Lazy DHs. Why did you marry them?

(108 Posts)
magimedi Thu 07-Feb-13 17:04:56

I see many women on MN moaning about the fact that their husbands won't help round the house, can't cook, can't work a washing machine, don't help with childcare etc etc.

Did you not think about this before you married them? I've been married for nearly 30 years and right from the start my DH has cooked, cleaned & helped with childcare.

I honestly would not, and could not, have married a man who could not do these basic tasks. I would have no respect for them.

valiumredhead Thu 07-Feb-13 17:06:30

Neither would I.

givemeaclue Thu 07-Feb-13 17:07:23

Me neither, always wondered that

Trills Thu 07-Feb-13 17:09:00

Because they were in luuuuuuuurve, and love is blind.

Or maybe the men in question tried harder before they were married.

Or maybe before they had children there was much less housework to be done, so they didn't realise that they were doing it all.

I don't see how you can tell whether they are lazy when it comes to childcare if you have DC after you get married.

There was one thread about a DH where the DW had cleaned his flat BEFORE they lived together and it was completely unsanitary. I was gobsmacked. I couldn't have shagged someone who would countenance me doing that. If I suggested it and pigs might fly the correct response from the future DH would be, "am mortified, I will clean my own place immediately".

The best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour. If they don't clean when you are going out, they won't when you are married.

CailinDana Thu 07-Feb-13 17:10:47

It shocked me when my 23 year old sister told me that she was talking to her (highly educated, intelligent) friends recently and they expressed the belief that it was the woman's job to take care of housework while the man should do DIY, gardening etc. I was gobsmacked that young women still believe that in this day and age. My own mother who worked full time while my dad stayed at home and did nothing berated me for not doing my DH's washing when we moved in together as students. When I asked her why I should do his washing, she couldn't come up with any sensible reason. Similarly when I've said on MN that I don't do my DH's washing, I've been told I was a bad mother (?), that DH was going to leave me, that I was petty, vindictive etc etc. There was a hugely visceral and sometimes very nasty reaction to the idea that I don't wash his clothes, despite the fact that DH has no problem whatsoever with it.

To answer your question, even in today's "equal" world there is still the lurking and very powerful belief that housework is a woman's job, and it's a belief that women subscribe to as well as men. The thing is, that's not so bad when you first marry and you're childless and have plenty of time to keep your lovely new marital home sparkling. It's a different story entirely when children come along and suddenly you realise you're everyone's slave.

valiumredhead Thu 07-Feb-13 17:10:53

Men that muck in with everything else are unlikely to be unreasonable about sharing childcare ime.

NotAnotherPackedLunch Thu 07-Feb-13 17:11:11

I'm just glad DH didn't realise what a lazy sod I am before we got married. grin

Tensixtysix Thu 07-Feb-13 17:11:16

I know someone who's husband in 20yrs of marriage has never given her a birthday or Xmas present as it would be a waste of money. But he goes out and gets himself gear for his fishing trips (he goes every weekend, leaving her with the kids).
I would have strangled him by now with a fishing line!!!

11stone4 Thu 07-Feb-13 17:14:30

I'm a typical stepford wife type and very happy to be so. Works great for us!

Purple2012 Thu 07-Feb-13 17:16:44

I do my husbands washing. He does the majority of the cleaning so it works for us. Luckily my husband wasn't lazy before we married and isn't lazy now.

GrendelsMum Thu 07-Feb-13 17:17:49

Apparently when we first moved in together my DH had a momentary flash when he thought "Why hasn't Grendel cooked my supper?" (his mum was a SAHM all his life and cooked every meal). Then he thought "Why the fuck should Grendel make my supper because she's female?" and got on and cooked it himself. He has since chivvied his dad into taking over cooking and is working on getting him to do shopping.

My DH is a lazy sod, he holds his hands up and admits it... But he will cook if he gets in before me, he will do any job I ask if him as long as u do ask and not demand, and he is never bothered by helping out. It's just that if I didn't ask him to do it, it wouldn't get done! Lol smile

valiumredhead Thu 07-Feb-13 17:20:05

11stone I am too because dh works really long hours but he does his fair share when needed, this week I have been floored with a chest infection and he's taken over all the jobs I normally do. He does tons of DIY, does all the gardening so it all balances out.

simplesusan Thu 07-Feb-13 17:21:30

People change. Relationships change. women often stop working outside the home for a while when they have children.
Before we were married and had dc our rule was that whoever got in from work first cooked. The other person did the washing up. We never had a problem. I told dh that I would not be ironing his clothes neither did I expect him to do mine. All fine. Enter dc and dh began to slide into the mindset that I should do more chores.

All came to a head when I told him to pull his finger out and do more housework. he simply hadn' realised how much I was doing until I pointed it all out to him and basically told him that unless he did more, as per our initial agreement, then I wanted him to leave and I meant it.

He did harp on about other women doing all the housework. I told him to go and fucking live with these other fabulous bloody women then. He got the message.

MrsKoala Thu 07-Feb-13 17:23:42

MrsTP - that might have been me! smile I had to scrub dh's bathroom before I would sit on the loo.

I married him accepting he would never do any cooking or cleaning. We were not in luuurve tbf, but had a pragmatic approach which was he works long hours, very hard and loves it, earns a decent wage. I on the other hand earn min wage, hate working etc So we made the decision I would not work and the lions share of things dc and house related would be my 'job' ( we also got a cleaner when ds arrived) I do gat pissed off sometimes, not because he doesn't do anything but because he actively makes it worse. Ie just after the bathroom is cleaned he will finish the loo roll and throw the cardboard on the floor - he doesn't see the difference of it being there or in the bin. ( he is suspected asd )

FellatioNels0n Thu 07-Feb-13 17:24:20

I just clicked on this thread to see if it was started by Hully. I was just wondering if she had a theme going. grin

Pandemoniaa Thu 07-Feb-13 17:26:42

I don't understand why women marry lazy men who live in pigsties, no. Although that's probably unfair on pigs.

