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Yes, Your Husband Definitely Needs a Chore Chart, Too

Photograph by Twenty20

I remember a time as an early parent that I believed chore charts were unnecessary. I didn’t plan to ever use one because I was going to teach my kids to know that families work together because they love each other. I didn’t see any need to assign specific jobs because my kids would be trained to see a need and have a servant’s heart.

It was all that typical B.S. that runs through an overconfident, moderately judgmental new parent’s mind.

Skip ahead a few years, about a thousand tantrums and millions of teeny, tiny toys strewn about my house and let’s just say I’ve had a change of heart. I jumped on that chore chart bandwagon and did my due diligence with Pinterest research. I pinned lists of chores that are appropriate for specific age groups, where to find the cutest chore chart printables and what bribes rewards are the most effective.

My little ones are rocking the whole chore chart scene. They work hard for their stickers and occasional treat. One might think that our house would now be free of nagging and hounding, rid of the constant reminders and angry threats.

NOPE. You know why?

I still have a husband. A husband who also needs a chore chart.

In my mind, I’ve always been clear about voicing my need for help to my husband. I voice it frequently at varying volumes and with a diversified amount of pleading and anger. I feels like he should know what he can do to help by now.

The problem is, he doesn’t.

He doesn’t look at a house overrun with Legos and Ninja Turtle action figures and think about cleaning them up. He doesn’t see a dishwasher full of clean dishes and dirty ones piling up in the sink and think to go ahead and empty it, rather than add to the mess.

While I could sit and fume about why it is that a full-grown, perfectly capable human does not seem to be able to see obvious needs and act on them, it is much more productive—and much better for our marriage—if I figure out a solution.

Don’t assign him any task that you can’t handle him putting his own spin on or doing completely differently than you.

I would love, love, love it if my whole family signed up to live in my ideal utopia of helpful acts of kindness and chipping in wherever there was a need. But not everyone has 20/20 eyesight when it comes to seeing needs and thus, the necessity for a husband chore chart is evident.

Here are some key ideas to keep in mind as you institute your hubby’s chore chart.

1. Disguise your hubby’s chore chart as a “honey do” list or family calendar of tasks (with his highlighted)—but always, ALWAYS put it in writing.

2. Consider appropriate ability-level chores for your hubby. Don’t assign him any task that you can’t handle him putting his own spin on or doing completely differently than you. Because there’s a 100 percent chance that he will.

3. Include specific instructions and possible tutorials for any chore that seems like it might be above his knowledge or outside of his skillset.

4. Create a list of possible “incentives” that you know will yield results: favorite meals, kid-free TV time, ... weeknight sex? Be creative!

5. Finally, praise the pants off him. Men (or anyone, for that matter) are much more likely to continue helping if a large amount of flattery is involved.

If a husband chore charts seems demeaning to you, rest assured that you're doing your guy (and yourself) a favor. After a bit of complaining, he will, most likely, be relieved that he finally knows what you expect from him. He will undoubtedly enjoy not being nagged constantly, which will result in a much happier wife—and, who knows, maybe a little action!

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