How We Manage Chores

Chores. We’ve talked about chores what seems both extensively and not nearly enough here at APW. (Though I think we have the smartest conversations on the topic this side of anywhere.) And since today is the day that I confess all my sins to the internet, I’ll be the first to admit that Michael and I are still, four years into our marriage, figuring out the balance (right now it involves having a roommate whose standard of cleanliness is higher than ours).

I remember the first time I read about chores on APW, my mind was blown. I didn’t realize that there were so many different factors at play influencing my filthy house, including how much of our understanding of household roles had been influenced by our gender expectations. (We had just gotten married and only been living together for a short time, so hearing these things was a Godsend at the time.) But now that we’ve done a lot of the hard emotional work of figuring out how to balance our roles in a way that’s authentic to us, I’m ready to shift gears and figure out a tactical system for putting that emotional work to use. Because the reality is, we’re both messy people. Cleaning is not in our DNA. But I think a good system could change that (or least, override it). And I have a feeling that system exists somewhere within this community.

So today I want to shift the discourse we’ve had about this topic a bit and talk about the, well, practical aspects of parsing out chores in your house. What’s your system and how do you keep it working? (The latter half being my weak spot.) Are we looking at chore wheels? Star charts? An inherent desire not to live in filth? And those of us who are still trying to find the balance, share your roadblocks. Maybe there are tidier folks in our midst who can help us get past them. In the meantime, I’ll be here with my steno pad, ready to take notes.

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