However, laziness can be very incremental and any change in circumstances can reveal surprising degrees of slothfulness. My ex-dh wasn't what I'd call obsessed by housework and cleaning but when we first moved in together we split all the domestic chores between us. Over the years, and two children later, he gradually did less and less. I tackled him about this and refused to become a Stepford wife but his indolence and disinclination to do his fair share of childcare, housework and the like was a contributory factor in us splitting up.

So basically, what I'd say is that quite a few men are not lazy bastards at the outset. However, you do yourself no favours by encouraging them in the habit and sometimes difficult decisions have to be made. For sure, I wasn't put on the earth to be some man's servant.

DH did think carefully - my 'untidiness' did nearly put him off but he went for love and pays for a cleaner.

EuroShagmore Thu 07-Feb-13 17:28:45

I thought this was why many people lived with their partner before marriage - to give them a trial run?

PS - mine passed. grin

FergusSingsTheBlues Thu 07-Feb-13 17:29:27

I married him cos he's handsome, very very funny, warm hearted, clever, ambitious but not blinded by material goods, great father material, fantastic lover and has more integrity than anybody else I know. We are so happy.

That he has to be reminded to swally around the toilet duck now and again isnt a dealbreaker for me. He lives with my histrionic drama queeny ways and my hot say thats prob more irritating.

Trills Thu 07-Feb-13 17:29:34

Fellatio - you can set Active to tell you who started a thread.

It did seem in keeping with the theme smile

Hi Mrs Koala TBF you did marry a Koala so they are known to be bad at housework grin

I think it is different when women want to do the lion's share of the housework and childcare and the DH works long hours outside the home. They should do more if possible. If that is the agreement that is fine. I think the issue is when women work, do childcare, do housework, earn less and have less spending money because money isn't shared. Man are not better than women. Everyone should do the same amount of work and get the same amount of free time and spending money.

Oh, and if DH dropped a toilet roll inside on the floor his next chore would be digging a shallow grave for himself under the patio.

magimedi Thu 07-Feb-13 17:39:24

Fellatio I did get inspiration from Hully's thread.

If you are happy with the arrangement you have come to with your partner, that's fine. I never iron, DH enjoys it (mad, I know), He never weeds as that is my favourite job of all in the garden.

But it's the people who moan about how their partner has always been a lazy sod, won't learn to cook, won't do stuff in emergencies even, that I was really wondering about. Were they really so blinded by lurve??

StuntGirl Thu 07-Feb-13 17:39:49

simplesusan My hero!

Andro Thu 07-Feb-13 17:51:18

I didn't live with my DH until we were married, but his place was always immaculate and he cleaned it himself - it was a good start!

No way would I have married a slob.

HE does his share around the house; I do most of the cooking but that's my choice (I love cooking), he does the ironing (his favourite household job) and the rest we split. The first month of us living together was...challenging!

ElephantsAndMiasmas Thu 07-Feb-13 17:51:32

I know! A younger friend of mine has been with her boyfriend for about 6 weeks and has already tidied his room for him. She must be utterly insane. I would actually be quite cross if my boyfriend tidied my room! Different to do stuff together like changing sheets or clearing up after cooking where both of you have "created" the work. But just saying "I will now tidy and clean for you" is asking for trouble surely.

Having said that I clean people's toilets when I visit their houses but that's because I can't resist it and realise this makes me both weird and a terrible guest

Pandemoniaa Thu 07-Feb-13 17:52:04

Were they really so blinded by lurve??

I do wonder whether they were blinded by that equally unreliable factor - "he'll change once we're married". Because nobody changes once they are married. Except for the worse.

Moknicker Thu 07-Feb-13 17:52:32

The same reason my DH married me - brilliant PR pre marriage. smile

expatinscotland Thu 07-Feb-13 17:54:16

I wouldn't have even dated a man like this. And if he became lazy after we married, he'd shape up or we'd no longer be married long before I procreated with him.

Some people are desperate, though, they'd rather be with some arsehole than alone.

MrsKoala Thu 07-Feb-13 18:02:19

I agree MrsTP. That's why dh got an ultimatum - I'm not working in a call centre for nmw then coming home to do everything, I'm also not working and doing all the ds pick ups and drop offs with no help. So he either did more or paid for a cleaner and me to give up work. We've had some absolute humdingers and strikes but nothing changes him. He doesn't see the mess or care if I dont do anything either, which I think is why I don't mind. If he was like my dad, lazy AND entitled -giving out orders while he sat on his arse then you wouldn't see me for dust!

If you think the loo roll is bad you do not want to know the half of it, but he has an amazingly furry koala-y body so is forgiven ;)

CloudsAndTrees Thu 07-Feb-13 18:03:28

I think there are some women out there that need to be needed by their husbands, and that's why they put up with it. They moan about it, but if it suddenly stopped and their husbands started doing all the cooking, washing etc, then they would feel very threatened. It's an insecurity thing. As long as they have someone that needs them for the basics, then they won't be alone in life, and they like the idea of being someone's skivvy more than they like the idea of being alone.

This is just a few women I'm talking about here, I don't believe that every woman who complains about their husbands lack of ability for domestic things is like this. But some are.

Faxthatpam Thu 07-Feb-13 18:05:13

The best story I've heard about lazy bastards was the first time a friend of mine went to stay with the PIL.

Being polite, she asked the FIL if he wanted a cup of tea and then how many sugars he had in it, he replied "don't know, ask the wife"! WTF??? It did make me laugh though. grin.

expatinscotland Thu 07-Feb-13 18:06:53

'MrsTP - that might have been me! I had to scrub dh's bathroom before I would sit on the loo.'

