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Most women will (secretly) admit having been there. The feeling of overwhelm from a messy house, lack of sleep from a constantly demanding newborn baby and having a lodger for a spouse.
And more usual than not, the middle point compliments the latter.
A baby turns your entire life upside down and your home is no exception.
Even the best well-trained people struggle a bit with keeping a tidy home when there are kids involved.
The last thing you want is to feel like you’re fighting the household chore battle on your own.
I would know because I was once there. The thing that didn’t help was that I started to feel overwhelmed with the mess.
To feel like you’re the only one drowning in all the clutter, while your spouse, well ignores it all. Like it’s there, or like it just doesn’t phase him. At. All! aarrgh!
It’s frustrating and it’s tiring.
It’s frustrating trying to juggle a million balls at once
…Sort out the laundry. Load the laundry in the washing machine. Feed the baby. Wash the baby. Plan for tonight’s meal…wait, did you switch the washing machine on?!…switch the machine on. vacuum the living room. Only, you have to pick up the laundry that’s on the floor. And now that the machine is going, you realize you have a handful of darks that could have been washed with the others…
…This is only half of it!
It amazes me that some women are willing to put up with doing everything around the house – STOP already!
Your spouse is NOT YOUR CHILD – so stop treating him like one.
The thing with men is (well most men), bad habits are easily caught, and harder to get rid of!
But it’s not impossible and YOU shouldn’t have to be the ‘single’ parent in the home who has to deal with all the house chores in the house.
So here are a few tips that will get your spouse helping out more around the house – and relieve some of that pressure off you.
Getting your spouse to help out with a newborn baby or any other household chores for that matter, is NOT Rocket Science.
You Just need to follow these simple steps:
TEACH YOUR SPOUSE HOW TO DO CHORES BY DEMONSTRATION
Showing your spouse how something is done will help him get comfortable with doing the chore.
Don’t fall into the “I can’t do it so, can you shall me” trap. Men might be a lot of things, but stupid is NOT one of them – regardless of what we, women think!
Show him how to do something once, twice at most and have him get on with it. Let him learn on the job. We all had to.
Just remember a couple of points when you’re showing him a new chore:
START BY TACKLING SMALL CHORES AND DOING A LITTLE AT A TIME
Like the saying goes, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ – which has been proven wrong multiples times by the way.
Because, while it’s not easy to teach an old dog new tricks, or reverse an old habit, it is possible.
You just need to start with something easy and work your way from there.
You will find it extremely difficult and frustrating getting your spouse to work through a ‘chores list’ if he’s never even done so much as lifting a fork to feed his mouth!
Start slow. Be easy on him.
Work on one chore, then, when you think he can semi-independently do that, ask him to do another.
And so on, and so forth, until he can complete a list of chores.
If you think he will be unable to remember what you’ve asked him to do, write it down. This chore chart will help you. The best thing is, you can add more chores as you along.
- Do not overwhelm him with difficult complex chores all at once – He will not do any of it.
ASK YOUR SPOUSE TO DO CHORES HE’S HAPPY DOING
This is not about punishment. This is about accepting help from your spouse so you can be relieved from some household chores. Don’t make him HATE doing chores by giving him all the complex and horrible ones – he’ll just shell up and stop helping all together.
- Play up his strength and work on strengthening his weak spots – If he’s really good at cooking but not so good at tidying up, ask him to cook and then you clean up afterward. And then maybe next time he could cook and just clear away the table and you do the dishes and packing them away. And so on and so forth.
- Be very non-judgemental – The last thing you want when you’re trying to get something done is to have someone standing over your shoulder and scrutinizing every little of bit of what you’re doing – So, don’t do it to your spouse. Not only is he just going to throw in the towel and sit back on the couch, you’ll probably have a lot of trouble getting him off it too.
INITIATE A ‘CLEAN AS YOU GO’ ROUTINE
This is super effective, not just for spouses, but for everyone in the house, as it also works well if you have older children in the house.
It’s simple – If you mess it, clean it. After you use, put it away. Not using it anymore, give it away!
It a simple rule that when everyone follows it, it makes things around the house much much easier.
Tidying and cleaning up as you go lessens the burden of having to cramp your cleaning all in one day or at night! When you initiate and start practicing a tidy as you go, your workload will lessen and house chores will not seem so stressful.
STOP USING WEEKENDS FOR CLEANING AND DO SOMETHING INTERESTING!
Leaving all the cleaning to the weekend doesn’t help – anyone!
It’s more stressful and more time-consuming. If you clean as you go during the week, you can free up your weekends for something a little more interesting.
This could be something that you both agree on – verbally, or you kind of have an unwritten mutual understanding. and you can instigate this by:
- Booking something in advance for the weekend, so cleaning is out of the question!
- Rewarding him with ‘time off’ at the weekend – allow him to spend his time doing something he loves.
- Spending time together as a couple at the weekend.
Over time, he will begin to learn that the weekends are not for staying in and cleaning the house so, he’ll want to clean up during the week to free up the weekend.
If nothing else, it would be great to have at least two days where you’re not scrubbing down something right!
