household division of labor

November 11, 2014

household division of labor

Happy Tuesday, friends! For awhile I’ve been wanting to have some more discussions here about life issues. Just things that come up for me as a working mom, but that probably most people deal with. So let’s do that, let’s talk it out.

Today I want to talk about household division of labor. I find homemaking and domestic routines fascinating. I am always trying to find more efficient and simpler ways to do things around the house so that we can enjoy the fun part of our lives more. I actually thought about analyzing this after I read Nora’s post almost two years ago, ha, but I’m just now getting around to it. This is how we do things at our place.

Work: We both work full-time outside the home, Monday through Friday, 8-4:30. Pretty straightforward.

Childcare: In the morning it’s mostly me since I’m a morning person and David has to leave early to avoid traffic, although if I wake him up early he will watch them while I get some things ready. I drop the kids off at daycare on my way to work. Almost every day I pick up Liam and David picks up Meredith around the same time (we’ve found it works best this way). We tag team with them all evening, but David tries to take over while I get dinner ready. Mostly we’re in it together right up until bedtime.

Food: I cook us breakfast and pack us lunches every morning. The kids are fed at daycare (of course I do send bottles for Liam). I cook dinner for our family almost every night (or we have leftovers), but David always cleans up the entire kitchen and washes the dishes and bottles every night. He also does almost 100% of the grocery shopping (and other errands when needed). I hate having to leave the house for routine stuff like that, and he doesn’t mind at all. I do give him a specific list though.

House Cleaning: As I mentioned above, David does the dishes, tidies the kitchen, and he also has to clean his bathroom (he uses the “guest” bathroom and all his mess is contained there) every once in awhile. The rest of the house I take care of, although it’s easy to do because I declutter and surface-clean all the time out of habit. On Saturday mornings I go through my routine of sweeping the floors and wiping things down, etc. Cleaning is therapeutic for me.

Laundry: I do mine, the kids’, and the sheets on Saturdays. I do Liam’s diapers every day or every other day. David and I both throw in the towels whenever they need it, and he usually does his own laundry (but I frequently put it away).

Yard: We outsource our yardwork because we don’t have the equipment and our guy is cheap and has become almost like a friend to us. Every now and then something needs to be done in between his visits (like raking leaves or cleaning gutters) and David takes care of it for the most part.

Home Improvement: Any decorating is my domain and I wouldn’t want it any other way; David pretty much gives me free reign. As for maintenance, David takes the lead but sometimes we get help from our dads.

Cars: David takes care of our cars probably 90% of the time. The other 10% is just me getting gas or mentioning that it’s probably time for an oil change.

Communications: I do most of this, although David is in pretty good contact with his family. We all live very close and see each other often so it’s not difficult. Most everyone reads my blog anyway so they at least stay up to date on our lives. I am usually more on top of our schedule so I am the one to organize birthdays, etc.

Activities: Most of our activities are family- or church-related, but I also hang out with friends on my own or with the kids. David is always willing to watch the kids for me whenever I need it, and he does this often (for long runs, Bible studies, or book club, for example). He also told me I don’t really need to consult him before making plans for us, that I should just make the plans and tell him about them. I try not to push my limits though. ;)

Finances: It’s a joint effort, although I keep the spreadsheet of bills and am the one to actually pay them. We have a joint account and nothing separate. We both check our balance daily and talk about it all the time.

I pretty much like the way we have things set up, although thinking this through has shown me a couple areas I might like to tweak. It’s been helpful to type it out like this.

How about you, what are your responsibilities versus those of whomever you live with?


Posted in: personal, domestication, personal

Comments on household division of labor

  1. 1

    From Nora:

    I may have to revisit my post and see how it has changed (if at all?) over the last two years! I chuckled at the comment about mentioning it’s time for an oil change. I do that to Knight, too and sometimes I’m lucky and he comes back with it detailed/washed (he loves to do that stuff!)

    I love reading about other people’s routines; very interesting to see how things are broken down/apart and what works for different couples. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 2

    From Michelle:

    I wonder what mine would look like if I actually wrote this out. My husband does more than I do, I think. I am on my own in the mornings with the toddler before daycare and he is on his own in the afternoons after pickup. I am out and about a lot more than he is and he gets home 3 hours before me so he does all of the food shopping and cooking (and cleaning, actually). I try to tackle the bigger things like laundry and real cleaning on the weekends. I have no idea how working moms do this without a ton of help from their partner.

