Housekeeping and housework

(132 Posts)
grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 15:23:58

To set the scene, I have a fulltime job, my DP does not work. My working hours are quite long and I normally don't get home before 7PM. I often have to work at home and at weekends.

I give DP £500 a month "housekeeping" (plus she gets the full child allowance). She does not pay any bills, I pay for the main weekly shop (which we do together) and I normally pay for any other items for the house. She will buy bread and other odd items during the week, the rest she spends on herself. Do people think £500 is reasonable, to much, too little?

Our house probably cannot be described as being tidy. It is cluttered and I've tried to clear a lot of my stuff up, to try and set a good example. However, she shows no interest in tidying. The vacuum cleaner rarely gets used (only after arguments and never upstairs unless I do it), the fridge rarely has its contents removed to be thoroughly cleaned (unless I do it, when I'm told she was just about to do it), the oven is never cleaned (unless I do it), cobwebs, grease all over the kitchen, etc. etc. Mentioning this and asking if she could do a bit more leads to an argument, which makes me feel bad and that I'm being unreasonable (which I may be?).

I'm thinking about getting a cleaner regularily but this is expensive and I'm not sure that's going to work with DP.

At the moment, I just try and accept it but it makes me depressed, especially when I see other homes. I don't want it to be pristine, a bit cluttered and chaotic but hygienic is fine.


grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 15:26:04

Ooops, sorry, meant to say - Not sure if etiquette decrees I should post this on Dadsnet, but I'll post this here and if it's inappropriate then I will move it.

whattodoo Sat 09-Feb-13 15:29:32

The $500 question is really dependent on many other factors. What is total household income? Does she do the shopping for birthday and Christmas gifts? What about expenses for your DC/s - clothes, parties, after school clubs etc.

With regard to the housework, I agree on the face if it that she probably has time to do more. But how many children are there? What ages? Any other factors?

You sound (from your post) quite overbearing and as though you are superior to her (forgive me if I've misread that)

calandarbear Sat 09-Feb-13 15:32:11

I think housekeeping is a bizarre outdated concept. I am a SAHM we have a joint account I use money as I need it it is not DHs money it is family money.

Re housework, I stay at home so I do most of the housework but DH does do stuff if he sees it needs doing and I haven't got round to it. My main role is caring for the children.

valiumredhead Sat 09-Feb-13 15:33:41

Does she have full access to all money, joint account etc, or are you just dishing out what you think she should have?

Have you asked her if she feels ok? Is she depressed at all?

It's hard to comment as there could be all sorts going on but from your OP I think it's reasonable for the person at home to keep the house tidy (ish)

Do you have kids?

How old are your DCs? Have you had a frank, non-judgemental discussion about housework?
Could you pay for the cleaner out of the £500 a month you give DP?
We have a whiteboard where we write things that need doing (small cleaning tasks/cheques to write/phone calls/maintenance) then whoever completes the task ticks it off. Could this work for you?
Your DP must have some redeeming characteristics as you have stayed together this long, think about why this bothers you now?

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 15:34:31

If this was the other way around and you were a woman posting about your husband being the stay at home parent, someone would have told you to LTB by now.

Seriously, how old are the kids? Is she depressed? I got very behind with doing domestic stuff when I had twins as I was just so worn out. Ex complained a lot but it just made me feel crap so I didn't get on top of it really.

Could you have a chat with her, may be suggest both working on the clutter together and then suggest she pays for a cleaner out of her £500?

Summerblaze Sat 09-Feb-13 15:34:32

Don't think the problem here is the money. It's that she can't be bothered to do the housework. I am a SAHM and DH has a job that means long hours. We have one bank account that his wages and my child benefit goes into and we both use when we want to and it is usually me that sorts out financial stuff.

We have 3 dc and I do the majority of housework and DH helps when needed. I keep a clean and tidy (most of the time) house and don't think there is any excuse (except disability) to see why she can't if she doesn't have a job.

Some families live differently I know but you and her are on different pages.

hermioneweasley Sat 09-Feb-13 15:35:41

How many kids do you have and what are their ages?

Housekeeping is ridiculous. It's giving you the impression you are paying her to look after the children.

MerylStrop Sat 09-Feb-13 15:36:41

Firstly must say that I am irritated by correlating "housekeeping" money with housework. These are separate issues imo
Did you agree that she would do the housework when you set up this arrangement?
How old are your kids and how many?
You just have different standards, possibly, and will need to meet in the middle about that.

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 15:37:26

The housekeeping is a red herring. It's neither here nor there how the finances are arranged. Doesn't sound like she's kept short or anything.

Kleptronic Sat 09-Feb-13 15:38:11

No one I know 'has an interest' in cleaning. And as for clearing up yourself to 'set her a good example', well, your turn of phrase is unwise.

Cleaning is something which should be split equally between inhabitants of a house.

Do you feel like you are paying her to clean up? As this is the impression you're giving. The impression is that you pay her £500 to keep house and she's not doing it.

Do you have any children, is your partner caring for DCs? If so that's a job in itself.

photographerlady Sat 09-Feb-13 15:39:18

Money is an interesting concept. Both my DP and I have worked from home at different times. We always had the plan that the person that heads to work sorts out their messes like clothing on the floor, wiping the bathroom sink after using it etc but the one saying home chips in and does the housework. It's only fair.

Now in a few months I will be stay at home with the new baby but we will swap roles and I will maintain housework while DP focuses on long work hours.

