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

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

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

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

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

<Dramatic voice> Mumsnet Jury: YOU decide!

spookylittlekitty Mon 15-Jul-13 19:51:58

I always said to my grandma that it's maternity leave not cleaning leave.

YouTheCat Mon 15-Jul-13 19:53:34

I'd say yes.

No need to do everything and go mad but I'd say vacuuming and keeping the bathroom clean to be everyday kind of tasks anyway. And changing beds needs doing. Do what you can. There will be some days where doing loads isn't an option.

monkeynuts123 Mon 15-Jul-13 19:54:27

If you're home all day and partner is at work all day then yes of course, why not? Do you really define your life by employment law and terms. It seems like splitting hairs to me. YABU

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Mon 15-Jul-13 19:54:41

I very much think that you're there in a mum role not a housework role. If, overall, you feel better about things by getting housework done and having a clean house, then by all means use some time to do housework. It's all entertainment for babies so no need to think you're neglecting ds. However, if you prefer not to and get basics done outside working hours as you would if working, where's the problem? I like to do a bit of both as I'm really zonked by the evening with three to look after, but I certainly don't feel guilty if we're doing stuff and nothing gets done.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Mon 15-Jul-13 19:56:28

Mind you-looking at our living room, I might not be the one to ask. I normally tidy and sort while dh looks after bath time but he's away overnight.

ediblewoman Mon 15-Jul-13 19:56:44

Don't do it! Doing a bit more because you can is fine but don't take it all on, and read Wifework to reinforce your decision.... Wish I hadn't it has taken several years and a lot of talking to get us back to a more equitable place following my first maternity leave and got a bit Stepford ( not helped by PND).

mumofboyo Mon 15-Jul-13 19:58:13

I just did what I could, enough to keep the house looking and feeling clean and tidy and us fed with enough clean clothes. Everything else either waited til my husband got in, the weekend or never.

It is maternity leave, there for you to recover from the birth and give your baby a solid start re. bonding and feeding and sleeping etc.

Yanbu, do as much as you need but your dh is not exempt just because he works out of the house.

Dackyduddles Mon 15-Jul-13 19:59:50

You should seriously think about jobs you are happy to take on and ones you share or ones for dh as you will spend time snipping at each other. You both have expectations of some sort. Surely it's just courtesy to check in with each other and agree for this very short time frame?

ImNotBloody14 Mon 15-Jul-13 20:01:16

I think as long as the place is reasonably clean then you're doing great tbh. you live in the house aswell as DH and you get a say in what needs done and what would be 'nice' to have done for you. run a wipe round the bathroom once a day and the hoover round downstairs once a week (unless pets?) and you'll be grand.

if you're struggling (you don't sound like you are though smile) i'm sure your mum would be more than willing to help you out wink

HooverFairy Mon 15-Jul-13 20:02:22

I just did what I could, when I could. Make the most of your time with your baby, but I think if there are opportunities when you could do some cleaning you probably should otherwise your house will end up like mine did. I suppose if your DH is at work all day then having to do everything else on top of that is a bit much, but you are 'working' too - all day, without a break remember! You sound like you're doing all the important things anyway. I just did bits and pieces, now I'm back at work we're organising a cleaner to come and do a one off 'deep clean' and then we'll just do surface cleaning until the grime takes over and we have to organise another deep clean. I just wish we could afford a regular cleaner!

DontmindifIdo Mon 15-Jul-13 20:03:06

YANBU - as I have pointed out before, if you hire a nanny then they are expected to just look after the DC, only really cleaning up after them and cooking for the child, not doing general housework, because it is understood that looking after a child is a full time job that commands a good salary. My friends who are childminders do the bulk of their cleaning in the evenings/weekends.

So why is it when you provide the same labour just for free, it suddenly is seen as part time and you are able to find several extra hours a day compared to a nanny?

It also sounds like you are still doing hte bulk of the housework, just in the evenings and weekends when your DH has DS. So you are only being "unfair" to your DH if he sees spending time with his child as hard work and not something he should be expected to do. I would say if you are still doing pretty much all the cleaning then you are being very generous to your DH, who is being rather unfair to you if he's not pitching in during hte evenings.

Shenanagins Mon 15-Jul-13 20:03:38

To be honest i will do the majority whilst on mat leave as i will have the time. For me it is more important to spend the precious time we get together as a family at the weekends rather than tidying up which is the only time my oh would have to do such things.

belatedmaybe Mon 15-Jul-13 20:05:24

Are you saying that you do the housework but that you do it evenings and weekends whilst your dh has baby time? If so then I would say that is totally reasonable. If you are leaving it for him to do then I would say that was unfair really.

stargirl1701 Mon 15-Jul-13 20:05:48

YANBU. It's all too easy to start doing everything and fall into a pattern that continues when you return to work. DH & I have kept to our old routine (before DD) despite my MIL commenting.

ComposHat Mon 15-Jul-13 20:05:54

I agree it is maternity leave, not pretend to be a 50s house wife leave.

So long as your husband is getting sone chance to spend quality time with his child and bond with them as he's spending every waking hour he's not at work cleaning and tidying a bomb site of a house.

NiceTabard Mon 15-Jul-13 20:08:53

Depends on how the baby is and how many other children etc. and how you are feeling.

It's one of these things where there can be no hard and fast answer.

FWIW then if a person is feeling fit and well and the child is easy / napping a lot then seems sensible to do some houswork.

OTOH if baby is a nightmare, or there are other children, or parent is feeling crap or BF all the time or whatever then no-one should be berating them for not doing housework.

SaucyJack Mon 15-Jul-13 20:08:56

I think you sound a bit childish tbh. If your sheets on your bed in your house need changing (for ex.) then...... change them like a sensible grown up. I don't get why you would make a point of leaving them when you have the means and the opportunity to do them.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 15-Jul-13 20:13:35

I think you should do as much around the house as you would expect your DH to, if not more, because you have more time to.

I think it's quite selfish to do nothing except baby stuff. Looking after the majority of babies really isn't that difficult. And I had a high needs baby who I could barely put down, even while asleep.

thebody Mon 15-Jul-13 20:15:27

no if you are at home then that's your job.

AidanTheRevengeNinja Mon 15-Jul-13 20:15:50

YANBU. I'm on maternity leave at the moment. My job is looking after our baby, his is working outside the home. Therefore we both have jobs; and therefore we split housework, just as we always did. In reality, this usually means one of us does it at the weekend while the other entertains the baby.

