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How to avoid fights about housework

According to the recent American Times Use Survey, on an average day, 20 percent of men do housework (cleaning, laundry, emptying the trash, etc.) compared with 51 percent of women, and 40 percent of men do food preparation or cleanup, compared with 68 percent of women. No wonder fighting about chores is so common among couples. Here are some ways to divide the work without driving each other crazy.

Dividing up the chores at home

Woman arguing with husband over choresStatistics about housework:

Daily cleaning & organizing

  • 20% of men
  • 51% of women

Daily food prep or cleanup

  • 40% of men
  • 68 of women

Dishes and mopping and laundry, oh my! Another recent study, the CLR Chore Wars Report, found that 1 out of 5 Americans admitted to arguing about housework on a monthly basis, and 69 percent of women surveyed felt they did most of the work around the house.

Here are some tips for putting an end to chore wars:

Stop arguing over chores

Do what you’re good at

If you hate the way your spouse or partner cleans the bathroom, maybe that particular task shouldn’t be on his list.

Try this: Each of you should make a list of what you feel you are best at doing around the house, make sure it’s equal and start with that as the plan for who does what. Each of you will have to take on tasks you either hate doing or wouldn’t normally do once in a while, but the key is to keep things fair while doing chores that don’t put you completely out of your comfort zone.

Stop arguing over chores

Complement each other

There aren’t too many people who actually enjoy doing household chores, but you can make the whole process easier by taking the time to complement each other on a job well done — especially if one of you has taken on a task you don’t normally do. If you’ve been away on business and your husband had to take care of the garden in your absence, tell him he did a good job. Positive feedback makes people feel good and will make them much less likely to resent doing certain tasks.

Stop arguing over chores

Communicate about chores

The only way to avoid full-blown fights about chores is to talk about the division of housework any time you feel overwhelmed. If you’re starting to feel like you aren’t getting enough help, or that your spouse seems to be shirking his duties, rather than start yelling, discuss the situation like adults. Maybe he’s been too stressed out at work to remember to scrub the bathtub or he thought he’d take on different chores without letting you know. Either way, find out what’s behind his less-than-helpful attitude before you fly off the handle.

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