Yesterday you guys were asking about dividing up and scheduling chores around the house, so I figured we should do an entire post on that. I'm not making this a Q&A because I have little practical knowledge of how to divide up chores in a way that makes everyone feel OK about it. I know what I think should happen, but I'll leave the actual advice to those of you who have functional relationships.
What I think should happen is that each partner does their work (whether it's paid work or childcare work) and then the partners split the other chores 50/50. That doesn't mean that you keep a log and alternate who washes dishes, but that the total tasks that need to be done end up being done so each of you has an approximately equal share. So if one of you is fine with laundry and the other hates it, the person who doesn't hate it does it, and the other one does something else.
To me, the key assumption here is that child care is actual work. Which, duh, of course it is. (In Manhattan, it's work that gets paid at $15 an hour for one child.) And, yes, it's certainly possible to get a load of dishes or laundry done during the day (if you're home all day and have your own washer and dryer), just as it's possible to be a novelist or academic or other person who works full-time at home and do some chores during the day. The same way it's possible to be someone who works in an office all day and pay some bills online, schedule doctor appointments, and do some online shopping. But you can't do chores to the detriment of your primary job, whether it's writing technical manuals or trading bonds or caring for a three-year-old. That leaves most of the chores for "non-work" hours.
So, those of you who have or are working this out, what have you done? How often do you readjust and reassign? (I'm assuming that all this stuff changes as the size of the family changes, kids get older, job situations change, etc.) Those of you for whom it's not working, have you identified ways you could make it work better for everyone? (I can't really recommend divorce as a solution, although it has, technically, eliminated the problem.) Is the problem something you can change easily, like by hiring a bi-weekly cleaner? Or is this part of a bigger issue?