Catsu Sat 09-Feb-13 15:46:30

The money entirely depends on what she needs to buy with it. Toiletries, contact lenses, mobile phone bill, petrol, swimming lessons, kids activities, school trip, kids shoes, clothes etc add up quite significantly!
If she feels she needs more snd you can afford more as a household then she needs more! If you have equal 'spare' cash to fritter away on a coffee and magazine here and there then it sounds fine as it is.

Housework entirely depends on how many kids you have and whether she has time to do more or not.
I have 3 kids, 2 at school and one toddler. The toddler keeps me very busy and doesn't nap so there's no way I would get the fridge or oven deep cleaned easily. I can just about manage to do the dishwasher, washing and keep on top of the constant mess the toddler makes each day.
Dh has to chip in a lot at the weekend and after work with things like changing bed sheets, putting washing away, paperwork etc and he still really has a lot more leisure time than I do with a rarely sleeping toddler!!

grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 17:04:51

Thanks everyone.

Perhaps I should have posted the questions on two separate threads? The two aren't really related.

We have one mid-teen DC. I normally pay for clothes, big presents, etc.

Yes, you're right, the phrase "Housekeeping" is old fashioned and not really the right phrase, just wasn't sure what else to put?

The joint account is a good idea that I hadn't thought of, then we can spend what we both need to each month.

About the cleaning, my wording was poor but I simply meant to say that I'm happy to pitch in and do my bit. I know some of my stuff around the house bothered her, so I've tidied it up and moved it elsewhere. I offer to help tidy up (I don't like cleaning but it's nice when it's done) but it normally gets put off.

Why is the teenager doing housework either? You need a family meeting to discuss who does what, and how to distribute tasks fairly.
If your DC and DP can't or won't step it up, bring up the cleaner as a possibility, but make sure all family members understand the family budget, and how this is spent. That includes you knowing what money goes where.
I am amazed you have spent so long as a family unit but seem to have do little communication!

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 17:34:19

You have a teen? So it's not like she has small kids to look after all day. I think I'd be a bit pissed off that she wasn't doing anything much with all that time during the day when the dc is at school.

doublecakeplease Sat 09-Feb-13 17:43:55

Sorry if this has already been asked but is there a reason why she's not working?? If she's mentally well and able bodied then she should be working or the home should be her job.

calandarbear Sat 09-Feb-13 17:47:17

As your child is a teen then I revise my opinion if she isn't working and doesn't have a young child to care for then the housework should be her priority. Not to say you shouldn't help but yes she shouldn't leave things.

If she is fit and well she is being lazy.

Well on the face of it she sounds like a lazy arse and YANBU.

MrsLion Sat 09-Feb-13 18:12:00

Yes two separate issues here.

1) Housework.  
From what you've said, she's being lazy. 
She has 6 hours per day with only her in the house. No excuses really. No-one likes doing housework, but it has to be done and if she doesn't work elsewhere, the house is her work.

2) Finances. 
You dont say how long you've been together (assuming a long time if you are both the biological parent of your dc) but do find it very odd that you've never thought of having a joint account before??
And giving your DP an allowance of some kind seems very strange.

It's not possible to say whether 500 is reasonable or not, and I agree with others that the idea of an 'allowance' is rather odd when she is your partner not your employee. And as others say - it does depend how old your children are. If she's doing childcare for a toddler for that length of time, won't she be knackered by the time you get in? You don't mention what housework you do other than clearing your own stuff but (forgive me), I suspect it can't be much as you work such long hours?

For me the important thing would be - whose decisions led to this situation? You're clearly not very happy with the state of the house. For whatever reason, you're working such long hours you don't do your own share, and your partner doesn't work at all, but doesn't do enough for the house to be tidy. Is this because she has a small child to care for, or what? If she does - does she want to be doing that, and would she rather you worked shorter hours?

I am not asking these things to suggest any blame on either side, because it is really hard to know from your account what it is that either of you do, but just to get a picture.

Sorry, missed the teen bit.

So why isn't she working? Does she want to?

If it's her choice and she prefers to be keeping house, she should be doing a 9-5, and you should be sharing the rest. Sounds like you'd both need to do more but you wouldn't need to do hugely more.

grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 18:40:07

You've asked why she doesn't work?

She's an artist and wanted to pursue this. We didn't need the extra money she would bring in from a traditional job, so she does art work. However it doesn't bring in any real money (nothing if you include the costs). That's not a problem (although I think she has great potential and I've offered to help with the business side) but sometimes I feel it takes priority over other things that need doing - not every day because we all sometimes need to say "s*d it", I'm doing MY stuff today. And, to be fair, she does all the cooking and washing.

MrsLion mentioned an allowance. The money is for incidental day to day household stuff and items for her art, hairdresser, clothes, etc. Historically, when we both worked, we had both had bank accounts and split the bills. Once DC was born, I tended to pay the majority of the bills. When she stopped working, I just started to pay money into her account. It's just something that we never thought about.

I'm not really asking who's right or wrong, that's pointless. I just know it leads to unnecessary arguments. Really I'm just after your suggestions how to best keep everyone happy.

PicaK Sat 09-Feb-13 18:42:35

I shudder at the way you talk about "giving" her money.

Get a cleaner. Then Put money for all bills in one account (incl hols etc) then give some to your daughter to manage and split the rest between you and your wife equally.

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 18:43:43

Great that she has her art but realistically she needs to do more. Could she set aside the morning a few days a week to get housework done? Then know she's got all afternoon/evening to be creative.

Or would it be reasonable to have a good clear out between all of you. Get some proper cleaners in as a one off and then it's not such a daunting task.

