My boyfriend and I have lived together for almost a year now and we still haven't come up with a chore system that makes us feel like the labor is distributed evenly AND keeps the house clean.
We have tried:
1) Me keeping lists of everything that needed to be cleaned in my head and telling him to do chores. This made me feel stressed because I had to keep track of everything and made him stressed because he felt like he had to clean on my schedule. This also drove me crazy trying to calculate the division of labor and decide whether it was unfairly balanced in my direction.
2) Me keeping a list of everything that needed to be cleaned on a whiteboard and not telling him anything. This did not work because he just didn't do anything. This method lasted only 2 weeks.
3) Sitting down and jointly making a list of chores and how often they needed to be done. Additionally sitting down every week and deciding what needed to be done and who should be responsible for doing it. This worked the best (IMO because I wasn't stressed and the house was clean) but made my boyfriend stress out because we have a very different approach to lists and cleaning. I make aspiration lists of "everything that should be done if I had infinite time and energy" and like to clean in big bursts. He needs to finish everything on the list or else he gets really stressed/stops caring about the list and likes to clean by doing one task at a time (pomodoro/unfuck your habitat style). So this method worked for a little bit, but because the lists were aspirational ("it would be great if everything got finished but it's ok if it doesn't") we always left one or two items for the next week and he started out really stressed and then just stopped caring about the list, because if part of it didn't need to get done, then why did any of it?
I think we need to modify the third method, but we're having trouble figuring out exactly how. Does anyone have any suggestions or have a relationship with the same dynamic?
We're also trying to figure out a more equitable division of errands. He works in an office and I'm a grad student with minimal supervision and I can work from home some days, so I've been doing all the errands that need to take place during business hours (vet, dropping stuff off at UPS, making phone calls, doing last minute cleaning before guests arrive). I'm cool doing a larger portion because my schedule is more flexible, but his office is also quite flexible and all his co-workers manage to do their errands and their work at the same time. Because all these chores are unexpected/random it's hard to plan in advance. Has anyone figured out a way to divide this stuff fairly (if not evenly)?
Thanks for any stories/suggestions!