Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Balancing Our Chores


It's always bothered me that women do more housework and childcare than men, despite the fact that they are often just as busy with professional responsibilities. When I was searching for a life partner, I knew that I truly wanted a partner--someone who would be committed to equality and fairness. 

When Matt and I first lived together before having children, we did an amazing job of dividing our chores evenly. However, once we had children, everything flew out the window. We stopped cleaning as much, and Matt took on a lot of things I used to do because I was breastfeeding all the time. 

Then I opened a school and Matt had to continue to take on extra things because I needed his support just to make it through the day. However, now that things are settling down and we are seeking more balance in our lives, I want to get back to a place where we are equally dividing our responsibilities once again. 

During our overnight date, we talked about what felt fair to us. Here's what we came up with:

Matt
  • Getting the children ready in the morning (since I have to be to work by 7am) and taking them to school
  • Making the beds
  • Taking out the trash and recycling
  • Taking out the compost
  • Maintaining the pool
  • Feeding the dog and chickens
Me
  • Picking the children up from school and getting dinner ready
  • Meal planning
  • Grocery shopping
  • Paying bills and general home management (scheduling repairs, etc.)
  • Planning events and opportunities for our family 
  • Taking care of the garden
  • Doing laundry
We decided that we would try to get a lot of stuff done together after the boys go to bed, such as:
  • Emptying the dishwasher
  • Getting Henry's lunch ready
  • Getting breakfasts ready
  • General pick-up of the house
  • Cleaning the kitchen
  • Vacuuming
  • Cleaning the walls
Our goal is to put the boys to bed at 6:30. Then I will work for one(!) hour from about 6:45-7:45. Then we will clean together for 15 minutes. If we both do it, our 15 minutes expands into a total of 30 minutes of cleaning and prep! 

As we were making our list, I kept pushing us to think about what we wanted to outsource. There was a time in my life when I felt like people needed to clean their own houses to truly be connected to life, but I'm now at a place with my children and my job where I am fine with outsourcing deep cleaning. I do plenty of cleaning on a daily and weekly basis that I feel fine paying someone else to clean it more thoroughly every couple of weeks. I also convinced Matt to let us outsource lawn care. There's not much of it with our xeriscaped yard, but it will be nice to have someone come every once in a while. 

We'll see how this routine feels to us and make adjustments as necessary!



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6 comments:

mamaschlick said...

This is really enviable! If only I could have a non-heated conversation with my spouse about equitable distribution! I guess there's some resentment and blaming in terms of who does what-hard for us to get past. I also wondered-how do you put your kids to bed so early?! We struggle to eat together, take a bath, read books and turn out the light by 8 let alone 6:30! That's amazing. Do you still have enough time with them? Any tips on such an early bedtime would be great.

mamaschlick said...

This is really enviable! If only I could have a non-heated conversation with my spouse about equitable distribution! I guess there's some resentment and blaming in terms of who does what-hard for us to get past. I also wondered-how do you put your kids to bed so early?! We struggle to eat together, take a bath, read books and turn out the light by 8 let alone 6:30! That's amazing. Do you still have enough time with them? Any tips on such an early bedtime would be great.

Penny Penobscot said...

We recently bought a roomba vacuum from Costco and it saves us so much time! I enjoy vacuuming but didn't always have time in the evenings. I'm embarrassed to say that roomba sucked up Easter m&ms that had been missed by me and our outsourced housekeeper for months! I recommend it because it's thorough and saves time.

Robyn said...

I think dividing up chores in busy households with young kids is so challenging! Our attitude is that we both work hard (either in the home or out), and so we don't get hung up on who does what--although there are some clear divisions. We both work from the time our son wakes up until about an hour after his bedtime in some combination of household duties, child care, and our jobs. Sometimes one of our work schedules requires more attention, the other person picks up the household obligations. Or the house stays messy. It feels like for us it is more about balancing the illusive "downtime" than dividing specific tasks.

LauraJoGrant said...

Love your blog, I have been following for quite some time now. I would love to learn more about your families rhythm throughout the day/ week.

I also try and put my now 3 year old son to bed around 6:30- friends and family think i am crazy but he seems to do best with an early bedtime

createdfamily said...

This is making me realize how unbalanced our distribution is, though with my husband doing far more than I around the house as I work full time with a sizable commute and he stays home. That said I still do things from your list like pay bills, plan activities, do general clean up, make sure everyone gets baths in on a semi-regular basis. ;) It's an interesting situation because if I was the at home parent I certainly wouldn't be able to do as much as he manages to accomplish while raising a busy toddler!

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