What is the division of chores at your house? - Mothering Forums

Thread Tools
#1 of 13 Old 06-13-2013, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
Momsteader's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Montana
Posts: 2,181
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

We don't have assigned chores at our house. We have 'family work' and everyone helps. I'm sure I do more than anyone else, but part of that is because some just has to be done by mama. My olders can and do just about everything except breastfeeding the baby of course LOL  They are capable at laundry, cooking, cleaning, farm chores, etc.  I do most of the cooking, but mostly because I have more 'vision' for meals than they do. They can do a meal if I give them a recipe or direction, but can't pull together something from the fridge like I do. We eat entirely from scratch, so that has a higher learning curve for cooking.  


Dad is home only on some weekends as he works out of town. He pitches in, but I try to not have it feel like he's working the whole time he's here, as I'd rather have him play with the kiddos on the weekend. We just all work together to get it done. I've found that with assigned 'chores' kids get that 'it's not my job' mentality and don't want to help with other things.  We usually do a big clean-up the day Dad is coming home, so we can play as much as possible when Dad is home. 


How are chores divided up at your house? Mom? Dad? Children? How do you decide? If you're not doing it the way you'd like to, what is the way you'd like to do it? 

HappyHappyMommy likes this.

~Mama to my boys~ to a teen, a tween & a toddler and surro-mama to twins and their sister

Livin' in the sticks with my chicks chicken3.gif and lovin' it!

2014:  4/52 projects  0/2014 things 0/52 books

Momsteader is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 of 13 Old 06-13-2013, 11:58 AM
Banana731's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: the wild Midwestern Woods...
Posts: 3,734
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
My kids have specific chores. They have a list they have to check off. They can't go outside or have free time until they are finished. They also get a minimal allowance if they complete the chores without nagging. They are 5 and 9, and it's age appropriate stuff that they are mostly causing the mess for anyway. They have to clean their bedroom (its a tiny
Room for sleep, clothes, and stuffed animals-we have a separate play room for toys, so it's not a huge task.), clean up their messes in the common areas of the house, wipe and sweep under the table, brush teeth/hair and clear/wipe off the bathroom counter, put any shoes piled in front of the shoe cabinet away neatly, and the eldest has to let the chickens out, refill food if it's empty, and collect any eggs. It takes about 10- 15 min, if they don't lolly gag.

They also have to participate in any housework I ask them to throughout the day. I have always made it very clear that housework is something that everyone in a family has to do to make it so that we can live in comfortable home. Working together is just what we do, these things are expected and not rewarded. So some days it's cleaning the bathrooms, or doing laundry, or cleaning a specfic room, or gardening, or taking care their baby sister so I can do things around the house without them. I do most of the cooking and dishes with Dh's help. I'd say that's 70/30 just out of what his schedule dictates, but Dh will work around the house at whatever he's asked to equally with the rest of us. He does model the "we work together as a family" thing when he is able. It's again, just schedule that dictates that the majority of housework falls on us.

This works well for us. As well as you can expect with small kids, anyway. They get better at it as they grow up, require less reminding or cajoling from me. I expect that by the time they are teens it should be just the way it is around here.

Banana, doula wife to Papa Banana and mother to Banana One, Banana Two, Banana Three, Banana Four...

Banana731 is offline  
#3 of 13 Old 06-13-2013, 10:04 PM
mamarhu's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: dining at the restaurant at the end of the universe
Posts: 3,072
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)

My youngest still at home are teens now, so it is different. YoungSon is responsible for taking the trash and recycling and compost out (daily to the bins plus weekly to the curb), all the yard work, his own room and laundry, and his own meals when I am not home. He needs to be reminded, but eventually gets it done.


BigGirl does her own room and laundry, and frequently cooks for the family. She loves canning and gourmet cooking and baking - this is not something I ever directly ask her to do. She is homeschooled, unschooled really, but we have hired a tutor to work with her on math twice a week. She likes to have the house sparkling whenever guests are coming, so the house, at least all the public rooms (living room, dining room, kitchen and bath) get polished twice a week! I pay for a tutor, and get a housekeeper too! SCORE!


