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You’re desperate for help, frustrated and exhausted from having to do it all yourself. You’re not alone. Many women feel their spouses or children don’t pitch in enough around the house. The family dislikes household chores, don’t feel like wasting “their” time and overall see you as the person who should keep the house clean.
If you feel like a lone warrior in the war against your messy home, it might be time to consider a new plan that will end all the excuses and get your family on board and cleaning.
How To Get Your Family On Board With Cleaning
Before we tackle how we’re going to accomplish this task, let’s look at some of the reasons why your family might not be helping out like they should. Let’s examine their excuses.
1. You Don’t Like The Way I Do It
If you’re somewhat of a clean freak, and you’re complaining to your husband or kids that they’re doing it wrong, then you’re probably killing their motivation to help you. Being criticized because they don’t scrub the shower the exact way you do is going to send the wrong message. In the end, it shouldn’t matter how they get the job done, just that it’s done.
2. I Don’t Know How To Do It
Unless you’ve taken the time to show them what goes into a cleaning task, they might just not know what needs to be done. Consider working with them the first few times on a chore so you can teach them what the task entails. For older kids or your husband, maybe a checklist would help them remember all the tasks and the order in which they should be completed.
3. I’m Too Busy To Do It
There’s no doubt we are an overscheduled and overwhelmed society. But are your kids just as busy as you or do you have more time in your schedule to tend to the house? Only you know the answer to that question. But if you need help to maintain the home, unless you decide to hire help, you’ll need to reprioritize everyone’s schedules to make sure home maintenance is included.
Now that we’ve covered the three most used excuses for why a family member can’t help out let’s get to the nitty-gritty of turning their behavior around. It all starts with the family meeting.
The Family Meeting
I suggest a family meeting for a couple of reasons. First, nothing shows you care about your family more than regularly held family meetings. Greater harmony and connection is a natural result when you take the time to meet together. So if you’ve never had a family meeting go ahead and schedule one.
Family meetings are great opportunities to teach your kids what you expect of them, instead of trying to do it on the run or without thoughtful discussion. It’s a chance for all members of the family to brainstorm ideas to help the family work together better and to express concerns or grievances regarding any changes that are being implemented.
If you’ve never expected your children or husband to pick up after themselves, this may be a challenge. But old habits can be replaced with new patterns if you take the time and effort to be consistent with your expectations.
If your husband is the major slob in the family, you may want to have a private discussion with him before the family meeting. Dad will need to get on board with your desire for a cleaner and more organized home.
You see, this is about expressing your needs, and as a family shouldn’t we be there to help each other get our needs met?
So ladies, if your husband is resistant, it’s time for a meaningful conversation about why this is important to you and why you need his support and cooperation. Frankly, if he refuses to cooperate there’s probably more going on than a family meeting can fix.
Tips For Holding A Successful Family Meeting
1. Keep It Positive and Upbeat: Don’t make it all about what’s missing. Try to start and end the meeting on a positive note and keep the middle for areas of improvement.
2. Don’t Control Participation: Instead, encourage participation. If you hold these meeting regularly, and your teenagers don’t show up the first few times, eventually they’ll start attending just to see what they’ve been missing.
3. Give Everyone a Role: Let everyone participate in leading, note taking and time keeping. It’s a great validation of the importance of their presence, and it gives them responsibility in the process. Post decisions after the meeting so anyone who wasn’t present can check to see important information.
4. Be Mindful of the Agenda: If the agenda feels like they’re at school, you might lose your kids interest in the process. Make it fun, light and something they want to participate in.
5. End the Meeting Doing Something Fun: This doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend money. You might have a ‘make your sundae party’ after a meeting or play a board game. Anything that brings the family together and ends the meeting positively will work.
6. Help One Another Resolve Issues: Family meetings are a tool designed to bring your family together and inspire everyone that being a close family is the best for everyone. Everyone won’t always agree and sometimes you’ll talk until you reach the conclusion that it’s ok to disagree. Ultimately the family meeting will encourage everyone to ask for help when they need it.
Get Your Family On Board With Cleaning
By now you’re seeing that getting your family to help with the cleaning of your home comes down to communication. As much as we would love to think our family just knows what’s expected, it’s going to take you to communicate regularly your desires and expectations. Let’s start with the hubs:
Get Your Husband On Board
Pick the right time to discuss the situation with your spouse. If you nag him the minute he walks in the door, chances are you won’t be too successful. Same goes for when his favorite show is on tv.
Instead, go for a walk, or a coffee and sit down face to face and discuss how you’re feeling overwhelmed and need more help from the family. If you approach it from what you need rather than what ‘s he’s not doing, chances are he will hear what you’re saying.
During your discussion ask him what areas of the house he might be able to help with. See what he comes up with and negotiate from there. The more you open the door to his ideas, the more he’ll feel like he’s trying to come up with a solution.
Ask him his thoughts on getting the kids more involved too. Express to him how much you want to come at this issue as a team, so the kids see you as a united front in the battle to get and keep the house clean.
Don’t forget to thank him for his help, not only in developing the strategy but when he helps you around the house. It may seem unnecessary, but praise goes a long way no matter who’s receiving it.
Get Your Kids On Board
Children, even ones as young as 2-years-old should have some chore that is expected of them. Even if it’s putting their toys back in their toy box at the end of the day, all members of the family should have an expectation of participation in keeping the home clean and orderly. Instilling this expectation at a young age teaches them the importance of being part of a family, reinforces the need for everyone to pitch in, and why having a clean environment benefits everyone.
It’s never too late to ask the members of your family to help out. It won’t happen overnight, but if you adopt the family meeting strategy eventually family members will see their participation as an important step in ensuring the household runs smoothly.