To feel like Dh wants a 1950s housewife

(89 Posts)
thehovelinspector Thu 17-Oct-13 23:31:27

Dh works FT in a very well paid job. I work PT in a craply paid job but do the after school care, school run, cooking, shopping, general family organising e.g. Holidays, birthday cards, builders, plumber, school uniform, school admin etc. we have just the one school age dc so I things are fairly easy on that front.

So...tonight dh is moaning because the 'fridge is not well stocked' and last night he didn't have anything for dinner. Except I made a home made dish that he previously has eaten here and elsewhere but he has now decided he does not like this meal.

This is pretty typical. I feel I am expected to conform to this 1950s housewife ideal. It makes total sense for me to do the jobs I do eg cooking but the way he seems disappointed if I'm not making exactly what he loves to eat and haven't stocked the fridge etc. it's the assumption that anything house hold is my job and if I don't do it perfectly his way, I'm not doing my job properly.

Definitely not a sahm v working mum chat. I love working PT and appreciate my job's flexibility but feel like I'm forced into a traditional housewife role and he does nothing of that sort just because he earns loads and i earn a pittance.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Thu 17-Oct-13 23:34:26

Tell him he knows where the supermarket is and while he there he can pick you up a nice bottle of wine, you're knackered!

Custardo Thu 17-Oct-13 23:36:07

i would serously tell dh this
" well you know where the kitchen is..."

or perhaps a curt
"fuck you"

actually the second one is what i would be more likley to say

Donkeyok Thu 17-Oct-13 23:37:17

If you do conform it will become the norm. Don't do it. This reminds me of when dh tells me he's loaded the dishwasher, or put the laundry on FOR ME! Money shouldn't have anything to do with it, but yes money is power therefor control. You are a team so suggest he puts his money into employing a 1950's housewife you can both benefit from. OOh I'd like one of those. bit freaky Stepford wife kind of thing

Remind him that he is not your boss, nor your owner, and that he is responsible for doing his fair share of the domestic work. His fair share is not a matter of him spending the same amount of time on domestic work as you do, it's about him doing enough domestic work to enable bothof you to have the same amount of leisure time. You are not his inferior simply because you earn less money; the money earned is family money.

specialmagiclady Thu 17-Oct-13 23:38:45

God, we'd all love a 50s housewife, wouldn't we? I know I would. Doesn't sound like a partnership to me, not really an equal one anyway.

Maybe you need to hammer out the terms of your partnership, in quite an explicit way.

specialmagiclady Thu 17-Oct-13 23:39:35

OOoh - solidgoldbrass, that's a brilliant way of expressing it.

reelingintheyears Thu 17-Oct-13 23:40:01

Tell him to get stuffed.


reelingintheyears Thu 17-Oct-13 23:41:50

29 years in and we STILL argue about the bloody washing up.


thehovelinspector Thu 17-Oct-13 23:48:29

Des anyone out there have this kind of situation and if so how do you split the jobs?
He has always been good with looking after dc and I do go out some evenings, as much as he does. He probably does me stuff on his own at weekends as I don't do as much to ensure we still have some family time all together.
He cooks maybe once a month, supermarket shops, erm maybe once a year!

He did say he would have to go shopping himself to get the things he likes but with such a tone of voice that it was clear he thinks I am not doing my job. He has questioned my contribution to the family in the past but There is really no point me getting a higher paid better job as he will still expect me ti do all the other stuff as it will alwaysbe secondary to his job. And I like being home after school.

thehovelinspector Thu 17-Oct-13 23:49:06

Sorry about the dreadful typos...bloody ipad.

clam Thu 17-Oct-13 23:57:27

"He has questioned my contribution to the family in the past"

Has he indeed? Then yes, he can fuck right off.

clam Fri 18-Oct-13 00:02:31

Your part-time work/housewife role and caring for the children ENABLES him to go out to work full-time. You facilitate his ability to do this.
Between the two of you, there are three things that need covering: earning money, running the house and caring for any children. Each one of those is important and must be done by one or both of you. He doesn't get to decide that his chosen role is more important than what you do.
He needs a reality check. Tot up how much he would have to pay to buy in the "services" you provide.

