No matter who you live with, be it a friend or a boyfriend, often someone always ends up doing more housework than the other. Sooner or later, you might decide to just settle for the status quo and come to terms with being the maid of the relationship – or it might blow into a full-on war where you leave each other angry little notes about what needs to be done.
Neither of these outcomes are particularly desirable; it should, after all, be possible to live together without annoyance and resentment. Here are a few of the best tips out there on how to end the chore wars and finally find something that works for both of you.
Is it really a problem though?
Washing, cooking, and cleaning all seems like such trivial things to get upset about. Even though you were the one to clean last, is it really worth having an argument over? Despite whatever problems you have in your own household, arguments over cooking, cleaning, and dusting can absolutely lead to bigger problems later on.
Working women still pull a bigger load than men in terms of household chores – about twice as much, to be precise, and the combination of work responsibility as well as children can certainly leave a mark on our stress levels.
Not only is it exhausting to argue about the same problems repeatedly but it also affects women’s health; the ones who do twice as much as their partners are prone to have greater anxiety, depression, and worry than couples who divide the tasks equally. It’s maybe not that odd that we keep arguing about it, after all, seeing that carrying the main responsibility is a surprisingly heavy weight to bear.
#1 Talk about it
While most couples try talking about the issue as a first solution, many find themselves in an argument rather too soon, pointing fingers and accusing the other one of not doing nearly as much as they should.
An easy way out of this is to approach the problem a bit differently; mention that you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and unable to keep up with all the responsibility. That way, you’re taking your partner’s slacking out of the equation and put yourself in the spotlight instead.
Next, find ways for him or her to help you out and take some of the stress off your shoulder. A neat to-do list is a good idea, for example, as you get to write down the tasks you can’t keep up with – and your partner can share their inputs as well. Make the tasks as specific as possible to avoid confusion and arguments later on, such as having to do dishes within an hour after dinner.
#2 Find chores you don’t mind doing
While it’s true that men don’t usually do as much around the house as their wives or girlfriends, they tend to do a bit more in other areas. Grocery shopping and gardening, for example, are chores that you might find your partner volunteering to do on their own. Try to agree on taking responsibility for the tasks you don’t mind too much – and compromise on the ones both of you hate.
If you’ve ever been the happy owner of a brand new washing machine, you probably didn’t mind doing the laundry for quite some time. Cleaning the bathroom is suddenly a lot easier when you have one of those fancy drench bathrooms, for example, and the right kind of cleaning equipment is also a great motivation booster.
The same goes for every other household task; although the goal isn’t to have fun while getting it done, it certainly helps to have a great vacuum cleaner or a brand new washing machine to help you out.
#3 Don’t be a control freak
When you’ve been in charge of cooking and cleaning for a while, it’s easy to let your high standards take over control. It’s one of those things that will make the responsibility skewed from the start; if you don’t want to do everything on your own, don’t assume the role of a boss. It’s tempting, of course, to point out whatever mistakes they’re making when cooking or cleaning – you want it to be done right, after all.
Try to keep your tongue, though, and teach them the right kind of skills by showing off your own tricks rather than pointing out their mistakes. Lowering your standards and learning to be patient is inevitable when you really want a clean home, but you’re equally unwilling to do it all by yourself.
Teach with positive reinforcement, and they’ll come back for more.
Few people genuinely enjoy housework, but everyone loves a clean home. Speak up if you feel like you’re doing a lot more than your partner, and find a balance in the relationship – it will make for a much happier home, in the long run.