I’ve been a bit cheeky with the title – of course Pedro and I aren’t going to couple’s counselling! But in the last few days I have been seeking the counsel of some couples on their problems when they first moved in together (see what I did there?! With the apostrophe too?!) (I know, I know. Lame).
A young, attractive couple of my acquaintance (they asked to remain anonymous!) who have been married for almost two years were kind enough to share their experiences of when they first moved in together. Husband revealed an interesting insight I hadn’t really thought about – chore division. He said: ‘There’s a natural inclination to try divide them 50/50’
This seemed to be what other couples that I interviewed (casually questioned, and then nonchalantly fielded questions about whether it not their answer would appear on my blog) (soz I lied) tried to do too, with varying degrees of success. Many of the (straight) couples I spoke to interestingly agreed on what would be the male and female jobs:
- Taking out the bins – perhaps this is because no woman will allow ‘bin juice’ anywhere near her person, or perhaps because all women get their pjs on almost as soon as they get home from work and therefore cannot go outside in the evening? (Just me then)
- Cleaning the floors/vacuuming – I quite like a good vacuum, myself and Housemate love our second hand Dyson
- DIY – not to say women can’t do this, I for example am brilliant at putting up flatpack furniture
- Loading and unloading the dishwasher/washing up – I wonder if households with dishwashers in are happier overall than those without?? I also think that loading the dishwasher is like a good game of Tetris, and think that men probably get pride out of successfully packing in all the dirty dishes
- Ironing – not one of my female friends admitted to be able to iron. As I’ve said in previous posts, I am rubbish at ironing, but I did wonder whether some of my friends were telling a tactical lie…
- Cleaning the bathroom – the consensus was that no man could clean a bathroom to the exacting standards of a woman. Having lived with girls throughout university I can safely say that girls can have disgusting bathrooms too
- Cooking – Wife of the ‘young attractive couple of my acquaintance’ has a real issue with cooking chicken, so when she first moved in with her future Husband she said that was a difficult thing to overcome
- General cleaning – you know, faffy cleaning, wiping surfaces etc
- Tidying – I have a bit of a thing for scatter cushions. Not only do I like having them, but I also have to have them in a certain order on my sofa and on my bed…Pedro’s a lucky lucky man(!)
- Food shopping – only one attached woman I spoke to said she couldn’t ‘do’ food shopping and would return from a supermarket having bought only olives and Camembert (essential ingredients in my view)
Do you and your partner have specific roles when it comes to chores?
My friend Emma revealed that the thing that she found most difficult when she moved in with Mr C was his hoarding. He had 8 years worth of lovingly collected Bolton Wanderers football programmes. Emma binned them. In her defence she said he never chucks anything away, even when it is broken, including about a million pieces of wood of different sizes, ‘just in case’. She admitted it drives her so mad she goes back when he doesn’t know about it and throws them out! For more insight into her life with Mr C check out her blog about family life on Jersey: www.channelislandsblog.wordpress.com
Finally to the first couple I spoke to, who sparked the idea for this post. They have been married for over 15 years and work at my school. Wife said ‘I believe the first few weeks you live together set the trajectory for the rest of your life together.’ This panicked me slightly – no pressure then! Being a teacher, it also made me compare moving in with someone to your first lesson with a new class. You have to lay out your expectations, agree on ground rules, and consistently follow consequences if they are broken…
Don’t worry Pedro – I definitely don’t think that being ‘teachery’ is the way forward! I would like to think that we will work as a successful team, each playing to our strengths in terms of who does each chore. The first couple also revealed a lovely fact – that if there is a particular thing Wife likes eg a cupcake, Husband will always leave the last one for her. All together now – aaaaahhh. (Take note Pedro!)
What was the most difficult thing you had to overcome when you moved in with your partner for the first time?