This weekend a friend and I were at mutual friend’s house who was preparing dinner at the time. Noticing that this friend was always cooking we asked if her husband ever cooked. Her immediate answer was “no, and I prefer it that way.” My knee jerk reaction was to wonder why doesn’t he cook. After she explained that her husband once cooked eggs in Crisco I completely understood her reasons for cooking herself, but it still got me to thinking about assigned duties in relationships. When I refer to a duty I mean the household chore that one person in the relationship mainly handles. Sometimes duties are assigned because it makes more sense (i.e. no one wants eggs fried in Crisco) other times the duties are assigned due to preconceived gender roles. Luckily in the case of my friend her assigned duty as family cook was because it made more sense.
In my relationship, some of our assignments are based on gender. My husband cuts the grass and used to talk callously about other men whose wives were outside cutting the grass. He’s also said that he’s the man and some things he’s supposed to do. I have absolutely no problem with him taking on the “manly” duties related to yard work. In turn I take on some of the “womanly” duties inside. I primarily cook dinner and clean up every night. But, my husband and I mostly work together on household chores. He gives our boys a bath, I lotion them up. He irons the clothes for the next day while I pack our lunches. I will admit that sometimes I get tired of cooking and he gets tired of ironing and we’ll switch up every once and awhile. Although we may have our set roles we’re always willing to help each other out when needed and seldom criticize if one doesn’t follow their normal routine. The hardest part for me is releasing some of my preconceived notions of things a husband should do. For instance my dad always cleaned the tub and for some reason my husband still refuses to take that assignment. But, we’ve only been married six years so I still have time to work on this.
So tell me are there assigned duties in your relationship and are they because they make sense or because of assumed gender roles?