Wifey Wednesday: Division of Labour with Your Spouse

Chores with Your Spouse
How do you approach chores with your spouse?

It’s a tough question in most marriages, and today I thought I’d run an article I wrote for Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family magazine last year.

Early in our marriage, our apartment often suffered from lack of attention. One morning, in frustration, I worked myself into a cleaning frenzy. Unbeknownst to me, that afternoon while I was out, my husband had the same impulse.

Over dinner we simultaneously announced, “I cleaned the whole place today!” Neither of us was amused at the other taking credit for our effort. Our misunderstanding soon became clear. To my husband, Keith, clutter mattered. To me, dirt mattered. I could walk past clutter as long as the faucets were gleaming. He, on the other hand, didn’t notice marks on the mirrors as long as the towels were neatly folded.

All of us start marriage with different ideas about what goes into running a household, and our natural tendency is to value the work we do and minimize the work our spouses do. Throughout the stages of life, our situations change and require us to renegotiate the division of chores. Each time we try to divide responsibilities, there’s potential for anger and resentment. But with the right attitude and some planning, chores don’t need to be something that drives us apart.

Don’t aim for a 50-50 split

One landmine to avoid is the 50-50 split. A 2012 study done in Norway found that couples who split housework evenly were also more likely to divorce. The problem isn’t housework per se, but rather the dynamics of splitting it down the middle. Kurt Bruner, pastor and author, says, “If you are keeping score on such things, you have already lost the relational battle.”

A better model involves both spouses putting 100 percent effort into creating a well-organized home. Fawn Weaver, founder of the Happy Wives Club, spent six months traveling the world interviewing couples who have been happily married for more than 25 years. She says, “Each couple, no matter their culture or socio-economic class, had this in common: They worked together as a team. There was no my work or your work. It’s our home, so it’s our work.”

Honor your spouse’s preferences

Happy couples also realize that housework can be a way to demonstrate love. Amy and Brad Saleik have been married 15 years. They inadvertently found a perfect way to organize household tasks. Amy explains, “We had only been married for a month or two when I offhandedly asked my husband what chore he hated. He quickly said, ‘Laundry. What about you?’ I replied, ‘Dishes.’ Ever since, I’ve done all the laundry, and he’s done all the dishes.”

Another strategy to honor your spouse is to ask each other, “What’s one thing I could do to make you feel more ‘at home’ when you’re at home?” I learned that strategy the hard way. When my children were 6 and 4, I was very active with them. We hosted playgroups in our home. We made crafts. We baked. Our home was fun, but it was also always a mess.

One day Keith told me he was tired of arriving home to a disaster. He could handle a little clutter, but he wanted to be able to walk through the kitchen without stepping on Polly Pockets. I didn’t take that well. I think the words maid and Neanderthal escaped my lips. But later, I realized that was a selfish response. While Keith wanted a place that reflected his beliefs about what a home should be, I was more interested in what I envisioned for the family. Eventually, I realized that spending 10 minutes tidying up the front room before he arrives home costs me little, yet offers a priceless opportunity to show my husband I care about him.

Attention to your spouse’s needs builds good will. Sarah Mae, co-author of Desperate, a book for overwhelmed moms, explains that stay-at-home moms also crave consideration. She says, “Without space to breathe or a little help here and there, you can feel like you’re drowning.” Even if both spouses are working all day fulfilling different tasks, at night one spouse may especially need a break — and quite often it’s the spouse who has been chasing the children all day. Holding down the fort while Mom has a bubble bath can bring peace to her and the home.

Finally, honoring your spouse involves honoring his or her opinion of what constitutes clean. If your spouse thinks it’s clean, it’s considered clean, even if it would never pass your aunt Mabel’s white-glove test. You both live in the house. You both should have a say.

Fostering a selfless attitude makes identifying practical ways to divide chores much easier. Before you split them, though, agree on what they are. It’s all too easy to focus on vacuuming or dishes and dismiss doing the finances or mowing the lawn. So sit down and list all the things that go into running a house, from supervising homework to cleaning bathrooms and even buying Grandma a birthday present. Then you can decide who does what. Allocating those jobs, though, can be a bit tricky. Here are two models for how couples can manage chores.

