Hiswork, Herswork, Housework

This morning, as I mentally started my to-do list while sipping coffee in bed (yes, this is the big luxury of my maternity leave: my husband brings me coffee in bed so I can fuel up before my feet even hit the floor…swoon) I heard a tease on NBC’s “Today” show about the changing perception of household chores in reality and in the media.

The story went on to show a series of commercials that show men doing things around the house that the anchors deemed stereotypically “female.” Like feeding the kids:

(Ahhhh the Cheerios bandit. That commercial warms my heart, but before this morning, I never thought of it as a marketing scheme. Still don’t, really.)

Or nursing the kids to health:

“Today” also talked about the so-called “chore wars,” and a new study that shows that couples that evenly split their household duties are happier.


I grew up with two working parents and they both pitched in when it came to chores. Mom would clean the dishes on Monday, but Dad would do them on Tuesday. Dad vacuumed and dusted while Mom did the laundry. Or vice versa. (Truth be told, nobody in our house liked any of the chores, so they all sucked. As an adult, I get a perverse satisfaction from cleaning counters. I have no idea why I find it so soothing.)

So in my mind, there was never any question about how it would be when I shared space with my own significant other. Luckily for me, I never had to fight very hard — we clean up after our own messes and split the other stuff.

It’s not always equal — I only recently learned to do laundry correctly and I still can’t stand taking out the trash. Lucas prefers not to organize (papers, mail sorting, stacks of clutter). Sometimes I’ll have time during the week to sweep, clean bathrooms and cook but he’ll be slammed with work. Other times, I find myself booked every night of the week and he’ll take over the jobs.

These days, I feed the kid and he changes diapers. I take middle-of-the-night crying and he kicks me out of the house on weekends so I get a break. It’s give and take, like everything else. I make the shopping list, but he grocery shops.

Don’t get me wrong…I don’t live in Fantasyland. We argue and bicker over messes sometimes, and probably do fall into stereotypical roles. In general, he cleans the air conditioning vents, mows the lawn and pays our bills (from our joint account). I…well, I don’t actually do as much as he does. Oops.

How do you split chores in your house? What is your favorite/least favorite thing on the to-do list?

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  1. says

    Ha, that last comment at the end is awesome. I agree with you and found this post very intriguing! Typically, we split the chores… but since we moved I am now am home a lot more and he works a lot more, so I do majority of the work. It makes sense. I, however, will always refuse to take out the trash. Why is that chore so bad? lol

  2. says

    I LOVE CLEANING COUNTERS! That, and swiffering the floor. I live solo, so all the chores are up to me, but I can always convince myself to do those two things. Actually picking up clutter around the house, mopping the floor, and scrubbing the bathtub, however, are a different story.

  3. Sarah says

    Hubby cleans the litter boxes, takes out the trash, does the yardwork as his “main” chores. He also coooks more often than not – he’s better at it.

    I do the dishes, clean/wipe down the house. and until i started grad school i strictly grocery shopped, vaccumed/swiffered and did Laundry. I also take care of bill payment/keeping an eye on money flow.

    He usually picks up the slack if i’m busy w/ school so he’s done the grocery shopping, done a whole weeks of laundry and vaccumed.

    He won’t clean though. needless to say our house hasn’t really had a good cleaning in a while. Once I finish my final, I plan to do a deep cleaning before we go on vacation.

    Sometimes I plan a gathering of people to come over just to make him actually vaccum and clean the house – shhh!! don’t tell him I told you 😉

  4. says

    Boyfriend cooks and cleans up the kitchen after himself. He will even do laundry. I do everything else — including folding the laundry. It’s our habit and it works for us. I generally find peace when cleaning/organizing.

  5. says

    Hubby & I split the chores pretty evenly, but he has been home more than I have the past few months, so he picks up a lot of the stuff I don’t have time to do.

  6. says

    This is a great topic. Since my husband almost always gets up to the kids in the morning and also takes my older kid to school before going to work I always feel like he does way more than me. I hope I thank him enough for it!!!

  7. says

    I write the checks and pay the bills; my husband works outside of the home. We’re still trying for children. We both pitch in for dishes and laundry and we cook meals together. I love it!

  8. says

    I’m in charge of everything kitchen (shopping, planning, cooking, cleaning). He’s in charge of everything in the garage (car maintenance and repiars) and outside (yardwork). He does his own laundry and usually does mine too. He will vacuum and clean toilets, but I’m the only one that dusts and mops.

  9. says

    I wish I could wholeheartedly agree but I do most of the chores around here- both pre & post baby. I dont like the marketing “angle” but I do hope seeing things like that encourages people not to assume a certain role or duty based on gender.

  10. stacy says

    the boyfriend does his own laundry and cleans up his mess, occasionally cleans the bathroom and cooks once a week. i do most of the cooking, grocery shopping, deep cleaning, and yard work. it feels unbalanced to me and we are new to living together so we’re still figuring out what works for us.

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