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How do you work out the "division of labor" in your relationships? Who does what around the house/for the family? Especially if one or both work full time?

Date: 2010-07-03 11:40 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
well i work part-time (officially, sometimes i work more hours) and he works 60 hours a week (max, usually more like 48-50). we do not yet have any kids/pets.

i do everything except dishes (we do not have diswasher), ironing and trash (i do dishes/trash if he is away on business...).

Date: 2010-07-03 11:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My husband works 70 hours a week or so. I work 30 or so. Eli is in daycare from 8 is to 4 ish.

I pretty much do all the dropping off, picking up, doctor appointments, sick days etc. Generally, the minute my husband walks through the door at night (somedays as early as 6:30, some days as late as 8) he has Elias. When he was the world's most colicky baby this was to keep my sanity intact. Now it's largely so Eli and daddy have quality time together. Mark is in charge of feeding Eli dinner (he eats at his own time, but we sit with him) but I'm in charge of making sure there is food ready to be eaten. He gives baths and puts Elias to bed.

I do all the grocery/household shopping and all the meal planning and all the budgeting and bill paying. Mark has two tasks he's SUPPOSED to take care of. Laundry and Dishes. This was decided mostly because he has trouble seeing what needs to be done and doing it, so discrete tasks were the best for him. I do pretty much all the rest of the cleaning (we live in a small and very messy but clean house).

In reality I do the dishes and the laundry most of the time, though he does usually puts it away. When I get fed up with doing the laundry, I stop washing his clothes and we have a talk and he gets back on the horse again for a few days.

I wish our house were neater and that mark did more to that end and I wish our lives were more organized. But I'm happy enough the way things are most of the time. We have a pretty open communication and I'm very good about just telling him when I'm getting aggravated (without actually being mean (most of the time)).

There are areas where I feel really lucky (he WANTS to do whatever needs to be done and take responsibility for Elias etc). And there are areas that frustrate me (I do almost everything and am IN CHARGE of everything, which is really onerous on my psyche). But he works a TON so I know it's hard for him.

Date: 2010-07-03 11:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh... and once, a while back when things were in a bad place as far as my frustration and overwhelmedness goes, I took my typically scientific approach.

We made a list of the things that need to get done in the house. Then we assigned mutually agreed upon weekly time totals to those tasks. (Grocery shopping 1.5 hours, Taking out the trash 20 minutes, etc..) Then we divided them up, with me doing 50% more than him (because of our respective work hours) turns out that he still should have been doing more than the assigned tasks that he WASN'T taking care of.

Oh well.

Date: 2010-07-03 12:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks, this is helpful.

Date: 2010-07-03 12:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have only lived with Ben for 6 months and we have only a dog to look after. He does all the food planning and cooking. I do most of the house cleaning and all the laundry. He does floors. He does most of the dog walking, I help when I can. I leave for work at 6am, and I'm usually back around about 6pm.

Date: 2010-07-03 01:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
i pretty much do all the housework, except for trash, and litterbox. i meal plan (i do now anyway, ha), grocery shop, and do most of the cooking, although jeff has his specialties and cooks once or twice a week. jeff washes the cars. we both take care of the garden, but hire out lawn care.

until recently jeff did our family finances but i just took that over. i pay all our bills and do a weekly budget.

i do most of the childcare obvs, but when jeff is home we're a team. on weekends we're pretty courteous about giving each other breaks, depending on our individual needs that day.

sometimes i wish jeff would at least pick up after himself more-he used to be really good about this, but as time has gone on it's like he just figures it's my job. unfortunately i tend to pick up after him without thinking about it, since i'm picking up after myself and a toddler already.

Date: 2010-07-03 01:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
oh and re: the comment above about scientific data of time spent on chores...there have been studies that come out every few years that show consistently that working women on average do more hours of housework than working men. something like 17 per week compared to 10 for men. i also find this article really interesting-it came out when oslo was about 7mos and totally opened my eyes to the real gender issue labor division:

Date: 2010-07-03 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
this article is so interesting! i'm going to have brian read it, too. thanks!

Date: 2010-07-03 02:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We've been doing this for a long time and we've settled into tasks that we are each comfortable doing, and good at doing. With my skills, I handle the bills, grocery shopping, most of the cooking, scheduling of all appointments (I tease Jack about being phone-phobic - lol), organizing and executing almost all family celebrations/holidays. I do all this because I'm just naturally organized, punctual, and can get thigns done quickly.

When I start to feel more pressured, overwhelmed or crunched for time then I ask him to do specific tasks or I tell him exactly what I need. Now, Jack does not have to be asked to swiffer the floor, vacuum, load/unload the dishwasher, wash dishes, deal with laundry in progress, mow the lawn, clean out the van.