Model No. 1: Embrace Specialization

Personally, my husband and I have always lived by the adage “The man should have to kill the bugs.” Other than that, we’ve been flexible regarding household responsibilities. Pam Farrel, co-author of Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, says, “Instead of dividing up chores along stereotypical lines, we have seen it works best to give the responsibility to the person who is most passionate about that task.” If you really care about the lawn, you get to do the lawn. There’s one more caveat from Farrel: “The person who has the task gets the authority to do that task his or her way, in his or her time, and the spouse just commits to saying, ‘Thanks!’ “

David and Kelli Campbell have been married for 10 years. Both work full time. David enjoys cooking, but last-minute meals aren’t his specialty. So Kelli prepares a two-week menu plan to help things run more smoothly. David cooks, vacuums and cares for the exterior of the house, and Kelli does the rest of the interior cleaning and the laundry. Knowing who’s responsible for what helps them navigate their busy schedules.

Model No. 2: Establish Work Hours

Nothing irks me more than doing dishes or vacuuming when the other three members of my family are on their computers. So our family adopted my grandmother’s golden rule: If Momma’s working, everyone’s working. If you’re a family who thrives on flexibility rather than defined tasks, this model may work better for you, too.

Assigning chores to individuals isn’t as important as everyone simply doing whatever needs to be done — all at the same time. You can even turn it into a game: Set a timer for 15 minutes and see how much mess each of you can pick up! Kurt and Olivia Bruner have the whole family draw straws with chores on them when a chore day is needed. If you’re all working at the same time, you can later relax at the same time.

Recruit help

Finally, if you need another pair of hands, follow the Bruners’ example and recruit the kids. Rather than running ragged making your children’s lives easy, you can involve the kids in daily chores. In fact, we should involve the children. Kelli Campbell reports being forever grateful to David’s mother for rearing a son who knows how to cook. What an investment his mother made in his future marriage! With children heading back to school, now’s a great opportunity to create new routines to involve kids in caring for the home.

After working out responsibilities, someone — or everyone — can still feel overwhelmed. You might want to re-evaluate and possibly trim your list of chores. Perhaps not everything on the list needs to be done — or done as often as you’ve been doing it. Do you really need to dust the picture frames every month? Perhaps you can clean the bathrooms every other week, instead of every week.

If you try these strategies and find chores are still causing conflict, consider hiring outside help. Shana Bresnahan is a full-time consultant, and her husband, Casey, is a full-time teacher. Shana says, “After cleaning came up in counseling sessions one too many times, our counselor said, ‘Can you make room in the budget for a cleaning lady?’ For the last year we’ve invested in a semimonthly visit from a maid service. We call it marriage insurance.”

Chores need to be done, but they do not need to cause a wedge between you and your spouse. Instead, chores can be one of the vehicles that help you feel and function more like a team. Together, choose a system that works best for your family and commit to honoring each other through it. You’ll feel more valued and loved, and your floors may just stay cleaner, too.


Christian Marriage Advice

It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! It used to be a linkup party day, but for various reasons I’ve decided that instead I’ll share my “best of” suggestions from other marriage bloggers on Wednesdays. Unfortunately, this week I didn’t have time to fetch any, so I’ll just put up some that are here on the blog.

Getting Kids to Pick Up their Stuff
My Husband is Lazy!

And if you didn’t read my post yesterday, please check it out:
10 Ways to Initiate Prayer with Your Spouse

Now let me know in the comments: How do you split chores with your husband?

Comments

  1. Our division of chores has varied over the years.
    Before we had kids, when we were both working outside the home, the first one home cooked and the other one washed the dishes. That worked great, and now that I’m home full time and doing all the cooking, he still does most of the dishes. He enjoys it, and don’t.
    I do the laundry, but I’m philosophically opposed to ironing.
    And we are involving the kids more and more – neither of us has mowed the lawn yet this summer, nor do we take out the trash any more. The goal is that by the time they are 18, the kids will each know how to do all the jobs that go into running a house.

