The question “How do I get my husband to help with housework?” has been floating around A LOT lately. I can imagine the frustration. While I am VERY lucky to have a husband who honestly does A LOT more housework than I do, I fought this battle over and over with my ex-husband. Of course, my advice is not to get a divorce :), but I understand how to try to fix the problem. I can tell you my second marriage is MUCH better because of what I learned in the first one.
What Does Work
1. Asking for help
For the most part, I have noticed women, and particularly stay at home moms feel like we have to do it all. While I don’t have kids, I do work, and the last thing I want to do after working all day is come home and cook or clean. The general consensus seems to think it’s ok for a working mother/woman to want to relax a bit, but for some reason stay at home moms seem to justify home making as a 24/7 job.
Why? Your working husband gets two days off a week. If he is not at work, why should you not have some free time as well? There is no harm in ANY woman asking for help with chores in the home. Obviously, if you’re a stay at home mom, SAHM, it IS your job to run the majority of the household. However, it is also fair to sit down with your husband and delegate out a few tasks to him as well.
Additionally, children of all ages can help with chores. There is no shame in assigning kids a certain set of chores as well. I remember “helping” wash dishes before I was 5 without a dishwasher. I remember sweeping, washing down the table, setting the table, and all kinds of other small chores that took a bit of stress off of MY mom who was a SAHM.
2. Deciding where you really need the help
I absolutely cannot handle the smell of spoiled food. My husband knows this and if something is bad, he throws it out for me because he knows I WILL PUKE. He’s scared of snakes, and I am scared of spiders. Guess who handles which critters? Yes, I have had a snake IN my house before.
Do you need 1 day or night a week off for some you time? Do you need your husband to take out the trash or mow? Would it help if he bathed the children at night while you wash dishes or do you want him to help with bedtime?
Rather than getting mad because your husband can’t read your mind, you should probably sit down and think about what you REALLY need help with, then ask for it.
3. Communicate Communicate Communicate
“Honey, the kids have a baseball game tomorrow at 6 pm. Can you either make sure they are ready on time, or clean up after dinner so I can get them ready?”
See? You’ve asked for help. You also gave him advanced notice so he knows it’s going to happen. He is prepared and knows what you expect. You also gave him a choice in the decision-making and that allows HIM to have some control. Instead of telling him, you’re ASKING for help. WIN WIN.
I once read in a book a quote along the lines of “If you want your husband to help more, praise him like a toddler who used the potty the first time”.
It’s true. Can you imagine how pleased you would be if your husband came home and really praised you for a clean house? What if the first thing he said to you was along the lines of:
WOW! Honey! The house looks SO AMAZING today! You must have really worked hard! I love coming home to a house this clean and I am SO LUCKY to have you as my wife!!!
Sound cheesy? SO WHAT! IT WORKS. If you are not praising each other you’re missing out on a good chance to really make their day. The more you praise them, the more your husband will want to help! Still cheesy? Ok how about this:
Honey, I am home. Here are the bills you need to pay, and I know you’re in the middle of cooking dinner, but I thought I would let you know the yard needs to be mowed, and you should really wipe that flour off of your face, it looks stupid.
Which would you rather hear? I know already being angry can make it hard to be positive, but give it a try and see if it makes a difference. It has in this house.
If all else fails, go talk to someone professionally. Even if HE won’t go, you might find some insight in to how to make the situation better. Maybe after you go a few times, he will decide to go with you.
What doesn’t work
1. Withholding sex
Sex is not a weapon to be used to manipulate your husband. Please stop advising this. It’s not healthy for your relationship and it’s not funny.
If you cannot sit down and have an honest and open discussion with your husband without yelling/screaming/nagging then you need to learn to use your words. 😉 Your husband IS NOT a child and he won’t find it amusing to be treated like one. It is much better to calmly look at him and say “I feel like you’re being disrespectful to me when I ask for help and you don’t give it” instead of “I’m sick and tired of asking you over and over to help.” See the difference?
I hope this helps a few of you out! Good luck!
Have you tried any of these techniques before? Tell me how they helped or didn’t work!