The division of “household labor” is non-existent in many busy homes. Between work, kids and social outings, housework usually falls on one set of weary shoulders:the wife’s. After a while, many wives become resentful, especially if they have a day job, as housework becomes the “second shift.”
In order to avoid a marriage meltdown, creating an action plan that will not only motivate your hubby to help around the house, but create peace and balance within the marriage, is one way forward.
Determine what needs to be done. From laundry to taking out the garbage, make a list of all the weekly chores and who currently completes the task. In defining the mandatory tasks, you clear the first hurdle of your husband overlooking the tasks left undone. Moreover, identifying the exact chores can help both of you see what constitutes household work. Typical chores include:
- Tidying all areas of the house
- Laundry (washing, ironing, folding and putting away)
- Grocery shopping, plus other sundry store visits
- Cooking, washing the dishes
- Bill payment and sorting
- Yard work, gardening and maintenance
- Getting children to and extracurricular activities,medical visits, etc.
- Pet care, including grooming, vet visits, feeding, etc.
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.
Ask for help. Unless you ask, he mightn’t know that you need help, and you may never know how much more he can contribute. Make a date with your husband to discuss the chores. Schedule your date after a fun day or even a long week at work––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.
Begin by telling your husband how much you appreciate what he does around the house. 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.
Ask him to check your list and find the chores that he wouldn’t mind taking on. Steer him toward the chores that may not need previous homemaking experience, like bathing the pets, sweeping, or cleaning the toilets.
Since he may have never tackled these “new” chores, tell him how you carry out the work and when. Don’t tell him that he must do the chores one way and on a certain day, but instead explain how you do it and what has worked for you. Don’t freak out if he doesn’t use your exact approach.