The Housework et al Policy

How do you split housework, chores, childcare, errands and other life tasks with a partner, spouse roommate etc?

In the interest of avoiding a complaint-fest, lead with what works for you, not points of friction or complaints.

This came to mind due to the cooking discussion on the Money Saving Mindset thread but also it comes up a fair amount all over the forums, so I thought it would be an interesting discussion.


What works in the truest sense- both of us being pretty tidy people, both of us recognizing house work as WORK and valuable and important and equal to other sorts of work, both of us having gifts of service as our love language.

What that means logistically though. We each have our own tasks, and they just… get done. I obviously have to pick up his when he travels for work, but he does more than his fair share when he is home, so really it evens out. Also I do all the mental logistics on most stuff, esp kid related, so that balances out that he does more of the actual daily physical tasks (aka the kitchen. We cook, from scratch, every meal every day if he’s home. Plus two toddler snacks per day in there. So many dishes haha and he does all of them). We try to take whatever the other person doesn’t like. Even though the kitchen is his thing, I know he’s sound sensitive so if I see the dishwasher needs unloading I’ll do it for him. I hate my hands being wet (hello sensory issues), so I will straight up princess ask for him to wash me a fork if one isn’t clean. That sort of stuff.

Uhhhh kid stuff we trade off as much as possible for naps and bedtime. Between his travel, and me breastfeeding for two years, I’m unquestionably the primary parent though. That being said, he’s a fully competent second parent. I can leave her with him for whatever time period with only standard hand off info (like, “she hasn’t pooped yet, be ready” or “don’t try the red socks today, that did not go well”- normal stuff, not any degree of incompetence).

Idk I can list out who does what specifically if anyone is interested. My favorite last years development is the part where our house cleaner does the bathrooms :joy::raised_hands:t2:


For my part: Human and I tend to find it most natural to split whole tasks and have areas of responsibility rather than trying to alternate. Nothing is set in stone so we’ll substitute for each other. I do groceries, cooking, laundry, cleaning bathrooms, dusting, balcony/plants (arguably my hobby) . He does car stuff, storage (taking things to/from storage unit, tools and camping gear in the office closet), vacuuming, driving (when together), trash. There are common ways we help out, like he will carry laundry I have sorted (apartment living, sigh) and I’ve taken over vacuuming the bedroom since I wfh there, so I’m not in his way. We split dishes and cat care evenly. More or less.

One thing I’m gradually learning is if we have a free weekend and I have a chore list I want us to get done, I need to share it upfront and then we discuss what I really want to do myself or what he can take on. And if course if he has to dos himself (chore or otherwise).

I’m trying to learn/model/instill more clean as you go habits but it’s tough going. Starting with me. The cats aren’t very good at it either!

Oh, and I have a personal curiosity if anyone has stories of how they overcame or changed points of friction/inequality. Was there a demiscusion/script, or a habit or practice that was really a pivotal moment?


We have done various things over the years depending on work and other schedules but right now we completely split food every other week. If it’s your week, you are entirely responsible for menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and the emotional labor of checking with your partner about any plans for the week that would interfere with needing a meal.

There have been times where I did most of the meal planning and prep, but even if spouse stepped up in other areas, I found myself getting cranky about it unless he was responsible for at least one night a week of cooking.

Other housework is…much more of a work in progress lol


Oh we have definitely re-cast over the years! I guess that’s one benefit to all the school/career/living place changes we’ve had over the years, each one has been an invitation to adjust how we’re doing things. Often our discussions will start around me like, finding an Instagram post that resonates with me and sending it to him, something like that. I think the hardest times have been when it’s a “it’s not that you’re doing too little, it’s that there is too much so I’m doing too much” moments. It’s a lot harder to pick what doesn’t get done, or done as well, you know?


This reminds me! I’ve felt the same way at times (despite the fact we take a lot of takeout and frozen pizza cooking breaks :innocent:) but trading off weeks does not work for us*. I noticed it worked great for both of us if he cooked on weekends. He had more schedule flexibility, and I was less stressed and hangry and more ready to accept his meal idea. Just putting it out there in case it helps someone.

*He does not think to start cooking until he’s hungry and by then I’m hangry and picky. I’m also more likely to hand off weekday meal prep if I have a rough day at work, which also tends to make me crave specific comfort foods… I may also be the more particular one about food. But I eat what I’m served at other people’s houses, so… :woman_shrugging:


Oh God yes, absolutely!

If he’s stressed I cannot bring myself to even ask him to pull his weight as usual/agreed, much less help me out. Even if I’m also/more stressed? But I tend to get more affected by messes and excess takeout (high spending), so either I’m physically dealing with it or I’m mentally dealing with it…work in progress.

Hopefully more progress before offspring enters the picture!


Oh, I definitely do not always enjoy the meals that he makes. Mostly because I’m just being picky that night and not because the food is bad.

Having a toddler and being a fairly type A family means that dinner is on a schedule regardless of how the adults feel about eating at that time lol.


Well, I have back issues, so Hubby hauls laundry up and down stairs. Sometimes I move it from washer to dryer, sometimes he does. We both fold laundry together.

I do menu planning and go grocery shopping with Hubby. He occasionally helps me with meal prep and I do the cooking. Hubby does cleanup.

Hubby does all sweeping, vacuuming, mopping and floor scrubbing because I was told not to by my doctor. I do dusting…when it’s needed, which isn’t often in this humid climate. Anything that needs polishing is my job.

Hubby does the yard work mowing the lawn and shovelling snow.

I specifically bought raised beds for the garden so I could take care of them. But Hubby ends up doing all the lifting of heavy bags and mixing in soil, manure, compost, etc. I plan the garden and acquire the seeds. We shop together for starts and any amendments needed. I fertilize and pick the garden. I also process the food coming out of it. Hubby and I both take turns watering it. My goal is to eventually have drip irrigation set up.

As far as the car goes, Hubby does it all. I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

Hubby does a lot here, due to my health issues. It’s one reason I was surprised he wanted to move into a house instead of a condo or apartment when we moved. I had health issues back then that were severely affecting my mobility.

We have no kids at home, and though we have adult children nearby, they are disinclined to help. We manage without them for now.

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