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Chore Wars: 3rd Shift Blues

Chore War from Racheal in Garfield Heights, Ohio

My husband and I work; he works 3rd shift and I work 1st. I got frustrated coming home and having to cook and clean. So I told him I was taking a part time job or he would have to help. The 4 major rooms needed to be split; kitchen, living room, laundry, and our room. So he picked the living room and our room. But I still feel like I am in the kitchen all the time and never enjoying my children. My son's room is overwhelming for the both of us he has a lot of toys and once there's a big mess neither one of us want to clean it. If you can help get me organized I'd be grateful, I am ready to quit my job!

Laura's Response:Racheal, I know how hard it is to run a household and work full time! It can be stressful and overwhelming all at the same time. You did not say how old your son is, but start training him on cleaning up after himself, especially his toys.

Here's a few suggestions; Sit down and really communicate to your husband how you are feeling, finding out how he is feeling about the situation and be sure to listen for understanding. Most of the time, we just have different male/female perceptions and standards of cleaning. It's important that you understand how he feels about the cleanliness level of the home. Meaning, what bothers you, might not bug him at all. Everyone in the family unit--has to clean up after oneself's and help maintain the home. Your children should have their chores and your husband and you split the big stuff until the kids can takeover those tasks as they mature into young teens and adults.

Try to come to a compromise where you can, Dr. Lisa has some great ideas on how to do that below. Whatever he does help with compliment him and encourage him. Most guys give up on chores because they always get told they are doing it wrong, get nagged at, or it's not ever good enough. Take all the help you can get, and give him a big kiss on his lips for each task completed!

Most importantly, enjoy your family, don't stress about the housework, spending time together is more important than some cobwebs in the corners! Life is too short and the children grow to fast. One mother of 5 children told me, "I can always have a clean house later once my kids are grown, right now I don't care!" She's the least stressed mom with 5 kids I have ever met, and she runs a business!

Dr. Lisa response - Racheal, I agree that you needed to let you husband know how you are feeling about the housework. I would suggest that you two rotate the rooms that you have split up. The kitchen can be a daunting, daily task due to all the time we spend there. If you are do 2 week rotations of the split, you may not feel as overwhelmed by the task. Everyone gets their fair share at the rooms they like and dislike.

As far as you son's room, start with one area at a time and create bins or crates or shelves so that each toy has a place. If it is too overwhelming to clean up all the toys at one time, consider taking out only a few toys at a time and bag up the rest till you can slowly but surely find a home for each toy. This strategy will keep both you and your son from getting overwhelmed with all of the toys and make it easier to put away toys after playing.

Good Luck,

Dr. Lisa

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