Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Division of Labor, Diniwilk Style

I have wanted to do a division of labor post forever, because I am always so fascinated by how other people run their households.  I like the categories listed here, so that's where I'll start.  

Child care: I am definitely the one who plans all aspects of childcare.  And I'm okay with that.  I researched every last item that we bought while pregnant, I'm the one who makes all of their food choices, I'm the one who notices when we need new diapers or more big girl underwear, or a winter coat.  I chose the girls' daycare, and I'm the one who takes them back and forth the two days a week they go there.  Justin takes them back and forth the three days they go to my parents' (they live right by his work, so it's really convenient).  I am in charge of bathing the girls and getting them dressed and doing their hair (I often outsource the bathing to my mom).  We are both totally on the same page as far as discipline goes.  We more or less take turns with potty training / diaper duties.  We each have to put one girl to bed at night (no real rhyme or reason as to who gets which kid).  

Newborn care (bonus historical category):   I took almost 4 months of maternity leave (partially unpaid) each; Justin took 6 weeks with Adriana and 8 weeks with Lucia (unpaid).  If you can save up enough money to do this, I can't recommend it enough.  FMLA is awesome.     When Adriana was new, I was a bit more of a natural but Justin learned quickly and was always willing to jump in (especially if it involved a swaddle - he is the swaddle master).  When Lucia was new, Justin was in charge of Adriana and I was in charge of Lucia.  I am definitely better with newborns, and Justin is better with toddlers, so it worked.  I was (obviously) the one who breastfed, pumped, and performed most of the night duties for the babies (Justin helped with Adriana, but not so much with Lucia). 

Time off (bonus category): Saturday is Justin's day to sleep in, Sunday is mine.  During the week I am a solo parent the two days a week Justin works second shift, so I'm working on getting one night a week "off" too.  That hasn't so much happened, but it WILL.  Whenever one of us has a social event, the other one stays home and babysits.  We use up a lot of our babysitting goodwill when we are working, so we don't get babysitters for date nights too often.  I go away two big weekends a year, so does Justin.  Justin has solo childcare duties when I travel for work.  

Work: We both work full time.  I more or less work 8-5 M-F, Justin works second shift two days and first shift the other three.  I have a lot more flexibility as a salaried employee, so I'm the one who works from home if a kid is sick, or takes them to doctor appointments.  When my work is busy, I put in extra hours and am expected to travel with little notice.  Justin has to work over on occasion, but he gets paid for it if he does (JEALOUS!!)

Food: Whoever is free does the grocery shopping.  If I give him a specific list, this is a task Justin likes to do with Adriana just to get her out of the house and give me a bit of a break.  I cook most of the meals, but if we are just heating something up, Justin does the microwaving.  I think feeding the girls is split about equally between us.  No real rhyme or reason as to who feeds which kid.  

Housecleaning: I think Justin is technically doing a bit more right now, since he has those two kid free days.  Either one of us will pick up the living room or kitchen, but I'm the only one who deep cleans or deals with the bedrooms.  I'm the only only one who touches the bathrooms, washes sheets and towels, or mops the floors; he's the only one who touches the mail, vacuums, and steam cleans the carpets.  Justin does his laundry, I do all the rest (I wish he'd give sole laundry duties back to me).  We both gather trash about equally, he's the only one who takes the barrels in and out.   For the last four years, Justin was the sole cat caregiver, but now that I'm not pregnant or breastfeeding and he reached the end of his cat rope, that torch has been passed on to me.  Yay.  

House decorating (bonus category): All me.  Justin has veto power but he rarely exercises it.  We picked out our big furniture together, and were totally on the same page.  The only thing we disagree on that we both feel strongly about are decorative pillows (I am pro (in moderation), he is not).  

Yard work: We outsourced most of the yard work this year, but usually he mows / blows leaves /  uses the snow blower and I weed and am in charge of flowers.  I once mulched the entire yard by myself, will never make that mistake again.  I'm the one who schedules any paid yard help.  

Communications: I'm the one who is in charge of all kid photo sessions, distributing the pictures, sending Christmas cards, etc.  I used to also be the birthday reminder person, but I have slacked on that duty this year.  As far as holiday togetherness planning goes, he contacts his family and I contact mine, then we compare notes, make decisions together, and call our respective families back.

