Dear Husband, It’s Time To Step It Up On the Chores
I’ll cut to the chase: You need to step it up on the chores.
I know we’re both tired and stressed. We’re both wondering where in the world we’ll get the energy to feed, wash, and put the kids to bed before collapsing ourselves. You’re also wondering if we’ll ever have sex again while I’m more interested in getting six hours of uninterrupted sleep.
FYI: when I have to clean the kitchen after putting the little one to bed because you decided to binge watch World’s Deadliest Catch instead of dealing with the dishes, I can tell you right now what my priority is going to be.
Raising a family and running a household requires a shit ton of work. Yes, that’s right: it’s work, just like leaving the house for an office job is work or staying home with the kids is work. It’s in addition to the work we both do 9 to 5 and it needs to be divvied up between us. At the moment, most of it is on me and I’m telling you right now, it isn’t good for our marriage.
Household work isn’t my sole responsibility with you helping out one chore at a time when asked. The work of maintaining our home belongs to both of us. Rather than me owning all the things that need doing and doling them out to you when I finally hit my limit, how about you taking ownership of a few things? I don’t mean for a weekend or a month. I mean ongoing, forever.
To be fair, you’re great with the kids. You spend quality time with them and definitely do your share of meal, bath and bedtime, plus you’re just plain fun. The problem is you don’t do enough of the housework. Constantly asking you to take action is wearing me down. It means I’m still juggling and organizing and thinking about all the things that need doing around here. I’m still carrying the mental load.
I know you think we operate on different timelines, that I like things done right away while you “get to it eventually.” Thing is, some things actually need to happen now and not later, like changing the 2-year-old’s poopy diaper or fixing the leak under the sink. I can do these things as well, but if I ask you to do something, I take it off my mental list because I really, truly need to lighten my load. When you don’t do what you say you’ll do, it creeps back on to that never-ending list and I resent it. Worse, I start to resent you.
And you start to resent me, too. I’m not sure if you’ve forgotten to do the thing you were going to do, so I remind you. You roll your eyes and sigh and say you’ll get to it. A few hours later, it’s still not done. I wonder again if you’re really going to do it or if I should just do the thing myself because repeating the ask isn’t worth the emotional angst. I usually grit my teeth and ask again, which makes me feel shitty, like I’m somehow out of line asking you to do anything around the house. It makes me feel like a whiny nag when all I want is for you to vacuum the playroom.
Let’s face it, a lot of what I do you take for granted. I have no doubt you love living in our clean house where you can always find the remotes (because I put them back on the shelf by the TV at the end of each day), the fridge is fully stocked with the basics plus your favorite beer, you never run out of toothpaste, shaving cream or shampoo, and the bath towels are fresh and fluffy each week.
Even if you vehemently proclaim you can live just as comfortably without cleans sheets or a made bed, I can’t. And that right there is why you need to do more around the house. You need to consider me, and my needs, not just your own. Can you see how exhausted I am working in one capacity or another 18 hours a day? Can you feel the resentment building between us? Do you see that for me to be content and comfortable, I need certain things to happen around the house?
I’m not asking you to suddenly become a full-time cleaning and catering service, but I am asking you to look around at our home, notice what makes it so beautiful, comfortable and functional, and do more to keep it that way. I’m asking you to be a better role model for our kids and a better partner to me.
This isn’t about helping me. This is about each of us owning a share of the work around here. It’s about contributing to our shared life in a way that makes both of us feel appreciated and cared for. You do your part and I’ll do mine and I promise, you’ll have a happier partner.
Oh, and all that worrying you do about our sex life? Studies show that dudes who do housework get laid more, so grab the broom honey and get to work.
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