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Small, actionable ways men can address the unequal division of labor at home


If your female partner often feels frustrated about the number of household chores she does compared to you, she’s definitely not alone. study after study Is clue That women bear most of the burden of domestic and parental labor on their shoulders.


“It is true that in cisgender heterosexual couples where both partners work full time, women often do more work around the house and when it comes to caring for the children,” said rachel needlea licensed psychologist and co-director of Modern Sex Therapy Institute, told HuffPost. “While we have certainly seen a shift towards equality in this area, it is likely that these beliefs are so ingrained that it is often expected of both us and our partner.”

She said that many adults witnessed this unbalanced dynamic in their childhood homes as they grew up. Given the disparity between maternity and paternity leave offerings, society reinforces the notion that child care should be more of a woman’s priority than a man’s.

Clearly, the world still has a long way to go in dividing domestic labor more equitably. But apart from the general goals of social progress, men have other incentives to play their part.

“Research shows that heterosexual couples who share household chores have sex more often!” Sui said.


Changing the status quo may sound daunting, but it’s actually quite simple. Here, Sui and other experts break down eight small but actionable steps men can take to balance the division of labor at home.

acknowledge your partner’s work

“Men can start by accepting much of the load, both physical and mental, when women can be responsible for household tasks as well as homework helpers, party planners, and household managers,” said the relationship therapist. judith aronowitz, “Many women have to juggle all these balls in their head all the time.”


She emphasized the value of feeling seen and supported, and she suggested showing appreciation regularly. Acknowledge that your partner’s time is valuable and consider whether your time is being prioritized over his or hers.

“Showing that you see how much she is doing and letting her know how much it means to you and supports you will help make the invisible visible,” said Caitlin Kindmantherapist and co-founder of Kindman & Co. “You may also notice that feeling genuine gratitude for your partner also helps you feel more connected to them, which can provide greater motivation to perform certain tasks with increased eagerness and ease.” .!”

jump into small tasks


The therapist advised, “Just look around the house for something that needs to be done and then do it.” Kurt Smith, who specializes in counseling men. “Find the toilet bowl cleaner, and go to the bathroom and scrub the toilet. Give one of the kids a bath tonight and handle the whole bedtime routine. Don’t make a big announcement to your partner about what you would do differently.” Going to do – just start doing.

Picking one thing and jumping in can keep you from feeling frozen and overwhelmed by the weight of all the different household tasks.

“Men looking for practical action items should grab the low-hanging fruit and wash those dishes,” recommends Elizabeth Lamothe, a physician and founder of DC Counseling & Psychotherapy Center, “Not just once, but every day. Don’t wait to be asked; just scrub those dishes thoroughly without leaving traces of egg! Load the dishwasher with thoughtful placement for optimal cleaning.”

set daily reminder

Once you make up your mind to help more with household chores, make sure you follow through. Start with those smaller goals and do something every day to help around the house, if necessary.

“If you have trouble remembering, set a reminder alarm on your phone, book it on your calendar, or use a task-tracking app like Trello, where you can both see what tasks are assigned to each person.” and when it’s done,” said Damona Hoffman, a dating coach who hosts “date and partnerpodcast. “Nagging causes added stress and strain on a relationship, and putting your partner in the position of having to remind you or hound you to do your part is exhausting for both of you.”

Richard Drury via Getty Images

Instead of waiting to be asked for help, just dive into the tasks that need to be done.

bring an attitude of fun and positivity

“The tasks associated with raising children and running a household can seem endless and boring, and many couples fall into the unfortunate mindset of being competitors rather than teammates,” LaMotte said. “Try taking a psychological step back from the daily grind to join your partner’s team so that you work with an air of positivity instead of resentment.”

Instead of fretting over every dish you wash, understand and internalize the joy of having the opportunity to build a home and raise a family with someone you love.

“Make it a game. Have fun with it,” said the marriage and family therapist Becky Whetstone, “The important thing is not to assume she’s going to do these things. Most women resent having to be a default maid, cook, breadwinner and nanny. An evening routine to help with chores and the kids.” Create one that … (gives) your wife some peace in the evening. She’ll notice, and your life will get better in return.

get the kids involved

Just as you infuse a sense of fun into household chores, you can also infuse them with your kids. In addition to providing more respite for your partner, this approach prepares your children to foster a more equitable division of labor as they grow up and move into their own homes.

“If you have kids, give them household responsibilities at an early age,” Hoffman said. “If they get the message that the household is everyone’s responsibility and that each person carries a little bit of the burden, it can be a huge burden for a woman who is caring for many.”

take stock of your surroundings

“Women tell me they wish they didn’t have to ask their men for help and that their imaginary partner would look around the house, notice what needed to be done and dive in. So I would suggest taking the initiative in this regard.” Rather than waiting to be asked,” Whetstone said. “If your wife cooks great, doesn’t it make sense that you clean after her? If there’s a pile of clothes, why not bring the basket into the family room and start folding and putting it away?”

Don’t wait to be asked but instead try to keep your eyes open and actively take note of things. And if you’re still feeling unsure, you can always gently talk to your partner about what will be most helpful to you at this point in time.

“Pay attention. If your partner looks overwhelmed, use a kind, calm voice and ask, ‘Hey, how can I help?'” LaMotte said. “Even if requesting toilets to clean up, then follow through and finish the job.”

Talk to your partner about your needs, expectations, and goals related to household chores.
Talk to your partner about your needs, expectations, and goals related to household chores.

communicate openly and often

“The best thing couples can do to change and improve their experience of the division of labor is to communicate,” Sui said. “Be clear on expectations and desires for the division of labor in the home.”

If your partner hasn’t initiated the discussion about household responsibilities, go ahead and do it yourself. Kindman recommends Eve Rodsky fair play card deckWhich provides a simple way of drawing functions.

Make sure it’s not a one-off conversation either. You can ask for overall goals, but make sure you’re following up on a weekly or monthly basis. There may also be short periods when you or your partner have extra work responsibilities and need extra help at home.

“Have frequent relationship check-ins where it’s one of the topics of discussion,” Sui said. “And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Don’t wait until you get angry and reach your limit. Talk to him first and be honest about your feelings and what you need.

focus on sharing rather than sharing

“I would suggest sharing household tasks, rather than dividing household tasks, as these can be perceived as gendered and unfair,” psychotherapist Noorhayati said told HuffPost. “Sharing more chores can create an atmosphere of teamwork as well as a mutual understanding of all the work that goes into managing a household. Sharing chores also removes resentment that one partner does more work than the other.” doing.

She recommends making a list of all the tasks that need to be done and setting reasonable goals.

“Discuss standards of cleanliness that you both agree on, and then build it into a simple system that doesn’t require constant reminders of what needs to be done and when,” advises. “Also, share the management of household chores, or what is called the ‘mental load,’ and not just own chores.”


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