Married Life: Chores
Whenever I read about how other married couples split up household responsibilities, I feel inferior and overwhelmed.
Most people generally agree that it is easiest if each person has specific responsibilities, and that we can help each other with them. This sounds great, but we just can’t get it together. We may be able to agree on responsibilities, but then one (or both) of us will have an insane week, and it just makes sense for the other (or no one) to do what needs to be done. Our approach to chores is very reactive.
I take more initiative in the meal department. It isn’t that T won’t cook, or that he’s not a good cook. It’s possible he’s a better cook than me. He just seems to wait until I say “why don’t we have homemade pizza for dinner?” before he’ll get started. We take turns with the actual cooking, based on who is more tired. That’s our system. If neither of us are horribly tired, we often cook together – I’ll shred some cheese while he slices tomatoes. He’ll volunteeer to “make the rice” while I do everything else. (Note – we have a rice maker! Making the rice is not a real job!)
I would say I cook a little more often. I do nearly all of the grocery list making and meal planning. This is fine with me. I’m more picky about meal planning, and it’s easy for me to swing by the grocery store on my way home from work to pick up a few things.
I do more dishes than than he does, but not so much more. I’m generally responsible for all travel plans, excluding wilderness permits for backpacking trips. I maintain our budget (but T could care less if I did this or not!). I worry about long term plans, though some might question whether I should bother.
T does more of the deep cleaning. Vacuuming, scrubbing the bathroom, cleaning the kitchen floors are all things I happily let him do while I find something else to work on (counters, windows, cooking, anything!). I do get stuck with the bathroom sometimes. I’m more of a tidy-er and organizer, which isn’t technically cleaning, but it makes a huge difference in my stress levels to not have crap (usually clothes or T’s school papers) everywhere.
T is responsible for getting quarters, and I try to take responsibility for the laundry. Truthfully, I never actually take full responsibility for it. After two (or one…) loads, it starts to feel overwhelming, and we end up taking turns switching out the loads.
There are two things I’m most grateful for that T does. First, he makes lattes every morning. This takes about 15 minutes. He does this mostly for himself, because honestly, I’d be satisfied with regular coffee & lattes as a treat. But I still benefit from this, a lot. He also handles all things related to our car. I have never even put fuel in myself. I think he is worried I’ll forget it is a diesel and put gasoline in. I won’t! I promise!
So that is our “system”, though if it is haphazard and reactive, it isn’t much of a system, is it? We never fight about chores, but our apartment isn’t always spotless. Is your system more organized? Does it make a big difference? Should we keep on trying to get something in place, or wait until T is done with school and our routine is more stable? Or should we just get a housekeeper to make sure we stay on top of the scrubbing?