Guest Blogger
Sarah Yost


(Via Jacbt)

Carolyn takes the kids to school, picks them up, does the laundry. Everything that gets cleaned in the house is cleaned by her. She puts the kids to bed, gets them dressed, makes dinner, cleans up after dinner, makes sure the kids eat two more bites and then she mows the yard.

Her husband works late and when he gets home, zones in front of the television.

Carolyn tried dumping the laundry from the dryer onto the floor between him and the television and slamming the kids’ underwear onto a tidy folded pile. When that didn’t get his attention, she slammed the toilet seat down that he always left up.

He zoned some more.

She thought it should be obvious that she wanted his help. He thought she was being a bitch. She felt like one. She didn’t know what else to do because the household duties were split so unfairly. Whenever she thought about it, though, she tried to talk herself out of feeling mad. She’d avoid looking at her real feelings with a string of thoughts like He works so hard. He doesn’t yell at me like I yell at him. He’d put the laundry away in the wrong place anyway. It’s really not that big of a deal.

Carolyn’s problem is not her husband. Carolyn’s problem is her own thinking. This is fantastic news, because if she has to wait for him to change so she could feel better, she could very well be screwed.

I’m not saying she needs to, Mother-Theresa-style, rise above it and ignore his lack of participation. I am saying the solution starts with her, in her own brain, her thinking.

Wake up to what’s going on with you. You can’t change what you don’t know about. While your zillion thoughts float around and you don’t hear them, they’ll push you around like a bully on the playground.

If you feel like you do more around your house than your partner, start with you first.

Keep a chore journal.

For one week, write down every single thing you do that contributes to your household. This includes cleaning, food prep, child care, letting the dog outside to pee and sending birthday cards.

Write down whatever goes through your mind while doing that thing. If you’re not sure what you’re thinking, write down what you’re feeling. If you’re not sure what you’re feeling, write down if you’re sad, mad or glad. That’s good enough.

Dial a feeling

How do you want to feel in your home and while taking care of your family?

Do things that create that feeling. If you want to feel comfortable in your home, check your jeans. Are they comfy? If you want to feel creative and stimulated in your home, quit mindlessly refreshing your facebook page. Do things that make you feel creative and stimulated.

Have a conversation

When your thoughts are clean and you take responsibility for your own feelings, you can talk to your partner from a place of love, curiosity and willingness. Talk about your preferences for how you want household management to go and listen to your partner talk about his preferences.

Notice the difference between two possible conversations, one before thought cleaning and one after.

Before: I’m effing tired of doing everything by myself. It’s not fair and you need to figure out what you’re willing to do.

After: I love you and I want to talk about the way we run our household. I don’t want to fight about it anymore, but I do want to get on the same page with you if we can.

Which do you think is more likely to elicit cooperation and change? You don’t have to agree with everything he says and you don’t have to call him a lazy loser because he doesn’t agree with everything you say. In face, if lazy loser is the thought you run to while having a conversation, that’s a thought to investigate!

I won’t promise he’ll change. You may still do the majority of things around the house, but instead of feeling crappy about it, you can do them in peace.

Sarah is a mind-body coach who helps stressed out moms rock it without guilt. If you’ve ever felt like a bitch for saying no, Sarah’s your girl. Working with her is better than Valium. and follow her on Twitter. Please say hello.