His and Hers: Who Does What Around the House

I thought I’d take a break from all the newborn baby stuff because my brain needs a rest, a whiff of “non-baby” discussion, a breath of air. My husband is away this week in Italy, but I’m not going to write about how hard it is at home without him, and how unfair that he jets around Europe on holiday while I remain at home with a toddler and a newborn, because well, that won’t really help anyone.

Instead I’ve been thinking about what I miss from a practical point of view when he’s gone, the mundane tasks around the house that he normally does and how different couples and households divide these up between two people. Some of its embarrassingly old-school (I do the cooking, he does the DIY) but some of it’s not and I always find it fascinating how other couples divide this stuff up.

HIS jobs:

  • CARS: Anything that moves on wheels, including bicycles, prams and cars, is his job.
  • RUBBISH: It’s dirty and smelly and it’s not something I do. He takes out the rubbish and the recycling.
  • LAWN: I have no idea why men are obsessed with lawns. I look after the rest of the garden but for some reason the lawn remains his responsibility and he takes it very seriously. He wants every blade of grass perfect, not a single weed or rogue plant to be seen and the edges neater than he makes his own bed.
  • ELECTRONICS: Whether it’s the computer, television, DVD player, phones, or Internet – this falls under his remit.
  • DRINKS: We are terribly old school this way. If we’re having people over, he’ll go to the bottle store and I’ll decide what we’re eating.
  • FIRE: Whether it’s building a braai or lighting up the fireplace in Winter, this is his job. We are still cavemen at heart.
  • BARGAINING/NEGOTIATING: Whether it’s getting a better price on a carpet, or sweet-talking someone at Customs, this is best left to him. I am unable to turn on the charm like he can.
  • SMALL TALK: If we’re at a school event or a work function, he can be relied on to talk the talk. I have not been blessed with this skill.

MY jobs:

  • FORMS: Anything that requires attention to detail such as filling out forms or reading insurance terms and conditions – should not be left to him. 
  • PRESENTS: Unless it’s a gift for me, the buying of wedding, birthday or housewarming presents is always my job. If it was up to him he’d give everyone (including three year olds) bottles of whiskey.
  • DECOR: He owns one picture which he bought on a trip to Egypt. I hate this picture but I let him hang it in the least exposed space in the house. Suffice to say that home decor remains my job.
  • CHILDCARE: This is an entire blog post in itself but yes, the majority of childcare decisions still fall under my responsibility. He does the fun stuff, I do the discipline.
  • FOOD: See above. Unless it’s meat thrown on a fire, I’ll be cooking it.
  • SOCIAL CALENDAR: I keep our social diary – he has no idea what we’re doing from one weekend to the next.
  • SEWING: I have no idea how to sew but for some reason when his button comes off or he needs a hem taken up he still asks me to do it. I really need to learn.

Alright, this list looks like something from the 1950s. Even though we both work, we’re obviously still very traditional when it comes to who does what. But at the end of the day I guess you play to your strengths – pass me a needle and some thread, I’ve got some darning to do.

Image from motifmagazine.wordpress.com

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