Several years ago, my 35-year-old younger brother moved back home with our mother after he was laid off from his job. He and my mom had totally opposite housecleaning habits. She was a neatnik, and I recalled him being a total slob, so I worried about how this arrangement would work.

When I visited them, I was amazed to see my sibling wash the dishes after dinner and tidy his space without needing to be coerced.

Finally, I asked my mom to tell me the secret to her success in getting him to share in the  housework. She said she had learned to stop comparing my brother’s cleaning habits with her own.

Instead of being critical of him like she used to be, she had simply thanked him for helping.