How do you divide up household chores? Did it change, once you were married? Do you divide your chores along gender lines/traditional stereotypes? If so, was it intentional?
Mr. Powder Puff and I sort of naturally fell into the typical gender roles as far as chores go. I cook and clean, he takes out the trash and changes the oil in my car. Of course, we’re flexible. If I’m feeling tired or sick, Mr. Powder Puff will cook for me, or I’ll take out the trash if he isn’t up to it. But generally, we stick with our roles, and are extremely happy to do so! We actually had to discuss, as part of our premarital counseling, who would do what in the relationship. This was so valuable! It allowed us to set our expectations for not only each other, but also for ourselves. I highly recommend discussing these things with your partner, even if you’re not taking part in formal premarital classes. That way everything is out in the open, and no one is left feeling any resentment or disappointment if their expectations aren’t met.
First, I would have to say that nothing has changed since we got married. In many ways we share the responsibilities based on our schedules. For example, Mr. HC is almost always busier and has a more demanding schedule than I do, being a 1st year surgery resident, so I generally take care of the laundry and tasks like that (because in reality, it would not get done otherwise!). However, when Mr. HC had a month of vacation and I was still in class, he really stepped up and took over many of the tasks that I usually take care of. Though I generally do more of it, he is always helpful with household cleaning, and he’s pretty good about cleaning the litter (because, um, I hate it). I do pretty much all the cooking, but mostly because I love it! If we happen to both get home around the same time, we will often prepare dinner together, which is nice, but the kitchen is really my domain (and truthfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way!) I guess it would seem that we divide the chores along gender lines/traditional stereotypes, but it is probably more of a product of our job choices (at the moment, grad school for me, surgery residency for him) and how busy we are. Mr. HC is great about stepping up if I ask him to, and I don’t feel forced into this role. We have figured out a way to divide up the household that works for us!
Not much has changed post-wedding besides the fact that I now actually have time to clean! Pre-wedding things became rather unorganized and Mr. L was often left cleaning up my crafting messes while I was tied up in much of the planning. Overall, we typically share the work; if things are messy and we have the time to clean, then we clean. We do have very different cleaning styles, though. I am very meticulous when I clean. Cleaning for me doesn’t just mean keeping visible areas clean. It also means cleaning under the sink, in the closets, drawers and everything in between. I like to keep things organized when I clean. Mr. L, on the other hand, is what I’d like to call an “out of sight, out of mind” cleaner. He will clean the kitchen or living room and they will look impeccable. Days later however, I will be in search of a bill or piece of old mail only to find they have been buried in a drawer, placed on a desk in our guest room, or tossed in an unused cabinet. Overall, we do a good job of sharing the tasks. However, I do know that I need to be more appreciative of the fact the Mr. L is cleaning even if it’s not how I would do things.
It hasn’t changed much post-wedding! I clean up more than Mr. R, because I have more free time than he does, but we don’t have specific chores. If I see that the dishes need to be done or the trash needs to be taken out, I’ll do it. It he notices it before I do, then he’ll do it. It works for us!
We only fully moved in with each other after the wedding, so, yes, quite a few things changed. Mostly we have been dividing chores up based on who has the time/energy. We usually cook together because it is something we both enjoy (unless I’m home late, in which case Mr E takes care of it). Mr E always washes the dishes, and I dry them. Im usually the one who cleans the bathroom because a dirty bathroom irks me more than it irks him, but he is the one who vacuums because our machine is a beast and hates my guts. The last month has been super busy for me, so Mr E has really be the one “in charge” of the laundry, taking out the rubbish and such. I expect this arrangement will change a little when he starts fulltime study again in a couple of weeks and my work/ study schedule becomes less packed, which is fine because that way we’re learning to be flexible with each other, and everything still gets done!
