag that something needs to change. And thankfully, there are tools out there.

Andrea 30:25
Yeah, I often think about in situations where, you know, in a heterosexual relationship where especially where there are children, and a woman is happy being a stay-at-home parent and having that that role. And it's a terrible thing to have to think about. But I've thought about like, well, what would happen because I was in a, in a marriage before, we did not have children, but he was unfaithful. And I'm like, what would happen if that happened now? Would I be in a place where I could walk away and be financially secure or would it be super complicated? And I would have to rely on someone like, do I know what's going on with the finances? And that's a whole other conversation for another for another time. But a very important one. Yeah.

But I want to, I want to ask you, because you mentioned the cards. And I don't think that we've explained that. So there's the book, the Fair Play book, and then there's a deck of cards Correct? Is that help people kind of figure out and divvy up all of the tasks in the home?

Laura 31:24
Yeah. So there are 100 cards, and it covers most of the household tasks and 10 of them are wildcards like I had a baby or my parent is sick. 60 of them are for couples only. And then there are an additional 40 that come into play if you have kids. So it's really applicable in many situations. Not as good for work. Okay, but you know, the framework works for your career.

Andrea 31:55
Okay, and I have so many questions. All right.

Laura 32:02
I might have answers.

Andrea 32:05
Okay, well, let me ask you this for women balancing a job outside of the home, they are working mothers, and they're trying to balance and also run their household, are there any words you might want to share with them now?

Laura 32:19
That would be that your time matters. That your time is finite. Just hearing that, like, if you're in a in a hat, a heterosexual partnership, would anyone ever call them a working dad, or if like, you know, a dad who's balancing work and life. It's much rarer to hear that. And it shouldn't be, it should be both of you, balancing work and life. So it feels hard to set that boundary around your time and you hear a lot of women saying like, oh, but if I walk out of the door, my kids are going to cry, or I'm going to feel really guilty. And I hope there are people out there like you with your book and your podcast, and people like us on TikTok who can be the little whisper in your ear. Like, it's okay, it's okay. Take your time. You can not do it all you can. You can put some stuff down you can share. Yeah.

Andrea 33:20
I don't know if you feel this way, but like, because I get asked on a fairly regular basis. Like how do I deal with mom guilt as being like a working parent. And I think even if there's a mother out there who doesn't work, like going on a girls trip or you know, and being away from her children, this might be like the most horrible answer, but I've kind of just accepted that it's part of motherhood. We just biologically, we feel… There was there was this documentary I was watching about, about Bethany Hamilton, the woman who got her arm bit off by a shark, she’s a professional surfer. And she, she was competing right after she had had a baby, and I think her baby was he was like, five months old, her first baby. And she was competing, and she did not do very well and she came out of the water and she was either being interviewed or talking to her husband and she said, I could not stop thinking about him. And she was thinking about her baby and it was distracting. And she didn't perform as well. And I was telling my husband I was like that's biological, especially when they're that little. It becomes like our entire Yeah, so I have no episode, no scientific evidence about this but I just think that the guilt is a form of us of nature, ensuring that we are going to take care of our children. And we're not just gonna leave. You know, it does happen in rare instances, but I don't know what do you think about that with guilt?

Laura 34:50
That's a really interesting.

Andrea 34:52
That's I don't hear dads talk about that that often, I think unless I did see another documentary about I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I think that this is important, you know, for queer couples that they have studied gay men who have adopted who are coupled, who have adopted babies, and they tend to have the same amount of oxytocin hormones that new mothers do. So I do think that men can have the same feeling but they typically don't, because they're not as they're not as much the primary caregiver as the mother is.

Laura 35:27
That's really interesting. Well, I'll be super honest with you. I mean, that's been a huge hurdle for me and mine are five and two, and I'm going on my first overnight away from them in two weeks. The only time I've spent time away from the oldest was when I was in the hospital with the youngest. So I need your wisdom. Tell me, give me the wisdom I need. What do I do? How do I talk myself off the ledge?

Andrea 35:57
I just accepted and embraced the guilt. I think the hardest part, though, was part of the reason that I left was because I was trying to wean my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, because I was still nursing and I was done. She was at the point, which was like doing gymnastics, you know, when I was just a pacifier. I don't even know if I had any milk at that point. But the coming home was hard cuz she was mad. Oh, like she was. And I know that this probably isn't helpful. However. No, it's okay. I just talked about the reality of things. I she did get over it. Okay, good. And it might have been a little traumatizing for her. But I just have accepted that. My mental health and my emotional well-being matters. And I am not going to self sacrifice completely. We sacrifice so much as caretakers anyway. There are going to be times when I do things that are going to be a little upsetting to them. I can't be all things to all people.

