I do love a clean house, and I don’t mind rolling up my sleeves and doing my bit, but as part of a family of five, ‘doing my bit’ can quickly turn into ‘doing it all’, if I don’t engage the rest of my crew. Easier said than done I hear you say.
Talking about housework with my partner and three sons is far from thrilling, but in many ways, it’s some of the most important dialogue we’ve had when it comes to my own sanity and wellbeing.
As a starting point, if you’d like to have a positive and productive conversation with your partner about sharing the load at home better, and start to reduce the immeasurable tension a lack of equality can cause in relationships, consider these 3 techniques:
1. Reflect on your current reality.
After taking a handful of deep breathes (trust me, this helps!), scribble down how you are currently feeling about the domestic load and how it is shared. Consider what is working well, then identify the things you’d like to change. Note any trigger points and jot down any ideas you’ve had about how things could work better. Consider what the changes would mean to you.
2. Focus on the positive outcome.
When it comes to speaking with your partner, give them a heads up first. Resist the temptation to get into a blame game, and instead, be open to sharing with them how carrying too much of the load is negatively impacting you. Discuss the positive outcome you’re hoping to achieve.
Have a think about the common ground that exists – like a calmer you, less stressful household, reduced conflict, children building life skills, and the sense of contribution and team work that you’ll achieve. If all else fails, we know that couples who share the load equally also enjoy a better sex life… this is potentially an end benefit that could serve as a motivator?
3. Open the gate.
Finally, one powerful thing you can do is to decide (and share) that things don’t have to be done your way, and that you want to share the ownership, not just the ‘doing’ of the work. When you manage the lion’s share of the domestic load, it can be tempting to want things done your way, and to your preferred standard. Letting go of this urge to control, and lowering your standards in some areas can be a key enabler to others taking ownership of the work to be done. It’s the opposite of maternal gatekeeping – a mother’s tendency to ‘control’, or have the final say when it comes to parenting and domestic jobs.
Initiating a positive and productive conversation that results in your partner’s willingness to re-evaluate how things are done at your place might be the most important conversation you have this year. Getting it right is well worth the effort – it’s the first step in building a fairer distribution of the mental and physical load at home.
The next step, is building a partnership plan that everyone in the family can sign up for. In our access-anywhere True Partnership at Home Program, we guide you step-by-step through our system that works. We share with you the 4 strategies that we know work and we give you the tools and resources to make the changes you seek at home. Improving the balance of work at home is totally possible, and we’re with you every step of the way. Register for a free sample of our program today and get a taste of the program.