(Closed) How do you split household chores when both H & W work?

posted 7 years ago in Married Life
Post # 17
7172 posts
Busy Beekeeper

@Miss Mochaccino:  I would encourage you guys to continue to talk about this.  It’s one thing for you to assume particular duties, but another for you guys to have different expectations about general upkeep in the home.  Keep in mind that he may not have even realized he had certain expectations (such as what led to the crumbs comment).  For starters, I’d tell him how hurtful his comments about you slacking off when he has to do something and/or if something isn’t done are.  He may not even realize he’s doing it and/or think he’s being cute/jokey vs. hurtful.  I’d also ask him to stop saying those things.

It honestly took me the better part of a year for us to settle into our rhythm with household stuff.  I’d get frustrated (because I kept score of who did what) and would get upset if there was any sort of inequality.  Our conversation started with me telling Darling Husband that I was getting resentful he wasn’t doing more – and we had a conversation about expectations and how we wanted the house to run.  I felt heard and since then, have stopped keeping score, knowing that each of us are doing our best to keep the house running in a certain manner.  Sure, there are weeks where I do more of x, y, or z – and weeks where he does more than I do… but, as we are both working, with dissimilar schedules, it works well for us.

I think at the core of why it started to work was:

1) I stopped keeping score

2) We both do our part in keeping the home presentable/tidy –  meaning, if something needs to be done that we notice, we do it.

Also – I totally get the no time together on days you both work.  By the time dinner is cooked/cleaned up, there is ZERO time to clean up the house (or energy!).  During the week, I leave the house after him, and I’ll usually spend 5-10 minutes going through the house picking up stuff, so it’s tidy when we get home.  We’ll do deep cleaning on one of our two days off during the week – either together or individually.  (Usually one person vacuums/mops/dusts – while the other does the bathroom/kitchen).  Laundry also happens once a week – usually on that same cleaning day.

Post # 18
1548 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I would strangle your Darling Husband if he was mine!

Darling Husband & I have never had a conversation about chores and have been happily living together for 5+ years and have a super clean home! I basically do the inside stuff and he does all the outside stuff (which is alot when you many acres of land in New England). Darling Husband cooks meals though since I’m not a good cook and find no joy in it. If he cooks I do the dishes. Darling Husband is very proactive. He does his own laundry unless I happen to do it and we have seperate bathrooms, and he cleans his own bathroom (I do the other 2). I don’t mind doing most the indoor chores, the only chore I hate is folding laundry, ugh! I don’t dare let him fold my laundry though, then he will realize how many of articles of clothing I actually have haha!

Post # 19
1889 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

First of all, OP, I’m so sorry this is upsetting you and he’s constantly comparing you to his homemaker mom.  That would drive me crazy.

Darling Husband and I both work full time, long hours, and he sometimes has to travel on the weekends for work.  The usual split is:

-I iron, usually do dishes and empty the dishwasher, keep the kitchen tidy, deal w/ anything having to do with our 3 dogs (vets, grooming, medicine-giving –this counts as a chore! lol)

-He takes out the trash and recycling, changes light bulbs and deals w/ stuff I can’t reach, mows/edges the lawn during the Spring/Summer

-We both cook (though I always cook on the weekends), both go grocery shopping, do laundry, and generally pick up stuff around the house.

We also have a maid who comes once every two weeks.  She is a godsend and has prevented many arguments over who does what around the house.  I had told him that he had to vacuum and help clean the bathrooms and if not that we were getting a maid… He didn’t start doing any more cleaning, so after a couple months I told him it was time for a maid, and he couldn’t argue with me since I’d given him an opportunity to clean more.

Post # 20
1285 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

We lived together before getting engaged/married and it was a tough road to determine who does the cleaning/cooking/shopping/laundering/maintenance/etc. I have a high standard of clean and grew up with a stay at home mom who taught us to take care of our space. He grew up with a working mom and cleaning service. Once I realized that he knew how to clean but had a lower standard than I did, and I admitted that I really do enjoy the process of cleaning, the conversation got easier. He makes sure things are running smoothly (hanging pictures, scheduling and being home for maintenance people) we cook our bigger/labor intensive meals together, and he will wash the dishes after if I don’t get to it first. It helps that we have a no nagging policy-we are both adults, we should listen the first time and get to it when we have the time.

The work isn’t evenly distributed, not by a long shot. But it is what works for us because we are each doing what we enjoy and feel we are good at. 

Post # 21
556 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@nickels:  We’ve never had a conversation (or an argument) about chores either.

We just each do what we can to support each other and keep a nice house and have homemade meals, etc. In general, I cook and do the cleaning, except when we grill, he does that. I also do the laundry.

