That said, we sat down and listed all the household chores and divided them up again. I don't think we're ever going to do a strict chore rotation, in part because there are various tasks that either he or I truly hate to do, and the other doesn't mind doing them. I.e.; he manages the household budget; I talk to strangers. That kind of thing. When we divided it all up, he did take on a few more small things, but mostly, the way we had the labor was actually reasonably close to fair. I think the small things may help a lot with my sanity, though. Kevin's three new tasks:
- At the end of the day, after we've gone to sleep, pick up Kavi's mess. Toys in the toybox, books back on the shelf (not alphabetized, just shelved), napkins back in the drawer. (15 minutes daily)
- His dirty clothes actually in the laundry basket, not on the floor! (Laundry is otherwise my job, which is okay, I think. My accompanying task is to keep the laundry basket clear enough that he can fit his dirty clothes in there. Also, when he's changing Kavi's clothes, her dirty clothes also go in her laundry basket, not left in whatever random place they happen to be.) (5 minutes daily)
- He takes on more (maybe most) of the bath/bed ritual at night, which somehow feels more like a chore to both of us than the rest of the Kavi-watching. (30-60 minutes daily)
I hope all these housekeeping entries aren't boring y'all to tears. But really, this stuff does drive me mad, and if I don't at least *feel* like things are relatively fair, it starts poisoning the relationship really quickly. I'm still, off and on, reading through Halving it All, that book of interviews with parents, talking about to what extent they equally share childcare and household chores.
So many of those couples set out to be 50-50 partners in the household, raised with all sorts of egalitarian ideals, but then end up 60-40, or 70-30, or even 80-20. And it's always, always, always the woman who takes on the bulk of the household chores and compromises more of her career. Sometimes happily, because she finds she just loves childcare more than her previous career, which is fine. But very often not happily at all. The interviews in the book make me super-sensitized to the problem, in a conscious way, but I think that's good. Otherwise I'd just be subconsciously simmering with frustration, getting more and more panicked that I would never have enough time to write another good book.
For those of you in live-together couples -- how is your division of household/childcare labor? And are you happy with it? Do you both feel like you're getting to pursue your career goals as much as you both want to?