Finances: We have a joint account and we each have our own individual account.  We deposit an equal amount into the joint account each month for house bills and food.  Our own accounts are used for our own car and credit card (and, in my case, student loan) payments, lunches, and discretionary spend.  We both love this system and we never fight about money.  I pay for the girls' health care and vision and dental for the whole family, in addition to my own; Justin pays for his own health care.  I'm the only one currently contributing to the girls' 529 accounts.  Sometimes I pay for the girls' clothes, sometimes it comes from the joint account.  I'm okay with taking on these extra expenses, as I make more money.  I pay the house bills, but Justin would LOVE to take this over.  I should probably let him - we would never have any late payments if he were in charge.  He is much more organized and financially responsible than I am.  He operates on a tight budget for his personal expenses and wants to get our family on a budget as well.  This is a major goal for next year.  

Activities: I am generally the one who plans the family activities, but Justin has surprised me on occasion.  He wants to use his Christmas bonus to take the girls back to Great Wolf Lodge (or maybe try out a different water park) this winter, which makes me super happy.  We try to do at least one big activity per weekend (zoo, aquarium, movie, etc.), and Justin is usually on board with whatever I decide.  He packs the diaper / snack bag while I get the girls moving.  

Who wears the pants (bonus category): Definitely me.  Justin freely admits this and is okay with it.  I am in charge of all of our major life decisions and a lot of the minor ones, and Justin vetoes when he feels strongly about something.  He is usually pretty okay with whatever I decide.  

Generally, I am pretty happy with how we run our household.  I felt really overwhelmed when the girls were small (like I was taking on the majority of the responsibilities), but that has evened out now that everyone is sleeping through the night and the girls are a bit older.  I coped with feeling overwhelmed by letting A LOT of shit slide, and Justin and I are finally working as a team to get our house back in shape again.           

So, are we normal?  What strikes you as odd?  How does it work in your house?  If you blog or have blogged about this, please link below!     


Erica said...

Interesting... I've never seen it laid out this way before. It's always neat to see how people do it. At our house I do everything but I don't work outside the home so it's good for me.

Lacey said...

I am stealing this idea! Love.
I think our families are ran very similarly though. You'll see in just a minute when I post mine!

Kara Keenan said...

I totally stole this. It's fascinating to see how other people function!

Jessica said...

Finances is going to be a big one for us. Right now we operate much like you - separate incomes and accounts. I'm rather nervous moving to a joint account! I do think we'll have separate "allowance" accounts for free spending, but I'll handle all the joint checking/bills.

Mama Tully said...

This is such an interesting post. I like seeing how other partnerships work. Ours is very different, but I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I am mainly a stay at home mom. If I were to lay it out in this order, our situation looks so grossly traditional - me doing all the home care, cooking, shopping, child care, etc.. and my husband doing all the work, finances, and yard work. It works for us for now, but I'm sure things will change as our family home life evolves and our children get older and become school aged.

Suzanne said...

I LOVE this post - fascinating to see into other people's lives - and I am totally stealing it to do myself.

StephLove said...

Child care: More me than her because she works full time and I work part-time. It's more or less equal when we're both home.

Newborn care: I'm the bio mom and I breastfed so the lion's share of that went to me, too, but she was involved with everything else. It was more egalitarian with the first baby because we juggled our schedules back and forth to care for him but when the second baby came I was a SAHM.

Time off: I usually go swimming by myself on Sunday afternoon and I have book club meetings once a month or so. She doesn't really have any time for herself, but I've been encouraging her to start taking yoga again because she used to enjoy that.

Food: She grocery shops. I do most of the cooking. She cooks one night a week.

Housecleaning: This used to be more or less equal but now I do more of it.

Decorating: We're supposed to decorate?

Yard work: Mostly me.

Communications: A mix.

Finances: Her

Activities: A mix.

Emily said...

I find this topic interesting as well. We have a similar division of labor in our house (we seem to have a lot of commonalities in our lives!). I'll do a whole post about it this week.

Wiz said...

Loved reading this!! Ours has changed so much since I went from working to staying at home. I have definitely taken on a lot more responsibilities in the household but my husband helps A LOT on the weekends (a lot has to do with me being eight months pregnant!) We also switched from separate accounts to joint accounts. We NEVER fought over money with separate and I feared we would with joint, but we still dont which has been nice. Thanks for posting!

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

This is a brilliant post and it tells so much about your family. I might be borrowing the idea for my own blog!

Audrey said...

I think I'm going to do this too. Maybe tomorrow! We definitely have more similarities than I would have imagined since I'm largely a SAHM and you work outside the home. I think it's fascinating to see how other people's households run and find similarities where you 'assume' there will be differences.

Also - Hello fellow Ohioan! I am always excited to run into an Ohio blogger. :D