March 17th, 2014

planet

men, women, and chore division

I feel like I hear a lot of talk about women who feel like they do all the housework still, and they talk about it in that "I can't believe it's 2014 and I'm still doing more than my fair share" kinda way.

And it was funny... when I was preparing for my presentation last month about having a stay-at-home-dad I asked women who I knew were stay at home moms for tips on how their partners could support them more I heard them say things like "I just wish he'd do *something* around the house. Like set the table!"

set the table, really? that gets you points? that's literally my three-year-old's job... that's nothing!

a recurring problem seems to be that men and women are just raised/programmed/wired differently, so the guys don't even realize how little they're doing, they don't notice the dust balls in the corner that need vacuumed. Or maybe the women notice every spec of dust and must vacuum it NOW and the guys really don't think it's that important.

So I wrote down a list of chores marc and I have and noticed a trend: we don't have a lot of things that depend on our programming being magically in sync.

there aren't a lot of shared chores. no "just vacuum when you notice the floor needs it", because that's really vague, and seems like it would really set you up for resenting the other person when their "trigger" isn't the same as yours.

Instead, we just split up tasks in the most black and white ways possible: I always unload the dishwasher, he always loads it. He always does the laundry, I always sort it and put it away.

And we try to relax. I was raised in a house where the second dinner was over, the table was cleared and the kitchen cleaned. He's more of a "let's sit on the couch, we just ate" kinda guy. I told him my concern... that if the dishes weren't done right after dinner they'd never get done, they'd sit there overnight to encourage mice and fruit flies, so he assured me that they would get done in the evening. Before bed. And it worked. I no longer walk past the dishes in the evening stressing about them being forgotten about, it's all straight now. We put leftovers away after we eat, then we chill out.

I'm not saying everything is perfect, we had a party two weeks ago and I came home to a house with a very clean living room, but the bathrooms hadn't been cleaned, I was like "that's the dirtiest part of the house you have to clean FIRST when people are coming over, the bathroom!" and he seemed just kinda confused, and then just pissed off because he said he'd been cleaning all day and I hadn't noticed any of it. just my own priorities. so yeah, we're not in 100% agreement all the time.

but there's no quiet resentment happening. and we've both compromised on things and talked out how we feel about it.

and when in doubt, make an "always" statement instead of a "when you notice" statement. don't leave room for interpretation. it makes everything confusing.