DH is a Unicorn

Cloud, over at Wandering Scientist, wrote yesterday about how a woman can in fact be a feminist and be married with children. She writes about how she is married to a mythical creature, a unicorn (men who take on equal workloads at home), and goes on to list how her and her husband separate their home duties. I think it’s a great post and, from the comments, there are a lot of good unicorns out there.

DH is a unicorn. Here’s how our duties play out, in no particular order:

– We both work full-time. DH typically works 8:30-5pm, while I do 9-4:30pm. He makes more money. Again, like Cloud said, this really has no impact on how our household duties are split (especially since, in our case, we share our finances).

– I cook dinner 95% of the time. DH cleans the kitchen 95% of the time. I love cooking dinner so this works out for me. I probably come ahead in this deal because it’s not like he loves cleaning.

– We are pretty even on the diaper changes and bottle feeding.

– DH does the vast majority of the yard work.

– Last year, DH did the vast majority of the snow removal, since someone had to stay inside the house with Evan. Not sure how this will play out this year, since the snow will have to be removed before we both leave for work in the morning, so Evan will still be in the house.

– I take care of all the bills and finances.

– I act as PR for our household. This includes calling people, extending and accepting invitations, sending out birthday and Christmas cards, making appointments, etc..

– DH drops Evan off at daycare, I pick him up.

– DH takes out the garbage (including putting it and the recycling out on the sidewalk each week for pick-up) and scoops the cat box.

– I put together the grocery list and plan our meals each week.

– I do the laundry.

– We have a cleaning service that comes every two weeks. This is an amazing way to buy some free time (another great post by Cloud) and we don’t have to fight about who had to clean the toilets.

– We both do bath time with Evan.

– We both put Evan to bed at night (we both lie down with him in our bed until he falls asleep, then we move him to his crib). I actually really love this time, and I think DH does too.

– If Evan wakes up at night, we try to alternate who soothes him.

– If Evan is sick, he wants his Daddy, and DH is much better at dealing with vomit (I have a bit of a phobia about it). I generally administer the medicine (but DH has to “secure” Evan), and am on clean-up duty.

– If Evan needs to stay home from daycare, we try to split it as fairly as possible – sometimes we’ll alternate days, other times one might take the morning shift while the other gets the afternoon. Thankfully, both our schedules are fairly flexible.

– I keep track of things we’d like to buy, DH keeps track of projects around the house.

That’s all I can think of. I think we split things relatively equally, but it’s not like we have a spread sheet that records who does what and when. We just fell into these roles and it’s working for us at the moment.

I’ll ask the same question as Cloud did at the end of her post: am I oppressed and just don’t see it? Am I really married to a unicorn? What’s it like in your house?

Comments on: "DH is a Unicorn" (7)

  1. Great post Alyssa and thank you for the link to Wandering Scientist! I've added her blog to my google reader after just looking at the last month of her posts and found them all incredibly interesting.

    My husband and I don't have kids yet, but we actually split the household chores almost exactly as you and DH do. My husband is supportive of my sometimes off-the-wall hours as a scientist just as I'm supportive of his many public meetings that may go till 10-11 pm at night during the week (but at least I get to watch him on the local access TV channel from home! haha).

    It's encouraging to read about the balance that you and Wandering scientist have found in your lives as mothers and wives and I hope I remember to go back to these posts when I have kids!


  2. I agree, a great post, you are not oppressed at all, it seems like you have equal workloads & everyone is happy.

    I think my husband actually does more than I do around the house… he does all the yardwork and all the cleaning, i do laundry & cooking. I try to help with housecleaning but often on weekends i spend 6-10 hrs prepping for lectures the following week. We recently bought a robot vacuum which is making life amazing & cutting cleaning time more than in half!


  3. Very interesting post! The title made me go “WTF?” but it makes sense now 🙂 I don't think you're oppressed at all and if you're happy with the way things are, that's all that matters.

    Jason and I have a fairly similar breakdown, minus the baby-related stuff. I do 100% of the cooking and the clean up depends on work schedules. Now that I'm working full time again, Jason cleans up so that I can plan lessons in the evening. Jason usually vacuums but we divvy up everything else equally. It's basically a matter of who gets around to something first. Jason takes care of bills, I do budgeting and expense tracking. We split the “PR” duties (I love that description!) according to the situation – I deal with my family, Jason deals with his, we each make our own appointments, etc. Sometimes I take on extra there because I'm home earlier.

    I thank my lucky stars every day that I have a man who has no problem doing his share at home! My very own unicorn 🙂 It'll be interesting to see how things change when kids come along.


  4. Hmm. I do more of the cooking because I like it and am better at it. I also do the laundry (although we both end up folding and putting away). I do bill paying because I'm better at it and purchasing because I like it more. 402 deals with all things car, lawn, pool, household maintenance, insurance (I HATE insurance). We have a cleaning lady, and we always pick up together before she or company comes. Dish duty is shared pretty equally. I do the PR with my peeps, he does it with his. We prefer it that way (I refuse to get stuck being in charge of his family's b'days and whatnot and I'm sure he wouldn't want to be in charge of mine).

    In terms of child care, 402 gets up with B and gives me an extra hour of sleep most days. We tag team on morning prep. He drops off and I pick up from daycare (this semester; it changes by our schedules). I take charge of dinner, he does bath (I usually do light housework or cooking or relax for a few minutes them) and we do bedtime together. He is the poopmaster and has been from day one (I do input, he does output). These days it's more the toiletmaster than poopmaster, but regardless, he wipes the butts 🙂

    It ends up being fairly equal, I think. And it works for us.


  5. Thanks for the shout out!

    Reading your post, I realize that I left out the important bit about who stays home with sick kids. We split that- basically, whoever doesn't have meetings (or has meetings that can be missed or rescheduled) stays homes. But we're very lucky in that my mom will come over and be our back up babysitter when someone is sick. This involves flying her over from Phoenix, but thanks to Southwest, that is easy to do and works out cheaper than taking a day off without pay (which is what would happen eventually if we stayed home for all illnesses AND tried to go on vacation). My mother closely approximates a saint, so when she is over, the work balance in our house gets lots easier. She does bath, and Pumpkin's bedtime, and if we aren't careful, she does the dishes, too.


  6. Great comments!

    Elizabeth – I'm glad I can help you find a new blog to read! It sounds like you and your husband have things figured out in a way that works for you, and I'm sure that will continue once you have children.

    Lisa C. – sometimes I think DH does more than me too! Actually, I think he does more of the “icky” jobs more than me, while I get to do things I like (cooking for example).

    Andrea – Sounds like you guys have a good split too! I used to think I was lucky with DH, but I don't think it has anything to do with luck…I just wouldn't be able to put up with someone who was a slacker and expected me to take care of everything.

    profgrrrrl – oops! That's one thing I slightly skewed: I do 99% of the PR, but DH does deal with his family (he chats with them over Skype, etc.), though I do remember birthdays and such for his family. That is AWESOME that your husband is the poopmaster!

    Cloud – My pleasure! It was a great post! That's so nice about your mom being able to come easily if need be. Our parents live fairly far away, and it's expensive to fly here in general because you almost always have to go through Toronto (therefore adding another flight from Toronto to here).


  7. Sounds like you and your DH have made really workable arrangements – go you! I agree with @Andrea – if you're happy, that's what matters. DH and I are pretty happy with our division of labor, too, and I don't think we're all that rare either.


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