We’re knee deep in the 21st century, and men still complain about their wives “nagging” them over household chores. Honestly, I thought we’d have robots doing all this by now.
So I guess everyone’s a little disappointed.
Anyway, the men who complain the most run banks and Fortune 500 companies. They give Tedx Talks. They top the charts in self-help genres. And yet, they don’t know how to chop an onion or boil rice. They rely on their wives and/or daughters to do this for them. When their wives tell them to help out a little, it’s called “nagging.”
How do we solve this problem? How do men get their wives to stop nagging them? I have some ideas…
Maybe stop calling it nagging
Asking someone to do half of the housework isn’t nagging anymore. If your boss criticized you for doing a bad job, or not showing up to work on time, you wouldn’t call it nagging.
Think of your marriage like a job. It kind of is. You signed a contract and everything. You don’t get to complain about doing your share. And you shouldn’t really get to brag about it, either.
But your wife is cool. She’ll let that slide. It’s okay to take a little pride in carrying your own weight.
Do your own laundry
Every person in my house has their own set of hampers. You put your clothes in them. Shirts. Pants. Socks. Underwear. Towels. And so on. When the hamper fills up, you do a load. You dry it. You fold it.
Here’s a simple tip if you’re scared about screwing up: Wash everything on cool dark. Nothing will shrink or bleed.
Your clothes will reach a basic standard of clean — assuming you didn’t douse them in mud or gasoline.
Take turns with groceries and cooking
Nobody should get stuck with all the meal prep. Come up with a schedule that works. Make a grocery list together in Excel. If one of you wants special ingredients, then guess what? You can go get them yourself. A man who knows the layout of a Kroger is one sexy beast.
Maybe you don’t know how to cook. Good news — we live in the age of Google and YouTube. There’s literally videos on how to chop an onion.
Come up with a system for dishes
Our system is this: when one of us sees dirty dishes, we wash them. One of us might load the dishwasher. The other empties it. We both know where every single piece of cookware goes.
We have entire conversations about how to better organize the kitchen.
We don’t keep score. We’re both kind of Type-A about keeping the sink empty, and it works for us.
Divide the vacuuming/mopping duties
Each of you commands a room. Done. If you don’t know how to clean and service a vacuum, there’s videos on that too.
If you have a kid, split the childcare
Nobody should have to wake up at 5 am to a crying baby every single morning. You each deserve a Saturday or Sunday to sleep in. Your partner should know how to change a diaper and install a car seat. There’s no excuse for one person doing everything.
Learn to negotiate chores
You probably can’t split everything right down the middle. But you see a pattern here. The big picture — both of you want a clean house, with clean bathrooms, and a halfway decent lawn.
Neither one of you can do it all. You have to be mindful and pay attention to what gets dirty. Pay attention to how much work your partner puts into scrubbing and organizing things.
Lean on each other’s skills
One of you is probably better at cooking. The other might have a knack for organizing closet spaces, but tortures a quiche.
Figure out who can do what the best.
Just because you’re a man, that doesn’t mean you always have to cut the grass and plunge the toilet.
Just because you’re a woman, that doesn’t mean you can’t wash a car, trim hedges, or rake leaves.
Rethink your assumptions about gender
Maybe you should stop falling back on the cliche that whoever makes more money should do less around the house. If your wife has a job, she makes less than you for 2 main reasons:
- As an individual, her work is often overlooked.
- Her entire profession is devalued, because it’s dominated by women (not because women choose to enter low-paying fields).
Everything your partner does around the house is a kind of labor, and that includes replacing the air filters and wiping down the windows and blinds. If you want to play the breadwinner game, then maybe you should start paying your wife a wage — because doing your half of the housework is literally a part-time job she’s doing for free.
Other (less successful) alternatives
True, all of this can sound like a lot of work. If you’re not up for it, you can try these other options:
- Reminding your wife how much money you make.
- Doing the chores so badly she doesn’t ask you again.
- Only doing exactly what your wife asks — like mopping the kitchen, but leaving all the cleaning supplies out when you’re done.
- Saying you’ll do the chores, then playing video games for three hours, and waiting until the very last minute.
- Complaining very loudly while you do your chores.
- Anything else that makes you look like a 14-year-old boy.
It’s time to man up around the house
Nothing makes a woman roll her eyes quite like listening to some guy talk about how to launch a startup or earn a million bucks, while making it pretty clear that his wife takes care of all his basic needs.
Not exactly a blueprint for success.
It’s 2019. If you want your wife to stop nagging you about housework, then put down the productivity guide and start doing some. If you’re a husband who already knows all this, you get a gold star. What can you trade it for? Ask your wife. She’ll show you...