When you reflect on your day, do you find yourself feeling as if you’re the one carrying the load? Maybe you observe your co-worker on a personal call or your spouse on the couch and think, “Must be nice!” If so, you may be guilty of “unconscious overestimating.” That fancy phrase is simply another way of saying each of us believes we do more than others. For instance in one study, when students working on a team each estimated their contribution to the group, the total was 139 percent. Hitting a little closer to home for most of us, when spouses estimated what percentage of housework they did, it added up to 120 percent. (If those percentages were truthful, we could eat off the floor!)
While it’s tempting to make jokes about which partner does more when it comes to running the household, the truth is, when we feel we’re doing more than our fair share, it can lead to resentment. And resentment breaks down relationships, rather than create connection. If there is a serious imbalance, it’s time to speak your truth and ask for the support you need. But, if it’s a case of unconscious overestimating, try this. Rather than focus on all the drudgery and chores WE do, consider those tasks we DON’T do, those things our partner or colleague takes care of. This shift in perspective goes a long way to alleviating frustration the next time you're busy cleaning pots or pans, filling the car with gas or raking the leaves.
Personally, I know I appreciate when my sweetheart makes the bed each morning, gets the mail, keeps the lawn green and short, does the Costco run, and stops to kiss me when he walks in the door. How about you?