Gone are the days where the male breadwinner would take off for work and return home to a clean house with dinner on the table. In today’s modern household, male/female roles rarely exist – it’s turned into family roles.
Even though there is a blurred line between what is and isn’t considered “women’s work”, in relationships where both partners work full time, there is usually one person who tends to do more “chores” than the other. This can cause a great deal of conflict, especially since we’re in our homes more often than before. This can lead to tension and resentment towards your partner if not resolved.
Here are 4 ways you and your partner can find common ground with housework:
1. Express your pet-peeves
What may be no big deal to your partner, might drive you crazy! If you can’t stand clutter, but your partner doesn’t mind it, you may take his/her impartial attitude as not caring, but really he/she just doesn’t notice. Expressing those things respectfully, will not only take a weight off your shoulders and stop resentment, but will help your partner understand that certain things need to be prioritized.
2. Have a discussion
We have all heard the expression “communication is key” and this is no different when it comes to dividing up household duties. If you feel like you’re pulling most of the weight at home, talk to your partner and find common ground. Make sure you’re seeing it from the other’s perspective – it’s ok to admit that you’re not doing as much as you can.
3. Create a schedule
Discuss what weekly tasks need to be completed and create a plan or schedule that you both agree on. Garbage day on Thursday? Maybe suggest you sort and put out the garbage on Wednesday evening. Does laundry pile up on the weekends? Suggest your partner spends Saturday morning organizing and doing laundry. Agree on chores that both of you don’t mind doing. Is there one you can both live without? Make it fair and take turns cleaning that toilet!
4. Get the kids involved
Not only should household tasks no longer fall on the woman’s shoulders, but they don’t have to be completed by only parents either. Having your kids involved with household chores helps them become independent and capable adults. It also helps them understand responsibility and following through with commitments.
5. Make a list
It’s one thing to have an idea of who is responsible for what, but creating accountability can be a challenge with chores. Create a list of “to-do’s” to pair with your schedule and keep in a place that will be seen by the whole family. Once a chore is done, sign off on it. Not only will this help you keep track of who has done what and let everyone know it’s been completed, but it will hold everyone accountable. There’s also something extremely satisfying about completing something on a to-do list!
In a perfect world you would be responsible for your tasks and your partner would always be responsible for theirs; but if we have learned anything this past year, we are certainly not living in a perfect world! It’s important for one to be able to cook dinner if their partner is sick or for couple to be flexible if needed.
When everyone pitches in, one person isn’t overburdened and resentment over your partner’s “laziness” will go away.
If you are battling to have your voice heard, reach out to us to see how couple’s therapy can help you and your partner love, work and live together in a positive (and clean) environment.