Busy Phillips: My husband and I have an incredible division of domestic labor

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Busy Philipps spoke to Zuri Hall at Access Hollywood in a bit Access calls “Backstage Banter.” I don’t know where this backstage is, but I assume it was during her recording of the interview she did for Access that aired on Monday. We know that Busy has some new exciting project coming out this year but as of yet, all she’s promoting is her partnership with Hotel Tonight. Zuri asked Busy about her parenting routine and Busy said it was easier because she and her husband, Marc Silverstein, have equal parts when it comes to parenting. Here is the video, I’ll transcribe the division of labor bit below:

What is the busiest part of being a mom, when does it get to be, like, ‘woah’? Is it field trips, is it the weekends, is it mornings before school?
No, my husband does that. I sleep in. My husband and I have an incredible division of domestic labor that we’ve worked hard to achieve. When you have that, there’s no busiest time for a mom, because we parent together.

How often do you use the old, “go ask your dad”?
Oh, I do do that a lot. Its never Cricket, it’s always Birdy.

Division of labor is a very difficult balance to strike. I think much of it comes from the antiquated notion that mothers need to run the home, even if they work. But it’s just not fun. I have control issues and a superhero complex (both self-diagnosed, but I think you’d agree) so it was very hard for me to accept or ask for help with the daily routine. This was still true after I started working again because I worked at home. But now that I have, it’s made a huge difference. I think it’s great that Busy and her husband worked this out and knowing the process, it is work. I’m not going to praise Marc too much because this should be the norm in 2020.

Busy also said her advice for parents is to always have a large bag of snacks in the car. It’s sound advice, snacks help almost any situation. Keep some trail mix in the glove compartment for everyone’s sanity. The one rule Busy breaks in her home is no devices at the dinner table because, she said, “you have no idea what a blessing an iPad is.” I have to disagree with Busy here. My advice is to get your kids talking at the table as young as possible, whatever they want to discuss. It will pay off when they are teens and you need to know what’s going on with them, but they are less likely to tell you. I learn so much at the dinner table.

This is a silly aside, but I recognized that outfit Busy is wearing in the video. She posted this the other day and I thought it was kind of cute:

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Photo credit: WENN/Avalon and Instagram

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24 Responses to “Busy Phillips: My husband and I have an incredible division of domestic labor”

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  1. wellsie says:

    Why has it never occurred to me to have emergency snacks in the glove compartment? We do a fair amount of driving sometimes, and going to a drive-through for a snack is time-consuming and messy. I’ll basically be set for life after this!

    • IMUCU says:

      I don’t have kids, but I still keep emergency snacks in the car for myself or to share with anyone who might be riding with me. Sometimes time just gets away from me and I don’t have the time or energy to make another stop. My husband and I also split domestic duties really well. I didn’t realize how well, even compared to my peers, until I was chatting with some of my girlfriends who said their partners don’t do certain chores either bc they don’t know how to or just won’t.

      • Sequinedheart says:

        I kept emergency snacks in my car, before child, because darling husband gets low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and after one nasty episode of him glazing over and starting a cold-sweat, that was never gonna happen again.
        Now with an almost 5 year old, it just makes sense.

  2. Faithmobile says:

    I have a friend who complains about her husband’s lack of domestic help and it irks me. It’s 2020, get some equity in your household duties already.

    • Cindy says:

      I have a friend who was in a great relationship with a guy and they ended up having one of the messiest (non-divorce) breakups I’ve seen once they moved together. The guy was really, really nice, but he grew up with a maid and you could just tell. My friend told me the one thing that triggered the breakup was one time she asked him to clean the kitchen floor (it was a mess), and all he did was mop it with plain (not even boiled) water. This was just the drop that filled the glass – she had millions of stories like this.

      Now, in the dude’s defense, anybody who knows this friend of mine won’t deny she has an awful temper. Things always escalate from 1 to 100 with her, nothing in between. So you can imagine how crazy things became when everytime my friend got home she’d find more than a few things that took her from “1″ to “1000″.

      • shells_bells says:

        Wait… Do people really boil the water before mopping?!?! I’ve NEVER heard of that!

      • Janey says:

        Yes, jumping in here. What? Boiled water? Wait – what difference does that make? We’re trying to sterilize the water? I’m honestly curious about this…

      • Cindy says:

        I usually use boiled water if I already boiled some for cooking or tea. It’s not necessary, I guess, but just throwing plain water on a kitchen floor that’s all dirty… you know, at least taking the time to boil the water would’ve shown some effort on his part.

      • dothedougie says:

        Boiled water can destroy any sort of protective coating or sealing on a floor. Probably not recommended. Warmish water is probably ok.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Soooo I actually remember reading her saying that they almost divorced because Marc, her husband, would not help her with domestic work even though she was absolutely overwhelmed. He sounded like a total self-absorbed jerk. It literally took driving her away for him to change at all. In this day and age it should not be that hard for a man to realize he needs to support his partner and not overwhelm her.

  4. RoyalBlue says:

    Popcorn in the car on the way home on evenings has been a lifesaver. I realize a lot of issues arise because the kids are hungry so when their mouths are busy chewing they don’t have as much time to squabble.

