Dating & Marriage

A more hands-on husband in the home please

I wish my husband was more hands-on in the home. We both work outside the home, but meal planning and household chores always fall on me. I’m not sure how it came to be like this, but I suppose I had always taken on this responsibility before the kids arrived. I have voiced my frustration, but his efforts are never consistent or sustained. What should I do?


At The Well

Ai Jin says

Dear Frazzled,

It seems that you and your husband may not have discussed how household responsibilities are to be divided between you. If so, this may be a scenario that when you first got married, each of you fell into the unconscious roles based on the families you each grew up in. Your personal convictions may also have influenced this outcome. For example, if both of you grew up in homes where meal planning is done by the wife/mother, this could be why it became the default in your household. Or, if you like cooking, you naturally slipped into the role of being in charge of meal planning.

If you have been the one doing the household chores and are now asking him to help, it can be perceived as telling him to do something that has always been regarded as “your job”. Even if he is very happy to help you whenever you ask, for it to be consistent and a sustained effort, he must first receive the task as his responsibility to begin with so that he takes ownership.

I wonder if it would be possible for you and your husband to go back to the first premise to see household duties as a shared responsibility to begin with. Together, take stock and make a list of all daily household and parenting tasks, and discuss who does what. For example, household chores can be divided based on interest, skills or traditional husband/ wife roles. Outsourcing household chores is another option. I hope you will be able to have such a conversation about sharing and working as a team.