BlackeyedSusan Fri 18-Oct-13 00:04:24

ignore the tone of voice, deliberately, and tell him it is a wonderful idea that he goes shopping. same goes for any other thing.

when he next questions your contribution to the household... go off sick and see how much gets done then.

snowpo Fri 18-Oct-13 00:18:27

hovelinspector - we're in similar situation, DH works full time, I work part time. We both work shifts though so he's often around in the day.
I do housework - washing, cleaning, hoovering, washing up, ironing. I also mainly put kids to bed (though he does sometimes as I work late shifts), mow grass, walk dog, school admin, school runs. He does pretty much all the cooking, paperwork, diy stuff, helps with homework.
Shopping is pretty much 50:50, and he will empty dishwasher if he finds it full, sometimes does the ironing and occasionally puts washing machine on (which makes me a bit grrr, colours etc but he means well!)
He earns about twice as much as me FTE.
Maybe you should call his bluff and say you're thinking about a full time job and then add up the costs of extra childcare and tell him he'd have to share all the household jobs.
Its not about the money you earn, its about how much time you have to do your own thing.

thehovelinspector Fri 18-Oct-13 12:22:17

Dh does a bit of e.g. changing lightbulbs and occasional DIY but prefers to pay a handyman.

Reflecting on all this, I don't mind doing what I'm doing but I do mind this attitude that it wasn't good enough that I made something he didn't like that much and that the fridge wasn't stocked - being made to feel like an underling really.

cherryademerrymaid Fri 18-Oct-13 12:24:04

Who about a pat on the head, sympathetic smile and an "Oh do fuck off, dear." And then go out for the evening and leave him to it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 18-Oct-13 12:24:51

YANBU. I'd suggest you need to sit him down and thrash out exactly what being in an 'equal relationship' means in practice. Clue... it's not one man being waited on hand and foot by everyone else in the family.

FairPhyllis Fri 18-Oct-13 12:28:40

Invoice him for half of all the work you do towards the household. And point out that you are owed however many years' worth of backdated holiday and sick leave.

JRmumma Fri 18-Oct-13 12:36:29

My husband often moans about the lack of food in the fridge, but by food i mean chocolate. If i let him do the shopping that's all we would have in there!

On a serious note though, you shouldn't let him make you feel like that. Tell him how he has made you feel, he might not realise. I think the problem sometimes with things like this is that men quite often don't realise what running the house and the kids lives entails and so they are unsympathetic to the fact that sometimes there might not be much food in (even though there is actually plenty) because you have been busy doing other things.

A great example for me is the first time you leave a man looking after a child. They think they have been so successful because they are both alive when you return, but the house is a tip, every cup has been used but not washed up and dinner is not on. All things you, the woman has to factor in on a normal day.

specialsubject Fri 18-Oct-13 12:43:03

wow. You have sex with someone who tells you that 'things are not good enough'????

wordfactory Fri 18-Oct-13 12:45:18

Whenever anyone in my house complains about what there is or isn't in the fridge (and this is more likely to be DC, but sometimes DH) I point out that whilst I will attempt to take everyone's preferences into account, I cannot and will not ensure that everyone has their favourites to hand at all times!

I then remind them where Tesco is located!

This usually does the trick wink.

Viviennemary Fri 18-Oct-13 12:47:14

You have to sort out an arrangement that suits you both. This might be different for different people. I think quite a lot of 50's housewives were perfectly happy with their lot but others weren't so it's good the opportunity is there. But when I think of the chaotic juggling with childminders, nannies, cleaners commutes and so on there are times when I wonder.

