I confessed to Mike a few weeks ago that I needed more help. That I felt like I was doing more than my fair share of chores and that the mental burden of juggling all of it was weighing down on me. He objected, saying he felt like he was cleaning up me more than he should.
I explained that although he certainly helps around the house, the responsibility of remembering to schedule Gabe’s doctor appointments, which days I need to wash his diapers, to change the load of laundry (we share a washer and dryer with our floor, so it’d be rude and against the rules to leave laundry in the washer too long), dealing with the internet company, paying our bills, and balancing our budget falls on me. Not to mention I cook most nights, even when I work.
He, sweet, understanding husband that he is, said he’d like to establish a chore chart so we have clear boundaries of who does what. We’ve tried in the past, but the only rule we came up with was, “Make the dinner, do the dishes.”
Weeks passed and nothing changed. I made a chore chart of daily, weekly, and monthly chores and slipped it in a clear protective sleeve to use with a whiteboard marker. We didn’t use this chart.
So, I asked Twitter what they did and the answers were fascinating.
Some were super balanced and equal and way more organized than we are:
@ecbuergler: We each made a list of ones that we don’t hate, made sure time wise that it was more or less even and then stuck with it
@AngieBailey13: We’ll go by taste, or we’ll trade. Like I do [chore] this day/week, Jen does ’tis the next! Or we’ll tackle them together, or tackle the same room together.
@LovelyAnomaly: By taste. I hate dusting, but C hates vacuuming. So I vacuum & he dusts. I hate folding laundry, so I wash & he folds.
@tillien: well, we took what we each like/don’t like to do and went from there. meaning – him kitchen, me bathroom (though I dont like then everything else can be up for grabs or rotated.)
@ItsAshleyKoch: We split all the household chores, including groceries, in half, and then switch off every week. Except for dishes. We switch off every day for those.
@deannaogle: I’m not really sure how we decided. Since I cook I took the dishes, and laundry. He took bathroom and trash. And the rest we split depending on who can. It accidentally works!
@stefcia: When we clean the whole house, I clean kitchen, he cleans bathroom, I dust and do surfaces, he vacuums and washes floors. Daily chores – he washes dishes (non-dishwasher items), I dry, I load/unload dishwasher. We each do our own regular laundry, but we split gym laundry and linens – whoever gets around to it first.
(This is a well-oiled machine!)
@smacdo03: I’m the planner/organizer, so I do anything that requires monitoring (laundry, shopping/cooking, finances) while Dave does the ‘it’s here & must be done’ stuff — cleaning, ironing, lawn, snow. Child-care is shared. Almost 8 yrs in, works well.
Some have professional help (I wish!):
@stephcorwin: I do laundry, he does dishes, and the housecleaners do the rest ;)
@tatabex: I know it’s not an option for everyone, but we have a cleaning lady come 2x a month. worth every penny not to fight about it.
Some do more work than others:
@liveloudlyk: I wish I knew! I always grocery shop, meal plan and the rest depends on the week but its mostly my week ;)
@fabbrunette: I do most of it and when he helps I thank him and act grateful so that perhaps he’ll do it again. #chores
@oiler02: I do most of the chores b/c i stay home now but before we each picked disliked the most and the other did them
@srslylisa: He does everything! Well, I shop and cook. He cleans.
And some are as clueless as I am:
@redmudnessa: let me know when you find out….8 years and we haven’t figured it out either.
With this in mind and a list of chores (divided into monthly, weekly, and daily chores) typed up, I sat down with Mike and we talked for a while about the best way to divvy up chores. I tried the, “What chores do we hate?” route, but that got nowhere fast, since neither of particularly hate any chores.
Always wanting turn everything into an! Exciting! Activity! I printed out two copies of the chores and decided we’d each mark who does what chores on our sheet and compare:
I went back and got to flex my organizing muscle (I LOVE EXCEL) by making a complicated chart with squares for daily chores, weekly chores, and monthly chores. It looks cumbersome and overwhelming. I hated it. Instead, I went back to original one, but split it up into two columns. I slipped it into a sheet protector and we can mark off chores as we do them with a dry erase marker.
So far, it’s worked out well. It’s just nice to know what are *my* chores and what are Mike’s chores now. No guessing. No comparing or arguing over who does more. If I have a few minutes while I’m waiting for water to boil, I can glance over at the chore list and remind myself that there’s something I could be doing. AND, I get the satisfaction of seeing a list of checked off chores each week.
UPDATE: Here is our chore list on Google Docs – you can save it and edit it to add or remove chores for your and your spouse/boyfriend/significant other/roommate/cat/etc.