Monday, July 20, 2020

Division of Labor

Hey hey! Happy Monday! This post has been brewing in my mind for awhile and then I heard an episode on this topic on The Girl Next Door podcast and it motivated me to actually write it!

Division of labor is something Phil and I have given a lot of thought to, especially since Paul was born. Or maybe it's more accurate to say it's something I've given a lot of thought to and have forced him to think about! Ha! A lot has changed since Paul was born, and that is a good thing. There is so much research out there about the uneven distribution of work in households. If that is ok with both partners, then the uneven distribution is fine. But if it's NOT ok, something needs to change or resentment will build - at least in my experience. Ha. But unless you talk about that resentment/frustration, nothing will change. It turns out your partner can't read your mind! Ha!

Here is how we split things, broken up by category. It's about as equitable as we can get, I think. I'm sure it will ebb and flow as our kids get older, but this system is working pretty well!

Kid related:
- Phil and I typically split drop-off and pick-up duties. When we were working in our offices, Phil did drop off and I did pick up. Now he honestly does way more of both because he goes into the office 3-4 days/week (it's very safe for him to do as he has his own office and very few people are coming in). When we both were working in the office, I got Paul ready every day as I would shower first and give him breakfast while I got ready for the day. Now Phil gets him ready nearly every morning.

- I schedule all doctor/dentist appointments, which is a lot since he sees a pediatrician, ENT, and urologist. I'm hoping we can drop the urologist appointments after his next check up when he turns 3. I tend to take him to most appointments but if I am busy at work, Phil will take him.

- We used to take turns doing bedtime, but in the summer Paul needs a bath every day. He comes home super sticky/sweaty from all the running around at daycare and he smells like sunscreen. So I do bath every night and then Phil does bedtime.

- Paul has a strong preference for mama, so sometimes that limits how much we can split duties. There are times when Paul will say, "no, mama do it," especially during mealtimes and while we could push back on that, it can result on him throwing a handful of food in frustration so we usually just give in and I help him... This will hopefully/probably change when the 2nd baby arrives.

- In general, though, I need to acknowledge that Phil is doing even more than usual right now because I have been so exhausted during this pregnancy and have had a number of flares. When I get flares, they tend to impact my hand joints so it really limits what I can do. And I also have been napping when Paul naps so Phil often gets him up from his nap and gets him his snack. 

- This will get a turned upside down again when baby #2 arrives. I'll be on maternity leave until mid-April so I will do all the night time wakes up since I can nap when baby naps. But once I'm back at work, if I'm not breast feeding we will split the night wake ups like we did with Paul.

Home/maintenance related:
- Phil mows the lawn, trims shrubs, etc. I actually don't even know how to turn on our lawn mower! But this is a task he enjoys doing. He also handles bigger projects like putting down mulch. In the winter, he does all the snow blowing and most of the shoveling. I will occasionally offer to shovel the sidewalks/steps to get a workout in but he does this 90% of the time.

- He handles all the other home maintenance stuff like scheduling the furnace tune-ups, replacing air filters, replacing light bulbs, etc.

Food/Meal related:
- This is the category that has changed the most since having Paul. I used to do the meal planning, grocery shopping and all the cooking. Now we sit down together mid-week to look at the ads for our local store and Aldi and discuss meals. I find meal planning to be fatiguing at times and while he was always happy with what I picked, having his input/suggestions really helps. Then we update the grocery list on our shared note on the iPhone and he does the grocery shopping on Saturday morning. I do nearly all of the cooking except he does the grilling and will make scrambled eggs when we have that for weekend brunch.

Laundry/cleaning related:
- Last August, Phil agreed to hire a house cleaning company and this has been a big game changer for me. We used to split the house cleaning but I hated doing it. We were gone 50+ hours/week between work and commuting and the last thing I wanted to do on my weekends when Paul was napping was clean. I realize that we are incredibly lucky to be able to hire this out, but it's been very good for our marriage/my happiness. Our cleaners come every other week and do an amazing job. They get the house cleaner than I ever could. They have a crew of 4+ people so are only here for about an hour. So I hide out in our upstairs office during that time. We do not do much cleaning in between to be honest. We'll wipe up counters and use our dust buster to vacuum up crumbs but that's about it.