Manchesterhistorygirl Fri 18-Oct-13 12:47:59

Dh decided he didn't want what was on offer last night, I told him I would in that case donate the food, which he has eaten before, to a food bank and he could therefore sort tea out and left him to it. I am not his skivvy.

joanofarchitrave Fri 18-Oct-13 12:50:14

TBH a 50s housewife would be a lot tougher on him. It would be scrag end joint on Sunday, cold cuts Monday, shepherd's pie Tuesday, pea and ham soup Wednesday, macaroni cheese Thursday, fish pie Friday and chops on Saturday. Repeat. He could like it or lump it and stop interfering.

Doing all domestic jobs as a genuinely shared responsibility is quite different. If he wants to have more input into the food, fair enough, but he needs to understand what that would take. Talk it through. No harm in him doing all the catering at the weekend, for example, if he wants to and will do the shopping as well, but realistically if he wants to have what he fancies when he fancies, you will all need to spend more on the food budget. And probably waste more tbh, unless you think about a chest freezer.

wordfactory Fri 18-Oct-13 12:53:51

I think what you absolutely have to ensure you don't do is pander to such childish behaviour (from children and partners alike).

No one needs to have the favourites to hand at all time.
Everyone needs to be flexible about eating (pickiness is unattractive).
Everyone needs to be thankful to the person who caters and accept it is time consuming.

What you must not do, is even attempt to provide the service expected. Demands will simply become ever more emperor-like.

LoonvanBoon Fri 18-Oct-13 12:55:46

I'm quite sure that most 1950's housewives wouldn't have been impressed if their husbands had refused to eat a meal they'd prepared & complained about the lack of an alternative. That's just rude, quite apart from any issues about who does what around the house. He sounds like a toddler.

If the house is mainly your responsibility, then you do things in the way that works for you - he can't have it both ways. Also, if that side of things is mainly left to you, it needs to be respected & valued. I've been a sahm & worked part time & my husband always thanked me for things like sorting out presents for his family etc. - it was never something that was just expected. And if he had been rude about the meals I'd cooked etc., I would have told him to fuck off & stopped cooking for him. I would have been outraged, actually.

More generally, I guess couples should divide up household labour in a way that suits them: but the principle I've read on MN a few times about ensuring you have equal amounts of leisure time seems a good guideline.

thehovelinspector Fri 18-Oct-13 13:06:36

Special - to be fair he didn't actually say that it wasn't good enough, he just made me feel it wasn't.

Wordfactory, I like your style! God yes the pickiness drives me mad and is such a bad example to dc who fortunately is old enough to merely think dad is being unreasonably picky rather than copy him. It's almost like he has become spoilt with his very well paid job and lifestyle of swanky restaurants for work lunches/ business trips and what used to be ok for me to make for dinner isn't anymore. It's not a bloody restaurant.

OK so I will sit him down and have a chat calmly. I feel like I've been forced into this role at best by circumstances. The huge disparity between our earnings and only having one child means I am meant to do 90% of the other stuff as well as working PT.

I know I could call his bluff and say he should do more but he will just do this thing where I quietly end up feeling I'm not good enough and I don't contribute enough to the household etc. I don't think he realises what I do although again, I don't think my life is especially stressful or that I'm overworked to be fair.

In his ideal world, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't work and would just look after his needs/ the house etc. We do not need my paltry salary and so to him he sees it as my choice to work. He also says I can hire someone to do his fare share of the household stuff but that's not really practical beyond a cleaner unless we are at the hire a housekeeper stage/ income bracket which we are not! And I wouldn't want that.

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Oct-13 13:10:27

I also work part time and do the childcare stuff, shopping, majority of cleaning. DH does the cooking.
We have a big pad of post-it notes in the kitchen which form the shopping list. If either of us spot that we are low on stuff, it goes on the list. When I go shopping, I buy stuff for our dinners, packed lunch for DS, bread, fruit, biscuits, snacks. If DH decides that he wants anything in particular, like he fancies crumpets for breakfast, if it goes on the list then I buy them. If he runs out of his particular breakfast cereal that only he eats and I don't monitor, and complains, I ask if it was on the list and he says no and I say 'put it on the list then!'
So he takes responsibility for the cupboards containing what he wants too.

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Oct-13 13:14:29

He also says I can hire someone to do his fare share of the household stuff

Wtf! Why should you be hiring a cleaner to do his share of the chores. If anything, a cleaner should be making both your lives easier, not just his. What a lazy arse.

FreakinRexManningDay Fri 18-Oct-13 13:18:22

What would happen if you were ill in hospital for a week? Or if you decided to say fuck it,I'm not cooking tonight?
As a grown adult I would be ashamed to be so demanding and dependant on another persons time when I am capable of doing for myself.

RevoltingPeasant Fri 18-Oct-13 13:33:06

Hmm OP am going to go slightly against the grain here, because I wonder if what your husband is cackhandedly expressing is not frustration with dinner but frustration with how your set-up is organised.

You said he has asked you in the past to get a higher-paid (presumably longer hours) job but you like to be at home after school.

Which is fine, but have you thought perhaps he would rather not be working such a high pressure job? Maybe he feels like he is 'keeping' you and he'd rather not bear all the financial pressure. So, his way of expressing this is through dissatisfaction with what you 'produce' around the house if you see what I mean.

Disclaimer: that is not an anti SAHM comment, more just that you both need to agree on the arrangement you have. It sounds to me like maybe DH doesn't agree and wants things to change.

Maybe you should raise that when you chat to him?

thehovelinspector Fri 18-Oct-13 13:36:33

I am trying to think of what he would be saying if he'd posted an AIBU, in the interests of fairness.

Maybe "I work all day and dw is only working part time, so she has x hours at home after school to do the shopping [in reality I do this during school hours as it's easier and I want to spend the after school time with dc doing quality things]. We have a cleaner so she doesn't need to do that and there is not that much to do for one child anyway. I don't like the food she makes and want her to listen to what I would enjoy more. She doesn't have to work and should be glad she has that choice - but she chooses to do so so I don't see why I should pick up the slack because she wants to work."

I suppose I'm reinforcing the idea that it is probably fair and right I actually do the household stuff, but he is making it more awkward than it is. I do not like this idea that because I don't HAVE to work (outside the home), I'm making my own bed. I feel I can't win as if I didn't do my job at all, even if I did things 'better' for him/ the house, I'd be miserable (no judgement on others but at dc's stage, I can't justify not working outside the home and enjoy it.

I have these choices:

- get a FT job - won't work as he will not be able to share childcare/ arrangements etc. if e.g. I have an early meeting - we struggle with this even with my PT role although occasionally he has stepped in if it has been convenient. And of course in the school holidays! His answer would be to get a nanny then.

- stop working in my job - but running the house and cooking does not fill the 6 hours dc is at school so then what? I'd feel guilty about that too, unhappy as I want to work in my job in a career I've spent a decade building up and it's quite an interesting career.
Also under this model I'm pretty sure he will expect me to do my leisure stuff in the day so he can do his sport etc. in the weekday evenings/ at weekends but some of mine is then.

- carry on with the status quo of me doing a PT job and 90% of the other stuff but find a way to get him to be a bit more respectful about this.

SeaSickSal Fri 18-Oct-13 13:39:24

Tell him to phone for a takeaway, lazy bastard.

thehovelinspector Fri 18-Oct-13 13:40:32

Revolting that is a fair point.
That said, he too has the option of finding PT work/ semi-retiring quite young as we have low overheads and I am, frankly, a cheap date so he doesn't have to earn lots to please me or retain our lifestyle, pay a mortgage or anything like that. There really isn't any financial pressure on him and he does do his job FT because he likes it.

I do hope I don't sound like a spoilt brat as I know we are extremely lucky financially to have this situation.