  2. I agree with the advice to hire a cleaning lady. I love having a clean home but I DETEST cleaning. After our son was born & we made the decision for me to continue working full-time, I made a deal with my husband…I didn’t want to spend my days off cleaning. So, we agreed to hire a cleaning lady. It is HANDS DOWN the best money we have ever spent. I have now cut my hours to part-time, and we have talked about cutting that expense now and again. Every time I suggest dropping it (it is, after all, a “fluff” item in our budget) my husband refuses. He says it is better than any marriage counseling. To him, it is worth it to sacrifice in another area to literally watch the stress leave my body when I come home to a clean house on the days the cleaning lady has been here. (His words.) If you think you can’t afford it, I would suggest sitting down and seeing where else you can cut. You’d be surprised at what just 2 days a month will do for your home, and it’s really not that expensive. If you can’t pay for it on a regular basis, maybe you could hire someone to come do a deep clean a few times a year. Would one spouse agree to pay for that as a birthday or anniversary gift? Or perhaps you could request it from parents as a Christmas gift?

  3. I think this one came up a little short. First, very little attention was paid to stay at home wife. So if we apply the rule in reverse. If pappa is working, everyone is working- no coffee out with the girls during the day, no 2 hours of facebook, no TV, no scrapbooking, no pinterest, no woman’s bible study at noon- still interested in your if mama’s working, everybody is working rule?

    Second, it has been scientifically proven that men who do “housework”, not outside men’s work, get less sex from their spouse. Some can hope, wish and believe all day long that men and women are not different except for the plumbing but it is just not so. I am not saying dad shouldn’t spend time (a lot) with the kids, or change a diaper or wash some dishes once a week when mom is tired. But what I am saying is if dad is coming home from work and cooking and doing the dishes the majority of nights and his wife is a stay at home wife, something is very off.

    I agree that it should be about teamwork. However, only someone who has never had a close relationship with sports would believe the quarterback & center are interchangable, or the center & pointguard, or starting pitcher and clean up batter. There is a reason there are stereotypical roles, because the bible teaches them and six thousand years of human history has proven them true.

    Respectfully-
    thankfulhusband recently posted…Put Down the Apple, Woman!My Profile

    • Hey thankful husband!
      I agree and love the fact that men and women are made/wired differently….I don’t believe that Sheila was saying that the man should come home after a long hard day’s work and do what the stay at home wife should’ve/could’ve done during the day…I think that she was really getting down to the fact that it’s give and take and we can’t be selfish and just say this is my chore and this is your chore so i’m not going to help….We have to look past ourselves and see that person for what they are…a human….someone who gets tired, sick, frustrated, etc…and it’s good to jump in and meet a need when we see our spouse needs a break. All aspects of marriage take teamwork as you said…including the household chores/inside and out regardless of traditional roles.
      My husband and I (of 12 years) decided before we married that the household chores were shared…especially if we both work full-time (out of the home) jobs. And if he was to ever be able to provide me the privilege of being a stay at home wife/mom, then the household was my responsibility. That’s how we’ve worked it….I now, work full-time and have most of our marriage and our home belongs to US as does the messes that are made….so when we see that something needs to be done, we jump in and do it….my husband never says he’s to manly to fold clothes or do dishes, and I never say i’m too girly to weed eat or mow the yard…yet we both do those things and embrace those qualities in one another…my husband is an alpha male and as manly as they come, in my opinion…strong, determined, leader…I’m girly and like to wear make-up and fix my hair nice too….so i think while traditional roles are good, we can’t be so fixated on them that we aren’t willing to be flexible in order to help out our spouse.
      (on a side note to that, i think it’s important for male and female of the household be able to take care of anything and everything for that household in case one dies. I know that’s morbid, but I’ve seen the consequences of the opposite. When my dad died after being married to my mom for 31 years, she had never mowed, changed a light bulb, etc…my brother, husband, and i have had to teach her all of that. Even though he felt he was doing the right thing by my mom because of the traditional roles, he actually did her a disservice.)
      Being willing to help one another out like that also is a great example to our kids at how marriage and home-life should work. I didn’t read anywhere in the article that Shiela thinks the full-time employee dad should come home and do everything in the home. I think she did a great job at stressing the importance of team-work and the importance of finding what works for each individual home. That may look differently for everyone.