Laura 37:02
What is your support for that? Like, I hear so many women saying, you know what, my mother in law is the one who's like, oh, you're gonna leave the babies at home with him? It's these outside voices, like how do you have support or friends who gas you up?

Andrea 37:18
For sure. And that's one of the things that I'm incredibly blessed to have women who also feel the same way I do and support me. And what that comment that you just made, is I… And as much as uncomfortable as it is. I'm not saying that this is easy, but when people make those kinds of passive aggressive remarks I pointed out and I might say something like, I'm not motivated by guilt. It's sometimes… And I think that you've even made TikTok’s about this. I've just when you see videos of or memes of men who are like joking about being terrible fathers, you know, it's like we and we've made it this trope called jelly like, like, oh, look at the dumb dad messed up again. Isn't that hilarious? Like, and just sort of like, why is that funny? Like, why? You know, I might ask somebody who is passive aggressive, like, what do you mean by that? Like, say more. In other words, like, when people are sarcastic, like ask them like, what do you what do you really trying to say? It will throw them for a loop.

Laura 38:23
Oh, man. Like, I'm very, like you said at the top, you know, I'm very direct. And I have, but these are like shower thoughts. You know, I'm much more nuanced in person and I do these workshops. And sometimes it's like, deer in the headlights. Men who have seen my videos, and they're like, oh, no, she's gonna… She’s coming after me.

Andrea 38:48

Laura 38:51
But I do always try to be thoughtful. And for sure, when I'm being direct. But oh, my gosh, depends on the person.

Andrea 39:00
Absolutely. Here's what I would, if it was like a mother in law or your own mom, or you know, someone, you are invested in the relationship, I might say something like this. And I this would be like, practice, procrastinate. Just you've got to really prepare and say, I know that you care about us so much and I love the way that you love my kids and you're always there for us. And I cannot tell you how grateful I am. And at the same time, we have chosen to parent this way and make decisions that I feel like you don't agree with and it is deeply distressing to me when you make comments like that. And I am gonna politely ask that you don't make them anymore.

Laura 39:42
That's great. I really appreciate that pre framed response. Yeah, I like that

Andrea 39:45
And trust me like I say that and then I would like go and have like diarrhea. It’s so nerve wracking. But I just, and I learned so much of my own communication from my best friend Amy Smith, who has her own podcast. Those of you listening who don't know her go listen to the podcast, but it's tough and necessary.

Laura 40:07
Yeah, I just finished Nadra Glover Tawwab’s Set Boundaries Find Peace. Oh, it's so good. And she has an Instagram with like little nuggets of scripts and stuff like that. And I just think the biggest wisdom that she bestowed upon me has to do with this mental labor and this emotional labor stuff, which is like, like you said, like, you can practice in a low stakes way. Like if somebody gets my order wrong when I'm at the coffee shop, instead of just like walking home with the wrong coffee, just being like, actually, I ordered the tall, whatever. Or going to Home Depot, and instead of walking around for 18 minutes looking for something just going out to someone and being like, I'm looking for this. It’s, you know, it's like a way to respect your time. And that tiny discomfort of interrupting someone, that's always my thing, feeling like we're bothering someone, and they're actually doing they're exactly… it's such a low stakes way to practice that discomfort. It's been so helpful for me, because I have yet to set those hard boundaries with family. It's hard. So hard. I totally, I'm like, I would totally be in the bathroom the rest of the day, too.

Andrea 41:25
Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I think that's why it's so important to preface it. And maybe this is helpful for people who are coupled, or even at work when they're broaching the topic of fair play. And I, you know, that's what Amy taught me like, it's always a good idea to start with gratitude, because nobody wants to listen, when you're like, we need to talk. Yeah, like, it's actually like a physiological thing happens to our brains. It's called flooding, where all the all the blood leaves our executive functioning in the part where we can listen and make good decisions. Because we go into a little bit of panic, you know, our heart rate goes up, we get nervous, and our body just goes into fight or flight. And we can't help it. So set the foundation, start with kindness, make sure that the other person knows that you're here to… You're not here to fight. You're not here to tell them how wrong they are. You're not here to back them into a corner. You're here to tell them how much you appreciate their role in your life, and you're making a request.

