View Full Version : Is it unfair to expect your wife to do a larger share of chores...
01-12-2001, 01:06 AM
...if you contribute more to the maintenance of the household in other ways?
My wife has lately been nagging at me because she thinks I need to do more helping out around the house. I don't sit around the house doing nothing...I am the only person who takes out trash, when we get groceries I carry most of them up, whenever we need to pick up something, whether dinner, medicine, whatever, I am the one who gets sent to pick it up. I also vacuum sometimes, do laundry, pick up dishes, unload the dishwasher, pick up her kid from school every day, and often cook dinner. We always make the bed together. She does do most of the dishwashing and laundry and general cleaning up around the house. I admit she does this, and I admit I don't like prewashing or even handling dirty dishes (I usually rinse mine off as soon as I am through with it, her and the kid leave large portions of food in dishes until it starts to smell bad).
She thinks I need to do more, and I don't really understand why. I'm not sure that she does more than half the housework when you take into consideration the stuff I listed above that I do, but even if she does do more (she is more obsessive about cleanliness in most ways and sees the house as a mess when I see it as relatively neat) I contribute more than 2/3 of the yearly income, I provide all the insurance, and I very rarely spend money out of our account on things for myself, while she probably spends a couple of hundred a month at least on non-essentials that are basically for her. I have never had a problem with this, I lived in a fairly spartan fashion before we got together and I still do. I don't think she shouldn't eat out for lunch every day just because I take my lunch to work, and I understand that women like to buy new clothes and stuff like that a lot. I have had problems with her running the check account out before paying all the bills before but she is better about it now, though she still spends more than I think she should I figure it makes up for my not doing the dishes or laundry as often as her.
But apparently it doesn't. She has made an appointment for us to see a marriage counselor because I admitted I didn't see a problem with the way the housework is shared between us and I don't think she has a right to complain. What do you Dopers think?
One thing I am considering proposing is agreeing to a 50/50 split of all housework, and make her take turns taking out the trash, picking up her kid from school, going out to pick up stuff, carrying up exactly half the groceries, etc. I am also considering changing the budget so we split down the middle the disposable income for personal spending - I know if we do this I will save up a lot of money and she won't be able to buy as much stuff as she does now. I honestly don't think she would be happy if we did split the work and money evenly, I don't think she realizes how much I contribute and how much she gets out of the marriage, she just gets fed up with doing dishes and forgets about how much I do.
01-12-2001, 02:28 AM
Perhaps it is a case of her not seeing the things you do clearly. Then again, perhaps you are not seeing the things she does clearly either.
There are many mundane things I do around the house that I know my husband has no idea I do. I cleaned out the top shelves in all the bedroom closets yesterday. I cleaned out that overflowing junk drawer in the kitchen. I also vacuumed the living room and mopped the kitchen floor. I will bet you a dollar that my husband thinks all I did yesterday was the vacuuming and the mopping.
I am sure there are many things my husband does around the house that I have no idea he does either.
Is it unfair to expect your wife to do more chore type things even if you do more maintenance type things? My feeling is that you need to do what works for the relationship, the situation and the individuals. There are things around the house that I hate doing so he does them and vice versa. There are things we both hate doing so the one who hates it less get the job. We don't keep a score sheet.
Things change however and there are times when it is no longer easy for one of us to do that job the other hates so it gets done by whomever is most suited for that job at that time.
That said, I truly believe that there are "women's jobs" and "men's jobs" around the house. There are things around the house I feel responsible for doing and would never, no matter how much I hated the job, make him do on a regular basis. I also do not expect him to make me do the "men's jobs". He carries all the heavy stuff and kills all the bugs, I cook dinner and mop the floors.
Maybe your wife is not seeing the things you do and is feeling over-burdened by things you don't see her doing.
If this is a real problem in your marriage a trip to a marriage counselor may give you the opportunity to let her know all the things you do while learning the things she feels she does in a neutral environment. While I think the 50/50 idea might be a real eye opener for her, and possibly you, I just see it as a way to add more tension to the situation. Kind of turning it into a "ha, that's not so hard, what are you complaining about" deal, just to prove a point.
A friend's husband passed away last summer and about 3 months after the funeral she said "You know, you don't think husbands do all that much but he did a lot of things I never knew he did."
Just my opinion though. I don't know you or your wife or how your marriage works.
01-12-2001, 06:24 AM
Another point to consider: if both of you are working full time (though she makes less than you) the amount of time she spends working is equal, though the income isn't.
