How we fairly split tasks in our household and life (No Man Babies or Weaponized Incompetence here)
As predicted, my direct messages blew up with my rants again Man Babies using Weaponized Incompetence to do fk all.
It was all from these sorts of videos and posts:
The difference is clear – Dads ignore the messes and Moms with a baby on the hip, pick it up.
Then I read this and eyerolled:
Here is what was referenced in my stories on @saverspender Instagram, and what also triggered me to write this:
- Women Aren’t Nags—We’re Just Fed Up (Harper’s Bazaar)
- How I am getting out of tasks (a song) (@artimuswolz)
- The Drainer: A thread on Weaponized Incompetence (@vulagdrawings)
- Dads going upstairs (@momthesedays)
- Tonight my husband said… (@motherly)
- Millennial men are all about gender equality but don’t ask about housework (HuffPost)
1. “We would fall apart if you weren’t here”
Complete BS. A few kind words is all he needs to say to keep the workload off him and to stay on you, exhausting you with 24/7 childcare (stay at home mother), the cooking, the cleaning, the household management, and everything in between while all he does is go to work, come home and eat. Maybe play with the kids on the weekends for an hour (# BLESSED /sarcasm)…
These words would anger me because it sounds to me like he hasn’t learned sh#%*@ about running ab basic household AND he isn’t even involved in any daily family chores, or even living.
I completely 100% understand that if something did go wrong, and you were left alone, you would not be able to pick up the slack from Day One of let’s say laundry, but deep down inside, you know you have got this. You aren’t saying to yourself: OMG I don’t know how to use the washer and dryer. HALP!!”, and then be okay with letting someone else handle all of it. Imagine if they went on a vacation or had to be away for a few days, would everything then “fall apart”? And they’d come back to a filthy house with starving, dirty children? Is this what you are seriously telling me?
Of course, I am not talking about you being in the throes of grief or whatever emotional burden that comes with someone not being there – this is infinitely harder to do basic tasks when you are grieving. I am talking more about the end result of what happens in the aftermath because life continues on with or without you.
2. “I don’t know how you do it” triggers me
You have the same time as she does, you simply choose to not do anything she is doing because she is doing it all.
It reminds me of when someone told me her husband told her that – “I don’t know how you do it all”, and she snapped back (while on the phone with the contractor for the plumbing issue, and working full-time at home): “We have the same hours in the day, you’re just lazy.” He was shocked she would say that, but she was NOT WRONG.
Or the time another husband told his wife that he felt like his career was being hamstrung because he was spending all this time cleaning the house. She thought he was joking, until she realized he was serious. Who the hell did he think would do all the work then? Obviously her.
Or this last gem where he looked at his wife and said: “You know, the kitchen looks a lot better when it’s clean”. Mind you, they both work full-time, he NOTICED IT WAS DIRTY and chose to tell her, his domestic maid (that’s how he treated her, in my eyes), to clean it. She lost it (obviously) and told him to clean it then. The next day, everything changed and he was in charge of cleaning the kitchen.
3. Man babies are not attractive
This isn’t the 21st century, it’s 19th century thinking.
How is it that men get a free pass on not acting like an independent, self-caretaking adult, but women get penalized so hard for being visible and not “perfect”, yet the very same women find it cute and endearing when their partners are this clueless?
SO THIS IS HOW WE DO IT
A common question coming up is how we split the tasks, and we do it by competence and time. It isn’t perfect (I still feel like sometimes I handle way more of the emotional burden with Little Bun), but it feels fair. This is all split by what we are best at, is what we do and the time we spend on it is taken into account.
By this, I mean that 2 minutes to take out the garbage is not equivalent to cleaning dishes even though it is “one task” each.
