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fran and craig

Fran Walsh is a chaplaincy youth worker in a large catholic secondary school and is schools work tutor for CYM. Craig Walsh is a nurse specialist in children’s orthopaedics in Oxford.

When we first got married, the mundane domestic chores of life were new and exciting. We could not do enough for each other and took great joy and delight in our new little flat. Needless to say it did not stay that way forever! Resentment can set in rather quickly when one person feels they are doing more around the house than the other, or that they get all the horrible jobs and the other all the good jobs. We needed to find a way of enabling equality in our domestic life.

We both lived by the principle that equality was not everyone having the same but about each person having their needs met to an equal extent. There were some jobs I was good at, did not mind doing and which didn’t take much time. There were also some things I hated and some things I could not do, like driving. The same was true for Craig. We needed to find a way that we could both be happy with our own offering to domestic bliss and trust that the other was contributing to the same degree.

So we listed all the domestic chores we do on a two-week basis. Even this took some discussion; what is a domestic chore? We then both rated each task out of three for difficulty and out of three for how time consuming it was. On the whole, I found cooking the evening meal a joy, a bit time consuming but not difficult, whereas Craig found cooking dinner a horribly stressful chore. However I hated doing the bins because I never remembered which bin went out at what day and it was a mad panic collecting up the bins as the bin lorry came up the road! Craig found it easy to remember so the bins caused no stress for him at all.

Our list was extensive! And by the end of the exercise we were able to divide up the chores. We made sure that not only were the total scores the same at the end, but that we had the same number of low scoring and high scoring jobs. We were not doing the same number of jobs at the same time but by the end of the two weeks we both knew that the house would be tidy and that we had put in the same amount of effort as the other.

Some may look at this and think it is really structured but we found great freedom within the structure. I didn’t feel I was responsible for everything because I noticed jobs needing doing; Craig didn’t get nagged because he didn’t. We both had the freedom to do the jobs in our own time and the other person had to trust that they would be done.This works for us, we happily give and we happily receive; we mostly have a clean, tidy, well ordered home. I feel loved as I have a husband who does chores without being asked. We have autonomy in our doing with the unwritten rule that the other is not allowed to criticize our work.

Fran Walsh is a chaplaincy youth worker in a large catholic secondary school and is schools work tutor for CYM. Craig Walsh is a nurse specialist in children’s orthopaedics in Oxford.

6 thoughts on “Fran and Craig Walsh on equality at home

  1. Please please please would you email me the list you crafted. Whilst with two babies, and a father with memory problems I’ll have to make my own additions to the list, using yours as a base will save me soooo much time, and a near possible separation ;0) So grateful x

  2. I love this story, especially Fran’s emphasis on their aim to meet their mutual needs as people…also, the way of dividing the tasks sounds brilliant *note to self*. Thanks for sharing.

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