Friday, February 21, 2014

Multi-generational questions answered

In response to Our Routine, a reader asked:

I am curious as to how in a multigenerational living situation you divide up household chores like cleaning, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping. Are those tasks assigned, do people do their own laundry, cleaning or cooking? Are they shared tasks. Did you figure out how you were going to manage those things before you even started or did the plan more or less evolve as you went along?

Cleaning: I think we all maintain, picking up where needed. I think this falls to me most because I'm the one in the house most - I feel that's fair since I'm physically present in our home so much. My mom will often vacuum on the weekends. My dad very often will do the dishes after dinner, but lately his work schedule has shifted so he works until 7pm so he doesn't get to them as often. My mom will also regularly do a big kitchen clean.

Laundry: I do the laundry for myself, Ren Man, our children, and most of the household whites (it just tends to be whites - like dishtowels). My parents do their own laundry. Generally there isn't an issue with someone needing the washing machine and it being unavailable. But this does happen on occasion and I just breath down the neck of whatever parent is using the machine. I try to not do any laundry on the weekends because I know this is when my parents have more time to catch up with things like laundry. Ren Man will do laundry when needed, but it generally falls to me. I'm happy with this arrangement because while I was a nursing momma I did little to no laundry (mostly because we made a deal that if we cloth diapered, he'd do the laundry - and it was a big priority for him that I breastfeed). I tend to do several loads in a day and then have the bad habit of leaving the last load in the dryer for the following day. But then I forget about it. So quite often one of my parents will fold that last load.

Cooking: This varies. I tend to do the cooking when Ren Man is at work and then 1 or 2 other nights a week. Ren Man does most of the other cooking. My mom gets in cooking "moods" and then will make several meals in a row with fun recipes she's excited to try out. I try to finagle it so she's cooking on nights Ren Man isn't home.

Grocery Shopping: My mom does most of the grocery shopping because she's in town every day and will often call to see if we need anything. We don't need a ton of groceries so there are weeks or a month that will go by without needing any groceries. We also tend to order things in bulk through the nearest co-op or through Wholeshare. As far as who pays for groceries - whoever does the grocery shopping pays.

We didn't pre-plan who would take what role. It evolved pretty quickly in to this routine. If someone is busy with another task - like when Ren Man was working (4)12 hour days this summer, I did a lot more cooking and so did my mom. We were both home more. It works when everyone is thinking: "I see this needs to be done, I'll do it".

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