You probably wouldn't guess it, but I'm a fairly fastidious person. I love bleach like I love cotton candy (read: a lot). With three kids, it's pretty hard to keep up with the chores, and it's even harder when your partner doesn't find chores to be something "worth doing." I won't lie: this difference of opinion led to many fights between us, although it did not cause our impending divorce.
Here's what I wish I'd done about chores when we were still together.
1) Be open, upfront, and honest about the way you want your living quarters to look. That's vital and a discussion that needs to happen before you're screaming over his inability to throw away his trash or her inability to put dirty clothes in the laundry.
2) Decide what will work for each of you. Marriage is all about compromise - neither person gets it "their way" which means that you're both going to have to change your expectations so that you're on the same page.
3) Decide which of the chores are really necessary to everyone's health and well-being. Just because you're a neat freak doesn't mean your partner has to flip out each time someone spills a drop of coffee on the counter.
4) Create a chore chart of chores that must be done on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. This can include things as simple as "taking out the trash" or "loading the dishwasher."
5) Decide, based on ability and preference, who will take care of what chores and write them down. I suggest a Google Calendar, but there's a zillion apps out there for just that. I like Google Calendar's because you can share then and even have them set up auto-reminders to tell you what you're supposed to be doing.
6) Remember that not all chores are created equal and divide them accordingly. Starting the dishwasher is NOT as hard as washing all the floors, so make sure the chart is fair.
7) If your partner's chores go unfinished, remind him or her nicely (NO NAGGING!) that he or she needs to finish their chore. If it's impossible for some reason (migraine or something like that), offer to help. It's a partnership.
8) Understand that YOUR way isn't always the RIGHT way and if your partner does things differently? That's okay. You don't have to be in total control about everything.
9) Be sure to thank each other for completion of each chore. Not only is it nice to feel appreciated, it's a great way to make sure you continue using your chore chart.
10) Whatever you do, don't let resentments build up inside you and fester. Those negative feelings will only fester until they explode in a nasty fight. If your partner isn't pulling his or her weight around the house, talk to them about the agreed-upon chore chart.
How do you divide up chores in your house?
Image via EvelynGiggles/Flickr
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside