ranunculus and division of labor

aren’t these ranunculus from the farmers market such a fantastic pop of color in our living room?  i forgot how the perfect bunch of flowers can make a whole room feel brand new. now, on to what i’m really itching to talk about…. the division of labor in our house.

one of the most difficult things to work out in our relationship has been who does what when it comes to household chores.  we’ve had countless arguments and passed passive aggressive comments back and forth like teenage mean-girls.  it’s been the one argument we can’t quit. (it seems so silly, but that hasn’t stopped us!)

nearly 4 years into our relationship, it seems we’ve hit our stride. i: make the dog food/feed the pups/grocery shop/cook and lou: cleans/vacuums/takes the pups out/handles trash & house laundry.  no one begrudges the other their job, and we pick up each other’s slack without bitterness when it’s needed. this is the system that works… until it doesn’t i suppose.  in the meantime, we’re off each other’s backs. (phew!)  is this something you’ve worked out in your homes as well?  or are we abnormal in our need to have our jobs clearly defined? {please, do share any things that have worked for you!}

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  1. Catherine|

    this is something we struggled with for a LONG time but finally feel like we've hit our stride too. ian handles more dog related things – more walks (except the ones while he's at work). we grocery shop together when possible and he cooks. i do all the laundry and do the daily picking up around the house. but i'll be honest, the one thing that has made our lives so much easier and squabble free is the housekeeper we hired about a year ago to come twice a month. she is the main reason we don't fight over these things anymore. :)

  2. sarah yates|

    @ catherine, happy to know you have a similar system! (and similar arguments!) :) i can't wait until we can afford a 2X a month house cleaning (and not have to sacrifice the other things we enjoy now) :)
    @ paigey, i still can't get my head around byron katie. is it true? YES!

  3. Shannon|

    This was an interesting post, just discovered your blog, btw.

    My husband and I will be married 3 years this summer and we have a 2 year old little boy and a dog. We've sort of (?) divided the labor, in that I do most everything (I'm a stay at home mom) and he mows the lawn (occasionally). However, he did vaccum this weekend, which was wonderful!

    I suppose the other thing to remember that has helped me is, don't sweat the small stuff. We have so many other things to worry about in our life, that a few dishes in the sink really doesn't matter in the long run. As long as you are happy in your relationship then who cares if the house is messy!? That philosophy has made me MUCH calmer. ;)

    Can't wait to read more of your blog! Gorgeous photos!


  4. MJ|

    We are searching for something different to feed our dog. So what popped out at me was "make the dog food"…what do you make?

    Our division of labor seems to change with the times…we've lived together 8 years, looks similar to yours

  5. sarah yates|

    thank shannon! i *wish* we could keep that mindset when one of us is upset at the other about some cleaning related misstep! we will keep trying. :)

    mj, i make the dogs their food (and i have no scientific evidence of anything, this is just me going on instinct and motherly love alone).
    here's what they have: ( i make giant batches to last 3-5 days at a time)
    vegetables (some lightly steamed, some raw) including carrots, pumpkin, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and other seasonal veggies. the occasional banana or apple. make sure to research what dogs can have reactions to if you decide to start feeding them this way, if you haven't already!
    a sheet of nori- split between the two of them
    a tablespoon or so of ground flax
    a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
    sometimes i will make them a little white fish or an egg. (once every couple of weeks)
    and then they each get a tiny bit of wild fish kibble as well. ( bean gets 1/3 cup, ellie gets half of that).
    i feed them once a day, in the morning. they LOVE it. bean used to turn her nose up at every meal when i was feeding her just kibble, and i tried every kind with the same result. now she happily scarfs down every last bite!
    every once in awhile they also get raw beef marrow bones (we don't let them eat the whole thing at once…they just get 20 minutes or so of bone chewing at a time

    again, this is what i've been feeding them for the past year and i have no formal education about pet nutrition. but they seem really happy and healthy. and i feel better about it than if i were feeding them only kibble (it's so processed, doesn't resemble anything normal to eat so i can't imagine it being that good for them!) i have to go on instinct here, i haven't been able to find a really good definitive guide to dog nutrition that makes sense to me.

    hope that helps!

  6. junia|

    i love this topic! just relationship stuff in general – it's so fascinating. me and the hubs have lived together for almost 10 years now and still don't have this down. basically the way it goes: the both of us don't really do major cleaning until the crazy cleaning lady bug hits me (usually at odd hours of the day when he's tired). i turn all ocd and have to have things cleaned before i can relax so that's when he turns on cleaning mode as well. we don't really have separate tasks though, except for him cleaning the litter box.

    at one point we tried clearly defining tasks to do, but that didn't last because we just got on each others case if we weren't keeping up with them. the latest way we're making this work (because who really likes cleaning, washing dishes, scrubbing the toilet, etc), is making saturday morning cleaning time. we make our coffee + breakfast then go at the apartment as a team. we even pump ourselves up by saying, "go team GO!". and it's worked! we're both doing chores at the same time so it doesnt feel like one person isn't doing something, then at the end we look at our place, smile, put on a movie and relax. whew!

  7. Stavros|

    Lou does everything I'd do; and has cleverly managed to avoid doing everything I'd avoid.


  8. ashley // chasing heartbeats|

    Ever since we moved into a new apartment with a dishwasher (!!!!!!!) our bickering regarding housework has greatly reduced. Now that I am working from home I do a lot more than he does, but the dishes were what drove me absolutely bonkers before as I hate dirty dishes in the sink and he will wait days until he washes them. I definitely think having assigned jobs would make life a whole lot easier, hopefully someday :)

    and I loved reading what you make your dogs! We just got a little puppy and have been making her meals, it is great to get some other ideas :)

  9. Alysha|

    This is a tough one for us. Matthew isn't the cleanest of em so I end of doing a TON of house work and our place is nowhere near the level of clean I prefer, but we have agreed that he do the dishes and I the laundry. This is a small step but progress, next mission: convince him not to leave his underwear in the living room and other places about the house.