Are You the Household Mastermind?

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Since this is a blog mostly about Domestic Life, I would like to address all the Household Managers out there, or Household Masterminds, as I like to refer to us.

There are six reasons why I have probably assumed this role at my house:

  • I grew up watching my mom run her household, learned all the tasks from her, and always looked forward to having and maintaining my own place
  • I take pride in cleaning and tidying because an orderly home makes my brain feel calm – and being insect-free and mould-free is always good
  • I enjoy cooking (and to some extent, baking) because it’s a nifty combination of creativity and chemistry
  • I was a single parent for 12 years so I ran the show
  • As the only woman in each of my domestic relationships, I took on more of the traditional “woman’s role”
  • Rom had not owned a house before we met

Consequently, I am the Mastermind, by default. Now I must say that this is a part-time gig for me. I have always worked outside the home and never considered otherwise. I considered parenting my other full-time job, and housework was a side-effect of that. However, I do take running the household seriously. I just have to be efficient to get everything done in the time remaining – or set priorities and decide what to be lax about!

Neither of us has worn this lately....

Neither of us has worn this lately….

Since Rom joined our existing household, I was already used to doing everything. It required a big re-think to have another adult around! I didn’t want to keep my routines because (a.) two adults should act like two adults and not have a master/servant relationship (unless they so choose, ahem!), and (b.) we would not want Rom to feel unnecessary, would we?

It is now 3 years in, and time to assess how we share the chores.


Rom contributes to meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and kitchen clean-up. I do feel that I “coordinate” the Food Program of the household. If I weren’t around, Rom could easily take over all of these functions. However, whenever I’m not around, he prefers to eat beans and toast, LOL! Lately we discussed giving up packaged food entirely. We already buy it minimally. I explained this would entail Rom sharing my routines of making bread, muffins, granola and yogurt. We would have to add crackers, cereal and sweets. So far, this initiative has not progressed…


Rom takes care of 100% of our laundry on a weekly basis. Well, except for hand-washing and ironing, both of which are infrequent.


Since Rom takes a whole day to do laundry weekly, I do all the non-kitchen cleaning. This involves vacuuming, floor washing, bathroom cleaning, dusting, etc. I am ready for us to trade these roles for a while!


We have a very complicated routine for sorting garbage, compost and recycling, as required by our municipality. There is even a published reference guide! We sort everything indoors, and when the small day-to-day containers are full, I take it outdoors to the wheelie bins. Rom brings it to the curb on collection days.


We have two cats which pre-dated my relationship with Rom. Therefore I am entirely responsible for their care. Rom adores dogs (especially corgis) but has refrained from getting one because he doesn’t want the responsibility of looking after it. Fair enough.

House Maintenance

We both perform small tasks within our abilities. The largest job we’ve done together is to paint a bathroom. Neither of us is super-handy, so we are not averse to hiring someone for larger jobs. I am glad we agree on that. I know a few couples who don’t do their house maintenance, but disagree about hiring someone, so it remains undone.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Yard Work

This is the area where Rom has the least experience. I mow the lawn and trim the trees and shrubs. Rom digs out the dandelions every year, of which there are thousands because herbicides are illegal. There has been some reduction over time! He has also done some edging and weed whacking. Lately Rom has been more zealous about snow shovelling than I am. I like to wait until the snow stops before shovelling, and he would rather do several lighter rounds.

Bill Paying and Record Keeping

We contribute equally to household expenses but I set and manage the budget, pay the bills and keep the records. I would be rather reluctant to give this up because I don’t like the idea of a man in the house being the designated breadwinner and money manager. My feminist thinking is deeply ingrained! Rom used to be self-employed so his money management skills are excellent. But so are mine 🙂


We each make our own personal appointments: doctor, dentist, car maintenance, hair cuts and so on. I stay home for house-related appointments such as the annual boiler cleaning because Rom’s work schedule is inflexible.

Infrequent Chores

Here is the category where we differ the most. I appear to be the Noticer for stuff that needs to be done. I don’t believe any of the following would ever be done if I didn’t see the need, and do them:

  • Use up groceries in a timely manner
  • Check fridge for old food & deal with it
  • Clean fridge
  • Clean microwave
  • Clean toaster
  • Clean garbage cans
  • Clean fronts of kitchen cupboards
  • Clean kitchen table
  • Clean under fridge and stove
  • Clean mirrors

I suppose that since all of these things are “not laundry,” Rom thinks of them as mine?

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

All in all, our load is light. The cats are surprisingly messy critters, but otherwise, we have complete control. As a household of two, no one else comes along and undoes our work, or creates further work for us.

