How to Stop Doing All the Housework Yourself
There I stood at the kitchen sink, again, scrubbing dishes for what felt like the 10th time that week while he sad a few feet away and the glow of his phone stared back at him. He worked hard that week, I get that. He loves his day job but it seemed unfair that the rest of life fell on me. He would argue that he does do a lot around the house but we have different standards. Rather than let this dissolve our marriage, I decided to take the advice of all the most influential and successful women I know and see how to off load stuff off my plate. We have a finite time each week and we choose how we spend it. I spend it going to yoga, getting enough sleep, hanging out with my kids, going to church, reading a book every 1-2 weeks and sitting on the couch everyday doing nothing. Those are what matters. I also have a list of things that matter that are a bit stupid like (the kid’s beds need to be made each morning, the garage has to be clean and there can’t be ANY CRUMBS on the floor). I read The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F%^& (and I don’t recommend it on audible unless you can stand to hear the F word 2,000 times- it was a bit much for me).
What I did take away from that book is that I need a list entitled: THINGS I DON’T CARE DIE IN A FIRE. What was on that list included things like this blog being void of typos, kids getting baths on a certain day, and whether the shaker cups have a matching lid attached before they are put away. I also made a list of WHAT HAS TO BE DONE EACH DAY/WEEK OR I WILL LOSE MY MIND OR CPS WILL CALL US which included making dinner, doing dishes, who is picking up the kids each day and peeing on a clean toilet - for real, I live with 3 boys.
I am one week away from starting a full-time passion project helping children and will be managing the podcast and, a 900 customer/partner nutrition business all at the same time. There is zero time to care about things that do not matter and zero time for being a mom martyr and expecting everyone around me to give me an award for my hard work. Mama, mostly the people you live with don’t even notice when you do a task around the house, unless you live in complete chaos and it’s that obvious. Most of us moms just do most of it and earn outside of the house…. and then we hit a breaking point where we freak out on everyone because, ‘I DO EVERYTHING AROUND HERE!!!!!”.
I don’t want to get to that point and I won’t let it get that bad. I took my list, WHAT HAS TO BE DONE EACH DAY/WEEK OR I WILL LOSE MY MIND OR CPS WILL CALL US, sat Mike down and we divvied them up.
Is this list exhaustive?
It’s the things that feel heavy to me each week to do all by myself. You will notice that we don’t have a house cleaner. I will have one in the future when I care more about the time it takes to clean. Right now I catch up on podcasts while I do it and it feels good to clean my house (especially on a cleanse day). When it feels heavy to clean our house, I’ll hire it out. I invest the $500-700 a month I save into trips to Arizona and acupuncture.
I know what you are thinking….”My husband will never go for this”. I have two theories about this.
ONE, you are not adding enough monetary value to the household income for him to care if you hire it out. He sees that you have extra time on your hands so he sees HIS job as earning the money and YOUR job as keeping the house. I have been here. When I earned enough that I could say that I was either going to hire it out or divvy it up, he was more willing to take on more.
TWO, You are just not having a CLEAR enough conversation about expectations. You probably huff and puff and moan and complain and play the victim. Or you say nothing and seethe inside hoping he trips on the front step on his way out.
Your expectation is different than his.
SO many women forget that they can ask for help because they just get in a grind of doing it all. We take on a martyrdom that we then escape from our lives with wine and girls nights complaining about our life. We feel so overwhelmed by the same life that we insist on being the queen of and we can’t figure out why we feel so crazy (I have a non alcoholic drink that makes that waaaaay easier by the way).
Want a marriage that feels respectful in both directions? Do you want to honor him and him honor you and both feel valued? Here are my top tips for making this happen.
Make a list of everything that has to happen to make your life function.
Get a date night on the calendar to talk about it. We scheduled it on our calendar one night when the kids went to bed.
Stay calm during it, don’t accuse him of being a POS and for crying out loud WATCH YOUR BODY LANGUAGE. Body language is well over 50% of communication. So it doesn’t matter if you saying nice things, if you have RBF you are missing the point. It might get heated, just remember the point of this is to get crap off your plate AND YOU WILL CATCH LESS CHORES WITH HONEY THAN WITH VINEGAR.
Ask him what household tasks he enjoys or can stand more than others.
Look at the calendar for sports and evening commitments, Sunday football or exercise classes. Be realistic about what you can each handle.
Give each member some tasks including the children. Even our 5 year old can put clothes in a washer and help put it away. She can also load a dishwasher and put most of it away.
Hang it up where it is visible.
Stick to it. It takes 60 days to make a habit so no fighting about it not working until after 60 days! If someone needs a reminder, give them one gently and ladies, make sure to give them love and grace.
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