It's really important to work with your strengths as well as what you like. If one partner absolutely cannot deal with cleaning the bathroom and the other doesn't mind it, then it's obvious who should do it. When I was a full-time SAHM I looked at domestic duties as my full-time job (including parenting for those hours, of course). If I sat around all day, or spent most of my day socializing or reading etc, then I didn't expect Jack to come home from work and pick up the slack. If anything, I'd ask him to take over with the kids so that I could quickly get the stuff done that I should have done during the day.

Physically, the job I have is more demaninding than Jack's so I'm much more tired after work and he acknowledges this. Cooking is something we're both struggling with these days, but for me, it's the mental part of planning and deciding what's for supper that is the challenge right now.

Sometimes the division of labour gets unbalanced and I've written out all the domestic tasks that need to be done on a regular basis then asked Jack and the girls to choose tasks that they will be responsible for. And I've made it really clear to my kids that doing stuff around the house is just a responsibility that comes with being in a family - they don't get an allowance for doing things that just need to be done - I don't get paid for cleaning the toilet or sorting the recycling, and neither do they although I praise their efforts and thank them for their efforts.

One key thing I've learned is to NEVER phrase my requests for help as if they're doing ME a favour. "Can you help me do the dishes? Would you do me a favour and take out the garbage?" etc. Uh-uh, nope. This isn't just MY house, those aren't all MY dirty dishes, I didn't create all that dirty laundry by myself. When my girls have complained about doing a task, I ask them if they would like one of mine (grocery shopping, bill paying, working at my job, doing the laundry etc) and when I'm really grouchy, I tell them "So, stop drinking and stop eating with a fork and plate and you won't have so many dishes to do."

As Kim has gotten older, I've reminded her that when she moves out, ALL of these reponsibilities will ALL be HER responsibility ALL the time! As a typical teenager, she's not great at seeing the big picture, not great at time management so when she's overwhelmed with just working p/t and going to school, I remind her that when she goes to university in just over a year, she'll be working p/t, going to school AND she'll have to make time for cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, etc.

*whew* That got long! LOL. Hope it was helpful, anyway.

Date: 2010-07-03 02:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
our chores revolve a lot, usually coming out to be 50/50. simply put: the person staying at home more and working outside of the house less is the one doing almost all of the dishes, vacuuming, tidying up, cat boxes, etc. we do end up splitting cooking down the middle because we both really enjoy it, and it's something to engage noam in when we're alone with him. also, the person who leaves for work oftentimes takes advantage of the crockpot to help the person who will eventually be alone with the kids at night.

morty does a lot of stuff in the mornings--cooking, cleaning, watching kids--while i sleep in some days. i stay up late cooking, cleaning, etc.--while the kids sleep and i wait for morty to come home from later work days.

our kids are always with us, so no outside childcare.

Date: 2010-07-03 03:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
someday i'll have a relationship that involves living together and sharing duties!

Date: 2010-07-03 04:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
After almost 12 years of marriage, things for us have evolved as our relationship/careers have. When one of us was dissertating, the other took on more. Now that we're both working, we've settled into a pretty good pattern.

I do most of the cleaning and around the house stuff (including mowing the lawn & doing any fix-its). I also take care of the shared bills we have and most of the routine finances. I walk the dog in the mornings.

My wife does the grocery shopping (she has more patience and is better at finding deals) and is generally the one to organize and/or take the lead on social events and having people coming over. She's generally the one who makes sure that we have everything we need in the house in terms of food and supplies.

We split cooking generally, but it swings depending on our moods. Right now I'm in a pretty culinary mood. When one person cooks, the other does the dishes. With the dog, we split the walking duties. I take him out in the mornings, she takes him out in the afternoons. We each do our own laundry/ironing, only because we're too afraid of wrecking each other's clothes. We each take care of our own credit cards and pay those bills accordingly. Although we have joint debit cards, we never consolidated our credit cards, and we each have our own accounts we're responsible for & we pull money from the joint checking/savings accounts when needed.

Since we chose not to have kids and focus on our careers, that's what really dictates shifts in division of labor. When one of us is working on a project or has a lot on his/her plate, the other will pick up the slack. When we both are swamped, there are certain chores/tasks that we agree won't get done. As far as food goes one of us will make a giant meal on the weekend and then have leftovers the rest of the week. Much easier.

Now that my wife is about to shop her second book, I'll be taking on a bit more from time to time, which is what she did when I was finishing mine.

All in all, it's an organic process for us. But it's different for everyone. When it's become unbalanced, one of us will just say to the other "I'm having trouble getting all of this done, do you think you could take on [insert task here] for a bit?" And that takes care of it.

