Who Wants to Be A Martyr?


Does it sometimes feel like you are the only person doing work in the house? Do you feel resentful that other people play while you do nothing but work? Do you find yourself nagging and complaining?

Oops, you may have slipped into martyrdom.

Usually one of two things are going on:

1) You are overlooking what other people are contributing to the household. The other day my husband had spent the entire day after work fixing a plumbing problem. The next day I saw I was doing dishes, laundry and making dinner at the same time. And I started to get annoyed. Until I remembered just the day before he was working a lot longer than I was.

2) You have taken on the work yourself. You don’t want to be bothered with getting the family to help out.You do it yourself while seething. So you play martyr. It does take time and energy to get a family to help out. But it is important for them and you. Maybe you need another family meeting where you show all the chores you are doing and say you will have more energy and not be such a nag if others would help out. And let them pick which chores they want to do. Or you may have to do something drastic like go on strike.

At this point, a client will usually say, "But I’ve tried everything and I can’t get any help." When we did deeper it is more like I tried this and this and this for two days and it didn’t work so I gave up. Or I complained so much about how my kids and husband were doing their chores, they quit.

The most important things to getting a family to help out:


They don’t just help out on chores when you get fed up and start yelling. Every day they know they have chore time. And if they don’t do there chores, you won’t take them to where they want to go.


They all live in the house, so they should contribute. Give them the feeling it is their home to. It’s not just mom that gets embarassed if the house is a mess when people arrive.

And allow them to take ownership of the work they do. Let them choose a time that works best for them (reasonably). Don’t redo their work. Use a method of teaching that goes beyond "Clean your room." Try they way they do in the medical field. Show – instruct – do it together – supervised practice – loose supervised practiced till proficient.

Make it Fun

Put on music while you clean. Make doing dishes together a time to connect. Race to see who can pick up their area the fastest. Switch around how you pick chores once in awhile to keep things fresh. Keep your attitude light-hearted – you are training them to either hate or enjoy home care.

How will you share the load this week?




  • Julia says:

    Great tips and they do work. I’ve been using them to get help around our house and backyard farm.

  • Beth says:

    So glad they are working for you! You’ll be an inspiration to others.

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