Married Gyaan – 1

Three years into our marriage, the husband and I have found a certain rhythm in our life together. Call us dull, predictable, domesticated or neanderthal, but we no longer fight over who cooks dinner tonight or who vacuums the house tomorrow. And if you are going to force me to be honest at gunpoint, maybe I’ll admit we don’t fight as much over these things anymore!

So the ‘Why should I do this?’ and ‘I am always doing all the work around here’ arguments have been exhausted (we hope!) and the two of us have fallen into a comfortable and mutually acceptable routine in many ways.

But this post and especially the discussion in the comment space made me wonder – how did we come to be in our present assigned roles? Was there a conscious thought process or did we simply fall in with gender stereotypes while choosing our tasks? And is either one of us being shortchanged?

Now instead of getting into a long and confused argument with myself, let me explain the division of labor in the JnM household and invite your comments instead.

So what does he do?

(I am tempted to say nothing but you are holding me at gunpoint, remember?)

Ironing our clothes and vacuuming the carpeted areas of the house over the weekend, kneading atta every 2-3 days, paying the house rent and other household/credit card bills on time, maintaining both our cars, keeping track of the currency exchange rate and periodically sending money to India, taking responsibility for all our investments (after we have talked them through of course) – all this is exclusively the husband’s domain and something I rarely give a second thought to.

And then there are other things like doing the dishes, cleaning up in the kitchen after a meal and heating the chapatis while I roll them out that I may do if the husband’s busy, but usually fall under his purview too.

And what do we do?

Assembling a simple weekday breakfast (tea/coffee, cereals and milk or toast sandwich), serving meals at home, taking out the garbage, doing the laundry, sorting through our mail – Either one of us who’s free or feels the urge could take this up. (In case of the weekday breakfast though, we take turns and carefully keep track of and argue over each other’s turns!)

And now the grand finale – what do I do?

Planning our meals and cooking on a daily basis, making shopping lists, watering and caring for our plants, cleaning the bathroom and the kitchen on a weekly basis and keeping our home neat and tidy and picking up after the husband EVERYDAY – all this is exclusively my domain.

So that’s it! Tell me, what do you think? And if you don’t mind, how does it work in your marriage?

Note1: Not that I am troubled or anything – ours may not be the best arrangement but it certainly works for us and we both seem to be comfortable with it – but the argumentative Libran that I am, I love discussions conducted solely for the sake of discussion and hence this post. So please don’t hold back your arguments because our way work for us – never mind what works for us, I am trying to get an open discussion going here!

Note2: I know my list is the smallest, but try cooking everyday and then come back and we’ll talk about it, okay?

Note3: An interesting aside – a lot of my tasks I have taken upon myself only because I don’t trust I will get the high standards I expect if they were done by anyone other than myself. Which is exactly what was discussed in the comment space of the feminist post and what got me thinking about this in the first place.

It’s true, I never ask the husband to tidy up the house because I know I’ll have to run after him undoing everything he’s done before putting it right!

Just look at the way he tidies up the sofa for example…

… while I want the pillows to be arranged in perfectly planned disarray instead.

And don’t you dare say you prefer his way now, mine is the careless casual chic look, don’t you see? The husband never understands that! Or wait a minute, does he understand perfectly and pretend not to understand? He is not that smart, now, is he?

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32 responses to “Married Gyaan – 1

  1. Your division of labor at home sounds pretty good to me, mainly because you both are happy doing your particular tasks and everything obviously gets done! Can’t think of a better way to divide things up when they already have a set natural pattern.

    P.S – Your couch looks really comfortable. Also, I like your arrangement better. πŸ˜‰

  2. Nooooo Sindhu, please don’t base your answer on the fact that it works for us. I am trying to get an argument… ahem discussion going here!!!

    And you like my way of course! You are MY blog friend, aren’t you? πŸ˜‰

  3. Hi there,

    First time here via blog hopping. Interesting blog you have here and more interesting is this post here.

