Till Chores Do Us Part

Every person has grown up being told to pick up after themselves. I know at this very second you may be questioning if your spouse was ever taught these foundational life tools butttt let’s not get into that just yet 😉.

Some of us grew up with strict parents who oversaw that we followed a very specific chore chart. Others had a more lax environment that only required the major chores to be done. Either way, you’re well aware that 99.9 percent of bickering in a family is over who does the most cleaning. We all feel that we do more than we get credit for and each of us are guilty of overlooking tasks that our partners do behind the scenes.

If you ask a mom who does the most work she might answer that she does because she does both domestic duties and takes care of the kids. If you ask a dad, he might explain that it is him because he works a 9-5 and then also does strenuous outside chores. Most of us feel that we do the bulk of it all but we can’t all be correct! Obviously someone has a more physically taxing job and someone spends more time “doing”. But how can these things really be measured? Not only do couples disagree on how much they each contribute, but also on HOW the other person should be doing each task.

I’ll be the first to admit I like control and I prefer to have my spaces fairly specific to my liking. I like my towels on the shelf with the loose folded layers facing the back wall and the perfectly rolled part on display. It is very very hard for me not to reposition towels that aren’t set up like this. But this is what relationships are. Allowing someone to clean in a way that seems counterintuitive to you can take a lot of self-control. You want so badly to speak up and voice your solution but is it always helpful?

Maybe you experience this in your workplace as well. If you work as a team member and you are often told to “collaborate” towards a goal, you may be all too familiar with this. My job position is very straightforward and everyone does their own thing with little room for variance. But I know that some of you have to swallow your pride and let your coworkers do things in a way you would never consider to be the best route. Shouldn’t your spouse get the same respect and autonomy?

It is hard in relationships to fight the urge to fix the other person. Tell them how to set the table. Correct the way they pair socks together. Suggest they alter their recipe. We insist we are well meaning and even the most in-love couples tend to do it. It’s so natural to assume our way is the best way.

And while it is perfectly fine to offer an alternative way of doing a chore, it can be unhelpful to redo a chore someome just did. Not only does this make for double work but it could stir up some frustration in the spouse that catches you doing it. I am guilty of doing this occasionally and I am not entirely sure if Brian has ever noticed it or if he is too gracious to comment on it. Buttttt I try my best to refrain, haha.

There are lots of things that he does that makes me roll my eyes and I’m sure there are tons of little things I do that he shakes his head at as well. However, we are both very agreeable people and it is not really in our personality to make little things into big arguments. We accommodate and adjust to one another the best we can and move on without saying much about it. You can attribute us getting along so well to the newness of us living together but I like to think it is deeper than that. Anyway, here are some of our “differences”😉:

1) The way we load the dishwasher.
He insists that only plates go on the bottom so that the water can easily make its way to the dishes on top. I think it is fine to put some other things on bottom-otherwise we are running it with far too few dishes in there. I mostly just do plates at the bottom though because I know it bugs him and it’s not worth aggravating him over.

2) Boxes near the trashcan.
I really don’t like that he puts pizza boxes or cereal boxes near the trashcan way before it ever makes its way in. However, I don’t seem it necessary to tell him every single time. I simply break down the boxes and throw them away. He does things like this for me as well.

3) Bill organization.
Once upon a time our bills were kept on the counter and then I’d get sick of looking at them and transfer them to the top of the fridge. Brian wanted easy access to them but I wanted them out of eyesight. I think he got sick of fighting me on that one and so now they are nearly tucked away in a drawer.

4) Coffee pods.
He had big boxes of coffee pods on the counter and since we have little counter space, I saw this as problematic. He though, saw no point in putting it in the cabinet since he needed it every single morning. Soooo against my very nature I decided to leave them out for him to make his mornings happier. But in Catey fashion. I put a little organizer bin beside the coffee maker and sorted them by flavor and added his green tea beside the coffee. Now we are both satisfied and nobody is irritated.

There are more examples I’m sure but those are the most recent compromises that I can recall so we will just leave it at that. Here is guide to gauge whether or not you should interject your opinion about how your spouse does a chore:

1) How urgent is the matter?
How life altering would it really be if they tucked the sheets precisely like you do or whatever it is that differs between you two. Unless it truly saves your family significantly more time with each other or money, who cares. Life is too short to yell at someone because they take four business days to fold a basket of laundry. Either develop a different system or just accept the reality of the fact that your spouse’s strong suit is not laundry. Some battles are simply not worth rehashing over and over.

2) Are you approaching them with kindness or harsh words?
Saying “have you ever thought of doing it this way?” is much less likely to put someone on the defensive than “why would you do it that way” or even “it makes more sense to do it this way”. Suggesting they are not intelligent for how they do something is only going to add tension to the house and make that chore an ongoing argument.

3) Always look at your intention.
There is a reason you are approaching your spouse about the way they wipe the counters down. Is it really because you believe a certain way will be more beneficial or is it because you have leftover anger from a hard day. If you are grouchy and suddenly have the urge to point out all their “errors”, you may want to approach the topic another day. You’ll probably find that when you are in a good mood, these same things don’t phase you a bit. We often use tiny differences in how we do household chores as outlets to release built up emotions over unrelated things.

Your spouse is your teammate, not your enemy. Work to find ways that make your house a cozy environment of give and take. Household chores do not have to be poison to a marriage but instead can be something that brings harmony to your relationship.

Cook together while you can, and create memories trying new dishes. Fold clothes side by side as you discuss your thoughts from the day.

Don’t let the little details of house maintenance overshadow the big reasons why you fell in love and committed to your person. You can both thrive with your individuality in tact, you will just have to compromise along the way.

Published by Catey

Passionate about being a mindful and present mommy to my baby girl and sharing my journey, resources, and tips with you. Thank you for being here. Warmly, Catey

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