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Settling the Household “Chore War” in Your Marriage: Fox 13 News

Do you and your partner fight about whose turn it is to do the laundry, load the dishwasher, or put the kids to bed? Julie Hanks, LCSW, Director of Wasatch Family Therapy is here to help couples understand and setting the chore war. Division of household chores is among the top sources of conflict for couples. According to Dr. John Gottman the happiest, and most sexually satisfying relationships, are those where husband participate equally in childcare and household chores.

Despite evidence that men are contributing more at home than ever before to household chores and child rearing many women still complain of feeling overwhelmed and overworked. According to recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the work load of men and women have never been so similar.

A recent Time Magazine cover story, “Chore Wars” explores the narrowing gap between the time men and women spend performing unpaid tasks, challenging the common assumption that working mothers have a “second shift”:

  • Full-time working moms did just 20 minutes more of combined paid and unpaid than working husbands.
  • Married couples without children working full-time are doing the same amount of unpaid work at home.
  • Men are doing nearly 3 times the amount of child care compared to 1965.
  • Families and Work Institute found that 60% of fathers said they were having a hard time managing the responsibilities of work and family.

So why do women still feel like they’re carrying more than their fair share?

  • Although actual time spend doing household chores is similar, the burden management and tracking of household tasks usually falls on the woman.
  • Society still values on paid work over unpaid work so there’s less social reward for household duties.
  • Women tend to multitask during leisure time, whereas men are better at relaxing during leisure time.

Tips to settle the “chore war” in your relationship:

Explore your own gender assumptions about chores

Think of the household responsibilities chores as “ours” instead of “yours”

Decide together who will do what and who’s in charge of tracking it

Express appreciation for your spouse’s paid and unpaid work

Use leisure time to relax together, not to multitask