Today I’m bringing my HUSBAND on to talk about a pretty hot-button topic — how we split up the chores at our house.
We’ve both been the main breadwinner in our family, and it has certainly changed how we view chores. Both of us came from families that the mom did most of the household work — but since I worked we needed to find a new solution — does any of that sound familiar? I think you’ll love today’s episode!
This episode was inspired by my post on splitting household chores — which you can find here: https://www.pullingcurls.com/splitting-household-chores-in-marriage/
Big thanks to today’s sponsor The Organized Home — if you’re looking to spend LESS time cleaning up your house and more time ENJOYING your relationships, it’s the course for you! Don’t forget to use the code mentioned in the podcast!
In this episode:
We’re going to talk about how we ACTUALLY split chores in our house. How we split it now, and how we split it when my husband had a very busy job.
We’re also going to talk about the magic tool we use to eliminate nagging. 🙂
Mentioned in this episode:
- Armchair Expert with Dax Shepherd & Kristen Bell (one of my favorite podcast episodes of all time)
- Tick-Tick App
- Why we don’t have a maid
- Teaching Teens to do Laundry
- More info on our Saturday Clean can be found in Family Routines
- Our Cleaning Schedule
- How we clean our floors
- Robot Vac Wars
- How to make a cleaning schedule that works for you
- How to not kill your husband
Show Producer: Drew Erickson | Photo Credit: Photography Hill
Check out my other marriage podcasts:
Hilary Erickson 0:00
Hey guys, welcome to episode nine of the pulling curls podcast. Today we’re talking about splitting chores in a marriage. Now you don’t have to be married. But if you’re in a relationship sometimes deciding who does which jobs at your house is mind boggling. So today I have a very special guest coming on. I’ll let you guess who that is. We’re talking about handling chores when one of you is working a little bit more and our family I have actually been on both sides of that I’ve been the one who stays at home more and now I’m the one who works for income more than my husband does. We’re going to talk about our favorite and our least favorite cleaning jobs and I’m going to share a big tip in a way to stop nagging. Let’s untangle it.
Welcome to the pulling Curls podcast where we untangle everything from pregnancy parenting, home routines, even some family travel because heavens knows our lives are tangled I’m your host Hilary Erickson.
Okay, you guys I bet you guessed too it’s going to be today’s show guest is actually my husband is Drew Erickson and he is actually the show’s producer. So if you’ve ever thought I love how quick this show is, he’s so good at like editing out my 700 arms and all the stuttering that I do. He does such a great job. So if you like this podcast, it is actually him not so much me
Just so you guys have a little bit of background about him. He was actually a band director for the vast majority of our marriage. He worked as a high school band director. He worked both in California and here he left band directing about four years ago and he now works at a local community college. He teaches a few classes there on campus and he really enjoys that he has also been a Scoutmaster for six long years, and he’s my best friend.
This episode of The pulling curls podcast is sponsored by the organized home the realistic way to manage your home reduce clutter and clean less ever wished you could relax with Netflix rather than worrying about the state of your home or that last paper you need. No more needing hours to prep for company be prepared for any doorbell. Let’s simplify organizing so you can enjoy life more. Save 15% with the coupon code untangled you can find it at point girls calm and the menu on courses or in this episode show notes.
Hilary Erickson 2:04
Well, hello, Mr. Erickson. Welcome to the Pulling Curls podcast.
Drew Erickson 2:08
Hello Mrs. Erickson. So fun to be here.
Hilary Erickson 2:10
I don’t actually respond to Mrs. Erickson. That’s your mom.
Drew Erickson 2:13
That’s very true.
Hilary Erickson 2:14
Anyway, my wildest dream is that we will come close to Kristen Bell and x Shepherd today. So we’ll see.
Drew Erickson 2:21
We’ll try to keep it civil
Hilary Erickson 2:22
All right. So I want you to describe our chore system. It is a tour system that I mostly created while I was the loner stay at home mom, but I want you to describe it for the people at home.
Drew Erickson 2:34
So we have specific days that are devoted to specific rooms. So for example, we do our kitchen on Monday, we do our bathrooms on Tuesdays, we do vacuuming of the entire house on Wednesdays Thursday, you tend to work and I’m teaching and plus got a bunch of other stuff going on on Thursday. So that’s kind of a light day and Friday is really just kind of catch up where other things didn’t happen before primarily. That’s kind of catch up on laundry and finish additional laundry for the week. and things of that nature. Saturday is kind of our big clean, doing the cleaning schedule with the kids and getting them involved and making sure that we’re all at least for 20 minutes very focused cleaning, and get it done really quick. And then we can move on with the rest of the day.
