Sunday, September 23, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Imbalance of chores creates resentment

Q: My husband easily makes four times my salary and works 60-80 hours per week. I do shift-based work so I often have consecutive days off after pulling several long shifts. Obviously this gives me a lot more time to deal with household tasks than he does, but I'm starting to get fed up with doing all the housework.

Since he makes so much more than I do, is it fair that he doesn't do a lot of housework? We can't afford to hire outside help as we still have student loans.

I get annoyed every time I think about how he'll probably also be okay leaving me with the bulk of child care/household duties in the future. What do you think?

Clarifying

A: I think money earned has nothing to do with these calculations.

I think time, though, does. He works 60-80 hours per week for your family's benefit, so arguably you can do your 40 hours plus an hour a day of housework.

When there's a sense of injustice brewing between you, some counting is inevitable, and so my advice is to count using as broad a scope as possible. It's a system of Whole Marriage Thinking. It's about hours worked, chores done, goals supported, everything.

So look at your marriage and ask yourself:

(1) Are you really putting in more than you're getting out, and/or is he putting in less than he takes?

(2) If yes, then is this a temporary condition in service of a mutual goal, like paying off debt? Or is there a power imbalance between you?

(3) Are there things you agreed to initially that you're questioning now?

Once you've identified your ducks, rounded them up and got them in a formation, then you have the conversation with your husband accordingly.

Or not, of course, if you realize it's all okay with you, and you just needed to look at it all again with fresh eyes — and maybe an open mind, too, to things you too quickly ruled out.

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