I did have 1950s housewife aspirations before realising that you can't necessarily put a lively baby down and do stuff when you want to. or cut the hedge with a sling

From your OP, it sounds like you are both pulling your weight and both happy with the situation. Ignore your mother. She sounds like mine grin

tigerlilygrr Mon 15-Jul-13 20:18:31

OP your post made me think. I have a cleaner whom we've kept on during my mat leave so I don't clean much. However I do do more than when I was at work, and more than my DH. I don't resent it though (despite the fact I detest all forms of housework bar cooking) and I think that's because I am only doing extra because I am personally generating extra. If I left the house at 9am and returned at 6pm, with children, the house would be pretty tidy. Therefore if I'm at home, I will clean up after us, because it's my choice to allow that to happen.

WipsGlitter Mon 15-Jul-13 20:21:25

Who does the cleaning when you're not on mat leave?

maternitart Mon 15-Jul-13 20:22:09

Sorry the title should have read housework not housewife...

Almostfifty Mon 15-Jul-13 20:22:52

I can't understand why you can't do the housework. It would mean you'd then have nights and weekends together.

I managed to do it all and still have time for my children. We'd both clear up after dinner at night and sort out the children though.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 15-Jul-13 20:24:29

I think it very much depends on the birth and the baby to be honest. If you had a nice straight forward birth, feeding is established and the baby naps well -well then its easy to fit in the housework.

However if you have a non-napping/sleeping baby who cries all the time, then its perfectly reasonable to not do much housework.

I've had both types of baby and one in between. By my 3rd I just upped my cleaner's hours so the house stayed tidy and I didn't go crazy. As being at home a lot, I found it very hard if the house was a mess.

And I know I was lucky to be able to have a cleaner although my DH was rarely around as worked/works very long hours and for me it was worth the money.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 15-Jul-13 20:24:44

So - you would sit in the house all day and not do things that needed doing because you don't want to do everything?

Fair enough if you have a particularly demanding baby/taking a while to recover from the birth but otherwise yabu. Takes 5 minutes to put clothes in the washing machine.

samandi Mon 15-Jul-13 20:25:30

If it's easy enough to do, why not just do it? If it's difficult to it with a baby, then don't. Whatever works for you and your husband. It's not unfair for him to be looking after the kid while you work in the evening.

caramelwaffle Mon 15-Jul-13 20:25:53

It is maternity leave, not housework leave.

Maternal= mother leave.

BonaDea Mon 15-Jul-13 20:28:34

Yanbu. Our cleaner still comes even tho I am now at home all day instead of working full time. I do basic day to day tidying up after myself and ds and the lion's share of cooking but don't change beds, vacuum, clean the bathrooms etc.

My priority is my DS and making the most of my time off with him while I have it. I'm not becoming a drudge if I don't have to be one!

caramelwaffle Mon 15-Jul-13 20:28:41

wispglitter raises a good point.

caramelwaffle Mon 15-Jul-13 20:29:39

Oh. Yanbu.

maternitart Mon 15-Jul-13 20:30:18

We split the cleaning now, I do the shopping and most cooking. We are not crazy people who change bedding every day etc.

I don't have a great napper tbh so that doesn't help.

hermioneweasley Mon 15-Jul-13 20:30:23

I think it comes back to the MN rule of equal leisure time. If your DH is working all day, I don't see why you can't do simple household tasks, unless your DS is very young and still feeding all night so you need to nap.

apachepony Mon 15-Jul-13 20:33:19

Hmmm, I have this question too. I hate housework with a passion, and I'm v bad at it. I do the vast majority of babycare, including nights and early mornings, tidy up after baby and I, do laundry (though not all dh's laundry), but not much more than that. And now our cleaner has disappeared and we can't get another for a month. Dh is complaining bitterly that the house is a mess. In my defence, my dh doesn't work long hours, is always up after me - quite often 2-3 hours after me - and I am carrying just as much financial burden as when I was working - ie dh is not the breadwinner. So aibu?

Babouche Mon 15-Jul-13 20:34:11

I find it quite hard to do anything significant until the 6m mark when a baby is old enough to nap at lunchtime in own room.That gives me about 2 hours a day.
When I've just got the baby at home I do stuff like putting washing away and obviously cooking for the family & cleaning the kitchen afterwards,dishwasher etc.
I've got 3 DCs and as one is a small baby I don't find I've got any more time to clean than I did when working.
So I've still got a cleaner who does the big stuff like hoovering dusting & bathrooms.

Emilythornesbff Mon 15-Jul-13 20:39:39

I'm on mat leave and also have a 2 yo. Sometimes i feel i don't have time to do anything.
We recently let our cleaner go (whole other thread).
I don't think DH has even noticed. grin so I'm obviously getting the essentials done. We share the cooking.
Do as you please.
Does he mind?

Thurlow Mon 15-Jul-13 20:39:47

Yes, thinking about equal leisure time helps. I know some people think that is just counting the minutes and not good for a relationship, but we found it works.

Once the baby is happy to lie on the floor or sit in a bouncer etc while you do something then I do think, in the general scheme of things, it doesn't hurt to do some housework during the day. But not if you're struggling with the baby to do it - in that case, you share it with your DH when they're back from work.

And the quicker your DC learns that you doing odd bits of housework is fine or even fun (once they start moving about, stuff like loading the washing machine is normally really fun) then you can organise your day so that you don't have any housework to do when they are napping, you just get to lie on the sofa and contemplate your naval.

KobayashiMaru Mon 15-Jul-13 20:48:25

I can't imagine why you wouldn't get on with a bit of housework. It's your house, its your mess, it needs doing, and you have plenty of time.
But its nothing to do with me or anyone else (other than your partner) so what do anyone elses opinions matter?

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 15-Jul-13 20:51:30

Apache - you are so not unreasonable.

Kobayashi - the OP doesn't necessarily have more time. If you have a baby who doesn't nap and is quite demanding, there's not masses of time for cleaning.

KobayashiMaru Mon 15-Jul-13 20:59:30

I had a baby that didn't nap at all (and barely slept and had multiple additional needs) but surely you aren't holding the baby all day long? You have plenty of time, just that the baby is there too.Pop them in a baby seat near you while you do 20 mins cleaning. Or I what I often did was sling baby and do the hoovering. I'd rather spend the time DP was home too sleeping together doing something.
But like I said, if it works for OP and her OH, who cares?

Crinkle77 Mon 15-Jul-13 21:11:50

I would be happy to do most of the everyday tasks but I would not be picking up after him and waiting on his every need if that makes sense

caramelwaffle Mon 15-Jul-13 21:13:11

The problem is people equate childcare with housecleaning (generally because Sahm/d care takes place in a house, or rather, home)

caramelwaffle Mon 15-Jul-13 21:13:43

Apache - yanbu.

BridgetBidet Mon 15-Jul-13 21:18:05

I don't know. Me and my DH came to a compromise of neither of us really doing any housework at all except for the absolute essentials when our DS was tiny. Although he was working I did all the night feeds so it was swings and roundabouts really because although I wasn't doing a job I needed to catch up on my sleep in the daytime.

When the baby got older and could sit in his bouncy chair while I did jobs and was sleeping better I did quite a lot in the day.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 15-Jul-13 21:18:19

Why would you not, you sound rather silly. Presumably your OH is picking up the bulk of the financial responsibility for you both and not being petty.

MortifiedAdams Mon 15-Jul-13 21:19:51

My priority when I was off with DD was
1 - her
2 - tidying up after myself
3 - making sure i had something in for dinner

IF I got anything else done it was a bonus and certainly.not expected.

If I spent all day at the park or the beach with dd and didnt manage to buy anytjing for dinner, id text dh and ask hom to bring something in.

I never managed to do any housework durong working hours when I WOTH so anything done in the day was a bonus.

monkeynuts123 Mon 15-Jul-13 21:24:58

pfb say no more.

Burmobasher Mon 15-Jul-13 21:27:20

Up to you, you know what works for your family.
I am on maternity leave and have a 3 year old. My baby demands (and gets) lots of attention, is ebf, does not nap and I still entertain my ds and do 90% of the cooking, cleaning, washing etc.
my DH works hard all day and the time we have together is to spend as a family not doing chores.
He helps out with the kids, walks the dog, puts the bins out etc and I don't expect him to come home and start the hoovering (although he would if i asked) if its not all done, no biggie though, we will do it together at the weekend.

Bearbehind Mon 15-Jul-13 21:27:40

I think this is a pretty selfish attitude TBH.

if your priorities are-

1. Spending time with your child
2. Doing housework

And therefore your husbands priorities have to be-

1. Working
2. Doing the housework you haven't done
3. Spending time with his child

How is that fair?

Housework is shit but so is work outside the house very often, so why shouldn't you do as much as you can do whilst you are at home so that both parents get to spend the maximum time possible with your children?

TarkaTheOtter Mon 15-Jul-13 21:28:07

I agree with the PP who said you need to try and equalise leisure time (and that includes sleep time). That may mean that you do more, or even less than your dp depending on how well you baby sleeps during the day/night.

Annunziata Mon 15-Jul-13 21:31:36

You are at home, they are your jobs.

caramelwaffle Mon 15-Jul-13 21:33:01

When we have equal paternity and maternity leave, we shall look, forward to everyone giving exactly the same answers...

TarkaTheOtter Mon 15-Jul-13 21:37:55

Annunziata by that logic if one half of a couple works from home they should do all the housework.

MortifiedAdams Mon 15-Jul-13 21:37:56

Hmmm....I work Saturdays and some Sundays. I dont give a shit if I get in and no laundry has been done or my dinner isnt on the table - my.main hope is that my DH and my DD have had a great day.

Same as he wants when I with her.

mycatlikestwiglets Mon 15-Jul-13 21:39:48

I finally got a cleaner when I was on maternity leave, having held out for ages when DH wanted one to save us spending our weekends cleaning. I certainly didn't have time to clean the house properly when DS was a baby and the only time DH really got to spend quality time with him was at the weekend when we wanted to be together as a family. YANBU but the housework does need to be divided up in a fair way if you and your OH will be doing it yourselves.

SaucyJack Mon 15-Jul-13 21:40:30

We will caramelwaffle because we are clearly not all as obsessed as you are with labels and the constraints of gender roles or whatever else he did, she did yadda yadda.

Noone wants to go back to the 30s, but if you can't even take your dirty cereal bowl out to the kitchen without have some feminist dilemma over whether to wash it up or just sling it on the side like a tramp, then frankly it's time that grips were got.

Annunziata Mon 15-Jul-13 21:40:55

No it doesn't- OP is on leave from her job, someone who is working at home still has work to do.

DontmindifIdo Mon 15-Jul-13 21:43:38

Annunziata - would you expect a nanny to also clean?

Annunziata Mon 15-Jul-13 21:45:08

I don't know anything about nannies.

maternitart Mon 15-Jul-13 21:46:09

I don't want to get into the minutiae but as soon as DH is home (he's out of the house approx 11 hours a day) he hangs with DS, does bathtime, cuddles etc usually while I start dinner and do a bit of tidying. I don't know why some of you assume he's slaving away at the housework every night while I just sit there mumsnetting

I wish my baby was entertained for 20 minutes in a bouncy chair but it's more like 5...

Pilgit Mon 15-Jul-13 21:47:25

It's maternity leave - not cleaning leave. How much you can get done will depend on your baby. But, as I'm going back full time if I pick up more than my 'fair share' past experience tells me it will be hell when I go back and DH isn't used to doing it (he just doesn't see mess or that housework needs doing so has to get into a habit of doing it iyswim). But really, whatever works for you and your DH is what is really important.

Bearbehind Mon 15-Jul-13 21:53:16

Mmmm, maybe because you said 'I rarely do any housework like vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathroom, changing the beds etc' OP.

Even if you meant that you do these things at weekends or your DH does them, it's a pretty precious, selfish mindset.

What will you do when you go back to work and have even less time for house work?

Not many people enjoy housework, it just has to be done and fitting as much as possible around your daily routine means it doesn't take one parent hours to do at the weekend.

You asked if your Mum had a point, I and others think she does.

Nagoo Mon 15-Jul-13 21:53:20

Use the equal leisure time thing.

Unless you live in a hovel because he's out 11 hours a day.

Then do some fucking cleaning wink

Part of raising a child is making their environment nice for them.

caramelwaffle Mon 15-Jul-13 21:57:15

I am not obessed with labels saucy.

I suggest you are projecting. A lot.

I believe women and men who wohm tend to know, and understand, the limitations on their time - work/commute/housework/childcare - plus more -and when on maternity or paternity leave, this is brought into sharp relief.

Excepting adoption leave, maternity leave and paternity is not yet equal in the UK and females have pressure exerted on them to perform hidden work.

As it is, I have cooked a full meal and will happily clean the kitchen tonight/put washing on/ have fed and bathed children/will paint my nails/watch James Bond/tidy two bathrooms etc etc

SaucyJack Mon 15-Jul-13 22:09:26

With all due respect, you are not doing anything to convince me that it isn't you who is obsessed and projecting......

She is a physically able woman in her own home.

If she drops toast crumbs on the floor, then she should get the hoover out. If her baby's clothes need washing, then put a washload on.

