Against Keeping Score

Some advice against husbands and wives keeping a log of housework in order to ensure equal distribution:
Andy Hinds, in a response to Bradner, toyed with the idea of keeping track of the hours spent on chores. "If my log shows that I'm putting in as many hours as she is, I'm vindicated. If it shows that I'm not, then I have impetus to step up my game and make my wife happier. Win-win."

Hinds's solution here gets at the heart of why this kind of quantification is pretty much useless when you're talking about domestic chores in a relationship. Imagine that Hinds discovers that he is in fact putting in as many hours as his wife. Is that actually going to make his wife less unhappy? Here, honey, I have data showing that you are complaining for no reason. My figures confirm that your unhappiness is your own damn fault. Now, I've done my hours for the week, so I'm going to watch the tube while you fold the laundry. Ain't objectivity grand?
Objectivity, it turns out, is highly overrated.


MikeD said...

Takeaway line:

"Husbands help wives (and wives husbands) not because they "owe" each other, but because that is what spouses do. In fact, if you are out the point where you are figuring out who owes what to whom in terms of hours or percentages, something has already gone wrong. Counting hours is a sign of a problem, not a potential solution."

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Keeping score is for competitions where one side wants to beat the other. Marriages SHOULD be partnerships where one is trying to help the other. If I tried to keep score in MY marriage, I'd get beaten. And I'll leave it to you to figure out which version of "to beat" I mean. ;)

DL Sly said...

"Objectivity, it turns out, it highly overrated."

So are chores.

douglas said...

Indeed, if you're counting hours (or whatever) you're doing something wrong. Marriage is 50/50- on average. At times, it's 60/40, 30/70, even 90/10. You need to be there when you're needed, and they need to be there for you when you need it.

douglas said...

I meant to frame that as 'that was the best marriage advice I ever got'.

Cass said...

Couldn't agree more, Douglas.

Nicholas Darkwater said...

Even if the hours are equal, there remains the problem of the quality of effort. Does my hour of removing the tree stump in the back equal the hour of my wife cooking?

Better to simply do for each other.