My Husband and I Swapped Chores for a Week and It Was Only Mostly a Disaster

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Real talk: I’ve never vacuumed our home. The reason: It’s my husband’s chore. His mother bought us a fancy high-tech Shark that intimidates me, not unlike our Blu-ray player and multiple remote controls. (Please say I’m not the only one who has an aversion to gadgets.) Also, my husband loves to vacuum and each time he completes the chore, I’m called in to look at the astonishing amount of pet hair that was magically sucked up in the device. It’s disgusting to me and a source of pride for him, so why mess with the system?

On the other hand, Nate does not make dinner. It’s become my task that I happen to really enjoy. Taking out the garbage? That’s him. Making social plans? All me.

With the exception of the vacuuming, which I file under Tech, not Housework, our division of household chores strikes me as old-fashioned and perhaps too gender specific. What would happen if we swapped for a week? I wondered it if would be good for us to step out of our roles and do the other spouse’s “jobs” for a week. We gave it a whirl. Here’s how it went.

Delegating cooking detail was destined to be a fail, and then…it was a total fail.

I cook dinner every night—unless it’s something on the grill, which my husband loves to do and is very good at. I often finish my workday and look forward to prepping dinner—zoning out to ’90s R&B and stirring quinoa. When Nate gets home, he takes a seat at the kitchen island and we catch up before sitting down to eat.

He did the cleaning while I tackled house repairs.

I spent one entire afternoon cursing because I put together a bookshelf. This is something I’d usually hand off to Nate, but decided to take a stab at it myself. Three YouTube tutorials and a bottle of wine later, I’d assembled a piece of faux wood that I’m not totally convinced will hold our books. However, I am convinced that the word Ikea means “divorce” in Swedish.

Nate reciprocated by cleaning the cat puke; the feline seems to strategically upchuck a vomit rope on the white stripe of our rug.

Taking out the garbage is such an easy chore, but I never do it. I dutifully emptied the trash—for about four days. The garbage bag broke and I was not pleased to realize that the job requires rolling the bin out to our curb twice per week. TBH, I felt thankful that Nate takes on this task and have made a concerted effort to roll in the bin for bonus points.

Nate took over dusting the house, and I was jealous. It is something I’ve always done; I find it weirdly satisfying and the smell of Pledge is intoxicating. I wanted to tell him to give me back my duster.

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