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I’m going to address a problem today that seems to come up frequently. It’s a problem that women have vented to me about in person, but I also see it come up in more public settings places like mom groups on Facebook.
So, obviously it needs to be addressed.
What is this mysterious problem, you ask?
Getting your husband to help around the house.
Since every person is different, there’s no single way to tackle this issue. But hopefully I can give you some ideas to start with these tips:
1-) Have a conversation
Women sometimes hold things in that are bothering them. But without talking about it, we often start to resent our husband (or partner) and, eventually, pick a fight on the issue.
Don’t do that.
Simply put, waiting until you need to explode to talk about your husband’s lack of help around the house is only going to put him on the defensive. Which is going to make him less likely to want to help.
Instead, choose a time within the next week where you talk (not yell!) to him honestly. Tell him how taking the burden of all the housework makes you feel and come up with specific ways he can help ease that burden. He’ll be much more likely to listen and help out when you approach it in a way that isn’t attacking.
2-) Just tell him!
I’m not sure if this is a general trend, but in my experience Ted is willing to help. But he is also blind to most of the messes in the house and therefore needs to be told what to do. So, I oblige.
The key here is to be as specific as possible. If I ask Ted to “clean the bathroom” I’m going to end up disappointed because my definition of a clean bathroom and his definition of a clean bathroom don’t line up.
However, there’s a lot less confusion if I say “scrub the toilets.” He gets it, you get it, and everyone ends up happy!
3-) Consider the consequences
Once upon a time a certain husband would scoop the cat litter. He then would leave the bag on a shelf next to the litter box instead of throwing it directly in the trash.
His wonderful wife mentioned it to him a few times, but he kept doing it.
Finally his wife got fed up. One morning, she made their bed with all the pillows and blankets on her side, and placed only a bag of scooped cat litter on his side. She then left it there for him to come home to after work.
When he got home, she proceeded to warn him that next time she would open the bag and dump it on his side of the bed.
And the husband never left the cat litter on the shelf again…
Now, this is a somewhat extreme example. And in this case the wife (me) and her husband (Ted) have a laid back enough relationship that it didn’t cause a big drama.
But making it known that there are consequences when things don’t get done is a really good way to make your partner start helping. So if you have to hide the toilet paper because he never changes the roll then by all means do so…
4-) Write it down publicly
You know what the most frustrating excuse for a husband or partner not following through on helping is?
You know what I mean…the struggle is real! Can I hear an “Amen”?!
So, how do you stop your husband from “forgetting?” Write it down where you know he will see it! Then the “forgetfulness” excuse no longer works.
5-) Don’t jump in
When our husbands do help, many of us tend to disapprove of their thoroughness and jump in. Then we say something along the lines of “move out of the way, I’ll do it.”
Look, at the end of the day if we want help and we want it done thoroughly, jumping in and doing something ourselves to “do it right” is hurting everyone. It frustrates us because now we have “extra” work to do, and it makes our partners feel like they’re incapable of doing housework.
Instead of looking over their shoulder and getting frustrated the second they do something differently, leave them to it. Let them finish before you judge.
Once they’re done then you can inspect. If they didn’t do a great job show them where they missed and ask them to go over it again. The next time they have to do that job they’ll be more likely to look out for those issues and do a better job. But he may surprise you and do a good job from the start!
Those are my tips on how to get your husband to help around the house. What have you done to get your husband or partner to help out? Let us know in the comments!
And for more cleaning advice, check out How to Clean While You Sleep: 8 Chores to Do While You Snooze, Home Management Tasks You Can Do in 15 Minutes or Less, and Why You Should Ignore Cleaning Advice That Combines Vinegar and Baking Soda