Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Division of Labor

I totally stole this from The Diniwilks. I think it's fascinating to see how families function differently.

Child care: I make the decisions for child care. This part of life is mostly over now that the kids are in school full time (thank god). They just stay at school at the after school care until either Frank or I can get them before 6 PM. And a lot of the time we're racing to get there at 5:55 PM because of traffic or work issues or whatever. We actually need to find a baby sitter for night times, but no luck right now. In a few more years, we won't even need that. We also luck out in that the kids spend 5-6 weeks in the summer with my parents. It's great for everyone- the kids get to spend the summer on the beach, we get to pretend that we don't have kids for the summer. It's like sending the kids to sleep-away camp, except they're staying with grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Newborn care (bonus historical category): I did the bare minimum of 6 weeks with all three kids. And, I was stir crazy and wanting to get out of the house by 3 weeks. Frank took a week with the first child, and two weeks with the next two. He used to work PM swing, so he'd actually get to hang out with the kids in the mornings while I went to work. Then, I'd be alone at night with the kids. He generally got home in time to do the middle of the night feeding- between 11 PM and 1 AM he'd usually have a baby with him on the couch. It meant that I never really had to be a Zombie Mommy, because I got at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night even from the very beginning (yes, I breastfed, but we depended on bottles for that middle of the night feeding). My husband got to the point where he could basically change a diaper while asleep. 

Time off (bonus category): My husband works insane hours now- 12-16 hour days. I don't get a "time off" day. But, again the kids are old enough that we can sleep in on the weekends and the kids can occupy themselves. 

Work: We both work full time. My job is a traditional office job 8 AM - 5 PM. His is in the food service industry, so he works 6 AM to 6 PM or 8 PM. A 60 hour week is STANDARD for his position. 

Food: I do 95% of the grocery shopping, because I do 95% of the cooking. I make the meal plans so I pick the food that we eat.

Housecleaning: Frank does 90% of the cleaning. He does the laundry, the dishes, mops and vacuums the floors, puts away clothes, organizes and trashes clutter, changes bedsheets and just about everything in between. I clean the bathrooms- that's the one thing he won't do.

House decorating (bonus category): Mostly Frank. We have the same tastes- simple, clean lines, neutral colors. He likes to change out the art on our walls. He gets a bug up his ass about painting rooms, etc. My only request is that we have only white linens on our bed (I know, it's weird, but I only like white sheets and white down comforters).

Yard work: The front yard is xeriscaped so that there's minimal upkeep. The backyard gets mowed once a month or so, and I keep the pool from going green.

Communications: That's all me. I have to remind my husband to call his parents on their birthdays. We have a synched Google calendar to keep us on the same page, and a huge calendar on the pantry door that appointments, soccer games, girl scouts, tutoring and meetings and stuff are written on .

Finances: We both have individual accounts and a joint account. The joint account pays the household bills, and we each have fuck off money in our single accounts. Fuck off money is the money we keep separate from each other so we can buy the impractical things we want without having to get into a fight about it. As is "I don't care if you hate this, I bought it from my own money, so fuck off." Frank carries the family insurance plans, because his company is HUGE and they have a wonderful Cadillac plan for a reasonable price (I don't skimp on health or dental coverage, I want EVERYTHING). 

Activities: We take turns. Frank is great at planning the logistics of the big trips, I do more of the local stuff. I'm more of a "just tell me when to show up" type of person, he likes to plan things out so we don't miss anything. We do a lot of free and cheap activities on my watch- like Art Walks, Christmas tree lighting, visiting parks and getting ice cream. We go to a lot of baseball games in season, because it's a cheap family outing. Luckily the kids are easily amused and travel well. The kids have flown cross country so many times that they're pros and don't even get excited about it any more.

Who wears the pants (bonus category): I'm the boss. Just ask the kids. 

I think we're lucky in that we've lived together now for 14 years (and we're only 34 years old). We had five years without kids to figure out how to function as a team before we added the stress of kids to the household. Well before the kids, I knew I'd be alone a lot at night, just due to the job field that my husband is in. 
As of today, my husband and I have been monogamous for 17 years. Fully half of our lifetimes, and all of our adult years. I plan on doing a "story of us" type post later on, when I can get some of our old pictures together.  

Feel free to steal this! I think it's a great topic. Link below if you plan on doing a division of labor post.


  1. OOH I so can't wait for the story of us post. I would also like to see pictures of this xeriscaped yard you speak of (or maybe a whole house tour). Some day my house will be clean enough to post one of those :) Sounds like you guys have a great system going, it was so interesting to read!

  2. I'm really enjoying reading these division of labor posts. it is so interesting to see how other partnerships operate. Very jealous though when I hear about husbands who clean (or cook or shop, etc...). Currently we have a very traditional looking breakdown, which I think is because I'm mainly a stay at home mom. I do all of the home care, child care, household decisions, and the husband works full time, deals with the finances, yard work, etc.. I'd like to see this situation shift a bit once our children are school aged if I go back to work, but for now it works for us.