Tryharder Sat 09-Feb-13 18:45:31

She is a lazy arse. The person staying at home should do the lions share of the cleaning. I can't comment on the £500 as that, obviously, depends on your total income. But I would personally be more than happy with £500 in my pocket for my own spends.

So when can I move in? wink

The best way to keep everyone happy is to discuss the household maintenance and finances with the family, clear the air and be honest with them.
Your DC will be an adult soon, so needs to learn how to manage a household budget, and household tasks.

Wait, sorry - so she is working?

I'm sorry, but you need to discuss this. If you feel her job isn't worthwhile, the both of you need to agree.

I would be livid if DH decided my work wasn't important because I didn't earn as much as him, and therefore I should be his skivvy. How is she going to get ahead in her career if you are assuming she will prioritize the housework instead of it?

I think you need to consider that perhaps it is rather selfish to work such long hours when you are assuming she will curtail her hours to look after the house for the both of you.

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 18:51:57

Selfish of him to work such long hours and subsidise his dw so she can persue her artwork? Seriously?

I would hesitate to call it 'working' when that 'work' doesn't even cover the costs of said 'work'. That's more like a hobby isn't it?

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 18:52:55

Plus, no where has he said he expects his dw to be a skivvy and he has said that he mucks in as well.

grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 18:56:19

LRD : Sorry, if I wasn't clear. She is working but it brings in little to no money (maybe £20/month?) and the costs are more than the income. I have offered to help her develop the business but she doesn't want to do it.

The dream would be for it to bring in enough money for us to live on, then I would do all the cleaning.

manic - but if that's her career? It's not a hobby, I think? Forgive me if I am wrong.

I do think that it is not on to expect someone to jeopardize their career so they can pick up after you, especially if you earn enough to consider a cleaner.

I am not currently earning, and if DH told me he therefore expects me to sacrifice my career to do his share of the housework, I would be furious. Of course, it does depend hugely on how this couple see it. I may well be misreading. But surely it is a common thing that people's careers are uneven, and one person may earn more than another? Are we really saying that the person who earns more always gets to dictate the terms of the partnership? confused

grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 18:57:28

Tryharder : Very funny - made me smile

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 18:57:28

So get a cleaner.

Your DP could sell her artwork on ebay. I have bought some lovely pieces there.

And I think you need to emerge from the 1930s.

MidnightMasquerader Sat 09-Feb-13 18:57:30

1. Both of you should have equal access to a joint account. Housekeeping is, as has been outlined (and admitted by you - fair play) and fairly demeaning.

2. If you have a school-aged child, then she should be looking after the house, doing general chores, child-related stuff, household bills and finance, etc, more or less 9-5, building in time for her art around that. Anything required doing outside those hours (evenings, weekends) should be split 50:50.

It's fair enough if she doesn't enjoy running a home - a lot of people don't. In which case she finds something else to do, which contributes to the family coffers. I mean, all of us would love to 'find ourselves' and 'pursue interests', but if those interests don't bring in an income, then you're reliant on someone else to keep you and you lose the right to call too many shots, esp ifyou're simply not pulling your weight. In fairness, a bloke in such a partnership would rightly be referred to as a cocklodger...

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 18:59:37

I think you're reading way more into this than there is, LRD.

He has even offered to help his dw with the business side but she doesn't want to, so not really much of a business is it?

OP, you sound supportive and just fine. The suggestions above ^ were so things could be made easier for everyone.

Cross posted.

grumpo - can you sit down and talk to her? This sounds to me like a failure of communication. Maybe ask her what she thinks her work is aiming at?

If she thinks she is trying to get a career going, and resents being the person doing the majority of the housework, it does sound as if you can afford to work this one out. Clearly you earn quite a lot and work very hard.

I admit, that scenario comes naturally to my mind when you describe things, but if not - why do you think she's doing less? Does she not realize how much it bothers you to live somewhere not clean and tidy? Can you perhaps explain to her how that makes you feel, and see what she thinks?

I think it matters a lot whether she is happy with the state of affairs, or not - because if she has lower standards than you but would theoretically take responsibility for cleaning, she needs to realize that it is not fair for one person in a partnership to live in an untidy home just because the other is less bothered. It's really not.

manic - I may well be. I don't know.

I do think that people's careers aren't all to do with how much money is earned. If they were, DH's career would never have got off the ground, and he'd still be tidying up after me.

zlist Sat 09-Feb-13 19:02:23

I think the whole housekeeping concept is a bit strange but I also think it is strange the someone who doesn't work at all, with one mid-teen at home, doesn't manage to keep the house clean unless there're is a reason for this?
Considering you pay all the bills, including the big shops, then you are being more than generous with the £500.
I don't know what to suggest really without knowing the full situation. I guess I would go with taking a week off work to give the house a de-clutter and a thorough clean, and a talk...maybe with the help of a councillor?

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 19:03:48

Fair enough. I'd love £500pm and time to get into some art. Sadly, work has to be done and I don't count doing the decorating as art. grin


Oh, me either. Mind you, I didn't used to count DH playing about with computers as work and now he earns far more than me, so it's not always fair to judge someone else's career plans unless you've discussed them, IMO.

cantspel Sat 09-Feb-13 19:08:40

I am going to go against the flow of answers and ask why should he give her more money? Or access to all he earns?

As to me it looks like she is contributing very little to the home, so why should he give her more?
Sounds like she has it pretty cushy as it is. All bills paid and £500 per month to play artist with. No young child to look after and cant even give 15 minutes a day to keep the kitchen clean.

