UC Plus Relationships: Worrying I’m Not Doing Enough
As many of us in a relationship know, it's important to split the labor of running a household when you're in a committed partnership. The to-do list for cleaning, cooking, setting up appointments, budgeting, and more all adds up— let alone if you have kids! Unfortunately, when those of us with ulcerative colitis aren't feeling well, it can be hard to keep up with these tasks. Sometimes we, or even our partners, feel that we aren't pulling our weight.
Ulcerative colitis can make me feel inadequate
I struggle sometimes with the feeling that I'm dumping everything on my partner. What I've realized, though, is that this is more what I feel and not what he feels. Every time I've talked about worrying that I'm not doing enough, my husband points out that he knows I'm sick and wants to help around the house. I've come to see that what I'm actually feeling is fear and inadequacy that comes from my own beliefs about myself and my illness.
Regardless, my husband and I do try to communicate as much as possible about the housework to prevent him from becoming overwhelmed or feeling as though he is being taken for granted.
Splitting up tasks with my partner
When my partner and I started living together, I discovered that he excels at concrete tasks like doing the dishes or vacuuming, while I am better with organizational tasks like budgeting, setting up appointments, ordering things we need, and planning long-term projects, like our wedding. In fact, I realized that I was already doing a lot of these things, while he would take on cleaning and cooking.
Once I realized this, I leaned into it. Whenever there was an opportunity to do an organizational task, I volunteered, knowing that it would take up less of my energy than scrubbing something on my hands and knees. My partner appreciated not having to get on the phone to call someone or having to sit down with our calendar, while I appreciated helping out in the house without feeling utterly exhausted afterwards.
So far, splitting work in this way has felt fair to us. Still, we are always communicating and always refining our to-do list. We try to be careful about how many tasks we keep on it, we try to balance how many concrete tasks versus organizational tasks are on it, and we let projects take a few weeks longer if they need to. That way, one person doesn't feel like the burden is completely on them for taking care of our domestic life.
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