It’s a common complaint – a little bit of Cinderella Syndrome. The mom does all kinds of housework and feels like a slave. Or, the dad will work all day then do all sorts of outdoor chores with grumbles under his breath. Too much to do and not enough time, energy, or help. Worse yet, the spirit and environment of the home becomes tense and resentful.
So what do we parents often do? Either not ask anyone and hope people will read our minds, or complain and whine frequently to anyone who will listen. I’ll raise my hand here, I’ve done these things too. It’s time we took a look at this situation and some better things we can do about it.
Not Enough To Just Make a Chore List
Even the neatest, most organized chore list will get ignored eventually. When family members don’t seem to pull their weight, it will probably take more than gold stickers to get them back on track. Make it clear that you expect help in these certain ways at these times.
Their fun and privileged activities depend on their cooperation. When they slack off, give them a consequence that they’ll notice. If a child has to stay home folding laundry while their siblings are playing with friends, they might be more inclined to get it done earlier next time.
Tell Your Spouse About Your Frustrations
Maybe your spouse is part of the problem, and maybe they’re not. Tell them about your frustrations anyway – tell them you need to figure out something different. Maybe they’ll have a fresh idea you hadn’t thought about. If you have specific feedback or ways you would like your spouse to help out, tell them in an honest but decent way. You might be surprised what happens when you actually use words to communicate what you need.
Wives are notorious for bagging up all their unspoken concerns and holding a grudge against everyone. Lazy kids, ungrateful husband, grrr… Husbands can do it too, but women just seem to be better at it. Just sayin’. Again, I raise my hand here. Guilty.
Re-Prioritize What’s Important To Get Done At Home
So maybe you don’t need your house to be ready for a home decor magazine photo shoot. Are you holding any unrealistic standards for yourself or your family? Are you holding on to way too much clutter? Do you absolutely have to vacuum every week? I’m serious – you need to keep your home sanitary and livable, but you might be complicating the issue or making life harder than it needs to be. You might need to loosen up on some things to keep your stress in order.
Readers – I’d like to know what you think about when you could use some help around the house but you don’t seem to get it? How have you handled it successfully?
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Last reviewed: 3 Jul 2010