But maybe there is an element of 'I work hard and travel lots so I'd like my home life to run the way I'd like it to do' i.e. I want a dinner I like and my favourite stuff in the fridge.

kerala Fri 18-Oct-13 13:44:39

Shocked at prattish attitudes. My dh's position is grateful for any food provided I wouldn't be responsible for my actions otherwise...

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Oct-13 13:49:06

He works because he likes it, you work because you like it. He happens to earn more money than you, but that doesn't buy him the right to act like the lord of the manor. You are equals.

If he gets his dinner cooked and he doesn't like it, then fine for him to request you don't have it again. But not to demand that you make him something else, you are not his servant.

gamerchick Fri 18-Oct-13 13:49:41

I don't think the issue is what other people do.. its whether it's appreciated and not taken for granted.

For eg.. During the week my husband works and I do everything at home. I treat him like a king when he gets home. This isn't expected by him and he's always willing to pitch in if it's needed.

On a weekend I work in a physical job and he takes over the house and kids.. cooks, cleans and sorts the kids out. He ushers me out a couple of nights a week so I can have a break and I chase him to his man cave or fishing if I'm on holiday. We do food shopping and meal plan together and once a month we get out together for a few hours.

None of it is taken for granted.. We bounce well off each other and it works for us very well.

But we are happy with the set up and never would either of us complain about things not being up to standard in each others opinion. It breeds resentment.

If somebody wants something done a certain way then they do it themselves. Tell your bloke that.

pianodoodle Fri 18-Oct-13 13:58:14

I do hope I don't sound like a spoilt brat as I know we are extremely lucky financially to have this situation

No I don't think you do! You're entitled to be unhappy about not feeling valued and respected by your husband.

We don't have money (in fact at the moment we have less than no money grin) but I know DH will come in and merrily scoff down whatever shite I serve up saying "this is amazing cheers!" even though it's so obviously not amazing smile

Hopefully we'll be better financially some day but that's something we can worry about together. It would be harder having to worry about DH's attitude all the time as I'd feel lonely.

I'd outright ask him exactly how he views your contribution to the family and take it from there.

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Oct-13 14:07:38

He is extremely lucky to have a wife prepared to take a hit on her enjoyable and fulfilling career that she has worked hard for in order to care for his child and make his homelife easier. What about your pension, job prospects etc?

You have another choice as well.

Talk to him and tell him what you have told us here.
You are not a restaurant and if he doesn't like your choice of meal then he can shop for and make his own.
And... if he keeps making you feel undervalued you will stop doing anything at all for him and he will need to everything for himself - and make sure you follow through.

No point doing all his sh!t if he doesn't even appreciate it - if he thinks he can do better then let him get on with it!

Topseyt Fri 18-Oct-13 14:52:01

There are two choices on the menu in our house every evening:

1) Like it.
2) Lump it.

My family are also used to me telling them that they can eat what I have got in that week, or they will get nothing. It doesn't mean they never argue or moan, but it does enable me to keep a semblance of control.

Choos123 Fri 18-Oct-13 16:03:37

Hmmm this could be my dh too personally I decided to point out his bad assumptions and push ahead with my job, ime being jobless makes it worse as then you may feel it is your job to please him and it's more about his stress than anything... Dh rejected a series of fridge leftovers and made himself an omelette last night, his choice...

Preciousbane Fri 18-Oct-13 18:03:44

We have been like this for a few years, well earning DH with me putting career on the back burner and working Pt and taking on most of the household stuff.

However we had a cleaner every week and I spent my spare time helping set up a charity that has now celebrated its second year running. Apart from home and family that has been the best achievement in my life. Is there anything non work wise you feel very passionately about?

He did once accuse me of having poor stock control methods in the pantry He was told where to shove it. DS and him then did a full inventory and sorted it out and rearranged everything beautifully.His other comment was about the cleaning being sub contracted out, he regretted that one.