I am responsible for most of the cooking, any major deep cleaning projects, and of course, my own room and laundry. When the Dumplings were younger, they never had "chores" at all. When I wanted help with something, I just asked. I sometimes got some grumbling or whining, but generally they did it. I had to remind them to pick up after themselves, still do with YoungSon in fact, but it never was much of an issue. From the time they were toddlers, I involved them in my housekeeping activities, wiping or dusting, dishwashing or cooking, and they just gradually became more competent.


It is funny to me that we have evolved into such a gender-typical division of labor. YoungSon enjoyed cutting vegetables and cooking from a very early age, and BigGirl loved gardening. But now they have taken on very traditional roles. Hmmmm. 

Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

mamarhu is offline  
#4 of 13 Old 06-13-2013, 11:39 PM
meemee's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Norther California
Posts: 12,633
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)

its just dd and me.


not sure if I should answer since its just the two of us and of course I do the majority. dd is 10.


because its the two of us we have a lot of flexibility. dd can do everything I can do.


in our house it goes by who is tired the most. or who has stuff to do.


somedays I don't feel like cooking dinner. somedays dd is raring to go cook something. or she is tired of my cooking.


she puts the clothes in and brings them out. I fold them and she puts them away.


it works.

 treehugger.gif Co-parent, joy.gifcold.gifbrand new homeschooling middle schoolerjoy.gif, and an attackcat.gif 
meemee is offline  
#5 of 13 Old 06-14-2013, 09:03 AM
limabean's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 9,431
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
I do all the inside surface cleaning except floors, which DH does. I cook, DH does the dishes. On the nights when he cooks (maybe once a week), I do the dishes. He does all the outside work except pruning the roses and tending our vegetable garden, which I do. He's a better declutterer than I am, so on weekend deep-cleaning days he'll clear off a surface and I'll follow along and clean it. I do all the laundry except for DH's clothes, which he does himself. But if one of us goes to do laundry and there's already stuff in the machines, we'll move it along/fold it, so we probably end up fairly evenly split on that one.

The kids clear their plates, clean their rooms, pick up their toys, help a bit with dusting and sweeping, put laundry in the hamper, and make their beds.

I'm happy with our system.

DH+Me 1994 heartbeat.gif DS 2004 heartbeat.gif DD 2008 heartbeat.gif DDog 2014
limabean is offline  
#6 of 13 Old 06-15-2013, 04:27 PM
delightedbutterfly's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,658
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)

Dh and I usually share everything. Less so recently as he changed jobs and works more than he is home.


-He is 100% in charge of his own laundry. I *may* change it from the washer to dryer to help out but I made it clear from day one that I wasn't going to be doing his laundry...

- Currently he also takes the garbage out when full (or I'll put it just inside the garage and he'll put it in the can) and puts the can out on garbage days. However this job falls on me when he has to go away for work.

- He's also in charge of recycling

mowing the lawn (I may also need to take this over or hire someone when he goes away)

- and making his lunch (this is usually left overs so it's mainly just putting it into containers, if I don't, and making sure he has enough "extras").

- He also needs to let me know when he needs something

- OH! And I also like the living room, kitchen and main bathroom clean and tidy before anyone comes over, so if it isn't then he needs to make sure these are done before any of his friends come over. It doesn't bother him, but since these areas are usually pretty tidy anyways, it's easy for him to do a quick sweep to keep me satisfied ;)


But if he's not working crazy hours then he will do everything from dishes, to laundry, to cleaning bathrooms and more. When he was working a more traditional work schedule and was home early every day then he tended to do most of the household chores.


My kids (8&5) have chores also. They need to keep their room and playroom's tidy, usually only happens when I ask though... And between the two of them have various chores. They do their own laundry (except for folding, which they are working on and soon will be doing that too!), the younger puts in new garbage bags and takes cans and bottles to the garage bin, my oldest clears the table after dinner, rinses the dishes and loads the dishwasher. They take turns starting the dishwasher. They also love dusting, sweeping and running clutter to the rooms they belong in when I'm cleaning. And the oldest lately has been LOVING making her own lunch for school. She also usually gets both of them breakfast in the morning. They both know how to use a toaster and microwave and make their favorites.