Hilary Erickson 3:14
Okay, so how do you know what’s supposed to be done?
Drew Erickson 3:17
We use an app called tick tick.
Hilary Erickson 3:20
And by we he means me.
Drew Erickson 3:22
Well, no, I use it to keep track of which what’s on my list of things to do that day. So the tick tick helps me communicate to you what it is that has been done. And then vice versa. So that when for example, if I am teaching in the morning, come back then I know what I need to focus on the rest of the day. Now that’s been really useful. We’ve also learned over the years that there are certain things that are on my list, or that are things that I have to do that don’t actually qualify or that don’t make your list on tick, tick, for example, folding laundry, things of that nature, the folding laundry just has to get done. It’s not on the list. So
Hilary Erickson 3:55
uh, yeah, but I you know, you can make your own lists on tick tick, right. Like I have my own blog. Yeah. Okay, just checking.
Drew Erickson 4:01
I have my own list as well.
Hilary Erickson 4:02
And how much time would you say on average cleaning takes
Drew Erickson 4:07
with a Wednesday or sorry, Monday and doing the kitchen sweeping and mopping an hour, maybe an hour and a half?
Hilary Erickson 4:13
Wow, you are really slow at that.
Drew Erickson 4:15
That’s all right, I can edit that part out.
Hilary Erickson 4:17
So I have a super popular post called why we don’t have a cleaning lady. And one of the reasons is, it really doesn’t take that much time Mondays is the worst because we have a ton of tile. And so at some point, you have to sweep and mop all of that. And so but that would have to happen. Like if we had a maid every other week, we’d still have to do something with the tile probably weekly, because we have kids and they are like elephants. So
Drew Erickson 4:37
that’s very true.
Hilary Erickson 4:38
Do you feel like it takes a lot of time? No, no actual cleaning of your house, once you’re organizing stuff, I think
Drew Erickson 4:43
maybe an hour on that same token of the post about why we don’t have a cleaning lady where it takes so little time and it is you own the home, you’ve got to have some skin in the game and keeping it up to date and keeping it clean and making it the place that you want to be. And otherwise it becomes kind of to me anyway becomes kind of a sterile environment that somebody else deals with. And you just happen to sleep there.
Hilary Erickson 5:04
Yeah, although I my main reason is to the kids, I don’t want them to think that having a maid is a normal thing. Absolutely. And I want them to be our kids. Actually, besides sweeping and mopping our kids, they clean two of our bathrooms, they vacuum extra rooms and on the Saturday clean that we add other things into it that a maid would normally do. And so for us, that’s just how we’ve decided to do. I’m not saying that it’s bad to have a maid and I hope to have one as soon as my youngest moves out of this house. But until then I want her to think that everyone just cleans their house on their own
Drew Erickson 5:34
well, and I think it’s important for the for kids to have that same kind of buy in that they have a part in. Yeah, first the place that we live. I will say that we stopped doing our kids laundry when our oldest was 12.
Hilary Erickson 5:47
Maybe a little older than that.
Drew Erickson 5:48
A little bit older than that. But we realized that if we want them to be learning basic life skills, they need to actually be doing it. And so particularly the the two older boys have been doing their own laundry, not just folding their own laundry. They’ve been doing that for a long time, but actually washing and scheduling their own when they’ve got plenty of dirty clothes, that they are actually taking care of their own laundry. They’ve been doing that now for for quite a while.
Hilary Erickson 6:12
Yeah, and our youngest is 10. And I think probably this coming summer, we will transition her into doing her own her big problem right now is that we have a it’s no longer like a front loader. It’s a top loader and she can’t reach the clothes in it. unless she’s on a stool.
Drew Erickson 6:27
Yeah, she does have to get help to get the wet laundry out. But she does a pretty good job. Like she’ll do the towels by herself. If she forgets to take care of the bathroom towels in the morning, she can take care of getting it started by yourself. And really, she can start her the wash cycle of her own laundry pretty well. She’s now getting to the point where if she’s just tall enough, if she stands up on a stool she can actually reach in, but it is a little bit easier for her to get some help to reach and put it in and she can run the dryer herself.
Hilary Erickson 6:53
Yeah, right now I think our chore system is kind of that you do the basic cleaning, I maybe do some deep cleaning and organize. Is that what you would say?
Drew Erickson 7:03
Yeah, and I would say that I also as I’m going about the week looking around for other projects is usually on Saturday will have the kids do an extra special cleaning, whether that might be cleaning corners of the walls where their hands touch a lot as they’re going down the stairs or what have you or something that because of our schedule this week just didn’t happen between you and I cleaning but it is something that they can do. That’s something that gets tacked on to their lists. So I kind of look at that part of the organization as kind of my job to make sure that there’s an extra job lists that we can pull from for the kids on Saturdays.