Our split tasks. You can see I mostly handle Little Bun and he does the planning. Aside from our own work – he is in school and I am working full-time, while Little Bun is in homeschool full-time:
- All the daily household cleaning
- All the daily dishes and kitchen cleaning
- Deep cleaning of the shower too
- My and Little Bun’s laundry & household laundry of kitchen towels & wipe cloths
- Homeschooling & all the progress work
- All the online shopping, returns & tracking
- Household errands
- Daily Little Bun care – entertain, morning wake up and nighttime sleeping
- Little Bun Haircut maintenance with scissors
- Little Bun body care – creams, nails
- Little Bun books, hobbies and toys
- My own money and investments* as I pay 50% of the bills
- Little Bun’s money & investments management* including his education fund (it’s Little Bun’s own money not ours)
- Household inventory
- Food staples inventory
- Household errands and grocery shopping
- Deep cleaning of stove & radiators, shower
- Clothing inventory for Little Bun & planning for the ages & research
- His own laundry & ironing
- Little Bun night routine: showering, and brushing
- Little Bun Haircuts with the clippers
- His own money & investments* as he pays 50% of the bills
- Dish, pot and cutlery wiping
- Folding & putting away dried laundry including clothes & dish towels
- Detail vacuuming in corners and edges
Little Bun read this list and these are his additions to the list of his tasks:
- Gives love to everyone
- Watches me clean and deep steam the shower
- Helps me move things out of the way when I vacuum
* We do not combine finances, and have a joint household budget we each track on our own because we are money nerds.
As an example of competence and time, my partner handles all inventory for the home from toiletries to household to food staples (flour, pasta, sauces, oils) and does all the grocery shopping, meal planning & cooking for all of us.
He does this, because he’s an extreme planner who enjoys saving money. He for instance, tracks how many bottles of oil we use on average in a year (makes a note each time we finish one), then he follows all the coupons weekly and if he sees a sale on the oil we like, he back calculates the average usage of the home and buys just the amount of bottles we need before the expiration date.
This is a fkload of work and planning. But we never run out of anything. Ever. And it’s always fresh / not expired, and he buys it at the best price possible (he also tracks prices by store). So we save a good $10K a year doing this.
It’s like a hobby for him.
Or the other day, another minor example. I didn’t even know Little Bun needed new winter gloves – my partner made him try on all of his winter stuff, and checked off the list to see what he grew out of and we needed to buy. He then went out, bought the winter gloves, came home, took out his sewing kit, sewed on little mitten strings to his coat to hold the gloves so Little Bun wouldn’t lose them, and that was the end of that.
For my part, I also happened to see that Little Bun needed new underwear. I went out, got him a new set, and the next size up so it would be ready, and then came home and washed it.
No drama on either side. We just saw things that were missing, and handled it. I didn’t say: hey you handle clothing inventory, buy him underwear. I was competent enough to do it myself because this isn’t difficult. It’s basic household tasks that I do for myself, that I can do for our son. My partner also saw the gloves were missing, and didn’t tell me: Hey go get some gloves for him.. he did it himself, and even thought ahead to sew on little mitten strings so he wouldn’t lose them.
So this is why I am amazed
This book will anger you. I have yet to meet a woman who was not furious after reading this book at the realization of how unfair the workload is at home.
The men? They’re quietly hiding in the corner hoping the wave of labour doesn’t wash over them, and they start being accountable for things like cleaning the kitchen.
“I don’t have time to read this, please summarize”
No problem. Long story short, I suggest:
- Listing out what you each do, together, over a dinner or a snack
- List out how much time each tasks takes, and add up the hours
- Discuss the tasks, and split out the tasks more fairly (this can also include deciding to hire people instead)
- Create a workload / chore chart that you are each responsible for
When I say ‘responsible’, I also include emotional labour in this. So when you have a task like “get the kids ready & take the kids to school every morning”, this includes all the emotional labour and planning including:
- Packing their lunch and snacks
- Laying out their outfits every morning or the night before
- Dressing them in the morning in appropriately warm clothing
- Getting them ready to go – routine of brushing, eating, brushing
- Remembering their permission slips, homework and any extras
- Herding them out the door
At no point, should the other parent (if this is your task), have to step in and help with any of this emotional labour and planning, like getting their lunch ready while they are getting dressed (unless this is what you agreed upon).
Another example would be with pets. If your job is to walk the dog every morning, this means everything from:
- Planning your life to get ready earlier to start the day and not forget things so you can just go out the door
- Prepping the dogs & putting their coats/boots on
- Taking them out,
- Taking them back in
- Removing all of their clothes, wiping them down
- Setting out their food and water, and organizing their space
- Prepping yourself to leave for work and grabbing your lunch, dressing in your work outfit and leaving to get there on time
At no point, should the other person have to do this. Just taking the dogs out for a walk, and then coming back home and handing the leashes back to the other person to finish the entire task, is not doing the job. You did 20% of the work. The task isn’t just “walk the dog”, it’s the Before and After of said task.
And that’s how I see it.