I'm pretty much in charge of everything... cleaning, cooking, organizing, tidying, budgeting, scheduling, appointments, health and everything in between. Even much of the stuff on everyone else's list I end up helping with. Which is why only the important stuff gets done some days. And other days nothing gets done but making sure we're all fed :)

Child Passenger Safety Educator and Mom to three amazing daughters!!

Come check out MDC's
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
delightedbutterfly is offline  
#7 of 13 Old 06-15-2013, 07:19 PM
katelove's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 4,889
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 215 Post(s)
We don't have anything that we are formally in charge of. That said, we have fallen into the habit of DH putting the bins out each week. And he is largely in charge of the pool and I am largely in charge of the veggie garden. Over them that we just do what needs doing.

I tend to do more housework because I am at home and so I do things during the day. Also, when given the choice, I usually choose to do housework to have a break from the kids. So DH will entertain the kids and I will do jobs. I enjoy it. I put a podcast on my iPhone and get some continuing education hours up at the same time.

DD1 doesn't have a list of jobs but she helps with different things - washing, setting the table, emptying the dishwasher. We didn't have lists as kids either, my parents would just ask us to do things as they came up or, as we got older, we would offer.

Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012  mdcblog5.gif

katelove is offline  
#8 of 13 Old 06-27-2013, 01:56 PM
ihave7kids's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 121
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There are 9 of us in our house, and all but the youngest 2 who are 4 & 2 have specific chores. I do many of them, but each child has age-appropriate chores & hubby unloads the dishwasher (which I don't like to do!) and helps cycle the laundry...we do A LOT of laundry! He just doesn't like to do the cloth diapers, because I complain if he doesn't do them right smile.gif We homeschool all the kids, so the house can get pretty messy with everyone home all day. We do regular chores before school in the morning, and then spend a few minutes straightening up before dinner. This system has evolved over time, and really changed to our current approach when we began homeschooling 4 years ago. Before that I really did almost everything myself, but just don't have the time now. If I could afford it, I'd hire a cleaning service for sure!
ihave7kids is offline  
#9 of 13 Old 06-27-2013, 02:52 PM
Storm Bride's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 25,599
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

Our division is very informal. I do all the driving (dh is legally blind), which means I do the majority of the shopping, as well. (DH does frequently pick stuff up on his way home from work and such, though.)


I take care of pretty well all the lunches around here, both during the week and on weekends. Dinners are probably about a 50/50 split between me and dh, in general, although he's been doing more of them than I have in the last litlte while. DS1 rarely does any meal prep, except for himself, as he's rarely home, but will sometimes throw together a quick lunch for his siblings. DD1 has made dinner (spaghetti) a couple of times, and is more than willing to do it again.


DH and I do all the family laundry, except for ds1, who does his own. I do the laundry on a regular basis, but if/when I get behind, dh will frequently clear the whole backlog in one morning/afternoon. I'm more the "throw a load in the wash/rotate to dryer/remove and put away when I think of it" type. DD1 and ds2 put away their own folded laundry (so does dd2, but we need to follow up with her, as she likes to dump it all on the floor, instead of in her drawers), and are learning to fold their own, as well. DD1 will probably be in charge of her own laundry within a year or so (we started ds1 on his at 12), and ds2 a couple years after that.


The dishwasher is pretty much run by whatever person who notices that it's full. I starated it after lunch today, but dh frequently does it after dinner. I'm usually the one who empties it, because I'm the one who's home. The middle kids help, but have only emptied it themselves once, so far. DS1 is intermittently requested to load or unload it, depending on his schedule. DD1 and ds2 set the table.


General cleaning...I do sweeping, floor mopping, etc. I do almost all the hand dishes. DD1 usually does the bathrooms, but I give them spot cleans between the full job. DH usually vacuums, because I really hate the sound of a vacuum (but I sweep the carpets between vacuuming). I do all the general wiping/scrubbing of counters, walls, appliances, etc., except when dd1 wants to help (she scrubbed half the shower stall recently).