      • SP,
        You didn’t address most of what I said! But thanks anyway, you did it in a kind way. I have a real problem with the “if mama is working, everybody is working” & the fact that Sheila teaches it is the woman’s job to start/enforce such a “rule”. Just bottom lining it for you-

        Thanks-
        thankfulhusband recently posted…Put Down the Apple, Woman!My Profile

      • YES!!!! So true. I’ve seen the opposite, as well. I’ve seen so many women die, and then their husbands are totally at a loss–can’t even cook a can of soup. We all need to be able to look after the household. That applies to money, too–we all need to know where the bank statements are, what insurance we have, who the lawyer is, etc. etc., even if someone else is primarily responsible for it. It’s so important.

    • “If Papa is working, everyone is working” is only fair if when Papa is resting, everyone is resting. Including Momma.

      A Papa who wants to play a round of golf, or watch sports, or go hiking with a buddy, all of which happen outside work hours needs a wake up call! Either he’s ok with his wife sometimes taking a break while he’s at work so that she has the energy (mental and physical!) to continue to solo parent while he’s out, or he’d better be booking a sitter so that she gets the time off too!
      I’m home all day with 4 kids. Wouldn’t want it any other way. But my husband and I BOTH need time to ourselves, as well as “dates” together. Either I take breaks through the day while he’s at the office, or all of the breaks for both of us need to fit into evenings and weekends. We all stay a LOT saner if I get a bit of time in the week for me.

    • Few things in psychology and other social sciences are ever “scientifically proven”. Different flawed studies come up with different flawed results. In any case, as all my science and math teachers were very fond of reminding us, correlation does not imply causation.
      Rosemary recently posted…Your Chances of Getting DivorcedMy Profile

  4. I like a lot of these ideas, but I just don’t see them working. At least not now. We’re childless, so no “slave labor” as my mother always jokingly called it. But our issue is that we both work all day. He gets off around 3:30 and goes jogging until I think around 4:15-4:30-ish. Then I get home, try and figure something out to cook (assuming we’ve even found the time to go get groceries that week), and then we both go jogging for another 30 minutes (plus 10 minutes there and back to the gym). We’re also both in school again. He’s taking a night class that is all hands-on and is gone for 4 hours every tuesday and thursday night. I am taking 3 classes online, and I didn’t expect the workload in those classes to be so high. I have so much homework each week, and some of it HAS to be done by Wednesday. So every night I’m trying to read chapters, write papers, and take quizzes, plus planning for the huge research paper due in a couple of weeks, plus the other big project due in a couple of weeks (same week yay!!). Combine all of that with having 3 dogs, one of whom we are trying to find a new home for (long story short she’s petrified of my husband and we can’t train her out of it) and is not really housebroken, 2 we just adopted a month ago and are having trouble training because of the scared one, plus we are dog-sitting for my parents this week while they’re on vacation. So my house is constantly being peed on, and I’ve shampooed the carpet at least 10 times and it still smells awful in there, and no dishes or laundry gets done because at some point someone in the house needs to actually sleep and the house is a disaster area. There’s no “maid” room in the budget because we’re paying for school ourselves, and husband works every Saturday to earn overtime so we can pay off our car plus my student loans from my 1st degree. I’m going nuts please someone help me what do I do?!?!

    Also, it kinda took everything I had not to be screaming this to the sky as I typed….

