To ask how I can be less obsessive over housework

(47 Posts)
McNewPants2013 Sat 09-Feb-13 00:27:15

I know this is the only issue in my marriage.

I feel that it is putting cracks in my relationship, this week I have been ill and I can not let the housework slip.

I know I am turning into the wife from hell. DH can't do no right. An example is that I scrub the bath after I have had a bath but all he does is rinse.

It has hit me today as dd ( aged3) was playing in her bedroom and said sorry mummy I will put away my toys.

How did I turn into a mother whose children are afraid to play because of mess.

It's the other way round in our house. I'll donate you my DH and you can discuss the best way to clean baths, meanwhile me and your DH will go out on the piss and have FUN. Deal?! :-) (chucks keys in fruit bowl hopefully)

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 00:38:46

Come to my house? grin

Seriously, do you find that you generally have a lot of time? May be a bit of volunteering or something to get you out of the house? Make you see things from a different perspective.

I don't know. I have never really been bothered about these things and am a little tipsy.

McNewPants2013 Sat 09-Feb-13 00:42:28

I find I don't have alot of time I work 3 days a week and I would say I am up around 5-6 am everyday and I don't finish till around 9pm and the house is spotless before I go to bed.

I think you need to talk it over with someone to understand what your underlying motives are for your current behaviours. Is it a hygiene thing, a control thing, concern about the judgement if others or perhaps behaviours learnt from those around you.

You can then examine the reasons you are like that to determine whether they are rational and whether a reduced schedule of cleaning could fulfil the rational reasons for keeping a clean and tidy house.

amazingmumof6 Sat 09-Feb-13 00:46:05

the only sure way I know is to have more kids....grin

or move in here, please! I would not mind you scrubbing anything, ever. you can be as obsessive as you wish!

jokes aside, if you think you have an OCD get help. have counselling and even couples therapy.

think about why you need to clean and tidy all the time. I'm guessing it is a "control/fear" issue, but does the activity of cleaning replace anything else in your life?
are you bored?
do you feel lonely?
does it make you feel important, in charge?
is it misplaced passion?

do ponder what else is there, besides the basic want/need for hygiene & order.

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 00:48:20

Do you need to be up at 5am or is that about being up to clean?

If it's the latter, I'd suggest maybe seeing your doctor and asking for a referral for counselling but only if you see your behaviour as a problem. If you don't and it's not affecting your life then just relax and clean.

AnyFucker Sat 09-Feb-13 00:53:18

Spend more time on MN smile

Seriously, chill out. Nobody had a eulogy "I wish I cleaned the bog more"

if you can't do that, see your GP

you may be suffering from low level anxiety/depression

McNewPants2013 Sat 09-Feb-13 01:00:22

For work I do, but on my days off no.

catladycourtney1 Sat 09-Feb-13 01:33:30

How can I be MORE obsessive? Because my flat is a tip.

But yes, definitely see your doctor if you can't control this yourself. It sounds like anxiety, or maybe even OCD. Do you feel that something terrible will happen if you don't do certain things? Do you get inappropriately angry with DH or DD if they don't clean things how you like them to be cleaned, or if you feel they're making a mess? Obviously keeping a tidy house is important but not at the expense of your happiness or that of your family.

jendot Sat 09-Feb-13 07:37:14

I have this problem....I finally feel I have it under control.
I have a place for everything and everyone knows I EXPECT everything to end up back in its place when you have finished with it. I can now manage letting the kids leave say the scalectrix set out overnight as they KNOW they have to put it away when the have finished with it. The kids just know this is how I am and have learnt to deal with it ( I think they are going to be VERY messy adults to compensate, my future dils are not going to thank me)

Cleaning I have totally set times. 1/2 hour after school run to ensure everything is in its place, kitchen floors clean, laundry on, dishwasher loaded. 1/2 hour after pm school run to sort laundry, empty dishwasher etc and then 3 hours to clean properly on Thursday.
Other than those times I do not do any cleaning ( other than spills etc)
If I feel the need to clean, I go and clean and polish the kitchen sink!
I am a front loop..... But I am in control of this controlling cleaning malarkey!

buildingmycorestrength Sat 09-Feb-13 08:15:43

I think you are very brave to recognise this is a problem. Your family will thank you for getting some professional help with this.