We live in a townhouse, so our garbage and recycling to go dumpsters/bins, not out for curbside pick-up. Taking that stuff out is totally on a "whoever notices it needs to be done" basis (although I'll ask dh or ds1 if they're on the way out or something). The trash probably gets taken out mostly by dh, but I've been the one taking out the recyclables lately. I'm not sure why, but it's kind of evolved that way.


Everything's very fluid...

Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

Storm Bride is offline  
#10 of 13 Old 06-28-2013, 04:13 AM
ollyoxenfree's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,903
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)

Everyone is expected to be able to do any household chore. In reality, I do most daily cleaning because I'm here and the others have work and/or school. On weekends though, usually everyone will help with some dusting and vacuuming and cleaning the bathrooms. 


DH and DC make their own breakfasts and lunches. I usually cook a family dinner, but not always. Our only rule is that if someone cooks for the rest of the family, s/he doesn't have to wash/dry dishes. Invoking the rule is up to the discretion of the cook. Sometimes I'll cook and clean up if the others have something going on and need to leave. 


Our laundry gets mixed together. I don't like to run the washing machine for less than a full load. I'm also a little obsessive about not mixing darks and lights, separating delicates including business shirts, washing towels and sheets separately because they are the only loads using hot water and so on. Thanks to being so careful with laundry, our clothes, towels and sheets last a very long time without showing a lot of excessive wear. If we had 4 people doing their own separate loads according to different care needs, the washing machine would be running all the time for very tiny loads. Not economical nor environmentally sound. Any of us will throw in a load, but again, I usually do it during the day while everyone else is at work or school. 


The garbage cans inside get emptied whenever needed and by any of us. The compost bucket by the sink goes out every day or other day. The recycling usually takes a couple of days to fill up, but the cans and jars get rinsed out before they go into the bin, so it's not a problem. The much smaller garbage bins for non-compost, non-recycling get emptied once or twice a week but there's very little in them. Once a week, DH will take the outside bins to the curb for municipal pick-up before he leaves for work. After pick-up, usually one of the dc or I will bring them back up the driveway to the garage. 


Yard work is a little different and split a little more along traditional gender lines. DH does most of the lawn mowing and pruning bushes/trees. I like to garden but I don't like that kind of work. Probably not fair, however, in the winter, I do a lot of the snow shoveling. 

ollyoxenfree is offline  
#11 of 13 Old 06-30-2013, 01:00 PM
grisandole's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Southern California
Posts: 5,108
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)

My ideal is that everyone cleans up after themselves, and then we each have specific chores. I say it's a goal because it requires a lot of reminding to get my household members to clean up after themselves. They will when asked, but I'm tired of asking and having to micromanage. I have dh, dss who is 15, and ds who is 11. Anyway, aside from cleaning up after themselves (laundry, putting away their dishes, cleaning rooms is all part of cleaning up after themselves), they have chores. DS is responsible for unloading the dishwasher, taking recycling to the bin, and cleaning the cat box. Dh takes out the trash and does all the maintenance and repairs for our home and cars. He also is in charge of refilling our 5gallon water jugs and other types of heavy lifting :)

grisandole is offline  
#12 of 13 Old 07-02-2013, 02:01 PM
mum4vr's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 451
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)

I like this thread-- it's good to hear what works for you all. Sometimes I feel that -nothing- works for us, haha.


Right now, I have a teen & a tween at home & one on the way.


Everyone in the family has a very short list of "daily blessings"  we are all expected to do throughout the day. It's on a list by way of reminder bc some of us are very easily distracted! but no checking off your list-- it's just expected. The list is not only chores, but things like grooming self & feeding pets. Every list includes one small duty in the kitchen & bath, like wipe off the vanity or set the table. This keeps our home blessing us & each other, hence the name. This cuts down on a lot of heavy cleaning for me bc messes get nipped in the bud while they're small! Some things on the list are group activities as well.


DS2 does the trash, usually without being asked (when we used a woodstove, he also brought in wood & took out ashes)-- these are things he feels his mom & sisters should not have to do, so he does them. (DH is often working when these things are done, but he also does them at times/ as asked).


DD1 loves to bake, but not clean up from baking! She cooks & bakes with or without being asked-- any time she has permission.