- You both need time to do non-house/ work related chores.
- Keep the weekend for the fun family activities.
DECLUTTER YOUR HOME BY CREATING A GIVEAWAY BOX
This will really help you especially when you have a newborn baby or just have kids. Kids grow out of clothes and toys so quickly. Having a giveaway box will help you declutter your home as you go. You won’t have to wait until spring to get rid of things.
The box can be used to take the old stuff to a charity shop or for a yard sale – It’s entirely up to you.
But the box should not just be for the kids, you and your spouse should be using it too (especially you mamma, you’ll need it as you start getting rid of all your postpartum clothes:)).
Convince your spouse that his old clothes, games, tech things are going to a good cause – men love to feel like they’re helping the underprivileged in some way.
USE THIS CHORE- SHARING TECHNIQUE – IT WORKS WONDERS
This has got to be my favorite technique.
Why? It works so well and I’m surprised many people don’t use it.
You see, technically, you are asking your spouse to help you with chores – even though the chores should be shared out! So, you can play your part by ‘unconsciously’ sharing out the chores.
This technique masks the feeling that he is actually doing chores by making him feel like he’s helping you.
Ask him to do something while you do something else.
I always found an accompanying chore when I was about to tackle one.
For example, I would always ask my husband to make the baby’s milk while I bathed him.
Use a nice ‘almost surprised’ – I forgot to – kind of voice. so it should you go something like this;
As you get up to wash your baby, turn to your spouse with a warm voice say;
“Oh, *insert your cuddly pet name here*, please can you make *insert baby’s name here* milk while I wash him?
Oh, Honey, Can you prepare his bath while I get him undressed”
Oh, Sweetheart, can you cut up some vegetables and boil them while I change *insert baby’s name here* diaper. Don’t worry, I’ll come and mash them and feed him
The beauty of this technique is that it doesn’t make so obvious that he’s doing chores and doesn’t feel like you’re nagging him.
Instead, it makes it look like he is a) helping you out; b) he’s getting the better end of the bargain and c) the quicker you do it, the quicker you two get to relax.
Repeat this technique and with time, your spouse will learn that when you’re doing one thing, he should be doing the other – without you even uttering a word!
Try it and let me know if it works for you too!
IS YOUR SPOUSE STILL NOT PITCHING IN? TALK
If you Souse still refuses to help out around the house after trying all the techniques above (and maybe even more), then sit him down and have a serious talk with him.
Find the underlying issue and reason why he does not want to help out.
It might be that he has issues, or he feels a little insecure around the baby. A person cannot just plain refuse to do something – no matter how lazy – without having a reason. Find out the reason and try to resolve the root of the issue.
Again, remind him you’re NOT his mother – While you have you talk, remind him – in a non-aggressive manner – that you are not his mother. You are PARTNERS. As much as you are a parent, he too is a parent!
It’s not easy, but you can do.
DEALING WITH YOUR EXPECTATIONS AND ACCEPTING REALITY
It does not happen overnight. You are potentially undoing years worth of habits. So, don’t expect it to be a bed of roses or a walk in the park.
You cannot expect the work to be perfect first time around. Give him time to get his bearings and get used to his newfound role. Accept that your house will not be spotless every day – suddenly.
- There are guaranteed to be some resistance in the beginning – keep trying, it will pay off in the end.
- Just like you, he will be bad days and good days – where he will be tired and won’t want to do anything. There even be days when you won’t want to do anything.
But just because you fall off the wagon once, it doesn’t mean its the end of the world. On the other end of the spectrum, if you fall off the wagon once, don’t stay down. Get up.
Because falling back into bad habits it so much easier than trying to get used to the good habits.
HOW YOU CAN HELP AND ENCOURAGE HIM
Show appreciation – no matter how small the help is – this will go a long way. If you show appreciation for the small and simple things he does, he will be more willing to do more complex chores.
Show him that he’s not in it alone – You really are SHARING – This will be the ‘chore – sharing’ technique.
Reward him by taking extra care of yourself – trust me, this will work wonders. If his reward for cleaning is you spending more time to look, then he will be willing to do a little more, after all, it will be for his benefit too – if you know what I mean :).
Reward him by paying more attention to him and spending more time with him – Don’t selfish on the attention side of things. Give him a little attention too. He will soon realize that when you’re not busy cleaning or looking after the baby, you’re busy looking after him! It’s a win-win.
Relax and smile more often – This is one of my most effective techniques! There’s no point if he’s trying and all his efforts are not yielding any reward!
If you’re grumpy when you have a mountain of laundry to get through, and STILL grumpy when the laundry is done for you, well whats the point.
If your spouse starts helping out around the house, start being intentionally happy. Smile, loosen up – This will not go unnoticed!
There you have it!
Have you tried any of these tips? Did they help? Let me know in the comment section below.
Know someone who can benefit from this post be sure to share it with them.
Enjoyed this post, check out these posts too:
- 10 Tips For Living Clutter-Free With Children
- How to Cope With a Newborn When Your Partner Returns to Work