I have been reading xoJane a lot lately. So much, in fact, that I think I'm developing a small addiction. Yesterday, I was looking over the site and saw this article about housework. The article was inspired by one from The Daily Mail that looked at the results of a survey regarding housework and relationships, I stopped to think for a few minutes about what all of this meant. Well, to me.
The Daily Mail piece brought up that in the survey it was found that laziness about cleaning came in a close second to personal hygiene issues when it came to deciding whether to break up with someone. Of course, I stopped in my tracks about that, because how many times have I gotten frustrated over who does the dishes and housework? The answer is a little embarrassing, because it’s not too few.
I keep meaning to discuss equality in housework, but the longer I have lived with The Boy, the more I have realized that there isn't a good way to explain what is equal to anyone, especially myself, when it comes to maintaining and cleaning our house. This is even more true now that we are homeowners. Not that there wasn't care involved in our apartments, but there is more in the house. If an appliance breaks, we are responsible for ensuring it is repaired. Adding a fourth cat to our already cat-centric household definitely changed how litter box duties were managed, and my "must tidy up now!" impulse is never without something to do.
Equality in housework is hard to define, because everyone defines what is equal in different terms. We could have the same quantity of chores, but if one of us gets everything to do that we hate, while the other gets all the tasks they love, that doesn't say "balanced" to me. The chores I dislike the most are the ones that seem to take the longest (oddly, I dislike the process of washing laundry, but love folding and putting it away). The opposite is true of the chores I prefer - like cooking and cleaning the kitchen. I assume that the same is true of The Boy, though when deep cleaning tasks have to happen, we split up as we have since we first moved in together (in terms of tasks). He takes tasks most likely to trigger an asthma attack (and kindly will wash laundry). I take tasks that are less likely to trigger an asthma attack, along with ensuring the bathtubs are clean and the mirrors aren't full of spots.
From an outsider's perspective, The Boy only has a few tasks on cleaning day, where I have many, but we both are doing tasks that aren't odious (completely) for us. He handles lawn care, I handle the hardwood and tiled floors. He manages vacuuming, while I manage the kitchen. It's a system that works for us, and after many tiffs about housework (one-sided, because I wasn't speaking up clearly), it has resulted in a happier and cleaner home. Of course, I have had to learn to let things go, if only for a few minutes. Enjoying time together is something I place well above always having a spotless home. Our home is tidy, neat, even clean, but it definitely is lived in, and that, for me, is what makes it home