Sunday, April 14, 2013
How to Balance Chores and Deadlines
All part of balancing my Things to Do and keeping all those balls in the air.
This week's topic is "Division of Labor: Who does what when deadlines loom." I know that several of our Word Whores live alone, so I imagine their posts will be along the lines of "WHAT freaking division of labor??" It is one of the great advantages of living with someone else - being able to share the load of the whole food and shelter thing.
For me, though, the deadlines don't really change much about how we handle stuff. I think that's because David and I have been together long enough (22 years) that we have a pretty good rhythm worked out between us. One of the reasons we harmonize so well is that we both value having a peaceful home.
This may sound like a no brainer, but it's a different value than many people have. Our house is usually silent - no TVs, no music - and we're often both working quietly on our projects. Neither of us likes drama. We rarely fight, we try to handle crises with as much grace and efficiency as possible. We had plenty of drama when the kids were teenagers; now, between the two of us, we keep things smooth and even.
We've traded some chore responsibilities back and forth over the years, but at this point he handles the meal-planning and cooking. We go to the grocery store once a week together and otherwise he handles additional shopping needs. He maintains the cars and household repairs. I clean, do dishes and laundry and handle the finances. This works really well for us and matches our personal rhythms. I don't mind spending the day cleaning house and doing laundry, but I really hate to have to stop working on something multiple times a day just to fix a freaking meal.
But this balance doesn't really change when a deadline is looming. My whole objective to dealing with book deadlines is to keep my progress steady and even. A few times I've told David I need to crunch and plan to spend an entire weekend writing - which he's always good about giving me room for - so that might mean the dishes pile up. I get to them eventually, though, and he never complains. When he was in school and had a big exam coming up, sometimes I offered to cook dinner. I'll do that, too, when he's not feeling good. I'm also still a better cook than he is :D so me offering to prepare a special meal is a treat.
Likewise, if I'm hustling to get out of town to fly somewhere, he'll often pop out to put gas in the car for me, clean the windshields and check the fluids. That kind of caring for me means more than flowers and chocolates ever will - though I like those, too.
I'm blessed to have the supportive and peaceful home life that I do. I remind myself of that when he TALKS to me at exactly the wrong moment.
Balance in all things.