Pilar Cruz The Second Shift

  • Tauira / Student
    Pilar Cruz
  • Kaiako / Lecturers
    Tatiana Tavares, George Hajian
  • School
    Auckland University of Technology

Coined in 1989 by Arlie Hochschild, the ‘Second Shift’ entails the invisible, unspoken, and unpaid labour that women in heterosexual relationships disproportionately undertake.

It includes ‘obvious’ tasks such as cooking and cleaning, but also more nuanced activities such as managing appointments, social plans, and emotional states of mind of other family members.

This project aims to address the Elephant In The Room and redistribute uneven domestic labour in relationships by reframing housework in a fun, flirty light; showing couples that chores can sneak up on your relationship and spoil your fun—but only if you let it.

Studies show that most people will default to ‘splitting’ chores, but a closer look at this division will show that not all chores are created equally. Washing dishes might be less physically taxing than mowing the lawns, but the frequency at which dirty dishes occur is more demanding. A 50/50 mindset breeds grounds for resentment and keeping score—whereas ACTUALLY sharing chores fosters teamwork, empathy, and better communication.

Enter our housework kit, consisting of 19 cards and an organiser. Designed for high-traffic areas such as the fridge, the organiser is categorised into daily, weekly, and monthly sections; each timeframe has a ‘To-Do’ and ‘Done’ pouch. When a chore is completed, partners can ‘clock it in’ and ‘clock it out’. This removes chores from the mental sphere and into the tangible realm where it is no longer one partner’s sole responsibility to remember everything.

Each card is a clearly labelled chore with symbols on the front and two prompts on the back, offering ways to share that chore.

A full, unbroken circle means this chore can be done together. A circle split in half means ‘Roster.’ A ‘yin-yang’ symbol indicates ‘Divide & Conquer’, which means this chore can be split into smaller tasks and allocated. Some cards only have one symbol, while others have two, which means you’ll receive prompts for both methods. If you don’t like the first method, just opt for the second—or regularly switch between the two to spice things up!

Meanwhile, colour is used to indicate different areas of the house. ‘Flirt With me Yellow’ is Kitchen Chores; ‘Sweet on You Pink’ is Living Areas; and ‘Better Together Blue’ is Wet Areas such as laundry, bathroom, and outdoors.

Elephant cards are ‘wild cards’: chores that you might not necessarily think of and require a significant amount of mental labour. Since these chores are tricky to pinpoint, they take a different form entirely.

At the end of each timeframe, couples can ‘reset’ by putting cards back into the ‘To-Do’ pouch and starting the Second Shift all over again.