  3. 3

    From Kerri:

    This is so fascinating to me! My husband travels for work from Monday – Friday and I also work full time from 8:00 – 4:30 p.m. while looking after our 21 month old daughter and 2 dogs. Unfortunately that means I do everything including grocery shopping, cooking, childcare, dog walking, scheduling (my husband calls me the relationship administrator) etc. The only things we outsource are cleaning (we have someone come once a week to basically mop and vacuum and deep clean the kitchen) and yardwork/snow removal. Otherwise it’s me on my own through the week or slogging through it with my husband on weekends (while also trying to get some quality time as a family).

  4. 4

    From brooke:

    I think I will always remember Brian coming home from work one day and telling me that a coworker (who was newly married and without kids) told him that she did all of the “inside work” while her husband did everything “outside.” Brian told her that that might work for them now, but it wouldn’t work when they had kids. It made me really proud of him and so thankful that he is willing to step in and do what needs to be done. Since I stay home now, I try to do more than 50% of the chores around the house, but some days it just doesn’t happen and I am thankful that he doesn’t complain. I know that it really bothers him if the floors are not swept and the kitchen/dining room are a mess. The living room mess is much more bothersome to me, but I try to make sure the kitchen and dining room are picked up before he gets home from work, so that he can come in and not stress about it.

  5. 5

    From yours truly, melissa:

    I find this so interesting as well and am inspired to do a similar post. Matt does his own laundry, 99% of the cooking, yardwork, and the cars. I do the grocery shopping, all the other laundry (mine, the kids’, and the towels, sheets, etc.), and most of the general picking up and cleaning around the house. Matt does help clean the kitchen a TON though. We both take of the kids. It’s pretty much man on man at this point.

  6. 6

    From Trish:

    Because I’ve been out of the work force for over a year (well, except for part-time the past few months), the household stuff is heavily skewed in my direction. It will be interesting to see how this changes once I go back full-time next month as it’s been a bit of a source of frustration for me. Though, I do feel that I am lucky to have such a hands-on dad. He does most of the bathing and getting the kids ready for bed. He also keeps them out of my hair when I’m cooking dinner or want to get in a workout. My only wish is that he would take them OUT of the house every once in a while. I would LOVE to have time alone in the house (outside of naptime, which I’ll lose anyway come December with work).

  7. 7

    From Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout:

    Our division of labor has changed since we moved — mostly because we used to have cleaning ladies that came every other week and now we don’t. Guess who’s doing the extra cleaning now? This girl… I am slowly coming around to finding the zen in cleaning, but it does get frustrating that I don’t get more help. Matt does help a ton with the kids now that I’m commuting so much though, so maybe it all balances out.

  8. 8

    From Nikki:

    Interesting to actually sit and think about it. We both work, but his job is much busier, harder, and pays a lot more than mine (I have a corporate job but work at home). We each do our own laundry, but I do the household laundry (sheets, towels, etc). We pretty much split the grocery shopping and cooking, we rarely go grocery shopping together. I manage the bank account and make sure all bills are paid, and schedule all household maintenance. My husband does not ever log into the bank account, he just knows I’m handling it and asks for the savings balance now and again (we stick to a usual monthly budget / savings plan that doesn’t change much). I do almost all the vet and grooming runs, but Robert does almost all the dog feeding. I do the tidying up before our housekeeper comes every 2 weeks, but mostly because I’m the one with clothes and mail everywhere and not him! I make almost all our plans, including those with his family. I do not have free reign to sign him up for things though, because he is too busy with work and he likes to have more down time than me, so I run everything by him but am the one talking to people to make plans. He does trash, I do recycling. Writing it down, it feels more even than it does when I’m feeling like I do everything!

  9. 9

    From Sarah:

    I want to write this out for my family…but I’m also scared to. I definitely suffer from an “I do all the work around this darn house” feeling from time to time, and I worry that writing it out would (for me) lead to scorekeeping. Argh. I just want it all to magically take care of itself! Why can’t that happen? :)

  10. 10

    From Holly:

    I do almost all of the cooking and cleaning and take care of the kids during the day. I work most evenings so my husband takes care of baths and putting the kids to bed. He’s also in charge of the car and any outdoor work – we live in a condo so there’s not a lot, just keeping our parking stall clear in the winter. Sometimes I feel like I do a lot more than he does, but then again, clutter bothers me a lot more than it bothers him. He pitches in with the cooking and cleaning on weekends and he’s great about taking the kids on outings so I can work, so it all works out :)

Leave a Reply