    • Katie:

      Forgive me if this sounds harsh. But you need to not have any animals during this time. I was a single mom of 3 & my kids would beg for a dog. Since we didn’t have the money for food, vet bills, grooming, etc., I said no. Another reason I said no was because I didn’t have the time to take care of it. Yeah, I know – if the kids wanted it, they needed to take care of it. Yeah, right. Now that my kids are adults & on their own, only 1 of them has gotten a dog and loves the dog but complains all the time about not being able to afford it or have time to take care of it. Big lesson taught that he didn’t learn. :)

      Another suggestion is that you take one of the days you workout to grocery shop & meal prep instead. There are so many recipes/ideas for meal prepping for up to 30 days at a time. A slow cooker will be an amazing tool. Eliminating things that seem important but aren’t will be a huge relief if you and your husband sit down & figure out what to cut out. Lastly, give yourself a big pat on the back, work, school & life are hard – cut yourself a little bit of slack. God bless you & your husband. :)

      • Giving up the dogs isn’t really an option. It wouldn’t be so bad if we could find a home for the one that’s so scared, because the 2 do pretty well with housetraining they just need some work. And once Mom gets back from vacay I can get rid of hers.

        I do love my slow-cooker. I really need to find more meals that I can just dump and cook all day.

        Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Katie…it sounds like the housework may take the back-burner right now….4 years ago, my husband and I decided to get our bachelor degrees. It took us both 2 years, we both worked full-time jobs with about a 1 hour commute each way, we had a 4 year old little girl and a 5 year old little boy and 3 dogs, all while also taking care of my (at the time recently)widowed mother. I get it. really! It was hard. We did good just to keep the house picked up…but we had to get creative…use cleaning as a break….I know while getting my accounting degree, there was a lot of times that i would get frustrated because i had been reading for hours or looking at spreadsheets for hours trying to figure them out and understand the material and my brain was so tired…so if you go through something similar, use cleaning as a time to decompress….step away from the computer and books! and take 5 – 10 minutes to dust…..on your next brain break get a load of laundry running…so on and so forth.
      Also, know that this is a season…it won’t last forever and you can do this!!! You got this…power through, or lighten your class load. 3 on-line classes is quite a bit.Once we were finished, we were like woah! i feel like i should be doing something…something doesn’t feel right…lol!

      • Oh goodness! Someone else is as crazy as me? But with kiddos too? LOL

        Cleaning as a breaks sounds like it would help. I’m trying for a 2-year degree, and he’s taking classes to boost his resume when he applies for the Plumber’s Apprenticeship Program in January. I’m trying to get my degree as quickly as possible because even if he gets into the program, his officially schooling-while-working thing will take 5 years, then he’ll be a Journeyman. So I’m trying to get done ASAP so I can change careers (which I very much want to do anyway). Thus the crazy course-load. Hopefully I can do some night classes in the fall/spring so I don’t have to do 100% online. But if not maybe I’ll just do 2….He wants me to drop one if it’s too much but I’m stubborn that way, plus we’ve already paid for books and things.

        Thanks for the advice, I’ll try and do the cleaning-as-break thing. Then maybe I won’t go so crazy looking at the messy house!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Don’t worry too much about housework. Think back to the basics. What do you need to keep things running? I suggest the following:

      1) You need something to eat. This includes your doggies! I know you would never let them go hungry. Why would you consider yourself less important? :) Think simple — I went through one VERY busy time when I would make just a couple dishes for us each week, but in massive quantities, like spaghetti and a huge bowl of salad, or a big soup and get some fresh bakery bread to go with it. :) Sandwiches are good, too, and you don’t use up a lot of dishes for that.

      2) You need something to wear. Prioritize your laundry… like underwear and socks! It doesn’t take long to throw in a load before bed and switch it in the morning. Don’t worry about folding or putting it away. Buy more laundry baskets if you find that you don’t have enough for your natural rhythm.

