top of page

Mary's Moments Blog Post

HOUSEWORK -Family Contribution

In the changing world of relationships, how couples share housework is different now. Most women work outside the home, and many earn as much or even more than their husbands. But, even with these changes, a common problem remains with a certain demographic - wives often do more housework.  The demographic I’m referring to is often generational.


This is not a surprise to many.  Of course, it is not the case in every household.  If you are one of the lucky ones and your home tasks are equally shared, this blog may not resonate with you however, it may shed some light on the experiences of someone you know.


I read recently that on average, wives spend about five hours more each week taking care of things at home and two and a half hours more doing house chores. In some cases, it could be more.  This adds up to a big difference of inequality! It is especially tough for those who stay at home or gave up their careers for family responsibilities.




To make things more frustrating, husbands seem to have more free time for leisure activities. They report spending about two and a half hours (or more) per week on hobbies or relaxing.






How about this:

Do you work or stay home?


She replied:


Yes – I am home full time

I work 24 hours a day


I’m a mom

I’m a wife

I’m a daughter

I’m a daughter-in-law

I’m an alarm clock

I’m a cook

I’m a maid

I’m a teacher

I’m a chaffeur

I’m a waiter

I’m a nanny

I’m a nurse

I’m a handyman

I’m a security officer

I’m a counselor

I’m a comforter


I don’t get holidays

I don’t get sick leave

I don’t get a day off


I work through the day and night

I’m on call 24 hours and get paid with one sentence…….


“What do you do all day?”


This is a problem because it's hard to be your best if you're tired or unhappy about the workload. If you're feeling this way, you're not alone, and it's something that you and your partner can work on. 

Recognizing and addressing this imbalance is important for maintaining a healthy and thriving home.


If any of this resonates with you and your situation, it’s better not to blame or get angry. Try instead to focus on wanting to fix the issue. It doesn't matter whose fault it is; at the end of the day, things need to get done and what matters is that you want to make it better.


Try talking about what will work for both of you. Avoid blaming or making the other person feel guilty.  I’ve been down that rabbit hole – it really doesn’t work. 


It’s like the triangle telling the circle – “you are pointless”.  It doesn’t change a thing.  However, using a different approach, the circle can sometimes offer another perspective from the points of the triangle.

The metaphor suggests that a blend of both perspectives can create a positive outcome.


By expressing that you're bothered or tired might be enough for both of you to come up with ideas. It's important to remember that sometimes, one partner may not realize the other needs more help.  Or maybe they are just a little too comfortable with the status quo.


If you face resistance, take a step back and think if you unintentionally attacked or made the other person feel guilty. If that happened, start over and try again.


If your partner just doesn't want to help, that may be a bigger issue. Know that you’re not wrong to bring up the topic. Teamwork is crucial. Whether it's advice from friends or a professional, find the strength and support to work on making things better.


Going through the ups and downs of managing our home over the years has been a real challenge at times.  For many years my husband worked two jobs, especially during the seasons of April to November. I also worked outside the home at a very demanding job.  With travel, many days I was out of the house 10+ hours.  Even then – my husband was still working more hours than I was to make ends meet.


During those periods, it often felt like I was a single mom, taking care of everything on my own. Often things got so busy that keeping the house tidy wasn't the main focus. It was all I could do to put dinner on the table, make lunches, review school work, bedtime routines and heaven forbid laundry didn’t get done on the weekend…… Occasionally I would throw in a load of laundry only to end up rewashing it 2 days later when I remembered it was still sitting there.


In those tough times, we learned to just do our best and make sure everyone played a part in helping our family.  Sometimes there are imbalances depending on what is happening in our lives at the time.  Remind yourself that it’s not about having a perfect house; it's about understanding that the love and effort we put into our homes matters much more.


And here’s a thought for the day: 


There may be other humans in the home that can pitch in and help out as well.

 

 Empowering Kids -Life Lessons from the Family Contribution

 

Raising responsible kids definitely requires teamwork.

 

The term "family contribution" tends to sound more inclusive and positive than "chores" when it comes to involving kids in household responsibilities. "Chores" can carry a somewhat negative feeling, often associated with obligation.


