168 Hours…Family

This series is intended for those of us not in the top 1%, or even the top 10%, in terms of household earnings.  We’re not at the bottom either but we don’t have the money or flexibility of CEOs and executives. 

I wrote about work and now I’m writing about the other side of the equation: Family, especially those raising young children.  Older children are another story and one that I have zero knowledge of!  I felt that by focusing on two major areas that take time — work and family — I could help more people find time in their busy lives. 

The most important advice I can offer besides the obvious “choose your partner wisely” is to divide your chores equally. If you work full-time and also take on the majority of chores and childcare, the work/life balance will become nearly impossible.  If you work part-time or are the stay-at-home parent, you still need to get your partner to be responsible for some chores and I recommend NOT splitting these along traditional gender lines.   Many couples do an indoor (female) and outdoor (male) work split.  While grass cutting can wait, indoor chores tend to be more repetitive, urgent and time-consuming overall.   See this post about cooking for what I mean.

Compared to friends/family who divide chores by gender, I have a lot more free time.  I don’t have to do extra laundry to make sure my husband has clean underwear.  We can both make a good, healthy dinner.   I put dishes away more often but my husband is very capable and willing to do this too. I guess the main reason I advocate dividing chores in gender-neutral ways is that it gives you more flexibility.

It almost goes without saying that young kids and teenagers can pitch in, too.  Tell them that they don’t live in a hotel and their parents are not their servants!

Also, check out author Laura Vanderkam’s blog…her book “168 Hours” inspired this series.

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4 responses to “168 Hours…Family

  1. I completely agree. My husband works from home (and is the slightly obsessive compulsive one to boot), but we both share chores. We both do laundry, we both do dishes. He does bathrooms, but I do floors. We both pick up. He takes out the trash, but I do the catbox. Etc. It makes such a huge, huge difference to not feel like all of my non-work time is devoted to the house.

  2. Yes, everyone can do chores! And kids who grow up sharing in chores don’t have to be taught how to do them as adults. And that can save them a lot of time, effort, hassle, money, and embarrassment when they’re just starting out.

    • It’s amazing how many women magazine articles ignore the fact that kids, but especially spouses, can help with work/life balance!

  3. “Divide your chores equally” and make the kids do them, too = amen!

    @Ginger – my DH is also the one who cares more about what our house looks like, from what I hear we’re not the norm but the upside is, I have never had to feel unsupported or overly concerned about chores.

    He is also a much better cook than I am, so he handles the food and grocery shopping. I’m better on the phone, so I handle calling and managing service people. The rest is split equally, though he probably does slightly more than me, even though I work from home and he does not.

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