Any smart manager will have his or her employees cross train in each others’ duties as much as possible. That way, when someone is on vacation, gets sick or leaves the company, someone has a clue how to do that person’s job.
So why not do the same thing in a household?
Most couples these days split up the household chores, or at least it’s my opinion that they should. It’s easy to fall into the rut of each doing his or her own chores, which were probably split up based on preference or skill. In our case, some of what my husband does is because it’s nearly impossible for me due to my disability. For example, he usually handles mopping the floors and taking the trash out to the curb. I can technically handle both tasks, but it takes me three times as long as it does John and requires a lot more effort. There’s other tasks, such as changing light bulbs, that I used to have to wait for someone to come over to handle for me. Now, John just does it.
I have to admit, there’s other stuff around the house that I don’t know how to do-including making coffee. That’s right, I’m 32 years old and have really no clue how to operate a coffee maker. I even let John pick out the coffee/tea maker we put on our wedding registry.
There’s something else around our place I don’t know how to do and that’s use the charcoal grill. John always grills outside and I grill on the George Foreman when we cook inside. When he grills, I’m in charge of the side dishes.
In case you think I’m the only one in our household that doesn’t always know how to handle something, we discovered an interesting communication issue during my hospitalization this spring. I had made a weird charge on our account that the bank thought looked like identity theft and because I hadn’t thought to tell John about it, he let the bank cancel all our cards for that account. Not a huge deal, but had I communicated about our finances, it would have saved some grief. I’m sure there’s other ways of doing things in our household that I do in a certain manner that John would be left to just figure out if I were to suddenly not be around.
One chore area where we are good at communicating about is our cats. We both know the feeding schedule and the rules about going outside. That’s good for both pets and children to be on the same page!
In the grand scheme of life, this whole idea of not knowing how everything works around the house is not a huge deal. But wouldn’t it be easier (and potentially more interesting) if couples (and families if the kids are involved with the chores) traded duties every once in a while? This way, everyone knows how to do all the chores and it could also give each of you a new appreciation for what the other person does.
This weekend my mission is to conquer the coffee pot and the charcoal. I’ll let you know if either venture produces something worth consuming!