We don’t divide up specific chores because we never know which of us will have the heavier weekly load. Since we’re both working and going to school, sometimes there will be days or weeks when one person has much more on their ‘to do’ list than the other. So if we had specific lists of chores, the garbage—for example—might pile up. Or dinner would never be made. Or we wouldn’t have any clean undies. So, we play it by ear and the honor system. If one of us sees something that needs to be done–and has time to do it—it gets done. That’s pretty much it. It’s been that way the entire time we’ve lived together, so it did not change when we got married. A couple of things I almost always do are making dinner and cleaning the bathroom. Mr. MJ does the dishes more often than I do because he knows I hate to do it. But we do not have any strict roles or chores to perform. I think that at this step in our lives, assignments like that would set us up for failure. Sometimes, one of us simply has more time than the other.
We’ve got a setup for right now, and for the future. Right now, Mr. SD is earning all the household income. So, in exchange, I handle the bulk of household work. I handle cleaning, dishes, cooking, and laundry. Mr. SD takes care of taking out the trash and mowing. That’s about it. It’s not so much gender roles as it is my contribution to the household. Once I start getting income again, then we’ll have to re-evaluate how we split up the chores. Same goes for when Baby SD is born. As it stands, it seems that we’ll split things up so that I handle cooking and dishes, Mr. SD picks up a lot of the laundry duties, and we’ll clean together on the weekends. Who knows what’s going to happen once we become parents! I’m sure it’ll be something we decide as we go along. I don’t think any amount of preparation is going to make a difference when we’re hit with the reality of late-night feedings and diaper changes!
Things haven’t really changed post marriage at all. We typically share the household duties, with one exception—I never do anything with the lawn. I told Mr. Fro Yo if it was ever my turn to mow the lawn I would hire someone, and he thinks that’s a bad idea so he does it all on his own. However, we are pretty good about sharing most of the other duties. I’d say that I probably do more cleaning, but my threshold for dirt is a lot lower than his. I get stressed out if the house is dirty, so I don’t mind pitching in more there. And, when it comes to meals, we cook those together, even if he’s just in there helping chop or stir, I’d much rather have him around than doing it all alone. Oh, wait, one thing I forgot…I take care of our pets almost exclusively. He takes them on walks with me, but I am responsible for feeding, taking them to the vet, giving any medicine or doing any training. But, I’m happy with the balance we have. It really works for us.
We pretty much try to split chores up evenly. I cook, he cleans up after my cooking. I do and fold the laundry, he puts it all away. I do the “deep” cleaning and he keeps the house tidy (picks up my mess and his own). He likes things tidy, and I’m very lucky when it comes to that, since I’m pretty messy. Mr. Peng always jokes that when he comes home from work he can retrace what I did during my entire day based on the messes I’ve left. I won’t let Mr. Penguin cook so that when he divorces me he will have to eat crappy crap until he gets remarried (and hopefully his new wife sucks at cooking….HAHAHA!). Sometimes he will ask me what I put in this dish or that, and I never tell him. I am demented in that way. I will say that my most irrational cleaning issue is that because I work at home, I make a lot of messy dishes (coffee, breakfast, lunch) and I refuse to clean them up. I argue that Mr. Peng has a janitor at his work to clean up after him and because I work at home it’s not fair that I don’t have one, so when he comes home every day he cleans up all my dishes. It makes me insanely happy, and he knows it. He does it so I will love him more, and it TOTALLLLYYYY works.
I will say this: there was a period in my life where I had two full time jobs and because of it was making more money than Mr. Penguin. It was a very brief period, but you will not BELIEVE the things I discovered about myself—namely, apparently I felt that since I was making more money in our household, I shouldn’t have had to lift a FINGER. I became enraged with hatrid when I did the laundry. I chopped veggies for a meal and simultaneously wanted to stab Mr. Pengy. Granted, I was working two full time jobs…I was stabby, in general. But as crazy as it is, once I went back to having one full time job, I got pretty zen about doing the lion’s share of the chores again…I felt like since I was making less money, it became OK again that I was doing most of the day to day chores. I discovered that for family harmony, I am not comfortable making more money than Mr. Penguin (unless of course it’s enough money to where we can hire people to do all of our cleaning…then I’d be fine with it).
