Monday, January 7, 2013


A comment on my post about our morning routine made me realize I may have misrepresented the situation. In terms of chores and parenting duties, I think G and I are pretty 50/50, if not 60/40 (60 him, 40 me). I've read before that in shared work, each party tends to overestimate their own contribution; I imagine a bit of that was happening, but also it was probably an atypical day, hence my annoyance & outburst.

For the mornings, like I mentioned, part of the issue is that we have no set "routine", every morning unfolds a bit differently, based on sleep, morning needs, and some other indeterminate factor. Some days I get up with L and end up getting B ready, too (like the one I described). Sometimes we each take a kid, sometimes G takes them both. At least once a week, I leave so early that he does indeed take care of everything on his own. If there is any breakfast making to be done (i.e. eggs, oatmeal, fresh pancakes) for the kids, that's his job. Dog-walking in the butt-early hours is also his job.

He also has does almost 100% of daycare drop-offs, and 80-90% of pick-ups. Having stepped in to do this more often recently (maybe once every couple of weeks), I understand that this is a surprisingly challenging job. The pick-ups are physically taxing, trying to herd both kids, take B for one last potty trip (which happens to be downstairs), load up all their multiple containers and cups (and remember to get every last one, lest we get into this weekend's situation of B refusing to drink milk because his yellow cup got left at school!) get sass info from the teachers, and bring the super-heavy stroller down the stairs (through 2 sets of doors) while simultaneously carrying 2 squirmy kids. In the winter there is also the matter of re-bundling in hats/mittens/coats/full-body fleece. Then its a long walk home complete with stops for answering questions that can't be heard, handing out pretzels and mitten re-application. The last 0.25-0.5 miles of it, recently L has had enough of sitting in the stroller and needs to be carried.

Drop-off is less onerous, but more emotionally challenging; for the past year, B has had on & off periods (weeks to months) of crying dramatically and begging to stay home.

Once we're all together again for the evening, we again split up the duties in some fashion. G generally (i.e. 70% of the time) does both boys' baths---it started when I was pregnant and couldn't really do the bending easily, but I don't really love the task on my best days. And I have the (to me) much more pleasant task of bedtime story reading (G doesn't like this, he falls asleep in the middle of reading picture books to B!!!). I always make the boys' lunches because he has trouble remembering all 7 items for B and 5 items for L (we have to send all snacks & food)---it takes me 15 minutes, and him 30. He does the kitchen cleaning---put away food, load dishwasher, clean counters, sweep---probably 70-80% of the time. He always does the late-night dog walk, since I tend to change into PJs after dinner, and go to bed earlier on most nights.

Sick days are usually a compromise of who has the most flexible schedule that day. (Today I win...G is at home with L, if he's still sick tomorrow, my turn).

He takes the boys' for haircuts (he gets his done at the same time).
I tend to do doctors appointments because I like to know what's going on and he can only give vague mis-information---but if I'm busy he'll go---maybe he does 30-40% of these.
 If someone is coming to work on the house, G tends to stay home---he likes to know what's going on and I can only give vague mis-information.

These are our weekdays. The post has gotten long enough, I'll probably do a separate one for weekends.

Its not always split down the middle, but it seems to even out overall.


  1. I will admit, I'm impressed with your division of labor on the child rearing front. Ours is not nearly so equal but that is probably my own fault because I step in a lot when I believe I could do something easier/faster/with less fussing that MV can.

    I love to hear about how other couples make all this stuff work. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I think I was just lashing out at your husband--I kind of figured he was a good one... We have a super regular routine, but I know that doesn't work for every family. For me, it's essential because I love knowing what to do without any negotiation. It sounds like what you guys do is ultimately successful!