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?
- 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
- 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