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February 21, 2013

How to Get Your Spouse to Help Out More!

I will preface this blog by saying that the title is a work in progress for me. As a work at home mom, I assume a large portion of the housework.  I bear this burden rightfully so, due in large by the fact that I run a home office and I'm home more often than my husband. While this is practical and true it does not make me the sole bearer of these responsibilities, therefore we have found ways to compromise in our shared duties. Two things to note from my previous statement, 1.The beginning of this is sounding like a contract that is bound together by two tight stiffed attorneys who have chosen to co-habit and 2. The most important point is my husband and I have found a place of compromise not equality but compromise and this really is the point. 

With that being said, and considering I am the queen of 5 tips; here are tried and true practical ways to get your spouse to help out at home.


1. Compromise-  This one is huge! I find that oftentimes as women tend to take an all or nothing approach(ok maybe that is just me). We want equality, unity, and everyone pulling their own weight. While this is commendable it may not always be practical and such is the case with housework. First, be honest based on experience, time, and resources one person will carry more responsibility than another person and that's ok. If that person is you, come to terms with this truth and realize it is far better to shoulder some responsibility than all of it. Once you recognize that you are or are not the head honcho its time to delegate. You will finder it much easier to figure out which tasks your spouse, should be responsible for once you acknowledge where he/she is truly needed.

2. Perfomance not Perfection - This one is big too! If you are into a perfected way of doing things (again this may only be applicable to me and I accept that) you will have to release this for the purposes of compromise. If your spouse assists you and their help is not sufficient they will decline to help again. With that being said, leave them to their performance and not perfection. Let them know that their help is appreciated even if its not done right and by right I mean your way.  Over time with patience (yours) and practice (theirs) perfection will come in the interim don't throw away effort for the ideal. You will have both soon enough, even if it means double work for now. 

3. Communicate- Be very concise and clear about your needs and desires. Tell your spouse what you need them to do and how you expect it to be done. Tone and well thought out choice words will be important in this conversation, you don't want to come off condescending. This conversation is important if you are ever going to move past the performance stage.  This is strictly for the person who bears the burden of taking care of the home. You should be effective in communicating what your desires are, for example: I like the beds made before we leave for work in the morning because this gives me less work to do the evening. This is clear, concise, has purpose, and informs of your needs and communicates your desires.

4. Be grateful- If your spouse can only take out the trash, drop kids off at school, and clean the restroom once a week be grateful. Remember their assistance is based on your needs and their resource of time. If more time becomes available and/or you have more needs make changes accordingly, in the interim be thankful. Everyone values being appreciated even in the smallest things.

5. Find alternatives- If resources permit find alternatives. While pregnant with our 3rd child I was simply too exhausted to do my normal household duties. My spouse was in the middle of a major contract and was not in a position to do them either so we found other resources. I was still responsible for managing our home on a daily basis, however  once or twice a month someone came to our home to clean. This helped out tremendously and gave me the freedom in my schedule to accomplish other goals (like sleep). If you find that you are unable to get your spouse to pitch in at all, carve out a small budget for additional resources even its simply once a month. This will relieve you from being solely responsible for all of the work and your spouse from the guilt (or joy) of not helping at all.

It has been stated that second to money housework is one of the major factors in divorce, it really doesn't have to be this way. Running your home is much like running a business, devise a strategy and plan and put it to work. This way you are operating on functionality and practicality, not emotions and motive. 

Make it a great Mommy day! Don't forget to visit me on FB or my blog at

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