Hilary Erickson 7:36
Yeah, so if you guys are looking for more information on this family Saturday clean actually have a whole chapter about it in family routines. And I will put the link down in the show notes. That’s not today’s sponsor, but it is a super helpful thing for families if you want to get into a routine of cleaning together.
Okay, so currently drew and I each have part time jobs that we work out of the home some we mostly, you know, run Erickson creative LLC. And so for, most of our marriage, I was the one home 90% of the time. And now drew is probably home a little bit more than me. He’s definitely not as like involved in the writing process of the blog, but he is actually the Podcast Producer. So he has a little bit more free time probably than me. So what which
Drew Erickson 8:16
That is why I take up more of the cleaning duties myself.
Hilary Erickson 8:19
Okay, so Drew, I know a lot of women are like, Oh, that must be such a dream to have your husband home full time. That is a podcast for another day. But today, what was the hardest part of splitting up chores when you worked full time outside the home
Drew Erickson 8:32
when I was a band director, it was the constant. I mean, there were so many so many weeks where it was 60 to 80 hours of work a week at school. So then coming home and finding the time to actually be contributing to all the stuff I constantly felt guilt that you were having to do the vast majority of the housework while I was just trying to scrape by making a living and make my contribution to our home. Since making this career shift. I find it much easier. I think our relationship in terms of diversifying what’s happening at home is a lot better. I think it’s better balance. But for the band director life, it didn’t ever slow down to a point where things would get better. It just changed gears it just was constant all the time having to be at school or having to be doing basically a pseudo parent for somebody else’s child instead of being able to be a parent for my own.
Hilary Erickson 9:21
So we did have summers though, where I would then go to work. So we’ve kind of we have shifted this way before because during the summers I would usually work more towards full time if we weren’t on vacation and you would be at home doing the chores, which is why tick tick has always worked so well because we have bounced off. When you worked full time at school though you pretty much just folded laundry, right? That is your main like assigned air quotes assigned chore.
Drew Erickson 9:45
I remember doing a lot of sweeping and mopping of the kitchen floor when I got home from marching band practice on Monday night
Hilary Erickson 9:51
drew is hallucinating.
Alright, see you guys. I mean, I think every couple feels this way. Like he thinks that he’s swept and mopped. But I promise you will slept in my maybe 10% of the time. And I did a lot more than he did. But he wasn’t home. And so I was home much more.
Drew Erickson 10:07
Let’s just say suffice to say that I was not home a lot of the time because I had to my job requirement had to be someplace else. A lot.
Hilary Erickson 10:15
Yeah. So if you’re at home and you’re struggling with a spouse, you’re at home with small children and your spouse is not doing the housework, I would recommend like he didn’t like the way I folded laundry. And so clearly that needed to be his job. And so that is one way that we diversified things. And then if I was sick or whatever he was sick, then I would help fold laundry or he would help sweep and mop. Yeah, sweeping and mopping, if you can’t tell is our biggest job here in this house. And so it does take a lot of extra time. Yeah. So what is the hardest part about splitting chores now that you’re home more?
Drew Erickson 10:45
Now that I’m home more? I don’t know that it’s terribly difficult to try and split up the jobs so much anymore? I think it’s like I said, since going through this career shift, I think that aspect of things has become much better balanced.
Hilary Erickson 10:58
I have the problem that I feel like things need to be done on the day they’re assigned because that’s the nursing school in me and sometimes you don’t do them on the day that’s assigned. Do you ever feel pressure that your wife is so anal that you would like to… put her in the mop bucket?
Drew Erickson 11:13
I don’t know that Id put you in the mop bucket necessarily. That seems a little dark? I wouldn’t. But that is a difference in philosophy. I think if by Saturday or within a given timeframe, the work gets done. That’s the that’s the primary goal, the having it done on a specific day having been in our relationship for as long as we have I get where you’re coming from, but I still have the same philosophy of get it done when you can get it done. That’s the end of it.
Hilary Erickson 11:38
I believe everything in life has a due date. Anyway, is there anything that you would change with the chore system that we have now?
Drew Erickson 11:48
No, I think our tour system actually works really, really well. I think it works well for our kids knowing their expectations of what’s expected when they come home from school. And it gives them a bench mark for when they can get when they can get things done. I actually do enjoy having specific days where the due date, if you will, air quotes is consistent, because even if it doesn’t get done on that particular day, then I know it’s first priority on the back burner.
