The bed to be redone, the dishwasher to be loaded, the shoes forgotten in the middle of the living room… The task of rearranging and cleaning the house is the subject of endless quarrels between couples, and tensions that in the long run can spoil the atmosphere of domestic serenity and even undermine the relationship.
Yet often everything can be resolved with a correct communication, with a shred of good will and mutual attention. Here are some tips to have the house clean and tidy without spoiling the relationship with your partner…
Often everything is reduced to a problem of correct communication and therefore of understanding. For example, if we had a difficult day at the office and the kitchen needs to be cleaned up, we imagine that this job is automatically up to our half. But ours is a belief that we do not communicate to our partner: we simply expect him to understand by himself that the task is his.
However, in the absence of an explicit request from us, late at night and with the kitchen still upside down, and a dispute is triggered. Who’s right? Both of them and nobody: he will argue that he can not read her mind and she will reply that these shouldn’t be things she needs to say to him, that the work must be divided between them as a team and that she doesn’t have to always point out everything. This mechanism, is actually decidedly perverse, and has even been studied by experts. It is called “imaginary delegation” and unleashes one of the types of quarrels from which it is more difficult to get out, one in which both are right!
WHO DOES WHAT
Studies conducted on couples with a non-domestic job and who share the housework and caring for children, show that it is usually women who compile the to-do list, while the partner chooses from this list the tasks that he wants to help with. In any case, in general, the task of keeping an eye on the general situation and recognising what needs to be done is a task that women tend to shoulder more than their male partners. Men, on the other hand, expect to be thanked for their collaboration. Right!?
The fact of taking responsibility for maintaining the general vision and “worrying” what is to be done also implies the burden of deciding when something has to be done and how. If our partner, however, has an idea of what is meant by “tidying up”, it makes no sense to expect that they respect our standards of reorganisation and cleanliness, or to demand that they do things “as we would”.
In short, having the decision of listing household chores is a double edged sword: delegating a task means accepting that it is carried out according to the mind and the criteria of the person to whom we have delegated the task. With patience and delicacy we can go into the details of a single task: if it is sufficient to rinse the glasses of the house before storing them, the baby’s pacifiers must instead be sterilised and stored with the utmost care in their container. In these cases it is advisable to draw up a list of priorities and focus on the most important procedures, without constantly harassing our partner-aide.
DOING THINGS TOGETHER
As an alternative to sharing tasks, you can choose to do things together. Tidying up the kitchen, vacuuming or washing the living room can become less tiring and even more enjoyable if you do it with four hands. The housework can become an opportunity to spend time together and to share the care of the environment in which you live in. In this case you need to choose the right time of day, in which you are both at home: certainly you will avoid the unpleasant feeling of being alone doing chores, while the other relaxes in front of the TV.
Having the house clean and tidy does not necessarily mean living in a disinfected environment like an operating room, or transforming the rooms into Zen gardens. The house must be lived and inhabited with imagination, even if this involves a moderate amount of confusion. Absolute perfection is not of this world, especially if it involves fatigue, stress and performance anxiety. With all due respect to the slightly exaggerated methods of Marie Kondo and the fanatics of the order at all costs.
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