It's just what grown ups do. It has nothing to do with her being persecuted by the dastardly penis possessors.

caramelwaffle Mon 15-Jul-13 22:10:15

Ah. I see.

Kendodd Mon 15-Jul-13 22:11:56

Yes I think you should do it. It's easy to vacuum with a baby on your hip and besides, babies sleep a lot during the day, do it then. The reason I think this is that if you do it during the day you BOTH have your evenings and weekends free. And yes I would think the same if the SAH parent was the dad although unfortunately I think a SAH dad who did all the house work would be treated like some sort of saint, god knows why.

maternitart Mon 15-Jul-13 22:12:25

I would rather spend most of my time playing with, stimulating, feeding and enjoying my son than cleaning, during his awake time. Of course if he's asleep --not on
me-- and I'm in the house I get on with stuff, and do things for him like prepare his meals, wash his clothes, while he's awake as much as I can. It's just my focus is on him. My DH says he wouldn't want it any other way.

Think I am happy to be labelled PFB if that's what it makes me. He might be my POB (precious only born) and I can't imagine regretting not doing more cleaning once I'm back at work. It's interesting seeing the different POVs though - sounds like a bit of a split.

Arisbottle Mon 15-Jul-13 22:12:57

When I took maternity leave I did the vat majority of the house work, it doesn't take long to do and gave me family time in the evening

Arisbottle Mon 15-Jul-13 22:13:55

It would seem unfair to sit at home twiddling my thumbs or being a lady that lunches whilst my DH was working.

Bogeyface Mon 15-Jul-13 22:15:42

It depends. With DD she had terrible colic and ex worked shifts so some times he would get home at 6am and I would be more tired than him because in 24 hours he had had more sleep than me! Then, nothing got done because I was caring for her, and my older son too. Sadly, he did sod all either as he assumed that maternity leave was actually cleaning leave. Due to financial reasons I had to go back to work when she was 4 months old, with 8 weeks I was signed off with severe PND, I was on my knees with exhaustion because he seemed to think that as soon as she exited my vagina, he didnt have to do a damn thing.

3 months after that, I left him.

Bogeyface Mon 15-Jul-13 22:17:27

Sorry, should add that with my others who were all a dream baby wise, I did do housework, I mean why wouldnt you? Its not like in my grandmas day where everything was done by hand, shopping had to be done daily, bread baked daily etc. We have online shopping, washing machines, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners etc, its hardly onerous to bung a load of washing on and run the hoover around the place!

Dackyduddles Mon 15-Jul-13 22:17:44

I clean tidy etc when baby is awake so I can sit down when it's asleep so I'm strong enough to be a mum 24/7.

Babies enjoy watching you. Toddlers enjoy helping you, USE THIS

Bogeyface Mon 15-Jul-13 22:30:51

Dacky makes a good point.

The baby in a rocker chair in the kitchen while you put the washing on can be very stimulating for him! I talk all the time to DD about what I am doing, "Ooh look a RED tshirt! We dont want that in the WHITE washing do we?" "Shall we have JAM or MARMITE on our toast" it was an ongoing babble of pointless chattering!

She really enjoys the "conversations" we have. Now she is 2 she will talk back but when she was little she would babble in the gaps in the conversation, it was lovely!

One word of warning, if you get into the habit of talking and pointing everything out (not in a Performance Parenting way, just in a quiet interaction way) then you can make a bit of an arse of yourself by asking a stranger on the bus "What do ducks say?!" grin

Funghoul Mon 15-Jul-13 22:32:46

When dp is at work during week I do bits and bobs whilst dd sleeps, but only what has to be done, like a load of washing, cleaning bathroom. When dd is unsettled she gets put in the sling and I vacuum because the noise settles her, but generally me and dp spend maybe an hour at the weekend where we blitz the house together so it only needs keeping on top of during week. Dp will do his fair share, but only if I've written a list because he can't use his initiative grin
I'm with you op, would rather spend time with dd when she wakes, then spend that time cleaning. A fair division works for us and we both get to spend time with dd.

pointythings Mon 15-Jul-13 22:35:18

It should be very simple:

1) Equal leisure time.
2) You both agree on the minimum housework you can live with and do that.

Standards dropped drastically in our house when the DDs came along and we're all still here.

And hoovering up toast crumbs the moment they happen? Really?

foreverondiet Mon 15-Jul-13 22:40:07

I think it depends on what else you are doing and how whether you can afford a cleaner. eg well behaved baby and struggle to afford cleaner, and getting enough sleep - then yes, should do some cleaning.

Sleep deprived, baby who needs held all the time, other children to deal with etc no don't clean.

arethereanyleftatall Mon 15-Jul-13 22:41:14

YABU. And really really selfish. I would feel guilty if my dh was working and I wasn't, and lets face it, looking after one baby is not hard work.
You can entertain the baby whilst you clean as effectively as if you're doing nothing. I hoovered with dds in a sling,, mopped passing a ball to them with every sweep etc etc
I felt I owed it to my DH,, who was bringing in all the money, to have the house tidy for him .
And it's not split, I think there's only about 2 posters who say yanbu, and a lot more who say you are.

prettybird Mon 15-Jul-13 22:41:47

I am both shock and sad at some of the 50s judgy attitudes here. The OP deserves better.

She hasn't said she sits around doing nothing.

I know when ds was young - and despite the fact he was good sleeper - I was permanently exhausted. Because he wasn't gaining weight, I was waking him up during the night to feed him. It look me a loooong time to get organised. Going out was a major expedition.

As many people have pointed out, it's maternity leave, not cleaning leave.

It's nothing to do with your MIL or mother. If your dp is happy with what you're doing, then stuff 'em.

I like the idea that some have mentioned of ensuring that you both have equal free time. Remember to factor in the amount of time it takes you to get ready to go out with ds (BTW - it does get easier! wink). Also, if you are still going to post-natal exercise classes, they count as maternity "care" and are part of the "job".

WorraLiberty Mon 15-Jul-13 22:41:50

If you're home all day and partner is at work all day then yes of course, why not? Do you really define your life by employment law and terms. It seems like splitting hairs to me.YABU

This ^^ it all sounds a bit 'business like' really.

Just do what you can

Bogeyface Mon 15-Jul-13 22:45:27

It does seem to me that you are proving a point rather than just doing whatever needs to be done to make life easier for everyone.

OK, so some days the baby is unsettled and you cant do anything else, thats fine. Those are the days when you both share it after your DH comes home. On the days where he is a dream, happy, sleeps well, then why not do a bit of cleaning if it means that you and your DH get a bit more couple time in the evening?

Its give and take and it seems to me that you are so frightened to give in case it ends up that all your DH does is take. Thats a reasonable fear if you were married to an entitled arse, but it doesnt sound like you are to me.

