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How to Ask Your Partner for Help with Chores When Overwhelmed (Without Starting a Fight!)

With the sinking weight on your shoulders from the to-do list that is never-ending, the constant struggle to balance career demands, busy kids, and that neglected pile of laundry, it's common to find yourself teetering on (more like way past) the edge of exhaustion. If you're nodding along, because you are overwhelmed, exhausted, and need help, you're not alone.

So how can you find relief? In this blog, I am going to tell you how to ask your partner for help with chores when overwhelmed.

Black man and black woman overwhelmed

For some, your partner may be willing to help if you ask. While it may seem like they should automatically know when you need help, the reality is that they may not realize it unless you communicate your needs. If you always manage to get everything done, it looks like you can handle it, even if you are exhausted. It's important to speak up and ask for help rather than expecting them to intuitively know what you need. Your partner isn’t a mind reader. Expecting them to just "know" when you need help creates resentment and communication breakdowns.

For others, you have asked for help, but it wasn’t received well. Expressing your feelings of being overwhelmed can sometimes be misunderstood as an attack. Saying you’re overwhelmed can feel like you’re blaming or criticizing them for not doing enough. Your partner may not fully grasp the extent of your responsibilities, leading to frustration and misunderstandings. And if I had to guess, your partner had a visceral response to your request for help, because they too are overwhelmed.

Broaching the topic of overwhelm with your partner can be challenging. You may not know what to say to your partner when you are overwhelmed. The “Babe, I’m overwhelmed” approach is not the most effective way to get help because it lacks solutions. Venting just leaves you both feeling frustrated, without a clear path forward.

Here is how you stop feeling overwhelmed when both of you are overwhelmed. First thing first, remember that you and your partner are a team, facing overwhelm together- not your overwhelm versus his overwhelm.

Here are 5 steps to tackle feeling overwhelmed as a united front.

1. Identify Your Responsibilities: Make a comprehensive list of both of your obligations and tasks, including work, childcare duties, household chores, and personal responsibilities.

2. Prioritize and Get Specific: Once you've identified your responsibilities,  add details. How often does each task need to be done? Is it a daily, weekly, or monthly chore? Once you have a clear picture, prioritize the list together based on urgency and importance. 

3. Play to your strengths: Not all tasks are created equal. Assign tasks based on each partner’s strengths and competencies. Folding laundry can be a nightmare for you, but your partner might find it therapeutic. Embrace your strengths, and delegate where possible. By distributing responsibilities based on individual capabilities, you cultivate a sense of shared ownership and efficacy.

Black couple working together

4. Embrace the “Soft Life” Era: Acknowledge that no one can do it all alone. Don't be afraid to say, "Babe, I'm at my limit." Be honest about your limitations and outsource what you can! Hire a housekeeper, schedule a laundry pick-up service, or delegate errands. Free up your time and energy for what truly matters.

5. Foster Open Communication: Above all, prioritize open and honest communication throughout this process. Approach discussions with empathy and understanding, recognizing that both partners are navigating overwhelm together, not against each other.

Remember, navigating overwhelm is a joint effort that requires mutual understanding, support, and resilience. By embracing emotional intelligence and fostering open communication, you and your partner can overcome challenges together and strengthen your bond in the process. If you're struggling with communication or managing overwhelm, feel free to schedule a call with me, your emotional intelligence coach, for guidance and support. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute call.



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