    I’ve been married almost 5 years now, and we still sometimes keep fighting over who has to do what – though one thing is that for whatever job he does, I have to keep reminding him else he forgets…and as he says…Remind, not NAG ! :))

    While in our household too, there are certain things that he does regularly and that I do regularly. But, being a person who loves changes, I love it to keep changing the rule…so now, I’m teaching hubby to cook, while he’s lecturing me on how to keep checking on our investments !

    PS. Love your header and I probably am gonna be a regular to your blog !

  4. It’s almost perfect. And no, I don’t think the division of labour is based on gender stereotypes. I think both of you are shouldering equal amount of responsibilities. And I’m not saying that because it works for you.

    As for us – The Guy and me – well, we do so little at home that division of labor isn’t required as such. Firstly, because we have house help and secondly because we live in ajoint family and our house is so big that if we tried to do things by ourselves, we’d be sitting at home the whole day long! However, if you ask me honestly, The Guy has been brought up in such a horribly patriarchal household that he’s best only at doing outdoor work. Like taking care of our investments, taxes, car maintenance, etc. He also pitches in with the cleaning of one of our book shelves, which he can’t ask me to do because it’s too high for me πŸ™‚ and makes the bed whenever the maid doesn’t turn up.

    Me? I take care of the kitchen, shopping for essentials and non-essentials such as gifts, presents, etc., cleaning the room, making sure the laundry is done, the linen is clean and in place and generally things are organised. Aesthetics of the house are also my department. And btw, chiding the house help for not doing their job well is also my forte!

  5. V fair division of labour..well in my case we have lots of house help(touchwood) and we live in a joint family…so not much of household hores..DH handles investments, major banking stuff,maintaining cars and buys fruits every sunday..all the chindi bank work is delegated to me, kids, education,activities,palnning outings is all dumped on me..And he watches the television for me also!!

  6. The arrangement seems fair and each of you seem to be doing your fair share of work!
    We have been married for a little over 2 years now and have also settled in our own little arrangement at home. He does the laundry, arranging furniture while i vaccum, loading up the dishwasher while I clean the bathroom and kitchen(I like my way better), tidying the house, cooking everyday. Bills gets paid online so neither of us does that and we maintain our own cars. He keeps an eye on the investments but I do too sometimes…..and the best part of we have never discussed who would do what ever. I am lazy about doing the laundry and he has less clothes than I do so he cares about the laundry(i know I am selfish), I dont like the way he vaccum cleans so I do it, he doesnt care about food so I cook and the remaining chores get done depending on who has the time. I do grocery shopping on way home from work sometimes and we do it together during weekends. We’ve found our peace is what I would say!

  7. Okay this sounds like fun…
    1.) The cushions in the second pic, three on one side, and just two on another – is my kind of arrangement.

    2.)My job at home – When husband is away: Get the maids to chop,help with cooking, clean, dust, hang up washed laundry, water the plants etc.
    Give clothes to dhobi, pick and drop kids to and from dentists, music classes, go for PTAs, find tutors etc, pay all mobile, land line, electricity, broad band, club etc bills & insurance premiums, school fees etc. (mainly online). Tidy up the house, aesthetics and everyday shopping is my job. Manage investments -again online. Help the kids with any project work/assignments.
    Persuade/bribe the kids to walk the dogs, or to clean & change cat’s litter box.

    Rarely: Get the cars serviced.

    When husband is around: Wake up after he has walked the dogs and made tea. Cook most meals (with house hold help). He takes over the chauffeur’s job, when he is around. He pays Income Tax, gets car servicing etc. He bathes the dogs (I feed them), takes them to vet’s. He does a lot of shopping or we go together.
    Basically I do most of the jobs that get done from home. He does outside jobs. Each is doing what they like πŸ™‚

    Most shopping we do together.

    It may look like I am doing a lot, but the fact is that with the kids so grown up and help for most chores, I feel I have plenty of free time.

