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Who does more of the crap jobs in your house?

Erin Zammett Ruddy

While Nick was unclogging the drain in our sink over the weekend, he said, “you know you could probably learn how to do this.” My response: “And you could learn to write thank you notes.”  


Nick are I are pretty much 50/50 when it comes to the daily tasks that keep our house and our family running. We both cook, we both clean, we both bathe the kids and put them to bed. But there are certain jobs that have become exclusively his or exclusively mine. I pay all the bills, for example, and do the laundry. Nick unclogs drains and takes care of the toilets—and a lot more. I realized how much more last week when he and Alex were in Michigan for five days and Nora and I were left home to fend for ourselves. Being alone all that time was kind of fabulous (I ate what I wanted, I watched what I wanted, there was hardly any mess or laundry) but it also made me realize that Nick handles a ton of stuff I take for granted. Here's what I did last week that I usually don’t do:


I made a fire.* We have a fire almost every night this time of year but that’s Nick’s domain. Partly because he doesn’t mind going outside 15 times for more wood and partly because he’s a bit of a pyro. Aren’t all men? (*My fire was made exclusively from a duraflame log but it was warm and pretty so I think it counts).


I took out the garbage. This included gathering the trash from all the cans around the house and bringing the bins back up our long driveway. And stressing that I had missed the truck, which is a stress I do not need in my life.


I changed the batteries in my mouse. Nick often works from home in the desk next to me and he’s the electronics/tech/battery guy so if any issues of that nature arise, I ask him to deal with them. He could tell me to change my own batteries or lightbulbs but he never does. So I never do. (Embarrassing confession: I had to call him to ask where we keep the AAA batteries.)


I clipped Nora’s fingernails. For some reason Nick has always taken the lead on clipping the kids’ fingernails. I have never questioned this and I never will.


I rebooted the TV. We have some weird wiring in the house so if you turn off a certain light in the basement, the cable box in the living room crashes and requires some rebooting. (Proud moment: I went into the far reaches of the basement and figured out how to do this without calling Nick).


I made coffee*. We have a Keurig but we’re out of pods. Nick doesn’t mind pouring grounds into the little adapter thing (I refuse—I just don’t think it’s the same thing) so he usually does it for me. (*I did this once, and because it wasn’t very good and had coffee grounds floating in it, I went to DD every other morning.)


I secured all the entrances to the house before going to bed. 99 percent of the time, I go to bed before Nick so he’s the one who shuts down the house and makes sure we are safe and sound. He’s kind of obsessed by it. He actually called me each of the five nights he was gone to remind me to lock all the doors. Here’s a real conversation that took place one night:

Nick: “Babe, are you sure the garage door is closed?”

Me: “No, Nick, I figured I’d leave it open in case any of the neighborhood kids want to steal some beer tonight. Gheesh. Oh, and thanks for totally freaking me out.”


I got my own water before going to bed. Nick is really good to me about little stuff like this. If I go to bed before him, he will come up to tuck me in and bring me a glass of water. It’s a simple gesture but it makes me feel taken care of, which is a nice feeling. And which, clearly, I am.


Now you probably think I am an enabled princess. I am not, I swear. But I will admit that it felt kind of good to be completely self-sufficient for five days. Not that I plan to take out the garbage or change lightbulbs on a regular basis, but at least I know I can. What are your jobs? What does your man do exclusively? Do you ever have crossover?