The 2014 Chore Draft

My wife and I have a complicated system for how we deal with questions of household responsibility.  These questions include:

  • Who does what chore?
  • Who watches the kids?
  • If a kid is sleeping, are you “watching” them?
  • Should that count as much as, say, taking them to the library?
  • And what if my son wakes up at 3 AM yelling that he can’t find his blanket – when it was on him (this happened last night) – who deals with that?
  • Does carrying the baby around in the backpack count as watching it?
  • 800px-Howdah_(PSF)
  • DO YOU THINK SHE LIKES RIDING AROUND ON YOUR BACK FOR HOURS?
  • Is the microwave clock the official time of the house or is it Karena’s cell phone?

Answers, in order:

  • mostly me, or at least it seems like it (keep reading)
  • both of us a specified amount of time calibrated to account for work, appointments, home school, activities, and etc.
  • for a daytime nap, yes; at night, no
  • pretty much, some days you just get lucky and the baby takes like an 8 hour nap other times she doesn’t sleep and alternates pooping and yelling instead; you get what you get.
  • Me – by shouting at him, which is my specialty.  If he had an asthma attack then it would be Karena.
  • Hell yes
  • Howdah
  • She’s not crying is she?  If you want to carry her, go ahead.  It’s great exercise.  You just have to adjust the shoulder straps, the waist buckle, and the chest buckle.  Of course, it’s sweaty, I’ve been wearing it for the last two hours…No, that changes the overall strap length.  Well of course it’s cutting into you – this part here needs to be the same length as…  oh, you changed your mind, huh?
  • Still a disputed point.

When we first got married, we hardly squabbled at all. This was because I was in another country. Then when I got back and she stopped treating me like a sexy, heroic returning war veteran who needed to unwind and enjoy the comforts of home (after about 12 hours), we would get into fights. 

It was my idea to come up with strict regulations for who is supposed to be doing what and when.  Karena was opposed to extreme scheduling, list-making, and negotiations at first:

a) IF PEOPLE LOVE EACH OTHER THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN.

b) EVERYONE SHOULD JUST DO WHAT THEY THINK NEEDS TO BE DONE – WHEN YOU SEE SOMETHING IS DIRTY – CLEAN IT

c) YOU SHOULD JUST WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH YOUR CHILD(REN)

but my beliefs were:

a) It’s better than shouting at each other

b) Yeah right, for example she can somehow not notice that there are 100 crayons on the floor, OTOH I think the dishes need to be done only when you want to eat off one of them, and the rest of the time they’re fine to sit on the counter growing mold.

c) Absolutely, about 5 minutes a day per year of age would be perfect

She’s accepted the system and it’s become such a part of the way we do things that it’s even spawned it’s own terminology such as “changeover,” “illegal nappage,” and “handing over a blue-liner” (let me know in the comments if you get the last one)

Is making lists, rules, and schedules healthy for a marriage? It seems to work for us so far. I’ve noticed that most other couples don’t have systems like this, I’ve noticed. Instead they handle division of labor in one or more of the following ways:

1. Yelling, fighting, and eventually getting divorced

2. The man works 40+ hrs a week outside the home, and the woman does all the housework except for heavy outdoors stuff like mowing the lawn, and all the child care except for teaching them sports.

3. Both partners instinctively work together, and through the magic of love, everything gets done.

4. Your house is fucking disgusting.

#2 is how my parents handled it.

I know a lot of couples who do #3 – none of them have kids.  Must be nice to wash and dry like 2 plates after dinner with your arms linked together.

The Chore Draft: When we move to a new place, we make a list of all the chores and then take turns picking them, until at the end, the easy ones (wash towels), the ones I already am used to doing and are particular about (change beds), or the ones I think I can get out of doing because she won’t notice (sweep garage) are gone, and everything left is pure drudgery.

Somehow I am terrible at these drafts.  I’m the 1984 Blazers, or the 1998 Chargers.  I was determined to get rid of “wash dishes,” but not only did I fail, but I also picked up “dry/put away dishes”.  And now I have to do the grocery shopping.  How the fuck did that happen?

