Who Does What: How My Fiancé And I Approach Chores When I'm a Control Freak About Cleaning

Alberto Navarrete

Photo courtesy of Alberto Navarrete


For most of human history, the way we talk about household labor divisions has rotated largely around heteronormative gender roles. Thankfully, the idea that gender should determine the "who does what" of housework is (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 readers to complete an exercise in order to share with us the amount and nature of housework they actually do, and how they and their partner decided to divvy it all up.
Name: Alberto Navarrete    
Location: Dallas, TX
Relationship status: Engaged
What type of home (e.g, condo, house) do you have? Apartment
Do you have any kids or pets? One cat
How long have you and your partner been together? 
Three years.
How long have you been living together? 
One year and 10 months.
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 make the breakfast and lunch. She cleans the dishes, but if she is busy with work I help her with that also. I decided to cook because I love it and she loves what I make.
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.
I clean the house because I’m a control freak. I love clean looking areas, feel better and also concentrate better in a clutterless room.
How about your partner? What chores do they do daily, and how did they and/or you decide they’d do them?
She makes us dinner or order something up for us. We decided that because the fear of me feeling burned out of cooking. She also makes good desserts, so she handles that.
What chores does your partner do weekly and/or monthly, and how did they and/or you decide they’d do them?
She cleans the bathrooms. She is fairly quick doing that and I hate it. So we decided that was the best course of action.
Is the way you and your partner divide tasks similar to the household you grew up in? Why or why not?
No. I was an only son. So my mother did all the household chores.
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 feel that I make the best breakfasts. She could improve the rate at we wash our clothes.

Lightning Round

1. Who makes the bed?
2. When you go out to eat, who picks the restaurant and/or makes the reservation?
She picks, I make the reservation.
3. Who makes doctors’ appointments? Dentist appointments? 
She does the appointments.
4. Who picks up the dry cleaning?
My partner.
5. Who keeps track of friends’ and family members’ birthdays?
She keeps the birthday lists.
6. Who pays bills? (Or if you divvy this up, who pays which bills?)
I pay the bills.
7. When something in the house/apartment is broken, who makes sure it gets fixed?
I fix it. (Just fixed a toilet!)
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?
11. Who was the last person to clean your toilet?
She did.
12. Who buys groceries?
Both of us.
13. Who brings in the mail?
14. Who irons?
She irons.
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?
She is the RSVP'er.
17. When planning a trip, who books the flights? The hotels?
She does that.
18. Who planned what you did last Friday night?
I planned last Friday.
19. Who planned your last date night?
20. You need a gift for a friend’s housewarming party. Who buys it?

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Interested in participating in FGB's Who Does What series? Email [email protected] with "Who Does What" in the subject line.