      3) You need not to die from germs. :) So clean your toilets and sinks sometimes, like whenever you feel they are getting dirty. A wet washcloth with soap will do just fine! I’ve even used an old handtowel that I was about to change anyway. I just get it a bit wet and then run it over the yucky parts (sink first, then toilet). You can buy bleach tablets to keep the inside of your toilet pretty clean. I know that it gets very tempting to vacuum constantly when you have pets, but the fur isn’t going to kill you if you don’t get to it right away.

      4) Dishes. Buy a good detergent for your dishwasher. This is one area in which it pays to spend a bit more money. If you have a good enough detergent you don’t have to really scrub dishes, like, ever. You may need to run the dishwasher more than 1x/load because some of them don’t rinse very well. But it’s a huge time saver!

      Good luck! :)

      • Thanks for the advice! We’re trying to eat healthier (so of course eating out is helping…not), so I find myself stressing over what I can cook and how I can lose weight while eating it and blah and blah….I’ll look into some big soups and such that I can throw together!

        Laundry is a huge issue around here. But I like the idea of more baskets. Part of the reason I don’t start a new load is because the basket is already full and I don’t have to to fold and put away before the next one needs switched. More baskets for sure.

        I’ll take the vacuum comment for sure, I just wish I could get them totally housetrained so I didn’t smell pee no matter where I was in the house…

        We do have a good detergent, so I’ll try to stick 10 minutes while I”m cooking to load it and unload.

        Thanks again!

        • Elizabeth says:

          Hi Katie :) Do make things easy on yourself! Find your limit for the # of baskets of clean laundry before you tend to fold… or consolidate… and buy that many plus one! :) I’m not saying do it forever, but just for now, to keep your sanity. Don’t worry… in a few months you’ll look back and wonder why you were struggling because you will have learned so much through lots of practice.

  5. So how do I handle it when my husband says that if we are to split the inside chores we should also split the outside chores. He said that if I want him to help with the dishes and laundry- I have to take turns mowing the lawn! Really? So should I just not ask him to help me with chores? Or should I help him if we’re going to do an even split?

    • I would suggest that you might do an ‘equal time’ split, rather than split each chore evenly. If you spend 2-3 hours a day doing all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, bills and shopping, and he spends 1-2 hours per week doing the outside chores, that seems very unfair, assuming you both also work. But to each mow half the lawn seems impractical and ignores that you may have different strengths and interests.

      Perhaps you can decide that on weekends while he does outside you’ll spend the same amount of time on something indoors (like cleaning bathrooms and changing the beds, or whatever you designate as a once-weekly chore), and then the amount of work that needs to be done daily, you split.

      If the issue is that he HATES the outdoor chores and thinks you have it easier, maybe it would be best to help him with the lawn and such, because that would be an act of loving service to him. (Hopefully he would reciprocate in helping you with something you don’t care for!)

      This is what my husband and I are currently trying, since we both want the house to be nice and both work long hours and are struggling to split chores in a way that is ‘fair’ and things get done: We say, ‘ok, time to do house stuff’ and then both work on chores, inside or out according to what most needs doing and our talents, for a designated and equal amount of time, and then take a break together. It’s a little bit like ‘if mama’s working’ in the post, but including ‘if papa’s working’ as well! It’s not perfect but it is helping some!

  6. Melissa says:

    The one thing I absolutely cannot stand to clean is bathrooms. I grew up with three brothers and somehow everyone decided I made the biggest mess (um, I’m not the one who peed on the floor around the toilet thankyouverymuch) so I should be the one to clean the bathroom we shared. It took me way too long to express the unfairness of the situation. So I grew up cleaning up after my brothers who seemed to relish in leaving disgusting messes for me. I told my husband about this and his response was “I’ll clean the bathroom, I don’t care.” I knew I married that man for a reason! :-)

    My biggest struggle with cleaning right now is that it feels like no matter how hard I try to keep things cleaned up, I leave a trail of disaster in my wake as I clean. No matter how hard I work things are still a mess. Sigh.

  7. My husband and I are trying to figure out this balance right now. I wish there was a questionaire or something we could go through together. We just think so differently. Like you guys, he wants things to LOOK clean, and I want them to BE clean.

