Does it count as a chore if only one person cares if it gets done?

Inspired by this thread.

If you want to cook while your partner is happy eating take-out, does cooking count as something you’re contributing to the upkeep of the household? Or if your partner sweeps and dusts daily while you’d be fine doing it weekly, does that extra time spent cleaning count as regards the upkeep of the household?

I’m curious because my BF thinks I’m OCD because I’m too clean (in theory, not practice. I’ll let the dishes pile up or not change the litter box as frequently as I’d like, but when I clean, I clean. And so I get annoyed that he’ll straighten up the living room but not sweep, dust, mop or vacuum the cat hair off the furniture)

That depends really - Can you afford to eat take-away every night? Is it properly prepared meals from somewhere or heart attack inducing Maccy Ds? et cetera…

There’s no straight answer to this, and its the same with the cleaning issue. We all have different personal tolerances for things, different boredom thresholds for certain tasks, and our own peculiar nuances that need to be catered for - there’s no ISO standard for room cleanliness, only a compromise between two (or more) people who are are forced to inhabit the same space.

So basically you’re a freak for wanting things so clean, and he’s a freak for wanting to eat takeaway every night. Don’t worry though, you’re in good company - because we’re all freaks.

There’s always going to be stuff you think needs doing that he doesn’t and things that he feels are important which you don’t. The trick is identifying them and getting them out in the open quick enough so that they don’t turn into some kind of simmering unspoken dark undertone that in years to come leads to you doing him in with a bread knife in a dust-related beserker fit thats been brewing for almost half a century.

Once its out in the open, standards that are a compromise between both parties can be agreed and everyone wins. Maybe take-aways at weekends are the way to go, for example, when lazy time should be preserved and food should be cooked during the week to keep costs (and weight!) down. Maybe a quick cleanup is fine once a week with a full dusting only necessary once a month. Maybe he agrees to your definition of room cleanliness and in return you agree to one of his standards on something else in return.

The key is that whatever is agreed must be a compromise (or trade) that both party’s are happy with (or can at least tolerate). That way both sides know what is minimally acceptable and arguments can be avoided. On the flip-side, it also provides a handy pointer as to what activities can be used for bonus points or as get out of jail free cards with the other person.

The hard part, of course, is finding compromises everyone agrees on or in some cases even convincing some people that compromise is actually necessary. It constantly amazes me that some people, despite being reasonable and open-minded in all other areas, have a completely unshakeable belief that their definition of what counts for household standards is absolutely and totally correct. Period.

My gut tells me that you’re not one of those people though, and with any luck your lad isn’t one either. Besides, its always worth remembering that you do have one powerfully persuasive argument for compromise if he is like that - by some magical freakiness of nature, a girl’s inny bits are a very warm and pleasant fit for a boy’s outy bits. Given how much time we boys spend trying to find interesting and enjoyable places to put said outy bits (or at least thinking about it), its hardly surprising really that we’re generally prone to compromising on things quick-sharp when our access to said inny bits is placed in jeopardy. :wink:

Slightly off-topic. An interesting (and lighthearted) way of tracking chores is Chore Wars - which lets you set up jobs as RPG type quests with XP and everything. Discussing how much XP a task should carry can also be an interesting way of gauging how difficult/boring people regard different tasks, which can help if you’re looking to trade some standards rather than compromise.

It also includes the ability to set up “special items” which have a percentage chance (which you can set) of dropping when the activity is carried out.

One of the lasses i work with here cunningly took advantage of this in order to get her husband off his arse to do the weekly vacuuming - she set up a “blowjob” item that had a 1/10 chance of dropping whenever he completed the weekly vacuum.

Says her house has never been cleaner. :smiley:

I think if it only bothers one person than they just volunteered to do that particular “chore” for the forseeable future. If I don’t have a problem with dust building up everywhere but it bothers you then it is time for you to grab the swiffer and get dusting! If you don’t care if we eat Pizza Hut every night for the rest of our lives but it is important to me to cook at home every day then I should belly up to the stove and get cooking. I still benefit from your dusting even though I don’t care either way and you benefit from my cooking even though you don’t care. Now if a situation popped up like in the other thread where one person was freaking out about the arrangement and felt like because I enjoyed cooking I wasn’t contributing to the household I would start cooking for one and leaving a box of crackers on the counter to see just how long they truly felt like I wasn’t contributing, but that is beside the point of this thread.

Generally speaking though if I don’t feel like something needs to be done I will never consider it a “chore” just the same as I would expect my roommate/spouse probably would feel the same way about things they feel are unnecessary.

I think it’s strongly dependent upon your personal tolerances as well. As noted earlier, what’s acceptable to you may not be acceptable to someone else and vice versa.

Finances also need to be considered - if you don’t have enough money to go out or order in every single night, which can be quite expensive after a while, then you are definitely contributing to the household if you’re mitigating expenses by cooking in. If you both have disposable income, though, and no one cares, then it’s more of a gray area.

Additionally, who else is involved? Are there kids in the house as well? If so, then I would say that cooking, even if no one appreciates it, is definitely part of household upkeep because kids, especially young children, can’t be expected to make the same educated choices about meals that older teenages and adults would be expected to make.

Cleaning is also an area where the term “reasonable” is a subjective one. Some people consider it reasonable to vacuum more than once a day. I think it’s reasonable to vacuum once a week or two.

My bottom line is that if it’s just clutter, not filth and I can get across a room without stepping on anything or having to shove it aside and can still find what I need easily, my house is reasonably clean. If I’m so maniacal about cleaning that it’s significantly taking away from my family time, I need to reassess what’s reasonable or re-evaluate what I’m doing that makes things so messy.

Well…there’s lots of stuff that “should” be done that don’t get done as often as it should, but it’s still a “chore” that’s out there to be done. Like dusting ceiling fans and chair rails. I “should” do it maybe monthly? weekly? But it actually gets done when I’m feeling really energetic. And Himself agrees it should be done more often, but does he jump up and do it? Noooooo! :stuck_out_tongue:

Interesting question. As I mentioned in the other thread, I care more than my husband about certain things, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care at all. It would be hard to imagine someone who thought the bathroom never needed to be cleaned or the grass never needed to be mowed. It starts to bother me before it starts to bother him, so I’m usually the one who takes care of it. I’m more visually oriented than he is, and having a clean, well-ordered home makes me feel good. He feels that living in cleanliness is mildly preferable to living in squalor, and makes it clear that he appreciates what I do, since we both benefit from it.

This is kind of the relationship I have with my husband. However, cluttered/dirty spaces do bother him, but he’s not really willing to actually do anything about it. I feel really satisfied when I clean and so does he, but getting him motivated enough to do more than complain can be tough. I think it has something to do with him having a maid until he left home for college. He’ll help me if I ask, but he gets annoyed if I pester. But if I don’t pester, it doesn’t get done. So sometimes it’s easier to do the job myself so I don’t have to deal with “Do I have to do it right now??”

One thing I’ve done to mitigate this is hire a cleaning service to come in once a month. I usually get the cleaning bug in between their visits, so the house is cleaned relatively thoroughly about every two weeks. But we’re forced to organize really well at least once a month because the cleaning service can’t clean if there’s crap all over the place. Plus it’s harder for my husband to ask a third party if he has to do it now than it is for him to ask me. It sometimes means a lot of work once a month if I haven’t had time to clean in the middle, but even though we’re doing a lot of the work, it’s worth it to come home to a clean house.