Division of Labor


In general, I feel like my family has a system for division of household labor worked out pretty well. My husband and I have fairly defined arenas of responsibility within the home and family.

After 10 years of marriage and 6 years of parenting, we are living comfortably in a place where we know who is in charge of the shopping, the cleaning, the car maintenance, the cooking, etc. Having a clean delineation of who's in charge of what helps to keep us functioning efficiently and without too many fights. It's probably been a couple of years since I've gotten upset with my husband over a household issue. Honestly.

To me, this seems like the epitome of what a marriage should be: our expectations of each other are clear and we've found a set of expectations that keep everyone happy. But I think that especially in regards to keeping the house running, it can be difficult to get to that place.

So how can you get to that place?

I don't have all of the answers, but here's a few ways that we approach the topic.

-{Do what makes sense, do what you enjoy, 
find a way to make it work}-

I will be honest, I don't really enjoy cooking. But I am home with my kids all day, so to me it makes sense to be the one to physically be in charge of getting dinner on the table during the week. I don't really like it, but I do it as a labor of love for my family. As a trade off, my husband generally cooks on the weekends, and I usually plan at least one super easy throw together meal a week that hardly qualifies as cooking at all.

A good friend of mine also stays home with her kids, and also hates cooking- while her hubby really enjoys it. So their way of making it work is for her to get a kid friendly dinner on the table early, and then her husband cooks up something more gourmet for them as a late dinner after the kids go to bed.

In both situations, we're handling the issue of getting dinner on the table every night in a way that makes sense and lets both partners do what they enjoy, (or occasionally avoid what they don't enjoy.. although nobody enjoys doing the dishes!)

-{Divide and Conquer}-

This is my favorite way to handle the many directions that life tends to pull us. As important as family time is, if we can get it all done in half the time I am completely in favor of splitting up temporarily. Whether that means each parent gets one kid, or one parent gets both kids while the other starts checking off items on a long to do list, sometimes it's just easier to divvy up the work!

-{Say what you mean}-

I'm not a fan of passive aggressiveness comments and I've learned that spouses don't necessarily pick up "hints" in the same way that we think they will. Leaving a basket of laundry next to the stairs does not ensure that anything different will actually happen with the laundry. Leaving a basket of laundry on top of your husband's pillow will not guarantee that he puts it away. At least not in my house.

So my choices are to put away his laundry (which is generally what I'll do because laundry falls into our agreed upon division of labor), or say flat out, "Honey, I need to work on xyz, would you please put your laundry away."

It seems simple when I type it out, but how often do we hope that maybe this time they will pick up the hint, or sigh loudly and slam drawers as we complain about how much laundry is piling up all over the house?

So there you have it: do what makes sense, divide and conquer, don't be passive agresssive.
How do you handle division of labor in your house and avoid fights on this easy to fight about topic?

1 comment:

  1. It Does seem simple to assume that me leaving his dirty unders on his pillow will explain to him that I do not appreciate him leaving them on the floor Next To The Laundry Basket, but you are right, it is far more effective to say 'Look sweetheart, everytime you leave a pair on the floor, I am going to throw them out. One day, you will either learn to pick them up yourself, or you will learn to like going commando' ;)



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