Surprisingly, things have changed slightly for us post-wedding. Mr. Cardigan seems to think that now that he’s officially my husband, he should help out a little more around the house. I’ve always done the majority of the chores around the house (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.) and he’s always taken care of fixing things and taking out the trash—stereotypical, I know, but it’s what works for us. Lately, though, Mr. Cardy has been surprising me more often by cleaning up a little bit before I get home from work, and helping out more when I am cleaning. I think it’s partially because he feels like he needs to pitch in more since I am the one making the majority of the money for us right now. Whatever the reason, though, I’m not complaining!
Nothing has changed for us post wedding. I do the cooking and bring the recycling downstairs and Mr. Knitting does pretty much everything else. I’m a bit spoiled…I’m fine with this, but Mr. Knitting definitely wishes I would do more dishes every so often!
I will be honest: household chores is one of the biggest sticking points in our relationship, and has been ever since we moved in together four years ago. It was one of the only things that caused us to have real, blowout fights (though we have largely moved past that now). We were raised at pretty much the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as keeping a clean house was concerned, and it translated into how important cleanliness is to each of us as adults. I’m the clean one, and he is Pigpen from Peanuts. It was a consistent source of tension in our relationship, until we went to pre-marital counseling. We talked a lot with our counselor about partnership and household management, and how marriage isn’t just emotional partnership—it also includes the functional parts of running a life together. It includes doing things that you hate to do or that you really don’t want to do, in order to keep the burden of an entire aspect of household management from falling on one person. Things have gotten much better since then, with the division of labor much more equal, and a lot less drama about it, to boot. I’ll be honest again, though: once we can afford it, I am totally hiring a regular cleaning service.
After moving in together, but before we got married, we more or less followed traditional gender roles in regards to household chores. I know, gross, right? 😉 (We’ve never had a yard since we’ve lived together, but Mr. Spaniel does have a vegetable garden on the balcony that is 100% his responsibility… I won’t touch it.) We didn’t intend for it to be that way, but since I was in school and had a lot of free time—note to the students: it might not seem like you have a lot of free time when you are a full time student, but it’s WAY more free time than you typically will have when you are a full-time worker bee—and Mr. Spaniel was busting his butt trying to build his business (like how I just did that?), more of the cooking and cleaning tended to fall on me. Since I don’t mind most cleaning (except dishes; I hate doing dishes!), this was fine, for as long as I stayed in school.
A few months after the wedding, our schedules shifted dramatically. I started working 50-60 hours a week (plus 15 hours of commuting), and I just couldn’t take care of household tasks anymore. Mr. Spaniel started taking over the cooking so that we could have dinner before 9:00 at night. Then he started taking over the dishes and keeping the kitchen clean, because otherwise I was too tired after dinner to clean and we’d have no dishes the next day. Then he started handling the trash, since it was too hard for me to drag it to the trash chute while running out the door (because I’m always running late!) with a hot cup of tea in one hand and my big briefcase in the other. Now, the only thing I do is the laundry on the weekends.
Mr. S’s work has really picked up in the last few months, though, so now we’re having to take a look at our division of labor again. He still has more free time than I do, but it’s not really enough to do all of the chores during the day anymore, and so we clean less often than I’m comfortable with. I wish we could just hire someone to do all the deep cleaning so that we don’t need to find the time to do it, but we’re not quite at that level of disposable income yet. 😉
I’d say that we separate household chores/cleaning pretty “traditionally” … and it works really well for us. I do all of the cooking (but that’s honestly because I like to cook!) and most of the cleaning as well. I have a really, really low tolerance for dirt/clutter/ick, so it bothers me a lot more than it does Mr. FF … and, if I’m being honest, I get a secret little “thrill” knowing that our house is clean. I’m pretty much Monica Gellar from Friends. Mr. FF is pretty much solely responsible for things on the “outside” of the house—taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, snowblowing the driveway, picking up after our pooches. He also takes care of a lot of our car maintenance and does a lot of errand running, too. We grocery shop together, and we each do our own laundry. We both are responsible for putting away/dealing with our own “clutter.” This isn’t to say we don’t help each other out with things around the house, because we definitely do! I think that our “I’ll do this, you take care of that” approach really helps.