  8. I am going to send this post to my husband! I am even a little jealous of your arrangement πŸ™‚

    My husband and I are still doing long distance, so I cannot comment on a routine yet! But he thinks of marriage as an escape from responsibility!!! “Now that you are here, I don’t have to do anything”, he says! Besides, he feels (maska of course!) that I am smarter and more efficient than him!

    So I take care of pretty much everything, our finances, bills, home decor, cooking etc. If something requires heavy physical labour, then I request him to do it! I am kind of a control freak :), so it works for me till now. Having lived by myself all these years I am used to taking care of things πŸ™‚
    But we are yet to live together and I am sure things will change then.

    But I think there is some amount of sterotyping involved in general. Why don’t the husbands usually take care of the cooking and the wives the finances?

  9. Hey, welcome here Aparna! It will be great to have you visiting. πŸ™‚ I envy you guys, I have tried teaching the husband to cook but he is VERY uncooperative (on purpose I think!) and I am such a scared puss I would never take an investment decision left to myself I think… 😦

    Thanks Mystic! πŸ™‚

    Thanks D! I was hoping someone would agree it is fair. My husband had similar views when we got married but living alone, especially in the US, our views change. Rather the wife ensures the views change. πŸ™‚

    Bas itna hi Manpreetji? Okay, come back for more. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the vote of confidence Arti! πŸ™‚ Hmmm… why don’t you watch next year’s television on his behalf then? πŸ˜‰

    LOL! Hey Shilpa, you sound so much like me. Interesting!

    Thanks IHM, I knew you would be on my side. πŸ˜‰ And I really envy the household help you have in India. But supervising them is a big job in itself, no? That apart, I like your chilled out attitude towards this whole division of labor thing! πŸ™‚

    Good luck for the big move Jira – I am sure you’ll come to your own mutually acceptable arrangement… after dozens of fights of course πŸ˜‰

  10. I like his arrangement better. Reason; his arrangement is easy to maintain and yours takes a lot of work to maintain :).

    As far as the division of labor in your household is concerned, your arrangement is kind of ok ok. First off, cooking. If your hubby was in US before marriage, he can cook. Secondly, see if he likes watering the plants on the weekends. Thirdly, try your hand at investments. It’s not all that it is hyped to be. You just need interest in that field that is all.

  11. Interesting feedback Hemanth, thanks for sharing. You have given me food for thought… and a new post perhaps! πŸ™‚

  12. Hi and thanks for visiting my blog. Loved your posts, too, as I’m an atypical argumentative Piscean.

    Ten years into marriage, we also do not argue about labour-realtions any more. He’s got the busier job, so he helps out only on weekends, with the kids and some itsy-bitsy shopping. Six days a week, the onus is on me, including the cooking and bill-paying bit. But thankfully we have a saviour in the form of our maid. Hallelujah. And I agree totally with your Note 3.

    So count your blessings, not your chores.

  13. I agree with Hemanth, I think you should be involved in how your money is invested. Firstly it’s no big deal, secondly in such matters it’s always good if the decisions are jointly made. If nothing you should at least know what’s invested where.

  14. somewhat like my life too. I dont tk much interest in finances..its his dept. but i can say one thing for sure..i m blessed to hv a hubby like him..truly!

  15. Great to see you here Sucharita! You are right – I count my blessings too, but sometimes its fun to recite the chores to everyone and made the husband go red… πŸ˜‰

    Yes IHM, I know what you mean. We do discuss investments and stuff from time to time and I have a fair idea of where we stand but I am not confident of taking bottomline responsibility in terms of investment – and that’s only because of my temperament. I am slightly timid and risk-averse by nature, left to myself I’d keep all my money in FDs and never mind inflation eating it away… πŸ™‚ But you know what, I am just like my mom and she has entered bigtime into investments and stuff on her own. I must ask her how she does it. Thanks for your tip IHM!