    I guess the hardest part for me is knowing what’s fair to ask of him around the house when I’m a SAHM and he’s working outside the home. Currently he will help with tasks if I ask specifically but otherwise the home is basically my responsibility.

    I guess I’m starting to feel like I work all day with our children and general household tasks so the things that happen in the evening should be a little more evenly distributed. We’ve got an appointment to talk it through tonight, and I’m thankful for these ideas to help me collect my thoughts.

    To the commenter who said that men who help around the house get less sex, I wonder how often that’s because he’s helping out more through a busy season of life that’s not as conducive to frequent sex, like two kids under two. The variable might be the reason he’s helping out more, not the fact that he’s doing “women’s work”. And she might be just as bummed about the reduced frequency of sexual encounters. Just a thought.

    • Elizabeth says:

      D, I know how you feel. In a lot of ways, I have it easy — I’m thankful that I don’t have to work outside the home, at least for now when my kids are little. I know my husband works very hard and is fully committed to doing his job well.

      It’s helped me to think of my job as primarily childcare and homemaking, not housework. Of course, since I’m at home a lot, it’s easier (and more practical) for me to do a lot of the cleaning, mainly because I don’t want to do it at night! After dinner cleanup is done, I am also done. :) Everyone helps with tidying the house before the kids’ bedtime (even the baby can “help”). The reasoning… we all live here! Everyone ate dinner, making dirty dishes and a crummy floor. The kids played with toys. My husband didn’t make a big mess, but he’s their father, and teaching a good work ethic is part of his job as a father. And it takes like 15 minutes this way, as opposed to an hour or more for one person. We all share family jobs — grocery shopping, basic tidying and cleanliness, yard work, etc. because we all reap the benefits of those things too.

      As far as actual cleaning of the house, I’ve found that there’s no real point in asking him to do that — not because he isn’t capable, but because it takes him so dang long! I’d rather just do it during naptime and then he and the kids help me tidy. (They aren’t old enough yet to really help clean, although my older daughter [2 years, barely] does go around with a damp slightly soapy washcloth to “scrub.”) He will help with specific tasks if I ask him, but he waits for me to ask because he doesn’t know what is going on since he’s not usually here. It’s not lazines… it’s ignorance :)

  8. One thing that has worked well for me is using the flylady dot net cleaning system. Its brought me sanity, peace, and love during busy times in life, with small kids, pets, college, graduate school, and commutes.

    Enjoy you busy lives that God has blessed you with, may you find peace and love in the midst of life’s chaos.

  9. Based on these comments, I can sure see why the topic causes tension! It really is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to expectations, roles, service, work, and rest!

    My husband I are both working until we can pay off loans, but we both want me to be at home. For now, our place is a lot messier than we (especially he) would like, and we both pitch in, but I think it helps that we both communicate often that this is temporary and we’re both working toward our dream. I hope we can apply the same mentality when we have kids or work/financial/health situations that disrupt our home life.

  10. Maybe we are just strange, but dividing up the chores has never been much of an issue for us. I am picky about laundry, so when Hubby and I got married I told him I would do the laundry, and I still do. But when circumstances require, he is certainly capable of doing it for himself, and he doesn’t complain. He has been the primary breadwinner throughout most of our marriage, so I try to ease the burden for him by doing more cooking, more cleaning, more gardening, etc. But when I was in grad school, and buried in books and deadlines, he volunteered to make it easier for me by doing all of the cooking. That was a big relief. Overall I probably do a bit more around the house than he does, because he does a bit more in the outside world than I do.

    Now and then we need to do a big “spring cleaning” or a huge amount of yard work. We just naturally do it together, maybe negotiating a little over who does what to make sure we get it all done and don’t get in each other’s way. If he sees me doing chores, he will often ask if he can help me. Sometimes I take him up on the offer, sometimes I don’t.

    I guess the bottom line is that we both know we are in this together.
    Rosemary recently posted…Your Chances of Getting DivorcedMy Profile

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