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To think it's maternity leave not housewife leave, and act accordingly?

(172 Posts)
maternitart Mon 15-Jul-13 19:50:17

I'm on maternity leave at the moment and my priority is spending time with DS and making the most of the time off.

I try to clean up after us both and maybe do some of the everyday stuff like emptying the dishwasher, hanging out laundry etc during the day but I rarely do any housework like vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, changing the beds etc. I do do some cooking, cleaning or sorting in evenings and weekends while my DH is with DS.

Something my mum said however made me think perhaps AIBU, lazy, or unfair to DH. Am I? Should I take on the lion's share of keeping house and do more during the day?

<Dramatic voice> Mumsnet Jury: YOU decide!

Ragwort Thu 18-Jul-13 09:56:21

Too right Bogeyface - I made that rule as soon as my DS was about 3 - he has never, ever left anything on the floor since. You need to make strict rules merrymouse.

Bogeyface Wed 17-Jul-13 23:22:51

Merry Did you never institute the "if it is on the floor when I hoover then it goes in the bin" rule? Trust me, after 2 weeks tops, the floor is clear!

Oh and mine hoover their own bedrooms, I am a mother not a maid!

merrymouse Wed 17-Jul-13 21:50:57

I used to wonder how cleaning a house could take so long. Then my older children started leaving their clothes, plates Lego, play mobile, junk modelling, glitter, dens etc etc all over the place. So much easier to Hoover a floor you can see.

morethanpotatoprints Wed 17-Jul-13 18:38:32

YABU, mat leave is no different than sahm in terms of domesticity.
it is understandable though with a baby you won't be house perfect and nobody should expect you to be.
If you have a routine and dh home at a regular time he can help with bath and bed, to give you a break, maybe.
If you don't like routine, like me, then do what you can/want when you have the time.

OctopusPete8 Wed 17-Jul-13 18:30:04

I think its all about balance, I am not an organised housewife and strangely I feel more energetic,awake in the evening then I do anytime during the day.

However, I have IME , IRL noticed 50's housewife children generally have more accidents etc, as they are paying more attention to their house than the kids.

I am a SAHM. I do 90%+ of the housework, and have done so when WOH ft, mat leave, WOH pt, etc.

I don't think it's unreasonable to call 9-5 (say) your mat leave hours, and split the rest of the waking hours between the two parents accordingly. If baby keeps you up for four hours a night, you need to allow for four extra hours of sleep, etc etc.

I certainly think it is fair enough to clear up after yourself during your "9-5" because you'd do that at (WOH) work anyway, eg washing up a mug, clearing up and putting away things you'd used, etc.

Personally I prefer to do laundry during the day and mopping/ironing at night.

FobblyWoof Wed 17-Jul-13 16:11:36

I'm a SAHM but I don't do the vast majority of the housework and I won't. Proportionally I do more (though not ATM as this pregnancy has wiped it out of me), but no, I did not give up my job etc etc to clean up after someone else (other than DD!). I did all that to raise our child.

It's very easy for all of us to slip into bad habits and for people who go back to work after maternity leave I can see them still being lumped with all the housework if they've done it all the way through mat leave. I'm guilty of doing this myself now that I'm passed the first trimester and I'm beginning to feel vaguely human again I'm still letting DP do most of the work because it's very easy not to when you've got someone willing to do it IFSWIM?

I know women who had a fairly 50/50 split before mat leave but took over everything during that year and now they're back at work they're still doing it all and I'm sure it's the same in reversed roles (I just don't know any SAHD's to ask!)

tomverlaine Wed 17-Jul-13 16:02:29

my question is do you regard looking after the baby as work or pleasure? if you think it is work then it should be regarded as work for both of you. At the moment you seem to be saying that it is work for you therefore why should you do anything extra but for DH the time he spends with the baby is pleasure therefore he should still have to do housework.seems a bit unfair/inequitable.

KobayashiMaru Tue 16-Jul-13 19:27:46

where the jeff did anyone suggest OP should hmm ? You might want to read what people say before you tell others to ignore them.

Awakeagain Tue 16-Jul-13 19:27:15

I could have written this in reference to dh though!! Mat leave not cleaning leave, we've kept our bi weekly cleaner ongrin but sometimes its just too knackering to do anything other than keep ds clean fed and happy

pointythings Tue 16-Jul-13 19:22:58

OP just pointed out that she has actually not changed the standards of cleanliness in her house - she's maintaining the way things were before, which presumably was fine by her DH. Why the Jeff should she suddenly keep a sparkling showhome house when her current standards are clearly perfectly fine?

OP, you are doing very well maintaining the cleanliness status quo you had before your DS came along. Ignore the house beautiful crowd on here, life's too short.

KobayashiMaru Tue 16-Jul-13 19:13:37

Don't kid yourself, I've had one far worse than that, with health difficulties and several additional needs.And I had a toddler at the time too. I still found five mins to hoover the living room now and again.