My Darling Husband takes care of the yard (several acres), garage, home repairs (he’s remodeling the house), takes care of the dog and cars and any yucky jobs like trash.

I also get off work at 3pm whereas he works in construction and often works 15 hour days!

Post # 22
2638 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2006

We split. He takes care of ALL of the outside stuff and all car duties, plus he does all the dishes and half of the laundry. I take care of the pets and do all of the deep cleaning of the house. (Well, right now I’m pregnant so he’s on litter box duty.) We cook together.

It sounds like your husband expects you to maintain a house like a homemaker and still work a full-time job so that you’re not “lazy.” I’d straighten him out QUICK.

It could also be that he just got into the habit of not doing much while you were working part-time. The guilt-tripping though, that has to STOP.

Post # 23
679 posts
Busy bee

We’re not married yet, but we’ve been living together for 6 months. My Fiance is more of a neat-freak than I am, so he doesn’t mind doing chores, and we kind of just fell into a natural pattern.

  • During the week, we either cook dinner together or take turns cooking, and whoever didn’t cook cleans up the kitchen.
  • We either swap weeks for going to the grocery store, or whoever happens to have time will offer to go. 
  • I get up later than he does, so I make the bed in the morning.
  • One day per week I only work a half-day, so I wash all the laundry that day, and he folds it when he gets home from work; we each put our own clothes away.
  • I don’t mind vacuuming/dusting/mopping but I hate cleaning the bathroom, so on the weekends, I’ll do general cleaning of the main areas and he’ll scrub the bathroom.
  • I gather the trash and recycling together on garbage day and he takes it to the curb.
  • Whoever happens to have time walks the dog each day, but he gives her baths.
  • We each pick up after ourselves on a daily/nightly basis so that things don’t start to look cluttered.
  • He has one room he’s entirely in charge of keeping neat in clean, it’s his computer room, and I don’t even go in there, so that’s his responsibility.

Since you clearly haven’t fallen into a natural, mutually-agreed upon pattern of taking care of household duties, and he obviously has some misguided expectations of you, I think you need to sit him down and set him straight.

He wanted you to work full-time, so you need to tell him that you can either work full-time and he can help out more, or you can work part-time and take care of the house — but he can’t have both. Let him know there is no such thing as “wifely duties” or “women’s roles” anymore, that you don’t believe in them, and you won’t be forced into them, either. You definitely need to shut him down IMMEDIATELY the next time he tries to compare you to his mother (just flat-out say, “I am not your mother, and I don’t intend to act like her”) or make snarky remarks about why he has to do a chore (tell him in no uncertain terms you won’t tolerate being spoken to that way.) You need to stand up for yourself!

If he agrees that you need to start splitting duties more equally, sit down and come up with a weekly schedule, where you write down who will do what each night. If he has one specific chore it might be easier than expecting him to intuitively know what needs to happen and when. That will be a good place to start, and then hopefully things will evolve from there, to a point where you don’t need a list and you each just do what needs to be done as you see fit!

Post # 24
1069 posts
Bumble bee

We both work full time. He is in sales and has to work Wednesday nights and on Saturdays so that’s usually when the bulk of the cleaning is done. I tidy up every day and although he cleans up after himself, he doesn’t really clean. So I would say I do 99% of the cleaning/tidying. He does do his own laundry though.


Post # 25
9129 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

Yikes.  Sounds like his conceptions of housework duties are pretty ingrained.  This might sound silly but maybe couples counseling could help?  I dunno.  I just know you sound frustrated (understandably) and he doesn’t sound like he will easily change.  (He also sounds kinda dickish about it, IMO.)

For us, we have very specific split duties. My guy is a great cook, so he does almost all the cooking. He usually washes the dishes and cleans the kitchen as well (with a little reminding from me on occasion).  

I do all the laundry and putting away of clothes, almost all the picking up of random stuff around the house (of which there is a LOT as he just drops his things wherever), and much of the actual cleaning outside the kitchen (sweeping, mopping, bathroom).  However, he will help me with some of that deep-cleaning if he’s not doing other stuff.  

We both do yard work.

Post # 26
1306 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Wow, I feel sorry for you. Your husband seems to be a bit “oldschool” when it comes to the idea of men’s work and women’s work. I think you really should sit down with him and ask him what he expectations are from you. If he lists off much more than you can handle, tell him that since you are working so much, it is impossible to complete all the things he wants you to do.

Likewise, you should make a plan you feel would work for the two of you. If he is willing to compromise by picking up a few more chores then I think it will help him understand what you go through.


Post # 27
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Honestly, the best thing we did was hire a housecleaner that comes bi-weekly. If we had kids, I would probably bump them to weekly. Many people that I speak (especially those with both spouses/parents working FT) to have said that a housecleaning service is one of the best investments they ever made for their relationship and their household.

