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Chore Wars & Division of Labor

add pressuresthDivision of Chores

In a civilized society, a modicum of grooming and maintenance is required for an individual to successfully exist. This means some chores are required for everyone, man, woman or child, rich or poor. Chores are how we learn the habits of grooming and maintenance.

Definition of a Chore:

  • 1. a routine task or job
  • 2. a difficult or disagreeable task
  • Household Chore: (Chore + Infinity) An indefinitely large number or amount of difficult, disagreeable, routines, minor duties or tasks.
  • Modicum (Modicum + Toilet) a small measure of dressing and grooming.

Predictability of Chores

Whether a chore causes consternations and gnashing of teeth depends upon at least three prime factors:

  • Necessitating conditions
  • Who determines responsibility
  • Significance and purpose

Power of Chores

The way an individual feels about a chore determines the significance and value or power of a chore.

Consider the work at the office, school, or home. Would you rather read than wash dishes, make the bed, change oil in the car, vacuum, take the dog to the vet, etc., all the chores you perform, on a scale of 1 to 5 do you:

  • 1= loath,
  • 2= hate
  • 3= don't mind,
  • 4= Like,
  • 5=love

lawn mowingthReverse Chore Psychology

I Don't Help My Wife. You Shouldn't Either. The playfulness of this catchy title captures the concept of the never-ending, divisive, age old power struggle between wives and mates, men and women, partners since the dawn of time.

How to impress upon individuals to accept personal responsibility for their own circumstances and predicaments. AKA a kinder, gentler way to explain how to stop acting like the self-centered adolescent you have become and start behaving as the adult in the room.

The 1950's and 60's advertising 'helped' shaped my view of the world. As a teenager, I absorbed the message of the unfairness of it all, the drudgery of it all. Those poor overworked, under-appreciated, subjugated women whose only worth was to become a wife. The messages impressed upon me that I decided I didn't want to be a wife. I wanted to have a wife.

I'm a creative person who rather sticks my nose in art, illustration and crafts. A heaping sink load of dishes or an unmade bed is the unwanted intrusion to creative time. Poor me. "The rich" don't have to bother with such nuisances, I assume, with maids, butlers and household cooks, their valuable time is concentrated upon creativity and thought. Kids crying? Call the nanny! Car breakdown? Call the chauffeur! How I wish.

Which brings me back to chores and resentment therein. The further up the totem pole the more chores are required per individual. Once you step outside of the protective cocoon of Mom and Dad's TLC and laundry service you land on the top of the pole. You get to do all of the chores to maintain your existence. You also get to choose which chores are important and which can be ignored or postponed.vacuumingth

Singles Chores

When you live by yourself chores consist of:

  • Personal grooming
  • Finding and keeping jobs
  • Picking up after yourself
  • Laundry and home maintenance such as
    • Washing dishes
    • Vacuuming and cleaning house
    • Paying bills on time
      • Water, sewer, garbage, rent, car payment, shopping and such

list of your choresRelationship Chores

Now the fun starts. Adults of any age are just as susceptible to Puppy Love and infatuation impulses as star-struck teenagers. Social pressures kick in the instant you zero in on a potential significant other, but who cares about assignment of chores when you're truly, deeply, madly in love?

Three types of infatuation:

  • Blind desire; Carried away in love, giving no thought, insight or proper evaluative judgement about your target or the relationship.
  • Disregard for evaluation of the pending relationship due to craving or love for the selected target.
  • Flat out bad judgement due to ignorance or recklessness, regardless of desire for the other person involved.

Negotiating Chores

Once you settle in and begin living with your significant other, the specter of chores raises its ugly head. It may seem sudden but that's because, in your infatuation, you ignored the signs and now predictably find yourself in a battle of wits over who does what and when. Media messages don't help since they primarily fan the flames of inequality to arouse feelings of jealousy, envy, and rage toward a tormentor which does not exist except in your imagination.

Couple Chores

When you live with someone your chores consist of:

  • Personal grooming
  • Finding and keeping jobs
  • Picking up after yourself
  • Laundry and home maintenance such as
    • Washing dishes
    • Vacuuming and cleaning house
    • Paying bills on time
      • Water, sewer, garbage, rent, car payment, shopping and such

pats choresthSound familiar? For some inexplicable reason, chores for one are identical to chores for 2, 3 and so on but now multiple people are involved which activates the pecking order.