  5. lucy2 says:

    I think she’s the one who said they almost split up because she was so overloaded with all the domestic stuff? If so, I’m glad they’ve really worked it out and things are much more equal. That’s how it should be.
    I’ve watched so many women in my life be overloaded like that, including my mother, and I think it’s a big part of why, the older I got, the less and less I wanted marriage or kids.

    Also, she looks really pretty in the photo with the silver dress, I think softer makeup is really flattering to her.

    • Ali says:

      The fact that he was willing to change makes me so happy for her and their daughters.

      It’s got to help, though, that he’s not the main source of income for the household. An imbalance there makes it a lot harder to have a good balance around the house.

    • Hope says:

      She’s said that she told him things had to change or she would leave. She was taping Cougar Town at the time and I don’t think he was working (or not working full time right then) and she was still doing all the child care. They went to counseling (still do) and decided since her career was taking off and she was the one working that he would stay home with the kids, get them to school, etc. She just did an IG story yesterday saying now that she’s not “working” right now she’s going to get up with the kids in the AM bc she just wants that time with them.

      Her IG is interesting to follow. They seem to work hard at their marriage and also on themselves. She admits they still go to couples therapy and they each do individual therapy.

  6. ChillyWilly says:

    I will never understand women who work and still do all of the housekeeping and child care.

    • Steph says:

      It’s called poverty. The majority of Americans have working parents with no extra help.

      • Sequinedheart says:

        That’s true, poverty is the ruling factor but also, cultural differences.
        Some of my friends don’t understand that my husband cooks every single night. Trust me, we’re all better off for it! But I clean. I do all the cleaning.
        But it’s just not done in the homes they were raised in. A woman is supposed to cook.
        nuh uh honey, this gal burns water!

  7. FrenchGirl says:

    I work the night so it is my husband who is mostly the cleaner in our home.We gave our clothes to iron .

  8. Lala says:

    My hubs grew up with multiple live in staff (cook, maid, gardener) then attended boarding school and we married when he was 50.

    He is just now getting the picture that families need systems and standards for tidying/cleaning that are different from a bachelor w a weekly housekeeper.

    It is the only complaint I have and has taken multiple ultimatums (I walk or you start to help- along w that article on emotional labor) to get him to see the big picture.

    It’s slow going but he’s changing. Sadly many of my female friends w high powered jobs experience the same imbalance. :( ((

  9. Jamie says:

    There’s this book called “It’s not you, it’s the dishes” by Paula Szuchman that’s about how much of a toll the division of labor can take a toll on your relationship and how to fix it. I’ve always wanted to read it. I’m single right now, but in the past I’ve been known to be a pushover, so I hope to change that before I date someone else so I don’t repeat the same mistakes.

  10. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Here at home, I’ve aged into completely okay with a little clutter lol. When I was a young mom, I did everything: lists, parties, shopping, decorating, cleaning, chauffeur, meal planning and cooking, etc. I always had snacks and activities at the ready in my bag and vehicles. But we don’t always like sitting at the table for meals, so a regular for us was indoor picnics (spreading huge comfy blankets on the living room floor), watching movies, playing video games or chatting by candlelight, those were memorable times. And now? The husband does whatever I want him to lol. Even if I’m sitting on my ass, shoveling food, he does anything and sometimes everything! Crack that whip! I say whip it, whip it good,

  11. BANANIE says:

    Reading this stuff always makes me feel nervous. I grew up in a house where chaos reigned and nothing was ever tidy or neat. My mom didn’t really prioritize a well-ordered home. When I moved in with my husband, shit got real. He has a lot higher standards for cleanliness and order than I do. He had a maid growing up but was always conscientious and didn’t make extra work for her. I feel awful but it’s actually really hard trying to change — I have to recognize that while I don’t care if there are shoes on the floor or the laundry is overflowing (so long as I still have clothes to wear) it bothers him. I’m not gross — I definitely don’t leave food out, etc. — but I’m what you would call messy. And so without my even really noticing it’s fallen to him to clean the bathroom, clean the kitchen, etc. I’m trying, but I’m finding it difficult at this point to try to change my standards and “care” about this.

    • Janey says:

      Yes! I’m quite similar here in that my husband is the more tidy of the two of us. And it also trickles down to our children. They’re not super messy but not tidy at all. I’m ok with mess – but once it reaches peak level there’s definitely OMG WHY IS THIS SO MESSY.

      It really takes compromise on both our parts. Myself in trying to check it if it looks like it’s getting out of hand. And him just understanding yes, tidying up isn’t going to be a priority of mine. Enjoying my time with the kids will always be top priority – and well, just enjoying ME time at home. Though what has helped is I’ve taken to tidying up as my form of exercise, and just taking 10 mins a day, tidying up.

  12. prettypersuasion says:

    I literally had a come to Jesus talk w/ my husband about this last night! He’s so great w/ the childcare, and he folds laundry and does the grocery shopping….but the rest he just doesn’t SEE. There is so much invisible labor that just defaults to women because men are not even taught to pay attention to it.