“sharing” house chores
DISHES WON’T DO THEMSELVES
Did I get an eye roll from you there? If you have a partner or old enough kiddos – do this. Sharing house chores is a subject that hits close to home for me. With kids, a busy life, busy careers, there was always a high level of conflict about whose job it was to unload the dishwasher or do the laundry.
I was inspired years ago from a bestie to enforce ONE chore inside the house for my husband, Ryan. We found unloading the dishwasher was going to be the one. After many failed attempts of laundry and simple cleaning techniques, vacuuming was going to the chosen one. Unequal distribution of household chores can lead to around 30% of divorces, so dividing up chores and working together is better for your overall relationship. Housework if exhausting, never-ending, tedious, and doesn’t give any recognition, but when you can share that responsibility with someone else it makes it a little easier.
So, dishes were the task of choice after some discussion. It took several years here ladies to get this down. I mean several months of reminding or letting them sit in there for several days until he did them. I’d let the dirty dishes pile up in the sink and on the counter as hints. I wasn’t wanting to be the nagging wife. Let’s be honest, I was nagging in other areas plenty and I wanted this “chore” to work out for me. I mean sharing is caring, right? So sharing house chores has to be able to imply the same level of reciprocity.
I had to be patient but not give in and just do it myself. This was tough! At the time I was a mother of one with a full-time job and taking care of a dog as well. I had plenty on my plate. I had to hold back those urges of just doing it for him. Housework is exhausting. Being a first-time mom is even more exhausting. Being the “maid” of the house and sharing house chores caused some strain on our relationship. When spouses help around the house, the whole relationship will reap benefits, but the opposite begins to happen when one partner sees it as unfair or unjust. Working life is stressful, home life is stressful-uneven household chores can lead to resentment and additional tension.
During the busy seasons on the farm, I’d cut him some slack when he was only sleeping 4 hours a night. Otherwise, I was on him. I’d remind him that when I was away for work no one stepped in and did any laundry (or grocery shopping, or cleaning, right? ) Housework isn’t all about the physical labor that goes into it, but more about the emotional components that go into it all! Having a long and happy relationship means lending a helping hand. Sharing household chores is surely a great way to achieve that. Who would have ever thought that a man with a dishcloth, vacuum, or the ability to make laundry disappear would be so irresistible?
Now that my oldest two babies are big stuff and ride the bus to school, Ryan unloads the dishwasher while they are up eating breakfast. The time Ryan has with the girls in the morning is special. They open up and share with him about their happenings at school or something that’s coming up. It’s pretty awesome to overhear. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all, but there can be at least 1 chore you can “give up.”I know what you’re thinking, “Shit girl! I have a list of items I’d love to hand over!” Yes, yes, I get it and I’m right there with ya. Try to refrain from dishing that whole list over so that you have success!
If you unleash that whole list and truly expect it to be shared, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. That is my advice with my farming husband. I pray you have one of those husbands that’s willing to “split” 50/50 with ya on chores. Mmmmm…girl! If you are that lucky wife, cherish it! The rest of us are out here struggling; pray for us! Remember it all comes down to finding a split that feels fair for both parties. It doesn’t even have to be a 50/50 split or 60/40, but one that works for both parties and neither party feels burdened with chores while the other does none. Start small, sharing house chores doesn’t happen overnight.
LENDING A HELPING HAND
Now that the girls are 7 and 5, they have chores to. Don’t think I’m just singling out Ryan. The princesses have not been spared! They tag team emptying the small wastebaskets around the house. My oldest, Kading, will take out the full bag of garbage and tie it up while Reagan, the middle princess, will refill the waste can with an empty grocery sack.
What am I contributing to Ryan’s load outside the house? I am a lawn freak, that’s right. I’m OCD on mowing the lawn so that’s my main “help” to his house chores. Stay off my mower, unless it needs to be serviced. ?He services my ride, and I own that time on the mower. Why? It’s mom’s uninterrupted time and l as I said already I’m a little OCD I like the lawn to be mowed in a pattern that alternates each mowing. Yep. I already have my freak flag out so hold your judgments. It’s my thing. You do you girl.
I also take care of the landscaping. I plant, I pull weeds and I like it. If you think I’m completely crazy you must not have played in the dirt as a child. Do yourself a favor and give it a try. Having your hands in the dirt is great therapy!
Confession – I also enjoy it so it might not be “fair” that these are my “chores.” I want to be acknowledged as a wife and as an equal partner, not a maid!
WORKING TOWARDS SATISFACTION
So what have we learned through this reading? Sharing house chores will ultimately help lead towards marital satisfaction. I mean whoever thought that house chores could be so sexy!
- DELEGATE! Use the people living with you for helpers with house chores.
- STEP BACK! Give them a chance to get better at it. They won’t be great or “remember” at first, but you have to let them try. Otherwise, you’re simply asking for the chore to be owned by you again.
- TRADE! Do your part to help them with something too. If with your kids, well you’re just being a parent and teaching them responsibility. That’s a give that just keeps giving! If with your husband, share in a load of his tasks around the house – change the furnace filter, clean out the garage, there’s something out there for ya!
I hope you give this a shot and take something off your plate so you have more time to do things you enjoy in this life!
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