Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chores Chores Chores

I went into our honeymoon assuming I would post a picture a day of our travels. I still plan on doing just that, but I had no intention of preposting (well except the wedding details post that goes up Monday). Then I was skimming through my reader and saw this great post on Chores and Marriage from A Practical Wedding.

Since Chores have been a discussion lately in our household, I thought I would post my two cents.

When Jay and I first moved to DC we lived with two college friends (also a couple). We assumed everything would go flawlessly, that we would automatically live very well together. As a result, we talked about NOTHING when it came our overall expectations or apartment upkeep. As you can imagine, things didn't go so well. We all got frustrated by the level of cleanliness, comments and the amount/frequency of social time. As a result we all simply grew apart.

This experience was very eye opening. I considered this couple to be our really good friends and was shocked how quickly a friendship ended over lack of communication. When we moved in with our roommate Mary, Jay and I decided we were going to prevent this problem right from the start. Mary had a similar roommate situation previously and was 100 percent on board. As a result our weekly chore chart was born. This chart was nothing crazy, just the simple knowledge that every week we each had one chore to complete in the living area (dust, swiffer the kitchen floor or vacuum). With our little chart, we never had a problem.

Flash forward almost 2 years later. We lived very happily with Mary for 17 months (we are staying with her right now in California), Jay spent 3 months in NYC and Baltimore (living with my parents), and Jay and I are for the first time living on our own together. I wanted to use the two weeks he was home before our honeymoon to see if we needed the structure of a chore chart or if we could make it without. After one week, we both realized a chore chart was the only way to go.

Here is the reality when you live with another person, regardless of their relationship to you, THEY CAN NOT READ YOUR MIND. Jay and I have VERY different definitions of clean. I think the kitchen counters need to be wiped down daily, he doesn't even notice the crumbs and drops of coffee.

We sat down and talked about our expectations for chores and our lifestyles. Jay knows I am easily overstimulated after work. While he is studying for his boards and we live in a studio, video games can be played as loud and often as he like during the day, but at night he plays them on mute. Believe it or not, this works really well for us as I usually blog for about an hour where he plays his video game. It's a win-win.

As for our chores, we sat down and made a list of things either of us think need to happen daily and weekly. Then we divided the tasks and I made us charts and lists so that we both know what we are responsible for.

Now, not all tasks made our list. There are some chores like emptying the dishwasher and making dinner that neither of us mind doing were left off. Then there are chores like making the bed. Since our apartment is tiny and open, I like the bed made. Jay gets up last. Jay now has an easy daily chore.

Likewise, Jay hates clearing the drying rack and will pile it so high that things fall off and break (i.e. our coffee pot that we got for our wedding which we had to replace this week). Now every morning as I make my oatmeal in the microwave, I spend that 1 minute and 45 seconds clearing the drying rack. And guess what, it rarely takes me longer than that.

Last week I may have been overwhelmed in the evening by loud noises and a dirty apartment, this week I have been happy. And, I know Jay is happier too as I am nagging him less. :)

Chore charts and written lists work for US. I know they don't work for everyone, but talking does.

How do you divide the chores in your household?