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Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

E-mail Cheryl Bac

About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Not Keeping Score

Uploaded: Nov 14, 2013
You may have seen the article in The Chronicle a few weeks ago about Sharon Meers and Joanna Strober's new book Career Women Need a Better Half Who Does His Half. Their book, Getting to 50/50, although not written for stay-at-home moms, interested me with its practical tips on how to divvy up life's every day tasks.

On the last day of high school, one of my teachers give us such advice. Rather than spend the last day discussing another definition or formula, he talked about career choices, college classes, and marriage. We were quite surprised when he told us that he always cleans the bathroom, but we liked his reason - because he hated cleaning it less than his wife did.

Rather than worry about tasks being divided exactly 50/50, my husband and I use a similar strategy. We divide tasks based on who will dislike doing it least, who is best at it, and who can do it most efficiently. We don't keep score and we don't alternate nights.

How do you split up the daily chores? Did it change when you got married? Had kids? Experienced another major life event?
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Charlotte, a resident of Jordan Middle School,
on Nov 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm

I like hearing about a teacher that cleans bathrooms to be nice to his wife!

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Nov 17, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Charlotte, thanks for reading and commenting! I think it was a great way to end the school year. How do you split up the chores in your house?

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of another community,
on Nov 18, 2013 at 6:20 pm

My father was one of the best housekeepers/homemakers I've ever seen! He still is. He's a great cook, good cookie baker, never complained about doing housework - amidst kids, pets, friends visiting, etc. Him and my mom make a great team. Much of what determined how they divided things up had to do w/work and school schedules, who got home when and what deadlines were looming. They both had to take ongoing education courses at times, or had demanding work schedules, sometimes with irregular hours. I look back on all of that in total wonder because they didn't nitpick, argue or kvetch about these things. When I was older, I valued the cooking lessons I learned from them both and took chores fairly in stride, including pet care.

My DH and I are similar that way - doing things according to looming deadlines and who's home when - with one exception: he can't cook well. But his gratitude for my cooking means he's willing to do some of the chores I don't care much for. All in all, doing chores seems more fun together, and things get done faster, then it's nice to relax together with a cup of coffee or tea.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Nov 18, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Hmmm thanks for reading and commenting!

And thanks so much for sharing your parents' division of chores. It sounds like they found a wonderful solution for their family. Tackling the chores together is a great idea (I love the thought about relaxing afterwards with coffee or tea).

My son and I are starting to tackle some chores together. He "helps" me wipe down the cabinets, wash the floor and transfer the laundry from the washer to the dryer. Having a toddler helper can make the task take a little longer, but it is definitely more enjoyable.

Posted by LJ, a resident of another community,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 8:09 am

Everyone is so busy today going 15 different directions I don't know how you juggle it all but you are making memories for your family, so have fun!

I don't think my parents even tried to share household chores much way back although I do have an early memory of Dad cleaning the bathroom. For Dad, a scientist, the weekend was a time for experiments. Dad experimented frequently on his children and with The Joy of Cooking cookbook. He regularly prepared Saturday morning breakfast (waffles or French pancakes/crepes or French toast) and Sunday supper (grilled cheese and thick chocolate malts probably not from The Joy of Cooking). He had an incredible hot and approaching-hardball-yank-out-the-fillings chocolate sauce for holiday ice cream and a saltwater taffy we loved to pull. I don't remember who cleaned up when I was little but Dad did lots of dishes at holiday gatherings when I was older. Lots of sweet memories!

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 11:56 am

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

LJ, Thanks so much for sharing. Those are wonderful memories! I love that your father was a scientist and brought that enthusiasm home on the weekend. Sounds like he definitely got into the holiday spirit. What fun!

Posted by Charlotte, a resident of Jordan Middle School,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm

We kids are responsible for setting the table, helping with the dishes, and doing our own laundry. My mom cooks and my dad does the dishes (because he is most particular about how they are done). My mom does a lot of the other chores, but she has a cleaning lady that comes to help her, too.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Nov 19, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Charlotte- That sounds like a great way to split up the chores. Thanks so much for sharing. I'm impressed that you do your own laundry. I'll need to try that when my son gets older.

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