Bogeyface Mon 15-Jul-13 22:45:51

to me to me to me (to you!). Sorry, very poorly written post, but you get the idea!

OrangeLily Mon 15-Jul-13 22:54:23

Haha oh dear god. Why on earth should you! You are completely correct that you are on maternity leave not cleaning leave. A lot of the attitudes on this forum appear to be rather 'programmed' to be honest.

I have much more holiday time due to my career, than DH has, this doesn't mean that I stay at home all day fecking cleaning. Frankly, personally, I find cleaning to be utterly boring. If he had wanted a housewife, he would have married one.

Choose wisely smile

KobayashiMaru Mon 15-Jul-13 22:56:50

I don't see what is so programmed, or 50's, or judgy to say that you live in a house that does need some cleaning. We all do it, its not demeaning. Men clean, women clean, in my house the children clean too.
In fact some of these resposnses sound more like " Oh I couldn't possibly do some house work, I've got a baby doncha know!"

OrangeLily Mon 15-Jul-13 23:00:04

But if she doesn't want to clean above and beyond her 'normal' tasks then why the hell should she? Up to a year of carrying out tasks she doesn't enjoy (alongside new motherhood) would be mind numbing.

Bogeyface Mon 15-Jul-13 23:00:30

I dont think anyone is saying that she should clean Orange, I certainly wasnt. Just that it makes life run much more smoothly if everyone does what needs to be done when they can.

If I was her then I would rather spend the odd times during the day putting washing on, loading the dishwasher, running the hoover round and hanging the washing out than using an precious hour of "us" time with my husband. I would far rather spend time with him cuddling on the sofa or eating a meal together and catching up than having a conversation with one head in the dishwasher and other in the laundry basket.

pinkr Mon 15-Jul-13 23:00:39

It's your house....surely you must take some pride in it and do basic jobs? No one is saying you need to scrub the skirtings etc but washing etc is a necessity in my book and I couldn't just leave it lying for dh to do. I'm enjoying maternity as I can cook meals more from scratch which is something that slips a bit when you work full time...I can also spend more time making sure my house and garden is well tended and this makes me happy as I think it's nice to have time to do such things without the stresses of work.
Dh works hard during the day .and I'm happy to play the 50s housewife...I only wish we could afford for me to be able to be one all the time!

Annunziata Mon 15-Jul-13 23:00:48

Why shouldn't the OP do ordinary household tasks like vacuuming, dusting or cleaning the bathroom? If the DH is expected to be able do them while working full time, she can also do it while looking after the baby.

Bogeyface Mon 15-Jul-13 23:02:36

I found it quite interesting that she said that when she has time she prepares the babys meals or does the babys washing.

Do they need everything done seperately?

Be careful OP, babys are PART of the family, not the head of it.

KobayashiMaru Mon 15-Jul-13 23:04:43

Someone has to do it. Get a cleaner and sit and watch them do it if you like. Or live in a shit tip, why would we care? But don't start all this stepford housewife shit at those of us who can flick a duster around while also raising one small baby. Do it, don't do it, whatever, but don't pretend cleaning your own house is beneath you. hmm

NiceTabard Mon 15-Jul-13 23:04:49

These threads are always so black and white.

All families are different. All people and babies are different.

There are many reasons why a woman at home on mat leave shouldn't be chastised for not performing various household tasks if the situation doesn't lend itself. Let alone ones which take a long time and involve heavy duty chemicals hmm

maternitart Mon 15-Jul-13 23:06:59

I should also mention that DH will be taking 3 months parental leave while I support us financially. I won't expect him to do any more housework than I do now.

I'm not trying to make a point (well maybe I am on here but not IRL), I never stop for more than a few minutes (long enough to go to the loo or shove a quick sandwich together) on the average day.

Turniptwirl Mon 15-Jul-13 23:17:08

Depends who is doing the stuff you're not doing. If you expect dh to do it then yabu. It's his baby too and he has fewer hours with pfb so why should he clean up after you when you've been home with baby all day.

If you have a cleaner then its fine since everything will be getting done and you and dh both get time to gaze adoringly at baby.

arethereanyleftatall Mon 15-Jul-13 23:19:58

Out of genuine interest op, what do you do all day? And how old is your DC? you have detailed you entertain him, doing what?

OrangeLily Mon 15-Jul-13 23:20:41

At the end of the day. Do what makes you, DH and baby happy. If a balance is struck excellent. Don't feel guilty because its not your thing.

WorraLiberty Mon 15-Jul-13 23:22:55

I never stop for more than a few minutes (long enough to go to the loo or shove a quick sandwich together) on the average day.

You never stop what?

It's a genuine question btw, not a sarky one.

SaucyJack Mon 15-Jul-13 23:24:07

I'm not sure scrubbing remnants off the toilet bowl is many people's "thing" Orange..........

It's just something that needs doing.

Doingakatereddy Mon 15-Jul-13 23:26:35

Interesting thread - I'm on maternity leave, have DS 3 (normal boisterous, bouncing off the Walls type) and 3 mo DD (won't be fecking well put down)

On a fortnight cycle, I manage to strip beds, Hoover, do bathroom etc. DH helps a bit, but to be Frank it's man cleaning so fairly superficial.

I have to ask, as maybe I'm depriving my kids but wtf would you do all bloody day, five days a week to not find the time to clean a bit?

I think it depends on how long it would take you to do more, ie how big is your home, do you have pets, etc.

For example, when I was on ML, we lived in a 2 bed flat, no garden, small rooms, I could keep everything really clean and organised on 30 minutes a day. I had 9 hours to do it in, why wouldn't I do it? DH still did the washing up and shopping so no Stepford issues or anything.

How long would it take you to do more of the stuff you're currently not doing? Because if we're talking about an extra 15-30 minutes a day, that really doesn't seem so crazy, especially if it means you could spend more time with your DH at night and weekends.

angeltulips Mon 15-Jul-13 23:34:46

Always amazed at the mn doublethink that happens between

"You're there to look after your child on mat leave, it's like WORK because you would have to PAY for someone to care for your child otherwise"


"You shouldn't include DHs time w child as "work" - unless you count spending time with your own children as work"

Just an observation really.

To answer the op, I did more housework than the zero i do whilst at work when on mat leave bc I had more time. A bit like when I'm at work and I have a spare 20mins (doesn't happen nearly often enough!) I pay a couple of household bills or catch up on some admin - I don't refuse to do it because it's not my job.

