Why I Stopped Thanking My Husband For Helping Out

Over it.

A bride and groom kissing on the wedding day Photographer: Erik Groothuis 

Men and Women. Mars and Venus. Bride and groom. Romeo and Juliet. Jack and Rose. Like peanut butter and jelly, we've been smooshed together and made to work together in society despite seemingly being from different planets. 

Since the beginning of time, women have been stuck cleaning up the cave while the men run out into the world to hunt for wild boar. 

We've had a lot of differences and sometimes it feels as if we're speaking different languages.


One of those languages involves putting shoes on the shoe rack and one doesn't, but I digress.

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Despite being from different planets we've all managed to cohabitate, date, get married, and have children all while trying to achieve that Insta-perfect family. 

In the 1950s, the American dream involved a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a mom who played the happy homemaker (though we all know she was stashing wine in the cookie jar.)

She wore a perfect dress, styled her hair and makeup every day, raised children, kept the house clean, and cooked all with a smile on her face while her husband went to work and brought home the bacon. These days, women are bringing home that Grade-A bacon and still cooking it up along with a huge three-course breakfast. 


This idealized version of domesticity has somehow stuck around in many households despite the fact that women have now joined the workforce.

This traditional household has carried into 2023 with women doing a majority of the cooking, cleaning, and childcare on top of full-time jobs. 

In a 2020 Gallup poll, women were the likelier sex to do laundry (59%), clean the house (51%), care for children on a daily basis (50%), and grocery shop (45%). Yet, in a 2019 Gallup poll, a record 56% of women claimed they prefer working over homemaking. 

In my household, my husband and I both have our own businesses and are able to make our own flexible schedules. However, that usually means our work is never done, and phone calls and emails are answered at all hours of the day. 


We have a 3-year-old daughter and I've taken on the majority of her care since she was born while working from home when I have time (mostly because she was attached to my boob for the first 2 years of her life.) 

Now, however, she's older and we've made a schedule in which she attends play group or goes to her grandmother's house a couple of times a week so I can work.

My husband has taken on more of the care which equates to a few hours each week, but I still do almost everything like the morning and afternoon care as well as all the mental work like buying diapers and clothes, scheduling her week, planning appointments, etc. 

On Sunday mornings while my husband and daughter are chilling on the couch together, I'm running through a list of all the things I have to get done before Monday morning and running around like a headless chicken while I vacuum up crumbs off the carpet. 


And, at times, it can sometimes feel like his business comes first, and really, why should that be the case? My job and my things are just as important, but as women, we've been conditioned by society to feel like our husband's career takes precedence.

Society has come a long way, and dad's are often seen pitching in a hand when necessary, including changing diapers and taking the kids to the park.

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Here's the thing though: My husband tries, he really does, but as the woman of the house, I can't help feeling as if I need to thank him for literally every little thing he does because it feels like my job. 

  • He cooks dinner one night? "Oh thank you, my love!" 
  • He brushes our daughter's teeth? "Thank, you sweetie!"
  • He makes a sandwich for our daughter? "Thanks for doing that!"

It's word vomit that I just can't stop. It keeps spewing out of my mouth like I've got some kind of gratitude food poisoning.

And the worst part? I do all of those things on a daily basis without a one-woman audience standing behind me and cheering me on.

I decided for a week straight that I would make it my goal to stop thanking my husband for doing normal things around the house that he should both be taking part in, like caring for our daughter and helping out in the kitchen. Here are the results of my little experiment: 

Monday: My husband cooked dinner tonight, and I did end up thanking him but I don't really count it as a failure since he also thanks me for doing this almost every night, even if I burned it and refused to order pizza out of sheer ego. 


Tuesday: My husband tried to do the dinner dishes tonight and though he was being helpful I stepped in to make sure everything was rinsed before it went into the dishwasher. Somehow though, I still thanked him for the effort.

Wednesday: My husband watched our daughter for a few hours while I got some work done today, and even though I wasn't on a vacation or enjoying a day at the spa, I still thanked him. It fell out of my mouth before I could take it back and I fully regret it. 

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Thursday: I made a huge effort today to not thank my husband for any of the things he does that I do on a daily basis, and yet I couldn't help the tight feeling in my throat. It wanted to come out so bad like that tingly feeling you get before you're about to throw up. 


Friday: Somehow the lack of thanking him during the week lead to a bit of resentment on my part. Throughout the week I had tried to see us as equals but every time I saw his shoes not on the rack or clothes on the chair or dishes in the sink I got more and more annoyed. Thanking him had always made me look for the positive, and I had stopped doing that. 

Saturday: I thought not thanking my husband for the little things he did around the house would somehow put us on equal footing but it mostly just made me feel like I was pulling more weight than I should, and I found myself muttering under my breath.

Sunday: By the end of the week I realized that the majority of the things I do in the house are actually because I like them done in a certain way, and would prefer my husband just stay out of the way (romantic, right?) 


In a way, I concluded that it's not always his fault that I do everything. I have a certain way I like things done and sometimes don't even allow him to pitch in when he wants to. 

For other things, I need to be more flexible in allowing him to take control sometimes; like when we need to get our daughter ready for the day or do the dishes. As long as it's done, it doesn't matter if the dishes are stacked in the washer incorrectly or if our daughter went to school looking like she just took a spin through the dryer.

It's important to thank your partner for everything they do, but it's not always necessary to say it 1,200 times a day. You don't need to say "good job, here's a cookie" just because he got his clothes into a laundry basket with a lid on it. If your husband can parallel park and change the oil in the car, he can surely get his socks in a basket — on most days.

I did feel a new appreciation for my husband by the end of the week though, as I realized he shows his gratitude in several ways, and also thanks me more than I paid attention to in the past. 


Thanking your husband doesn't have to be a bad thing as long as it's reciprocated, and keeping a score is probably not the best thing for your marriage. Also, ladies, we could stand to release a little bit of control over how the dishwasher is stacked or the way the bed is made. 

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Sarah Veldman is a freelance writer. She has been published on various sites like Bustle, The Everygirl, HelloGiggles, and more.