There can be dog hair all over the carpet, dishes piled up in the sink and stinky sheets on our bed and when I ask my husband if he can help with the housework, he’ll say “what needs to be done?” It’s a guy thing: the ability to see past the clutter and grossness. But I think I have a plan.
My husband’s college classes are over for now and he’s actually home in the evening. Because I’ve carried the housework load so long alone, I wanted to find a way for him to help out more (something he wants to do) without me feeling like I have to nag him.
We’ve tried different things. I would tell him my plan for the evening and he would pick something. But sometimes things would get in the way (TV, our kids, a game on his iPad) and he would forget to do it and then the evening was over and I could have done the task myself.
So we tried something else. He put all this “chores” into his calendar. They would popup in the evening to help him remember to vaccuum, toss a load of laundry into the machine or wipe up the bathroom counter, but it got to the point where he would just learn to ignore it. Soon enough they were popping up just on my phone and, well, I know what needs to be done so they were just becoming annoying.
Then I saw something on Simplemom.net in the downloads section that seemed to be written for us. I took the master weekly checklist she had created, edited it a bit using Photoshop and printed it out. Some of the things on the list didn’t apply to us. I wanted to be specific. I made sure both kids’ bedrooms were on the list, scooping the dog poop was under the yard work and that my really important daily task–making sure the bags are ready for the next day–were on the list in case he needs to handle it on his own or someone else jumps in.
I also plan to use my block cleaning solution, which you can read about in my post, Returning to Routine. However, this is more than just “today we’re going to clean the bathroom,” it breaks down the tasks.
I slid it into a clear, plastic sleeve and hung it on the refrigerator. Using a dry erase marker, we can check off items as we go. So far, I’ve been the only one checking things off, but that’s just because I’ve been home more.
I told my husband about it and how it should work. I told him no more ignoring calendar dings from our phone. No more nagging from me. He just sees the list, find something he can do and checks it off. Anything, I don’t care. But being able to see that he’s done something will make me feel better, and he’ll be able to see how his contributions actually make a difference and take stuff off my plate.
This to-do list makes me feel like I can get out in the evening for exercise or just a cup of de-caf coffee with a friend and not worry about whether or not my instructions are clear.
Now, whether he follows them or not is another story.