How do you share house chores?

posted 3 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
237 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Yikes!  It sounds like they need to have a conversation about their expectations and preferences in this area.  

D.H. and I try to have an even division of labor without nit-picking.  Some tasks we officially split up based on preferences (e.g., I unload the dishwasher and he loads) and others just sort of fell into place (e.g., I tend to handle sorting the mail and he tends to handle making the bed and changing bedsheets).  For us, this even division of labor factors in work hours – for example, when one of us has a big deadline at work and is spending more time at the office, the other will take on more chores at home.  That way, we both have a roughly even amount of time spent “working” (either career-work or housework) and relaxing together.  This approach is also consistent with your example where one partner doesn’t work outside the home and the other does – both people would spend roughly the same amount of time working and relaxing, whether that work is done within or outside of the home.

Post # 3
190 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

We have a cleaner every 2 weeks – I would never do without one!  It is so great not having to wash the floors or clean the bathrooms.  We take turns making dinner – usually whoever is off work first cooks dinner.  Whoever hasn’t cooked dinner cleans the kitchen.  I do the laundry but we discussed it when we split up our duties.  My husband takes care of the yard work and more of the maintenance things around the house.  Whoever gets out of bed last (I’m usually up earlier for work) makes the bed. 

Overall it is quite fairly divided but sometimes it’s tough because I still have to remind my husband about some of the maintenance things and he gets annoyed sometimes.  I find it frustrating when weeks go by and something doesn’t get fixed so I could use some advice on how to get that stuff looked at without feeling like I am nagging!  I’m thinking I may just pay for things to be done and see how that goes…

One thing I find annoying, though, is that my husband seems to expect all this praise for doing things but doesn’t really thank me for what I do.  So we still need to work on that communication aspect of things.

Post # 3
717 posts
Busy bee

I just leave them, he gets the hint! I do all the cooking, cleaning and laundry now and he washes up and takes out the bin. But I am on maternity at the moment so of course I do more/harder chores than he does.

Post # 4
1989 posts
Buzzing bee

if DH did NOTHING I would just be like “Hey, i do all the chores. You need to do some, too.” Our split is essentially that DH takes care of the outside & big home improvement projects and I do everything else (indoor cleaning, cooking, laundry). We split grocery shopping based on who has more free time. 

I like to garden, so I do some outdoor work too, but DH does the vast majority. He also does the dishes after I cook dinner and splits cleaning the house with me if he doesnt have any home improvement projects going on, or if there is no outdoor work to do. 

Post # 5
159 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

We also have a housecleaner every 2 weeks! They do the vacuuming, floors, deep cleaning of  bathrooms and kitchens. My husband, our housemate and I take turns taking out compost, recycling, garbage and emptying the dishwasher as needed.

I tend to make dinner since I’m home first – not because my husband won’t do it. Hubby and the housemate usually do the dishes. I also do all the laundry otherwise it would end up in a pile on the floor instead of in our dressers… ha. 

Post # 6
226 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
allenb :  I’m a stay at home mom and we split things down the middle when he is home. When he works insanely long hours for days on end I do not expect him to help and I just do it. There’s periods where he doesn’t do anything for 2 months because he is barely home and when he is, he’s in a coma on the couch from lack of sleep. That said, when he is present, it’s 50/50. I tend to do a lot because I’m home a lot, but that doesn’t make me a maid and everyone should have to clean up after themselves and contribute to the household regardless of if they earn a paycheck. He also bathes our kids and changes diapers and does everything else sometimes and that’s how it should be. I could never be in a relationship where a man treated me that way. Oddly enough, my brother and my husband’s sister are engaged and live together and have a daughter and this is how he treats her even though she also works full time. I don’t think he has ever changed a diaper in almost 3 years and expects her to clean and mind their daughter even if he is around. It’s so degrading.

Post # 7
5778 posts
Bee Keeper

View original reply
allenb :  “To my question why she does not talk to him and split some chores, she said she tried, but he gets defensive about it (husband is the only child, raised by single mom and mom did everything for him around the house. Oh boy!). “

My response to him would be “Okay, but you were a child, you couldn’t fully grasp how hard that was on her or how unfair, but now that you’re a grown man and you see us both coming home from work after a tiring day- how can you possibly not grasp the fairness of one person doing all the work and the other person expecting to be catered to?” 

I simply wouldn’t put up wtih that, maybe that seems bitchy, but I wouldn’t let this go if I were her. I’m not willing to martyr myself on the cross of outdated sexism and we do our children a disservice allowing them to see these skewed role models. His mom would have been better to teach her son to cook and do laundry etc- these are Life Skills, not ‘women’s work’. 

Post # 8
411 posts
Helper bee

I generally do inside chores (cooking, dishes, laundry). He generally does outside chores (lawn work, car maintenance,  etc) and he does household projects (painting, fixing things,  etc). We equally run errands (grocery, pharmacy, etc) depending on what is needed when and who drives past it on the way home from work (we work in different directions). We both work full time, have no kids, one cat and one aquatic turtle (which is a chore in itself just maintaining his pond). 

I think that our separation of chores is equitable. 

He also does a ton for his mother/step-father who decided to move 4 doors down from us (another story for another post!). 