  • Personal grooming - Do you leave hair brushes, tooth brushes, shaving gear, curlers, blow dryers, mustache trimmers, nose hair clippers, perfumes, colognes, deodorants, clothing to dry in shower stalls, towels on the floor and pretty much everything else people use in a bathroom out on display, taking up room on the counter?
  • Are you dependent or independent?  Finding and keeping jobs - a big responsibility which if one partner shirks this duty will aggravate the equity of all remaining chores. PS: a chore is a job, so if the couple agrees one will not work outside the home, a re-negotiation is in order.
  • Do you always pick up after yourself?  This should be a no-brainer but in reality is a power struggle to see who cracks first. The one who drops the socks, the clothing, towels or leaves droppings of candy wrappers and other items of trash is the aggressor/winner.

The one who picks it all up is the loser of the game. This arouses resentment, jealousy envy, and rage on the part of the picker-upper toward a tormentor which does not exist except in the imagination.

If you are the picker and all this this bugs you, get a trash can, collect all your own  droppings and throw everyone's else's droppings into the can then tell them where to find their stuff. Chances are you have contributed to the droppings yourself with full intention of tossing into the trash but now are faced with the prospect of picking up droppings of multiple people who also had full intentions to toss out their droppings, but are better skilled at avoidance or waiting you out. Back to the power play.

  • Laundry and home maintenance such as
    • Washing dishes - the drudge of all drudges, the bane of household existence - and the one chore I have yet to successfully pawn off to anyone else. In the old days we washed by hand in the kitchen sink and dried the dishes on the counter or dried immediately and put away. I never got to that immediate part and will pile dishes until I can't find a clean pot or a fork. Thank science for inventing the dishwasher. Now when the dishes pile up in the sink I can hide them in the dishwasher until my spouse puts them away...as per negotiation.
    • Vacuuming and deep cleaning the house. BTW, A spouse who vacuums is worth his/her weight in gold. If everyone contributed to cleaning up their messes, a house would remain relatively clean. Over the course of a day, week or month, gunk and stuff accumulates because we really would rather go have fun than stop the momentum to clean up the exploded a burrito in the microwave or wipe up thoroughly after a spill. Once a mess is left unacknowledged on the floor, the stove top, bathtub or counter it magically transforms into community trash left to be picked up by the first person to crack. This arouses resentment, jealousy envy, and rage on the part of the self-appointed cleaner toward a tormentor which does not exist except in the imagination.
    • Paying bills on time. This efficiency chore should go to the person, male or female, who is most skilled, interested, and adept with the handling of money. Period. Some people just don't have analytical skills, others have emotionally immature relationships with money. Think of money as a tool. Master your money and you master the tool that is money. Mastering money is part of the chore required to learning the habits of grooming and maintenance.

      Did you know the higher your credit rating is means you will pay lower interest on your charge card? Neglect educating yourself about money at your own peril. Just as we learn to wield tools such as a hammer and screwdriver, put pen to paper, or use the alphabet to learn how to read, we should learn to wield the tool of money otherwise mismanagement arouses resentment, jealousy envy, and rage on the part of the self-appointed manager of all things money toward a tormentor which does not exist except in the imagination. Budgeting is the only answer.

      The order of financial survival:

      • Priority #1 Committed expenses. These are the fixed-monthly expenses like rent, car payments, water, sewer, garbage, electricity, retirement and gas for home and auto. Create a budget and post it in a prominent place to remind all parties that household priorities start with survival.
      • Priority #2 Variable committed expenses. We all gotta eat and most gotta drive or commute to work somehow. Decide upon a reasonable amount to set aside so you don't find yourself stuck without funds for food or gas between paychecks.
      • Priority #3 Discretionary expenses. Entertainment, recreation, Cappuccinos with friends and co-workers for breakfast, lunch and dinner at Starbucks, downloading Aps for only $1 dollar, pizza, fast food, soft drinks, ready-made foods, alcohol, drugs... all the stuff I jokingly like to call the necessities of life. Bottom line, it's a no-brainer, if you can't afford the basics you must lose the bad habits or go down in flames.

slobbing at the tvthWhich Brings Back the Subject of Chores

I've had my share of chore battles over the years with spouses, kids and co-workers and experienced the accompanying feelings of jealousy, envy, and rage toward a tormentor which does not exist except in my imagination. Ultimately we settle upon an uncomfortable truce and continue the same behavior to repeat the conflict another day.

The constant drum of inequality, however, continues to vex and harrow the imagination of all but the most stoic of individuals because it is easier to blame than introspect - and blaming others seems to drive the economy.