But whatever works for you and DH is fine. I know mine would have been royally hacked off if he'd come home to a messy house and me raving about how much FUN I'd had at the park - but then DH has always had higher cleaning standards than me anyway that's why we had a cleaner even when we were students

Bogeyface Mon 15-Jul-13 23:45:15

Let alone ones which take a long time and involve heavy duty chemicals

I hardly think that shoving a bit of bleach down the loo after you have just had a wee (post flush obv) is that much of a chore. If you have a house that requires heavy duty chemicals then I rather think that it isnt the best place for a baby anyway!

slightlysoupstained Tue 16-Jul-13 00:05:53


" He might be my POB (precious only born) and I can't imagine regretting not doing more cleaning once I'm back at work"

This. I don't give a flying fuck if Mrs Stepford thinks I should be more focused on snatching every 5 minute "cleaning opportunity", instead of playing with my PFB. I am not going to go to my grave lamenting that I could've had shinier taps. I might well regret not having time for my son. I would definitely have regretted it after mat leave if we'd got used to me doing everything - it takes a long time to change habits.

OP, he's your & your DP's son, and both of you seem entirely content with current arrangements. Why let someone else make you feel bad about it? Your mum's relationship is not your relationship.

arethereanyleftatall Tue 16-Jul-13 00:08:03

So, as soon as the 9 months is up,and it's no longer called maternity leave, and should you decide to be Sahm, is it then that housework becomes your responsibility? Or never?

Bogeyface Tue 16-Jul-13 00:17:39

I don't give a flying fuck if Mrs Stepford thinks I should be more focused on snatching every 5 minute "cleaning opportunity", instead of playing with my PFB.

Who said she should? We just said that if you have a few minutes to chuck some bleach down the loo and wipe the sink when you have been to the loo, why not do it? It is a couple of minutes to do, and means that the OP has more time to spend with her DH rather than them spending time at the end of a long day on chores.

She is saving up time! You know how Martin Lewis et al suggest saving up £2 coins because they are not much on their own, but soon add up? Well this is the same. 5 minutes singing the rainbow song sorting a load of washing is nothing, she is still teaching, entertaining and interacting with her son, but is also "saving" 5 minutes for later. Depending on how old her child is, counting out pegs when she hangs the clothes out is 10 minutes where she is T, E and I with her son but another 10 minutes go in the bank.

After a day of saving up a few minutes here and there on chores, her and her DH get an hour together that they can enjoy and not up to their arses in jobs. I would say the same to a SAHD too, its not that its a womans job, just a job that is best done that whoever is best placed to do it and in this case, that is the OP.

Maryann1975 Tue 16-Jul-13 00:22:23

What are you entertaining baby with all day that means you can't do a few chores along the way? Yes, they are chores, but they need doing. If baby sees you doing those jobs, in time they will learn to help you and you do them together. I understand if baby is still very tiny (weeks old), but by the time baby is months old they can be kept entertained by watching you doing some of this stuff. Ime, babies who need entertaining all the time, turn into children who can't entertain themselves and they can be hard work (more hard work than children who can entertain themselves for a little while anyway). It is good IMO for children not to be the centre of the universe 24/7, it comes in useful when they go to day care/have siblings.

DogsAreEasierThanChildren Tue 16-Jul-13 00:35:20

I shouldn't have clicked on this thread as some of the posts have given me the rage and I should be going to sleep.
YANBU. Looking after small children is work (I went back to work after six months' mat leave for a rest), and housework is drudgery. You say in the evenings you do housework and your DH does baby care, so you both work all day and split the work in the evenings. That sounds totally fair and reasonable to me. If you get the odd break in the daytime to MN or read a book, that seems fair too unless your DH has a job where he never gets even a short break.

I really agree with what previous posters have said - if you get into a pattern of you doing everything while you're off, it's hard to break the pattern once you go back.

If it's a choice between 5 minutes of cleaning and 5 minutes with my son, obviously I prefer to spend time with my son. Obviously!

But the OP has 11 hours on her own with her son, every day. An extra 20 minutes out of that is not a very big deal, whereas 20 minutes out of the short time she and her DH have in the evening to do things or spend time with each other is more noticeable.

I'm not at all saying she should do more so that her DH doesn't have to do anything, no way. I just think it's easier to squeeze in things during the day and have evenings and weekends relaxing.

KobayashiMaru Tue 16-Jul-13 00:39:04

never stop doing what?
I think you realise the ridiculousness of this kind of PFB nonsense when you have a couple more children. no matter how difficult your baby you have to do a thousand other things with your toddler/older children, and you wonder just what the fuck you did all day long with one small baby. It's sheer preciousness to suggest you simply have no time at all to clean your own bog.

Bogeyface Tue 16-Jul-13 01:01:23

Lets put it another way.

If the DH was posting that he was working through his lunch in order to get home earlier so he could spend time with his wife and son, but as soon as he walked through the door he had to do the washing, what would the reaction be?

Its not about the washing! Its about making the little sacrifices during the day so that at the end of the day you have a reward. Thats all that I am suggesting!

Burmobasher Tue 16-Jul-13 01:38:52

To be honest, I found the tone of some of the posters a little judgy. If you keep a clean house then you are somehow an inferior parent.
What's wrong with wanting your baby to roll around on a hoovered floor? Or wanting to sit down as a family and eat a home cooked meal? Or having a nice clean environment to bathe your DC's in? Or wanting to sit down in the evening and spend an hour of quality time with your DH?
Ime, you can do this and not be the neglectful parent that's being implied.

ZingWidge Tue 16-Jul-13 01:47:28


I agree with you!

and I have to add, that if a clean house implied an inferior parent and vice versa I'm the best mother in the world! grin

<eyes up bombsite of a house>

Burmobasher Tue 16-Jul-13 02:02:30

zing grin

Anyways, I had best crack on. That sideboard won't polish itself!

ZingWidge Tue 16-Jul-13 02:20:53

burmo grin
and while you are at it, will you polish my halo please?

PenelopeLane Tue 16-Jul-13 03:53:11

YANBU, as long as you do enough housework for things to stay hygienic and not too messy. Babies are babies for such a short period of time, and they grow so fast, it would be such a shame to be forever cleaning around them.

Wuldric Tue 16-Jul-13 04:05:40

I found maternity leave quite hard. I did all the Mum groups and stuff like going to the gym where they allow babies in but there was still hours of my day when I was used to being busy, which I tried to use entertaining the DCs. But there were still hours left over. Babies sleep a lot. The house was immaculate, so I took to cooking. No hardship, I like cooking.

After months of ever more elaborate meals, during which DH gained a couple of stones, he looked over dinner (beef bourgignon, steamed beans, rosemary and garlic roast potatoes, followed by a creme brulee) and said 'You really need to get back to work'. Which was true.