Speaking as one who has been in a similar situation, think if this would irritate you if you were 'she':
At 5.30 you both walk through the door.
He: gets a snack, turns on TV, settles down on couch.
She: picks up loose paper and dishes from breakfast. Does quick load of dishes. Starts supper. Tidies while cooking. Sets table. Dishes food.
At this point both eat
He: goes back to couch
She: clears the table, preps lunch for the next day, continues with any other chores...or relaxes for rest of eve.
If you add kids to this *shudder* but we have none, so don't have to worry about that. Both have worked an 8 hour day, but who has a lot of their evening consumed by chores? It can make anyone cranky ;)
01-12-2001, 07:01 AM
There's nothing wrong with an arrangement whereby she does more of the housework.
You don't have such an arrangement until the two of you agree that that is how it's gonna be.
And you don't have the right to simply assume that that is how it's gonna be, no matter what.
No offense here, but if I've been digging holes and mixing concrete all day, I have no, and I repeat no interest in doing any housework when I get home. Furthermore, I don't think I should be obliged to. I'm all for equality. All for it. And I figure if my SO put the effort into her day that I put into mine, there wouldn't be any household chores left to do.
That being said, I'm glad this is not the pit. My wife is going to read this. The above paragraph constitutes a vow of celibacy, methinks.
On the other hand, if the household spouse is chasing 2 kids around all day, hole digging is nothing and I should get home and lend a hand. :D (Still love me, Dylan?)
I should not have posted.
My name is mud.
She's going to kill me.
01-12-2001, 07:45 AM
I agree with Alateriel that it is less the amount of money that you bring into the household than the amount of time you spend on household maintenance (including working hours). You could each spend a week or two keeping track of exactly how many hours you spend doing household chores. At the end of the time, compare notes. It may turn out that you contribute roughly equal amounts of effort to the maintenance of your family. Or it could turn out that one one of you is overestimating your own contribution, or underestimating the contribution of the spouse.
On the other hand, it sounds like the household chore question is just the tip of the iceburg. You've also got issues about how your home should be maintained:
she is more obsessive about cleanliness in most ways and sees the house as a mess when I see it as relatively neat money problems and, possibly, child raising problems:her kid... the kid... her kid... Personally, I think you'd benefit from a few marriage counciling, if only to help you hammer out a marriage that suits you both.
01-12-2001, 08:34 AM
I agree with Jess that it sounds like there are some underlying issues that need to be worked out. But in the meantime:
Get a cleaning lady! Granted, there will still be plenty of stuff around the house to do, but if you get someone to come in once a week to vacuum, mop the floors, etc., it will reduce the stuff that you have to argue about. Your wife can reduce her spending so that you can afford it.
Knighted Vorpal Sword
01-12-2001, 09:12 AM
I think that timewise, we just sort of divided up what needed to be done and it just gets done. The Mrs. and I both work full time (me 40 hours, she 36 hours), and this is how we split it:
me: bathroom cleaning (2 of them), trash removal, grocery carrying, cleaning dishes, putting dishes away, making sandwiches for lunches, all outdoor work, shlepping clothing down to the basement and upstairs (when clean), most of the kid bathing, half of the homework assistance, bug killing, all of the sick child cleanup (you can guess what that is), all bloody noses, and volunteer work in kid's school. I also do all the driving and kid shlepping, as Mrs. Elshpen doesn't have a license.
she: general house cleaning, cooking, laundry, lunch making (except for sandwich part), bill paying, half of of homework assistance, some kid bathing, and a great deal of PTA work in kid's school.
It's all about time, not about who makes more money. Everything gets done, even though the chores are not always divided up equally. In fact, we never really sat down and decided who would do what, except for a few things.
This is a lot different from when I grew up! My mother was sick once and I needed my diaper changed, so my father put me and a clean diaper on the bed next to my mother and she changed me. He did the dishes (and the outside work), and that was about it.
01-12-2001, 09:37 AM
Oh, holy fright! This could turn into a GD! :)
Here's my opinion and I'll tell you what my dad told me: There's no such thing as women's work, there's no such thing as men's work, there's just WORK. Everyone who lives in the house has a responsibility to contribute to its upkeep: dad, mom, kids, live-in grandparents. Everyone.
That being said, I agree with everyone that it sounds like there are underlying issues. Have you been getting enough personal time with her lately? Done anything special to let her know she's still the one? Had grandma take the kids so you could treat her like your lady love?
Also, I agree with the poster who said to write down what you do for a couple weeks. It might surprise her. Does she work outside the home? If so, has work been frustrating to her lately? Maybe she's bringing home those feelings of unappreciation and over-workedness.
