Does it count as a chore if you enjoy it?

My wife was complaining that she does most of the work around the house. I was baffled, because not only do I believe that I’m doing my fair share, I’m pretty convinced that I do considerably more.

So we compared notes, and it turns out that she doesn’t count my cooking time or my grocery shopping time, because I enjoy those. Her argument is that they are hobbies rather than chores. I say that if they are necessary, they are chores, regardless of enjoyment.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t consider cooking a necessity, and claims that she would be perfectly happy eating crackers for dinner.

So, should I threaten to cook for one from now one, on the premise that it’s just a hobby, or is there some validity to her statement.

It is work that has to be done. It counts. If you stopped doing it, one assumes she would have to - and it would be work for her. It counts.

You and your wife aren’t using the same definition of “chore”. Your wife seems to be using the word more as a metaphore as in “balancing the checkbook every month can be a real chore”. You are using it in the straightforward sense of a duty or task.

Wouldn’t that be a textbook definition of “double standard” if she applies different definitions to tasks based on who is assigned to them? If she calls cooking a chore, then it’s a chore no matter who does it.

That being said, I’ve always said that I don’t personally consider cooking a chore because I enjoy it. Some former partners have told me that we should eat out or eat prepared/frozen food more often because they don’t want me to be burdened with the chore of cooking and cleaning up afterwards. In other words, if I left the cooking responsibilities up to the other person, we’d be eating Mama Celeste pizzas and chinese take-out a lot more often.

First you have to define what a chore is. Better yet, thow out the word chore and use something with less of a negative connotation attached to it, like “task” or “duty”. These should be defined as things that need to be done around the house for the common good of the relationship, whether pleasant or not.

If you have five jobs that you like, and she has three that she hates (say) then I’d say you’re ahead of the game, even if you’re doing more actual stuff and she may have a point (not “they don’t count AT ALL” kind of point, but a bit of a point)

Are there any jobs she likes but you hate?

This is part of the problem. She claims that cooking is unnecessary, and therefore a hobby. She claims (though I have my doubts because she brags about my cooking to people) that she would be happy eating crackers and Trader Joe’s stuff every night.

Not really. She does all of the bills because the few times I’ve done it, it hasn’t ended well. But she doesn’t enjoy it.

arguing about definition is pointless. ask her to list everything she considers a chore and you do the same. then starting divvying the list.

now you could,

a) exclude cooking and shopping (since you like it so much) and end up doing more stuff, or;
b) include cooking and shopping as a chore so you’ll do ‘less’ work. :wink:

Your best bet is not to try to be even about it.
I know of no marriage that’s even. In some cases, like yours, both think they do more, In some the one with the most hours in their outside job claims that’s enough, and in the rest it’s obvious who does more but they don’t fuss about it.

In my house the dishwasher was a struggle for years until I just said “Enough. It’s mine and I will do everything relating to filling it and deciding where things go and when it is full enough to run and when it is ready to be unloaded again.” That was years ago and I’m sure the “extra work” has not added up to much in real stopwatch time. And it’s saved much more in real discussion about a topic I used to hate.

The way to all compromise is the standard one in those puzzle books:
You put all the chores in a list and each of you secretely decides where to draw a line through the list where you think it’s even, and you would take either half.
When you compare notes, the lines will not be in the same place, but by drawing a third line between them you will have two halves where you both are better off than your own line provided you.

or do the cake method. have one of you divide the list and the other choose which half to do.

This reminds me of the Zen koan, deep and profound:

“If a man speaks in the forest, and no woman is there to hear him, is he still wrong?”

If your marriage is anything like mine, you lost at “my wife was complaining”.

That would end with her picking cooking resulting in us eating crackers every night, and me picking bills which would result in us never paying our mortgage!

Ever since I set up bill paying automatically through online banking, it has been a SNAP. I have all the set amount bills (insurance, rent, cell phone) set to autopay on a specific date - I don’t have to do anything. All my other bills come paperless via email - I just go to online bill payer and pay them the day they hit my inbox (all of my merchants are pre-set, all I have to do is type in the right amount for each one).

I used to HATE bill paying. All the opening of envelopes and writing checks and then trying to find stamps and trying to get to a mailbox, it was one of my least favorite, most dreaded chores. It’s like a weight has been lifted, I’m never late and it’s so painless.

It sounds to me as though, in addition to the question stated in the thread title, we also have another, possibly bigger question:

Does it count as a chore if only one person cares whether it gets done or not?

I agree that you should suggest stop doing your “hobbies” with her in mind. Buy food for yourself, and cook for yourself.

Or dump her – she seems kind of crazy to me.

I’m sorry, but that’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s great that you enjoy cooking (I do too), but preparing nourishing, healthy meals is an important chore. Eating pre-packaged crap all the time means that your budget and your health take a hit.

Ask her to think ahead a little bit. If she insists that “it doesn’t count if you enjoy it,” what is she encouraging you to do?

Answer: She’s encouraging you to stop talking to her about what you do and don’t enjoy doing, so that you can get “chore credit” for things you enjoy that she doesn’t know you enjoy. I submit that this is a bad policy decision on her part.

Somehow I don’t view this issue as a deal breaker.

Sounds like there is a deeper layer here: it seems that she resents that she has to do things she doesn’t enjoy, and that she feels it’s [whine] Not Fair! [/whine] that you enjoy the tasks you do. She is complaining not about a disparity in effort, but in a disparity of fun vs. aggravation.

Forgive me, but this seems immature to me. However, opinions of strangers on the Internet is not going to help resolve this. There are tasks to be done. I suggest you both find some way to evaluate them that you both can agree on. This is the tricky part. I think it should be relatively objective, in terms of effort (either financial cost or time required) but the relative gegree of "fun"of a task may have to be factored in; then split them up in a manner that roughly balances out according to that.

If she insists that shopping and cooking are hobbies of yours and not tasks for the common good of the household, then she should not expect to benefit from them, and you should do these exclusively for yourself. However, that would imply that you do them only during your “personal” time, rather than when you are expected to do household work.

FWIW, I know a few men whose wifes resent the time they spend doing house maintenance things like lawn mowing and repairs, because they enjoy it. Often they try to deduct time doing these chores from time that the husbands would like to use for fun “guy-type” entertainment, like watching a game, or going our with friends. Talk about not being appreciated.

This is intriguing, and I am starting a seperate thread in which to discuss it so as not to hijack this one.

As to the OP, I also enjoy cookng, but definitely would consider it a chore. When I am not exactly in the mood to cook (as I’m sure must happen to you occasionally to) I still do so because I don’t want crackers for dinner. And cleaning up the kitchen after cooking is definitely not fun, if you’re responsible for that too.

Maybe sit down and figure out approximately how much you’re saving by cooking vs. take-out and TV dinners (which should be considerable), then show your wife all the extra money she has to spend on shoes or “fun” items that she wouldn’t normally have.

Advice from a guy with an ex:

  1. the cooking & shopping is truly a hobby. Just admit it.
    My hobby is hardware shopping and Mr. Fixit tinkering, and it never counted either.
  2. just get used to the fact that you do less. If you fight for credit you can’t win (see #1)
    To paraphrase David Letterman: “Marriage is an exhibition, not a competition; no wagering.”