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Couples seek middle ground on chores

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Catherine W. Idzerda
October 6, 2009

Their dads might not have done the dishes, but they do.


The Gazette spoke to a variety of women in their 20s and 30s about the division of labor in their households and found a new generation of guys contributing more to the household.


Bit and Dan Huber lived together before getting married, and in their time together have more or less naturally fallen into their household roles. Both have full-time jobs.


"I always do the dishes because I like the way I do dishes," Bit said. "He takes out the trash."


The laundry was an issue, and Bit confessed, "Before I had to nag him because he didn't do it."


But not anymore.


Her husband had lived at home before moving in, and he didn't really know how to get it done. So she showed him, and now that chore gets shared.


"We both do the cooking," Bit said.


The division of labor isn't rigid or gender specific.


"If the sink is full of dishes and I'm not there, he does them," Bit said. "Whatever needs to get done gets done. It's not like, 'You do this because I did that last week.' We both pitch in."


Tracey Hayden lives with her boyfriend Aaron Dimmig, and the couple have four kids between the two of them.


"I do all the cooking because I love to cook," Tracey said. "But I don't do laundry. I don't touch it."


She drops off kids, he picks them up.


For Tracey, the division of labor is something that happened naturally.


Bit and Tracey seemed to expect the division of labor to be equitable, and they weren't surprised that it just worked out that way.


Deb Winters, on the other hand, believes what she has is out of the ordinary.


Deb is engaged to and lives with Chad Welte. They have three children between the two of them.


"There aren't many like him," Deb said of her future husband's willingness to share the household duties.


Laundry, dishes, childcare duties get divided up.


Who does what just depends on what's going on, Deb said.


When she had to work in Madison for a week, he took over most of the household chores. She would do the same for him.


Deb is a saleswoman for Tastefully Simple, the home-based business that sells gourmet food products.


"I was getting ready for a Tastefully Simple party, and he vacuumed the house and cleaned the bathroom," Deb said.


And here's the kicker: She didn't have to tell him to do it.


"He lived alone for a long time, so he knows what stuff has to be done."



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