One issue that often comes up when discussing combined relationships (one person has ADHD, the other does not) is household chores. Who does them, when, with what frequency and what’s the balance of labor between the two partners.
- Split by Strengths. You do X and your partner does Y. How are you splitting them up? Are you playing to each other’s strengths? Acknowledge that the regularity of cleaning can be tedious or boring, so could your partner be the one to spring a loud-music-power-hour of cleaning each week? They start cleaning and then you can join in
- Notice the Cue. Instead of using a date or day to cue you to do something, how about letting the task itself tell you when? Like taking out the garbage or recycling when it’s 95% full? (I use 95% because we all know what waiting until it’s full looks like). This way the cue is not set by a day, but that you can visually see the task needs to be done.
- Anchor Your Task. What’s something you do with regular frequency, no matter what? Shower, eat, use the bathroom…can you anchor the cleaning to one time per week right after you do that? Keep the shower cleaner and sponge right next to the shower so you can clean right after taking a shower or feel free to scrub while in the shower!
Laundry is a subject that comes up in nearly all of my first calls with new clients. It’s a boring task that requires intermittent sustained attention. Keeping up with it can feel nothing short of impossible for our ADHD brains.
But what if instead of one person doing all the laundry start to finish, instead you shared different parts of the chore? Imagine this scenario.
Your partner → Moves the clothes to the washer and starts the first load
(We’re borrowing their strength of task initiation)
You → Sets timers to switch the laundry to the dryer and start the next load.
(We’re relying on our strength to keep going in the middle of a task once we’ve started)
Both partners (or the whole family) → Fold and put dried laundry away.
(We’re using the whole family for accountability and to finish that last 10%)
What would this look like in your home? Switch things up (ADHD brains love novelty) by chore splitting or sharing for a week and find what works best for both of you!
Riley Karbon, PCAC
ADHD & Executive Functions Coach