If she wants an equal partnership and so equal access to the family income then she should be pulling her weight as well either by earning or with her labour in the home.

Goes to put on my flame proof suit.

zukiecat Sat 09-Feb-13 19:10:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 19:11:15

LRD: You're absolutely right, it's not all about how much money you earn. But, OTOH, there are bills to be paid. If I had a choice in career, I'd probably do something different but I currently can't afford to.

To my mind, work is something that, typically, you don't entirely enjoy doing (unless you're very lucky) - what you do is driven by someone else, not you. If you only do the bits you enjoy, then it often isn't work (or, at least, you won't be in work for very long!).

AThingInYourLife Sat 09-Feb-13 19:12:02

"but if that's her career? It's not a hobby, I think? Forgive me if I am wrong."

You are wrong.

A career is something you get paid to do.

She has an unbelievably time-consuming hobby and her life is entirely subsidised by someone else.

The person doing the subsidising does get to ask questions about the terms under which they pay all the bills and live in a pigsty while another adult in the house farts around doing their art.

If grumpo leaves her, she will be fucked.

They're not married, so she will have no claim on his income and she will be expected to look for work.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 09-Feb-13 19:13:30

Pay for an oven cleaning service to come and do your oven (who in their right minds wants to clean an oven?) do your own washing and shop for and start cooking a meal for everyone a couple of times a week. After that then you can talk about whether or not she is doing her fair share of housework.

Bearbehind Sat 09-Feb-13 19:13:57

Cantspel, I'm with you. Why on earth should he give her any more when she contributes so little. I nearly choked on picak's reply to share everything- why???

Fair enough, some of the terminology is a bit outdated but why the fuck should she swan around doing nothing all month, with her £500 to fritter away, when she appears to be making no contribution the family.

athing - well, as I say, if I'd taken that attitude, my DH's career would now not be subsidizing me, and we'd both be much poorer. So I do have a perspective on it that may be different from the OP's, as he doesn't know if her career will take off.

grumpo - I get what you are saying. I do urge you to talk to her. But - forgive me for saying, but just because you don't like your job, doesn't mean no-one does. I think you need to put your cards on the table with her. Tell her you don't enjoy your job and feel driven to work these long hours. Ask her how she feels about the art - does she think she is going to push to make it a career, or not? If not, then she needs to consider whether she has the right to - effectively - make you work long hours at a job you're not enjoying.

I think actually the housework is a red herring in all of this. It sounds increasingly as if the real issue is that you haven't worked out between you what is reasonable to expect another person to do by way of earning money in a relationship.

digerd Sat 09-Feb-13 19:17:44

Earning £20 per month ? But you don't really know. That isn't building a career, that's pottering about with a hobby. Hobbies are enjoyed after chores are finished. She is at home all day with a teen at school. Can try to get teen to do some chores, but my dad tried with us, but we didn't do them. And mum was working part-time and dad full time. Dad ended up doing all the washing up himself and cleaning the scouring pans - no teflon -coating in those days.
She is not pulling her weight and been getting away with it for ? years.

cantspel Sat 09-Feb-13 19:19:20

If this was a thread about a man who didn't do anything in the home and didn't bring any money in there would be cries of cocklodger and why are you with him.

But mn is so biased towards women some how it has to be twisted to be the mans fault.

Working until past 7 each night, paying for everything and still doing things in the home is clearly still not enough for the mn jury.

I'm aware of that, cantspel. That's why I'm trying to be very fair. I think and hope that I would be the same if it were a man. Mainly because the OP's wife sounds very like my DH, as I am saying.

Mind you, he never did as much housework as her.

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 19:24:59

cantspel that's unfair. The first thing I, and many others, said was, 'So get a cleaner.' Why shouldn't the OP buy in help like so many other people do on here?

Thingiebob Sat 09-Feb-13 19:27:30

It sounds like you both need to discuss your expectations of each other and the division of labour.

If you are working until seven in the evening then doing housework, then I assume she is also working until seven in the evening and doing housework. If not, then the division of labour is grossly unfair.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 09-Feb-13 19:28:33

Has everyone missed the fact that she does all the washing and cooking (and presumably shopping)? In our household I reckon shopping, washing, cooking and washing up accounts for at least 20 hours per week, actual proper cleaning with hoovers and dusters etc is less than 3.

AThingInYourLife Sat 09-Feb-13 19:31:07

LRD - subsidising someone at the start of their career is different from indefinitely subsidising someone who is not attempting to forge a career but is occupied with a hobby that means they are not pulling their weight at home.

Bearbehind Sat 09-Feb-13 19:31:44

linerunner, why should they get a cleaner when there is one adult at home contributing very little, and one out working, who would have to pay for it?

cantspel is totally right, if this were a woman posting, her other half would be a cocklodger and she'd be told to LTB

True, AThing, but is it a hobby, or does she think it will be the start of a career?

I am not necessarily on her side at all, but I think the OP's best approach is to talk to her about this and see what she thinks. If she thinks she is on the brink of a successful art career she's recently got into, they need to discuss that and work out whether she's being realistic, or not. IMO.

I think mintyy has a point that it's not as if she's doing nothing - she may not be working full time cleaning, but neither is she sitting around doing bugger all.

catladycourtney1 Sat 09-Feb-13 19:34:38

Hmm. I have to say, I really wouldn't class what OP's DW is doing as working. Most artists pursue their art in their spare time and hold down a job too, and continue to do so until they are successful enough to justify stopping working and dedicating all their time to their art. Does she really spend as much time on her art as she would spend if she doing a "proper" job from home? Obviously she has the children to take care of and it can be hard for new artists to make much money, but of she's bringing in £20 a month or less then I would guess that she's not doing all she can. If she wants to call her art a job, she needs to also focus on the business side of things, otherwise it is just a hobby.

