By Eric on April 21, 2011 12

Our Duty Roster

I don’t think we’ve told you lately how much we love the show M*A*S*H. (The old TV show, not the movie. Do not waste your time on the movie.) It’s such a classic. We don’t have instant Netflix, but it’s on there if you want to check it out. We watch it before bed every night as it’s part of our bedtime routine.

On the show, sometimes they refer to a duty roster. This usually involves who’s scheduled in post-op for the day and night shifts, and also the Officer of the Day.

We all have similar duty rosters, don’t we? Kels and I sure do. And I suppose if you’re single and live with a roommate, you might have a duty roster, too. This (perhaps unwritten) document would answer the simple question involving chores: Who does what?

This who-does-what question has been a huge frustration to me throughout our marriage, but through open communication, Kels and I think we have slayed this beast once and for all. “Victory is ours!”

Kelsey: Huh? What is that? A movie line?

The key for us is that we tackle our daily chores at the same time, and we set a timer. We call this our 10-minute rule. But something more profound happened when we enacted this ammendment to our constitution. I realized that my duty roster frustration was caused because we didn’t work on our chores at the same time.

I am a time manager. I understand that we have a finite ammount of time on this earth and I don’t want to spend 10 minutes cleaning while Kels is watching TV, and then for me to watch TV while she spends 10 minutes doing her chores. We love doing things together, but when it came to chores we were never on the same page until the 10-minute rule came along.

Kelsey: I once heard that whatever chores you do in the first two weeks of your marriage, they will “stick.” Meaning that your spouse may expect you to continue to do those chores, even if you were just being sweet and not wanting to set such a rule. Perhaps some families do not need a duty roster. After arguing about chores for four years, we learned that we do. It works better for us if we do know who is responsible for what.

So, now we hustle to clean at the same time so we can have fun together. It saves time, saves arguments, saves lives (OK, that’s a stretch).

So, without further adieu, I post the Williamses’ Duty Roster:


Well, there you have it. (It’s not exactly even, but Kels also has a second job, working on contract freelance projects from home.)

What’s your duty roster look like?


Husband to Kelsey. Father to Rooney. Follower of Jesus. Born and raised in Iowa. I like blogging. Bulleted lists excite me. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. I was reading the Our Marriage Project blog today, and they say that rather than each spouse doing half, they should each give 100%. This made me feel selfish and like I don’t serve you enough. Do we suck at life?

  2. I’ll have to try that 10 min idea. Me and my husband are ok with chores but man does it annoy me when he wants to clean x and he wonders why I’m trying to vacuum during z. So if we scheduled a 10 min “Get it done” time that might help. Thanks sweets!

  3. I love this. I actually have really wanted to implement something like this in our household, because I tend to overlook things when I’m not being held accountable for them, but I think I might settle for the 10 minute idea (and yes, cleaning together is sooo much easier, because the bf tends to gripe if I’m cleaning while he’s around, since we don’t get the most time home together).

    • Heather, The 10 minute rule has been epic for us. And this duty roster helps us to know who is doing what. Staying focused on the task at hand is key!

  4. This is brilliant! The BF and I fight our innate laziness all the time when it comes to chores and one always ends up getting frustrated with the other for not helping enough. I’m going to try this with him and see how it goes. Thanks for the great advice! Y’all are like my free marriage counselors….. I should send you $5 every time something works for us :)

  5. Hey guys, I like the idea. But there are so many other chores that you guys didn’t include. Such as, taking the garbage out, washing and separating recycles, cleaning the oven after meals (and/or microwave), making the bed every morning, changing bed sheets weekly, etc.

    • Eric takes out the garbage, and I replace the bags. We each recycle what we use, and make our own side of the bed (although I typically have to redo it since I’m the last one out). Washing bed sheets falls under laundry, so that’s me!

  6. We really need to implement something like this, because the two-week rule you mentioned totally applies to us! I was between school programs when we got married and did ALL the chores, and 3.5 years later I’m still kicking myself. :) When and how do you guys handle deep cleaning, like scrubbing out the oven, title grout, vacuuming under couches, mopping kitchen floor, etc.?

    • We’ve actually just revised this plan. I’ve been meaning to post about it, but just haven’t gotten to it yet. we listed out everything possible that needed to be done. Then we wrote how often it needed to be done. Then we had a draft, where we went back and forth and picked the chores we wanted to do. Then you just have to make sure they get done however often you determined. We put it into a word document and scheduled out what needed to be done each week.

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