Date: 2010-07-03 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As far as housekeeping goes, I handle pretty much everything except loading the dishwasher and taking out the trash. My sister comes over every two weeks or so to clean the bathrooms since we both hate doing that and it removed an area of strife. Michael also assists in moving the laundry through its cycles, and with folding and the like. And he's great about picking up the house (and getting the boys to do it with him).

We're very equal parents. Michael usually spends a lot of time playing with the boys when he gets home from work and usually does their baths. We divide dressing them in the morning fairly evenly. On Sunday mornings, Michael packs their backpacks for church while I usually handle their school backpacks during the week.

I know there is an "imbalance" in the housekeeping but we've functionally agreed to keep it that was since Michael is working really hard to get publications out to boost his CV as he's on the hunt for a tenure-track job. That is in all our best interests so I am happy with the situation. If I were to go back to work full-time, things would definitely have to change.

We've gone through many cycles of this over the years of our marriage. Every time our situation would change, our housekeeping divisions would change. One rule that has held out is the "If you cook, you don't have to clean up" rule. But other than that, it was always open for negotiation depending on what our overarching family goals were - "Get you through this project," "Give you the time to get X, Y or Z done," etc.

Date: 2010-07-03 04:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hey sis. Ours is not very even, but it varies in how uneven, and the end result is stuff sometimes just does not get done. And we don't even have kids yet, so one of my goals is to work on this before we reach a crisis point down the line.

I do more dishes during the week, Daniel usually does a full kitchen clean on Fridays. Laundry we also rotate between us pretty well. Beyond that, I do all of the indoor stuff unless people are coming over so we have to get it done all at once. I also think I take out the trash more, at least lately.

However, Daniel primarily does all of the continuous outdoor stuff like mowing. The only time I do this is if he is out of town. He also changes our oil and does the repairs/maintenance on the house, which are things that I generally do not know how to do. Our bills are all autopay so I don't really count them among chores. We are both horrible at adhering to a budget, but always have a general idea of where we stand.

During the school year when I am working and going to school this usually means our house gets to the point of gross and then I freak out and do a big cleaning. This is not a functional system, but I feel like we should be grown up enough for this to work without charts somehow? But obviously that isn't true because it isn't working. I def worry about what will happen when our time is way more stretched than it is right now.

Date: 2010-07-03 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am struggling to figure out what is reasonable to expect Brian to do since he's working full time. I feel like he should be doing/should be able to do more. I'm looking for data! :) Right now he takes the trash out... and scoops the litter 1x/wk... and... sometimes he does the dishes or vacuums.

Date: 2010-07-03 07:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
... I get the sense that he thinks he shouldn't have to do any of that, whether he's conscious of that or not... I don't want to be all bitchy and uncool but I also don't see why basically our entire home management falls on my shoulders, or how I'm supposed to sustain that and do grad school. Trying to figure out what it means to be "equal partners."

Date: 2010-07-04 03:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's so hard to decide what "equal" is for something like this. Because I feel like Daniel gets more time at home because he has four day work weeks. So he always has a three day weekend. Doesn't that mean he should do more of the deep cleaning? Except really, he works more hours a week than I do.

What a mess. I really feel for you. Because the time you need to spend on school is much more intangible than required work hours, but no less important. And I am probably biased because I'm family, but I want him to do more. Because I feel like Daniel and I kind of even out because I don't want to mow the lawn and weed eat in Oklahoma summer heat. But Brian doesn't have to deal with any of that stuff. And I am sure one more pair of hands doing even a little light housework during the week would be groundbreaking for you.

You still carry a lot of the weight of bedtime for Robin and Holly too. Those are things he can't really take out of your hands. I'm just saying. Ok. Done being biased.

I really hope you guys are able to find a better balance. And when you do let me know what worked best :)

Date: 2010-07-04 11:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I think what provoked this thread of thought for me were two statements during the conversation that night... one was that he didn't want to buy a house because he didn't have time for the yard work (so... will he EVER "have time" if he's working full time?). The other was a statement that I have more time... so what's going to happen when/if I am working full time, or at least more, outside the home? I asked myself, would I be doing much less for our family? Probably not.

I don't know, I'm in a bad mood about Brian right this second so it's probably not fair to dump on him. He has been more helpful this weekend. At the same time, I don't know. Ugggh.

Date: 2010-07-03 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Allyson does all cooking and I do all cleaning. As for the yard, we live in the desert so there are mostly rocks. We do have a couple of plants and the pool that I mostly tend to take care of, too. Every once in a while we surprise each other. I will surprise her by cooking dinner or she will surprise me by totally cleaning the house. In fact, she did that this week. It means more to me that getting diamonds because it's thoughtful and spending her time doing something that means a lot to me.