See, I'd have left. If a person can' even respect him or herself to look after himself decently, then you can't expect him to respect much else.

Scrub his bathroom? I'd have made a beeline for the door with an, 'Adios, I date men, not pigs.'

OhCobblers Thu 07-Feb-13 18:06:55

Thankfully I have a DH who is very much on board with doing things equally at home.

My own mother however ............ Felt the need to try and convince me that when I got married (so purely because i was a wife!) that I should iron his shirts and that there was a "right" way to fold his socks?!!!

I told her that I would rather watch paint dry!!!

I'm lazy! <holds up hand>
DH is at work at the moment, but I'll try to remember to ask him when he gets home.

HandbagCrab Thu 07-Feb-13 18:20:36

I think lots of women are conditioned to think men are more important than women and therefore they get to choose how they spend their time but women have to do all the running around and scrubbing. I think when they wise up to it things have gone on so long it's all complicated with dc and long shared lives.

I'm glad I didn't marry an arse because I was conditioned to 'look after' a man and i would be scrubbing round now instead of waiting for my dc to be picked up from nursery and my chippy tea!

hatstandcoat Thu 07-Feb-13 18:21:40

I'm lazy too grin.

And so is DH, but he works bloody hard in the office, and earns a nice amount for it so he's happy to pay for the cleaner/gardener/extra childcare etc.

When I read the threads about these lazy men, I can't help thinking I don't blame them. Housework is tedious. But why on earth did they marry someone whose pay is so low they can't afford to outsource it?

Dahlen Thu 07-Feb-13 18:25:53

I think most women just don't realise how unbalanced it is until something exposes it.

Even now there's a lot of conditioning to feel grateful to men who 'help' rather than expecting them to do their 50% as standard.

Usually, the dynamic changes when the first child is born and the mother is on maternity leave.

And we're still conditioned to see arguing about housework as 'petty' when in actual fact it's very significant and says a lot about how you view yourself and your partner.

MrsKoala Thu 07-Feb-13 18:31:20

Well expat there's a lid for every pot as judge Judy says smile

I don't equate the cleanliness of someone's loo with self respect so we're fine. Now if he'd have asked me to clean it I would have been out the door.

amillionyears Thu 07-Feb-13 18:33:03

Agree with expatinscotland. Some people are desperate to get married and initially anyway, will put up with just about anything.

BelaLugosisShed Thu 07-Feb-13 18:35:29

Cailindana - there are young women who don't think like your sister, my 22 year old DD is one of them. Last year she was due to move in with her then boyfriend, she found herself having to nag him to clean up his flat whenever she went round, there would be dishes stacked high in the sink, overflowing bin bags, filthy bathroom etc. and would end up helping him clean. She ended up telling him that if he didn't sort himself out she wouldn't be moving in with him, long story short - she ended their relationship because if he couldn't be arsed to make the effort before they lived together , she didn't think it would get any better afterwards - I was very proud of her. She has grown up seeing DH do as much domestic stuff as me btw.

SashaSashays Thu 07-Feb-13 18:38:33

Agree some people are desperate and will put up with a shocking amount of shite.

Its a bit like when I read on mn or hear of people in long term relationships that have never been, slightly or fully, sexually satisfying. That would have been a deal breaker for me, some people seem not to care too much

I've got a stick up my arse thats how I maintain permanent sexual satisfaction and I've always done the majority of the housework as I'm quite particular about it. DH isn't a grubby bugger but his standards are piss poor. However he sorts the garden, to how I want it, deal with all the car maintenance as that bores me to tears and we both do our fair share of semi-scratch cooking of whatever the new mn name is for reheating.

Some of you would hate him, but I'm sure I saw on here that one couple hadn't had sex for 8 years and neither were happy but were just accepting of it. I'd probably have binned him after 8 months!

cerealqueen Thu 07-Feb-13 18:48:12

Agree with Dahlen. Once you are at home with first DC, many of us are doing most of the housework, cooking, childcare. Men quite like the set up, then many start to resent being asked to do their share, and may compare wives with their mothers who did everything and their fathers, who did nothing....(not all but many it seems) and they deep down think it is woman's work and that we enjoy it. We had a row about this and my DP was telling me how he didn't like doing the chores and I said who does, I don't either. He was genuinely shocked, I really think he believed I enjoyed it and that I was cut out for it, whilst he wasn't.

When women do go back to work, they, on the whole, tend to do the childcare drop off, pick up, and their wages are factored against the cost of childcare. They will do the all organising of family life too. I'm not saying this is the same for everybody, but amongst the women I know, it seems to be more often than not the norm. This is why men thrive on marriage, they gain a 'wife'. Given what we do, I'd love to have a wife too!

rainrainandmorerain Thu 07-Feb-13 18:51:26

This is practically my specialist subject. Where would you like me to start?

I totally agree with Dahlen that housework/running a household (my preferred term) is seen in a way by both sexes as something insignificant. After all, you don't do a degree in it, do you? It isn't paid. No great historical figure has been known for their ability to clean their house.

So it is seen as trivial - men often don't see it as being their role to do it, and women often do it (a lot of it) but feel like moaning cows if they bring it up a lot.

Of course this isn't fair. It needs a bit of planning, some skill, and effort. It doesn't bloody do itself. (for those thinking 'skill? really?' - yes, skill. I had and know others who had male partners who had simply never cleaned for themselves. Didn't know how to hoover or what to clean a bathroom with. If you go from mum's house to uni to shared houses or cohabitations where someone else does it - they never learn).

I think particularly when couples get together young, neither of them is exactly a whizz at household stuff. Keeping your room fairly tidy isn't the same as running a whole household with kids and childcare to cope with. So sometimes a huge inability/reluctance to do much at all on that front just isn't apparent. It is a situation that can creep up on you.