Right now, Mr. Kiwi does nearly everything. Yeah, I suck. Since Piper was born in 2009, I have no time to clean, cook or do laundry. It’s not that I don’t want to help out, and I know he works very hard—but so do I. I work WITH the baby in my office. By the time we get home, I’m exhausted. Unless I prepare waaay ahead of time, I can’t whip together dinner until she goes to bed. Since she was such a crappy sleeper before, I’m afraid to make noise after she’s down for the night, so I can’t vacuum or put things away because I’m terrified she’ll wake up!
To be fair, most of the “mess” is her stuff. Toys, games, books are everywhere. So while she’s winding down for the night, I try to put it all back in her toy baskets and be okay with a few things here and there sitting out. We’re constantly doing dishes, and the laundry is just something I can’t do alone because the washer and dryer are in the basement of our apartment building, which involves leaving the apartment, going outside and loading it. When I have the baby, I can’t even strap her to me to do it, because I have to carry the baskets! So Mr. Kiwi does the laundry, while I sort and fold it. If I DO make dinner, he cleans. Since he’s a teacher, when he has vacations he spends them doing deep cleans. I come home to a house that’s pristine. Then Hurricane Piper comes in and ruins it. It gets to be slightly disheartening, because no matter how much you pick up after them, it’s almost instantly that it’s back to how bad it was before you picked up. Having kids is like having a Tasmanian Devil, only a very sweet one that makes you think, “Ya know, takeout again is fine, as long as she’s here, in my lap and giving me snuggles.” Part of our life is being okay with doing things halfway until we can get to the weekend and finish up what we started. Then doing it allll over again on Monday.
If ever there was a more gender-role-reversal household, ours was it, until I resolved to be better. For a while, Mr. T did all the cooking. All of it. Now, I’m the sous chef and I help with the salads and the guacamole (the extent of my talents thus far). He also did the lion’s share of laundry, but I similarly resolved to go with him to the Laundromat (less than a block away, so there’s no excuse), and then fold it all together. We both put dishes away in the dishwasher, we both try to pitch in with the overall cleaning, and we’re both way into caring for the plants, and those points have never been issues. Generally, I’m more of a pile-reducer/rearranger, and he’s more of a deep-clean-when-he’s-motivated. I think it’s most important to achieve a balance (as best you can) in your definition of clean. If one person’s a neatnik and the other trends toward sloppy, you probably fight a lot more about your chores than others would.
When I was in grad school, I ended up doing more of the household chores. It was also a source of frustration/tension between us. However, things changed significantly when we both started new jobs after we got married. We’ve been paying a cleaning person to do the vacuuming/dusting/bathroom cleaning, which has been a huge improvement to our quality of life. (This was a tip recommended to me by my mom, who started hiring a cleaning person after my youngest brother graduated from high school. She said “if I had any idea how much it would have improved my marriage, I would have hired someone years before.” She was so right. Hiring a cleaning person has absolutely been worth it for us, even if it means scrimping in other areas of our life.) We have also divided it up some of the remaining chores by what we are good at (i.e. he does dishes and takes out trash; I fold laundry and pay bills) and the rest gets discussed at our weekly family meeting based on who has more time available that week. During the week, we’re like the Mary Janes – if there are other things that need to be taken care of, whoever notices and has time just takes care of it.
Nothing much has changed, but that’s because we lived together for two years prior to getting married. Ribs does most of the work. He cooks most dinners and I help clean up. I think he ends up cleaning most of the pots as he makes dinner, but at the end of the night I’m the one finishing the dishes. He does most of the vacuuming, but I always clean the bathroom. I used to be in charge of laundry, but since moving to Brooklyn and losing our laundry access, we both go to the Laundromat together because it goes pretty fast that way. It’s not a totally fair arrangement. When I asked Ribs why he does more this was his response: “It’s not worth it to argue over and I don’t want to live in squalor.” Give me my gold wife star.