Also, while I do understand that you want your home to be at least hygienic and comfortable, and since your wife is as home all day it seems logical that she should be mostly responsible for that, something about the way you worded your post suggests that you give her the money in return for her cleaning your house, and I find that a bit wrong. Since she doesn't do it, I'm assuming she doesn't enjoy doing it, and you shouldn't be paying your wife off to do something she doesn't want to do.

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 19:34:43

Flouncy Fair point.

I do all our laundry at weekends. If it's bedding, clothes and towels, with drying, folding and putting away, from start to finish, it takes ten hours.

Cooking including all meals eaten at home and preparing lunches to take to work, school and college: fourteen hours a week.

Shopping: six hours.

This enables us to live quite frugally, in return.

cantspel Sat 09-Feb-13 19:35:22

Why should he pay out for a cleaner if she is at home doing nothing?

FlouncingMintyy they shop together and she washes and cooks.
How much washing can 3 people create that takes 20 hours a week?
Your pick it out the laudry basket and shove it in the washing and put some powder in. Must take all of 5 minutes maybe 4 times a week and a extra 15 minutes to put in the dryer and fold. She is hardly beating the clothes on a rock in some local river. Cooking 30 minutes a night if eating simple home cooked food.

I cant see how anyone can think she is doing her fair share in this relationship.

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 19:35:30

Flouncing, OP already said they do the shopping together (and he pays for it).

It entirely depends on what she's cooking as to how long it takes really and washing does not take long at all.

hermioneweasley Sat 09-Feb-13 19:38:47

She is taking the piss. She has plenty of time to clean, or if she doesn't want to she needs to earn enough to fund a cleaner.

grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 19:39:36

Mintyy : You're right, as I said she does the washing and cooking. I would do the washing but she won't let me!

We do the weekly shop together - personally I'd rather have the time and order the weekly shop on the internet but she doesn't want to do that, which I understand.

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 19:41:43

How much washing can 3 people create that takes 20 hours a week?

I would say ten hours. But I don't iron.

MystiCally Sat 09-Feb-13 19:43:01

Has 'cuntlodger' been used before? grin

Tell her you're considering getting a cleaner and the wages would come out of 'her' £500. If she protests, she can do the cleaning instead. Your current set-up is not fair.

grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 19:44:29

Iron? Gosh no, inflicting that on anyone is tantamount to torture smile

Molehillmountain Sat 09-Feb-13 19:44:41

Thus is making Me feel guilty about how much I do at the moment as a sahm. But I have three children, two preschoolers and the youngest sleeps very badly. And I certainly don't have £500 per month to spend. I have decided to look again at flylady to kick start pulling my weight. As to you, op, if there are no underlying issues of illness or depression, it dies look as if your dp isn't doing her fair share.

Bearbehind Sat 09-Feb-13 19:45:45

Linerunner, what do you to wash with if it takes 10 hours a week to wash for 3 people, excluding ironing!!

3 people, maybe 5 mixed coloured washes in a machine per week plus pegging out, 1 hour max

cantspel Sat 09-Feb-13 19:47:27

I have a family of 5, 2 adults, 2 teens, 1 disabled pensioner. I do one wash a day, extra at weekends with beding and towels and i iron.

It does not take anywhere near 10 hours a week. You cant count the time the clothes are in the machine as you dont need to give the machine a hand as it does it all on it own. Just push the right button and come back 90 minutes later to take it out again.

Why do some seem to think washing is so labour intensive?

catladycourtney1 Sat 09-Feb-13 19:51:12

I would like to add that I would also love to have £500 a month to spend more or less as I wish! My DP "gives" me about the same amount, BUT I combine that with my part-time wage and pay all our bills and do all the shopping out of it, and I'm lucky if I have £50 left over. Obviously what you can afford depends on your income, but I would feel positively pampered and probably feel slightly more inclined to clean up

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 19:51:50

I don't know how much you wash, or what, or how, or why, cantspel. I know I wash what needs needs washing in the way that is most frugal and it takes how long it takes.

orangeandlemons Sat 09-Feb-13 19:53:09

I have artistic ability. I would love to indulge myself in it all day. However we ca't live on the £20.00 per month it would bring in, so no can do. I have to go to work instead. I wish someone would support me financially ad offer to invest in my business.

I think she is taking the p. It is easy to clean a house from top to bottom in much less than 6 hours.

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 19:54:03

Ok, fine.

Have her flogged.

redskyatnight Sat 09-Feb-13 19:56:54

I hate to bring up the WOHM/SAHM thing.

I do all the washing.
I do all the cooking during the week (and make packed lunches).

I work full time.

Doing all the washing and cooking hardly takes most of the day.

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 20:01:36

We all work.

I have a job outside of the home, too.

I have to squeeze all the laundry into the weekend which is why I can quantify it so accurately.

I probably need flogging for taking so long about it. And for chopping all that allotment food up, so we can live within our means.

Locketjuice Sat 09-Feb-13 20:09:00

If she wants to stay at home and I completely agree she should be doing the majority of cleaning and not expect you to when you come in but if you do be a bonus?