The only positive thing about this draft is that I was able to get rid of the odious task of mopping the floor.  I thought this was huge, as we have a lot more floors.  However, the wife negated this small victory by buying a steam mopping thing that actually looks pretty fun to use compared to my old method of moving everything, sweeping, putting water and soap into a mop bucket, mopping the floor, letting it dry, then mopping again with clear water to get the soap residue up (usually at like 4 AM before parents came to visit)

tomorrow i’ll just post some workout logs okay

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24 thoughts on “The 2014 Chore Draft

  1. Both my wife and I hate messes and are disgusted by (and extremely judgmental of) our friends’ dirty houses/apartments (pretty much universally #4s). So while neither of us really wants to do chores and each is somewhat resentful of the other for not cleaning up, we keep our place pretty clean because we’re horrified of it turning into a #4. There is very occasional bickering, but it actually works quite well. I don’t think this qualifies as #3, maybe if you changed “love” into “OCD”?

    • This is my situation, sans wife. How have I never had a roommate with similar sentiments? Lived alone for the past year, loved it, will continue.

  2. My house was a #1 and #4, now it’s been #4 since the divorce (12 years.) For a while both my parents worked 40+ hours a week and left me with a babysitter who also cleaned. Maybe I should have been raised as a Bosnian with my babysitter, this seems like a very logical solution looking back. Both parents fighting over custody and stuff, cut the baby in half, give celicaxx to Bosnians, celicaxx gets boreks and Turkish coffee everyday and nutella a decade before it’s popular. Only problem is celicaxx may have turned out Muslim. :/

    • Also my household plan is to trick my kids into doing all the cooking. They want cookies? I’ll be like “here’s a recipe, go get it!” And then they’d have to make cookies. Of course they’ll think this is fun, right? But maybe they’ll catch on that we’ve never bought a box of cookies or a loaf of bread at the store and then complain? Also in summer they’re gonna have to spend at least 2 hours daily picking berries.

        • My father let me use a bandsaw unsupervised at 11-12 years old. I still have all my fingers. I’m hoping my waifu is smart enough to impart my kids with similar smart enough to not burn the house down or chop fingers off gnenome.

        • i’m also critical but more because kids make a giant fucking mess. my wife is a big fan of letting the boy help when she makes cookies, for example. flour all over the place, 2x the number of dirty dishes & guess who gets stuck cleaning it but doesn’t eat cookies.
          I’m opposed to children’s independence. Sure it’s annoying having to do everything for you. And sure I *could* teach you how to do it yourself. But it’s a lot easier, less stressful, and neater if I just do it for you. brb gotta change my son’s diaper.
          srs tho once i was dressing him when he was 3 or so and it was our usual wrestling match where I have him in a figure-four leg lock and am trying to put a shirt on him while he shrieks. That was when wife worked and I didn’t and she came home and said “YOU KNOW HE’S BEEN DRESSING HIMSELF FOR A FEW MONTHS NOW”

          • I’m gonna have to somehow Tom Sawyer-ize my kids and make them paint fences because it’s “fun.” Kids enjoy novelty so I can trick my kids into doing many “fun” things for a while I think until they catch on they’ve picked berries for hours everyday.

          • Celica, you and my uncle would get along great. He built a sawmill that’s run by a tractor engine. And grows all kinds of stuff in the garden. And works the hell out of all the kids. I don’t think he tries to make it fun, he just makes them do it though.

    • Both my folks always worked 40+ hours a week too. I spent most of my time when I wasn’t at school either at my babysitter’s house (an older lady in my family so I was still at least with family) or my mom’s hair salon, where I learned how to gossip with older women and what “fading” meant in terms of hair cuts.

  3. re: blue line

    y’all are either kidless or low tech

    this invention has done more to prevent baby’s crotches’ being grabbed/stared at than anything since Michael Jackson’s death.

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