Historically, women were expected to take on all of the housework. But, it’s the 21st century, and, come on, women shouldn’t be the ones responsible for everything! Take back your time and stop feeling burnt out! Here are six steps on how to reassess all the household chores with your partner, or roommate, for a more balanced and productive you:
1. Asses all of the chores
The first step is writing a list of all the errands and chores. Include who usually completes that task and how often it needs to be completed. This will give you a comprehensive look at all the chores you were taking on and all the chores your partner or roommate wasn’t. Then, cut out the ones that don’t need to be done. They are usually small chores you don’t care about, like getting the newspaper off the driveway in the morning or making your bed. Finally, cut out chores that can be outsourced to other people or a company, like mowing the lawn.
2. Decide on a new system
The first part of deciding on a new system is the fun part, what chores do you like? Perhaps dusting is your dance party time or cooking is a hobby you really enjoy. Choose the chores that you want to continue doing. For the least favorite tasks or most time-consuming chores, agree on sharing those tasks by doing them together or taking turns. A new household chore system also means deciding on logistical things like when will each chore be completed? A set day of the week or everyone does do them when they can? How will this information be shared, chore chart, excel sheet, everyone keeps their own notes?
3. Set clear expectations
Be clear with what bothers you about chores. Does leaving clothes around the house really bug you? Do you need them to finish the chore in one sitting or is it okay if they do it over time? The more you talk about expectations, the more issues you avoid. Also consider what happens if someone doesn’t do their chore, what is the consequence? Are there any exceptions?
4. Bring compassion not a criticism
Sometimes people slip up or are still working on old habits. Not everyone grows up with the same point of view on chores or how to complete them. Give your partner or roommate(s) space to work on improving. Avoid micromanaging which puts stress on them and you. They will be less willing to do a task if constantly criticized, and you won’t be allowing others to support you.
5. Open conversations
Things happen and lives change. Be open to having more conversations about household duties in the future. Changing the chore system once might not be the perfect solution. Check in from time to time to reassess what is working and what isn’t. Plus, calm conversations allow everyone to express how they feel and figure out how to support each other better.
6. Show gratitude
Taking the full weight of responsibility off your back is huge. Show how meaningful it is to have your partner or roommate(s) support you through gratitude. Buy them a coffee or their favorite food, take them out for drinks, or do another small activity that expresses your thanks.
Worried your partner isn’t listening? Meet IAW member Kishna Celce a certified Life, Relationship, and Parenting Coach. She became a couch to help people who have been through pain but didn’t have a person or an outlet to assist them in healing. Conenct with her here, read more on IAW’s health and lifestyle blogs, or register for one of our many weekly events!