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: Brad Davis
Location: San Francisco
Relationship status: Co-habitating with my partner
What type of home (e.g, condo, house) do you have? Apartment
Do you have any kids or pets? No
How long have you and your partner been together? 4 years
How long have you been living together? 2 years
What chores do you do daily, and how did you and your partner decide you’d be the one to do them? Please describe.
Take out the compost and recyclables, run the laundry, collect mail, cook breakfast, make the bed, unload the dishwasher. No real decisions were made, we just kind of fell into this routine.
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.
Fill the gas tank for our car, and get the car washed. We clean the house together every two weeks, but I end up doing most of the cleaning with anything chemical related in confined spaces and all the sweeping. We work together cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, but I do most of the kitchen surfaces. Not a chore, but I buy my partner flowers each week.
How about your partner? What chores do they do daily, and how did they and/or you decide they’d do them?
My partner cleans most of the pots and pans, and loads the dishwasher. My partner folds the laundry about 75% of the time.
What chores does your partner do weekly and/or monthly, and how did they and/or you decide they’d do them?
My partner cleans out of the fridge, and does anything requiring deep cleaning. Windexs the mirrors or windows. Cleans most of the bathroom surfaces. Plans/Sends gifts. Plans out the menu for the week.
Is the way you and your partner divide tasks similar to the household you grew up in? Why or why not?
Not really... my partner had a stay-at-home mom who did just about everything. Her father emptied the dishwasher, and dealt with anything garbage related. My parents had a housekeeper come every other week to clean and vacuum, as they both commuted two hours each day, but when it came to the kitchen, my father always did the dishes after dinner, and my sister and I would be responsible for unloading the dishwasher.
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 am trying to be better about cleaning out the fridge on a more frequent basis!
1. Who makes the bed?
2. When you go out to eat, who picks the restaurant and/or makes the reservation?
Partner picks the place (mostly). I make the reservations.
3. Who makes doctors’ appointments? Dentist appointments?
We do this independently.
4. Who picks up the dry cleaning?
5. Who keeps track of friends’ and family members’ birthdays?
6. Who pays bills? (Or if you divvy this up, who pays which bills?)
Most are auto-pay.
7. When something in the house/apartment is broken, who makes sure it gets fixed?
8. Who makes sure the tags on your cars are up-to-date?
9. Who vacuums?
10. Who was the last person to dust something?
Ha! My partner.
11. Who was the last person to clean your toilet?
12. Who buys groceries?
We go together.
13. Who brings in the mail?
14. Who irons? Seriously, who irons these days?
The dry cleaner, I suppose.
15. Who was the last person to clean out the fridge/pantry of expired items?
16. You’ve been invited to a wedding. Who RSVPs?
Depends on whose friend is getting hitched!
17. When planning a trip, who books the flights? The hotels?
My partner usually books the flights, and we look at hotels together.
18. Who planned what you did last Friday night?
My partner and I had an impromptu Sushi date, which she wanted.
19. Who planned your last date night?
We don’t have a lot of time for date nights. So we plan vacations. She planned the upcoming one... a trip to Malta. I planned the previous one, a night in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
20. You need a gift for a friend’s housewarming party. Who buys it?
Interested in participating in FGB's Who Does What series? Email [email protected] with "Who Does What" in the subject line.