Kids. The amount of household chores, and how hard it is to fit them in, rockets after you have a baby. Women who have done chores before as routine suddenly have a lot more on their plate, and start to resent it more. Then there,s the whole maternity leave issue. mothers take 6 months or a year or whatever at home - it becomes their 'domain'. Working fathers very much start to see it as not their job.

And when women return to work, it is often part time, or they earn less.... so they become by default both workers and the ones responsible for doing all the jobs their busy, harder working (in his eyes) and higher earning husband won't do.

Just a few reasons!

Snowydrift Thu 07-Feb-13 18:52:21

My DH always cooked and helped with the cleaning until just after we were married and he got a job. We moved to be close to his job (5mins away) leaving me with a 4 hour commute to Uni. Then he stopped cooking and helping with the cleaning because he was working and I was only a student...

Annunziata Thu 07-Feb-13 18:57:59

I was brought up to skivvy after my dad and brothers, DH was brought up being waited on hand and foot. I didn't/ don't expect anything else.

expatinscotland Thu 07-Feb-13 19:00:25

It is NOT 'helping'. It's doing one's fair share in life.

LessMissAbs Thu 07-Feb-13 19:07:49

Its pretty obvious that you simply make sure you marry a man who has lived on his own and had his own place before meeting you!

I would never, ever have dated a man living at home, who hadn't gone to university and not lived away from home while doing so, etc..

Pretty much guarantees the ability to pay bills, work washing machines, etc..

OTOH I can't cook or iron (or can't be bothered). But I compensate in other areas.

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 07-Feb-13 19:12:00

I wouldn't have either. This is why we lived together for 10 years before getting married. I wanted to check he wasn't secretly lazy.

rainrainandmorerain Thu 07-Feb-13 19:25:38

btw - I have always worked, and earned more than my male partner. This has made arguments about how we divvy up housework and household tasks simple (logically - emotionally they have often been hideous). I don't mean i work more btw but i do earn more.

If I worked less or earned less than him, it would be very hard I think to negotiate who does what. In theory, he is willing. He even understands feminist argument about how women get landed with the majority of household work, and he sees the injustice.

however.... in his BONES, deep down, he never expected to be doing as much as he does. And he can point to umpteen other couples where rhe husband is frankly shocking in how little he does... and even though he knows it isn't reasonable, really, he wants a lot of praise and applause for what he does. As if he is helping me out, not just doing his share.

It also makes him VERY quick to point out any slackness or failure to do my share - and to use that as a reason not to do his. I worry that if i earn less than him, and in principle would be willing to take on more household/childcare to compensate.... we would not be able to reach a fair agreement about what that would be. I think he would be quick to use any superior earning power to dump more than a fair share of the other stuff on me, and i don't know how we would sort that out.

Zappo Thu 07-Feb-13 19:32:44

Not everyone is desperate to be married- might still end up with a lazy OH though

forehead Thu 07-Feb-13 20:24:54

Most men believe that a woman should do the majority of the housework (even if the woman works longer hours )
Most men are inherently sexist.

littlemisssarcastic Thu 07-Feb-13 21:56:45

I agree that a considerable proportion of society still believes that it's womens work.
I have heard so many excuses as to why a man wont cant do housework or childcare, and it almost always sounds like the women who is excusing the man who does FA are trying to convince themselves.

It's his mothers fault, she did everything for him and now he refuses.
He doesn't know how to clean/cook.
He has no patience with the DC.
He works all day and is the breadwinner so shouldn't be expected to lift a finger when he gets home from work.
It's too much bother because he takes too long.

My mother still defends her arse xh by saying he did garden/DIY and she did everything else, and that's ok apparently. I have a friend who has a P who does nothing, not a thing, doesn't even make her a cup of tea and she is up from 6am until 10pm every night bloody cleaning. He demands a tidy house but wont lift a finger to help at all, and now she has lost her sex drive completely, so makes herself do it because her P is not happy at her lack of libido.

When I had DD, and was really struggling in first few weeks, xp would come in from work, cook, clean and make me a cup of tea while he rolled his sleeves up and every time it is mentioned how much xp did in the house after DD was born (luckily not mentioned often) my mother always looks at me like she's a headteacher, pushes her glasses to the end of her nose and says in a really condescending way "And what were you doing while he was doing all of the cooking and cleaning?? Hmmmm?? Hmmm???" It boils my piss every time. I always answer the same..."I was looking after the baby."
My friend always says she thinks xp made the wrong decision to cook/clean, he wasn't helping me apparently, and should have left me to do it all. hmm

I do believe there are many many men and women out there who believe a 'good' woman doesn't need help or a break from the cooking/cleaning or childcare. I have never understood why any woman is proud to say she does 100% of the housework when her DH is perfectly capable of contributing, but I hear the pride in women's voices when they say 'I do it all on my own!'


Kiwiinkits Thu 07-Feb-13 22:13:36

I agree with handstandcoat and it's nice to have a different perspective on the economics of shitwork. Basically, the theory goes if you don't want to do it, find a way to get someone else to do it. In order to get someone else to do it, one needs to demonstrate that one's labour has higher value in some other area. The theory would suggest its important to have your own career established before you get married. Then the discussion about shitwork is far more straightforward.
But rainrainandmorerain has pointed out a difficult truth. Even when all of the right conditions are there (higher pay, similar hours) the division of shitwork is not equal in households. This is because of some deeply held social conditioning that means men, like rain's DH, believe deep in their bones that the tasks of day to day life are beneath them.