Mr. Socks does a lot of the household chores. He sweeps, he does the laundry, washes the dishes, and preps all of the food and veggies for me to cook. He also takes care of the trash and recycling, which I never touch. I cook, dust, and tidy up just about everything but my clothes—somehow, they always find a home on the floor. We try to share outdoor duties—he mows the lawn, but I shovel snow. We both share the gardening chores and the doggie duties. I think since we’ve gotten married, it’s been ME making the larger effort to do more around the house. Mr. Socks has always been great at it, but it takes more effort for me to force myself to do the stuff I don’t want to!
Mr. Seashell definitely holds up his end around the house. If there are a pile of dishes beside the sink sometimes the disappear because he took care of them, sometimes I realize it’s my turn. No big deal. I’d say I do more of the conventional “housework” tasks, but that’s because he’s often spending a Saturday tearing down walls. I have to look like I’m contributing. I did notice an interesting shift after we were married, though. Pre-wedding we were both very non-chalant about organizing dinner. Somehow it just got made. Then, after the wedding, if I came home, sat on the sofa, and opened my laptop there was an obvious sense of, “Where’s my dinner, wifey?” I teased him about it and he admitted that he did have some unspoken expectation of coming home to food on the table. In some ways it has been good for me, I have needed to learn to cook for some time, and I like caring for “us” in that way. But conversely, the gendered expectation that “wifey” should have a warm meal waiting at the end of the day didn’t quite work. Now we plan a menu together and decide who should cook. It probably falls 75% (me) 25% (him). I’m OKwith that.
I don’t think anything has changed chore wise in our house—we both hate to clean! Hate it. But oh how I love a clean house, so I would say that I probably do a little bit more of the cleaning. Our house is pretty well organized, so most of the day-to-day cleaning is just picking up/putting away our stuff, which we’re good about. We both cook (we have different days off, so usually the person with the days off shops/cooks/does dishes) which works out pretty well. And then when we do have days off together we’ll tackle bigger cleaning problems, like the bathroom. Ugh. I’m definitely with Octo—we’re getting a cleaning service as soon as we feel comfy with our savings plan! 🙂
Chores are definitely one of (if not THE) biggest source of tension in our relationship (and have been for a long time). Basically, Mr TM was not brought up to do any chores. Between his mom and their maid, he’s been totally spoiled in that department. So getting him to do them now is like pulling teeth and I freaking HATE IT. I feel like I’m his mother and I have to treat him like a 5-year-old to get him to do anything. Honey, did you check off all your chores on your chore sheet? Then you get a gold star sticker!
While I finally have him trained to take out the garbage and do dishes (sometimes) and he will clean the bathroom once a month, almost everything else is on me, unless I specifically request him to do something. I completely resent it, I find the gender stereotyping so unfair, because guess what? I don’t like doing chores either. Somehow I have become the resident cook, even though I suck at cooking and don’t enjoy it but if I don’t plan the meals, go to the store, buy the ingredients and cook the food, we would eat take-out every night. We’ve started sending out our laundry because the washing machine in our building broke, which has helped the laundry issue somewhat, but vacuuming, dusting, general cleaning, etc. is pretty much all me. It’s bull shit. And I know it. And we’ve had so many fights about the same damn issues that it’s just not worth it to me any more to continue to argue over these issues. Can you tell I’m pretty bitter about the whole thing? In short, I carry the load on chores so that we don’t live in a pig pen, totally resent this fact and absolutely cannot WAIT until we can afford to hire a cleaning lady!
We both do dishes and laundry, though the Dude does more of the dishes and I do more of the laundry. He cleans the cats’ litterbox and feeds and waters them. I do more “heavy duty” cleaning, like floors, bathrooms, wiping/dusting surfaces. But I make him vacuum because I HATE it. He does most of the cooking and grocery shopping, though I help make lists and pick out recipes. He does most of the yard stuff—for now. Once I stop working two jobs and start working from home (it’s coming soon, I hope!), things will change. I’ll take on a larger portion of the household responsibilities since I will be at home more and working less. The only way we are “stereotypical” is that he doesn’t clean bathrooms, and I don’t do outside work. 🙂
What about you? How do you divide up household chores? Did it change, once you were married? Do you divide your chores along gender lines/traditional stereotypes? If so, was it intentional?