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Invisible Labor: A Unilever Exec Dishes on Who Does What in Her Busy Household

We’re partnering with The Second Shift, a company that connects businesses with a network of women experts-for-hire, for a new column called “The Juggle.” Here, we’re asking successful mothers to spill on who does what in their homes, in an effort to shed some light on the concept of “invisible labor.” After all, somebody’s gotta do that laundry…

The Juggler: Mita Mallick, head of diversity and cross-cultural marketing for Unilever

Her job: Overseeing strategies to achieve upper management gender parity: Unilever currently has a 100 percent score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index for Best Places to Work

Married for: 10 years

Number of kids: Two, ages 4 and 6

Hired help: A full-time nanny and a once-per-month house cleaner

Who handles the bills: “My husband.”

Who takes the kids to school: “It’s a combination of me, my husband and my nanny.”

Who schedules the doctor appointments: “My husband.”

Who signs the kids up for summer camp: “My husband.”

Who does the laundry and cleaning: “Our cleaning lady. I grew up very lower middle class. My husband would be like, ‘You just don't value your time and money the same way I do. We've got to hire someone to do this. Are we really going to fight over who's scrubbing the toilet every week?’ Now I outsource where I need to, which I never did before, and I feel like just that has been a really big relief. However, I still put in a load of laundry in between doing emails after the kids are in bed.”

Who does the cooking: “Me. I still don’t have my groceries delivered. I like to go to the grocery store. I like being able to touch the produce. I don’t know if this also counts as ‘me’ time?”

Who does the meal planning: “Me and our nanny. We figure out the meals for the week together: What are we going to eat? What are the kids going to eat?”

Who buys the kids’ clothes and birthday party gifts: “Me. I wish I could give that last one away, but my husband’s not interested in taking over. That makes gifting one of my core responsibilities.”

Who does the scheduling: “Both of us. Every Sunday, my husband and I set the schedule for the week ahead. We go through every day. Like, ‘OK, who’s going to do drop off on Monday? And ‘When do we need our nanny to come in?’ Organizationally, we were trying to use Google Calendars and all this other stuff. Now, we just use our work calendars. I’m a big proponent of work/life integration.”

How Mita Carves Out Extra Time: “Generally, I like to be home by 6 p.m. But I have my nanny stay until 7:30 p.m. or so. I try to go to the gym for 20 minutes, which is what I've decided I can do and also fits into my schedule. So, it's like, OK, run as fast as you can on the treadmill. Twenty minutes. Then I'll shower. I just started doing it last year, after my dad died. I've been on a journey of trying to be kinder to myself.”

RELATED: Why Women Have an Invisible Workload (and Men Don’t) and How to Balance the Scales

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