This Printable Chart Will Help You Put an End to Arguments Over Chores For Good
It's safe to say that most people want a clean, organized, functional, and harmonious home—but the road to getting and keeping it that way can be rocky, especially if you share your home with, uh, pretty much anyone. That's because running a home takes work (cleaning, cooking, shopping, scheduling), and we all have different ideas about which chores need to be done, how they should be done, and how often they should be done.
And when housework isn't shared the way that seems right to us, the feelings of unfairness and toxicity can be intense. In fact, in a survey of recently divorced people, disagreeing about housework was cited as one of the top three reasons for the dissolution of the marriage. Chore-related arguments ranked right below infidelity and drifting apart. (Yikes.) It's not just about our relationships: When we take on an unfair share of labor in the home, research suggests, it can mean taking a step back at work (whether we want to or not) and missing out on career or other opportunities. And yes, experts say, when a too-large load of housework falls on someone's shoulders, it's a fair guess that that person is a woman. "Women often get the short end of the stick. Unless we're intentional about the decisions we're making, we'll operate based on default norms," says Tiffany Dufu, author of <em>Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less</em>.
Here's the tricky thing, though: The goal here really shouldn't be a perfect 50/50. "The notion of 50/50 implies that things are equal, but it's always shifting," says Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute and a senior research adviser to the Society for Human Resource Management. "We've got to give ourselves a little slack."
A little confused? The truth is, only you can decide (along with your roommate, partner, or family) on the division of labor that makes the most sense for your lifestyle, skills and interest, schedule, and priorities. It's a conversation and a process.
That's why we've made this chore auditing worksheet (above): Print a copy for yourself and one for the primary person you share housework with. In a calm, clear-headed moment—a.k.a. not in the heat of a chore-related argument!—sit down and fill out your copy of the worksheet while your partner does the same. Once you've both finished, talk through each item together. Do you agree with the other's assessment of who's doing what? Is one of you miserable about, say, the dishwashing arrangement and the other had no idea? What needs to change for each of you to feel better? How can you work as a team toward your shared goal?
And just a reminder: That goal is not to make the other person feel bad. It's, once again, a clean, functional, happy home. You can do this! And you'll be glad you did.