Sharing Household Chores With Your Spouse
Dividing Chores Without Dividing A Marriage
Every household is made up of different people, some houses have a married couple, some have a married couple with a few kids, and others are singletons with a pet or two. Whatever your household is comprised of someone has to do the dirty work, yes, I mean the dirty dishes of course…where was your mind going? In all seriousness, unless you can afford hired help someone has to take out the trash, do the dishes, wash the clothes, vacuum the carpet the list goes on. But who does what? Even as grown adults people need direction on what tasks to do or you will all be living in squalor.
“The degree to which housework is shared is now one of the two most important predictors of a woman’s marital satisfaction. And husbands benefit too, since studies show that women feel more sexually attracted to partners who pitch in.” Source: Stephanie Coontz.
What Is There To Do?
In order to decide how to delegate tasks for household labor you must understand what goes into making a household run in the first place. Take your spouse, a pad of paper, a pen or pencil, two cups of tea and sit at the kitchen table to discuss what tasks are needed to keep up with a household on a daily and weekly basis. An example of that list may look a little something like this:
- Wash, Fold, and Put Away Laundry
- Load Dishwasher & Unload Dishwasher
- Take Out The Trash
- Clean The Bathrooms
- Clear The Kitchen Table
- Sweep The Kitchen Floor
- Water The Plants
- Clean The Windows
- Make Meals
Your list will be different but quite similar to my example because everyone has different things to do in their house but they revolve around a few major ones that everyone has to do some form of. Like, everyone has to do the dishes in some shape or form. Doing the dishes for some may be washing and drying by hand and for others it may be loading or unloading a dishwasher. Depending on what time of machinery you are dealing with is contingent on what chores you will have to do on any given day.
“My wife and I try to divide our household chores equally: She cooks, I do the dishes. She buys groceries, I do the laundry. My easiest chore is setting the table. It takes about one minute and she has to remind me every time.”
What Does Your Day Look Like?
Now that you have defined a list of chores that need to be completed you should see what each other’s daily life looks like on paper. Understanding what one another is doing all day can determine who gets what chores and why. This is a simple way to delegate chores because it is all in black and white on the paper and there is no way to fight over something that is clearly printed out in front of you. Most households are made up of two job families. Some work from home, some work outside the home. Depending on your location will depend on the chores you can accomplish throughout the day. For the spouse that works OUTSIDE the home, their chores are limited to nights and weekends. This person may have technically “less” to do but it doesn’t mean that the other person’s job is “less” it just means that they are home to throw in a load of laundry at their lunch hour because they work ten feet from the washing machine in the basement.
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Making a schedule of your days can be so very helpful when delegating chores. Be sure to color code four different things to ease your viewing of each day. Your work or stay at home schedule should be one color, your spouse’s work or stay at home schedule should be another and each of your chores that you will insert into your day will each have a color, four colors total.
After you have established your schedule and the chores that need to be done and you have fit everything into a nice little chart that can be displayed on the refrigerator for all to see there is one more set of “rules” that you need to go over as a couple because just like all people are different, all chores are done differently.
How Is It Done?
What do you mean chores that are the same are all done differently? Well, some people consider taking out the trash to mean just bagging it up and taking it out but forget to replace the bag and wipe down the bin. The same goes for bathrooms, does cleaning the bathroom mean wiping down the sink and toilet or does it mean scrubbing the tile on your hands and knees and wiping up all the fixtures. These are many things that can make a fight arise in a household. “Honey, I cleaned the bathroom!” As you walk in minutes later there is still toothpaste spit on the bathroom mirror and mold on the shower curtain liner. You need to talk to each other about not only what chores need to be done but HOW they need to be done. Cleaning can mean many different things to many different people and as long as you are on the same page there should be no crisis as long as the mirrors and sinks get cleaned.
Wow, that was a lot to cover for something as simple as dish duty but I bet you any money that this will lessen the fights about the household chores. But I have one more thing, I know, I know, but I promise this will help. I have a few tips for eliminating some of your chores to lessen the load so that you have a few more hours in your day to spend with one another.
“For instance, if mowing the lawn is taking too much time, sprinkle wildflower seeds out there and let nature do her thing. If you hate ironing, give the clothes away that need ironing and toss the iron. Do the windows have to always sparkle? After an examination of your standard of housekeeping, your domestic chores may become less draining emotionally and physically.”
If you make these few changes among others that are more suited to your lifestyle then you will hopefully have a clean house and a happy marriage.
After your “mega-meeting” with your spouse and family you need to have “mini-meetings” as a follow-up every week to keep everyone on the same wavelength. Because schedules change, people get sick, vacations happen. Your schedule has to be flexible and be able to switch and bend with the needs of your family. Just as you have plans with your money and savings you should have plans with your house. If something big happens such as a party you plan extra money in your budget that month because you know that the extra money will be needed for the extra expenses. Just like that you will need to plan a party into your cleaning schedule, there will be more dishes, more prep work, and clean up afterwards. You must think I am crazy comparing cleaning schedules to a budget but in the end it all boils down to the same thing, communication.
“Happy couples also realize that housework can be a way to demonstrate love. Amy and Brad Saleik have been married 15 years. They inadvertently found a perfect way to organize household tasks.”
Doing household chores can show how much you love someone because there is something to say about a person that makes your bed for you because behind that act of kindness is them telling you you deserve clean sheets and a well made bed to sleep tonight, I love you.