Dividing up household chores can often be a point of contention among couples. Often one person may feel like they end up doing more or all of the chores themselves without much help from their partner. This can lead to resentment and arguments. Having a clear plan in mind before asking your husband to help out more around the house will help you avoid getting into a fight and ultimately make getting the chores done more efficient and convenient for both of you.
Make a date with your husband to discuss the chores. Schedule your date after a fun day or at the end of the work week just avoid booking time immediately following an argument or when something else has your husband's attention. Grab some wine, get away from the kids (and the TV), and bring your list to the date. Don’t broach the subject of helping around the house during an argument or tense situation; you’ll never get the help you need and deserve. Avoid treating your husband like a child or being bossy. This will only end in arguments and nothing will change. Also avoid pulling the martyr routine; all that does is have you continue to burn internally while everyone simply acknowledges that you put up with it even if they have to tolerate mumbling.
Begin by telling your husband how much you appreciate what he already does around the house and for your family. Reference the tasks he performs already and talk about how his contributions make a difference in how well the family functions. Then go on to explain that because you feel as if you're taking on more than you can handle, you’d love him to help out more. Show him the list of tasks so that he can see the multitude of household chores in black and white. Tell him that his contributions would help maintain your energy levels and give your family more time to do things instead of waiting around while you finish the housework. Avoid yelling at your husband. No one responds well to being yelled at. If he feels scolded it may cause him to retreat.
Define easy, moderate and difficult tasks. Rate each task by considering how time-consuming it is, how strenuous, and how often it must be performed. For example, washing the floors may be a moderately difficult task, what with mopping, sweeping, waxing, etc. When writing up the list, consider items that could make cleaning easier. For example, can you upgrade the vacuum cleaner or get better detergent? These can be excellent tasks to assign to your husband. Making him feel that he has bought the items can give him a greater sense of pride in using them to prove that they're doing the job better than the old items!
Ask your husband to review your list and find the chores that he wouldn’t mind taking on. Encourage him to choose some simple tasks, as well as some more complex ones, so that the housework load is evenly distributed. If he doesn't have the experience or knowledge to do some of the harder tasks, talk about when you can teach him how to do those things.
Recognize and learn from each other's strengths. Part of your conversation when splitting up the chores might be to talk about what you are each good at. Some chores might be easier or less stressful for one of you depending on your skill set and temperament. This is also a good opportunity to talk about how you can learn from each other so that in the future you will both feel more confident taking on any chores that come up throughout the week. Make your own lists of chores you feel like you are good at and compare notes. Make a list of chores you really dislike doing and that you are hoping your partner can take on.
Problem solve together. If there are chores you both don’t like, work together to come up with strategies to complete them more easily. Maybe these are chores you decide to get done together. Spend some time teaching each other how you do certain chores. If your husband has a particular way he likes to do the dishes that is different from you way, ask him to show you. Take on the role of student and be willing to see the benefits of doing something a different way. Switch roles for chores you feel confident in. Ask your husband to just listen and participate before asking questions or making other suggestions. Be willing to listen. Don’t interrupt your partner when they are showing you their way of doing things. Keep an open mind. Ask your husband to do the same for you.
Switch things up. Part of the reason no one likes to do chores is because they can be so dull and boring. If there is a particular chore you both don’t like doing try alternating days or weeks with that chore. For example, this week you do the dishes and he does the laundry and next week you switch. This will increase your sense of sharing the responsibilities while also breaking up some of the monotony that comes with doing the same chores everyday.
Recognize and encourage your husband's efforts. When you see your husband's done a chore, acknowledge it. Trust that your husband is doing the chores the best way he knows how. Be open to the fact that even though he may have a different way of doing them he can still be effective. If there are chores that you need or want done a very specific way, consider doing those yourself.
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