During Grief: Sharing Chores with My Husband

This is what I wrote on sharing chores with your spouse before the miscarriage.

This is what I’ve learned since the miscarriage.

It’s so different doing life while inside grief… I wish I’d known all this before it hit. I could’ve saved my Husband and I some tearful discussions.

1. Stuff is going to fall

Let it.

When dealing and muddling through grief, the priority is letting out the pain. Don’t hold back a good cry because the kitchen is a mess. Just cry it out beside that sink full. It’s healing a bit of you that’s bleeding inside.

2. Give grace

You and your significant other need some room to be yourself.

You need room to do you.

Whatever your mourning/lamenting style is, whatever your spouse’s mourning/lamenting style is, embrace it and give grace.

He didn’t get the grass cut? Hire a guy to do it and tell your man you love him.
You didn’t get the towels folded? Shove them where they go unfolded and take a relaxing bubble bath while you’re so close to the tub.

Grace.

3. Communicate softly

When speaking to each other, pick the softest time. Maybe not early in the morning before the first, comforting cup of coffee, or late at night when emotions are so near the surface. No one wants to hear about the garbage can before bed when they are sad.

Pick the softest place to communicate. Maybe not over text. Maybe not over the phone.

Pick your soft tone when speaking to your spouse. Be careful with one another while you are both so sensitive.

Pick your words carefully. Be extra soft. You both need it.

Chores don’t go away, but your spouse might leave the room crying if you are harsh. Be sweet. Be kind. Be soft.

4. Give more grace

When you wanted the chore done oh, so badly, and it isn’t done, weigh it in light of the future.

Will this mildewed basket of clothes bother me in a year?

Will this messy car hurt me in a few months?

Sigh and just let it go. (Or shed a tear and walk away.)

5. When you can, ask for help

If you can get a little help with your chores, consider it during the roughest grief period.

A house cleaner, a yard man, a chef service, a drop-off laundry service, etc. are a good decision while you and your spouse are distraught.

A friend or a family member might be willing to pitch in, too.

Ask.

It’s temporary and might ease the burden you both feel so you can focus on you.

6. Understand grieving may take a long time

For our recent miscarriage, one friend said the discombobulation could last 4 months, another friend said years.

My Husband and I determined it varies from person to person, from couple to couple.

If you expect grief to take awhile, it just makes everything… more… okay.

After the first two months, I’m writing this after having another crying spell this afternoon. I have to tell myself to slow down still and not be in such a hurry to “be better.” Guilt is not allowed anymore. Why?

It may take a long time.

And no one can tell me (or you) exactly how much time it will take.

7. It’s temporary

Things will get better. They will not go “back to normal,” but they won’t hurt like death forever…

Just keep saying it: this is temporary.

Feel the feels, sob the pain, cry the anger, lament, grieve, but know it’s not forever.

Take it day-by-day. – Kalla L.

I agree with my friend’s saying so much: take it day-by-day.

For example, on a simple day, no work was needed at my job, just a meeting of a creative writing church group for a few hours. I’d planned all week to go, excited to write with my friends, but, the night before, I cried so hard, I nearly vomited. That morning, I woke up with a stuffy, swollen head, exhausted, my heart as heavy as a rock. My Husband encouraged me to forget it all. Scrub the plans. Scrub the pending chores. He’d go to work, he wanted me to stay in bed or on the couch. He proceeded to check on me every two hours. And I needed it. This was weeks after the miscarriage. Weeks.

Just when I thought I was getting “better,” everything would crash again. Week after week.

When one or both spouses are going through times of “okay” then “not okay,” it’s a scary roller-coaster. All you can do is pray, cry, sing to God, cry, pray, sleep- out of exhaustion, rinse, repeat.

The last thing you need is to be demanding of yourself or your spouse. It just makes the season 400% worse. (Yeah, I know 400% isn’t a thing. I’m married to a data scientist. That’s just how it felt.)

Keep reaching out to good support sources. (You know who they are.)

