Negotiating chores: whose turn it is to check on the child

Effective parenting

Being a mom is essentially a full-time job. It is even more demanding because there are no set hours. There are no breaks, weekends, sick leaves, or any other leaves you can take if you do not feel like going to work. It is even more challenging if you have an official job, in which you also have responsibilities and deadlines. 

Combining parenting and a job may seem impossible, so you have to make sure you and your husband are on the same page about parenting, chores, and your common duties at home. However caring and energetic you may feel, you do not have to do everything around the house by yourself. So, here are strategies that will help you distribute house chores fairly.

Do not compare the workload

The fair distribution of chores around the house must be based on your and your partner’s capacities. Normally, you both have a job, which requires time and energy. To share the responsibilities equally, you must not compare your workload. The problem with such a principle is that the nature of your occupations can be completely different for you two, and it is possible that neither of you can adequately assess the energy that it consumes to complete chores. Moreover, you cannot replace each other at work, while this can be perfectly productive at home. 

Thus, the energy that your jobs take from you must not be an excuse for anybody. You both give a lot of effort to perform at work, so basing the distribution of chores on your subjective workload will only bring chaos to the organization of your household. Instead, you can divide things around the house based on what each of you can bring to the party. 

Assess his and your own strengths and weaknesses

To make it easier for both of you, you should find out your strengths and weaknesses around the house. This means that each of you will spend less time and effort on certain chores. The distribution of the responsibilities must not be based on the avoidance of things you or your husband do not like doing, because every little thing around the house must have a tick in someone’s to-do list. If there is something you or your husband feel more comfortable with, one of you can take responsibility for that, such as doing hair and dressing children in the morning.

However, there are major chores that neither of you can manage alone. Such events as spring cleaning must become an event for the entire family so that everyone contributes to the order in the place you live in together. Hence, instead of excusing the absence of chores with the challenges of an official job, you can figure out the tasks that each of you can take care of.

Make lists

When you both know your strengths around the household, you can document it in a good old-fashioned list of chores. You can make plans for a day, week, or a month depending on how loaded your schedule is. It is up to you to decide how detailed the list should be. It can include only the major responsibilities, which you plan regularly or ahead, or contain even small daily routines that you usually take turns doing. It will help you organize and coordinate your work and personal plans with the responsibilities around the house that you both have. 

One of the ideas for a big family is creating a board in a visible place in your house and make it a planner for a certain time. It may be something like a board with markers, so the whole family can track and edit it. In this case, each family member will have a clear view of their duties, and you will not have to manage everything on your own. 

Respect each other’s schedules

Minding each other’s agendas is also an important principle in the division of common chores. Someone has to leave earlier, whereas another person may tend to overwork. In this case, it is better to base things like doctor appointments and picking up children from school on the schedule of those who leave work earlier. As compensation, the person who has more time in the morning may take a little more on their table in the morning preparation for the family. 

If you both take into consideration the schedules your work depends on, you will see how much time you have to dedicate to chores. If you don’t, it may disbalance your overall plans for the day regarding both the house and your jobs. 

Discuss emergencies

One of the crazy things about being a parent is that however elaborate your lists and plans are, there is still space for emergencies and unpredicted situations in your life. The denser your plans and lists are, the less space for emergencies you leave for yourself. In this case, if one thing from the list goes wrong, you risk your whole day. For that reason, you have to discuss the possibility of emergencies with your husband.

You both should consider unpredicted situations that can emerge, and the time you can dedicate to them. If you leave space for emergencies in advance, you can always have each other’s back—thus, handling it in a prepared way and avoiding being overwhelmed. 


Domestic chores are an inseparable and unavoidable part of parenting, and you cannot do anything about it. However, it does not mean you have to do everything on your own. The only way to handle the household and your job is a healthy distribution of the chores with your husband and teaching your kids to be responsible. Start the progress by estimating your own capacities and discussing it with your husband. If you discuss it as adults, you will be able to meet the challenges of each other’s crazy schedule.

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Rebecca Jenkins
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Rebecca has been a freelance writer since 2010. She travels often and is constantly learning something new. Also, Rebecca is a true enthusiast of social sciences, especially of psychology. She gladly shares her experience of enjoying life and finding inspiration across the US and abroad.