10 Couples Share How They Divide Housework

10 Couples Share How They Divide Housework

Couples share the division of labor that makes their household run smoothly.


By Wendy Robinson

In the last seven days, I have taken two kids to tumbling classes, arranged and supervised a playdate for my 6-year-old, survived taking both kids for flu shots, gotten groceries, made three dinners, packed five school lunches, and worked a 40+ hour week outside of home while also getting in about 10 hours of schoolwork.

I would probably be pretty bitter about how busy my week was if my husband hadn’t done all the laundry, handled school pick up and drop off five times, emptied all the trash cans in the house, changed all the sheets, raked and filled three bags of leaves, and taken all the nighttime wake-ups associated with our 2-year-old.

Balance can be hard to find when you have a busy family, but one thing that seems to help me be a little less stressed is feeling like I have an equal partner in the division of household labor. While some folks still follow the “women do the inside, men do the outside” approach, I’ve found that most couples have their own unique approaches to splitting the workload:

1. “Honestly, it depends who is home and who has what going on … one thing we definitely don’t do is divide chores up in gender-stereotypical ways.” -- Mindy G., Pleasantville, Iowa

2. “I still do more because I’m home more, but he helps. It does feel fair now, but it took five years of living together to get here.” -- Kacey H., Coons Bay, Oregon

3. “Both of us just tend to do whatever needs doing when we get a chance. Sometimes that means things go undone for a while, but we both feel free to say, ‘Hey, could you take care of X?’” -- Leah M., Oakland, California

4. “We consider ourselves BOTH fully responsible, as a team, for managing our household.” -- Miriel R., Rochester, Minnesota

5. “Our system is weirdly complicated (in general most housework is mine since I am home), but it definitely feels fair and Brian is totally willing to help me out whenever I ask.” -- Elsha V., Kansas City, Missouri

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6. “I pretty much do everything inside and out, unless something needs to be fixed that I don’t know how to do … he works 70 hours a week so I can be a stay-at-home mom, so I figure I should do as much as I can around here.” -- Sara W., Dorr, Michigan

7. “Apparently, I load it ‘wrong’” says Robyn L., of Ankeny, Iowa, on why her partner is in charge of loading and she is in charge of unloading the dishwasher.

8. “Robyn is also responsible for all killing of arachnids and other horrible insects.” -- Kris O., Ankeny, Iowa

9. “We have a rule that if one person cooks, the other has to clean the kitchen and put dishes away. This is an annoying rule sometimes, as one of us is WAY messier of a cook than the other.” - - Amy K., Tucson, Arizona

10. “I realized early on that if I corrected how he cleaned or insisted that everything be done ‘my way’ that I ended up doing way more than my share of the work. I’d rather have his help than be right so I am trying to be less [picky] about things now.”- - Jessica D., Miami, Florida

How does your family split the labor of running a household?



Wendy Robinson is a writer, working mom and graduate student. Someday she'd like to sleep in again. She also blogs at www.athleticmonkey.wordpress.com.

Image ©iStock.com/RyanJLane



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