Most of us don’t enjoy doing household chores, but we realize that this is a necessary part of life in order to maintain a clean home. Of course, we each have some tasks that we enjoy more than others, so it can be helpful to divide up the household duties with your spouse or partner. Although we as a society no longer follow the rigid gender roles of the past, the housework still needs to get done. Here’s how to split it up without splitting up with your significant other.
Start by Assigning Your Favorites
If you love doing laundry (something about the smell fresh out of the dryer… mmmm) and your partner enjoys the rhythmic, soothing motion of vacuuming, then, by all means, each of you take responsibility for those tasks. Keeping the house clean shouldn’t be something that you dread, so try to assign each partner the tasks that they enjoy most, or at least hate less than others. You may be surprised to find that your partner enjoys different chores than you do, making it easier to divide up responsibilities.
Negotiate Over the Hated Chores
Once you have each chosen the tasks you don’t mind doing, it’s time to allocate those chores that no one wants to do, like scrubbing the toilets or clearing all the hair out of the shower drain. Some tasks may require more time and effort than others, so be sure to take this into account when assigning the remaining tasks. If one partner has to spend two hours completing their chores while the other needs only 15 minutes, it is a recipe for an argument. Try to keep the workload as even as possible.
Take into Account Other Work
That being said, the overall balance of work needs to be as equitable as possible. For example, if one partner is the primary breadwinner, working 60 hours a week while the other partner works only part-time, it makes sense that the part-time worker should take on more household responsibilities. Keep in mind, too, that not all work is paid. If you have children, for example, a stay-at-home parent is doing just as much “work” as the employed partner, even if they are not getting paid for that job. This should be factored in when assigning chores.
Don’t be too rigid about the chores once they have been assigned. You may need to switch things up from time to time, or one partner may want to step in to help out the other partner during difficult or stressful times. The point is to open up a dialogue with your partner so that you both feel as though you are being treated fairly and that one of you isn’t taking on the entire burden of the housework.