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How to Divide the Household Chores

Don't Ask for Help


Doing Chores Together
Photo: Andersen Ross/Getty Images

Don't ask your spouse for help around the house. Asking for help gives the impression that the household chores are only your job and responsibility. Instead, ask your spouse to do his/her share. Chores around the house should be shared responsibilities.


  • Set your priorities as a couple. What is truly important to each of you? Discuss how you both feel about home cooked meals versus quick meals or eating out now and then. Find out your feelings about dusting, cleaning the toilet, making the bed, mowing the lawn, paying bills, etc.
  • Sit down together and make a list of the chores that each of you absolutely hates to do. What one hates, the other may be able to tolerate. If both of you detest the same chore, then figure out a way to compromise in getting this particular unpleasant task done. Or perhaps you could tackle the horrid chore together, as a team. You could also find some money in your budget to hire someone to do that task.
  • It is important, too, to be considerate of one another's body clocks. Some folks are morning people and some folks are night owls. Forcing one another to do a project or chore when they really aren't ready to do it only creates tension. Timing is important. So is sharing expectations.
  • Let one another know what the coming week is going to be like. Meetings, errands, special occasions, things that need to be done, etc. Then decide who is going to do what, make a list, post the list, and then let it go. Don't nag one another about what he/she volunteered to do. Some people dawdle more than others. If the task hasn't been done by the following week, when you next sit down to share expectations, that's the time to bring it up and talk about the undone chore or task.
  • If one of you doesn't follow through on promises to do his/her share of the work around your home, try and discover together why there is such reluctance. Some husbands may view household chores as woman's work and not manly. Family of origin issues can be a reason for differing opinions on chores, too. Blaming your spouse for what hasn't been accomplished or finished is just wasting energy.
  • Don't nag. Keep lists of chores written and posted if this is an issue in your home. After a while, the written lists probably won't be necessary.
  • Be flexible and allow your spouse to accomplish a task in his/her own way. If having the towels folded a certain way is super important to you, then you fold the towels.
  • Many couples find they look at the division of chores differently. Domestic disorder simply doesn't bother some people. If talking it over with your spouse doesn't improve the situation, then do what many people do. Hire someone else to do it.
  • If after discussing the situation, your mate absolutely refuses to share equally in household chores, and you're tired of carrying the load yourself, then you have some choices to make. Bottom line, you can't change your spouse. You can hire some outside help, or you can quit doing some tasks that you don't want to do anymore. The roof won't fall in just because you don't cook a 3-course meal every night, or you don't clean the bathroom on a daily basis.
  • Look at some areas of your house and yard that you may want to cut back on to save both time and money. Try to get your home organized so it runs more efficiently. Ask yourself if some chores even have to be done on a regular basis. For instance, I'm a firm believer that if you don't stick to the kitchen floor, it doesn't need scrubbing. If mowing the lawn is taking too much time, sprinkle wildflower seeds out there and let nature do her thing. If you hate ironing, give the clothes away that need ironing and toss the iron. Do the windows have to always sparkle? With this type of down sizing, and an examination of your standard of housekeeping, your domestic chores may become less draining emotionally and physically.

Chores Can Cause Conflict

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