Most couples find that keeping the house tidy before you have kids is a breeze. However, once your family starts growing, the sheer number of toys, special chairs, strollers, bicycles, school bags and books starts to become overwhelming. On top of that, the amount of cooking, cleaning and washing seems to go up exponentially, but your energy levels and ability to cope with it all tend to head in the opposite direction.
It’s around this time that most women might start to notice that their husbands aren’t really helping out as much around the house anymore. He might still be doing the same chores he used to do, but might not have realised that all the extra work which the kids have created is being picked up by you alone. Alternatively, he might feel the need to build a larger nest egg for the family’s future and may be putting in more hours at work and helping out less at home.
If however, you are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the extra chores at home, you should find a way to speak with your husband and ask for some help.
Talk to Him
Find a good time to talk to him about how you are feeling. Don’t start the discussion when both you and he are tired after a long day at work, or after an argument about the state of the house or when you are frustrated. Find a moment when you are relatively calm and have enough time to really discuss the problem.
Be open about how you feel and acknowledge all the effort that he too is putting into the family. Let him know that you feel that you are unable to cope on your own and ask him if he can help you with some of the chores.
Make a List Together
Sit down and make a list of all the chores you do today. Common ones involve tidying up the house, washing, ironing and keeping laundry, buying groceries, cooking and washing up, paying the bills, gardening, throwing out the garbage, washing the car, driving the kids to classes and other programmes, walking your pets and caring for them.
Discuss which ones he thinks he can help you with. You should expect him to have certain preferences and unless there is a real reason why you can’t accommodate his preferences, you should accept them and try to let him do the chores he likes better.
Do Them Together
Try to do some of these chores together. For example, he could wash up whilst you tidy the table, put the food away and dry the dishes. Or maybe he folds the laundry whilst you iron. Setting aside time to do the chores together will make them seem easier for him and less boring for both of you.
Spread Them Out
Don’t try to do all your chores over the weekend. Try to do some over the course of the week. Then you will still have time to relax and enjoy yourselves on Saturdays and Sundays.
Relinquish Some Control
Accept that he may not do things the way you would. Accept also that he might not be as good as you are, or as thorough, or as organised. It’s a small price to pay for some relief and will allow him to feel good about helping you too.
Say Thank You
Don’t forget to show your appreciation for the help that he gives to you. Housework is indeed tiring and boring sometimes, and a little bit of appreciation will go a long way to making it all seem worthwhile.
Get Some Help
If even with your husband’s help, you are finding it hard to cope, see if you can get some help. A part time cleaner once a week is great, but even if you decide not to do that, sending your husband’s dress shirts and trousers out for laundry and ironing can make a difference. If you find that grocery shopping takes up too much time, then using online grocery shopping and delivery services might work for you. If cooking is a challenge, opting for a delivery service once a day for home cooked meals is yet another possibility. Decide what chores you find most difficult and see if you can outsource them.