BsshBossh Sat 09-Feb-13 20:25:37

YANBU. But surely she must have been like this right from the beginning of your relationship. Why is it bothering you now? I doubt she's going to change.

fluffypillow Sat 09-Feb-13 20:30:49

YANBU. She is being lazy and taking advantage of you.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 09-Feb-13 20:44:04

"washing does not take long at all" - have to disagree there. Washing is the bane of my (mainly sahm) life. I don't think it is helpful to minimise the contribution made by someone who does 100% of the family washing and cooking.

Where I actually have a lot of sympathy the or is that he wants someone to share the earning of the family money. As they now have one mid-teen dc, then there is no real reason why his dp should not be earning some sort of proper income.

But if she were to work full time, then he would need to share all household chores more or less equally, including washing and cooking, for it to be fair.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 09-Feb-13 20:45:22

Are you single redskyatnight?

Arisbottle Sat 09-Feb-13 21:02:28

The washing machine may spin round for an hour but that does not mean that you are actually slaving away for those hours.

I have a family of six sometimes seven to wash for, can't imagine it takes ten hours. I gather clothes - 5 minutes. Put them in a machine and press a button .

whois Sat 09-Feb-13 21:08:15

Oh my god OP your wife is taking the piss!

Stays at home indulging in her art hobby, one teen DC, does the washing and the cooking but no cleaning? I call lazy cow. I can't believe people are defending her! If this was a woman posting it would be all "LTB" and "clock lodger"

£500 disposble income a month is pretty decent if its just to fritter away and not for food shopping, savings, holidays etc.

She's obviously not happy with the arrangement tho, seeing as cleaning is beneath her. OP have you asked her why she doesn't manage to get any cleaning done? Suggest to her she pays for a cleaner out of her £500 and sorts it out ASAP.

If I was working lomg hours and my other half was say at home indulging in a hobby on my dime, if bloody expect to come home to a clean house and a tastey meal stepford wives style.

Arisbottle Sat 09-Feb-13 21:11:41

I think if you are out at work all day of is fair enough to expect most of the housework to be done.

She is taking the piss.

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 21:43:44

I don't really imagine that lots of posters on MN can imagine my life.

But I spend ten hours a week doing all the laundry from start to finish.

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 21:46:24

I think calling the OP's partner a 'lazy cow' is unnecessary. He came on here to ask about getting a cleaner amongst other things, not to have his DP character assassinated.

Bearbehind Sat 09-Feb-13 21:46:49

Seriously linerunner, how much do you have to do and what do you do with it that it takes 10 hours without ironing, I am genuinely intrigued?

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 21:51:56

I have ten hours of laundry to do a week, from start to finish. I can't really say it any differently.

Bearbehind Sat 09-Feb-13 21:55:41

Jeez, if my laundry took 10 of the 168 hours in the week I'd have to give up sleeping!

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 21:57:37

Have you ever thought of a career in stand-up?

purrpurr Sat 09-Feb-13 21:58:05

OP, how long has your partner been solely responsible for housework? And how much mess do you create?

I'm solely responsible for housework. My DH is incredibly messy. I lower my standards each week. We now live in comfortable chaos. If I wanted to keep a lovely clean, tidy home I'd have to follow him around. All the time. I'm not a slave.

Bearbehind Sat 09-Feb-13 22:00:57

No Linerunner but I might try it given all the spare time I save on my laundry!

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 22:18:50

We could do a double act, Bear.

What does she do all day?


Actually if you're ever passing, you can come and sort me out on the domestic front. I'm not a natural. smile

Bearbehind Sat 09-Feb-13 22:27:37

Linerunner, that made me laugh cos I am an accountant! I'll do your washing if you do my cooking! grin

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 22:34:35

Sorted smile

Bedtime1 Sun 10-Feb-13 04:08:20

I think you should set up a account for all bills to come out of which pays for all expenses including shopping. Also if you want to save etc that has to go into the savings account. Then whatever's lefts after bills, savings, etc then you divide the amount equally between you and your wife which will be your spending money.

You never mentioned how much you are left with to spend on yourself each month?

I also agree that if your working long hours if she's fit and well she could do more around the home. I would say the artwork is a hobby really because it doesn't generate any income bar £20. However having said that if it's a new business with her art then possibly she is spending all her time getting it going, then that would be different. If she's been at it a long time and still only bringing in £20 then she's obviously not doing much in way of running it as a business.
Like another lady suggested she could do cleaning a few hours each day in the morning then do her artwork in the afternoon and some evenings/ weekends.
A member of my family is an artist and he has set up a website/ starting new company but also works doing freelance work in another field which actually takes up full time hours too. So there's enough time really if your organised.

whois Sun 10-Feb-13 08:26:29

I have ten hours of laundry to do a week, from start to finish. I can't really say it any differently

I was going to call bullshit on that, but actually I can see how for a family of 5 it mounts up.

3 to 5 loads of bed linen a week depending on size of bed and a once weekly change.
3 towel loads a week assuming a once weekly change.
8 normal loads a week maybe.
Any extra loads if you have sport playing DCs or a baby or other extra washing requirement.

By the time you've sorted, hung out to dry, folded and put away and changed the beds I can see how it adds up. If you're using a tumble dryer I don't really get it tho.

As soon as I have DCs I'm going to have a 'tumble dry' only rule and my hang things out like I do at the moment!

BeckAndCall Sun 10-Feb-13 08:42:19

I'd say laundry takes about ten hours - and that includes maybe two hours ironing (which I hate - so call it 'two episodes of something on tv'). By the time your girls are teens there's also real hand washing of delicate jumpers - hands in cold water stuff - not things which say 'hand wash' and then you throw in the machine anyway.