Hilary Erickson 12:14
I don’t even have a back burner,
Drew Erickson 12:15
I have many back burner. Just as a matter of survival
Hilary Erickson 12:18
Everything’s front burner for me. Um, what about I know I’ve talked with other people, and I’ve mentioned to use tick, tick or any To Do List feature, you can do it on tasks on Google tick ticks nice because you can share one of your task list but then you can also have your own, you can get it’s free, the one we use is free, you can upgrade for pro or something like that. But what do you think about using that type of a thing, it was not the easiest to get you into that zone.
Drew Erickson 12:42
I think in hindsight after doing it for many years now I think it’s actually a great way and I’ve actually recommended it in the scouting life for my scouts that are doing personal management to keep track of what they have to do. One of the things they have to do is to make it to do list and do it for a specified amount of time. I think tick tick is a great tool in order to be able to do that and not only that it allows again communication with everybody who’s on the team to know what is expected and what has to be done.
Hilary Erickson 13:09
Yeah, I think initially though you didn’t love being
Drew Erickson 13:12
No I did not
Hilary Erickson 13:13
what needed to be done but I feel like it’s a way to be like this is what needs to be done without me needing to nag you because nagging is what bugs you and bugs me that I need to nag because I’m not your mom.
Drew Erickson 13:23
Yes. The the nagging part of it was the worst
Hilary Erickson 13:25
even though they call me Mrs. Erickson sometimes Yes, which is your mom.
Drew Erickson 13:29
I am still Mr. Erickson, but I more frequently go by just by my first name these days. So your students in college call you drew if they call me anything they usually call me Mr. Erickson or Professor Erickson but I always sign my emails with just my first name Wow.
Hilary Erickson 13:45
Alright, so let’s share what’s your least favorite job around the house
Drew Erickson 13:49
sweeping and mopping?
Hilary Erickson 13:50
Yeah, you guys are getting a sense that that is it’s just a long job. And it has steps and there’s a lot of like corners.
Drew Erickson 13:58
Yeah, but I say it’s my least favorite job by anymore. Because I’ve kind of got a system going, it’s not as bad as it used to be used to be a lot worse
Hilary Erickson 14:07
well, and one thing that we do, it’s the kitchen area that really gets the dirtiest. And so we do split up the other areas of tile in tick tick so that you kind of know where you’re rotating to. And that makes it a little bit easier because we don’t always need to sweep them off the entryway because it doesn’t get that dirty. We also have a little robot vac that I will link to in the show notes. We had one robot vac commit suicide, it was so sad. And we bought a new one that I really liked. He liked the new guy. Yeah, and the robot vacuum has been so helpful. So if you guys are thinking about something that maybe both of you could love for Christmas, a robot vacuum robot
Drew Erickson 14:42
vacuum is really been great in terms of getting the food falling food particles falling off the table cleaned up, because I’ll be honest, our kids are not great when it comes to cleaning up after dinner about going sure and making sure that the counters and the table or the floor is cleaned up. So the robot vacuum is really taking care of that that aspect of things.
Hilary Erickson 15:01
Yeah, and I love it. Um, what’s your favorite job to do, um, cleaning-wise,
Drew Erickson 15:04
probably doing the laundry because one shot, it’s done. It’s like two minutes,
Hilary Erickson 15:08
mine’s totally cleaning counters,
Drew Erickson 15:10
I do enjoy cleaning counters. I’ll agree with you on that one, I would say my second least favorite job is probably checking the water schedule. Although I will say with tick, tick, being able to have all the information on tick tick to know what day is what initially when it was first on the schedule, we didn’t have that information. And I hated it. Because then I had to go and find what information however many days we were supposed to be irrigating all that garbage, and then go deal with the sprinkler system.
Hilary Erickson 15:35
So if you guys are wondering what in the heck I was talking about. Because we live in Arizona, like during the winter, you can like water, it’s like 20 days between watering. But during the summer, you have to switch it to like every three, we only have a very small amount of grass. I know please don’t think we’re like ruining the world, or grass consumption. But every month it pops up and tick tick to change how often the watering schedule is.
