It’s frustrating. I have a full-time job, I am the one who handles child care duties, AND I do the majority of housework.
How am I supposed to have Christianly calm, humble, and generous feelings about this?! In the evening, he sprawls out on the couch to watch the game, and I am left to wash dishes and pick up toys. Humph!
In some families, the husband may be the one doing most of the chores. But let’s face it, this one is for the ladies. Just do a google search about wives doing most of the housework, and you’ll find plenty of studies to back it up. Women who live with men, regardless of who earns more, do something like 60% more housework then men on average. Whoa!
But as angry as I can get about it all, I look to God and realize that I cannot let resentment get the best of me. If you find yourself in the same shoes, here are some ideas to help us stay Christian when our spouses don’t help enough with the chores:
1. Get a housekeeper. Right away.
If you have room in your budget, hire a housekeeper. Tighten up your finances in other areas so you can gain some time back in your life. This is especially important if both of you have careers.
Ever since we hired a cleaning lady, I’ve stopped scrubbing the showers and the toilets. I’ve stopped mopping and changing my own bedsheets. When a spouse won’t help, hire someone else to do it.
As a work-from-home mom to two toddlers, I am cleaning all day – whether it’s the dishes from their million snacks, wiping counters, vacuuming up play-doh, scrubbing dirty faces, the list goes on. There are some messes you just have to take care of yourself. So if you can outsource the other duties, do it.
I realize some families cannot find $100 (or whatever the cost is in your area) every other week to pay a housekeeper to do the deep cleaning. At least, not yet. I commiserate with you. We used to not be able to afford it. Perhaps it can be a financial goal for your family’s future.
My husband recently asked me if it was still worth the money to hire the housekeeper. And I said an emphatic YES! The afternoons after my housekeeper comes are my favorite. Everything is perfect in the house … for at least a few minutes before the kids tumble through.
2. Have an honest conversation. He cannot read your mind.
Studies not only show that women do more housework, but they also show that men generally don’t care about the cleanliness of a house as much as the ladies. It’s something about men not needing a clean home for their sense self-worth. So … props to him for that!
It’s possible your spouse is unaware of your feelings about the issue. He probably doesn’t know how many hours you dedicate to the work nor does he notice all you do. I wish he did, but he doesn’t.
So let’s talk with him about it. Calmly and sweetly. The point is not to accuse him but rather to help him see that you feel loved when he shoulders some of the burden with you. Pray that he can understand and will be inwardly moved to draw up a new division of labor.
3. Get rid of a bunch of stuff.
Seriously. Toss it or donate it.
Cleaning is a lot easier when there’s less stuff to clean. Clutter = time. Time to clean it, fix it, maintain it. When you’ve got little kids to care for and a life to live, you just don’t have time for excessive junk around the house!
Less toys, less dishes, less clothes, less stuff… It feels really good to have less. Let’s minimize our possessions and stop buying so much so we can get on with the joy-filled things of life.
I’ve been going on a get-rid-of-stuff rampage lately. And I have a lot more I need to minimize. But each time I let go of stuff, I feel so much better.
4. Adjust your attitude through a Scripture mantra.
In the end, we need the Holy Spirit to help us. It feels like the problem lies in our messy, unresponsive, and irresponsible spouse. That may be what we think, but it’s not the truth. We need to adjust our thinking. The bigger problem lies in us, the ones who are getting inwardly (and sometimes outwardly!) worked up about it.
Scripture can help us adjust our attitudes. Let’s pick one to be like a mantra that we can repeat to ourselves again and again until it seeps into our souls. I like Ephesians 4:2-3: Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. To shorten it up, I’ll be repeating, “Be humble and patient.”
I need to ask God to help me be humble
… so that I do not feel entitled to have things my way
… so that I can see from my spouse’s perspective
… so that I can be thankful for the million things he does for me
I need to ask God to help me be patient
… so that I don’t need things to be taken care of in my own time frame
… so that I can trust my spouse will help when it’s really necessary
… so that I can see that this extra-messy time frame of toddlerhood is only temporary
I need to ask God to help me be more loving
… because love puts the other person first
… and because love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor 13:7
And I made a vow to love my husband, till death do us part. Even when the laundry is undone.
Question for you: What Scripture or phrase or consideration helps you get over the mess and unfairness and truly love your spouse no matter what?