A cleaning lady might be a good idea, if the subject is brought up right. Don't make it seem like you're trying to get out of housework, make it so that it's seen as a relief to her burden.
01-12-2001, 10:01 AM
I agree with other posters that it's about the time and effort you contribute, not the money you contribute. If you both get home at 5:30pm, the rest of the night should be equal work between the two of you. If she's home all day while you're working, then you would expect her to do more household work than you, but you should be helping when you get home. Don't ever use the "I make the money" defense, because it won't do anything but cause arguments.
The other added benefit is that all of the work can get done earlier if you both do it, leaving plenty of happy time together.
01-12-2001, 10:09 AM
1) you do more periodic stuff, she does more constant stuff. Therefore you get more visible 'breaks' in effort, even if the amount of effort is the same (which it might not be). It may be fair, but it doesn't feel fair to the person who is doing the endless tasks. Adjusting the expectations, making sure everyone knows what everyone else is actually doing, and more, the appreciation for the constant drag of effort, will help (counseling should be helpful for this).
2) Income has nothing to do with housework. Keep it out of the discussion. Income and spending habits are a completely separate issue, which also apparently needs to be addressed. I earn WAY more than epeepunk does (like, more than three times his salary), but that doesn't mean that my salary lets me off the hook for housework. It doesn't entitle me to anything. I don't get to clock out of the rest of the day because I clocked out of work, and I am not buying my husband's effort at the end of the day. He isn't the maid, and our money gets used between us as if we earned equal amounts. We did the same back when he earned more than twice MY salary (whee, career changes!).
I've just been working out a theory of why so many men I know feel that they are entitled to a break at the end of the day, and why the women feel the can not. It is a multi-part theory (and completely untested so far, but bear with me - and feel free to add your thoughts!). And, just so you know, I'm working on this because in our house, the problem is reversed. I am the one who does 'lots of stuff' that isn't daily housekeeping, and I am the one who doesn't see the mess as mess, and I am the one who feels resentful or guilty or shamed if I'm asked to put in more time on the dishes or the laundry or the daily grunt-work of keeping the house even generally tidy. So it isn't just men who feel this way. But I do see it as a real problem, because I can see how much time my husband puts in, when I am not working on something. I thought that maybe if I figured out where the attitude comes from, I'd be better able to solve it. So, here's my theory so far, I offer it in hopes that it helps you see something more about what is going on in your family:
A) The expectation of entitlement (I did my time, put in the money, now I get to put my feet up for the rest of the night) I beleive comes from old-style wage labor. You put in your time, you don't get many breaks (if any), you take your money, and then you are done. That's it, you are done, end, final, no more work, period. The attitude got passed on somehow, even if you aren't doing that kind of labor any more, and you have more breaks than those guys did.
Women, however, seem to work on more of a caring-for-livestock (farming) model - no matter how tired you are, or how many hours you have worked today, nobody gets a rest until the cows are fed, the chickens are in the coop, and the home is prepared for the next day's work (including cooking, cleaning up, and washing). It doesn't matter to the woman if she has done her 'time' because until the jobs are all done, she can't stop. Livestock and children (and pets, and even the home itself) do not get shut down when the 5-o'clock whistle blows. You can't just feed them, clean them, or even stimulate their little brains 'tomorrow' if you are tired of doing so today. They get sick, you lose crops, bad things happen. It can't slide, it can't wait, and if you are sick, tired, or bored silly, well, too bad. You don't get to put your feet up until everything is done. Without a lot of help kicked in from everyone, that point is never reached.
B) The 'break' at the end of the day is also a class-awareness issue left over from the 1800's - men were then (and in some cases still are) concerned with their status, and the status of the family. They aimed for the next level up, and passed on that goal to their sons, and down the line. The media model of the gentleman a century ago was a man in an arm chair, feet up, reading the paper, smoking a cigar or drinking a glass of wine, while someone else does the house work. Well, guess what. Those men had servants. The wife is now filling in for the servants. Hire a maid.
C) Level of respect is also an issue. Men run on respect, as do women. Men get more respect from doing their job well than from running their home life well, in general. And the more respect they get for their work, the harder they work. My brother offered a naval example - in the navy, the lower level staff tends to do their job until their shift is up, and then they are 'off' - but the officers and other senior staff do their work in order to get more work to do because that is how they build their reputations, their status, and their respect. There's some amazement at men who do the home-stuff spectacularly and consistently, but it is more in the 'wow, that monkey has two heads' world than in the 'you had an assignment, you did your assignment, we lauded you for your accomplishment, now we're giving you more responsibilities' world.