Drew Erickson 15:57
And it’s again, because we live in the desert, it makes sense because we’re wanting to conserve water and not abuse those privileges. But the other primary reason is because we live in Arizona and going out to check the water system means that we have to go outside and it’s 110. And just miserable and ugly. And
Hilary Erickson 16:15
so great living here what a blessing it is to live in the desert. Yeah. All right. Any other tips you would give for a mom who’s at home with kids and who feels like she has to do all the housework coming from someone who was on the other side,
Drew Erickson 16:27
even though I resisted it a lot. Making a consistent schedule using some kind of an app where communication takes the nagging part out of it makes the relationships so much better. But having that cleaning schedule on a consistent schedule, I remember growing up we used to have basically Saturday was the clean day and every other day was whatever happened happened. Dinner cleanup was consistent. But it just made Saturday kind of the dreadful day because we had a ton of cleaning up to do versus going through and doing it consistently throughout the week makes the weekend much more enjoyable.
Hilary Erickson 16:57
Yeah, so we don’t we do do a 20 minute clean, which usually spreads into 30. When we ask kids to deep, clean. But that’s really all we do on Saturdays. And that comes from I couldn’t do all the cleaning on Saturdays, because I worked every other weekend for such a long time of our lives. So
Drew Erickson 17:10
and I will say that living on a schedule, I realize a lot of people, there’s people out there that don’t like being on a schedule, but I can promise the living on a schedule. And having some kind of a schedule actually frees up more time either later in the day later in the evening, or on the weekend, when you really want to have some time to relax and chill out a little bit. It really allows that time to happen rather than constantly having something that’s nagging at you that has to be done.
Hilary Erickson 17:34
Yeah, well, and I use tick tick for all a variety of things. And it’s just so nice to have things pop up on there. Instead of having to be like When was I supposed to do XYZ check the watering schedule, you know, when was I supposed to instead of having like, it just takes all that out of my brain so that I can just check, tick, tick, do the things and move on. I’m not stressing about them all the time.
Drew Erickson 17:54
And we have certain things that they’re not a weekly thing or a daily thing. That’s a regular scheduled thing. So it’s nice to have tick tick kind of come up and remind you that oil needs to be changed, the registration needs to be done so that we’re not somewhere out of state when the registration becomes due as has happened before. And then we are technically violating the law because we are cars not registered, things like that. Things that are a little bit more far spaced out in terms of house maintenance things, it’s really nice to have that on the schedule so that when it needs to be done that pops up, and there we go.
Hilary Erickson 18:23
Yeah, and again, there’s tons of to do apps, we started tick tick so long ago, there’s probably there might be better ones now. But I’m never going to set up anything else because it is it just has everything set up already. And it is a little bit of a task to get it on there. But once it’s on there, it’s easy to add new things or whatever
anyway, so if you’re a mom who has is feeling frustrated that your husband doesn’t help or you don’t want to nag him tick tick might be a great thing. You can share one list, keep a list for yourself. But I think now that I’ve been on both sides of the chore table where I’m working more than drew right now, but he’s worked more than me for most of our marriage, I just think it’s really easy to feel like the other person hasn’t done much all day. And that’s is not helping anyone don’t feel like your husband hasn’t helped out the house when he’s been at work all day because somebody has to have the money so you can buy groceries and pay your mortgage. But also he needs to feel like that even though you’ve air quotes just been at home with the kids all day, you’ve still been incredibly busy. And that is sucking the life force out of you. And so you each need to have some give and taken that and we’ve just felt like tick tick kind of made it so everyone could kind of see what got done and what needs to get done. Because really all you need to focus on is what needs to get done versus like what has gotten done right.
Drew Erickson 19:28
And like I say it’s been very powerful in improving our communications on the basic house stuff.
Hilary Erickson 19:35
Anyway, thanks so much for joining us in this episode. Today. You guys might have some questions.
I think the plan is that when there’s a fifth Monday of the month, Drew and I will do the podcast together just because I think building a strong marriage can be difficult and the more you realize that everyone else kind of struggles with the same things that you struggle with, the more likely you are to maybe stick it out or find a solution that helps both of you be happier in life.
So thanks so much for joining me on today’s episode. If you’d like to learn more about spouse chores, I actually have a whole post about how we split ours and how we split it before our working situation changed so you can check that out in the show notes or you can go to pullingcurls.com backslash podcast where all of the podcasts are Listen You can also find this exact episode at pulling curls. com backslash podcast dash oh nine.
big thanks to our sponsor the organized home I will say that the biggest way that we don’t clean as much and have as many chores is that we have things organized because the more clutter and stuff you have around your house the harder it is to get clean. That’s what I find. In fact the organized home says it reduces clutter and helps you clean less which is true. If you want to know more about the organized home it will be in the show notes.
Big thanks to my husband Mr. Drew Erickson for coming on today’s episode as well as being our Podcast Producer. If you liked today’s episode, please share, subscribe or review. We really appreciate it. Hope to have you with us next Monday when we drop another episode. Until then I hope you have a tangle free day.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai