Maintaining a clean and organized house is important for the comfort and health of everyone that lives there. But I know sometimes it feels like you are the only person contributing to this vital aspect of your home. But don’t worry, with the right approach and communication, getting everyone to pitch in is easier than you think. For the purpose of this article, we will use husbands as an example, but this approach can work with any spouse, partner or roommate.
Reason why men won’t help with chores
There are many reasons why men can’t or won’t help you with chores. Sometimes it can be psychological or behavioral. Here are several reasons:
How he was raised
A lot of it may have to do with his upbringing. If they were raised in a traditional family setting where the mom stayed home and cleaned all day while the father left the house to work, they may have an innate belief that woman should do the chores and men go to work. He may thing that chores are not his responsibility. This is a big hurdle in changing his perspective but it can be done.
“It looks clean to me”
Another reason is that your husband’s idea of “clean” is quite different from yours. You may see a living room with books and toys everywhere as a mess while he sees it as comfortable. Clean is truly all in the eye of the beholder.
Maybe he’s just lazy
Lazy men have been pretty well documented throughout modern history. A study in 1965 found that women, on average, did 4 hours a housework a day to a man’s 30 minutes. Gosh! The good news is by 2012 that number dropped for woman and raised for men, but woman are still performing 1.7 times more chores than men. But why are men considered so much lazier than women? There is an evolutionary theory of laziness that says “Our nomadic ancestors had to conserve energy to compete for scarce resources and to fight or flee enemies and predators. Expending effort on anything other than short-term advantage could jeopardize their very survival,” according to Psychology Today.
This is not to say that it is ok if he is jobless playing video games on the couch while you work AND clean all day. That is a toxic relationship and should be dealt with differently.
How to get your husband or partner to help with chores:
1. Understanding your husband’s perspective
The first step to getting your husband to pitch in with chores is to understand why he can’t or won’t do so. This means having an open and honest conversation with him about it. Open communication is key to the whole process. Schedule a time to talk when both of you can sit down without distractions. Start by asking your husband what his thoughts are on household responsibilities and listen openly to his perspective. Try to avoid making accusations or blaming but instead try to find a solution that works for both of you.
When having this conversation, it is important to be honest with yourself as well. Are you doing everything you can to keep your home clean? Leading by example? Are you asking him to do more than his fair share? Answering those questions can help you better understand your husband’s perspective and find a solution that works for both of you.
2. Fill out a housework contract
A housework contract is just like any other contract where both parties agree to terms and them put them in writing. I created a chore contract you can download here. You can customize it to list each chore and who is going to do them which day of the week. You can get as specific as you can so there are no questions. Dividing up the chores and putting them in writing is a great way to get your spouse to pitch in. This works well with roommates too. Also, downloading a chore checklist like this one to divide up the chores can help. You can make a game of it, like rolling a dice or playing trivia and the winner gets to choose a chore.
3. Work together and make it a team effort
Instead of doing your chores separately, you can team up and knock them out. Make a playlist of both of your favorite songs and go to work. Doing things together is much more fun than doing them alone. Just don’t nag the whole time or criticize how he is doing the job. Be happy for the bonding time.
4. Utilize technology as much as you can
Guys love toys, as in new tools and equipment. If you’ve got the resources, buy a Roomba and let him program it. Or get the drill attachments you can scrub your shower with. I bet you he will be amazed at how much fun cleaning can be!
It’s not fair to take on the burden of cleaning the house and doing all the chores all by yourself. With these tips, you can make your home and your relationship spectacular!