Sure, a dirty home drives you nuts, But it's your own attitude that's causing chaos with the hubby.
You've arrived home from work and you just want to kick off your shoes, sit down, put your feet up, and have a drink.
You want to relax, but you can't.
It's hard to remember how to be happy when, once again, your partner hasn't done those few simple things you requested of him to make your mutual home just a bit neater. Socks are on the floor (still from this morning), the toilet paper wasn't replaced, and the leftover teabag is still in its mug on the coffee table. Oye, men! Now you have to do it, because how can you possibly relax when these simple things are still in the way?
Wait, what's really going on here?
Is it really about the socks, the toilet paper, and the leftover tea bag? Or is it something else? These situations signify seeds of annoyance.
You feel constantly irked at your partner for not chipping in like you do. Why can't they just do these little things? You're annoyed because they're not done, and now you're stuck doing them. Or, so you think.
It's not easy, but you need to make things simple for you both to relax and enjoy each other's company, no matter what still needs doing around the house. It actually IS possible to handle the seemingly small domestic tasks in a fashion that fosters a feeling of unity between you both as a couple.
1. Remember that you are a team.
When considering who should do what, it helps to have the perspective that as a couple, you are one unit with four hands, not two separate sets of hands. It's easy to forget that we're a team, especially in the modern era when we expect domestic tasks will somehow magically split 50/50. But in reality, task rarely divide up evenly.
We're sometimes annoyed by domestic tasks because we really want to share them with our partner. We feel lonely doing it by ourselves, so be sure to remember:
- Keep communication open and honest to help diminish annoyances by not letting them build up in the first place.
- Talk things out to decide what each of you really likes to do in order to avoid conflict.
- Recognize that there will be things that you'll both like, and things that you both won't like.
Oftentimes, just meeting together assuages the feelings of loneliness you might have when you feel like you're doing so much by yourself. It's also a way to hear your partner's perspective, and to remind yourself about what they are doing, making you feel more empathy for them.
2. Quit the domestic workaholic facade.
The problem is not usually that your partner is not doing enough, but rather that you're doing too much. Chances are, you'll benefit from giving yourself permission to do less, thereby stopping to constantly pick up the pieces on domestic tasks.
And surprisingly, this solution might well be applied to you both of you: Not only do I need to do less, but in fact WE BOTH need to do less.
- Prioritize what you really have to do to maintain your home.
- Throw perfection out the window.
- Reduce your tasks to the bare minimum to balance what works for your relationship.
You can even put a time limit on domestic tasks for each day, and otherwise, just say no, because it's not worth it for you as a unified couple.
3. Try not to project onto him.
Projection is a defense mechanism meant to protect us. It's unconscious. In the case of annoyance being projection, it's because the little things only annoy you when they're a struggle for you.
On the flip side, take the neatnik who just picks up stuff and is not bothered by the fact that others don't pick up. His threshold for mess is zero, and therefore he's okay with doing it. It's not about other people. But, for those who do get annoyed, the annoyance signifies the kernel of truth that we ourselves don't really want to do the task either.
We're conflicted because we'd like to not be saddled by it. We're standing and they're sitting? I'm annoyed because I'd like sit, too. Recognizing that your annoyance is partially, if not fully, about projection enables you to forgive both of you and keep things in perspective. I'm just going to change the toilet paper; it's not a big deal.
4. Laugh, sing, or dance, whether it's alone or together.
- Need to hang the laundry? Put on an episode of a sitcom you both love.
- Need to do dishes and you're by yourself? Hum your wedding song.
- Need to put books back on the shelf? Do a dance move and swing right into your partner.
- Making the tasks fun not only makes them into a diversion, it might also entice your partner into doing the task, too.
5. Hire a third party cleaner or organizer.
Hire out, automate, and delegate.
We can alleviate annoyance simply by having someone other than you or your partner complete the tasks. Some couples hire a cleaning service to come in once a day for an hour to wash dishes and clear up, or once per week for 3 hours to do a full cleaning.
In terms of automating, you can take advantage of direct-deposit bill paying plans that alleviate the rising stack of bills left unpaid. If you have children, you can delegate tasks to them—such as laundry (the entire process from stain-removing to washing, drying, and folding). Pay an organizer to track your budget and expenditures, perhaps even giving them power of attorney to handle relevant bureaucratic matters.
I know many of these options are questions of money, but if you can dedicate more time at the office to offset the cost, it enables you to spend more relaxation time with your partner, instead of dealing with domestic matters when you arrive home. Even if you just spend some funds on a once a week or once per month cleaner or organizer, money can actually buy peace with your partner.
It's understandable to feel overwhelmed by all the things that need to get done in the home and to feel annoyed when it seems your partner is not pulling their weight.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to handle domestic tasks in ways which bring you closer together, instead of driving you apart. By addressing tasks at home as a unit, not only will the relationship survive, but it will have even more of a forum to thrive.