Chore Wars

9 Aug

I don’t usually read Time, but this issue was sitting in the kitchen at work and caught my eye.  You have to be a subscriber to read the whole thing, but you can get the gist of it from the summary. Or you can keep your eyes open for it in your doctor’s waiting room (too bad my doctors only carry Mothering or AARP).

The summary of the article (and a follow up) is that when you compare hours of work, whether at home or in the office, men and women’s workloads are pretty much the same (notwithstanding massive overgeneralization for race, income, etc etc etc…).  According to the author, this was true whether the man or woman worked full or part time, and also showed men making a bigger dent in the household chores.  The one notable exception were the stay at home moms, who logged in something like 10 hours a week less of work than everyone else, but that’s another discussion for another day.

Although at times I’ve felt overloaded by everything, I think my husband and I have done a pretty good job of splitting up the household responsibilities.  We both work a lot.  Even when we first moved in together, we new we’d both be working a lot, and not have copious amounts of time for housework.  We split the chores up according to who hated what. I hate cleaning, he doesn’t, so he does the cleaning including dishes and garbage.  He hates (or claims to be incapable of) cooking and laundry, I don’t mind those chores, so I’m in charge of those things.  We split up baby care pretty evenly– most of the tasks in the morning fall to me, and most of the tasks in the evening fall to him.  There have been times where things have felt uneven, and we’ve reallocated some chores.  When one of us isn’t able to handle our part, it often doesn’t get shoved off on the other, it usually just goes undone.  There have been weeks where I’m completely insane at work and I have NO time for cooking, so we eat take out. There are weeks I have no time for laundry, and so I do some mixed up last minute load of laundry because we have no clean underwear. So we get by.

I get how there can be discrepancies in household responsibilities.  I understand getting angry or resentful over feeling like you’re doing much more than your spouse.  What I don’t get is letting anger over this issue fester.  Maybe I’m unusually direct or aggressive or whatever, but I don’t understand why an unhappy spouse wouldn’t speak up and say “We need to look at these responsibilities. Something has to change here.” (I guess the article’s response would be that there isn’t any discrepancy to split).

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One Response to “Chore Wars”

  1. LindsayInNYC August 9, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    Interesting article!

    Can’t wait to read your new blog 🙂

    LegallyBoston @ LJ (This is my new/non-LJ blog)

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