Charli over Man, Wife, and Dog turned me on a blog based on the book of the same name called Spousonomics. I’ve been reading some of the archives and came across this post. It was a response to a reader’s question about the value of specific tasks that spouses tend to do.

The reader’s question went as follows:

How do you weigh the value of physical chores — such as laundry folding and snow shoveling — vs. psychological chores — such as planning the college application process and keeping teenagers on task for school? As the one with the psychological list, I find it is never done — and so I am never free to relax. And frequently annoyed with my partner when he is “done” with his physical tasks.

Now, I kinda thought said reader was being a tad bit extra, but it did get me to thinking about the division of labor in our house. I take charge of a lot of the “psychological tasks” – I pay the bills, deal with medical stuff, deal with the taxes, nag my husband to call his mama – stuff like that. That’s just how my mind works, my husband didn’t want to deal with it and I am better at it so I took it on. I also do much of the other housework like vaccuming, bathroom clean up and general tidying.

My husband handles what would be called a more “physical task” in that he handles about 95% of the cooking and a good portion of kitchen clean-up. He washes his own clothes, deals with the car/automotive stuff,  handles trash collectioon and tidies up his room (the second bedroom has morphed into a man room). Well, we are still debating on how tidy the man room is, but I digress….LMAO!!! My point is, the stuff he’s better at, he’s pretty much taken over.

One thing that I am finally learning that as the wife that I was putting too much pressure on myself about the housework. I am fairly clean but I am not a domestic goddess. I am not my mama, and I don’t have to be.  We aren’t living hoarder-style  up in here but occasionally dishes are left  in the sink over night. My husband had to help me to realize that if he wasn’t tripping about how the house looked, then I didn’t need to either. The housework woud get done bit by bit and as long as we don’t see roaches and rats moving in with tiny lil suitcases, then it was all good. When we do have folks over, he pitches in to help me get the house company ready. So slowly but surely I’m learning to relax. And I am definitely adamant about getting some cleaning folks up in the crib. I am NOT going to spend my Saturdays cleaning while some Ohio Players is playing in the background like my daddy used to make us do when I was a kid!

Married folks, single folks and everyone in between,  how are you handling the division on labor in your house? Not just chores but the psychological stuff too?? What tasks/chores have you decided to outsource?



8 thoughts on “Value-Added

  1. Maybe because we got married older, the household chores are easy to divide. Basically, like you, I do what I am good at and he does what he is good at. We both cook, but I cook a little more (he grills). He washes the cars and does the yard work. I clean the restrooms, kitchen, my office, and our room. Our sons clean the upstairs. My husband vaccuums. I pay the bills (I LOVE paying bills; he hates it.) He likes to grocery shop; I don’t, so he does the shopping. We just basically do what we want to do and it runs smoothly.

    It does help that my mother-in-law is a neat freak and raised the HELL out of her son (Bless you, Mama Nell!)

  2. this is right on time. we had this conversation yesterday LOL he is a procrastinator so anything related to finance & house/bills etc I’m on it. he and my son work on all the “manly” duties, trash, lawn/outside the house/cars etc and the women take care of the inside.. I mean nothing is set in stone with the exception of him no longer leaving a trail of his work clothes from bedroom door to bed LOL

  3. When I was married I handled the cooking and grocery shopping, and the bills . He was the primary caretaker of our son before Grade 1, he did laundry, the cleaning and the dishes, yard work and car care. He is a “Bob the builder” kinda guy so I never had to fix anything. The best part of being married to him was that I could dream up all kinds of crazy projects for the house and he would gladly build it, fix it, or erect it.

    The strange thing is that when me and my S/O started living together he immediately started doing the laundry, the dishes, the yard work, and the car care. We never actually talked about the division of duties. And I’m still stuck with being the one to pay the bills. A JOB I DO NOT LIKE!!!

  4. I must say that we’re pretty evenly split, but we have a unique situation. The only thing that I clearly manage is the kids/schedules of the kids, etc. Poor man, he never knows what the children are doing. We both cook and clean, because we live in two different houses. When we’re together, I do all the cooking and depending on whose house we’re at, the cleaning changes. But he always manages the physical property (houses, cars, grass, etc.)

    I take joy in cooking for my family, and managing the household. Perhaps I’m one of the few that believes that my husband shouldn’t have to do too much. It’s not that he WON’T do it, it’s that I enjoy doing it. He does pitch in at any time. Plus, if I let him cook every night, vegetables would be extinct.

  5. Our division has changed, still changes and is based on needs, ability and convenience.

    I started out doing all cooking, dealing with the housekeeper and gardener, grocery shopping, and packing lunches. I did it all because my husband was working 10-14 hour days and had a commute in L.A. traffic and I was at home.

    Now he does most of the cooking and most grocery shopping because he enjoys it and has the time. He does all car stuff including car washes and keeping my tank full. I handle appointments and scheduling. We have a housekeeper but we both keep it clean. I probably do more since I work at home. I pay all bills online, deposit checks, transfer funds and he writes any checks. If something requires a phone call or online research, I’m the one tasked with it. If it requires leaving home, parking the car and walking he does it.

    I handle the nanny stuff and organize child care when we want to go out. He bathes the kids, does bed time stories and tucks the kids in. I usually straighten up from the tornado left by the kids while he does that.

  6. I outsource the cleaning once a month and tidy up myself during the month. I’m a bit anal about my kitchen so I clean up my dishes every night. Once in a while I will leave dishes in the sink over the weekend.

  7. We have very few assigned tasks. I clean the bathroom and he takes out the trash but most tasks are opt-ins. If I know he hates doing something and I don’t mind, I’m glad to do it and vice versa.

    Other than that, we fly by the seat of our pants. If I don’t want to cook, he will. If he doesn’t want to cook, I’ll do it. If neither one of us wants to, we eat leftovers or eat out. We do our bills together. Since most things are auto-pay now, that generally means we scan together and check in every other week or so.

    I bet this will change if/when we have kids.

  8. We split them pretty evenly – we don’t cook often but – whoever cooks, the other cleans up. He does most of the laundry – but other than that, I do most of the cleaning. I have to admit, I like it though – I usually enjoy cleaning, it’s cathartic. I don’t put any pressure on myself to be the “perfect” wife and try to be all domesticated.

    This does remind me of a post I read recently on being a domestic goddess in the 50’s. Makes you wanna kiss your washing machine. LOL

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