Kiwiinkits Thu 07-Feb-13 22:17:01

By the way, my DH was NEVER lazy on the home front in the first couple of years of marriage and after DD1 arrived he was always really good. I have noticed that over the past year or two with the arrival of DD2 and another spell on maternity leave things have gone down hill. Basically, my going from full time to part time work, and being at home more has meant that he has begun taking the piss with housework. He is basically back down to doing nothing around the home. I guess I am guilty of enabling him. Time for a chat, methinks.

Kiwiinkits Thu 07-Feb-13 22:19:33

Examples of lazy arse DH behaviour:
* changing DD2s nappy and leaving dirty nappy on the floor
* feeding the kids breakfast but not clearing up their bowls or wiping their highchairs
* yes, leaving toilet rolls on the floor
* leaving cups on the coffee table, wrappers on the floor
* leaving dirty clothes on the floor

aggggaagggggh I so don't want to have to nag him about this stuff! I really don't want to be THAT wife.

foreverondiet Thu 07-Feb-13 22:24:09

I think also important to set expectations at start - but yes my SIL in this position - I guess she didn't realise how selfish he was before they had kids, and that her judgement was clouded by being in love....

Ariel21 Thu 07-Feb-13 22:24:35

My husband is not lazy, but he is shit at housework. He works extremely hard (and long hours) at a manual as well as mentally challenging job, and earns the majority of the household income (I'm still building my career). He will help if asked, but I'd rather he got some rest so he doesn't burn himself out and be no use to anyone.

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 07-Feb-13 23:07:11

I like to think we're breaking the pattern. My sons will see that their father does as much as I do (probably more, if I'm being honest). So they won't think it's unusual for a man to do cooking / cleaning / housework.

It's a generational thing I think, at gatherings of husband's family it's still very much "women in the kitchen, men keeping the sofa warm".

loofet Fri 08-Feb-13 07:56:16

I think they are being martyrs personally.

My mother used to do the same thing. 'Oh noone ever helps me. I do EVERYTHING in this house!' Do you want some help?.. 'Well I'm doing it now so there's no point! You just carry on watching TV, its ok Mum will do everything as usual!' or sometimes i'd start washing up and she'd come and take over because I 'wasn't doing it right' hmm I recall once cleaning the house before she got home from work in the hope she would come home and be pleased but she complained that i'd forgotten to empty the bin hmm

I think some men feel a bit like I did, that they can't win. Or they might just get told not to bother when they try because its not done in the 'correct' way. I think some of these women like to feel needed tbh so insist on running around after everyone so they feel they have a purpose.

Then again some people are just lazy feckers.

angeltulips Fri 08-Feb-13 08:24:55

I think my favourite excuse is "he's just not very good at housework". Even more so when it is (as so often the case) combined with the He Works All Hours in a Very Important Job excuse.

Amazing how all these otherwise-competent men are bad at housework, eh?! Here's a thought: he's not bad at housework. He's just never bothered to learn how to do it. Don't let him get away with it.

Bonsoir Fri 08-Feb-13 08:27:32

My DSSs have been brought up by their mother to be lazy slobs. We tell them constantly that they will be unattractive on the marriage market if they don't mend their ways...

DH didn't seem to be lazy at first. When we first moved in together we were both a bit lazy, and then would blitz things together. Laundry was done by whoever was lowest on clean clothes, and although I did nearly all the cooking (which I enjoy) he does all the driving (I don't drive) and anything involving electrical gadgets and wires! We both worked FT and it seemed fairly even and respectful.

Then when DD was born, the amount of work went up drastically. With all things housework I stepped up and did more, DH didn't, but we did share the childcare. When I went back to work the unequal split became more and more apparent, we would argue, DH would pull his finger out and all would get better for 2 weeks, until it slipped back. DD is now 3 and we finally seem to be on a more even keel again.

DH isn't very good at housework, which is tough shit. It's still his job to do some of it, and he's getting better with practice. He does work a lot of hours including a fair commute. I work part-time, do some scheduled activities with DD etc, but on my "day off" I'm still looking after DD, so it's not as if I have 8 free hours in which to get all the work done. If DD and I weren't there, DH would either have to pay a cleaner or do it himself, so he knows he has to muck in.

If he's been slacking off, I will call him on it once, jokingly, and these days that's all it takes. I feel loved and respected, and he doesn't have a shrieking banshee for a wife. grin

So to sum up my essay blush, they're not always lazy to start with. As others have said, a change in circumstances often reveals how lazy someone is. Doesn't mean it has to stay that way, or that you have to put up with it though.

Trills Fri 08-Feb-13 08:55:53

Nobody, unless they have special needs, is intrinsically bad at housework.

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 08-Feb-13 09:01:36

Agree with those who say that things change over time, particularly MrsMango.

It really annoys me how it's somehow meant to be a womans fault for marrying a lazy man - yet again putting the blame on the innocent party, rather than where it should sit fairly and squarely.

We're in a relationship where I work p/t and we have one DS, so more of the housework falls on me. We have a cleaner though which makes it a bit easier. It all fell apart when we didn't have a cleaner as we drew up a list and DH said he would take responsibility for certain jobs and just didn't do them or interpreted cleaning kitchen floor as wiping a corner if DS spilt something. Then accused me of nagging him about cleaning all the time. Oh and then after we cut the cleaner for economy reasons announced he wanted to spend a ridiculous amount on a new car 18 months after he had bought the old one.

Cleaner came back fairly sharpish. grin

GirlOutNumbered Fri 08-Feb-13 09:07:18

My husband is lazy....... but he works really hard and I completely blame his mother who did EVERYTHING For him.

However, this is a mild niggle when I balance it with his amazing personality, sense of humour, he's a great father, sexy and we have great times.