I wonder how old you are op? I have had my career high point already. My dream is to retire at fifty and do voluntary work I'm also like you in that I am modest in my outgoings.

You sound very bored.

DrCoconut Fri 18-Oct-13 18:47:50

If my lot moan I tell them it's not Downton Abbey, they don't get to ring a little bell and have the servant come running. They have the same access to kitchen, washer etc that I do. That's not to say I won't do anything for them but I refuse to be a domestic slave.

Longdistance Fri 18-Oct-13 18:51:14


Until he can bother his arse. Direct him to the nearest supermarket. If he doesn't like his dinner he can cook his own.

Hunfriend Fri 18-Oct-13 19:03:36

Tell him you are more than happy to hand over the shopping ,cooking and meal planning to him < big smile>
How great of him to offer to take it over ...

lineup Fri 18-Oct-13 19:10:24

I have a DH who irons his own shirts & fixes his own dinner, if what DCs & i have eaten isnt what he fanices, or if he isnt hungry enough to eat it. i have been known to mutter 'tough shit' or 'fuck off' if he asks if there is anything else he has heard it & learned from it...

they are like pups, just need training...

ignore him, he's a big boy who can & ought to look after himself.

how his mother raised him is also significant here re domestic life

lineup Fri 18-Oct-13 19:11:16

oh & start DOING LESS. trust me, it works smile

lineup Fri 18-Oct-13 19:16:34


repeat within earshot of your DH

sleeplessbunny Fri 18-Oct-13 19:26:43

If DH complains about anything I have done around the house, I start doing LESS. IME, the more you do, the less you are appreciated. Just stop doing the stuff he will really notice. DH's laundry is always the first to get stopped if he is being ungrateful. Works a treat. If he moaned about dinner then there wouldn't be any for him the following evening.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Fri 18-Oct-13 19:44:35

Really? Stop accepting this. Lots of good suggestions ^^ already.

He needs a wake up call - & quick!

Stop doing '90%' of everything, he's an adult living in the house, he needs to contribute more to the home - money alone does not 'cut it'. He needs to respect YOU and stop treating you like the hired help and YOU need to stop thinking it's all you are worth sad

marriedinwhiteisback Fri 18-Oct-13 19:54:21

I get told all the time on here that I am 50s housewife and my DH is unreasonable because he does nothing in the house. I'm actually happy with him doing nothing in the house because we outsource and although I work full time I work far less hard than he does. BUT he never ever criticises what I put on the table or how I run the house - he is generally full of praise and tends to understand how lucky he is except when I'm loading the dishy as he sits down for dinner and the noise gets on his nerves but I generally tell him to belt up.

I earn 10% or possibly less than my DH but he still treats me as his equal. We work as a partnership.

MissStrawberry Fri 18-Oct-13 19:58:34

DH goes to work. I stay at home. We have 3 kids and several animals.

I do all I can in the hours that I have and DH does anything at all that needs to be done because I haven't done it or because I didn't want to do it.

We don't have defined roles. I hoover, he hoovers. I cook most of the time but if I want a night off he will do it no problem. Same goes for food shopping, ironing, pet sorting, homework helping etc etc.

The only thing he does that I don't is earn the money. I don't do anything he won't, I just do more child related stuff because I am here to do it.

Sinful1 Fri 18-Oct-13 21:33:30

Tbh this is very much like back in student accommodation, the cleaning is done by the person with the lowest threshold to living in filth :p

greenbananas Fri 18-Oct-13 21:52:13

Ah, men and food... years ago as a student, I had a skinny boyfriend who would use food as a kind of power tool -he would demand a certain type of dinner, be far too busy and important to cook it, then decide at the last minute that he didn't fancy it after all angry years later I spoke to his mother and discovered he had been using the same attention-seeking strategy since he was three!

Anyway, that's probably irrelevant. I like what clam said upthread.

