When getting ASP to do Chores is a Chore

We had a serious problem getting chores done around here and the problem lasted for years. I don’t have a job outside the house, and ASP and I both entered this marriage thinking I’d be the housekeeper, cook, maid, laundromat, and so on. My expectation changed once I started homeschooling and saw that other families treated homeschooling as a job and both partners contributed to the remaining work. Even so, I was happy to do most of the work, but I wanted him to be considerate of me and, most of all, appreciate all that I did. We resolved all this, over a period of years, before I knew anything of the Aspie Way.

Applying the Aspie Way to this problem would mean asking him, every day, over and over, to do all the things I want him to do. The Aspie Way does require patience and repetition, but I believe it would require super human patience to be able to do this every day, all day, for every task, for as long as needed, maybe years, maybe forever. I believe handling it this way would lead to eventual learning by the ASP, but maybe the way my ASP and I handled it could help speed things along.

[update: it’s been three years of doing The Aspie Way and he’s learned so much that I don’t have to ask him for regular stuff anymore!]

The goal here, as with anything when dealing with your ASP, is to keep the stress level down.

The resolution was that we assigned chores, very specifically, between us. I made lists, I made spreadsheets, I made flashcards, and I made post-it notes. Aspies tend to be visual learners, and so I did all I could to get the visuals in front of him so he might remember without my constant reminders. We even had who was the “boss” for the kids on different nights: Monday, Thursday and Friday are my nights “off.” He has off Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Tuesday is family night and we work together. I am in charge of laundry and dinner, he is in charge of yard work and after dinner kitchen clean up. Everything else is my job to manage but he does most of the actual labor as I direct. (“Would you please vacuum the stairs?” “Would you please mop the kitchen?” etc. etc.) The Aspie Way has taught me how to direct him in a way that doesn’t lead to meltdowns for either of us.

I’ve told him repeatedly that I want his appreciation, but he never really understood this until after I’d modeled it for him for a few months. Now that I say please and thank you so much, he does too. He goes out of his way to comment when he notices something I’ve accomplished (of course he misses a lot but it’s still nice.) Also I’ve learned that he does appreciate all that I do or he wouldn’t be so willing to go do whatever he thinks I want. So your ASP is telling you, in his language, that he appreciates you when he cleans up as you ask. It will take time and patience, and in the meantime, you’re still dealing with years of patterns that are hard to break. It’s tough. But stick with it as much as you can, and before you know it, your home will be just as you want and you won’t have done all the work alone.


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