Date: 2010-07-03 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Preface: I hate housework, like with a passion. I'm lazy about it. Jason will do housework but hesitates because he grew up w/ an insane OCD mother who wouldn't let anyone do any chores b/c they'd "do it wrong". So he doesn't want to do housework either unless I really get on his ass. Bottom line, we rarely clean.

Typically, he does all the cooking because I can't and don't like to cook. He cleans the cat box, takes out the trash, does the dishes (no dishwasher). Laundry is a joint effort at the laundrymat as is grocery shopping. I do the floors, clean counters and do more of the straightening up the clutter. We kind of rotate on the bathroom. I also plan the meals and make the grocery list. Now don't ask me about the frequency at which we actually get around to these things aside from the food related ones.

The rationale has typically been that he does more housework than me because I've spend more time working.

Date: 2010-07-03 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I also do all the bill paying and money management.

Date: 2010-07-03 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Currently we both work 40 hrs/wk, so we try to divide them up evenly based on which of us is better at certain things/likes doing them more. I think it ends up that I spend a bit more time on stuff, but he has the crappier things to do. I grocery shop, meal plan, and cook (tho I don't cook every night, and lately M has been on a protein shake thing so I often only cook for myself). He does the dishes. And laundry. I vacuum, he steam cleans the carpet. I do counters/sinks/toilets in the bathroom, he does tubs/showers. We take turns bathing the dog, but he tends to end up doing it more often. He also ends up mowing the lawn more often, but I sometimes do it too. Weeding/gardening we both do. He takes the trash/recycling out, I bring the empty bins back in. He pays the bills. If any dusting happens, it's usually me doing it. If one of us happens to be working more or sick or something, the other is pretty good about compensating. Making a list is really helpful for starting to divvy everything up. I also liked a previous poster's idea about giving time estimates and breaking it up that way. Also, it seems like a small thing, but M and I thank one another often for doing chores, and it's something that makes us both feel good. Like I said, it's a small thing, and I know it seems odd to ppl b/c we have our mental lists of what we're "supposed" to do, but I know I still appreciate it when M thanks me for dinner, and he appreciates it when I thank him for doing the dishes, etc. -- it's a nice reminder that we don't take one another for granted. We do seem to have kind of a smoother chore routine/relationship than many of our friends, and I don't know if the thanking contributes to that, or if it's just that we've been living together longer and had longer to work it all out.

we are not a good example!

Date: 2010-07-04 01:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Since we moved to Charlotte, I worked part-time and then not at all outside the home. Bear works 40+ hours a week. We live in an apartment and we don't have any pets, so no yard work or pet chores.

It might be easiest to sum up what Bear DOES do: He cooks sometimes. He unloads/reloads/runs the dishwasher sometimes. He changes Rowan's diaper sometimes (usually with prompting). He puts Rowan down for her evening nap (it is supposed to be her bedtime, but she doesn't think so :p). When the outside trash is full, he takes it to the dumpster. He balances the checkbook (online) and pays the bills. He changes the sheets on our bed (usually with prompting).

So that leaves me with all laundry, most cooking, most kitchen cleaning, all vacuuming (which mostly just doesn't happen), most child-wrangling, all indoor-trash-emptying, and any errands (like the post office) that need to be done during the day, during the week.

I host playgroup every five weeks or so, so that's how often the downstairs gets vacuumed and the downstairs bathroom gets cleaned. I do clean the upstairs toilet, but everything else...sigh.

Re: we are not a good example!

Date: 2010-07-04 01:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah... sounds a lot like our setup. Doesn't seem right. :P sorry R. is being stubborn about bedtime. Seems like little girls with names beginning with R have bedtime troubles!! I hope the fact that Robin goes to bed pretty easily now and sleeps through the night most nights now gives you hope. At the same time, I can see being in your shoes and being like 28 MONTHS IS FOREVER AWAY!!

Re: we are not a good example!

Date: 2010-07-04 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Honestly, I'm getting enough sleep. I'm not getting enough time-alone-with-hubby, but we might be able to join our friends' babysitting co-op, which makes me so SO excited. Then we could have dates! Or just hang out together! So that might be a solution, not my dream of her going to bed and staying in bed by 8 p.m., but a solution nonetheless.

Re: we are not a good example!

Date: 2010-07-04 11:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That sounds awesome!

Date: 2010-07-04 02:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
In the 8 years we've tried a lot of things... chore charts, cleaning together Saturday mornings, etc. We used to both try to do a little of everything, but over time it's gotten more towards we each do things we prefer or feel more neutral about. For instance, I grocery shop and menu-decide and cook. She does more laundry and vacuuming. Having more divided tasks so it's clearer who is responsible for what task seems to work best for us.


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