We get it—it’s tiring to wash the dishes over and over again. But that can even be more frustrating if you always choose to sweep the topic of splitting household chores under the rug. Remember, there are no labor laws that cover marriage, partnership, and families. No member is expected to cover a single or all the household tasks day in and day out. So if you’re tired of seeing dirty dishes pile up on the sink every time you come home, it’s time for a family meeting—even if you’ve always been uncomfortable doing so.
Without guidelines, it is easy to fall into a petty argument on who does what at home. You, your partner, and your older kids (if you have any) should all sit down and come up with an agreement that works for everyone. If you need some help leading this meeting, here are some tips to ensure you do it fairly.
Ask who can do what—then hire someone else for the rest.
Tasks like doing the dishes are a major source of tension for many couples and families. So, to keep all the relationships under your roof intact, you should talk about all the household chores. List all the needed household chores. Categorize that list by which tasks should be completed on a daily or weekly basis. Then, talk about who does what tasks. Don’t forget to discuss the expectations for each chore.
Encourage your partner and kids to use this meeting to negotiate about the tasks they can’t or prefer not to do. Maybe, they have daily training or weekly hangouts with friends, so they can’t do some tasks. Tell everyone to approach negotiations with a little humor. That way, you can ease or avoid the tension.
Then, for tasks you, your partner, or your kids can’t or don’t like to do, hire someone else. With your monthly household budget in mind, pick tasks that are rather be left in the hands of professionals. Is the house gutter up for cleaning? If you’d rather spend your weekend hanging out with your loved ones, then hire a company for that. Outsourcing household tasks is worth the money. It’s even compared to the feeling of happiness when you receive an $18000 raise at work. Don’t hesitate to outsource some chores.
Be careful on criticizing how your loved one carries out a task.
Don’t like the way your husband or teen vacuums the carpet? Try to switch tasks up. Trade for that task if you feel like you could do a much better job. Be careful, however, not to overly criticize your loved ones about how they do a task. That is even if they ask you for help. Overly criticizing your partner or child’s capabilities can only create more unnecessary tension in your relationships. It isn’t worth it.
But if you can’t stop yourself from coaching your son or partner on doing a chore, steer clear from using absolute phrases. Saying, “You never,” “You do nothing,” or “I always” can trigger not-so-good emotions. Naturally, the receiving end of those phrases will do everything to defend themselves. That can quickly lead to a shouting match. Focus on discussing what they can do better while using a neutral tone.
Continue the conversation.
In any household, there’s a never-ending list of chores. Just because your family had one successful meeting about these chores several months ago doesn’t mean you no longer need to talk about it again. Maybe, something has come up for your partner. Maybe, they need to be excused for all the chores next week to complete corporate training online. Your teen’s school test is coming up, so they may have to trade a tedious task for a simpler one. Make it a habit to have a family meeting about household chores.
If you’re all busy for a particular week or month, you can consider outsourcing most household tasks. Or find a way to pair up and help one another finish a single task. The bottom line is that it’s important to have a regular meeting. That may sound too transactional. But that’s a good way to stop resentment from building up too quickly.
Above all, always show some gratitude. Expressing gratitude often can help create a lasting positive home environment. Plus, keep in mind that you, your partner, and your children are on the same team. Talking about who does what at home doesn’t have to be a war. You can all end the talk feeling happy.