Are You Always Fighting About Chores?
Do you have problems about chores in your house? Constantly fighting about who does what or someone doing the chores wrong or not doing them at all. Well according to the new book ‘Spousanomics‘, maybe your doing it all wrong.
Housework—who does what, when, and how often—is the source of many a recurring marital complaint. Splitting chores 50/50 often seems like the answer, but couples who do often find themselves as resentful and unhappy as couples who set up no plan for dividing the work that makes a house run.
The reason lies in basic economics, say authors Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson of Spousanomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes. Splitting the dishes, laundry, vacuuming, and other household chores may seem fair, but an unbending line right down the middle can lead to more friction, not less, because no one is good and fast at all things. But when couples adopt the economic principle of “comparative advantage,” which says it’s not efficient to take on every task you’re good at, only the ones you are relatively better at, couples can gain time for the things they really want to do, the authors write.
1. Have an honest talk about what tasks each of you is better at. Applying “comparative advantage,” make an honest assessment of which chores you truly do better and faster than your spouse. It may mean switching tasks that were set either along stereotypical lines or based on what you like doing over others. (Though, really, who “likes” doing the dishes daily?) As Szuchman says, marriage is all about allocating scarce resources—”limited time, limited libido, limited money, and the question is, ‘how do you allocate it all well?’ ”
2. Gain new specializations. If you love being outside but have never mowed a lawn, it may be time to master the mower. If you spend tons of leisure time on the computer, maybe bill-paying should fall under your marital to-do’s. The lesson, Szuchman says, is that sometimes you have to each invest time learning new tasks to shake up a division of labor that’s not working. Be flexible.