I just love him, even though he is lazy. Just like he loves me even though I am stubborn and thoughtless!

unclefluffy Fri 08-Feb-13 09:16:16

I agree with those saying that maternity leave is a killer. DH is great provided I am not on (or have not just returned from) maternity leave. Last time, it took me having a total meltdown about a meal I didn't have time to cook before he realised that I was working fulltime, doing all the nursery runs, all the cooking and all the laundry too. In general, however, I would say that he was well trained by his mum and can spot a mess and deal with it. Although he does have a really, really annoying blind spot for the bathroom.

Pagwatch Fri 08-Feb-13 09:31:22

One of the things I see on here that I genuinely don't understand is when woman describe being a complete skivvy and has children and does not recognise that the relationship being modelled for them is so awful.

That is nothing to do with a couples primary roles but is about attitude. Passing that attitude on to children is part of why we still have young men turning up at university not knowing how to clean a bath or cook pasta.
Increasingly young women don't either though. The women who are doing everything for their entire families baffles me.

Pagwatch Fri 08-Feb-13 09:32:58

And don't get me started on 'men are just no good at remembering/buying for birthdays/Christmas/anniversaries.

Fuck that shit.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 08-Feb-13 09:33:19

"I completely blame his mother"

1) what about blaming his dad for doing nothing and modelling that as a possible lifestyle choice for men?

2) how are you breaking this pattern so that your future daughter or son in law doesn't say the same as you?

Nearly all the fairest men I know in these terms are from neglectful or traumatic backgrounds where they took care of themselves/siblings because no adult was going sad Surely happy families can raise sons who realise that housework is a boring essential and will just do it.

Trills Fri 08-Feb-13 09:35:44

Once you are an adult you can't blame your parents for not teaching you something - you can choose to find out how to do it yourself.

My mum didn't teach me how to X....

You clearly have the internet. Look it up on YouTube.

Morloth Fri 08-Feb-13 09:40:08

I can only assume some women rather enjoy the martyr role.

Bonsoir Fri 08-Feb-13 09:41:33

Increasingly young women don't either though. The women who are doing everything for their entire families baffles me.

I don't think that mothers are increasingly doing everything for their entire families. There has been a massive increase in the outsourcing of domestic chores in the past couple of decades. Increasingly, neither parent is modelling much in the way of domestic skills. Hence children not copying or being taught.

Pagwatch Fri 08-Feb-13 09:42:20

I agree with that Trills (I have been agreeing with you constantly for the last day it two).
I think one of the things that parents are creating in some kids/adults is the idea that it is always someone else's responsibility.

Ds1 has extraordinary tales of parents driving to uni with cash because a student fucked up, phoning parents to get them to sort out problems with courses. One student took bedding home to be washed and looked shock at the suggestion that she use the laundrette on the ground floor
If you have reached 18 without the ability to think 'now how do I sort this out' rather than 'who can I ask' it can take a while to shake. If you walk into relationships where this is reinforced the desire to change, the very idea that it is change worthy may not occur.
It's a sort of inbred helplessness that over protective parenting is perpetuating.

prudencesmom Fri 08-Feb-13 09:43:15

I know two couples where the DH does NOTHING round the house.
One wife is vvv laid back and doesnt seem to mind doing everything herself, but just does the bare minimum of things.
The other wife seems to be a total control freak and seems to relish the sympathy she gets from others i.e. poor xxxx must be so tired doing everything, poor xxxx doing all that housework etc. I think she actually wants a medal for being mum/housewife of the year!

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 08-Feb-13 09:45:01

I agree Trills. No-one is born knowing how to wash clothes or cook broccoli and for whatever reason you may never have been taught. But the difference seems to be that when you reach adulthood it becomes embarrassing to be so helpless - except for some men where it seems to be acceptable and even mark of pride. Being a 45 year old bloke who can say "I've never put a wash on in my life" clearly indicates that you are a dick that you've been able to persuade some poor sod to wash your clothes for you all your life.

prudencesmom Fri 08-Feb-13 09:45:52

And the 2 DHs are VERY proud of being known as useless fuckers!!!

Trills Fri 08-Feb-13 09:46:12

Amusingly if I type "how to" into YouTube I get
how to love lil wayne
how to tie a tie
how to make a paper gun that shoots
how to get a six pack in 3 minutes
how to save a life
how to download youtube video
how to make a paper bomb
how to get pregnant with husband
how to get pregnant

PostBellumBugsy Fri 08-Feb-13 09:49:32

I think it is more complicated than "why did you marry a lazy arse". My ex-H was definitely not lazy, he was very tidy, worked hard, exercised hard etc. When it was just the two of us, he was the more tidy one.

However, when the DCs arrived he seemed over-whelmed. He coped really badly. I seem to have unlimited coping capacity and picked up all the slack. Unfortunately, I turned into a drudge & because I only went back to work part-time, I suddenly seemed lumbered with absolutely everything.
Looking back I can see how it happened, but at the time it was all such a struggle I didn't see it.

Obviously, one of the reasons he is now my ex-H of some 10 years is that he was an acopic, lazy arse (plus the affair! grin). He just wasn't worth staying with!!!!

Pagwatch Fri 08-Feb-13 09:52:08

Yes. Families do have cleanersetc.
However,with the few of the families I know it is mothers doing everything.
My sister has two adult girls still living at home, a dh and a full time job. She still takes cups of tea to them in bed, makes every meal, does all the washing etc etc.
she complains. She still does it. Nothing changes. Her default setting is to endlessly complain yet in a 'gosh - just look at how much of myself I give here. I am the Queen of giving'
Her 26 year old DD cannot cook anything nor use the washing machine.

I have a cleaner. And a gardener. I still don't run around taking the dc cups of tea in bed and i expect them to make themselves sonething to eat, tidy their rooms and clean the bathroom once they have used it .
Even with cleaners you have to clean your house unless they come more than twice a week or you are happy for it to be a bit shitty for half the week.

