Thursday, July 11, 2013

How Do You Split Up Household Responsibilities?

For the most part, our house runs like a well oiled machine. After all, it is only the two of us and Riley who live here, so we are able to keep things running pretty smoothly most of the time. 

In a typical week, there are certain things that need to get done; things we need to remember and responsibilities we like to take care of. Even before we were married, one of the topics that our pre-marital counseling brought up was how we would take care of responsibilities in our household. Their theory, which I agree with, was that there would be less controversy in the house if we already knew who was responsible for what. We typically split up our household tasks. For instance, I normally take care of the following items on a weekly or bi-weekly basis:
  • Meal planning and grocery shopping
  • Most of the cooking
  • Laundry
  • Cleaning (bathrooms, vacuuming, kitchen, dusting)
  • Random errands (household, pet and miscellaneous items)
My husband takes care of the other items like trash, recycling, home maintenance/repairs, our cars, the lawn and gardening (what little of it we have), random projects around our house (he loves these) and some of the bill payment. Since B is the finance brain and the saver in our relationship, we share the responsibility of our finances, but I often let him take the lead, since my 'spending' habits tend to take over when it's least convenient. We also share the responsibility of taking care of Riley, although I must say B has always stepped up when it comes to her, and has taken care of far more walks and middle of the night outings than I ever have.

Despite the plans we've made, and the division of tasks we have come up with over the last few years, I still tend to be the type of person that likes to do everything myself. If I write it down on a to-do list, it is my task to accomplish, and somehow, someway, even if it's 6AM and I'm eight months pregnant, I will get it all done. Ha.  But, one of the biggest lessons I have learned during our three years of marriage so far is that B and I work really well as a team. God love my husband. When he knows I'm stressed and staring at a mountain of things that 'need' to get done, he almost always offers to help. Whether it be running an errand, vacuuming the basement or helping put away the clean laundry. 

And you know what I started to figure out? It still gets done when I let someone help me. It doesn't make me less of a wife if I let my husband pick up some slack when I need it, or even if he just offers. Dinner still tastes just as good if he makes half of it, and the laundry still gets cleaned and put away even if I am not the one that folds every last bit of it.

Don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. I don't push things off on my husband because I'm feeling lazy, and I definitely still fight my tendencies to take care of it all in my way, but I am working on it. I am far from perfect, but I think this is a vital lesson for me to learn in the days and weeks leading up to Gavin's arrival. Because, once he's here, my schedule and to-do lists will be turned upside down and inside out, and I won't have the time, energy or organization to hold everything together like I once did.

By far one of the most common pieces of advice I have received from other Moms in the last few weeks is to accept the help that family and friends will offer when Gavin arrives. Whether it be a quick errand, a hot meal, holding the baby so I can take a quick shower, or just washing the dishes that have piled up in my kitchen, it will be important for me to let other people help me with the daily tasks of keeping this house running.

Having a baby is the perfect time to take a look at the way you divide up your responsibilities and become more flexible, right? How did you handle this with your family when your babies arrived?


Kelli Kegley said...

That is great that you have made it a habit of sharing household chores before he gets here. My husband and I did not and I wish we would have. I still struggle with letting go of things being my version of perfect and try to let him do some it. He cooks.. a lot. But, he enjoys it so it doesn't make me feel too bad. Besides wanting things done my way, letting go of the guilt has been a big struggle. Now that I am a year in with this 2 kid gig, I have let a lot of that go. Probably because the boys exhaust me to the point that I don't have as much energy to feel guilty..ha!

Everyone is right... accept help. Every little bit makes a difference!

Celeste @ The Motherhood Chronicles said...

One big thing that helps us out is taking turns in the evening doing the Ady's routine. One night I feed, bathe her and put her to bed, the next the hubby does. Normally the person who has the "off night" is the one who does the cooking. It's worked well for us so far.

Sarah said...

our house is much of the same, I do many of the same things, but also the bills, and the yard from time to time since my husband is always gone for work.

Ashley said...

We didn't really set who did what. We each have our own strengths and fell into our own places in the house without a second thought. While there are things I try to get done while he's at work, we're really good at just knowing x, y, and z need to get done and getting it done together. For example, if the yard needs work, one of us may mow while the other pulls weeds and trims things. If I'm cooking while he's available, he'll usually do all the small tasks.