Like sharing finances, dividing household chores fairly as a couple is tricky territory, both emotionally and practically. Although Juan and I aim, in theory, to share the load fifty-fifty, I often wonder what percentage of household responsibilities I actually shoulder compared with Juan. Like many couples, we both believe we do more than the other without enough recognition – in our case, especially when it comes to washing up. The fact that I work part time and he full time complicates matters further.
This is not an opportunity for me to have a dig at my husband – he really is very feminist and well-intentioned in this regard. However, I am as guilty as the next woman of not being able to shake off the mindset that my partner is ‘helping’ me with the housework, as if it were officially my lot. Much like childcare, housework is one of those things that men have only relatively recently come on board with, meaning they are still praised for being ‘so good/helpful around the house’ in a way that women never are.
Also, in my experience, the incidentals of life admin are often relegated to women. There are so many little things that I do to add value to our shared daily life for which the responsibility is mine alone. If I died, I think the execution of those tasks would, in all likelihood, stop altogether. It would be nothing earth-shattering – life would go on – but the fact that I undertake (or, Juan would argue, create) these tasks without complaint just makes me pause for thought.
So here are the made-up job titles I’ve assigned to myself for the little things I do in addition to my 50% share of household duties – the activities that are completely off my husband’s radar:
- Sock Regroupment Manager
- Clothes Washing Technician (with independent jurisdiction in Drying Services)
- Neighbourly Relations Team Leader
- Chief Writer of Thank You Cards and Miscellaneous Correspondence
- Photographic Memories Archivist
- Call Reminder Service
- Recycling Enforcement Officer
- Personal Admin Assistant to the Family
- Head Weeder (with shared responsibility for Front Porch Clearance)
- Mistress of Household Replenishment
- Social Relations Executive
- Sheriff of the Sharp Knives
- Nursery Liaison Officer (and Head of Child Taxi Services)
- Fridge Clearance and Purification Troubleshooter
- Sheet Renewal Engineer
- Toilet Roll Replenishment Operative
- Cleaning Co-ordinator
- HR Manager for Plumbing, Electrical and Automobile Services
- Oh, and Chief Executive of Biscuit Consumption
I demand a raise.
To be fair to him, Juan has sole custody of his own set of roles – all tasks that I prefer to delegate. Here’s a sample – although I’m sure he could add more of his own:
- Chief Shoe Shiner
- VP Holiday Research and Booking
- Noise Police Officer
- Fire Lighting Facilitator
- Head of Technical Assistance (specialising in Televisual and Internet Services and Electrical Appliances)
- Lead Facilitator of Medium to Large-Scale Building Projects
- Savings and Futures Manager
Obviously, some of the tasks in our respective lists are tiny and require little effort – I guess it’s less a numbers game than a case of playing to our strengths, or taking responsibility for the jobs we most enjoy (or least dislike). Anyway, I’d love to hear about the household chores that you – and only you – ever do, and the tasks you insist on delegating to your other half.
Which jobs cause the most friction in your relationship? And what silly job titles would be in your list?