Dh works long hours, earns far more than the pittance I do childminding, and is hungry tonight because he didn't like the look of what I had cooked. He has eaten a packet of tortillas and drunk some whisky. That's his choice. I provided a meal! I am lucky that he knows this is his choice.

josephinebruce Fri 18-Oct-13 22:00:41

Ok, so if he doesn't like the food you cooked - then maybe he should pay for you to go on several week long cookery courses (say in Italy, France, etc etc lol) so you can learn to cook food to the standard he obviously expects :-)

Melonbreath Fri 18-Oct-13 22:03:03

It's really very simple. Charge. For everything.
Childcare: £5 an hour
Cleaning: £12 an hour
Cooking: £20 an hour PLUS expenses
Washing: £7 a load
Ironing: 50p an item
Night nannying: £100 a night

Oh and everything out of normal working hours is time and a half

Doubtfuldaphne Fri 18-Oct-13 22:04:36

Sadly a lot of guys are just like this. Usually they've had a mum that treated them like kings who never lifted a finger and now they're passing on the job to you.
You are not his mother you are equal and if he wants certain things he must not expect them, but get them himself or ask you to pick up whatever it is if you're going shopping that day.
I speak as if I have the perfect dh .. Quite the opposite. I do bloody everything! He stays in bed at weekends while I run around doing everything. I do all the housework. He complains if the fridge is dirty or the bins haven't been emptied but he won't do them. The house is spotless and I'm very house proud then after a bath he will have his wet towel on the floor, clothes stewn everywhere, sopping wet bathroom floor..
But yeah.. It should be equal sigh

LegoWidow Fri 18-Oct-13 22:06:46

I work PT, DP works FT. Similar types of jobs.

I would say that things are pretty equal and we work to our strengths. I do most of the shopping, most of the washing and the admin (birthday cards, bills, arranging workmen, school issues etc), DP does most of the cooking and much more tidying than me (I have a tendency towards slovenliness if left to my own devices!). We are lucky enough to have a cleaner who also does some ironing too. If anything needs ironing between her weekly visits - it's up to the individual - but we are not entrenched about it - he was ironing a shirt this morning and I said "oh, can you do this dress for me too please" - it's not a flatshare where everyone looks after themselves!

Childcare is split equally - I do more in that I'm at home on 2 week days and on the other 3 days I get home earlier than him (most but not all the time) but he does the mornings when I work (breakfast, helping the kids to dress, taking them to school/nursery etc whilst I mainly just sort myself out - not exclusively, but I tend to have to go in earlier than him, to be able to leave early), and when we are both at home - it's totally equal. We aren't morning people so he gets a lie-in on Saturday and I do on Sunday. We are a partnership. We don't always function perfectly (there's a bit of competitive tiredness going on at the moment, for example!), but the basic understanding of the equality of the situation is in place - and that is what you need to address.

I remember we were at a wedding recently - DP was telling a story and gesticulating and knocked a tray out of a waitress's hand and some drinks spilt all over his shirt. One of his (male) colleagues said "oh you are going to have a job getting that out of his shirt". I said that I wasn't, as I'm not his mother! The man said - but you are his wife - to which I said that I'm not that either actually! Now I was being slightly disingenuous as a) I do do most of the household laundry (though he would usually sort out something like this out himself) and b) whether I'm his wife or his partner is totally irrelevant - and I was just being chippy - but the point I was trying to get across was that it was both patronising to me and insulting to him to suggest that he couldn't sort out his own bloody shirt!

The only thing I would say about our own relationship and many of my friends' relationships that are ostensibly a team is that (and this is probably a huge generalisation!) it's me (and most of my female friends) who have the management of the family in their head - e.g. whilst I rushed out pretty promptly this morning and DP sorted them out - it's me that knows that it was DS's swimming day at school today and left his kit by the door so that DP took it with him, and made sure that the reading comment book was filled out and that the school photo order form was in the book bag, etc. I think again though, this is a case of working to strengths - I'm better at managing that stuff than DP.

