I hear from a lot of women who do it all: cooking, cleaning, packing school lunches, carpool, bill paying, grocery shopping, party planning, shopping – the list goes on, and on, and on! Many (but not all!) of these women also work outside the home and complain their husbands don’t help enough with housework. Sometimes their husbands work late, go to the office on Saturday, and can’t cook. So what’s a busy working mom to do? I’ve got 7 proven tips to help you get your husband to lean in at home and do more housework.
Create a household chore schedule
Sit down together and review all household chores. Start fresh and divide them based on what you each like to do the best. In my house that means I’m willing to gather, sort, prep, wash AND fold ALL laundry. My husband has to put the folded clothes in drawers and on hangers. This may seem lopsided that I’m doing more of the laundry, but I don’t mind these parts. What I can’t stand, and where I fail, is getting the folded laundry put away. So, this arrangement works out for us. I vacuum, he mops. I grocery shop, he mows the lawn. Find out what works for each of you.
Don’t push for the impossible
This gem comes right from Gretchen Rubin. She says there’s no way she’ll do anything with their car, so her husband knows that task is his alone. Think through tasks that your husband dislikes and see if you can find a compromise.
Respect and appreciate what he already does
Take a minute to think of all the things your husband already does that you don’t recognize. Does your husband take care of that you never have to touch? Thank him for it and recognize it as something he does that you don’t ever have to worry about. It will make you realize he’s doing more than you think when you’re hard at work doing your million tasks.
Write it down
Every man is different, buy mine will eventually do anything if I write it down! We have a kitchen white board (affiliate link: like this one) we use and I make a visible list (with fun colors!). My husband looks at the list and crosses things off as he goes. This may not work for everyone so be sure to find out what would help. An electronic to do list? Verbally communicating a “list?”
Don’t wait until the last minute (let’s say right before a party you’re having!) to complain that your husband hasn’t helped with housework. Give him plenty of notice and kindly remind him if he has neglected something you’ve both agreed he would do. Be sure to openly communicate during non-threatening times – times when you’re not in need of help with housework.
Work schedule shifts
If your husband regularly is late coming home from work, and that hinders your ability to share the housework, talk to him about his work schedule to see if there is something he can do to be home on certain days/times to help out at home. Maybe he can do soccer practice carpool, or pick the kids up from school. Maybe he can be sure to be home on a certain day of the week so he can be in charge of dinner.
Does he even realize how much your doing? Do you tend to do things on your own without complaint (not me!)?
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