Chores and Division of Household Labor

January 13th, 2010 by admin in Family, Relationship
Bookmark and Share

Do you feel like you do all of the work around the house?

Do you feel like what you are doing around the house isn’t appreciated?

Are you tired of fighting with your partner about who does what?  or who does more ?

I did not realize what a HUGE topic is this until I started talking to people about it.  I posted something on twitter and facebook to see how this topic affects relationships and I was flooded by stories, conflicts and solutions.  Many people said that even if division of household labor isn’t causing problems in their relationship now, it did in the past.

If chores are causing some resentment or anger in your relationship, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Ask for help – I hear from a lot of women that they notice when things need cleaning before their husbands do.  And because of that, they may start cleaning and cleaning and then resenting that they are doing it all.  I know it can feel hard, but asking for help can help diffuse your resentment.  And if directly asking feels difficult, you could try creating a chore calendar or assigning a “cleaning day” where you work together.  You may also consider hiring someone to help out around the house, if it helps your marriage that it is worth the expense!
  • Define chores – What do you consider chores or household labor?  Making sure you each share what you are doing can make a difference.  For instance, if he is doing all of the cleaning and feeling like you aren’t holding up your end of the bargain, maybe it’s time to let him know about what you do to keep things moving smoothly (grocery shopping, cooking, paying the bills, yard work, or buying gifts for holidays or birthdays, etc)  When you have a conversation about all that you are each doing, you may be able to redefine what a “chore” is.
  • Don’t keep score – Even when you have negotiated who does what and when it is supposed to happen, things don’t always go as planned.  It’s important to have some flexibility.  If your partner has extra responsibilities at work this week perhaps you can help out more at home.  If your partner forgets to do something, a gentle reminder can go a long way.  Whereas saying, “I knew you would forget, you don’t do anything around here.  I do it all.”  Well, that’s most likely going to start a fight.
  • Show your appreciation –  Just because taking out the trash is your partner’s “job”, doesn’t mean you can’t say thank you for it.  It’s important to let your partner know that even though you may expect them to do something, it is still meaningful to you and you appreciate it.

There is no magic “chore ratio” that will fit every relationship.  Responsibilities with child rearing or jobs outside the home may also affect who has time to do things around the house.  What is important is that each partner feels good about the division of labor.  You may also think about this comment I received from someone who has been married for 39 years, “We don’t look at the chores as work anymore. Instead we now look at it as an opportunity to help each other out. Maybe it’s really about attitude and gratitude.”

2 Responses to “Chores and Division of Household Labor”

  1. Does the power in your relationship feel imbalanced? Says:

    […] Household Chores […]

  2. Julie Jeske, M.S. Says:

    […] are the roles in your relationship? Do you split household chores?  Do you co-parent?  Do you share financial […]