Grumpo you don't mention what your DP has to say about all this - WHY does she treat you like a bank account and not do any housework? Does she spend a lot of time with your teen on time consuming hobbies? Her own art hobby is not a fair reason to sponge off someone else - I have a time consuming dressmaking hobby, work part time and do all the housework ( as DH has a FT challenging job). Thing is we've chosen that division of duties together, discussed it and decided that work for us. This clearly isn't working for you so you do need to talk it through - its never too late to change a bad situation.

RedHelenB Sun 10-Feb-13 10:39:43

My solution - if she doesn't want to do it then she pays for someone out of that £500 to do it for her.

redskyatnight Sun 10-Feb-13 11:14:44

FlouncingMincyy No I'm not single. Why is that relevant?

LineRunner Sun 10-Feb-13 14:27:35

I think woman often underestimate how long laundry takes because of all the gadgets, but it still needs doing and it eats that amount of time out my week, in which I can't really do anything else than get the laundry done.

I think it's fair to say that when the machine's whirring round you can get on with other stuff, but in my case that tends to be related housework - picking up, tidying up, repairing DS's trousers, stain removals on the carpets, etc etc ad nauseam oh the joy of it all. (And the place still looks like a tip.)

And I did say that a 'ten hours laundry week' was one where I wash everything - all bedding, towels, clothes, pjs and dressing gowns, uniforms, even small rugs from the kitchen floor, the bathmat, the doormat and the cat blankets. <cries>

LineRunner Sun 10-Feb-13 14:29:33

Sorry that should read I think that woman and men often underestimate

I did preview it but still managed to fail.

redskyatnight Sun 10-Feb-13 14:37:58

How I do laundry:

1. Put load of washing in machine while waiting for kettle to boil to make cup of tea (5 minutes). - to wash overnight
2. In morning put kettle on to boil and while I'm waiting, hang the washing out to dry/put in the drier (max of 10 minutes if it's all going on the line). I'm never awake until I've had my morning drink so basically do this in my sleep smile
3. After work sort and fold now dry clothes (another 10 minutes)
4. Once a week I put an extra load on in the morning after beds have been stripped.

6-8 loads a week (family of 4), up to 30 minutes of involvement per load (half of that in otherwise "dead" time). Total 3-4 hours - but in very short bursts fitted in between other things, not taking over my life.

HesterBurnitall Sun 10-Feb-13 14:39:34

Well I do most of the cooking, most of the washing, a fair amount of the cleaning but rarely clean the oven and fridge and have a cleaner, do a job I enjoy that earns very little right now and have full access to all income. Flog me now.

LineRunner Sun 10-Feb-13 14:55:45

I can't fit three loads of bedding into one wash.

redskyatnight Sun 10-Feb-13 15:50:58

I can't fit 3 loads of bedding into 1 wash either. I only wash bedding every other week, which means a full load and part of another one. every week.
We have a "don't put it in the wash unless it really needs washing" policy in our house. My friend, who has the same size family and same aged children as me does more than twice as many loads - but chucks things in the wash if they've been worn once - even if only for a couple of hours. Depends how long you want to spend washing really - personally I don't want it to take over my life.

Arisbottle Sun 10-Feb-13 18:15:42

Maybe I do underestimate. But I barely notice the time spent on washing and we are a largish family. I have just put a wash on, it literally took two minutes. Although we do have a laundry room upstairs which makes it very easy.

If my teenagers by anything hand wash they wash it themselves.

Arisbottle Sun 10-Feb-13 18:16:30

Children strip and wash their own bedding and put it back on.

She's definitely being unreasonable. A bit of cleaning and tidying as she goes along wouldn't really push the boat out. Hoovering and dusting are my most hated chores but once I get Down to it it doesn't really take all that long.
I'd love £500 a month to fanny about doing art with a school age dc.

Somethingtothinkabout Sun 10-Feb-13 19:14:55

I think that the OP's partner is being lazy.

I would say a fair resolution if she doesn't want to clean is that the OP hires a cleaner, and the cost of this comes equally out of both of their 'incomes'. though I don't know how much cleaners cost, I'm assuming a few hundred

If she does like that, she can either a) do it herself, or b) go out and get a proper (paid) job and they can pay half each from that.

NotHerRealname Sun 10-Feb-13 19:30:33

Gosh, "housekeeping money" how 1950s! Seriously though, it can be really boring being at home all day long. I found when I was on mat leave, that being at home all day seemed to suck all motivation and enthusiam from me. It can be really hard to get going with housework when you have let it build up like that.
Maybe get a cleaner once a month to do all those grotty jobs that always get left too long. Window cleaning, oven, etc.
Tbh it sounds like you are doing a fair bit around the house when you are at home, but maybe you have a bit more get up and go because you are more used to being busy if you see what i mean?
Just a thought, she isn't depressed is she? My mother was depressed for years and it manifested itself in a similar way.

CuriousMama Sun 10-Feb-13 19:44:55

I'm an artist although fairly amateur. I have sold some but haven't made much as materials are expensive. I doubt it'll ever be money making, so many fantastic artists out there. I make a little doing hair (been a hairdresser 28 years since school) and am trying to build up a mobile business. I'd never say art was my career though, it's a hobby.

I do most chores unless dp's off work and he seems to get a lot done. Sometimes not. We're very laid back but do like hygiene. DCs are mid teen and preteen and do some too not much but they help.

It sounds like your OH is either naturally untidy, possibly lazy. Or she could be a bit down or depressed? When I had mild depression I really found housework a struggle. That was when I was with exdh though.