Women are in transition - we get respect from work, but we also get a lot of pressure to do the home stuff well. When my son gets noticed for being polite, thoughtful, and caring, and self-assured, I get told that I'm a good mom. Nobody mentions the role his dad plays, even those who know that epeepunk quit his job and stayed home for the first year of our son's life. But you can bet that if I had done that, people would bring it up as a posible reason for my child's great attitude. Women also get more than their share of the other side of that coin. If the house is a wreck when someone comes over, do they glance at the husband and wonder why he isn't pulling his share of the housework? I doubt it. So in order to keep from being treated like they're the slobs (even when it is the husband who is the slob), women do the work that the guy isn't doing. His actions come down on her head - he doesn't have to suffer any consequences for being a bum around the house.
Now, going back to my situation. I still get the pressure to be the farm wife and maid. Not from my husband (who is in teh farm-model himself, and doesn't expect a maid, just a farm wife to match him), but I get it from friends, family, and even myself. I end up mortified about the state of the house, but am still stuck in the 'but I worked all day and my commute is long and I need a break' attitude. My husband would mostly just like a house where he can find what he needs when he needs it, and which is free from general mess (I 'clean' well, but I don't 'neaten' well). I am stuck between the two positions, and am trying to find a solution that will work. How do I learn to 'see' the mess, how do I get over the sense that I'm entitled to take a break for the rest of the night, just because I worked 8 hours and drove 2 hours today (even though epeepunk did nearly the same time, at a more frustrating job)? How do I get over not liking doing the tidying, picking up, laundry, and so forth, and just do it? I do a lot of periodic tasks that my husband doesn't enjoy. But he does periodic tasks I don't enjoy, too. And he's still stuck doing the daily sh*t, because I don't see it, and I don't do it unless reminded enough to qualify as nagging (at least I've volunteered to be nagged, since I recognize that there is a problem - unfortunately, nagging helps me only a little more than it does most men, and that only because I signed on for it explicitly).
I see some lucky folks where both the parties are in the farm-work mold. Lucky them! I also know couples where both feel entitled - and either they hire help, or one of them gets forced into the other position (often after they have kids).
If counseling works for you, let me know what they said that helped. Maybe I can use it myself (it hasn't worked for me, yet... even though I can see the problem, I don't have a solution that sticks for more than a few days at a time).
01-12-2001, 10:15 AM
Badtz- My $0.02, for what it's worth, is that if you are comparing chores and dollars, you have an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. Keeping a home up and running- physically, financially, etc- is a joint effort aand I'd be willing to bet that you both contribute more than either of you suspects. Find out exactly what she thinks you need to be doing, and if it's something you can do, stop comparing how may minutes each of you spend on chores and DO IT.
01-12-2001, 10:43 AM
To address the 50/50 housework thing ...
Eek! All marriages work differently, so this might work for you and Mrs. Maru, but I would personally run screaming from this proposal. Here's why:
The 50/50 on the housework sounds like something parents would tell their bickering teenage kids, and I don't think that's appropriate for a marriage.
Also, there are plenty of chores that I do that I don't really mind doing. If Mr. Del and I started splitting things up exactly down the middle, he would end up doing half the laundry, which he hates to do, and I actually sort of like to do. It also seems a little counterproductive, because a lot of our laundry gets done when I happen to be walking by the laundry room and throw in a load, which would not happen if it were Mr. Del's assigned week or day or whatever to do the laundry.
Instead of a 50/50 split right off the bat, you might start by talking about which chores you both "don't mind" doing, and let that person keep that chore. Nobody really likes picking up the dry cleaning, but the dry cleaner is right next to Mr. Del's office, so he doesn't mind being the person who does this chore 100% of the time (excluding things like illness, or business trips).
Then I would look at the chores that are left, and talk about splitting those up in a way that makes sense to both of you. You might think this would all be obvious, but it's nice to be considerate if someone has a dumb reason that they don't like doing something. I'm terrified to go in the shed where the garbage cans are stored (don't ask), so Mr. Del always puts the cans away. This is not "fair" I suppose, but it's certainly nice and makes me happy to have such a great guy. Likewise, the smell of the cat food makes Mr. Del gag, so I always feed the cat and clean up the old smelly cat food dishes.