You’ll get through this.

I’m not even all the way, but I’m seeing some daylight now.

I believe it for both of us. Me and you.

You’ll get through.

Then you and your spouse will toast that sparkly clean toilet. And on that future day, you’ll say it.

I’m going to be okay.

 

endkevianaelliot

 

Sharing Chores with Your Spouse

Every couple must work it out.

Not working it out means there will be heated discussions g-a-l-o-r-e to look forward to.

Who gets to do which chore?

Each couple is unique, each career situation different, each living space varied. So I can’t really speak to which ways are best or most needed for you (or for the future you), but I can tell you how we worked it out. And I can end this post with the disclaimer you should know from the start: we are still working it out. Changing life seasons are delightfully punctual, and what worked last year won’t cut it this next year.

SETTING CHORES UP:

So let me describe us. I am a part-time, remote I.T. Project Manager. I’m at home 95% of the time. My Husband commutes 45 minutes to his full-time job. And right there is our biggest difference on what energy each of us can dedicate to chores. Yeah, both of our jobs are mentally tasking, but not physically. Our weeks are peppered with church items, but not much more typically.

We took our situation into account. And in taking it all into account, here’s how we started: a discussion.

  1. I listed out the chores.
  2. We discussed each item on this list, with he and I discussing what % we disliked each.
  3. We discussed how often each chore needed to be completed. (Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?)
  4. We divvied them up: his and hers.
  5. I picked what days I’d try to get mine done, Husband did the same with his.

It amazed me that when one of us hated a particular chore, the other didn’t mind it. That helped tons. It might not be your situation, but it helps when it happens.

For us, the chores divided out almost equally between him and I, based on energy allotment per day. In the areas where it was uneven, the load had to be discussed additionally. We needed to be honest about where we were willing to stretch some. Both of us made a small sacrifice at that point.

We ended up with a chore list that didn’t just represent what we were fine handling, but containing a chore or two that showed we loved the other person. Sacrifice-like.

That brought us to a place where we were set up for the season.

PHYSICAL & EMOTIONAL LIMITATIONS:

Physical situation should be discussed as often as it changes, right? If you’re taking notes for your own household, be sure and grasp this. Sometimes one of us can have emotional strain/physical sickness/injury for a season. When that happens, discuss it. It all affects the other spouse and how they feel about their part of the chores load, which can end up being a disagreement in the future.

KEEP YOUR BEST FRIEND IN MIND:

We learned that when discussions (disagreements?) arose over chores, sometimes it was one of us needing a little rest. That really flips the switch on chore time.

A stressed spouse who is attempting to rest over doing chores should be praised, not shamed. The more OCD spouse will groan a little, but they will soon realize they can’t pay anyone to be their best friend.

You can’t pay anyone to be your best friend.

You can pay for a house cleaner, a yard service, a launderer, and math tutor for the kids.

Likewise, no one can be your spouse’s playmate, your spouse’s best listening ear, your spouse’s intimate lover.

Chores shouldn’t stress either of you out.

Chores should not keep you from being ready to laugh, love, hold.

If they are, start searching for the reason they are. If it’s pace, have a heartfelt discussion over what gets cut from the calendar. If it’s stuff, consider going minimalist. If it’s activities for the littles, consider boundaries. Boundaries are also the answer if it’s family drama or outside relationship forces.

And if chores are a “land mine” for you or your spouse, I highly recommend counseling. (“Land mines” are topics strongly tied to an event in you or your spouse’s past that makes you/them explode. Think high-resistance happening at even the mention of the topic.) Many “land mines” are so deeply embedded, they require professional help to disarm them for good. There’s no shame in that. Getting past the past ensures a more loving and healthy future.

Well, I hope you don’t get stuck with the toilet cleaning, but, if you do, invest in a good scrub brush and a cling gel that doesn’t fail.

Disclaimer: we are still working this out. Hope this helps you some regardless. 🙂

 

endkevianaelliot