Balancing School and Family, Student Life

A New Way to Handle Chores Around the House – Divide Them!

As a student parent I know how hard it is to keep everything together; between studying and taking care of your spouse and children – you have no time left to do the things needed to keep your household clean and, more practically, even functioning. I know firsthand putting food on the table can become a struggle, and cleaning the dishes afterwards can be an even bigger one.

Coming from a pretty traditional family, I was raised in an environment where it was clear that women are responsible for most- if not all- of the household chores. Naturally, I 13988695003_8a29925fab_b
thought the same was expected of me. After I had my baby I took some time off school to be at home. I was responsible for keeping the house clean, cooking, and caring almost exclusively for my child, as my husband was working full-time. I found it a struggle at first- but then got used to it. This is because I thought that it was the only viable option!

When I planned to return to university I felt so anxious about how I was going to juggle doing it all- cooking, cleaning, childcare and school. When I finally confronted my husband about my difficulties with shouldering so much of the household responsibilities, he was incredibly supportive. When I told him that I wanted him to contribute more and to take on some of the daily chores he instantly said, “YES, let’s split everything 50/50”. I was shocked; I never thought I would get this answer from him. He explained to me that if we are both busy full time outside the home, it makes perfect sense to him that we should split the chores evenly.

Not only did I overcome my anxiety and express to my partner the way that I was feeling, I am glad to report that the changes have actually worked for us! For the last three months we have been splitting the work and everything gets done!

To help keep track of who is doing what, I came up with – a Chore Chart! This is a chart on our fridge that has each chore written twice and magnets representing who is responsible for the chore. Once you have completed the chore, you move the magnet to let the other person know that it’s their responsibility now.

Chore ChartIn this example I am responsible for cooking and taking out compost. My husband is responsible for washing the dishes, doing laundry and watering the plants.

I found that this method is really helpful in splitting our responsibilities 50/50, but you can try other methods as well and find out what works best for your family.

The most crucial thing you have to remember is: if you want to give this a try, keep your commitments. Don’t betray your partner’s trust by leaving dishes in the sink or letting plants die!

Hopefully some of you can implement this! If you have any question about the method or any comments you’d like to share, feel free to write them in the comments below and I’ll be sure to respond!