Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Follow-up: Division of Household Responsibilities

Thank you for your thoughtful comments and reactions to my post last week.

One of the anonymous comments correctly identified that the straw that broke the camel's back was his decision to watch Bladerunner while I was painting the house (without so much as an offer to help). I'll cover for him while he's studying for finals, but I'm not going to be doing the lion's share of chores so that he can sit in front of the TV.

I had some time to cool off after I posted because I had to travel during the week. During that time, I alternately billed away like a good little associate and fumed over the issue. I was less emotional by the time I rolled into Austin for the weekend.

On Saturday morning, we sat down to identify the universe of chores that need to be done.  I invited him to pick the chores he would handle. We discussed and prepared a list.  I've yet to see any chores completed, so the jury is still out.

On a more positive note, he took the lead on planning dinner on Saturday night and participated in the cooking. This felt like a step in the right direction. With two people participating, each step of the process was much easier.

Prior to his move in day over Thanksgiving weekend, I had been living by myself since 2003.  I don't have much experience with sharing space with another person and I'm sure I'm part of the problem. Learning to be more flexible will take time and patience.

At the core of my frustration last week was my belief that if you care about another person, you do your part without the other person having to identify your part, instruct you as to the procedure for doing your part, and then follow up to remind you to do your part.

PS - In an anonymous comment, someone asked why I'm not asking him to pay rent at present. There are many reasons, but for the attorneys who are reading, I have some concerns about the transmutation of separate property. I'm not a family lawyer and need to take steps to understand this issue in greater detail. Until I do so, I wanted to create a clean factual record. (If this seems cold to you, I understand, but after a terrible prior relationship I made a promise to myself to be careful about these sorts of things.) Other reasons include, (i) helping him while he finishes his last semester (my stress level related to my financial situation was very high by the last semester of grad school, so I assumed he would value a break), (ii) demonstrating sensitivity to the disparity in our financial situations (friends who are aware of my salary advised that it would be "rude" for me to ask him to contribute rent), and (iii) paying it forward (it seems likely that in some point in the future, I might take a break from work while he continues).

PPS - In the back of mind throughout all of this is the advice I received from the managing partner of a very big Big Law firm that, in her view, the most important predictor of a female associate's success is whether she makes a good deal with her partner at home (with respect to allocation of household responsibilities). What do you think of this advice?

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

On the Division of Household Responsibilities

In 2016, I repainted substantially all of the interior surfaces in my house. The builder used a flat paint that didn't wear well--one touch to the surface would leave a permanent smudge. This just wouldn't do.

So I repainted everything except for the utility closet and the garage.

The utility closet is a second closet in one of the upstairs bedrooms. When my boyfriend moved in, we decided the utility closet would be the best place for his beat up bookcases. This meant that if I didn't repaint the utility closet now, there wouldn't be another natural opportunity until we move out of the house.

So I repainted the utility closet, while the boyfriend watched Blade Runner, which brings me to the real point of this post.

What are your tips for constructive conversations about the division of household labor?

I own the house.
I work full time.
He is a grad student.
He works part time as a reservist.
I would like the house to remain my sole and separate property, so he is not paying rent (unless you count the electric bill, which is the bill that is his responsibility).

Under these facts, I think there is a reasonable argument that I should be solely responsible for big ticket maintenance items, for example tree trimming and repainting. Yet, there is also a reasonable argument that he should do his part with respect to routine housekeeping.

Presently, I find myself doing the grocery shopping, laundry and housekeeping because--you guessed it--"you're so good at it." This is a response I did not expect based on our dynamic prior to his move in. To some extent, I invited this problem because he moved in immediately before his final exams and I offered to take care of things so that he could focus on studying.

Still, the current arrangement is not acceptable long-term.

To some extent, it seems men are either the type that help around the house or not, and we have to choose our men accordingly. Let's assume (since he's already moved into the house and all!) that he's more adaptable when providing any suggestions that you may have. In addition, I am not open to a race to the bottom (a piece of advice I have received offline is to stop doing chores until he starts helping).

Thanks in advance for your input.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

2018 Goals

Since 2011, I've been setting a long and varied list of goals each year. You can find the lists in the tabs in the header of this blog. Creating and posting these lists was a helpful accountability tool. Many a milestone was met! Until 2017.

Last year, I was in a work arrangement that required a lot of travel. Spending so much time away from home zapped my energy. I was in survival mode. I completely neglected my goals.

This year, I'm hoping to resume my usual productivity. My 2018 goals, as of today's date, are listed below. I try to choose clearly defined and actionable goals. If I come up with some bigger and better ideas (and I hope I do--this list looks mundane), I'll modify the list under the "2018" tab above.

Finally, while not listed here, a move to another state is a possibility in 2018. There is so much to research, plan and potentially execute related to this that my head is swimming!

  1. Pass the CIPP certification test
  2. Write a work related article
  3. Prepare and give a training presentation
  4. Reach out to the partners in the firm that are doing venture work
  5. Get PLI CLE lectures on my phone to listen to in the car during the commute
  6. Improve timekeeping
  7. Prepare for in house job
  8. 50 hours of pro bono
  9. Solve the commute problem
  10. Work at initiating plans with friends and family
  11. Plan a vacation to celebrate M's graduation
  12. Plan a trip to visit hometown friends
  13. Visit family in California
  14. Add some strength training to exercise routine
  15. Attend 12 yoga classes
  16. Visit the gym 50 times
  17. Transfer eggs to long term storage
  18. Take multi-vitamins
  19. Lose 8lbs
  20. Incorporate Retin-A and sunscreen in my daily routine
  21. Write 50 blog posts
  22. Read 12 books
  23. Try 12 new main dish recipes
  24. Try 6 new dessert or bread recipes
  25. Get the Cooking for Two cookbook bound
  26. Sell three Christmas stockings on Etsy
  27. Make my Christmas stocking
  28. Make the bonus ornament that matches M's Christmas stocking
  29. Max out annual 401(k) contribution
  30. Roll over my old 401(k)
  31. Improve investment allocation
  32. Find a new side hustle to pay down car loan
  33. Hit net worth goal
  34. Repaint garage
  35. Repaint upstairs utility closet
  36. Project 10 Pan
  37. Deep clean one zone of the house each month