Laura 42:29
That's such good advice. And it brings me back to your list. The should I do list. Like, it makes sense that so many of us come to the table like look at all of the things I'm doing, look at all the things you're doing, you're wrong. And they might be wrong, they might be wrong. And the advice I try to give to friends and the community at large is like you and I should have that conversation. And then you can come to your partner with a little bit of that edge taken off because not everyone needs to hear the whole story. Like you can get your needs met elsewhere and talking trash on how unfair this situation is, might be better with a friend.

Andrea 43:15
Or your therapist.

Laura 43:17
Everybody. You shouldn't be in therapy, and you should be in couples therapy and they should be in therapy.

Andrea 43:24
I always tell people, like if you're dating someone, and they either make fun of therapy, or say that they would never go run the other way. It's a huge red flag. Yeah, it's a huge red flag. I want to circle back to just emphasize that what you and I were talking about earlier how this is not just to like blame and shame men and they really, they really don't know, because even like going back to the list that I made. If you just look at it at face value, it just looks like a list of tasks. I think what I never realized, really, I think maybe until I started following you on social media, was the space it was taking up in my mind, again, not just the task itself, but it's the constant running loop of all of those tasks. And, you know, like there's like a meme that went around or a joke a few years ago that mostly shared by women. My brain is like a browser with 132 tabs open at all times and my husband has like one. Yeah, and that is my literal computer as well. But, that's the part even when I was so upset and exhausted that I didn't realize was taking up so much space and energy in my life. That's the part, and I say that because I think that's the part that really needs to be communicated to the person whether it's at work or whether it's at home that does not have that role.

Laura 44:55
Yeah, I completely agree. And I think my I spend, I first read Fair Play, and then I brought the system to him. And we didn't really implement it fully until he read the book. And instead of me sitting down and telling him all of the steps of laundry, he heard someone else's voice telling him, and he was like, oh, my gosh, I had no idea what you were doing. And I hear this from a lot of couples who come to me, or even, you know what, I get a lot of DMs, I get husbands sliding into my DMs, just say, thank you. And it feels so nice that like, I know, it's frustrating that it's coming from another person. And they're finally listening, especially if you've been saying this over and over again. But just like, it's fine. Even my husband, I feel like I'm a great communicator. But my husband needed to hear someone else say it. Yeah. And that's what I love is bringing the invisible labor out in the open.

Andrea 45:56
What advice do you have for someone who is no matter what age they are, but they're single, and they are looking for a relationship and they definitely don't want this to be a problem in their next relationship. Like, what do they talk about this on the first date Like were do you recommend this talk comes in?

Laura 46:15
I've been thinking a lot about that question lately. I think that doing some visualizing with them would be great. Like, what do you see? What do you picture a family looking like? When you look 10 years down the line and maybe it's not with me, but if you have like, what does it look like in your life? Where do you spend your time when things get overwhelming? What do you think's going to happen and just leaving that open ended? And because I just don't think we talk about that. Like, when we meet somebody that we love, or that we have shared interests with, it's so easy to assume that your values align. And sitting down and talking that out out loud is so I wish I would have done that. I love my husband. We've been together 12 years. But even these days, we're sitting down and talking about our values and they've changed.

Andrea 47:12
Yeah, they do tend to change. They shift, I think. There's so many things, I think, and even going into my second marriage that I didn't that we didn't talk about that I wish we would inspire some miracle we've been able to work it out. But things like what's your relationship with debt?

Laura 47:29
Oh, yeah.

Andrea 47:30
What is your relationship with investing in retirement? What do you want to do when you're retired? I mean, even though it might be a long way away for some people, but you might have like a general sense. And I think what I would also ask is, especially heterosexual relationship, if I was talking to a man I was dating is like, what do you expect your evening is going to look like when you get home from work?

Laura 47:50
Ooo just curious. That's a good one. Yeah, and if you like, I feel like there's a right or wrong answer. Well, you mentioned red flags for you. What have been green flags?

Andrea 48:05
For me, it's, it's when my husband will listen to my lived experience without pushing back or giving me like any like, well, what about or, you know, I heard that, you know, just like no arguments, just listening. And, you know, you and I don't know each other that well, but like, my previous serious relationships were like, the definition of red flags. Oh, this guy is kind and he doesn't like stay out all night at bars, doing drugs and drinking and cheating on me. I will marry you. I have a lot of really great redeeming qualities. I think that the two of us honestly like the best thing that ever helped us was going to therapy fairly early on in our marriage to learn how to communicate and learning about John Gottman is four horsemen of the apocalypse and like how we show up in conflict, which we saw ourselves very quickly. Coming up, we also have a system for when we have disagreements and when we have arguments that that is based on John Gottman ‘s work. You know, because I am the type who wants to. I'm an extrovert I like let's talk about everything right here in the now tell me what you're feeling right now. Like, tell me, I want to talk talk, talk, talk talk. And he needs time to process the argument, figure out how he feels about things, and just sort of like decompress from the stress of it. So we have come up with a system that works for both of us. It's a compromise basically. So I say all that for anyone and it doesn't matter if you are single or if you are in a new relationship or if you have been married for 25 years, I still think communication is the absolute foundation and emotional regulation.