I'm not saying anyone should do anything. I couldn't give a shiny one if you spend all day with your pinny on, or live in the worlds filthiest house, its entirely your own business. I'm merely commenting on the "I don't have a minute to myself, I couldn't possibly do any cleaning ", as if
a) cleaning your own gaff is somehow beneath you, and
b) anybodys kid is so demanding that you haven't a second.
Tis bollocks of the highest order.

pooquickly Tue 16-Jul-13 18:51:36

Eg I never vacuumed daily before and I don't now.

do some people vacuum everyday ? I watched a supernanny once where a lady had 4 kids but couldn't manage them. She did LOADS of cleaning per day, including hoovering her whole house every day, and ignored her kids which just led to restlessness and bad behaviour (cos they were seeking attention), Supernanny went off on one asking her why she needed to hoover everyday cos it wasn't dirty. grin

I'm now SAHM, and it's not clean ! i do basics, and i would like it to be alot cleaner. But that means less attention for my kids. Whats more important ? engaging with child or showhome ? i agree with you OP

harverina Tue 16-Jul-13 18:32:38

I could easily do housework all day - my house is always messy so I always need to tidy before I clean. There's so much to be done - washing, ironing, general clean everywhere, windows. It would take me all day to get my housework done easily!

Thurlow Tue 16-Jul-13 16:50:12

Get a steam mop, it makes mopping a million times quicker and cleaner than before. If I didn't have a steam mop, I'm not sure I would have ever done much more than spit and rub at random stains blush

apachepony Tue 16-Jul-13 16:35:32

Yep I definitely can't put clothes out and wash a floor in 6 mins so you're not alone! In fact last time I washed the floor I some how seemed to leave it dirtier...

Dahlen Tue 16-Jul-13 16:11:56

badguider - don't worry too much. No one ever died thinking "I wish I'd been better at mopping the kitchen floor" and no one's ever remembered for their awesome mopping skills either.

As long as your home isn't a hovel and it's welcoming and well functioning, the rest is just an exercise in killing time IMO.

badguider Tue 16-Jul-13 16:06:25

I think i'm incompetant at housework - somebody up thread said they washed the kitchen floor in five minutes...
It takes me a good 3-4 minutes to brush it thoroughly first, then get the mop bucket out, fill it with warm water and flash, mop the floor... obvously moving bins, chairs etc. around as I go... honestly i'm at about 15mins already by that point and then there's letting it dry before I can get back in to put the mop and bucket away.. preferably rinsing/wiping the mop bucket first.. no way is that a five minute job for me blush

ZingWidge Tue 16-Jul-13 14:31:45

*some of mine

ZingWidge Tue 16-Jul-13 14:31:26

kobayashi sone of mine didn't sleep much.

I think I'm able to make a comparison between my DS2 who slept very well and regularly and DS1 who didn't.
and DS5 who was a difficult baby.
or DD who both had feeding problems so routines went out the window.

but maybe I just don't remember because I was just dead tired having to deal with 6 kids...and you obviously know better what everyone experiences (!)

slightlysoupstained Tue 16-Jul-13 14:21:32

I guess Kobayashi has never met one of these babies

Thurlow Tue 16-Jul-13 13:52:29

Ragwort, I've been really tempted sometimes to start an AIBU to ask what people do if there housework takes more than 30mins a day. I might start one one evening when I'm bored...

Dozer Tue 16-Jul-13 13:35:53

downton, it wouldn't be interfering to reassure your Dd that it's fine to prioritise herself and her 3wo! And not a requirement of being a wife and mother to do all domestic work while on maternity leave.

Would possibly risk being interfering to send her copies of Wifework and What Mothers Do! (I would, though)!

Easy for men who previously shared domestic work to come over all 1950s when DC arrive; and for women to try to meet unrealistic expectations. Better to have arguments than do that.

Xmasbaby11 Tue 16-Jul-13 13:23:21

I agree that housework shouldn't be hours a day - I'd say 30 mins is ample, then maybe 30 on cooking?

It does totally depend how tired you are which is more or less dependent on the baby. DD didn't seem to nap as much as other babies but she was good at night, which meant after 4 weeks I didn't need to nap when she napped so I had plenty of time to myself. Also some babies like to be held / fed pretty much constantly which makes it hard to get much done. The baby takes priority.

What changed when I was on maternity leave is that I ended up doing all the errands (shopping, post office, waiting in for tradespeople) because that's easy to do with a baby. That was really handy. Now we're both working full time, it's harder fitting those things in.

harverina Tue 16-Jul-13 13:17:52

When I was on maternity leave I did feel pressure to make sure the housework was up to date but I probably failed miserably. It all depends really - my dd bf constantly in the early days and my way of coping with this was to get out lots for a change of scenery. She still fed but it was when I was in friends/relatives houses or at a shopping centre so I had company.

I would say that I did the bulk of the housework when I was off but certainly not all of it. I don't think that being on maternity leave should mean you do everything at home. Your off to look after your baby, to spend time with them, to meet other new mums, go to baby groups etc.

My dd was not a good sleeper once she was 6 weeks + so I don't think I had lots of spare time while she was napping...however I used the mornings when she did have a nap or was on her little baby gym to run round and tidy up, do the dishes, put on a washing etc.

So, id say, do some but don't go crazy! And let your dh do some too. It's not easy looking after a baby. When my dh has dd on his own nothing gets done in the house!! (Ok he maybe loads the dishwasher and puts out a washing but she is 3 now!!)

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