Expert Speak

The best way to deal with a husband who doesn’t do household chores

Men who haven't grown up doing household chores carry the same attitude into marriage. With tact and patience, women can get their men to do their share of building a home
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Husbands and household chores

Let us face facts; women do most of the household chores in Indian homes. Working women spend almost twice as much time as working men on household chores and caring for children, according to a recent survey in the US. The household gender gap is one of the biggest frictions in a marriage.

Husbands doing household chores should not just be a weekend event but a daily routine. In a patriarchal society like India where most husbands haven’t helped in household chores as sons, it is always better to divide the chores immediately after marriage. Home is an equal responsibility; therefore, whether a wife is working or a stay at home mother, it is mandatory that the husband has to help at home. The home is complete when both the partners help build it. If the husband hasn’t been helping till now, he can always begin today.

To begin with, stop mommying him. Be the wife and the partner.

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Men loathe being told what to do, especially if they’re on the verge of doing it. Don’t be his boss, either.

How to get your husband to pitch in with household chores at home where lines of responsibility are blurred by the social constraints from the past?

Related reading: 7 home chores every wife wishes her husband would take care of

Tips to get your husband to do his share of housework

1. Always remember that you and your husband are a team and not opponents; you are in a relationship for the long haul. Therefore, understand his capabilities and begin with a little at a time.

2. Do not keep a scorecard, as this will only slow down the understanding between the two of you. It’s not about 50/50 but about who enjoys what and who does what well. Therefore, division of chores isn’t always equal.

3. Make a list of things to be done at home and mark who has been doing them so far. Confront your husband on this imbalance and get him to accept that he has the bandwidth to do more at home.

4. A man thinks straight, so ask him straight for what you want him to do, instead of blaming him for what he hasn’t been doing. Both of you sit together and chalk out who will do what, without any altercations. Divide chores into easy, moderate and tough tasks and then divide them between the two of you.

5. You maybe a perfectionist, but when you have two people doing the chores at home, then you have to lower your standards and expectations.

6. When your husband takes up a chore, then it’s up to him how he does it. You can’t dictate terms and conditions. There are no right or wrong ways to do household chores; they just have to get done. So give him the complete responsibility of a certain chore. Let him be the master of that domain and then the onus of completing the task is on him.

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7. Do not supervise or re-do the work he has done. Sociologists call it “gatekeeping” – women who demand domestic help while trying to control every aspect of the household. If you re-do the work, you are giving him the message that he is no good. Do not criticise him for doing his work clumsily. Appreciate his methodology.

8. The reason household chores are boring is because they are mundane and never changing. Switch your roles in between, so that there is no monotony. Make the work fun.

9. If he doesn’t do his share of the work, do not sabotage his attempt by doing it and then complain about his incompetence. Leave it and just don’t do it and let him come back and do his share of the work.

10. Make it very clear that the advantage of sharing chores is to have more time together as a couple. This should be the romantic reward.

11. Parenting is also a partnership. Both parents have to be equally involved in raising the children. Women gatekeep during parenting also, as they have trouble letting go of their influence over children, saying that men are irresponsible and not protective enough.

Understand that having a man get into the system of doing household chores will take time; therefore, be patient and flexible. When all else fails, hire a housekeeper and tell the husband how much you are spending for that.

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2 Comments

  1. I believe the best way to deal with a husband who completely resists the idea of doing household chores, is to give him a taste of his own medicine by yourself not doing the chores. What do you think?

  2. This is such an eye opener and a game changer. It just tells in a precise manner how to maintain the balance in a thoughtful manner. I am blessed to grow up in a household where my dad always helps my mom in the domestic chores. But then as a young woman I have often wondered whether my husband would do that for me. I always apprehended if it’s something you get only when you demand. But now I know, it can be done in a very healthy manner.

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