Laura 49:54
And in I'm going to add a little caveat. I always thought that I just had a rule, we hard time with it with emotional regulation of myself. And I did have a really hard time I would totally fly off the handle and then I couldn't, I would like obsess and couldn't let something go until we had it figured out in the moment. And I It turns out that I had a chemical imbalance in my brain and once I got a diagnosis and some help with that, it has made art and, you know, couples counseling to learn exactly that the Gottman, all of the Gottman stuff is great. Love it. But yeah, so if you're having an extra hard time regulating yourself, go see someone go, like I said, like we both said, get a therapist,

Andrea 50:42
Get a therapist, yes. Say what's going on and talk about your symptoms. Well, okay, this has been so helpful. And just one last question just about the book and everything. And I know you do workshops, and like webinars, I think you do and we'll put all those in the show notes. And do you see people like on a consulting basis? Like one on one a couple?

Laura 51:05
I do, yeah. Yes, they do. individuals and couples? Yeah.

Andrea 51:09
Okay. Okay. We'll put all that in the show notes. But do you recommend people starting with the book? And should they get the deck of cards, it doesn't come together, right? You buy them separately,

Laura 51:17
They're separate. Okay, I would recommend getting the book first and then… You really need to read the book in order to lay a foundation for bringing the cards into play. And you don't need to buy the deck. You can download it, I think you have to sign up for a newsletter online, and they'll send you a copy of printable ones. Okay. So it's not, it's not incredibly necessary but I know especially if you have executive functioning challenges, or just you love something tactile, it is a really nice thing to sit down on a Sunday for half hour and sit with your partner and check in and trade cards

Andrea 51:55
But I think I've heard you say that if you only get the deck or print out all the cards, then it's then you're just adding more tasks to do. That’s why you need to get the book.

Laura 52:08
The book is really the instruction manual of why it works because if you come to it, it's just like bringing that list. It's just saying, here's all the things I do, here are the things you do and without the knowledge of how to communicate it. It could just turn into a huge fight.

Andrea 52:30
Because then one person ends up being the manager.

Laura 52:34
Yep. Yep. And both of you don't necessarily need to read it. I do have a YouTube video with like a teeny, tiny crash course and how to use it. I'm working on getting more content out so it's, it's really digestible. And I have a playlist on TikTok, but I do I really recommend the book. It's on audio to check get your go to your life.

Andrea 52:55
Yeah, my people love audiobooks. Yeah. Thank you so much. And I really I highly recommend that people follow you on social media. I know you post a lot of your tech talks over on Instagram. So if someone's not on TikTok, first of all, you should be because it's so fun. It's so fun. It's the best. And is there anything else that you want to make sure that you say before we close that we didn't touch on or that you want to close up?

Laura 53:17
It all boils down to valuing your own time and burning that guilt. Like you said, and make sure you have support and friends like us? Yeah. Put us in your ears will tell you.

Andrea 53:27
Yes, we will. With that, thank you so much for your time today. Laura is at ThatDarnChat.com all of those links will be in the show notes. And I appreciate your time listeners so so very much I'm so grateful that you choose to spend it with me and my guests. And remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye for now.

Hi there, swinging back by to say one more thing. You know, I'm always giving advice over here on the show and on social media. And a couple of those things is that I'm always telling you to ask for what you want, be clear about it, and also ask for help. So I am taking a dose of my own medicine and I'm going to do that right now. It would be the absolute best and mean the world to me. If you reviewed and subscribed to this show, Make Some Noise Podcast on whatever podcast platform of your choice. And even more importantly, it would matter so much if you shared this show. Sharing the show is one of the few ways the podcast can grow and that also gives more women an opportunity to make some noise in their lives. You can do that by taking a screenshot when you're listening on your phone and sharing it in your Instagram or Facebook stories. If you're on Instagram, you can tag me @HeyAndreaOwen and I try my best to always re share those and give you a quick thank you DM. And also you can tell your friends and family about it. Tell them what you learned. Tell them a really awesome guest that you found on the show that you start and following whatever it is I appreciate so much you sharing about this show.