And it will help quite quickly I imagine.

One trick I use when I think I'm being weird about something is to think, 'What would normal people do?' and then try to do that.

SilverClementine Sat 09-Feb-13 08:26:29

Well you've taken the first big step to dealing with it by acknowledging that you may have a problem. I say may here as you need to discuss it further with a professional who will be able to advise further. I would echo those who said go and see your GP. They will be able to talk you through why it might be a problem and refer you to someone specialising in OCD. I went to one of these services recently and it was fantastic! Took a while to see what benefit I was getting from discussing things with a stranger, but it was really worth sticking with. Good luck with whatever you decide to do x

skullcandy Sat 09-Feb-13 08:27:17

The first step is analyzing WHY you need it to be so tidy.

Is it because you like it tidy? (personal preference) or because you feel it SHOULD be tidy? (obligation)

How do you feel when its not tidy?

I tidy up, but im not the best cleaner, we dont have many visitors and i think its more important the kids have fun.

my tidy routine is to clean up when i get back from school run, i clean the breakfast stuff and morning detritus. then again after lunch, quick tidy of dd's toys before we pick ds up from school, again before tea and before bed.

i hoove every couple of days, bathroom gets cleaned every couple of weeks on rotation with the kitchen.

DuchessFanny Sat 09-Feb-13 08:30:33

Bless you, i've been there !

I got to the point where i dreaded feeding the kids or them playing with toys because i was worried about germs and the mess made, my hands were red raw from washing them and i ant-bacterialed the house every day ( think all surfaces and handles) as well as issues with numbers ( i still have that, it's easier to cope with though and doesn't infringe on my every day life) and not having too many things in the house ( brings on a panic attack )

I sort of 'trained myself' once my HV was concerned about me and suggested i see a doctor, it scared me a bit because OCD in our family has always just been a bit of a family quirk (my dad and brother have it too) ... however i know this isn't always easy to do alone so maybe some CBT therapy would be good for you ?

I should point out, i also had my 3rd boy and moved to a bigger house, so just didn't have as much time.

My house is still tidy every day and has a 'big' clean twice a week and i cope with that, and if i ever feel 'overwhelmed' i do something little (clear out a drawer) to take the edge off - works for me anyway !

Good luck !

Believeitornot Sat 09-Feb-13 08:35:33

My DH's parents were like you. DH is similar - to the point of almost hovering by the kids as they eat so he can wipe them clean after every mouthful. He tries to tidy up around me when I'm cooking. Drives me mad!

As others have said, talk to someone. Was your mum or dad like this? What in your head will happen if there's a bit of mess? Three days a week working gives you plenty of time for tidying - why are you staying up for ages doing it?

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sat 09-Feb-13 08:42:26

Well done for recognising the problem.

How do you feel if you don't do it?

When you go to other people's houses that are less tidy how do you feel?

Is it a germ thing, a keeping chaos at bay thing, a people will judge me thing?

Maybe pick one small job today and just say 'today I am choosing to use this five minutes to play with dd instead of x' and see how that feels?

tyrion Sat 09-Feb-13 09:05:06

If you think you have OCD, best to go to the doctor.

Otherwise, you probably need to set some boundaries to prevent you from cleaning too much. For example, I would say it is reasonable to:
-do the dishes/fill the dishwasher after every meal
-do laundry on an as need basis
-have a quick tidy round every day
-clean (bathroom, vacuum, dust, mop floors), once per week
-do deep cleaning stuff (eg. fridge, cupboards) maximum of once per month

I would say cleaning is taking over your life if you are doing all or most of these thngs:
-doing the dishes even when there is just one mug to wash
-ironing every single thing you wash
-obsessive about every single thing being in it's place
-cleaning bathroom, vacuuming etc multiple times per week
-doing deep clean stuff every week

DreamingOfTheMaldives Sat 09-Feb-13 09:05:14

OP, are you my best friend?!

