So far, of all the…

So far, of all the attempts to more equitably divide the housework, the one that seems to have stuck and be working best for us is alternating weeks cooking. So if it's my week, I plan the meals, get the groceries, cook the dishes. Then next week, it's his turn. We don't necessarily stick to it strictly; if one of us is having a bad week, we might switch off mid-week, or just for a meal. And there's always the option of either ordering takeout if we're just too tired to cook, and/or what we call 'scrounging' -- figuring out something to eat from leftovers and giving the kid something random and vaguely healthy. (She likes hot dogs with frozen peas and corn pretty reliably. Don't bother cooking/heating any of it. Hot food is apparently bad.)

So I'm curious about whether women still do more daily meal-planning / grocery shopping / cooking than men, in my fairly liberal and theoretically egalitarian circles. And if so, why? Is it, as this article suggests, in part because men don't feel competent in the kitchen?

I was talking to a girlfriend about this, and she said that when her husband cooks, everything gets chaotic in their house -- the kids are going crazy, the kitchen is a mess, etc. And I suggested that maybe that's because he's not practiced at managing mealtimes. If you only do things once in a while, you don't get a chance to find the routines that make things go smoothly. She agreed that might be a factor, but seemed reluctant to let/encourage him try to cook more, even though she's constantly frustrated by how little time she has to herself. (She also does all the birthday party planning, for three kids (and for attending parties of their friends). It's kind of a lot of work, even if it's 'fun' work, and makes me think that I should get Kevin to handle planning Anand's first birthday. Maybe all of Anand's parties.)

Anyway, I'd say we have a roughly 50/50 division of food preparation now, and I like it a lot. It makes my life much better. For those of you in het pairings, how does the meal responsibility divide up? Are you happy with that division?

Those in homosexual pairings may also respond, of course. :-)

7 thoughts on “So far, of all the…”

  1. It’s varied for us, and is heavily based on practicality. Before the baby, I did most of the shopping, because I could easily shop on my way home from work, and Amy’s schedule didn’t always let her. That stayed true after the baby for a while, but now that she’s sort of fun to take shopping (and this is a good way to get out of the house), Amy (now a full-time mom) is doing more of it — maybe even more than half. She’s also doing a lot more of the cooking, in part because she spends all day with the baby, so when I get home and someone has to cook while someone watches Juniper, it’s nice for her to get a break from parenting. :^) More specifically, she makes almost all of the interesting/complex meals; I still do most of the quickie/scrounging type things. I expect to get back into doing more cooking at some point, but for now this pattern is working out pretty well for us.

  2. We both work at home these days so B does more of the cooking than ne used to, but he also has longer working days (I do about 20/30/50 paid work, volunteer work and housework, he does 80/10/10) so shopping and cooking mostly falls to me. He doesn’t have fixed cooking days: sometimes he volunteers because he just feels like it, often he does the whole weekend. It depends on what we’re eating, too, and we also have teenagers who like to cook (the youngest in particular, who is rather good at Chinese). I don’t think it’s a man/woman thing, if I had the long-hours and high-pay job I’d gladly leave it to him.

  3. At this point I think we’re splitting cooking fairly evenly. I used to do more of it, mostly because I had more experience cooking, but now David tried out following some recipes and seems to have gained some confidence about it.

  4. First of all, MA, I’ve been to your parties and, while I’ve never been to one Kevin has planned, I feel I should speak up for Anand and say he deserves to have you do his parties at least half the time. Maybe every year you swap which kid you plan the parties for? I’m just sayin’, you don’t want that sort of sibling rivalry 🙂

    Tim still does most of the cooking. For awhile, we swapped nights and while we sort of still do, he still does more than me. And I’m more often than not heating up something from Trader Joe’s whereas he cooks from scratch. I’m blaming the new kitchen for the fact that he’s been doing more of it than me right now but…

    I do all the laundry and cat stuff. And I’m probably the one who will notice other routine cleaning things (like cleaning the bathroom or sweeping/ vacuuming). I feel it’s a pretty equitable division of labor most of the time.

  5. Heather (edited by Aaron)

    I think Aaron does more of the cooking, and he thinks I do more of the cooking (probably because each thinks it’d be harder to cook the other’s food than our own), so I guess we are pretty even.

    We have cooking duty days based more on my schedule than his, and when it is your day, you do all the shopping, planning, etc. (Neither of us plans meals far in advance, so alternating days works better for us than alternating weeks.) If one of us is sick, the other takes over. If we’re both sick, then it’s delivery food.

  6. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Heather S., you haven’t tasted Kevin’s creme brulee, or the homemade tres leches cake (with cherries!) he made for my last birthday. I have a feeling that if he were presented with the birthday challenge, the results might be quite impressive.

    At least the food/drink component. I’m not so sure about the decorating part. 🙂

  7. When Daniel and I first started living together, we alternated the responsibility for making dinner every other day. And we always went grocery shopping together, because we didn’t have a car and it needed both of us to shlep the groceries home. That worked pretty well, but we’ve gradually evolved into a division of labor where I grocery shop and cook dinner, and Daniel handles cleanup. (Weekday breakfast and lunches are pretty much a “make or buy your own” kind of deal, though I usually end up eating dinner leftovers for lunch.) I like cooking a lot more than I like washing dishes, and Daniel at least doesn’t dislike washing dishes. And taken with the rest of the distribution of household chores, it works out to a roughly equal division of labor.

    Having said that, I do sort of wish that we hadn’t allowed Daniel’s cooking skills to entirely atrophy, because there are times when I’d really like a home-cooked meal but can’t or don’t want to be the one to prepare it. And also because I think of cooking as the “fun” chore, and sometimes it feels unfair that I get all the fun. So, who knows, maybe we’ll find a different equilibrium.

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