    Lucky you, tulip! πŸ™‚

  16. Was waiting to get my hands on the comments section here:
    (1) I like his arrangement better cos, to my eyes, your arrangement gives me a feeling that someone was sleeping there before… πŸ˜€ (Just says how “unchic” I am, isnt it? 😦 )

    (2) The division of labour is almost the same in our house except for the fact that G is hopeless in the kitchen. Although he has lived in the US before, he always had one of his roommates cook for him while he did the dishes! So for the dishes part, I can give him credit.

    (3) Picking up after him, YES – I can relate very very very well. Just this afternoon, when he was here for lunch, I gave him a long lecture about how he’d thrown his wet bath towel on the bed and the bed was cold !

    (4) I am now taking some interest in our finances too. Just knowing that he doesnt have any credit card balance due doesnt help, I’m realising. So now, I’m doing some reading on investments and mutual funds etc. I have mine that has remained untouched for a long time and am now digging to see whats under my name and where! So also with G’s.
    But some amount of deeper thinking now tells me that I will land up doing this too for him if I take it up and he will give up doing the little work that he does in the house πŸ˜€

    Lemme get back if I find something more πŸ˜€

  17. hey

    like your post. was browsing around and one link to another lead me here. So, I have to wait for another year hu! to reach that ‘do not blame’ phase :). and you know what. my husband arranges the cushions in the same way that your husband does and i like it the throw casual way :D. I think it’s a guy ‘house -house’ thing. πŸ™‚

    a passerby

    -A

  18. well…..we’ve been married less than a year but somehow we’ve never fought over who does what!!!

    The Boy: making rotis, cooking on weekends and sometimes on weekdays when he’s home early, cleaning, taking care of the car, grocery shopping
    Me: cooking all the other days, paying all bills related to the house, tracking investments!

    Well…I guess he does a lot more in the house πŸ™‚

    I like ur arrangement too!

  19. πŸ™‚ I was missing your inputs on this M! I sort of kept imagining what your comment would be when I wrote my post… I can’t believe you like the husband’s way better! Whose friend are you now, huh?!!! πŸ˜‰

    Thanks D – I’ll try to do it soon.

    Hey passerby, most husbands are the same in ‘house’ matters, I think! πŸ™‚

    Wow, the Boy can make rotis Chandni!!! I am now officially JEALOUS of you. 😦

  20. This post made me laugh ! Your just a little hatchling Devaki πŸ™‚ Not that I’m much bigger – just a fledgling myself πŸ™‚
    I guess the division of labor is good if both parties are satisfied no ? It just struck me that you guys need to move on in your relationship. Do something that’s going to be able to let you see sides of each other that you haven’t seen before – or life gets very boring. (Not being judgemental at all – please don’t misunderstand me).
    For the Husband and I – it was having E. It exposed our insecurities, and sort of opened up more avenues in our relationship. Eight years into the marriage I can say that there is no set set of rules – you improvise, you grow, your partner grows – what’s needed is a firm commitment to each other.

    I just put myself to sleep with that comment !!
    Priya.

  21. OK, don’t hate me, but I like the husband’s sofa arrangement more (hides for cover!!)

    As for tasks, we have split the tasks based on what we each like and are better at than the other. HG is a neat-freak, so he is in-charge of cleaning. I hate taking out the trash (it’s a lot better than in my childhood where i couldn’t even bear to hold a trash can in my hand), so that’s done by HG too. And he takes care of the finances. He handles all car-related issues.

    I am in-charge of cooking because i am just a better cook. I take care of the decorating/renovating decisions, make the bed every morning, fold laundry (because i can’t stand haphazard folding), make the grocery shopping lists, buy gifts and taking care of the garden and random plants in the house. Is that it? i had myself convinced that i did a lot more!! πŸ™‚

  22. No Priya, I won’t misunderstand you at all. Although I was taken aback at first, I’m glad you put in the non-judgemental warning! (It’s so easy to misunderstand comments on blogs, isn’t it?) I like your comments for the fresh and honest perspective you always present, I usually learn something new from you… I agree with the moving on part, we really should get out of our comfort zones. We ARE planning something new for next year, both of us! The husband is applying to business schools and I might start a small project of my own too πŸ˜‰ (Touchwood!)

