In my marriage I feel like I take on the majority of the housework even though myself and my husband are both working. He does do some jobs around the house but the lion’s share is on me. I am starting to resent him for this, but I have let it become our routine now that I am not sure how to start again.
Recent research from the Office of National Statistics in the UK shows that women on average do 40% more housework than men. A new research poll in the US showed shared housework was one of the top ranking reasons for a successful marriage. So it turns out putting out the bins is important to your marriage. Of course it goes much further than the apparent triviality of putting the toilet seat down, ultimately at the heart of this issue is love, communication, selflessness, respect and working together as a team.
The first thing you need to do is sit down and write out all the housework that needs to be done. Nobody likes housework but there are some things you might prefer; there is no point in asking your husband to do something he doesn’t like if it is something you don’t mind doing.
If there is a chore you both really dislike then take it in turns or maybe you can tackle it together. Then you have to work out a strategy, your lives are busy and the housework can easily get on top of you.
What about breaking it down into manageable elements? Myself and my husband each evening would do a 15-minute clean as a team and it was amazing what we could get done in such a short time. Cooking takes a lot of time; do you plan your meals and batch cook so you can freeze? Try doing a ‘chopathon’ together chopping all your vegetables for the meals that week in one go,it will save you lots of time.
You need to communicate and it’s good to start off recognising how stressful it is, so share your feelings. Do not go on the attack here, this is about working out a strategy to manage things together. There might be things that really bother you that your husband might not even notice and if he knew he would make more of an effort. Prioritising is key, what is actually important – does the house need to be hoovered three times a week? What are the things that matter to you most that are non-negotiable? Then see what is realistic and come to an agreement.
Once you have done your list for the week of all the errands and chores, put it somewhere visible, don’t nag each other about it, let it go and at the end of the week discuss it and start again for the next week. Perhaps it was unrealistic, you have to be flexible, if you like towels folded in a particular way then maybe you should do it yourself.
The other thing to consider is, if it is causing you stress, consider hiring a cleaner. Maybe you don’t want to spend the money – but it’s about what you want to prioritise: would getting a cleaner two hours a week give you more time to spend together and less stress making that money better spent than on say, a takeaway? So make a plan, keep talking about, be flexible and realistic and appreciate one another and hopefully that way you can avoid the chore wars.