This guest post is brought to you by Dr. Samantha Rodman (also known as “Dr. Psych Mom” on her blog and social media). I really enjoyed this article- This is a common complaint of many of the women I see in therapy, and her solutions of being direct, appreciative, and realistic are great!
Husbands! They do no housework when left to their own devices. There are evolutionary reasons for this. But I could care less and I’m sure you feel the same. Instead of nagging and then just doing everything yourself, I propose the following 5 point plan to get your husband’s ass off the couch and into your good graces
1- Figure out what your husband’s core competencies are. This is a business term and it means, what does he do really well and enjoy doing? Not goddamn housework, you say. Not so fast, though, Grasshopper. Is he good at any of the following: Fantasy football, Excel spreadsheets, work presentations, or sports? Well, would you look at that, he’s good at ORGANIZATION. No, I’m serious. Or he may be good at problem solving- well you know he is, because of what he does when you try to share your emotions with him. So how do we make use of this newly discovered organizational skill set? Give him a discrete organizational task and express your confidence that he can do it extremely well, perhaps even better than you (don’t pass out).
Example: “Honey, the garage looks like shit because we keep leaving our stuff around. Can you please make it so that there are two rows of crap on the shelves and nothing on the floor? I know you’re good at spatial things, and at problem solving, and this is a big problem for me.”
- You owned your contribution to the problem, which always starts things off on the right foot
- You’re being concrete and not vague in your request which will limit the possibility of miscommunication
- You also are making yourself vulnerable, eg saying this is a problem for you. So if he cares about you, he will want to come in and solve your problem.
2- Express confidence and appreciation in advance. Building on the prior example:
“Honey, the garage looks like shit because we keep leaving our stuff around. Can you please make it so that there are two rows of crap on the shelves and nothing on the floor? I know you’re good at spatial things, and at problem solving, and this is a big problem for me. I know you can do a great job and I would really appreciate it a lot.”
Doesn’t that sound nice and loving?
3- Frame it as a one time goal. Men like this better than daily drudgery. And by men I mean everyone. So do NOT say, “We’re going to have to put our stuff away every time we come home to keep it looking like this.” Instead, say: “We need it done by tonight because it’s going to rain and I want to park in the garage so I don’t get wet.”
Men also do better with short time frames. It gets their adrenaline going. Whereas for most women it makes us so anxious we vomit.
4- Give a little to get a little.
“Is there anything you’d like me to do if you clean the garage?” Be prepared for the obvious request.
Whore myself out for the garage to be cleaned, you ask with revulsion? But listen up: why do you have to conceive of this as whoring yourself out to get your garage clean? Why can’t you frame it like, I’m doing something for the marriage and he’s doing something for the marriage? I mean, think about it.
5- Express gratitude both privately and publicly. “Girls, look what an awesome job Daddy did on the garage! Make sure to marry a man that helps you around the house, and also is handsome.” Your little kids will eat this up. Your older kids will secretly like it too although they may be like, “Oh God, stop.”
Okay, someone try this out and report back to me ASAP. And when your neighbors are like, “Hey, how’d you get John to paint the kitchen?” you can be like, “Check out Dr. Psych Mom and her awesome blog, and your husband will soon be re-siding your house, girlfriend.” Then you can snap.
Till next time, I remain: The Blogapist Who Can Only Post So Much Because Her Husband Has Really Been Stepping Up With Housework.
Dr. Samantha Rodman, a clinical psychologist originally from Brooklyn, NY and now practicing in Arnold and Takoma Park, MD. She moved down here for grad school at UMD College Park and has not left. She has a husband and three young children and one betta fish. She loves her work and she loves to write. You can find her on The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, JDate, The Millionaire Matchmaker’s site Pattiknows.com, and PsychCentral, among others.
Find Dr. Rodman on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DrPsychMom and on twitter @drpsychmom.