Bringing out the scorecard with your husband: does it really help anything?

I woke up with the baby the last two nights.

Well, I changed her dirty diaper this morning.

I take care of paying the bills and making all the doctor appointments.

But I take care of keeping the yard cut and take the trash out all the time.

scorecardDoes this sound familiar? It happens all too often in our house. Sometimes, when life gets crazy, the “marriage scorecard” comes out. It’s hard not to want your spouse to pay attention to everything you do around the house and for the family, especially if you feel like they aren’t pulling their own weight. This usually happens when I’m overwhelmed at work, the calendar is filling up with doctor appointments, and I can’t seem to keep up with simple household chores. For whatever reason, it’s at that time that I feel the need to point out every little thing I do to keep the family unit flowing smoothly, when in reality, that’s what starts breaking it down in the first place. And how easy is it when moms get together for dinner for it to turn into a husband bashing session?

Is this really healthy for a marriage? Plain and simple, the answer is NO. When Michael and I met with the parish priest during our Pre-Cana classes, he told us not to look at a marriage as 50/50 between each partner, but for each of us to give 100%, or all of ourselves, into the marriage. He explained that if we each focus on giving 100%, then we wouldn’t have the time to look at what the other person wasn’t doing. And what is the point of getting married if we aren’t willing to give 100% of ourselves to the relationship? I think that’s pretty good advice.

Besides, if your husband is anything like mine, the minute I start throwing out a list of things I’ve done and what he hasn’t done, he’s already stopped listening before I even finish my first bullet point. And I’m wasting valuable energy having a one-sided argument that is not going anywhere.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have expressed my frustration to him about not taking care of Addison’s doctor appointments or folding the laundry. He explained that if he took Addison to the doctor by himself and did not find out all of the information that I wanted to know from the doctor, I would say I should have just gone myself. And why should he fold the towels, when I’m just going to refold them “my way” before putting them up in the bathroom? Yes, he is correct. Good points on both accounts, but don’t tell him I said that.

Truth be told, I really don’t have much to complain about. Michael has taken turns getting up with Addison since she came home from the hospital. And he helps out tremendously around the house. In fact, as I sit typing this, he just finished loading the dishwasher and is now sweeping and mopping the entire house.

So what if some days I do more chores than he does? So what if I wake up more often with Addison when she’s teething? I can say that I have never taken the trash out to the curb, and I have only cut the yard once in the five years we’ve been married. So, in the end, it all balances out.

Do you find yourself keeping score with your husband? How do you find balance in your household?


  1. oh yes ma’am. I do it, especially when he’s been out of town for work, or if I’m tired from a long day and I feel overwhelmed. Your priest made a great point, though- and you are right, it gets us nowhere except pissed off and more annoyed.

    What a great post. Puts a lot into perspective!

  2. Yes, I have found myself playing the marriage scorecard quit often. Not so much now but when life was busier, young children and working outside the house. First I had to stop and count my blessing in my husband. Second sometimes sharing my flustration to my husband helped.
    Great post!

  3. Great advice from the priest. I’m a terrible score keeper and its the one thing I really really need to work on. I may write down that quote and hang it on my fridge as a reminder. Seriously!

  4. I could connect with this one! But before all that quabbling about who did what got out of hand, we actually sat down and discussed how to split things. Now we just know whose turn it is to do what and who’s responsible for what. Nothing to argue about. If I am feeling bad, he picks up the slack, and vice versa. I really LOVE what the priest said to you. Thank you for sharing that. It really made me stop and think.

  5. Despite the fact that my husband is woooonnnderful I still find myself often jealous of him. I know I am a stay at home mom right now but I want to be able to hide in the bathroom with the door closed when I want to as well. I also am insanely jealous that he is not constantly contemplating the needs of the family like I am. I feel as though my work is never done. Your post is just what I needed. I am now trying hard to just give 100% of myself rather than focus on the score. Thanks!

    • I have this debate with my friends ALL the time. I think that a “switch” goes off when we deliver our babies. Or maybe the minute we conceive. It’s like we as moms – whether we stay home or work or some combination thereof – just automatically give up all of ourselves for our kids. Like the kids come first, that is our focus, and we always put our needs – big and small – second. For better AND worse. I think sometimes all of us are guilty of being a martyr like “oh woe is me I bathed him AND fed him AND took him to the doctor AND never got to shower.” But then I read posts like Amber’s today, and this one, and I realize that “no, this is a pleasure and a privilege that so many would kill for and I am in control of my happiness.” So if I would like to shower, all I need to do is say “honey, I’d really appreciate showering alone once this week – how can we make it happen?” It’s a work in progress over here!

  6. When our first baby was born I found that was our biggest downfall. When we started doing the “score keeping” we were no longer working together. However, when my husband would come home to a messy house all the time wondering what the hell I did all day I made a full time sheet of my day and he backed off ever since then. My husband and I work better without the score board, plus he picks up so much of my slack without complaining!


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