I do most everything else -with help (a version of family work, but the buck stops with me). I am intrigued by the "family work" idea preventing the "it's not my job" syndrome. We've had some of both, but I don't think we've had that problem at times when we've called most everything family work, so our experience may bear it out, now that I consider it more. One rule we have implemented that has worked is that no one is allowed to refuse a request for help from anyone without a -REALLY- good reason.


DH does not do much housework or yardwork; he spends a lot of time doing out-of-the-house work. He will help with anything I/ we ask, but I always feel like I'm mothering him when I ask him to do a chore, yk? I'm not comfortable with giving him a chore list & he does not do much if not asked, so one of us probably needs to adjust... most likely me!


My main stress with division of labor is that I do (or make it get done) almost everything in & out of the house (or it doesn't get done)-- both things traditionally considered "men's work" and "women's work." Although I've explained to my family that I simply do not have time nor strength to do all the housework when I'm exhausted from taking care of the "guy work" already, it doesn't go far. If I don't either do it myself, or micro-manage it's commission, it does not happen. We are in a transitional state right now, tho, so we're still finding balance, but clearly we haven't found it yet. It's not about who's DOING things, it's about ALL the responsibility is on my shoulders.


This pregnancy has been a big eye-opener for my family, esp when I was on rest restriction for a couple weeks-- nothing got done! Even meals were makeshift & late! We talked about taking initiative and responsibility. We also talked about expecting the same thing when baby comes-- I'm not planning to push another human being out of my body, come home the next day & scrub floors or tell ppl when to wash dishes! I have to say that at least they are planning & working together to arrange a fair chore list while I am down & also that I -do- get more help than previously-- they are trying to remember to take ownership of more things within their ken.


To be honest, I feel the lack of "taking ownership" for my DC & for DH stems from having had a dictated check-off type chore list & feeling that anything not on the list is not their job-- YMMV. I know this is not the case in some families, but looking at our & his history, I think the negative aspects are a result of chore list mishandling previously.


I am very very thankful to have a family that at least is willing to adjust when things just are not working (like recently)-- that willingness to improve is worth more than any specific chore help I could get bc as circumstances change, I know we can find a new balance that will work better for us C:

mum4vr is offline  
#13 of 13 Old 07-02-2013, 02:41 PM
IsaFrench's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: now back in Europe
Posts: 2,491
Mentioned: 39 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)

have been thinking of that thread tonight when i asked DD1 (now 14) to come and help me cook dinner

i've always found it easier to do stuff by myself in the past ... and it was hard when i was ill & they were not used to pitch in


i've tried chore lists a few years ago but the children were arguing about the size of their respective lists instead of starting to work ....


today i started a kind of table in a large notebook with columns for tasks (go and buy bread, remove chairs from kitchen, sweep kitchen ...)

date on the left, and names entered in the corresponding box (and showed DS that his name came up a few time, as did DD1's name

& explained that i'll keep a record and will vary who i'll ask to do what ....)

am planning that this summer holiday we'll be less "out and about" but putting more efforts into learning how to keep things tidy and cleaned  in our living space


a school friend of DD1 rang .... but had to stop the conversation and promise to call back after only a few minutes because her dad had apparently asked her to unload the diswasher .... i then learned that she's paid "her age in money per month" for doing chores

i don't pay my children for chores (yet, i might get round to doing it sometimes ...)


i like reading about how it goes in other families; by doing that, i felt less helpless since i realised that we do manage some areas about ok

we have no issues about dirty clothing lying around, we have one collection point only that is well used

these last few months i've asked for each person to take their clothes from the drying racks, fold them and put them away (helping DD2, who's 6), they don't yet do it without any prompting of mine .... we'll be working on that during the summer ....

IsaFrench is offline  

Family Life , Family Issues

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 14,909

21 members and 14,888 guests
*green*faery* , bananabee , BirthFree , Dakotacakes , debigebi , Deborah , emmy526 , girlspn , healthy momma , Hopeful2017 , Katherine73 , NaturallyKait , philomom , redsally , RollerCoasterMama , Skippy918 , Springshowers , zebra15
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.