On the other hand, "family contribution" highlights the idea that each member plays a valuable role in maintaining the household and contributes to the well-being of the entire family. It fosters a sense of togetherness and teamwork, promoting a positive and cooperative atmosphere. This approach can make children feel more engaged and willing to participate, as they see their actions as meaningful contributions to the family rather than just mundane tasks.


Encouraging them to contribute is not just about lightening the load for parents; it also instills valuable life skills and a sense of responsibility. When kids participate in housework, they learn the importance of cooperation and teamwork. Simple tasks like making their beds, setting the table, or picking up toys teach them how they are able to contribute to the well-being of the family unit.



Also, we can’t overlook the value of how involving them in household responsibilities helps develop a strong work ethic and a sense of accountability. As they engage in age-appropriate tasks, they gain practical skills and learn the satisfaction of completing a job.


This early exposure to responsibility contributes to their overall development, fostering independence and organizational skills that will serve them well in their future years.


It also helps them understand that maintaining a home is a collective effort, which promotes mutual respect and shared responsibilities within the family.



I recently discovered this food for thought list – every child has different abilities at different times but some of these suggestions might be worth trying (with guidance of course):

 

IF YOUR CHILD CAN:

YOUR CHILD MAY ALSO BE ABLE TO:

Do puzzles and simple games, swipe on a smartphone

Match socks, put dirty clothes in hamper, set the table

Cover a doll or stuffed animal with a small blanket

Wipe down kitchen chairs, fold washcloths, help clear own place at the table

Operate a flashlight

Use small handheld vacuum to clean up messes, sweep with a small broom

Pour water into a bucket at the pool

Fix own snack or cereal with appropriate size containers, pour ingredients while you cook

Play more complex games or find pictures on a device

Help find and count grocery items in the store, empty dishwasher and stack dishes on the counter, help younger siblings, assist in meal planning and preparation

Kick a ball toward a goal, hit a t-ball

Make bed with a simple comforter, pick up yard sticks and pull weeds, vacuum, dust. “Swiffer” the floor

Fold paper for a craft

Fold towels, clean bathroom sink with wipes, help with pets, put dishes in a dishwasher, transfer clothes from washer to dryer

Build with Legos

Help measure ingredients, sort lights from darks for laundry, help plant a garden, get up in the morning with an alarm clock, water plants (with guidance)

Read and write

Follow recipes, read to younger siblings, help younger siblings with homework, make lists, organize drawers or closets

Manage videos and pictures on device

Run washing machine and dryer, pack lunches for school, fold simple laundry items, put away laundry

Score a goal in any sport, swim across the pool

Help wash and vacuum car, mop, rake leaves, weekly trash and recycling duties, vacuum rugs and dust furniture

Upload photos to social media, manage settings on phone, navigate social media

Organize closets/drawers, plan route for family outings in consultation with driver, comparison shop for online groceries

Write a report and give a presentation

More detailed house cleaning: refrigerator, toilet, shower; plant a garden, laundry start to finish, prepare full family meal one day per week, plan holiday decorating and events

Type on a computer keyboard, search for information online

Help plan groceries in online shopping cart, help younger siblings with homework, browse for own clothes online

Run a mile, dive in pool

Wash indoor windows and lower outdoor windows, mow lawn, spread mulch, wash and wax car, total responsibility for family pets

Create a playlist

Plan weekly grocery run with online shopping, prepare and send family holiday cards, create invitations for family events

Drive independently

Run family errands, take siblings to activities, maintain car, visit and help elderly relatives independently

Complete a calculus assignment independently

Help with family budget, handle own bank account and budget

 

In the end, having your partner and kids actively contributing to the household isn't just about dividing tasks; it's about creating a home filled with shared moments, laughter, and a sense of togetherness.

 

This is one of those topics that will be ever changing and evolving as circumstances change in your home.   Children get older, we get older, life events will dictate what we can and cannot do in the moment.  But when everyone plays a part, the atmosphere becomes lighter, and the load becomes easier.


It's not just about finishing chores; it's about building a family team, fostering a sense of unity, and creating a warm, supportive space where each member feels valued.


So, celebrate the victories, no matter how small, and revel in the joy of seeing your loved ones come together to make your home a place of love, comfort, and shared responsibilities.

 

Wishing you all the best on your “family contribution” journey!

15 views

Related Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page