Many of you resonated with the post on Tuesday about playfulness and creating margins–specifically, the paragraphs on housework.
And a lot of your comments were around the same topic: the emotional (or mental) load of housework.
It’s Rebecca (Sheila’s daughter) chiming in today!
We’ve had some health issues this week (nothing serious, we’ll be back on our feet for next week) so Sheila (my mom) backed out of the podcast this week and my husband Connor and I recorded a mini-podcast where we discussed how we managed to shift the emotional load of housework off of my shoulders so that we both began to carry it. Think of it like an extended “millennial marriage” segment!
Check it out:
For those of you who don’t have time to listen, (it’s less than 20 minutes this week!) here is a summary:
1. We both realized that Connor was just as capable as I was when it came to cleaning.
We used to have a chores list that broke down room by room what needed to get done. So instead of “clean the bathroom,” it was a list of the 17 tasks that go into cleaning the bathroom. I didn’t need the list, but Connor sometimes forgot things if they weren’t specifically asked. So we tried out the list.
Eventually it got really really frustrating to have to remind him of little things because I realized: Connor is just as capable as I am. I just had more training.
I may have started off with more knowledge, but there was nothing inherently superior about me that made me better suited for housework. He just had to be trained, like I was trained! So after using the list for a bit, I started just having to ask “Can you clean the bathroom” and he knew exactly what to do.
2. We had to change our mindset to understand that housework was something we did for US
Before, when Connor did the dishes or swept he felt like he was doing me a favour. I felt guilty asking him to do too much, and I felt guilty when I got mad at him for not seeing things that I saw.
We eventually realized that housework wasn’t just one spouse’s responsibility–when I asked him to do the dishes, it wasn’t for me. It was for our family. The dishes simply have to get done, whether he was married or single. So there was no reason for it to be “MY” job simply because I was the wife.
This single shift made the biggest difference–and it was a mindset shift both of us had to have.
3. I stopped hovering and gave Connor more autonomy around the house.
I used to literally hover over Connor’s shoulder and watch him as he did dishes. Literally breathing down his neck. It’s pretty hard to take ownership of the job you’re doing if you aren’t given any independence.
Since I knew that Connor was just as capable as I was and he also agreed that cleaning was a family issue, not a Rebecca issue, I had to learn to trust him and give him space in this area. So when we have a friend coming over, I can just say, “Time to clean up” and he says, “Which rooms do you want?” not, “What do you want me to do?” because he’s also taking ownership of wanting to have a clean home to invite his friends into.
Then, when he’s done cleaning, I don’t inspect it. Because I’m not his manager–we’re partners. And I can trust my partner, because if it’s not up to good standards he’s the one who did it wrong, not me for not managing him better.
These simple mindset shifts have helped not only take some of the stress off of my shoulders, but also have given Connor a chance to show me how much he loves me. I’m an acts of service kind of person, so coming home to the dishes being done is a huge deal. But it wasn’t until we figured out these three things together that it all “clicked.”
So that’s what we did! What about you? What did you do? Let us know in the comments!
And do listen in to the podcast–it’s a bit of a different one this week since it’s just Connor and Rebecca and not Sheila, but it’s a fun one. And it’s short!