There won’t be any equitable division of chores unless everything is accounted for! As we mentioned in the previous post, that includes “keeping financial records, home maintenance, shopping, planning, cleaning, cooking, childcare, transportation, etc.” (Stritof, 2020).
Petriglieri, author of Couples That Work: How Dual-Career Couples Can Thrive in Love and Work (Harvard Business Review Press, 2019), sets out a system to get to a division of labor that fits your needs:
Step 1: List all your logistics tasks
Just because you know that you always water the plants, prepare the kids’ gym bags, or file the bills, doesn’t mean that your spouse knows it … Not knowing leads to feelings of resentment and being undervalued. To avoid the trap of not knowing, start by jointly writing a full list of household tasks. This ensures you are dealing with 100 percent of your tasks, and nothing is overlooked.
Step 2: Ask yourselves: “What can we simply stop doing?”
Before you dive straight into dividing the tasks, take a hard look at your list and ask, “What can we stop doing?” Deliberately thinking through what you can drop immediately takes some pressure off.
Step 3: Ask yourselves: “Which tasks do I want to own?”
Most of us enjoy and derive meaning from some of our family duties. Recognize what you personally want to keep. Perhaps you love preparing family meals or you relish the kids’ nightly bedtime routine. The things we hold dear may be expressions of who we are as a husband or wife. Claiming them is an important starting point.
Step 4: Ask yourselves: “What can we outsource?”
There is sometimes extra money to outsource tasks that are time-consuming, or that you really dislike. Outsourcing tasks frees up your time to focus on things you value. Identify your least favorite chores, and, considering your budget, outsource as many as possible within your means.
Step 5: Work out how to split the rest
There are two main strategies. The first is division, where you divide the tasks and each of you takes responsibility for your assigned tasks. Some couples divide the tasks equally, while others assign more tasks to one spouse who may have a less demanding career.
The second strategy is turn-taking. Here you share responsibility for each task, taking turns as to who does what. Your turns may correspond to days of the week, for example.
The key is clarity. “Tensions almost always stem from a lack of clarity, rather than a lack of equity” (2020).
We’ll add a few more key points, tips and alternative strategies in the next post!
Petriglieri, J. (2020, December 1). How to split the chores with your partner—Minus the drama and fighting. Ideas.Ted.Com. https://ideas.ted.com/how-to-split-the-chores-with-your-partner-minus-the-drama-and-fighting/
Stritof, S. (2020, February 4). How to Keep Housework From Hurting Your Marriage. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/chores-conflict-in-marriage-2300980