So, you know, I think YABU. There is just so much time during the day, unless you let the day overtake you.

<prepares for the hailstones>

LostLion Tue 16-Jul-13 04:11:17

well, I think if your going back to work (or even indeed if your a SAHM) are not wrong to be cautious about setting out a division of labour where everyone participates in housework. It can be hard to unring a bell so to speak IYKWIM.

pinkr Tue 16-Jul-13 04:17:17

It's your house....surely you must take some pride in it and do basic jobs? No one is saying you need to scrub the skirtings etc but washing etc is a necessity in my book and I couldn't just leave it lying for dh to do. I'm enjoying maternity as I can cook meals more from scratch which is something that slips a bit when you work full time...I can also spend more time making sure my house and garden is well tended and this makes me happy as I think it's nice to have time to do such things without the stresses of work.
Dh works hard during the day .and I'm happy to play the 50s housewife...I only wish we could afford for me to be able to be one all the time!

Dackyduddles Tue 16-Jul-13 07:09:48

Look if I had the money I would have a cleaner and a liv in nanny and still be a sahp.

We don't. So the one that's home takes on a bit more. Just be truthful; if dh was home what would you expect him to do to keep it ticking over? Mine used to wfh a day a week so for example he did hoovering that day as 'payment' forward so we didn't have to at weekend. He also did dwasher that whole day as appropriate and bleached loo. That was then time not spent doing it at weekend.

It's not stepford. It's polite in a partnership.

ChunkyPickle Tue 16-Jul-13 07:25:58

Sod changing the bedsheets - bending down picking up toys from the floor, or up and down hanging out the washing leaves me out of breath these days. As due date approaches I will definitely be doing less housework, not more.

I confess I haven't read 5 pages of this, but part of the point is that by the time there's a huge belly in the way, some of these tasks become rather more effort - which is why you're not at work in the first place!

maternitart Tue 16-Jul-13 08:06:08

Ooh it's kicking OFF in here! grin

Firstly, let me clarify / repeat that I DO do some cleaning/housework/cooking etc during the day, of course I can wipe down the odd surface and stick a load on and I do. Perhaps my wording was misleading.

I just don't keep my house Stepford clean. I suppose a way of explaining it is I don't keep my house any tidier or cleaner than I did before going on leave. Eg I never vacuumed daily before and I don't now. Even though I probably could as some of you have pointed out.

I felt this weird pressure to do EVERYTHING and perfectly once I went on leave. At first I tried to do this, when DS was at his most challenging, and I think it contributed to PND which thankfully I am in a much better place with now.

To some posters: Of course I couldn't be so indulgent if I had other children. That's kind of WHY I want to do it!

We leave the house a lot, which accounts for quite a bit of the day. I could give you a more detailed itinerary but I'm far too busy, ha.

I do play with him a lot too and maybe as a previous poster said that could affect his ability to entertain himself.

Anyway you've inspired me to change the beds today so thanks for the clean sheets. wink

Emilythornesbff Tue 16-Jul-13 08:16:54

Funny old thread.
Made me think though. I guess it depends on lots of things.
What is your DM expecting you to do?
(I bet Sarah Beeny could redevelop a couple of houses on maternity leave)
I don't think i'd be happy if my DH expected show home tidiness, etc whilst I'm on mat leave. Especially as I find it hard to do vacuuming and mopping in particular with 2 yo DS awake in the house.
But then I couldn't imagine not doing the basics; laundry, cleanish bathroom, clean kitchen as I go.
Someone else pointed out the paradox that sometimes we equate childcare with "work" if we're doing it but expect our DPs to do it for love.
I think fair split of leisure times the key.
And a lowering of standards.

pianodoodle Tue 16-Jul-13 08:17:18

You do what you can. This is horrible heat to be pregnant in smile

badbride Tue 16-Jul-13 08:18:40

It's your house....surely you must take some pride in it and do basic jobs?

Dear God, no. I have no pride in my house whatsoever--it's a major PITA that perpetually creates more tedious work for me to do, like Sisyphus's bloody stone.

What you need, OP, is an army of robots to do the really crap stuff, like hoovering, floor washing, floor mopping etc. The marvellous thing about 21st century is that these things do actually exist and can be yours for less than the price of an iPhone. See here.

If you haven't got a spare £300 kicking around, consider selling the kids for medical research. Trust me, it's worth it grin

Ticklemonster2 Tue 16-Jul-13 08:19:44

It sounds like you are doing your fair share and I see nothing wrong with Dh helping. It's his mess also.
I agree it isn't cleaning leave and you don't sound lazy.

DowntonTrout Tue 16-Jul-13 08:34:39

See my DD has just had her first baby. He was 3 weeks old last week when her DH went back to work. It took 3 days for them to have an argument about what she was and wasn't doing.

He said he was at work all day and shouldn't have to come home and take the dog out, do the washing, tidy up etc. she was upset because it's early days, she doesn't feel comfortable walking the dog with the pram yet. She's doing the night feeds and she's just given birth.

I didn't know what to say when she rang me upset. Despite having been there myself. although I wanted to tell her to tell him that he was being unreasonable and that he can't just expect her to be back to normal- its far too early- I also didn't want to interfere. I think lots of people have different expectations but the baby is 3 weeks old FGS!

Dackyduddles Tue 16-Jul-13 08:36:01

Ok so now we are at the crux of it, where we were not before. You are adjusting to new motherhood. We all (I think) struggle with what we think we are supposed to do, actually can do, actually want to do, think is expected of us when we become mums. The first time is hardest in that sense.

If you have time to read try Naomi stadlen: what mothers do (especially when it looks like nothing). But my best thought is just let life evolve. It will work itself out.

Congrats by the way, hadn't said that!

MortifiedAdams Tue 16-Jul-13 08:56:50

Downton I think your Dd could do with leaving the three week old for a working day and seeing what je manages to get done.

NinaHeart Tue 16-Jul-13 09:01:37

I think it depends to a point. If you're talking about the first few weeks after the birth then maybe it's ok not to do the housework, but if you're in a routine then it really shouldn't be too much of an effort to do a bit of washing and empty the dishwasher and run the vac round now and again.

DowntonTrout Tue 16-Jul-13 09:04:28


I just keep saying sleep when baby sleeps, nothing else matters at the moment, everything can wait. They're hundreds of miles away and she has no one close by.

What else can I say?

cleoowen Tue 16-Jul-13 09:09:24

My husband expects me to during my maternity leave and because of,this,has got quite lazy expecting me,to tidy up after him. I ve only got 6 Weeks of ml left and keep reminding him it will be different when I go back to work and have,ds to look after.