Chunderella Fri 08-Feb-13 09:53:07

Bonsoir that's only quite a small section of society you describe. The vast majority of households don't have cleaners or send ironing out and loads do their own DIY and gardening as hobbies. We probably do less childcare and food preparation inside the home than we used to, but the former isn't really a domestic chore as such.

MyDarlingClementine Fri 08-Feb-13 09:54:28

In My DH case he is absoluty not lazy however he has had to learn alot from living with me simply because there is no room for anyone to do anything in his mothers house. She is the only person who is allowed to do anything in it.

DH used to do larger chores for her such as mo the lawn, but this was always met with alot of cristism and accusations of him doing it wrong...for instance, a tiny bit of grass spillage on her gravel drive whilst taking cuttings to the compost, would result in alot of whinging and moaning.

Its taken along time to a) getting him used to using initiave when things need doing and b) for it being OK for him to do things and do them wrong, as its his home and house!

Its been a learning curve for me as all the men in my house my DF and my two DB were all self sufficient.

prudencesmom I don't believe you are actually prudence's mom. I am clearly one of those women you know. And I don't know anyone with a child called prudence...

MyDarlingClementine Fri 08-Feb-13 10:01:08


"he other wife seems to be a total control freak and seems to relish the sympathy she gets from others i.e. poor xxxx must be so tired doing everything, poor xxxx doing all that housework etc. I think she actually wants a medal for being mum/housewife of the year! "

This is my DH DM.

Its a mixture of being a total control freak and also a way of getting some attention. Moaning that people dont do anything and yet - I saw it first hand when my DH tried to cook me a breakfast there, she stood over, " Dont do that, you will get fat splashes on my granite work top, Dont use that plastic spoon, it will scratch the pan, not that much oil, not this, not that..."

The poor thing couldn't do right for doing supposedly wrong.

I sat there sreaming in side - " FUCK off, leave him to it!!!!!!!!!!!!"

By standing over him critising, it was drawing attention to herself - and also put her into " Best Breakfast cooking Queen" position.

Reading more of this thread I've realised that DD will need to see more of DH pulling his weight as she gets older. Most of the stuff he does, he does when she's in bed, whereas DD will help me with the laundry, or changing the beds, or tidying up her toys. She also knows that dirty plates and cups go into the kitchen when your finished, and if you spill anything, you tell me or DH and help clean it up. But, the majority of stuff that she actually sees is done by me, not DH. That should change as she gets older and stays up later, but still, food for thought.

*you're not your, sorry

HecateWhoopass Fri 08-Feb-13 10:08:55

loofet. Are you my sister? grin

My mum has always been the same. Complaining long and loud (and very angrily) about how she has to do everything. Yet if you do something - she does it again hmm because she says she prefers to do it herself [boggle].

If you ask her what she would like you to do, she says nothing. Yet she complains that people don't do anything.

If you say well, if you want something doing, why not just ask, she gets angry and says she shouldn't HAVE to ask. Someone should know and asking means it's meaningless and she just wants people to do things without her having to ask.

However, if you just do something, she gets angry because she says it makes more work and people don't do it 'right' (sorry, but it isn't difficult to wipe a surface or run a hoover over a floor. It is not actually that others are doing it wrong!)

I was very happy to leave and set up my own home grin She just wanted to be a martyr about it. Making housework into this really big deal and hard task that nobody but her was capable of doing, but the lack of doing it was some indication of a lack of respect for her.

You seriously could not win. No matter what you did.

So we all gave up and just let her do everything and ignored her rantings about it.

GirlOutNumbered Fri 08-Feb-13 10:15:31

elephant I can't blame his father as he walked out on them when DH
was 2.

I have taught my son how to cook, clean and help round the house and I never said DH does nothing, I said he is lazy round the house. I just have to nag him to do it. Funny thing is, he is better at housework than me.

So our children see both of us pull our weight and they help too.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 08-Feb-13 10:20:30

Sorry Girl I didn't mean that just to be directed at you! Just your comment is quite frequently heard in this debate. But also I do think his dad walking out is the ultimate expression of "doing nothing".

GirlOutNumbered Fri 08-Feb-13 14:01:08

I think his Dad walking out was probably what made his Mother start doing everything for 'her boys' in the first place. My DSS mum is the same. She picks up after him to the point where he just throws stuff down and loses it straight away. He is now 10 and has this idea that he can just throw something on the floor downstairs and when he wants it, he can just ask and expect his mum to know where it is.

When he comes here he moans here about doing the dishes, tidying rooms, hoovering etc, but deep down I think he likes it. I think he is proud that he can do all these things for himself.

foslady Fri 08-Feb-13 15:21:54

My self esteem was on the floor and I thought that was all I was worth

Worse thing was it happened twice before I started to value myself

MrsKoala Fri 08-Feb-13 15:34:30

I think the thing about learning to do things is you have to care enough about them to actually take in the information (like me and driving, or space, or maths I just don't give a shit so my eyes glaze over). So dh can be shown how to cook and clean but none of it ever sticks. Because the truth is he just doesn't give a shit. He does not care one way or the other whether it's done or not. If I don't cook dinner, that's fine he'll get fish and chips, if the house is dirty, that's fine too. So how can you make someone care enough to learn?