If you have more than one adult in your household, how do you share the housework?


  1. Yes to all of the infrequent chores not done by husband and add vacuum under and behind furniture as mine does the vacuuming. And tell Rom we used to have corgis. Love them too but they are hairy critters!

  2. I am the mastermind in our house too – though I wouldn’t mind stepping back a bit from it all. I wish the other’s standards of acceptable were a little higher, so I could feel comfortable doing just that.

    Is it bad that I saw that episode of BBT and wanted that folding board contraption?

  3. I can happily report that the hubby and I pretty much split the chores evenly. Usually he cooks (much better than I do), I do laundry and vacuum, he takes out the garbage, I wash the dishes and he cleans the counters…I had never thought of this before since we kind of always fall into a routine but it makes me happy to think that the chores didn’t just fall on me AND that hubby is so willing to do many of them!

  4. Agreed you wouldn’t want Rom to be superfluous!

    I almost swooned when BF wiped the counters at his own place, just cause he thought they needed them. It annoyed him when I last did it – so this is progress. As I am alone, I do it all too (and them some at my parents and BFs – it’s INSANE). I seek a washer-upperer to my cooking, even though I don’t dislike washing up to be honest. And a toliet cleaner would be nice. I quite enjoy laundry, and have been doing all of mine and his for a few weeks. Ironing – not so much, but with a movie and temperature control I can manage it.

    Forgot to say in my last comment, get well soon, if you’re not already recovered – I’ve currently got the sneezes, hopefully nothing more sinister.

    • Rom and I both do a lot of cooking, and whoever cooks also cleans up – giving the other person a “night off.” Thanks for the well wishes – it is just sniffles now!

  5. If you are visiting me sometime you have an award to pick up!

  6. PS forgot to say it is on my re-routed blog1

  7. I do most of the cooking, but Mr Omnivore does the washing up (and I love him for it). I also tend to do all of the laundry because I find folding the clothes therapeutic. We share most of the other chores and contribute to all of the expenses equally, but I would say I am the mastermind behind the household 🙂

  8. I’m delighted to have found my way here via re-routed. I suspect that my other half would have liked to have been a patriarchal-style Victorian father/husband, but had the misfortunes to be born a century too late and to fall in love with a woman born in the 1960s, imbued with feminist principles, worrying skills with kitchen knives and a more than passing interest in the properties of poisonous plants… Perhaps we’re happy together because at heart there’s a lot of hippy about us both, or perhaps it’s because he does as he’s told.

    • Welcome! My spouse, Rom, will be reading this but I’ll say it anyway. He was raised not to interfere with a woman’s kitchen. He had to be disabused of that notion! Since I have more household management experience, he tends to agree with me when I indicate what needs to be done and when. So it was a case of setting the appropriate tone!

  9. We would split everything 50:50 in an ideal world but
    a) I am definitely a home manager and like full control because I do it better and perfectly LOL! and
    b) my better half leaves the house at 7.30 to 8 am and returns at 7.30 to 8 pm! If I waited for him to get home to prepare a meal we would starve. So I cook all week and he often will do some of the weekend. He is a good dishwasher and knows where the clean dishes go to return them (mostly). I do all the laundry (sort, wash, iron), dust and hoover, toilets etc. I shop sometimes accompanied but usually alone, and look after the banking and finances (all but setting up telephone, internet and security suppliers) which he does then forgets the passwords!. He takes care of the Waste Management, cuts the lawns and is always on 24hour standby for any emergency repairs and maintenance around the house. We both decorate and discuss everything we are going to do and choose every household item and colour scheme together and eventually agree!! Oh and I blog a lot and he never ever minds not even when I fall into bed at 1 am and disturb him. He’s my best mate so I don’t mind an uneven split of chores.

    • I like the 24 hour standby idea. When I was a kid, my siblings and I never had regular chores, but if we were asked to do something, we were expected to do it immediately and unquestioningly!

      • I was definitely mummy’s little helper – my mum didn’t go out to work and spent all her time cleaning the house – it was a bit too clean if you know what I mean yet her cupboards and drawers had things pushed in them out of the way. I am just the opposite I like very tidy cupboards and drawers but don’t mind mess I can see!!

  10. I actually love the look of dandelions in the yard, my grandfather hated them and dug them out, I always thought it was a waste to remove color from the grass. As for snow I am with you, I wait until it’s done or I have to go out before I shovel.

    • Technically I don’t mind the look of dandelions, but with no pesticide use in the city, they have overrun everything, and there are far more dandelions than grass. When the flowers die off, the remaining leaves and soil look bad, in my opinion. At least I prefer a better variety of weeds 🙂

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