She is exactly the same. She is obsessive about cleaning and tidiness. I have seen her ask her DP to put something away when it has been on the kitchen unit for 30 seconds and he has been in the middle of a conversation with us.

I keep telling her she is going to have to try to chill out when she has a child because her Mum was exactly the same and she knows it wasn't a great environment to grow up in having someone who was so obsessed about nothing being out of place

McNewPants2013 Sat 09-Feb-13 11:37:31

I will book a GP appoinment, if the housework isn't done I feel lazy and I feel depressed and the only way to pick up my mood is to do some cleaning.

My mum is the same.

McNewPants2013 Sat 09-Feb-13 11:44:06

Every day my house is hoovered and polished, dirty cups and plates ect go straight into the dishwasher. Every think is washed after every use including towels.

The kitchen is bleached at least 3 times a day the floors washed. the inside of cupboards and appliances pulled out once a week. The oven is done once a month.

Bedding done once a week and bathroom after every use.

Chandon Sat 09-Feb-13 11:47:13

You cannot help how you are or who you are.

Don't be hard n yourself.

My mum was like this, we accept is as one of her eccentricities, and laugh about it ( with her, not at her) and tease her a bit.

You are aware of it, that is the biggest step. You can try to losen up a bit, but do not despair too much. Everyone has their idiosyncrasies.

Sometimes it's helpful to see what other people think is normal and what is not. For example I have claustrophobia and it was really helpful for me to know which situations most people would find ok (going on a tube) which ones many people would find unpleasant (getting on a very packed tube) and which ones would be distressing for most people (being on a tube that broke down in a tunnel). Then I can focus on feeling ok in the situations which are ok, ie considered not dangerous and manageable by most people, and accept that the others may happen but I am nor expected to enjoy them or have them in my control. (Massive over simplification of months of CBT but you get the idea)

Here are my reactions to your list McNew:
Every day my house is hoovered and polished - this is quite excessive, I think most people would Hoover their house once or twice a week and polishing less often
Dirty cups and plates ect go straight into the dishwasher - perfectly normal
Every think is washed after every use including towels - towels are washed once a week in my house which seems to be average
The kitchen is bleached at least 3 times a day - once a day or every few days with an antibacterial spray is probably more average
The inside of cupboards and appliances pulled out once a week - I have never done this, would consider it an annual spring clean type of thing
The oven is done once a month - normal I would think
Bedding done once a week - same here
Bathroom after every use - twice a week in my house

None of the stuff you are doing is a problem UNTIL IT AFFECTS OTHER PARTS OF YOUR LIFE sorry to shout but this is the important part - if your health, relationships, hobbies etc are suffering then you should seek help.

TreadOnTheCracks Sat 09-Feb-13 12:07:20

"What would normal people do?"

I am adopting that as my mantra!

Good luck op, I also think you are very brave.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Sat 09-Feb-13 12:16:16

Yes, you have an issue if you bleach 3x per day. Bathroom after every use also excessive, beyond hospital standards!

I am sad at the idea you feel lazy if you don't clean,that must be tiring. We all get ideas of what makes a good mum from our own, so you saw your mum cleaning and there you go. Where did she get her idea from? Because there is not an 'international book of acceptable levels of cleaning' somewhere, so basically it is personal choice.

But it sounds to me like it isn't about the cleanliness, it is about how you feel about you if you don't clean. It doesn't sound like OCD to me, it sounds like I am a lazy (bad?) person if I don't do it. If you feel I am wrong, I am sorry, it is just picking up on your answers.

I would start with private counselling if affordable?

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