One thing I picked up from your post (and of course, I am making a huge assumption and please forgive me in advance if I am wildly misunderstanding you) is that you seem to be more comfortable in a situation where there are a lot of household rules about how things should be done -- who does what, and on what timetable, and how they add up at the end of the day. If your wife is not like this, if she is more of the kind of person who would prefer things to be more flexible and fluid, she might be feeling incredibly annoyed. If one of you thinks that the person unloads the dishwasher should be the person who is assigned that task, and the other thinks it should be the person who happens to walk by the kitchen when the dishwasher is finished, then both people are probably very frustrated at this point.
And one more point ... you said that you don't think she has a right to complain ... yikers! I believe in a marriage, each person always has the right to bring up an issue that is on their mind. Maybe your frustration was with the complaining part ... and I would agree, if what you were saying was that you don't think she should yell and scream about something instead of having a civilized conversation.
I think going to the marriage counselor is a great idea for you, because it sounds like you have such different expectations about this issue. It might turn out that she only expects a little extra effort from you to make the housework more managable for her, and not a huge revamping of your lifestyle. Maybe the issue is not how much housework is done, but how you communicate to each other that household help is needed/expected. Best of luck with this, I know it's not an easy thing!
01-12-2001, 10:44 AM
Wow, great post hedra! I, too, am a good "cleaner" but a horrible "neatener". Mr. Athena has a hard time dealing with this, since he gets a great amount of pleasure from seeing the house all neat and tidy. I get a great amount of pleasure from sitting on the couch and having my favorite magazines, books, snacks, and the TV guide all piled up within easy reach. We almost split up because I wanted to keep the toilet paper on the floor next to the toilet (there are no cabinets in our bathrooms) and he couldn't stand the sight of rolls of toilet paper stacked on the floor. Luckily, I thought of buying a nice basket to put it in, so we're still together. Keeping a house that caters to both individuals sense of comfort and pleasure is difficult, to say the least.
I agree with what everyone's saying, especially the part about money not counting. If you both work full time, then the housework should be divided evenly, regardless of who has the "tough" job or who makes more money. Housework is housework, and there isn't a person alive who enjoys doing it.
I also strongly feel that any household where both people are working should get a cleaning person. We have one, and I'm sure we'd fight WAY more if she didn't come and do all the hard work. Unless you're living at poverty level, the money spent on a cleaning person is money well spent. I'd never dream of not having one - life is too short as it is, and there's no way I'm going to spend my weekends cleaning toilets.
01-12-2001, 12:28 PM
I do the vast, vast, VAST majority of the work at my house, though my BF & I work the same hours, but I prefer it that way. I allow him to do some of the chores, the ones that he can do correctly, but there are some things that he is just not capable of doing the way I want them done. (He cannot correctly fold a t-shirt to save his life.) Plus he's like Athena, in that he prefers to have all his stuff out so he can find it easily. The possibility that I may not find a house strewn with his paraphenalia aesthetically appealing does not seem to cross his mind.
Anyway, even though we work the same hours & the housework is highly unevenly divided, it doesn't strike me as unfair. I'm the one who wants the house at a certain level of neatness, so it's my responsibility to maintain it at that level.
01-12-2001, 12:50 PM
Oh, BTW, epeepunk doesn't need me to do a carefully-measured 50/50 split, and that's not what I'm aiming for, either. We're aiming for neither of us feeling taken advantage of, both feeling supported, and the house in a state where I don't have to make a long string of excuses for the mess if a friend stops by unexpectedly. Expectations have shifted on both sides - he'll deal with more mess than before, and I recognize that things run more smoothly when we can find most things pretty quickly. Finding the comfort point between the two of you will take some effort, but usually both end up shifting positions, and dealing with things not being exactly the way they'd do it if they weren't together.
And you may well find that fair isn't equal. If a reasonable person thinks that she's obsessive about the cleanliness thing, then perhaps having her do the portion above the 'reasonable' line while you do more even splits up to that point would be 'fair.' That is another place where the counseling can be a big help - you get someone who can be on your side, too.
There's a correct way to fold a tee-shirt?
01-12-2001, 01:23 PM
Yes!!! & I worked at the Gap one summer, so I know it. You lay it out flat, facedown, & make 2 lengthwise folds, each about halfway between the start of the sleeve & the neck. Then you smooth the wrinkles & fold it once crosswise. You may do an additional crosswise fold if the shirt is made of a thin fabric, like a men's undershirt.
HE folds them lengthwise down the middle, then crosswise. You can't fit as many in a drawer if you fold them that way, & you're more likely to have wrinkles.
