Couple conflict over chores

It's a common complaint of moms everywhere — their partners just don't seem to be pulling their weight. We'll show you how you can come to a common ground as you work towards the same goal.

A parental division of labor

Your life, as a parent, includes taking care of a home in addition to your family. Deciding what household chores are done by which partner is sometimes a point of conflict within the couple.

If one parent stays at home, should all of the housework fall to that person — or is it the partner’s home, too? If they both work, who does what? These moms tell us what works for them.

Traditional roles

Many moms we spoke with utilized traditional roles in their home, with Dad working outside the home and Mom staying home with the kids and taking care of the house. “I do all of the home duties,” explained Brigetta, mom of three. “All the cleaning, laundry, yard work, kid watching and cooking. That's my job though. He works outside of the home, but provides financially for us. This was our agreement. I don't ask him to do anything, but he also respects me and cleans up after himself. I don't mind our setup,” she adds.

Meredith, mother of two, has a similar arrangement. “I do the laundry, dishes, cooking, meal planning, etc.,” she told us. “Spencer does all the car and yard maintenance, along with the fix-it stuff around here and is usually the one working or studying. When either of us needs a hand, it's obviously not a big deal to ask for help from the other, but as a rule, we typically stick to these set chores.”

Work as a team

Other moms reported that they and their partners work best as a team. “We just both pull as much weight as we possibly can,” Jessica from Canada said. “We try our best to keep the house clean and tidy. I try and do what I can since I'm home all day, but he picks up where I leave off. I guess we both just consider it our best interest to do what we can. It's never really an issue.”

Pick your fights

Some moms have decided that it’s easier to pick their fights, and fighting over cleaning up isn’t at the top of their list. “David and I argued about household chores more than anything else for five years,” shared Brittney, mom of two. “We just recently figured out a bit of a groove, and we no longer fight over chores. It might not work for everyone, but I've just pretty much accepted that 90 percent of the housework is on my hands. It's not really ‘fair,’ but he's great in so many other ways and I'm not willing to argue anymore over something as petty as a sink full of dishes that will take me ten minutes to do, or a plate left on the end table that I can literally just pick up and take to the sink on my way to the bathroom.”

Enlist the kids

Once kids are old enough, they can and should take part in taking care of their home. “Tony and I are pretty equal,” shared Talei, mom of two, who explained that both she and her husband work on the housework together. “We are currently trying to get the kids doing as much as possible, I think that helps too. They unload the dishwasher and every day we have a 5-minute timer clean where we all race around and clean whatever needs doing. I usually pick the kitchen and Tony usually does the lounge, the kids do their rooms.”

Deciding how to divvy up chores is a subject that you both should be open to discussing, and it’s also a good idea to understand what limitations each partner has. Sometimes, your home won’t be as spiffy as you’d like, but raising children is a messy business. As long as they are fed, clean and well cared-for, that is the most important thing to keep in mind. Clean up the worst messes, of course, but don’t fret the small stuff — and communicate with your partner to resolve disagreements up front.

More on moms and dads

When mom and dad disagree on discipline
How can Dad support the breastfeeding mom?
Mom and Dad need a break — on a budget

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