While gender roles have become more blurred as time has gone on, many men and women still find themselves battling the problems that come with these traditional categorizations. One hot button issue is housework—it is especially problematic these days as many women are working just as long and hard as men, and then take on the second shift of maid and caregiver when they return home. This is a problem for stay-at-home moms too, who may feel overwhelmed with the responsibilities of child care, and want their husbands to help a bit with the upkeep of their abode. If you find yourself struggling to get your husband to pitch in, here are some strategies that may help. Provided you apply them with some diligence and consistency, you will likely experience an improvement.
Try to See Things from His Perspective
One of the best ways to effect change and resolve conflict is to try and see things from the other person’s perspective and understand where he is coming from. Just like you may not give a hoot how the lawn looks (and it is your husband’s obsession), he may not care if the living room is vacuumed every other day or that the bathtub is sparkling clean, so he does not feel compelled to tackle these issues; if his mom was on cleaning duty growing up, perhaps he never really learned how to clean. My fiancée is as smart as a whip, but he had no idea how to work a washing machine—once I showed him, he did laundry all the time. By trying to put yourself in his shoes, you may feel a little less angry about the situation and not take it as a personal affront to you—you can discuss the situation from a calmer place, and that always gets better results.
Focus on Positive Reinforcement
Just like children, pets or anybody else, your husband will respond well to positive reinforcement; ultimately, husbands want to make their wives happy as it is clearly of benefit to themselves as well. You may think that you should not have to thank them for something that they are supposed to be doing, but if you want to effect real change in how the housework gets done, you need to swallow your pride and put your ego aside for a bit. Thank your husband, compliment him on the good job he has done. Do not focus on what he did wrong or that he did not do it the way you wanted it done—this just sets you up for a fight where he gives up and tells you that you should just do it yourself if you are just going to criticize or imply that you can do it the right way.
Discuss Why You Value a Clean Home
The common way couples deal with problems is just to scream and fight about things, with each side accusing the other; everybody is mad, nothing gets solved and the pattern repeats over and over. When we learn to really communicate and talk about our feelings, real progress can get made. Talk to your husband about why you value a clean home and how disorder negatively impacts you. This advice may seem overly serious for something like trying to get your husband to do the dishes and put his dirty laundry in the hamper, but it really is not. But, if he can understand that keeping the house in order makes you feel more energetic or happy, or helps combat anxiety, he will be more inclined to do his part. So, the next time you find yourself wanting to bite his head off about not emptying the dishwasher, it would be a good time to have this conversation.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs frequently about various topics regarding the domestic landscape; if you are in need of appliances for your home, she recommends following the links to a great variety of products, such as Proctor Silex irons and Proctor Silex coffee makers.