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.
Location: New York City
Relationship status: Engaged
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?
Almost 3 Years
How long have you been living together?
What chores do you do daily, and how did you and your partner decide you’d be the one to do them? Please describe.
My partner cooks dinner almost everyday and it’s my job to set the table, and clean up afterwards. We decided that she would be the one to cook because she likes to cook and I get home late (around 8pm on average). Some other chores I do everyday are checking the mailbox and throwing out the trash.
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 vacuum and mop the floor once or twice a week. I would say we clean pretty often. My partner usually cleans one area per day (could be the bathroom, the kitchen, the bedroom, etc.) so I try to help out by vacuuming as often as I can. During the weekends, I clean the stove top and/or the tub if my partner couldn’t get to it during the week. I take care of our bills (internet, electricity and rent) every month. This is because the lease is under my name & we just decided it would be easier to put all these house-related bills under my name & she can just Venmo me the half each month.
How about your partner? What chores do they do daily, and how did they and/or you decide they’d do them?
Her daily chores are cooking, doing the laundry (although I help fold when I get back from work on time) & cleaning one thing.
What chores does your partner do weekly and/or monthly, and how did they and/or you decide they’d do them?
She does grocery shopping about once a week because she works near a Whole Foods & she likes to go after work & she waters the plants weekly (because they are hers!) She doesn’t really have monthly chores.
Is the way you and your partner divide tasks similar to the household you grew up in? Why or why not?
Embarrassed to say, I didn’t grow up doing a lot of chores.. My partner grew up doing a lot of chores. I think she just gives me tasks that she doesn’t enjoy doing (washing the dishes, folding laundry, paperwork, vacuuming, throwing out trash) & I just do them.
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 like we are doing pretty well, actually. Our home is almost always guest-ready clean. I guess one thing I want is to learn how to cook.
1. Who makes the bed?
2. When you go out to eat, who picks the restaurant and/or makes the reservation?
She picks the restaurant. If the reservation is online, then she does it but if we have to make a call (for special requests or the restaurant doesn’t have online reservations), then I do it.
3. Who picks up the dry cleaning?
I pick it up... but from the doorman.
4. Who keeps track of friends’ and family members’ birthdays?
5. Who pays bills? (Or if you divvy this up, who pays which bills?)
6. When something in the house/apartment is broken, who makes sure it gets fixed?
7. Who makes sure the tags on your cars are up-to-date?
We don’t have a car
8. Who vacuums?
9. Who was the last person to dust something?
10. Who was the last person to clean your toilet?
11. Who buys groceries?
12. Who brings in the mail?
13. Who irons?
My partner.. but only her clothes need ironing
14. Who was the last person to clean out the fridge/pantry of expired items?
15. You’ve been invited to a wedding. Who RSVPs?
16. When planning a trip, who books the flights? The hotels?
17. Who planned what you did last Friday night?
18. Who planned your last date night?
19. 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.