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November 17, 2009

Cohabitation and Relationship – Part Seven: His and Hers Housework?

Sharing a space means sharing the housework, or at least in my humble opion, that’s what it ought to mean. If both people are in the space, using dishes, the washroom, etc etc, then it makes sense that both people will be responsible for how the space looks. After all, this isn’t Leave It To Beaver; if both people are working, then it makes sense that both people work together. (Sidebar: If one person is not working, then to me it makes sense that they have perhaps a “larger” share of the housework, but still certainly not 100%)

What if one person is a neat freak and the other is a slob? Or even less extreme, what if they have different ideas of how their home should look? One runs the risk of being the “nagging clean freak” and the other runs the risk of being the “horrible pig,” and both run the risk of putting undue stress on the relationship. The trick is to find the right balance between the two. Split the chores based on your schedules and/or abilities, as the case may be. If there is a job you hate to do but your partner doesn’t mind, then that can be one of their jobs and you can find something else to do. If you don’t get home until much later than your partner, they can start dinner prep and you can do more of the clean-up after dinner. There are lots of ways to split the jobs fairly, ensuring that the housework doesn’t cause a needless rift between you two.

What did we do? I work in the afternoons and early evenings, so I do a lot of the housework in the morning: laundry, sweeping the floors (the joys of hardwood!), things like that. When my BF comes home he helps with anything I couldn’t do myself (things I can’t reach, or jobs that take more than two people … ok, or anything remotely related to technology!). He’s also really great at helping with the cooking, because I have a serious raw-meat phobia. While he’s out at the BBQ, I’m inside making salad, cooking veggies, setting the table, etc. We do the after-dinner clean-up together, especially since we don’t have a dishwasher. I was, he dries, we put away together. Doing the work together takes less time, and believe it or not, it can actually be fun. When you’re done, you both have a home you can be proud of, because you’ve taken care of it and it looks great. Enjoy!

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