I guess this illustrates my point about how I am so obsessive that no one else will be able to understand how I want things done, so I need to do them myself.
01-12-2001, 02:35 PM
I agree with what everyone's saying, especially the part about money not counting. If you both work full time, then the housework should be divided evenly, regardless of who has the "tough" job or who makes more money.
I'm not sure I agree with this wholeheartedly. If both parties are doing similar types of work from a physical standpoint (i.e. dentist vs. realtor, computer tech vs. writer) then I can agree. However if one party is doing extremely physically demanding work (ditch digging 8 hours a day for example) and is physically exhausted by the time the work day is over and the other is doing "light work" (an office job) I think this should be accounted for in the divvying up of household chores.
01-12-2001, 03:59 PM
I think you're right, Grim Beaker. Of course, you're still talking about "effort expended" instead of "money generated." And, Stella's point about some couples needing a less obviously equitable split is also a really good one. I think this all just points up the need for counseling or arbitration of some kind in the case of the OP. The trick is finding out what works for each individual couple and Badtz and Mrs. Maru seem to need some help figuring out what is fair for them.
Not that anyone asked, but in my case, we chose to work this all out using the old style. Mr. Jess brings home the bacon and I fry it up in the pan. I've had a lot of housewife friends who whine that their husbands 'sit around and watch [them] work in the evening.' Of course, these women had spent much of their days sitting around watching TV or yakking on the phone while their husbands were at work. Then, they were stuck with a lot of work in the evenings and felt put upon because their husbands didn't want to help. I avoided this unfounded resentment by doing my work while Mr. Jess was at work. Then, I'd have the evening free -- except for making supper and doing the supper dishes and taking care of the kids when they were small enough to need alot of care. And we never considered child-care to be 'woman's work' -- Mr. Jess changed as many diapers as I did, when he was home to change them. He also bathed the kids every night, while I did the dishes. This was what worked for us, YMWV -- every couple is different. For that matter, couple's needs can and do change as situations change. For instance, I'm going to be going to school full time starting next week. Mr. Jess and the kids will be picking up some more chores around here to allow me to concentrate on my studies. Mr. Jess has offered to take over the laundry fully (Yay!), as I hate it, and he's always felt I didn't manage it as efficiently as I should. Also, the kids are now fully in charge of dishes. And, during crunch times (finals, papers due, etc.) they will all take more on as needed. In 3 years, when I've graduated and found a job, the whole dynamic will change again -- not the least of the changes will be that I'll be getting a cleaning service with my first paycheck!
To bring it back to Badtz and family -- every family finds its own solution and, if the resentment and disagreement at the Maru household has risen to a level where compromise is impossible (and it sounds like it might be there, or very nearly) there is no shame in seeking some help sorting things out.
01-12-2001, 09:38 PM
From my personal experience, what matters is not dividing the chores exactly in half, or even that both of us expend the same effort ( and money shouldn't have anything to do with it). What matters is free time.I don't start feeling taken advantage of when I spend more time doing housework (and child care)or even when I do more of the physically taxing work than my husband. What gets me annoyed ( sometimes,if it goes on long enough, almost to the point of leaving) is when he spends hours watching TV, or going bowling,playing golf, etc and I can't get an hour uninterrupted by a chore of some sort,whether it's folding laundry while watching TV ( a concept that never occurs to him), or taking one of the kids to some activity.
01-12-2001, 10:40 PM
I think that running a household leads to inevitable inequities. As others have said, there are several reasons why: it's too damned hard to figure out an exact 50/50 split; it's unfair to impose a particular standard of cleanliness or towel-folding on someone who doesn't care to the same degree; partners contribute in ways that are hard to measure (or deceptively easy to measure, such as amount of paycheck). I think making perfect chore equality a goal is a path to madness and marital discord.
However, the fact that it's bothering your SO can't be ignored. Maybe there needs to be an "even-ing out" of chores. Just as likely, however, maybe there needs to be a recognition of what both of you do, or there needs to be more appreciation expressed.
There have been some times when I've been ready to bitch about how much "more" I am doing. Most of the time, however, I am able to remember that my spouse walks the dog 4 times a day, does the trash each week, and all sorts of other things that I forget to count. What I also realize is that I tend to feel this way when I'm feeling very short on personal time (excellent post, doreen) or when I just haven't heard "Thank you" enough. I don't mind doing 95% of the cooking even though I work more than my husband as long as he makes a big enough fuss about it each night. If I can see an improvement in those two areas, I don't need to draw up a chores sheet and divide it down the middle.
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