Relationship wellness

From Chore Wars to Household Harmony

  • Published May 29, 2024

    3 mins read
  • Written by:Alyson Bullock
From Chore Wars to Household Harmony

A Therapist’s Guide to Dividing Housework Fairly

As a couples therapist, I’ve seen firsthand how arguments over household chores can quickly turn into full-blown battles, eroding the foundation of even the strongest relationships. It’s no wonder why – dividing housework fairly is a complex issue, often tangled up in deep-rooted beliefs about gender roles, family history, and personal expectations.

But here’s the good news: with the right tools and mindset, you and your partner can transform housework from a source of conflict into an opportunity for connection and growth. That’s why I created the “From Housework Hell to Heaven” card deck – to help couples like you navigate this tricky terrain with clarity, compassion, and even a little bit of fun.

So, what makes dividing chores such a common trigger for couples? For starters, there’s the issue of invisible labor – all those unseen, often underappreciated tasks that keep a household running smoothly. Think meal planning, appointment scheduling, and remembering Great Aunt Mildred’s birthday. When this work goes unnoticed or unacknowledged, resentment can quickly build.

Then there are differing standards and expectations around what constitutes a “clean” home, often shaped by our upbringings and personal preferences. One partner may feel anxious when the laundry pile reaches Mt. Everest heights, while the other is content to let it grow a little longer.

And let’s not forget the impact of societal norms and gender roles. Despite progress towards equality, studies show that women still shoulder a disproportionate amount of household labor, even when both partners work full-time. This imbalance can breed frustration and resentment, making it harder to approach chores as a team.

So, what’s a couple to do? The key is to approach housework not as a battle to be won, but as a partnership to be nurtured. This means:

  1. Making the invisible visible: Take time to acknowledge and appreciate all the unseen work that goes into running your home.
  2. Communicating openly and honestly: Share your thoughts, feelings, and expectations around housework without judgment or blame.
  3. Focusing on fairness, not 50/50: Aim for an equitable distribution of tasks that plays to each partner’s strengths and availability.
  4. Expressing gratitude: A simple “thank you” can go a long way in making your partner feel seen and valued.
  5. Injecting some fun: Crank up the music, have a race, or reward yourselves with a treat after a big cleaning session.

Ready to put these strategies into practice? That’s where the “From Housework Hell to Heaven” card deck comes in. With 40 thought-provoking prompts and insights, this deck will guide you and your partner through the conversations and exercises needed to create a housework plan that works for your unique relationship.

You’ll learn how to uncover and challenge hidden assumptions, express your needs and preferences clearly, and find creative solutions that leave you both feeling heard and respected. And along the way, you just might discover a newfound appreciation for each other and the home you’re building together.

So why wait? Embrace the journey from chore wars to household harmony, one conversation at a time. Your relationship (and your home) will thank you.

The card deck

Developed by Alyson Bullock, a married millennial mom of 3, therapist turned coach, content creator, and relationship expert.

From Housework Hell to Heaven

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