To date, the gaps between actual and preferred working hours are mostly theorised and analysed at the individual level. This article provides new insights as to what extent different household arrangements relate to matches or mismatches concerning the achievement of a desired time allocation. The concept of household governance refers to regulations and practices families apply to keep work–family relationships under control, like the earner model, outsourcing of household task and household rules. This article explores by linear regression analyses how these are related to time-use problems of families: the gap between actual and preferred working hours, lack of free time and the experience of time pressure. The rivalling perspectives of flexibility, regulation and boundary theory have different predictions as to which modes of governance produce favourable outcomes. The results generally support boundary theory. However, households often are unable to choose their earner model optimally.