If my Darling Husband EVER EVER EVER comparee me to his mother (who is a FT homemaker from an entirely different culture/perspective), I would be furious. I personally hate cleaning and have always told my SO that I would rather go to work and make the money to hire someone to do the cleaning as 1) they do a much better job and 2) why slave over the housework for a whole day when you can have someone else do it in the span of 2 hours. That’s efficiency.

That said, the way we’ve split up the remaining daily tasks is somewhat traditional. He takes care of our garden, trash, and other heavy-duty, dirty types of tasks, and I do the dishes, cooking and laundry. This also does relate to our strengths, as I am a much better cook than he is but I hate doing gardening and trash stuff because it’s smelly, dirty and insect-infested.

Some things are just not important enough for us to deal with, including making the bed. I get that some couples do that daily and maybe once we have children, we will. However, we haven’t made our beds daily in years and we only do it when company comes over and people might see our room. In the grand scheme of things, having an unmade bed just wasn’t a big deal to either one of us.

Post # 28
75 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@Miss Mochaccino:  Yikes.  That’s not very nice of him, I can understand why you’re frustrated!

If it’s simply an issue of him needing to form new habits in regards to household chores, I think it can be easily fixed and I certainly wouldn’t see it as a dealbreaker… all it is, is forming new habits.  But if it’s a bigger issue with his attitude about “the wife needing to do all the housework,” I’d be more concerned.    Especially since you’ve already explained that you really don’t have that much time now that you’re full time.  Does he really expect you to do absolutely everything yourself?

Darling Husband and I moved in together almost a year and a half before getting married and we almost immediately came to a housekeeping method that works for us.  His work schedule requires him to be gone for 3-4 days at a time, so I obviously do everything while he’s gone.  When he’s home on his days off, he helps out quite a bit.  He does all of the laundry (he likes doing laundry, I haaate it), takes the trash out, vacuums, and helps with dishes and cooking.

Although, I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to fall back and let the house get a bit messy when he’s gone and I don’t clean it all up until right before he comes home.  😛

Post # 29
5659 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Ok well you are not his mother, and you work 40 hours a week, as does he. So if he’d like to try to be a full time home maker and work full time he can and he can let you know how “easy” it is. I make dinner, but my husband does the dishes most days. He also is the laundry guy, garbage, and typically when we do a semi deep clean he’s the vaccumer and sweeper. Those are his larger things. He picks up after himself for the most part, but he doesn’t have a lot of stuff to have around anyway, most of it is mine and all my hobbies. He feeds the dog, whipes down counters even if i did cause he likes how he does it better, stuff like that.

Marriage, and taking care of a home, are a two way street. I suggest you do as some of the PPs have said and make a chore chart, but you still have to expect that some of  the time one of you will be picking up the other’s slack. It’s completely unfair of him to make snide comments like that, if he wants your job to be home making, then he needs to provide enough income for that to be possible. He needs to pull his weight too, it’s his house as well, not ust yours.

Start by asking him what chores he might be willing to do, my husband does the laundry because he doesn’t mind it and he prefers the way he does it than the way I do it. But I couldn’t write “make dinner” ona chore list and expect him to actually do that. You have to be realistic.

Or, go on strike. Hey, it wouldn’t work for me but it has for some wives!

Good luck!

Post # 30
4044 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@Miss Mochaccino:  Honestly if FH made a crack that his mom’s kichen was cleaner than mine, I would not make him any more sandwiches. If we got home at the same time, and I am making dinner he better be  helping or doing some other chore at the same time. OR I am just making myself dinner, thanks!

Currently I do most of the housework, because we both work full time but I get home 2-3 hours before he does.

Post # 31
424 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Darling Husband and I both work and study so we’re both out of the house from about 8 to 7 every day.  If you have the means, you should hire help.  That cuts out a lot of the chores for us.  I get someone to clean fortnightly, and when the ironing piles up I pay a lady to pick up the slack.  DH isn’t a chef, and I love to cook, so I take care of meals, and he takes care of washing up and putting away of dishes.  If i’m too tired to cook, he’ll make us sandwiches or something simple that he can handle.  Ive taught him to use the washing machine (his mom also is a full time houswife) and whoever has the time will fold and put away clothes.  These things didn’t come naturally.  Stuff like this requires conversations and sacrifice from BOTH parties.  Sacrifice is a given if you want your marriage to work anyway.  As for his comments about his mother… ha!  Like PPs have said, he has two options:  either go back to his mother’s house since he’s not ready to be a husband and partner, or agree with you quitting your job so u can be a flawless housewife.  He can’t expect you to do both perfectly!

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