CailinDana Fri 08-Feb-13 15:52:40

My parents were shite, but one thing they actually did get right was that when my sisters and I turned 10 we started to get more and more responsibility, so that by the time we were about 14 we were all equally contributing to the household. My mother (in spite of her weirdness about laundry, mentioned earlier) was never 100% in charge of the house, it was the responsibility of all of us. I think it made us better behaved as teenagers because we felt on an equal footing - we weren't pushed around or nagged, we were just expected to get on with it. If we wanted to leave our rooms in a filthy tip, that was our choice, nothing was ever said about it. If the house was being decorated, we had an equal say in how it was done. It really suited me to live like that - I think if I'd been in a situation where my mother did my washing and tidied my room it would have really annoyed me. I think parents do their teens a real disservice by not giving them a sense of responsibility for the house. I've seen it said time and time again on MN that mums do washing/packed lunches/tidying for their teens because "I'm their mum and it's my job to look after them." I disagree - it's your job to look after a helpless baby but beyond that it's your job to teach your child to live independently, not to mollycoddle them.

CailinDana Fri 08-Feb-13 15:56:08

MrsKoala- the fact he doesn't care means that he doesn't really care how you feel. There's nothing you can do to change that really. I don't care a jot about my husband's hobby but over the years I have made myself learn something about it, I've attended events, I've bought him stuff for it, because I care about him, and it's important to him. Equally my DH would live in a rat infested shithole if left to his own devices but he pulls his weight with housework because he cares about the fact that a dirty house bothers me. He doesn't expect me to take up his hobby, and I don't expect him to turn in to Martha Stewart, we just expect each other to make an effort. By doing nothing your DH is basically saying "I know it bothers you but I don't care about that."

Bearbehind Fri 08-Feb-13 15:59:41

I don't think it is a bad thing that some women are happy to do the housework while their partners do DIY and gardening (as someone up thread was surprised to find her younger sister expected she would do).

It's how it works in our house because it works for us. That's not to say either of us never do the other things, it just that we each do what we are best at.

I think people should expect to do their fair share and if that means they do the 'traditional' jobs then so what? Why make life harder by doing the things you are shit at, just to prove a point.

Totally different matter with people who do nothing though. Trouble is, people change, so someone who seemed a catch at the beginning may stop trying after a while. Not sure many people would set out to live with a lazy git.

MrsKoala Fri 08-Feb-13 16:06:30

But why is my yes stronger than his no? If he feels just as strongly as me about NOT wanting to do it, surely, in the same way I should care enough about him to not make him do something he not only doesn't want to do, finds frustrating to the point of tears and does not see the point of at all.

And sadly dh has hobbies that I cannot understand even the basic things about such is the immenseness of their boringdom.

MrsKoala Fri 08-Feb-13 16:11:12

However, I will bring our dc up to do chores and earn pocket money. I was never allowed to do anything at home in case I did it wrong. But I moved out at 16 and taught (very easy, buy a recipe book) myself because it mattered to me.

CailinDana Fri 08-Feb-13 16:12:59

Because housework isn't optional. A certain standard is optional, yes, but the basics are absolutely essential if you're going to have clean clothes and fresh food to eat. He can't say no, because no means "you do it."

MrsKoala Fri 08-Feb-13 16:36:40

He can say no because he doesn't care about having either of those things. when I met him took his work clothes to a cleaner and just wore stinking dirty clothes often. He is also happy to eat crap every day.

He will occasionally put a load of washing on if he has exhausted every thing. But it all goes in together on a hot wash and is worn screwed up and unironed. Totally mismatching etc.

I genuinely suspect, (i used to be a senco so I know a little) and it has been pointed out by others, that he has asd. Not just about this, but his behaviour over other things too. He finds the world a very difficult place.

CailinDana Fri 08-Feb-13 16:43:59

That makes things slightly different. If it's a genuine problem for him then it's your decision as to whether you're willing to live with that. If my DH acquired a disability that meant he did less housework it wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me, I would live with it.

MrsKoala Fri 08-Feb-13 16:49:45

At first I thought it was just massive laziness. But the more I see the more I'm not so sure.

MammaTJ Fri 08-Feb-13 16:58:22

I do not do my DPs washing, I rarely do my DCs washing. I do my own and the bedding.

DP and me share the housework pretty much equally, as we do the childcare although DP puts them to bed and deals with their morning routines so in truth he does more than me because we both work full time.

tallulah Fri 08-Feb-13 18:48:02

I've also been married for almost 30 years. Up until just before DC5 was born we always split everything 50/50, and I could have written your OP. Then DH got promoted, started doing lots of extra -unpaid- hours at work and decided (without mentioning it to me) that he wasn't going to do anything at home shock. Because we had 3 teens at home, whenever I complained he'd insist that "the boys" were supposed to be doing XYZ. It wasn't until the boys moved out that I realised he was doing sweet FA.

We have had several conversations about it, and following the most recent one he is now making an effort. I think he'd got so used to not bothering that it'd become a habit.

I did explain to him that I would never have married someone who'd decided it was my job to do everything. He agreed he was BU.

NotHerRealname Fri 08-Feb-13 20:10:29

No I have never understood it either, and posted a very similar message a few months ago.
I have a number of friends who are putting up with the most unbelievable behaviour. For example husbands who complain about the state of the house when they come home from work and not contributing anything to help clean up, spend the whole weekend doing exactly what pleases them, not spending time with the children. As well as spending money willy nilly and running up depts.
I get so cross about it, that I just want to shake these women and say "fgs, you deserve better than this!" Of course I don't though, I just smile and offer a listening ear.
The trouble is, I think this behaviour is seen as normal for some women, and lets not forget the grinding down of one's self esteem that goes along with staying at home with the children and being reliant on a man for one's income.

willesden Fri 08-Feb-13 21:33:53

I married for money.

GrendelsMum Sat 09-Feb-13 18:34:07

I think that some relationships have a dynamic, more or less conscious, in which one person looks after the other, and that this makes both people in the relationship feel happy. I wouldn't stand for my brother in law's assumed incompetence for example, but it appears to be what suits both him and my sister if he asks her for things and she sorts it out. They're both hugely capable intelligent people, so I can only guess that it works for them, as she did apparently set a limit regarding laundry.

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