How do you divvy up housework?

Tracy is curious about how you and your partner tackle chores (and shares her division of labour)

Photo: the italian voice via flickr

I’ve got a great husband. Let me just put that out there front and centre. My mom sometimes gives me pointed looks because she sees how great he is and I think she thinks I expect too much of Sean. (She thinks I should iron his shirts, for example, which I don’t, but I do buy him those never-iron shirts at Mark’s Work Warehouse! See how we make things work?) And while I don’t think anyone deserves a medal for doing his or her fair share of housework and parenting, I do truly appreciate that duties at our house are shared pretty fairly.
Neither of us is a clean freak. That is both a good and bad thing, I suppose. No one gets mad at the other about mess, but we both end up in a “man, we better clean the house this weekend” situation fairly often. Sean was tidier before he met me  — his mother talks about him making his own bed and asking to learn how to do his own laundry at a strangely early age. (Sean also didn’t drink beer before he met me, so I’ve clearly been both a good and bad influence on him.) We’re not hoarders or anything…just don’t come and visit us unannounced, OK?
I know lots of different things impact how you run your household — mostly the personalities of you and your partner. Here’s how it works for us (more or less):

  1. Laundry: I pretty much own the laundry. Sean doesn’t like doing laundry and I don’t mind it. It smells good when it comes out of the dryer or off the line, and folding clothes means I get to sit and usually watch TV, which doesn’t feel like hard work. I also put all the clothes away. It’s best not to leave that task to Sean — I’ll just leave it at that.
  2. Bills: Sean handles the bills. I’ve been a freelancer for the last half of our life together, so it makes sense that he, with the regular paycheque, pays the bills.
  3. Cooking: I do all the cooking. Not because I like it, but because I’m the one who is here when food needs to be prepared. Sean never complains that I’m not a great cook and has even trained our children to say, “Thanks for making a yummy dinner, Mommy.” Bless him.
  4. Outdoors: Sean owns the great outdoors. He cuts the lawn. He takes out the garbage and recycling. He shovels snow (though I shovel during the day when I’m here). We both share in the gardening, but he definitely gets that “the garden must be weeded” feeling much more urgently than I do.
  5. Dishes: We share dish duty, though Sean always does after-dinner clean-up, which I appreciate. Sometimes if we’re having a rough day with the girls, we’ll fight over who gets to do the after-dinner dishes.
  6. Tidy-up. Sean just looks at the clutter in this “I have no idea where any of this goes” way, so that is me. However, Sean is awesome at tackling things like a massive re-org of the basement/playroom, which sometimes feels too overwhelming to me.
  7. Sweeping/mopping: Mostly me (this is something Sean really doesn’t like doing).
  8. Groceries: Sean does the majority of our grocery shopping. Many people think this is odd, but my dad always did the grocery shopping as I was growing up, so it seems very normal to me. I usually make the list, he recruits a kid, and off they go.
  9. Bathrooms: Sean used to take this on because this has historically been my most-hated household chore. But I find we’re sharing this more these days.
  10. Cleaning the fish tank: All Sean. Because it’s disgusting, and as I said at the beginning, I have a great husband.

I’m curious how you and your partner divide up household responsibilities. Do you feel it’s a fair division? And how many of you hire a house cleaner?

Photo by the italian voice via Flickr

Stay in touch

Subscribe to Today's Parent's daily newsletter for our best parenting news, tips, essays and recipes.