Division of Labor

Housework is one of those things that can become a sore point in a marriage, especially when one parent stays at home. One guess who probably gets stuck doing much of the housework, even if the at home parent works at home.

Yes, my home is pretty typical.

My husband has improved somewhat through the years. Still not where I would like him to be, but getting there. If I want the dishes done, all I have to do is let them pile up in the sink for at least 24 hours. Then I have about a 50/50 chance that he will finally do them. Easy, no?

Yeah, right. We all know how hard it is to look at a sinkful of dirty dishes.

Seriously, if I really want my husband to help around the house, all I have to do is ask. It may take him a half hour to an hour to get started because he’s deep in a computer game and doesn’t want to hit pause, but it does get done. And yes, the wait does drive me nuts, although I cope better with it now that I recognize that he generally does take the action I asked for.

I’ve long since decided that my husband simply cannot see dirt until it is pointed out to him. He’ll do those dishes, but odds are slim that he will wipe down the countertops, sweep, etc.

On the other hand, we have a great division when it comes to putting the kids to bed each night. We each take one, switching off who puts which child to bed. That way each of our kids gets time with each of us regularly. We both do it a little differently, and the kids get that.

As the kids get old enough to really help, things do slowly change. My daughter now has regular chores she is supposed to do daily, and if she wants something extra, she tells me and we agree upon what she has to do to earn it. She doesn’t get to do the extra chore until her regular ones are taken care of. At this point supervising her to make sure she actually gets her work done can be a chore in and of itself, but that should improve over time.

One chore is to help either Mommy or Daddy with a chore. Most days she chooses helping to empty the dishwasher. She takes care of the things that are stored within her reach. Then she has to search the house for any dishes that have wandered from the kitchen.

Now I have to ask: How do you divide up chores in your family?


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