Dear Home Ec 101:
My husband and I both grew up in homes where the father worked, and the mother largely stayed home and attended to all of the household duties. We both work and sometimes have a hard time agreeing on who should be doing which chores, how often, and how well. I tend to feel like I’m expected to do more than my fair share. How can we successfully negotiate housework?
I’m really tired of hearing complaints about how I didn’t magically know to wash that specific pairs of jeans that weren’t in the hamper by a certain day, etc. Of course, I get all worked up in my head about expectations b/c I’m a woman, and so on. Ultimately, I would like everybody to have clear expectations and get things done without it being a constant struggle and source of criticism.
Thanks for any advice you have!
It sounds as though there may be a communication breakdown. One of you is bound to have a lower tolerance for mess, and that one will end up with the lion’s share of chores unless boundaries are set. I know it does not sound fun, but you may have to sit down and actually discuss the division of chores. Consider making a list of chores in three columns: daily, weekly, and seasonal. Then, taking turns, take colored pencils or markers and indicate the chores you don’t mind with one color and chores you abhor with another. This should help fairly divide the list. For the chores you both hate, institute a rotation, but the rotation should last long enough that it would be obvious if one of you is slacking. Passive aggression should NEVER be tolerated. It will only increase resentment.
Letting him know what you need is not nagging; expecting him to intuit those needs is unrealistic. Extend him the courtesy of telling him your expectations and ask him to do the same for you.
Best of luck.
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