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Blogging Boomers Carnival #216

Whose Job Is That?

Most couples have an unspoken agreement about how they do things in their relationship.  This agreement has probably been in place since the beginning of the relationship and it covers who does what in the home - who cooks, who cleans, who takes out the trash, who cleans the car, who cuts the grass, who deals with the finances, etc. 

In more traditional, heterosexual relationships, much of the division of household labour will be along gender-related lines – in other words, 'his' and 'her' jobs.  He takes out the garbage and washes the car.  She does the cooking and the laundry.  He fills the gas or petrol tank.  She fills the dishwasher.

In other relationships, partners gravitate towards the jobs and chores that they're happy or best-qualified to do.  For example, one partner may have very little interest in cooking.  They can't see the point or pleasure in spending hours in a hot, steamy kitchen producing something that'll be devoured in just a few minutes.  For their partner, however, cooking could be a chance to be creative or an act of love.  In this case, it's each to his or her own, and everyone's happy.

Often the way that chores and household tasks are divided up just makes sense for the household - for example, if one partner works part-time and the other works long hours and has a hefty commute on top, it's probably only fair that the part-timer does more around the home.  Sometimes, though, the 'division of labour' can be a bit lopsided, with one person doing all the heavy lifting as far as housework is concerned and their partner managing to coast along and dodge doing their fair share - often for years at a time.

Retirement - when both partners have an equal amount of free time - is the ideal opportunity to look at 'who does what' in the home and, if necessary, to start to reassign jobs, either on a more equitable basis or just according to personal preference and values. 

It's often a good idea to draw up a master list of jobs to be done around the home and then have each partner choose the jobs from the list that they have a personal preference/aptitude for.  You can then share the rest out on an 'I'll do it one week, you do it the next' basis.  An old-fashioned, weekly jobs rota - the type that you had for the kids when they were growing up - makes it clear who should be doing what.

After all, no-one likes doing jobs when they could be doing something more interesting or exciting instead, but at the same time, most of us like our homes to be clean and our kitchen cupboards to be full.  And having constant arguments about whose turn it is to cook that evening just wears both parties - and their relationship - down.

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Bob Lowry

My wife and I have used a simple system for most of our 35 years together. We have divided the basic house cleaning chores in half. Every two weeks we swap lists. That way no one gets stuck with a particular chore he or she dislikes or isn't very good at.

At dinner time one person cooks and the other cleans up. Again, we swap roles on a regular basis.

Finally, I have done my own laundry for virtually my entire married life. In talking to friends I gather that is a bit unusual for a man, but I'm so used to it by now, it just seems normal.

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