Leaving your parents house means stepping up the amount of time you spent doing household chores. I had never understood the amount of things you need to do, in order to run a house: food, laundry, cooking, cleaning, maintenance, painting, repairs, just to name a few. These tasks are typically said to be the responsibilities of the woman in the house, but research shows otherwise. The University of Michigan shows how in 1976 women did 26 hours a week on housework, then in 2005 it went down to 16.5, while men went from 6 hours in the seventies to 12.5. More up to date numbers show, that somehow this trend reversed. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, women spend around 2.2 hours a day in household activities or 15.4 hours a week, while men spend 1.2 hours or 8.4 hours a week. Women work almost double when it comes to housework. To be fair, I have to point out, the chores women typically go for take longer, for instance: cooking. You can’t compare putting the clothes in the washing machine, which takes top 5 minutes, to cooking and preparing a lasagna.
I am guessing as well, that this varies from country to country, culture does play a huge role. In my case, we try to keep a balance. There are things I hate doing, but still do them, there are some that I just will NOT do because I despise them and then my boyfriend comes to the rescue, and then there a few ones I actually enjoy (and fitting the stereotype, it’s cooking!). So it’s about communicating and complementing each other, or at least, try to divide the chores equally.
The washing experience: I hate, hate, hate folding clothes once they are dry. I hang it on the rack and will actually grab it from there the moment I need to use it. We practically use the same clothes most of the time, so folding, then sorting it in the closet, for to then be used a day later does not make sense to me – Boyfriend 1, Gaby, 0-. That leads us to the next step of the washing experience: ironing (the word gives me chills). I will avoid at all costs using the ironing machine. I have come with a theory that the faster you hang them, the less wrinkled they get. If that doesn’t work, one of the benefits of living in a country where winter lasts around 8 months is that you just put a sweater on top and hide it. Plus, according to me, throughout the day they somehow disappear. Or at least that is what I like to think. Only if my mom is in town, or I am going to an interview I will make the effort. So our system is, I put it in the wash, I hang it and he folds and shoves it in our closets, and only under extreme circumstances, I will iron, –Boyfriend 1, Gaby 1-.
The trash system: In the city where I live, you have to recycle so I need to have 4 types of trash cans. They pick the trash once a week, but every week is a different trash that is picked up. So I have glass, paper and carton, plastic, and organic trash. I really do my best to separate them, but every couple of days there is this mountain of trash I need to take from the kitchen to the closet in our terrace, and then on Fridays put it out and figure out which trash is going to be picked up. It is not that complicated, it’s just tedious. So this is something I just do not do. Luckily my boyfriend grew up with this system, so he doesn’t mind. –Boyfriend 2, Gaby 1-
Feeding ourselves: I take pride in this, because I really do enjoy it. I do it 80-90% of the time, mostly because I always want to try new ingredients or recipes. I have to say I get very thematic, we have vegan weeks, no sugar week’s, green smoothies weeks, Thai weeks, and so on. I actually like going to the supermarket, I have become a mom, I know. But I really like it. I have burned many pots, ruined a couple of spatulas and we have eaten the weirdest combination of dishes, but I’m getting there.
Final score: Boyfriend 2, Gaby 2.
Try to keep a balance and be fair. No need to burden yourself with doing everything, in fact, delegate! And let’s try to bring those weekly hours closer together. Ok, yes, doing my crazy food experiments takes longer, but you can always cook together, right? I don’t mean you have to bossing anyone around, I would say just try to make it as equal as possible and rotate every once in a while. Speaking of which… I should try to take the trash out every now and then… Or maybe not.