Individualization, according to Marcus Buckingham’s Strengths Finder Assessment, is my number one strength.
To be honest, I was a bit disappointed to find out that was my biggest strength. It definitely does not sound cool or sexy.
However, when it comes to running our household, it has its advantages.
Without even thinking about it, I tend to figure out what people are best at and then divide up work according to each person’s biggest strengths. I do this with the Jess LC ladies and we also apply this to our family.
When it comes to chores and life maintenance, Mr. Lively and I have come to a pretty clear and evenly divided set of responsibilities. Having clarity and ownership over different parts of our lives helps us each feel like we are contributing to the family in important ways. It also helps clearly set expectations, so neither of us feels like they “do more” than the other.
In the home we have divided up the chores based on who prefers to do each task. Or in some cases, what I want to have cleaned more frequently (I’m talking to you, polished nickel bathroom faucet).
Mr. Lively is in charge of vacuuming, trash, recycling, cleaning the toilet and shower, and helping me make the bed. He also does the laundry.
I am in charge of cleaning the kitchen and bathroom sink, dusting, general clutter removal, and helping Mr. Lively make the bed. I fold the laundry and put it away.
As for frequency, we do these chores about once a week or more frequently, when needed. We have also discovered that Mr. Lively prefers that I simply ask him to vacuum or clean when I would like it done rather than stick to a strict schedule.
In larger household areas like health-care and finance we have again found ways to divide and conquer.
Because I am giddy at the prospect of having high quality health insurance (Mr. Lively works for a hospital) after being on self-employed insurance, I lept at the chance to be in charge of the health care for the family. I pick the doctors, make the appointments for us both, get prescriptions filled, and generally make sure we are healthy.
Mr. Lively on the other hand is in charge of the family finances. He has a passion for mint.com and enjoys tracking expenses. I do not. So again, it was a pretty easy decision to hand this over to him. This means that he monitors our spending, retirement, saving rates, and pays our bills (except rent, that’s mine). I of course also have full access to the finances and all the money, I just don’t have to write the bills or monitor as frequently.
If I did not run my own business and stay connected to finances everyday, I’m not sure I would have felt this confident letting him manage the money. But because I am dealing with cash flow, budgets, and income daily with Jess LC, BWI, and JessLively.com, I feel good knowing that if I ever needed to pay the family bills it would be a piece of cake compared to the companies’ finances.
And lastly, I’ve even found a way to individualize the move this weekend. We have decided that since I don’t mind packing and adore unpacking, I will be the packer for the move. Mr. Lively is in charge of shuttling loads of boxes to the new apartment. Though we have movers scheduled for Sunday to tackle the large items and storage unit, we think our labor sharing will be the most efficient on Friday and Saturday when we are on our own.
As our family grows we will need to change and evolve our roles and responsibilities. But I have no doubt I’ll be looking, consciously or unconsciously, for ways to figure out where our strengths lie and divide accordingly.