Friday, November 9, 2012

Who Does Household Chores In Your Family?

The other day, I overheard the following conversation in the elevator on my way to work:

M: My wife does not do my laundry.
F: I do my husband's laundry, but I do not wash his clothes if they are lying on the floor around the house or next to the laundry basket.  I absolutely hate when he does that!

I was listening and smiling quietly.  It is so interesting how different families do things differently.  Two people with their own points of view on absolutely everything come together, create a family, and try to live in peace, while imposing their views on each other.  It is good when you two find a compromise: the husband deposits his dirty socks INTO the basket (and not on the floor NEXT to it), and the wife is nice enough to do his laundry along with hers. 

Who does household chores in your family? Do you share responsibilities, or does one spouse do everything?  In Russian families, women almost always do everything, including groceries, laundry, vacuuming, cleaning up, cooking, gardening, and putting nails into the walls if the need arises.  Since our family is half-Russian, half-American, we do it the "mixed" way.  My husband cooks, does the dishes and laundry, vacuums, takes out the trash, and waters flowers.  I clean the kitchen (after he cooks and does the dishes) and clean up the house.  I also cook whenever I come home first (which is rare).  We do groceries and make our bed together.  I know that I must sound like a terrible wife if my husband does almost everything at home, but serving is his love language, and I, of course, let him express his love this way (lucky me!).  Well, this was the way things used to be before he got deployed.  Nowadays, I do it all by myself, of course. Needless to say, I am longing for my husband to come back home!

According to the 2010 London School of Economics study, a marriage in which the wife works full-time and the husband doesn't help much with chores is 44% more likely to fail than a marriage in which the man helps out more.  I think this is true, even though, according to statistics, about 65% of all stats are made up.  A healthy balance would definitely help save any marriage, but I also think that it depends on the family.  If the husband is the only provider, it is okay for the wife to take care of the home and most chores.  But what if both of you work?  One option is to hire household help if you absolutely don't have time to take care of all the chores.  For me, it would definitely be an issue of trust; I would have a hard time letting an unknown person into my home and into my life.  Maybe the maid would even drink my liquor, like one of my co-workers' housekeeper did.  However, today hiring help is more widely spread, and there are sites that can mitigate the risk of hiring a wrong person.  For example, and will let you comparison shop for individual housekeepers.  They do background checks and provide references.

I am not sure if we will hire help soon (or ever), but as of right now, our chores sharing seems to work for both the house and our relationship.  Would you be comfortable to hire a housekeeper?

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