Post # 9
9388 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

him being defensive about it makes it very hard for her to do much.  How do you communicate to someone who refuses to listen?

Hiring a cleaner helps immensely, so that may be her only option.

DH and I used to have a similar issue–I did 95% of the chores.  His only chore was grocery shopping, because I worked from home and he didn’t so it fell on him to stop at the grocery store on his way home from work.  (And even then I’d grocery shop once in a while).

We talked and a few things helped.  One big issue was DH didn’t believe I did so much more than him.. so I stopped doing chores when he couldn’t see it.  The house got dirtier, for sure, and it meant we had way less time on weekends to relax.. but basically I’d let it pile up and then on Saturday wait until he finally would wake up and then I’d whip out the long list of shit that had to be cleaned and put him to work along side me.  It was still annoying that he’d finish a task and then go sit on the couch and I’d have to keep saying “um, I have more on the list” But for the most part it worked.

Eventually though, over time, he improved a lot.  First we got him some nice headphones and an audible account and REALLY fancy sponges and he got in to listening to audible while washing dishes.  He is excruciatingly slow at washing dishes, but hey it still got the job done.

Then I got a real job (I was a PhD student before this point–I made some money, but not much) and things really changed.  We moved to a much nicer apartment that had a dishwasher (hallelujah) and we got ourselves a cleaning lady who would come once every other week.  This is when things shifted radically.  Suddenly we don’t worry about the bathrooms, or scrubbing the stovetop, or the microwave, or the floors… we just do laundry, dishes, and counters and the rest gets cleaned by someone else. 

I’d go in to detail but all your friend needs to know is that the cleaning lady helps a TON.  If he refuses to lift a finger, then they probably will need one to come weekly rather than every other week… hopefully he earns enough to compensate for his absolute lack of house work!

Post # 10
10455 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

I work part-time so I do the majority of the housework. But my husband would never sit on his ass and watch tv while I cleaned. He always helps out when he’s home, I just do the majority when he’s at work so we can spend our time together doing enjoyable things.

I feel sad for your friend that she is married to a man-child. I don’t think she should let this go but there is also not necessarily a quick fix or one size fits all solution to the problem. If he refuses to admit that he’s not doing his fair share, there’s no magic words to make him see that.

But she should sit down with him (not address it in the moment) and say “This is sexist and ridiculous and I’m not going to put up with it” Stop doing his laundry, stop cleaning up after him, he’ll stop making him dinner. 

Post # 11
109 posts
Blushing bee

I had this exact problem up to a few weeks ago, you can also see that in one of my previous threads. My boyfriend was raised by a SAHM and I know the pain. I sat him down and explained to him how I felt, which is really difficult because it’s easy to seem like you’re attacking them. In the end it worked, and now we have assigned specific chores to him (stuff that I hate doing), and I just completely offloaded those to him. I don’t have to remind him, he just has to do it. He helps so much more now, it’s not 50%/50% but I work from home so I am fine with it. I do laundry, dishes, tidy up, make the beds, change bedsheets when due, clean the bathrooms, clean the kitchen, grocery shopping, take care of the cats and keep an eye on what’s due for them in the calendar, keep an eye on our social calendar and remind him to call his mom (I am serious). He offloads the dishwater, folds laundry, vacuums, takes care of finances, pays the bills, does reparations around the house and cooks 80% of the meals. We had debates on the fact that when I need more help I should ask, I always thought that I shouldn’t be asking as he has eyes, but I tried to shift my perspective and things work much better now. 

Tell you friend to google the concept of emotional load – also, most times it’s not only about the chores, it’s the invisible stuff we do around the house everyday and they don’t even notice, that’s the worst! 

Post # 12
210 posts
Helper bee

Oh no. My advice to your friend would be to sit down and have a real conversation with her husband. Not just casually mention it, but like hey, turn off the tv, I need to talk to you about something. Right now, he is operating from a base assumption that she will do all the housework. She needs to either see if that is something that can change, or decide if she’s willing to live with it.

In my situation, I end up doing more of the housework because I have a lower threshold for dirtiness and mess than my fiance does. But we fundamentally both come from an understanding that it *should* be an equal division, so when I ask him to do something, he does it without complaining. When he notices that things are getting out of balance, he apologizes and asks what he can do to help. I recognize that I’m still doing the bulk of the work but I’m ok with that because I know it comes from my desire to keep things neater than he does and not from him refusing to take any responsibility. (He also brings in a larger share of the income, although we both work.) On occasion, I don’t feel like doing something and, if he doesn’t feel like it either, then we both agree to let the dishes stay dirty for a night or whatever. This wouldn’t necessarily work for everyone but the point is, your friend needs to decide what will work for her and it seems like her current arrangement is not it.

Post # 13
327 posts
Helper bee

I am a mostly Stay-At-Home Mom to our 7-month old daughter. I work as an RN, one 12-hour shift per week.  I do the majority of the chores.  It really isn’t bad since we have a 1000SF condo. We are both tidy people also.  My husband usually takes care of the garbage and will do laundry if he sees it needs to be done. On the day I work and he takes care of our daughter, he has no problem doing the housework that needs doing.  

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