- I usually start the loads of laundry, except we try to share the chore of starting Paul's diapers because that is the grossest job! Ha! We each fold our own clothes and I fold Paul's clothes.

- Phil manages our finances. He keeps an eye on the cash balance in our checking account and will move money in if he knows of an upcoming expense, like a tax payment. He also takes care of all of the differently insurance policies.

- We have a quarterly financial review where we update the balances of all of our various investment accounts, etc, and talk about our investing plans. We are each responsible for managing our own 401k, IRA, etc.

If you have a partner, tell me about your division of labor! I always find others' approaches to this fascinating. Are there any pain points? For us, pain points are usually related to caring for Paul but we have tried to make that as equitable as possible. Now if he would let daddy do more, we'd be in an even better spot!


Carolina John said...

This is a fantastic idea for a post! For us, with Kelley being a SAHM for the last 15 years, she does all of the house stuff. I make all of the money, and she spends it. That sounds funny, but I'm totally fine with it. She tracks the bank balance, pays the bills, and tells me when we're running low and I need to wait to buy the new tool, lumber, running shoes, whatever that I want. It works out really well for us, but the finance part is the only real contention or non-normal expectation.

Abby said...

This is a really cool post and I also really enjoy hearing how different couples divide labor.

Ours have been a little weird since COVID with me working from home.

-I do mostly all the grocery shopping/meal prepping/cooking.
-I do most of the house cleaning. Ryan will help sweep a few times a week (we have to sweep every day since we have all wood floors, and our dog sheds like crazy).
-I do all the laundry. He hardly knows how to operate our washing machine :D
-Ryan does all the home maintenance stuff, but I often have had to do that when we had long travel trips.
-Ryan does most of the pool cleaning and the major vacuuming - but I will check the chemicals weekly and make sure we have enough chlorine.
-We split the chicken chores - as we clean the coop daily, retrieve eggs, and have to refill food and water at least weekly. Since I got pregnant I stopped cleaning the coop, however.
-Ryan does a lot of the big garden work, but I help out.
-Ryan handles 100% of our finances. But we do a check-in about quarterly on investments etc.
-We don't have lawn or snow removal here in AZ - but we do have weeds and tree trimming, and we usually work together on that every few months.
-I have nooo clue how we will split child duties! Haha!

Gracie said...

Such an important conversation for families to have! We try to have a good balance. I do all the meal planning, shopping, cooking, and cleaning - but we are both very neat and have a housekeeper who comes twice a month, so that part is minimal upkeep. He does the garbage. I do baby drop off (it's at my work!), he does all baby doctor's appointments. He does all the landscape maintenance for our tiny yard, and I do all the indoor plants (I have...24 houseplants. It's a problem!). I do kitchen clean up and dishes. He does finances. I do the laundry. He does home maintenance, like changing light bulbs or even calling a plummer. It works out pretty well!

Stephany said...

I just listened to this podcast episode - so interesting for me to listen to as a single person who doesn't have to worry about this! All the household labor falls to me, womp womp, and it would be nice to have someone to share cleaning/meal planning duties with. Or just someone to clean the litter boxes every now and then, ha. One of these days! Maybe. ;)

Lindsay C said...

Hey Lisa - I am in the Minneapolis area too ... I would LOVE a recommendation on a house cleaning company in the area that someone actually likes and feels does a thorough job! I live alone BUT I prefer to not spend hours a week deep cleaning (I prefer to tidy and spot clean). Also, even though I am not married I am having to prioritize which things I feel I need to do and which things I should pay others to. :)
p.s. I hope you are loving up the cooler / less humid weather the past two days!

Sam @ Eye to Wonder said...

I just read a book that talks all about division of labor called Fair Play. The basic premise is to have regular check-ins about housework and revisit who is holding which "card" (e.g. weekday dinners, laundry, garbage, etc) so that it's equitable and you don't just default to one person doing things. We've been feeling a little out of whack with housework. The combination of having a one-year-old plus being home more than usual due to Covid has made housework feel unending. This is our first week trying weekly check-ins of who's doing what, and so far I feel like we are communicating better about who's doing what so it feels a little more efficient.

Marlys said...

