To the person without ADHD, when you don’t make the bed, clean the bath, do the laundry, etc., they think:
1) You don’t care about them or your home together
2) You are being lazy or
3) You are purposely trying to annoy them.
In fact it’s none of those reasons! When you have ADHD, it doesn’t matter how much you love your spouse, or having a clean home; housework is boring and overwhelming and so very hard to ‘make yourself’ do it.
However, don’t despair…here are 5 tips to avoid arguing about housework!
1) What is their ‘thing’?
Usually the non-ADHD spouse has one thing that really bugs them. They don’t mind having piles of dirty clothes on the bedroom floor or dust bunnies everywhere BUT there is one thing that really annoys them and causes tons of fights. For example:
‘If he would just remember to take out the trash, I wouldn’t mind doing everything else.’
‘If she could just keep the sink empty, so it’s not the first thing I see when I walk through the front door, I could cope with the rest.’
‘I know housework is hard for her, but if she could just empty the cat litter every day…’
Now when clients tell me they have fights about housework with their spouses, I ask, ‘What is their one thing?’ As you are reading this, I bet you know straight away what it is. If you aren’t sure, start to notice what they say during the fights. They will have a thing!
This is your first focus. It will probably only take a few minutes of your time and yet it has a big ripple effect on the relationship. The partner then feels you do love them after all.
2) Create a list
Sit down together and write a comprehensive list of all the tasks that need to be done daily and weekly. Or, even better, download this ADHD-friendly housework checklist, and just add any important personalized chores. Review the lists together to decide what REALLY needs to get done daily, weekly, etc. (E.g., some people might love mopping every single week, but maybe you and your partner are OK with doing it less often.) Next split the list into tasks that you will do and tasks they will do. One of the reasons why ADHDers feel so overwhelmed by housework is that they don’t know what exactly to do. This list helps remove some of that overwhelm.
When you are picking your tasks, where at all possible, pick the ones that are easy for you to do.
3) Don’t do housework at the same time
You and your partner don’t need to do housework at the same time! Many couples feel that they should both be working at the same time. However this can lead to arguments. One person wants to watch cartoons and the other one wants to get the housework done. This is another benefit of the housework list. You can both do it at times that work for you. No one needs to feel guilty or that they are being taken advantage of.
4) Don’t compare times
You might find that it takes you longer to do household tasks. This is something spouses can’t quite understand. Don’t compare times. It’s not a race and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t as competent. You just have different styles of doing things.
5) Get a cleaner.
This might sound like cheating, however, if you can afford to, hire a cleaner. You can still use these tips for daily maintenance, but the cleaner will take care of the deep-down cleaning. This takes the pressure off both you and your partner.
What do you and your partner do to avoid fighting about housework?
🌟 Don’t forget! You can use this handy little housework checklist from me to begin the conversation 🌟