August 6, 1999 at 12:00 am #10571
To heterosexuals who are married or who live with their partners: In all honesty, how do you divide the domestic work in your home? Is my girlfriend – who thinks I’m naive for expecting my new live-in partner to do half the cooking and cleaning (and maybe someday, childcare)- wrong?
User Detail :Name : Rhiannon, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Jewish, Age : 28, City : Minneapolis, State : MN Country : United States, Occupation : Media studies graduate student, August 6, 1999 at 12:00 am #27557
I think you are being perfectly reasonable to expect your partner to share the housework; it is a partnership, right? In my house, my boyfriend and I each do about half the cooking and cleaning. We both work full-time, so the arrangement makes sense for us. If either of us were not working, or working fewer hours than the other one, the household responsibilities would shift. The key is to work out an arrangement that fits your situation. That means talking with your partner about both of your needs and expectations. Sharing childcare duties is even more important than sharing the cooking and cleaning, because both people need to bond with and parent the child. The only way to form a strong bond with your child is through caring for that child.
User Detail :Name : Lucy H, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Hispanic/Latino (may be any race), Age : 24, City : San Jose, State : CA Country : United States, Occupation : Engineer, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, August 6, 1999 at 12:00 am #34159
Dividing the domestic work among couples who recently moved in together can be tricky. My wife and I discovered the best way to “delegate” work was to sit down and decide what we each “liked” doing, as opposed to “I’m not doing that.” That only causes trouble. For example, my wife “likes” doing laundry, I “like” dusting and vacuuming. The 50/50 theory simply will not work, because you start arguing who-did-what-last and how much of it. We discovered it’s best to stick with what you each do best, and be the sole person responsible for that task. As far as child care goes, same thing. One thing we did decide on was that she was the person who did all the feeding (because she breastfead, which I highly recommend) and I changed the diapers exclusively. It’s a sh—y job, but someone has to do it (sorry). Over time, you’ll discover who-does-what. The trick is to be patient and understanding and respectful. Remember, you are going to be with this person for the rest of your life, hammer out the rules now!
User Detail :Name : Murray C., Gender : M, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Unitarian, Age : 31, City : Halifax, Nova Scotia, State : NA Country : Canada, Occupation : Draftsman, Education level : Technical School, Social class : Middle class, August 9, 1999 at 12:00 am #33477
When my husband and I both worked, the first year of our marriage, the chores were shared because we did them together. The problem comes when a couple has a child and the parents decide that one will stay home as a full-time parent. It’s pretty easy for the “working” parent to decide that the one staying home can fit the chores into their schedule! I think this attitude depends on the individual; I don’t see it in my brothers, because my father wasn’t like that. I do see it in my husband (less so after years of fighting – smile) and in other men. Make sure you know how your partner was raised before you make a commitment.
User Detail :Name : Colleen, Gender : F, Age : 38, City : Quantico, State : VA Country : United States, August 9, 1999 at 12:00 am #35631
I have been married almost seven years. When I first got married, I followed my husband to another city for his career. Since he had a new, stressful job and I was unemployed, I took care of most of the housework, as well as tasks related to a new domestic status, like changing our insurance. I assumed that since my hubby knew I did not want to be a professional homemaker, he would take over some of the work when I got a job. Wrong! He got used (or rather, I allowed him to get used) to having that done for him. After I got a part-time job, then additonal freelance work, I still did the housework. I asked him to do a few things during the time when my freelance work was really heavy, but he often “forgot” or did a half-as–ed job. It caused a lot of disagreements and a lot of hurt feelings. When I got a full-time job, I sat him down and laid down the law. Help out or put up the money for hired help. Now, we each do a few things we really enjoy. He does the finances and investing, and I do the cooking and pet care. We do the things we don’t mind that the other person hates. He does the lawn and I do the laundry. We each pick up after ourselves and rinse our own dinner dishes. And we hire a maid to do the heavy stuff. What I’ve learned from this is that I will tell any daughter I might have to not do anything the first year of marriage that you don’t think you can do for the rest of your life. Once habits get set they are very hard to break.
User Detail :Name : Stacee27915, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Christian, Age : 31, City : Houston, State : TX Country : United States, Occupation : TV production, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, August 9, 1999 at 12:00 am #44505
I’d suggest that insisting that each person do half the cooking, half the cleaning, half of this and half of that is a recipe for disaster. Some people are better at – or less troubled by – different tasks. It’s OK if one of you cooks and one of you does all the laundry. In our house, we’ve sort of muddled to that conclusion. I work full time while my wife works part time, so she inevitably ends up doing more than I do around the house, especially during the week. She cleans more than I do. She gets things fixed that need fixing. She is with our kids more during the week. But I take care of all the bills. I do all the laundry. I do more kid stuff on the weekend. It wouldn’t work if we each had to do half of each individual task – better to split the tasks up. But do split them – if you end up doing most of everything while your partner does almost nothing, that’s no good.
User Detail :Name : Andrew, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 35, City : Huntington, State : NY Country : United States, Occupation : Reporter, Education level : 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, August 14, 1999 at 12:00 am #23702
My parents did a great job trying to equalize the work in the home. They both had jobs and for three-fourths of my dad’s working life he had two jobs … and they still split the housework! The jobs my mother hated doing, my father did, and visa-versa. It didn’t matter that a particular job was usually assigned to a certain gender; my folks just plain worked it out. When each of us kids hit first and second grade, we were also given duties and a time frame in which to have it done: Things like dusting and helping fold laundry, etc. I think that stating (yes, even to an adult) that a house doesn’t run itself and in a family everyone has to pull his or her weight is something that has to be put out on the table, often. If your hubby doesn’t like to pull his weight, he should pay for someone else to do it, because it’s not fair to you. Either he hires someone, or gets a better job so you can stay home, if that’s what you want. Or maybe you should leave his jobs undone and don’t do them for him and see how far he can go before he can’t stand the mess. Or just plain tell him that this is a part of marriage (doing housework) that is non-negotiable – the work has to get done and done right. Many marriages have broken up over this very situation you’re facing.
User Detail :Name : Kim H., Gender : F, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Humanist, Age : 43, City : Minneapolis, State : MN Country : United States, Occupation : Actress, Playwright and Director, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Middle class, August 27, 1999 at 12:00 am #16279
Sorry, but your girlfriend is right. You can try all the methods that others advise but keep this in mind; if it were not a very real problem, these methods would not exist.
User Detail :Name : T-Hodges, Gender : F, Age : 34, City : STandish, State : MI Country : United States, Education level : 2 Years of College, November 4, 1999 at 12:00 am #33946
I’ve been married for 5 years. My husband and I both work similar hours. We divide up the stuff that has to be done to keep the household running along the lines of who likes the job the most/who hates the job the most/who’s better at it. I like to cook and he doesn’t think it’s that entertaining, so I cook and do the food shopping (a natural corollary) and he does the dishes. He does the bills because he’s more obsessive about them than I am, whoever goes to bed last locks the doors and turns out the lights, etc. etc. We don’t consciously try to either adopt or avoid traditional gender roles. On the whole, things get divided about in half and we both feel the arrangement is fair.
User Detail :Name : Marcia22186, Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : White/Caucasian, Age : 37, City : New York, State : NY Country : United States, Occupation : attorney, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class,
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