    And I like being called a hatchling, don’t feel so old anymore! πŸ˜€

    Sob, sob – Chakli isn’t my friend anymore! :((

  23. πŸ™‚

    oh our list would read pretty much the same. Except that the man shares cooking. which means he makes the subzi and i make the dal. roti is made by the maid othawise me.

    as long as two people are comfy doing what they do, thats the perfect division.

    and i dont like being called lucky because my hubby helps at home. by the time my son is grown up i hope i would have made him believe its NOT a favour to help woman at home! πŸ˜€

    loved the post!

    cheers!

  24. Hey, you spoke my mind Abha! I hate it being called ‘help’ also – it’s OUR home, why would you be ‘helping’ me take care of it? πŸ™‚

    Oh, and welcome here… nice to see you!

  25. My husband and I are so busy right now, we are happy to meet and spend time and never fight about dirty dishes, unvaccumed apartment, or eating out. I am doing my MBA in Dallas and husband works in Austin (3 hrs by car away). Either he drives to meet me or I drive to meet him during weekends. So we are just happy to have that alone time with each other. We don’t blame each other for anything. We cook if we can, we clean when we can and we do laundry when we find time. And as we live in our own apartments now, we take care of our crap ourselves, including car service or whatever else!

    We are both a bit lazy when it comes to maintaining a home. We are a lot more work driven folks (that is just an excuse, I think we are still stuck to spoilt childhood in India with maids and we don’t want to grow up!!!). We used to entertain a lot at home (one a week or at least once in 2 weeks, so we both will clean together). I love to cook, so I cook. He cooks good food, but only cooks when he feels like it. He helped with laundry, vaccuming, cleaning the living quarters. Investments, we did it separately, together!! Both of us paid bills. Cars as well, both of us took care of it. Groceries I will do most of time, as I like to do that, then he will unload my car and put everything away.

    Anyway, interesting read and looks like there a happy life going on! That is all matters. Have no regrets!!

  26. Yeah, when both are busy, things are much simpler. No one has the time to nag the other! πŸ˜€ And no regrets is the perfect funda… I should remember that.

  27. Im 3 years into my marriage and the first few months were filled with arguments involving, my expectations mainly, on how we should “live”, sharing responsibilities and the like. I have, for many years see the disproportionate share of household responsibilities and didnt want to experience the same in my life. And I hate when women tell me that their husbands “help” them in the kitchen. Assigning the word “help” makes me feel that we are saying it aloud that its our responsibility to take care of the house and any additional assistance is great. I believe its the responsibility of everyone living in the house to take care of the household, in this case, both Dee’s and my equal responsibility. So when I made such statements in the initial months of our marriage i was told that I should get involved “equally” in the “financial” matters too. Fair enough, I wasnt involved in our finances. So my first task was to file our tax returns and that taught me a whole deal about how the tax system works in the US of A. And learned about credit cards, 401K, mutual funds, etc. And also was/is aware of a list of bills that we ought to pay every month- which translates to learning to manage our finances better. And on the other hand Dee cooks, cleans, does grocery , etc. Just wanted to break the stereotypes and at the end of the we just do what has to be done at home or outside…without assigning names (saying this is your job and this is mine) next to the to do list. We just pick up a task and finish it. Coz unlike, say my cousins back home how are married and have domestic help for pretty much everything… here we have to get things done by ourselves or its just undone and piles up to bite you in the ass.

  28. Wow, I admire your spirit in that case Nalini. I, for one, took the coward’s way out. I hate to look into finances and bills and stuff like that plus I don’t drive, so had to settle for the husband ‘helping me out in the kitchen’ bit. I had exactly the same issue as you with the ‘help’ word before, but compromise is the name of the game! And now that I don’t brood over it too much, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. I do most of the work, but whenever I feel swamped, I have a willing and patient and fun assistant. And most importantly, there’s PEACE and HARMONY at home. 😦 And finally, this was my choice, so I can’t really complain! πŸ˜€

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