Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Most couples have some kind of system for who does which household chores. However, it can be easy to get stuck in a system that may have worked once years ago, but now isn’t serving its purpose — and one or both of you are unhappy with the expectations placed on you. That’s why it’s important to reassess periodically and make sure both parties feel supported. Take stock: who is currently doing what, and does that really feel fair, considering the other responsibilities in your life?
As you take stock together, something important to remember is the mental burden of chore planning. Is one of you making the plans and strategies for managing the house, while the other person simply follows orders? That can take quite a toll on the ‘house manager’. Every type of chore has a mental burden as well as a physical one, so when you split up the chores together, make sure you take that under consideration. It’s not just ‘did you clean the upstairs bathroom?’ It’s ‘who’s making sure the bathrooms in the house are clean and well-maintained? Who’s calling the plumber if the toilet needs work? Who’s getting a new shower curtain if the old one tears?’ Don’t assume that everything is shared evenly if only one person is doing all the mental management — rather, when you split up the chores among you, share that burden, too. Talk about who’s in charge of what, and what that will look like together.
The most important part of all this, as always, is communication. If you feel resentment building up because the expectations placed on you are too much, it’s essential to say something (just remember the gentle start up!). Talk to your partner about what’s causing resentment, and be clear about what you need. If you approach these responsibilities as a team, sharing the burden together, it’s possible to find joy in household chores. You’ll be managing the ones you like — or at least managing the ones you don’t like together.
Share the burden, both mental and physical. After all, that’s what a partnership is all about, isn’t it? You take care of each other and the responsibilities of your life together.