For most of human history, the “who does what” of housework was pretty clearly spelled out, with gender determining each partner’s specific role and contributions. Thankfully, that’s (mostly) no longer the world we live in, but there’s still no rule book for helping partners figure out how to divvy up household chores — the physical, mental, and emotional ones — in a way that’s fair and equitable.
So, what does the division of household chores for modern couples look like, really? In FGB’s Who Does What series, we asked couples to complete an exercise in order to share with us the amount and nature of housework they actually do, and how they decided to divvy it all up.
Name: Scott Churchson
Location: Lodi, NJ
Relationship status: Married since 10/17
What type of home (e.g, condo, house) do you have? House
Do you have any kids or pets? One 3-legged, asthmatic cat
How long have you and your partner been together?
Almost 3 years, since 1/16.
How long have you been living together?
Almost 2 years, since 1/17
What chores do you do daily, and how did you and your partner decide you’d be the one to do them? Please describe.
I end up emptying the garbages and cleaning/or emptying the litter box on a daily basis and about 3-4 times a week do the dishes. It came about because she wanted to do the vacuuming and the laundry so it made sense I pick up the other chores.
What chores do you do weekly and/or monthly, and how did you and your partner decide you’d be the one to do them? Please describe.
Weekly over the summer I'll mow and trim the grass as needed. We have a small property so I'll typically knock it out in under 20 minutes but I've always done it and just find it to be oddly relaxing so I have no complaints. Also snow and leaves fall into my department as needed as well, but we've got the leaf blower and snow blower so it's a quick job usually.
How about your partner? What chores do they do daily, and how did they and/or you decide they’d do them?
Cooking usually is her arena when we're both home. She likes to try new recipes and see what works so I'm cool with it. As long as mushrooms aren't involved. :-)
What chores does your partner do weekly and/or monthly, and how did they and/or you decide they’d do them?
Basically we had a deal that one of us would handle the dishes while the other did the laundry. Personally I would have preferred the laundry but IMO I don't believe she trusted me enough with her clothes, lol. Also vacuuming is her department as well because she finds that personally relaxing as well, and given that I HATE vacuuming this was an easy decision.
Is the way you and your partner divide tasks similar to the household you grew up in? Why or why not?
My mom was a stay at home mom, so more or less she handled everything from cooking to cleaning and everything else, so it's different now than when I was a kid. But both my parents felt I should learn how how to cook, clean, etc as I got older; plus I lived on my own for a few years so it's not something I really forgot how to do.
What’s something you and your partner could improve on when divvying up and completing household tasks? What’s something you feel you’re doing well?
I think at this point we've got a really good handle on who does what; something I couldn't say 12-18 months ago. A lot of times we'll spot fix things as needed; cleaning the bathroom, folding blankets, etc.
1. Who makes the bed?
Her about 75% of the time.
2. When you go out to eat, who picks the restaurant and/or makes the reservation?
Usually she picks, I make the reservation.
3. Who makes doctors’ appointments? Dentist appointments?
We typically handle our own.
4. Who picks up the dry cleaning?
Usually it's me, but thankfully the dry cleaner is about 300 feet away so it's an easy trip.
5. Who keeps track of friends’ and family members’ birthdays?
Usually her department. My only family is my parents (no siblings or cousins) and my parents actually have the same birthday so I couldn't ask for much easier here.
6. Who pays bills? (Or if you divvy this up, who pays which bills?)
We divvy up the bills pretty much right down the middle.
7. When something in the house/apartment is broken, who makes sure it gets fixed?
I'd say this is pretty close to 50/50, although I think I'm a bit more lax on getting things fixed unless it's urgent.
8. Who makes sure the tags on your cars are up-to-date?
We each handle our own cars personally. I have no clue when her car is due.
9. Who vacuums?
Absolutely her. I hate vacuuming, lol.
10. Who was the last person to dust something?
Probably me. I typically will do spot cleaning as I'm going through the house so if I see something that needs dusting I'll typically handle it on the spot.
11. Who was the last person to clean your toilet?
Sadly me, because I'm usually the one who made the mess (sorry for the TMI, lol).
12. Who buys groceries?
Typically that's a joint venture, but some days it'll be me if we just need a couple quick things (like today).
13. Who brings in the mail?
Nearly always me. Pretty sure if I didn't the mail would overflow until the mailbox fell off the hinges.
14. Who irons?
On the RARE occasion that happens it'd be her. Just like the laundry, I don't think she'd trust me enough. I've done it though and didn't set the place on fire, so I think I deserve a shot.
15. Who was the last person to clean out the fridge/pantry of expired items?
She handles that usually, unless I catch something by accident.
16. You’ve been invited to a wedding. Who RSVPs?
17. When planning a trip, who books the flights? The hotels?
Again, totally her.
18. Who planned what you did last Friday night?
She usually works late on Friday, so Friday night is usually couch and DVR night when she gets back.
19. Who planned your last date night?
I nearly always do, including this Saturday.
20. You need a gift for a friend’s housewarming party. Who buys it?
She does, the Amazon Prime account is in her name.
Interested in participating in FGB's Who Does What series? Email email@example.com with "Who Does What" in the subject line.