Good Morning America is a morning ritual for me. Sometimes I watch 15 minutes, sometimes I watch all two hours (if I’m home for the day!) This morning, they aired a segment titled “Secrets to a Better Marriage: Splitting Chores Can Help” that described how changing the traditional roles of who does what in a marriage (or partnership) can lead to a better relationship.
Okay. I’ll go there … but I’ll one up you. Don’t switch. Share. Share the daily grind and spend more time together.
Why sharing chores works
Splitting chores just means your spending time apart. He does X while you do Y … separately. Swapping chores – as the GMA segment suggests – means you’re doing X now while he does Y. Still separately.
Chores can take up a ton of time, especially if you leave the bulk of them – like laundry – for the weekend. All of a sudden, you’ve spent all the daylight hours a Saturday has to offer catching up on laundry … in the basement or garage … by yourself. Bleh.
Sharing the majority of chores means you spend more time TOGETHER. To me, that means more conversation, more communication, event a flirty pinch of his backside if you’re so inclined. I’m so inclined. It also means things get done quicker, leaving more time for family activities.
Chores that can be shared
Laundry. JD and I do laundry together on most days. While one of us might drop it in the wash, and the other plops it in the dryer, we’re both there folding and hanging and putting it away. Noodle even jumps in to put hers away. It has become a family chore of sorts, and it goes much faster. We do most of our laundry on the weekend, but it doesn’t take much time when we all pitch in.
We have a dishwasher. I’m glad we have a dishwasher. Someone still had to load, hit “wash” and put them away. So, we do that together on the nights we need to run the dishwasher. Yes, I usually let dishes stack up, but I’m not perfect 🙂 Loading a dishwasher gives us 5 minutes to talk about whatever … usually how screwed up our workdays were! When it’s time to unload and put dishes away, we have a family assembly line. Again, we’re all in this together. Talking.
Cleaning house. Yep, everyone can pitch in and do a piece of this instead of leaving it all to mom. Admittedly, it’s hard to talk when someone is running the vacuum, but the process goes much faster when everyone pitches it. We don’t clean weekly, but we have two dogs that shed massive amounts, so someone has the vacuum out every few days. Again, pitching in.
Fixing and building things. Fixing things around here means I diagnose it, figure out how to fix it and let JD fix it 🙂 I did not marry a handyman, so some things get outsourced to the extended family! Those things we can DIY, we do it together.
One-man … or woman … chores
Pretty much anything where more than one set of hands will get in the way.
Mowing would fall into this. That said, we pay high school kids to do the yard work, which frees up weekend time, certainly during the summer. It’s word the added bit of cost for us.
Trash duty. when the trash is full, it goes out. On Monday night JD and Noodle haul it to the curb together. The next night, they haul the empty trashcans back to the house. A one-person job that kids can help with.
I cook. I’m laughing as I type this … the first time JD grilled burgers, we ended up with hockey pucks. That was 16 years ago. I think he did it so I would always cook :-). That doesn’t mean I don’t have prep cooks, however. There are a lot of things kids can do in the kitchen to help … and ultimately learn. Same thing goes for husbands (or wives or partners or roommates). I like having prep cooks in the kitchen. Again, it means we’re doing something together.
I wouldn’t be human if there wasn’t something JD does that bugged me … he drapes his coat on the back of a dining chair when he gets home because he “plans to wear it later”. I hang mine in the hall closet … because I plan to wear it later. After 17 years in this relationship, I’ve accepted the things I can’t change. I’m laughing again. It’s a small price to pay for all the chores that do get done! Just don’t tell him I said that!