It probably is fair for me to do more, especially as day has 2 and a half,hours nap everyday if I am in. but if I am out all day nothing gets done.

Xmasbaby11 Tue 16-Jul-13 09:13:36

I didn't do a lot in the first month because I was exhausted and needed to rest when I could. When DD napped I just watched TV etc. Once she was more settled, I used nap time (when I was at home) to get chores done and prepare dinner for later. It wasn't that difficult because she slept for at least an hour at a time. My reasons for doing it:

- it meant we didn't have to do loads in the evenings and weekends, which meant more family time

- DH was also tired from the night wakings (and he often got up early with DD), so I did some of the chores he normally does

I think it's about doing what you reasonably can, out of respect for your partner.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 16-Jul-13 09:20:44

I'd say prioritise your baby and then do the housework you can do/want to do and sod the rest.

But really I just want to know exactly what your mum said. [nosy] grin

badguider Tue 16-Jul-13 09:30:20

My perspective on this thread is that I currently work from home and am due with my first in september.

When I am at home with my son I will have no more time to clean or do housework than I do now when I'm at my desk (ok, livingroom table) for 8 hours a day. In fact, I will probably have less.

I currently clean up aftermyself. Shove on the dishwasher after breakfast, clean my own lunch stuff and sometimes put on or hang up a laundry in my lunchbreak. But that's it. I wouldn't spend client paid for time scrubbing the bath.

So when I have ds I am hoping that after dh goes back after paternity leave I will be able to keep the same standards... but I won't be doing any more cleaning/housework during the day...

Lots of the posters on here are saying things like 'it only takes a moment to run the hoover round' but then saying 'omg you can't have either of you hoovering at the weekend - that's precious time together!'. I don't get that myself confused.

Drhamsterstortoise Tue 16-Jul-13 09:35:53

The first few weeks as a first time mum are hard and of course baby's needs come first.I would say that first time round I didn't put baby down and prob didn't do enough housework!This time round things are different and I do see it as my role.I have a sling and a play mat and a swing so these all help in freeing up time.Getting into a routine is good.I find if I sit down on the couch with the dds I could very well be stuck there for a few hours!Get a cleaner if you can afford it or take some laundry to The laundrette.Get a dishwasher if you can.

Ragwort Tue 16-Jul-13 09:45:06

Perhaps I live in a hovel but I just can't understand how housework can take up so much time - I have never been back to work since I had my DS (actually I gave up a year or so before I had him grin) but I never, ever spend more than 20 mins a day on housework (a bit more for cooking but then I like eating grin) - I mean unless you live in a mansion just how long do things take? I vacuum once a week fortnight, the kitchen floor gets washed every 3-4 days (takes 5 mins), quick dust occasionally, quick wipe round the bathrooms (yes, we have three), wipe down kitchen surfaces, load & unload dishwasher, hang out washing - but then the rest of the day is mine to mumsnet, do volunteer work, sunbathe, read - whatever I want.

Compared to my DH's job my life is easy, I understand it is different if you have a very challenging baby/children but quite honestly the angst you read about 'divving up the housework' must surely take longer than getting the hoover out confused - or am I missing something entirely?

SaucyJack Tue 16-Jul-13 10:01:38

Well quite Ragwort

Y'know, the further this thread progresses, the more I suspect I'm arguing on the wrong side.

My flat isn't and never will be Stepford clean and most certainly wasn't when the girls were babies.

OP, you can relax. We're all only talking about doing the daily basics. Nobody stays up all night cleaning the kitchen tiles with a cotton bud, promise.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Tue 16-Jul-13 11:57:33

But some people seem to do a massive amount of housework - for example the second reply on the thread suggests one should be vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom every day...

I'd say a fair aim for an SAHP would be to keep the dishwasher and washing machine ticking over so everyone has clean plates and pants, and keep the kitchen relatively hygenic.

Otherwise, who cares if the skirting boards are dusty or the floor's a bit crunchy? Well, my mum probably does, but I don't live my life to please her, so... <shrugs>

Thurlow Tue 16-Jul-13 12:10:36

On threads like this I'm always flabbergasted by how much much housework other people seem to find to do. What are they doing? What?

Average day - washing up, wipe surfaces, maybe some clothes washing, put a few things away, clean up any spectacular messes. Once a week or so - hoover, dust, change sheets, clean bathroom. Nothing there is hours and hours and hours of work a day.

I feel like I am missing something...

Dahlen Tue 16-Jul-13 12:58:28

Thurlow - you are. Dust. wink

<written by someone else who genuinely wonders what other people find to clean that takes up so much time. grin>

KobayashiMaru Tue 16-Jul-13 13:01:54

When I am at home with my son I will have no more time to clean or do housework than I do now when I'm at my desk (ok, livingroom table) for 8 hours a day. In fact, I will probably have less.

Bullhockey. What do you think a tiny baby needs you to do that means you won't have a minute free? Do you know how many hours they sleep? A lot.

Ragwort Tue 16-Jul-13 13:04:44

Just for the sake of this thread (haven't I got better things to do grin) I timed myself - hanging out one load of washing, sweeping kitchen, utility and hall floors (quite large floor space) - total 6 mins, hardly time consuming is it? Later I will unload the dishwasher whilst waiting for the kettle to boil to make coffee - two minutes?

I would genuinely love to know what some mumsnetters find to do if they are doing housework 'all day' hmm?

KobayashiMaru Tue 16-Jul-13 13:06:01

don't forget the "heavy duty chemicals" mentioned above, Ragwort <mind boggles>

Dahlen Tue 16-Jul-13 13:07:34

I live on my own and brought up my two DC as a single parent so had to do it all anyway, which wasn't that hard, but then I only had one adult's mess to deal with. I found being a single parent easier than living with my DC's father - which does, of course, explain why he became an X. grin

TBH, while I'll argue the feminist principle til the cows come home, I don't mind doing more than my fair share of housework if I'm there, and feel able to do it. The expectation that it be done by me however will make me purposely choose not to do it. A little appreciation and mutual consideration goes a long way.

ZingWidge Tue 16-Jul-13 13:08:07


they don't all sleep a lot actually.

KobayashiMaru Tue 16-Jul-13 13:09:47

They do. even the ones that seem not to. I've had a non-sleeper, they still nap you just blank it out because you feel like dying of tiredness

prettybird Tue 16-Jul-13 13:15:17

One of the best bits of advice I read before ds was born was "When your baby has a nap, you have a nap" smile

which still doesn't leave time for cleaning wink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I guess Kobayashi has never met one of these babies

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

kobayashi sone of mine didn't sleep much.

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

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

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

*some of mine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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