Quick quiz: Housework!

When one spouse is working full-time and the other spouse is getting education, how should the housework be divvied up?


(Also, if your answer is, “It depends,” then what does it depend on?)

20 Responses to “Quick quiz: Housework!”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    It does depend on how much time the student has at home vs in a lab. It also depends on whether its undergrad or grad. If it’s grad, are you an indentured servant to your professor? Our grad students and post docs were pretty much legal slaves.

    It also depends on whether the working person has a 9-5 schedule or a crazy high stress corporate job with long hours and lots of travel. If I were working around the clock and came home to a pig sty I’d be pissed whether I was the student or the working spouse. After all, both of you are theoretically working for a better future.

    At a high level, the one who has more free time should do more chores.

    I’d also say that chores like laundry should be done by the person who has more location flexibility. Presumably, one can write a paper while doing laundry. Similarly as a sales person, I generally do laundry during my home office days.

  2. Linda Says:

    If at all possible work them out based on the availability and flexibility of each person’s time and a person’s preferences and talents. If a couple is starting to get snippy with each other over chore balance then that’s a no-win situation developing and it’s best to hire someone to take over.

    • ABDMama Says:

      Well said. I agree that it isn’t really the “title” but rather the dynamic of the couple that needs to be used to decide a schedule.

      I also think it depends on if one person prefers a cleaner place than the other. I do and that means I sometimes clean more, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that it is for me and I can’t hold it against my husband.

  3. Mimi Says:

    When I was in grad school and my husband worked full time, I did all the household tasks that are easier to accomplish with a flexible schedule: errands, car care, grocery shopping, etc. I also did all the cooking. He did all the laundry and minor clean-up in the house, as well as cleaning up after cooking. We split major household cleaning.

    Now: I am an academic and he works from home. We hire someone to clean the house. I do the cooking. He does the laundry. We split the errands and shopping. I do more when he has a deadline. He does more when I am at the end of the semester or owe a paper to somewhere.

  4. Foscavista Says:

    First, I hope that the person who works understands and appreciates what it is like getting a degree (especially a masters, PhD or similar). Even the person pursuing a graduate degree does not work in a lab, reading/writing at home is a full-time job, even for the people in the Humanities.

    What I believe becomes the issue is that the person who does not do as much housework (or expects more housework out of the other) can “measure”/”see” what has been done or not. This puts the other person at a disadvantage. Although the person who works for a paycheck may go to work, the other one cannot evaluate the effectiveness of him/her. So, in essence, the person doing the housework has two bosses – his/her graduate adviser and the spouse/partner.

  5. Crystal Says:

    I don’t know it is “supposed” to be, but while Mr. BFS was getting his masters, he was also working full time as an 8th grade science teacher. So he simply couldn’t do much housework during the week. I did most of the daily upkeep and he’d help out on the weekends and during the two summers. But we always have periods like that. During his first year of teaching and every football season when he refs after school, he isn’t home much during the week, so I do daily upkeep. But during the summers, I barely do anything. When I start working from home, I’ll probably do the basic stuff but he’ll still split the main chores on the weekends. I like the way we naturally step up when the other is just too busy. :-)

  6. bloggerclarissa Says:

    Housework should always be divided 50/50. The person who works full-time would have found a way to clean and feed themselves if they were single, I assume? So let them remember that a partner (whether they work, study, have been fired, etc.) are not their servant.

  7. Z Says:

    I am also for 50/50 no matter what.

    If you have one person working 40 hours and the other 80/100, then hire someone to do the second person’s part if they don’t have time.

  8. Z Says:

    50/50 no matter what or hire someone.

  9. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    Can we all agree that doing housework suckes total f*cken asse? Physiowife and I pay someone extremely well to do the heavy weekly cleaning, and I do all the laundry and dishes.

  10. Sandy @ Journey To Our Home Says:

    I think it depends on the course load. If one spouse is getting an education but taking less than full-time credits a semester I think they would be more responsible for house stuffs.

    My husband & I try to divide house stuffs pretty equally. We work the same amount, but when I’m in school we still usually split the housework pretty evenly.

  11. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Reason for asking:
    I had noticed on blogs that when the wife is the one at school full-time, she’s just at school and of course should take the bulk of the housework. When the husband is the one at school full-time, his schooling is so important that obviously the wife who is only working full-time is the one who should take the bulk of the housework. Since it is quite likely that schooling is equally demanding for both spouses (particularly when the wife is doing something like nursing), as is full-time work, something seems a bit askew there.

    As for us– we were in school at the same time and muddled through somehow, mostly doing housework together.

  12. Molly On Money Says:

    For us it’s an hour for hour. I’m working outside the home 32 hrs per week and he’s at home full time. He does 32 hours of housework every week. Whatever household chores are left is split up between the family. I don’t get into the minutiae of how, what or when he does what he does- I just let him do it.

  13. eemusings Says:

    I guess it depends on who’s actually at home for more hours and what hours of the day those are.

  14. darchole Says:

    We have it split taking into account in and out of house work and therefore try to do a 50/50 split with all house work. My partner does all the yardwork, or hires to get it done (I’m very allergic to pollen/mold so this works well for me). We split cooking and putting dishes in the dishwasher. I do most of the rest – laundry, cleaning, looking after pets except when I’m super busy or very sick then my partner does a lot more cooking and cleaning. I still do the laundry, but then I want it done more often because of my allergies. So our division is based on preferences of what is important and my allergies.

    • Glenda Says:

      It does not sound at all like 50/50. I mean, what kind of yardwork does your man do? I am currently spending 4-5 hours a day on gardening because I am putting in a vegetable garden, and trying to save on potting soil, so I’m actually hand-digging trenches to amend the soil. But this happens only one week out of the year. Apart from that, I mow the lawn every few weeks in summer, and pull weeds and water the plants every day in summer (about an hour a day). This is only in summer, and only because of veggies. It would be a lot less otherwise.
      Maybe I just have a small yard, but it seems like that amount of work, especially if spread over the whole year, does not even come close to regular cleaning. It takes me 4 hours for weekly thorough housecleaning (all in one sitting), then at least another few hours for laundry. And then there are all the odds and ends. Seems about equal to yardwork, but yardwork is only that much a few months out of the year.
      Not trying to criticize, but it seems to me that sometimes when dividing labor we over/underestimate our contributions.
      Plus, in my personal experience, lots of dudes call puttering around outside and having a nice relaxing time “yardwork.” not really fair in my mind.
      Lastly, I garden because I love it. It’s a great hobby. Most of it is completely unnecessary. Cleaning, particularly laundry, is not optional.
      I guess what I’m trying to say is, if my partner counted yardwork as his share of the housework and stuck me with everything but kitchen (which is the biggest time drain, though, so I’m happy for you) I would feel ripped off. So I wonder why you consider it fair.

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