I come from the era of women do all the housework, cooking, shopping, and most of the child care! When you kids were younger, he pitched in when he could, but running a business took so much of his time - weeknights & weekends included. Your dad did most of the mowing, until children took that over and all of the snow removal. He did pitch in with child care, especially at bedtime etc. It was the way it was!
Now, he does pitch in with vacuuming and always mans the grill, but it's still quite the division as he wouldn't know how to start the washer or dryer or how to sort clothes etc. Oh,he usually helps with dishes!
Times have changed!

Jeanie said...

Labor is me, but Rick does lots of things for me. At the lake when we're together, he tends to do outside and I do inside and we split cooking and cleaning up.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

We pretty much look the same as you. We have had major issue s with cleaning/household stuff when both of us working. Part of me not working any more came from arguments over cleaning the house / meals / grocery shopping. He did not want to spend money making life easier, but then more things were falling on me and you've heard my stories about how he picks and chooses off a grocery list!!!! We are luckily in a great financial situation which allows for this to happen, because SOMETHING had to. I do not do yard work. I randomly will participate in a project but for the most part he does it. I do also have him clean up his bar area after we have people over because I am not a maid. I do all the laundry but everyone but the baby puts their own away and their laundry has to make it into the appropriate bin on the appropriate day or it is not done. :) Also, I need to get back to meal planning because right now meal planning is exhausting me.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Another one of my favourite posts! I love hearing how people do things in their homes.

We each do our own laundry. I usually wash the sheets and towels. We clean the house every Thursday after work usually, but it's quite small, so only takes an hour with us both cleaning. No specific jobs for that, we just both go non-stop until it's done.

We meal plan together, I make the grocery list usually, and then we shop together. Occasionally I do those three things myself during the summer. Cooking is often done together, but sometimes I make the whole meal and sometimes Christopher does, depending on what we're making. He does all the BBQing, and most of the yard work, but I weed and water the plants some of the time.

I take care of online bill payments. He takes care of our investmentment portfolio. (Other than our work pensions which take care of themselves, really.) I usually do all the dealings with insurance companies, Expedia calls, emailing anywhere for anything, etc. Christopher doesn't even have an email address.

Fixing things around the house is all him, including mending/sewing.

Organizing is all me, as if it was up to him, he'd toss most things, lol.

Amber said...

I really enjoyed that episode of Girl Next Door! Our set up is a little different I think because of Eric's shift work. Honestly for the 2 weeks he is working, I do pretty much everything. When he is on day shift he does help with Olivia in the evenings and since she has got so attached to me at bedtime we've set up a schedule of him putting her to bed a few times a week. I have to leave the house though because she loses it when he first takes her to get ready for bed, but then as soon as a few minutes have passed she's fine. The other night I took myself for ice cream and last night I went for a walk.

Eric makes all of his own food for when he's working and does all of his own laundry. Since he's gone for 12 hours a day when he's working he eats 2 of 3 meals away from the house and then the meal he eats at home he sometimes eats with us / the same thing we're having but often will eat one of his own pre-made meals or something different. Because he isn't home until almost 6pm we are sometimes already eating dinner when he gets home. Eric takes care of any big house things like building decks or putting together book shelves or repairing things. I do the general tidy up of our main floor and the house clearers come every 2 weeks to do the rest of our cleaning. On Eric's week off from work he does all the care for Olivia and also cooks all our meals normally. He also does a lot of our grocery shopping - during COVID he did ALL the grocery shopping and since restrictions have lifted I've still mostly done grocery order / pick up. I can't even remember the last time I was in a grocery store for a big grocery shop!

Anyways, this was a fun and interesting post to read and I too really enjoyed that podcast episode!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

It seems like you guys have it pretty much dialed in! I know that having a kid probably makes this even more important and/or can cause more frustration if it's not talked about. Have you read Melinda Gates' Moment of Lift? She talks about some stats that are astounding. I don't remember exact numbers, but lets say in some countries the woman is doing an equivalent of 16 hours of work a day, although much of it is with the kids or the farm or whatnot, while the man may go and work an 8 hour day. You should read it if you haven't yet!

I don't have a partner but when I do, I think that my main issue is usually that I like to clean things up right away and have everything tidy (the bed, the dishes etc.) but many men like to "relax after dinner." I then get resentful for not getting help, even though it is really my "rule" that things get done immediately. I am not sure I have figured that one out yet!

San said...

This is a great idea for a post. I love to hear how other people organize their home life and chores!