I hope you can communicate with your OH as you sound like a nice man who just wants more balance in his life.

lightsandshapes Sun 10-Feb-13 19:54:26

I'd be very happy with 500 per month and you both doing a big shop.

Yes she should be doing more.

I do too much, I'm very jealous of her

I work part time, pay for all our food (dp pays bills) and I do 90% of cooking, craning, housework and I have a 14 month old. I have recently got a cleaner for 2 hrs a week though, highly recommended and only 20 quid!

LineRunner Sun 10-Feb-13 19:59:11

Lord I just did that batch cooking thing and ate it all.

Arisbottle Sun 10-Feb-13 20:00:13

If I ate the children's baking there would be anarchy!

valiumredhead Mon 11-Feb-13 08:10:39

3 people, maybe 5 mixed coloured washes in a machine per week plus pegging out, 1 hour max

1 hour? I spent more time on laundry than that when I was a single person grin

LineRunner Mon 11-Feb-13 17:05:10

I ate a week's worth of pizza last night. I blame you lot.

Soditall Mon 11-Feb-13 20:09:37

YANBU she is though!My husband works and he's great for chipping in but he works full time and I stay at home so I expect to do the lions share.
We have 5 children and two or our children are disabled and I don't get £500 a month to spend on myself.

Honestly I would pay for a cleaner out of the money you give her that way the house gets cleaned and your not having to try and do it all on top of working and it doesn't cost you extra on top of the £500 every month.

Sulawesi Mon 11-Feb-13 21:28:27

LineRunner I'm so with you in the laundry or rather on the laundry (or maybe we should run a laundry together!).

We are a family of 5 plus 2 dogs and a DH who exercises a hell of a lot. I probably do 3 loads a day, that's bedding changed every week, muddy dog walking clothes, DC's games kit (they do either rugby, football or cricket 3 times a week all year), DH exercise kit. Then there are the actual clothes grin! It does suck the very life out of you and I barely iron any of it. It is easily ten hours a week and I don't have a tumble drier.

We live in an old, fairly big house which takes forever to clean - had to laugh at someone saying it should take 3 hours to clean a house top to bottom - or did they say 6 hours? Either is laughable, I could spend that time each and every day and still not do everything and I have no intention of spending all my life doing housework.

My hobbies are my dogs and horses, they are a priority but so is the house and cooking for everyone. My DC's are at school an hour round trip each way and they have homework every night so that is my day done and dusted. I hope my DH thinks I do a reasonable job whilst he works similar hours to Grumpy.

I do think your DW is taking be mick everso slightly I have to say.

Off to hang up another load of washing now, oh the joy... but am half watching those little penguins on telly and they are vair cute smile.

LineRunner Mon 11-Feb-13 21:40:23

Sulawesi, yes, teenagers in 'kits' (sports, dance) seems to create a lot of laundry - seriously, they couldn't wear them twice without washing - plus DS's bizarrely complicated state school uniform... plus stupid beloved animals and their fur ... plus my work gear ... and as you say, just clothes and bedding and muddy stuff. Six towels once a week is one wash.

I have one normal size washing machine.

Actually I do MN a bit whilst the drum turns.... grin

Sulawesi Mon 11-Feb-13 21:46:21

Me too grin! and watch the ickle penguins.

LineRunner Mon 11-Feb-13 21:51:29

No! Pingu death has happened!

Sulawesi Mon 11-Feb-13 21:52:13

She was one angry burd

LineRunner Mon 11-Feb-13 21:52:38

Or has it been averted?

Anyway I have been folding clothes nicely and sorting out some hems.

Sulawesi Mon 11-Feb-13 22:05:32

I was distracted trying to stop the dogs from howling the neighbourhood down so not sure what happened in the end!

Kiwiinkits Mon 11-Feb-13 22:21:45

I have friends like this couple. She's an 'artist', can't/won't sell anything, one kid at school. House is a TIP. Completely baffled what she does all day.
We've always felt a bit sorry for her (lovely, hardworking) DH. These are, of course, private judgmental thoughts.

OP, YADNBU. I think the conclusion is that some people are just messy fuckers, and can't be helped. You can bang your head against a brick wall as much as you like, but she's probably not going to miraculously become the tidy little homemaker you desire. Your best bet is probably helping her to figure out how to get a job out of the house. Help her find something that makes her motivated, energized and earns a bit of money. Then get a cleaner.

GiveMeSomeSpace Mon 11-Feb-13 22:27:01

What a fantastic thread to demonstrate the utter bigotry posted on some of these threads.

Seriously OP - you know this is wrong. She is taking the piss out of you and clearly thinks of you as a doormat.

If you want to live like this for the rest of your life, then that's your choice. But if it's not what you want, then do something about it. It's your choice.

DontEvenThinkAboutIt Tue 12-Feb-13 00:45:09

Your wife sounds lazy and selfish. I would get a cleaner for a good few hours a week. It won't make your wife any less lazy but you will love having a clean and tidy house.

Was your wife always LikeThis. Some people really don't mind cluttered and dirty houses. Is she lazy with other things?

£500 a month sounds like plenty to me. My DH and I share an account - I would find it a bit odd to get a allowance.

AlphaAndEcho Tue 12-Feb-13 10:36:46

Op I do think your arrangement is unfair . However I do think you are seeing the arrangement as your dw being an employee - you pay her to keep the house . Just because you earn and she doesn't does not make her your employee . If your not happy with the way she keeps the house and you can afford it - get a cleaner .

Can i ask (long thread sorry if this has been said) how exactly does she fill her days ?

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