Over the weekend, I was talking with a girlfriend who shared with me how frustrated she was with her husband because he wouldn't put the replacement trash bag in the bin after taking out the trash. She said, “Why won’t he freaking replace the bag? I’m busy taking care of the kids, washing the dishes plus working a 9 to 5pm full-time job. He is not picking up the slack.” On the other hand, a guy friend of mine mentioned just last week that he gets annoyed with his wife sometimes because while he cooks all the family meal, does the supermarket shopping on top of working a 13-hour day, his wife just makes a mess and doesn't contribute to keeping the house clean.
If you can relate to either scenario the following 4 suggestions will help. These are the same strategies my husband and I used to tackle our household chores. As you know life can get pretty chaotic and busy, but implementing these to-do teamwork steps will help you not only reduce tension and stress, but also allow you to get the necessary things done around the house.
1. Having a conversation and brainstorming what needs to get done- I remember 3+ years ago after we moved to Italy, my husband and I during dinner wrote down a list of all the chores that needed to get done each week. We each selected the tasks that we liked to do the most and committed to getting those chores done each week. To add some variety sometimes we would alternate tasks each week or break up the responsibility by room.
2. Determining if the tasks will be done together or separate- If our schedules allowed for it, we would have a block of time where we would clean the house together. We'd put on music and make it a fun group project. Other times we would do our tasks separately. For example, he would get the supermarket items for the week ahead while I started cooking the meal that evening. This way we saved time and had more downtime together.
3. Planning ahead and creating a ritual or routine- Since we are very busy during the week, the last thing we wanted to do was more housework when we got home. To make things go more smoothly we decided to start getting our groceries on Sunday afternoon and prep all of our lunch meals for the following week. We also decided to invest $40-60 per week or bi-monthly for a house cleaner to come and clean our house on Friday, so we would have more time to enjoy our weekends off together. These two rituals saved us time and increased our energy level for pleasure and play.
4. Modifying it as your schedule changes- Our routine has changed several times throughout our relationship thus far. And as our schedules, lifestyle and priorities change over time, we will continue to reevaluate what works and what strategies needs to be tweaked. Having a predictable structure while also having an element of adaptability for ongoing conversations allows for flexibility as your roles and responsibilities change throughout the course of your relationship.
If you would like to get access to additional relationship resources visit www.CreateARelationshipYouLove.com to receive my Free 3-Part Video Series for couples so you too can: Avoid the 4 Common Mistakes Many Couples Make And Know What To Do Instead, Learn the 8 Strategies To Strengthen Your Emotional And Physical Bond With Your Partner and Improve Communication In 10 Minutes Or Less.
Andrea Cairella is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and owner of TruePotentialCounseling.com based in Long Beach, CA. She works with adults and children and specializes in couples issues, trauma, addiction, anxiety and self-esteem and is the creator of Create A Relationship You Love ™ an online psycho-educational program for couples.
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