How do parents divide the work?

Filed under: Work Life, Sex

Having kids in the house creates a lot of work. All that cooking, cleaning, laundry and homework has to get done somehow. With many moms working, the idea that housework is women's work has gone by the wayside.

At a dinner party recently, the talk turned to how we divide up all the daily tasks with our partners. Agreeing upon who does what can be a challenge, and we all have worked it out in different ways. One friend created a spreadsheet where she weighted all the chores by their degree of difficulty and the time it took to complete them. She and her husband used that as a guide to divvy up the chores.

In my house, I had set a bad precedent early on by doing almost all the work myself. Having raised a child as a single parent, I was accustomed to that. But every day when I returned home from work to a sink full of dirty dishes, unmade beds and piles of laundry, I grew more resentful. I began to see his shoes in the living room and his socks on the bathroom floor as a personal affront. I felt like a maid.

Unlike my spreadsheet friend, I did not handle my frustration in a calm and adult manner. All that anger and resentment built up inside me and eventually exploded. It wasn't pretty, but it did start the dialogue. I realized I was doing this to myself by being unwilling to let any of it wait until he got home. I was mad about things he wasn't even aware of. It turns out that he is more than willing pitch in. And so I let him. Now, when I come home to a sink full of dirty dishes, I just walk on by. That's his job now. We don't have a spreadsheet, but our arrangement feels fair too us. How have you worked out the division of labor in your house?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.