I wish you luck trying to balance things out - the longer you let it go on, the more entrenched it will become.

thehovelinspector Sat 19-Oct-13 14:08:16

Earlier I suggested the list thing but he said he'd rather just go himself. The problem is it was not said in a positive way but as a 'because you aren't getting what I want' way with slight exasperation. I said that I'm happy to get what he wants if he puts it in the list but did add that I don't want to be made to feel like a 50s housewife not doing it right, to which he got annoyed and said it would just be easier to do it himself without my huffing. Fine by me but then i am made to feel I am not fulfilling my role.

jeansthatfit Sat 19-Oct-13 17:03:46

I'm not sure what the deal is here, though - what is it you agreed between you? In terms of a work/life/household share?

btw, I don't think you are at all BU for wanting respect, or recognition that what you do contributes to the household, and objecting to sulky/passive aggressive behaviour etc.

But tbh, it does look a little from the outside as if you have actually got a bit of a 1950s marriage in the way it is set up. I think most men in these kind of arrangements don't actually value the work their partner does, if it is mostly child/domestic related. They might be quite glad they aren't having to do it themselves, but I don't think they value it, they usually underestimate how hard it is, and are baffled when things are done less than perfectly. I also think that overtime, that attitude devalues their feelings towards their partner, too.

A lot of women, when they have small children, take over the household and domestic side of things, as if it comes hand in hand with looking after babies and children. But then they never give up or get the chance to share this role more equally. Five years down the line they are feeling undervalued and annoyed that they are being treated like a domestic servant... and I can't help thinking 'but he doesn't value what you do. Society doesn't really value it, outside the VERY traditional sahm sphere. What did you expect?'

Obviously it is true that your husband would not be able to enjoy the career and earning power he does without you organising things and looking after the child(ren?) and home life as you do. A reminder for him might be in order. But if he turns round and says that you wouldn't be able to work part time if it wasn't for him providing the lion's share of income for the house - what would you say?

I think the responses of 'sod you, I'm doing this [cooking, household tasks] how I like and you can just lump it' is all very well... but if the husband decided, without discussing it, to change his hours so they were very inconvenient for his family, took a drop in income to do a more rewarding job, or decided to work away for most of the week... would it be fair for him to say 'sod you, I'm doing this [the main earner in the household] how I like and you can just lump it' - then would that be fair?

sleeplessbunny Sat 19-Oct-13 17:12:06

i am made to feel I am not fulfilling my role
This (and other comments you have made) lead me to think that it's important to you for your DH to approve your work. I think you need to care a little bit less what he thinks of your efforts. Place your own value on them, don't use his (which is clearly wrong). You shouldn't need his approval to feel good about yourself.

fuck him and his prehistoric expectations and ideals.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Sat 19-Oct-13 17:31:40

in 1950 male life expectancy was about 65 years.

in 2010 it was 76 years approx.

Do you think 1950s housewives arranged for a quick dispatch of their DH?

Beastofburden Sat 19-Oct-13 17:55:55

Lets focus on how he can be made to show a little more respect. Because the rest of it sounds right for you, a good balance of work and parenting, and no undue stress.

I prescribe a nice family holiday this coming half term, somewhere you can both feel spoilt. And then a discussion, saying, look, I actually don't mind a few new ideas for things to eat but could you please make suggestions constructively and with some respect for my contribution. I can assure you that my own mother did not take any such crap (she was a genuine 1950s housewife). But when they first got married, she went on a cooking course, as she really couldn't cook and they both agreed she really needed to learn.

IShallCallYouSquishy Sat 19-Oct-13 18:04:10

My DH once told me he had done MY dishes for me. He very soon realised the error of his ways wink

I'm very traditional in seeing it as my role to do majority of housework, cooking etc, as I only work one day and one night every 8 days whilst my DH works M-F for his own company. If I'm at home all day I see it as my responsibility to do all the household stuff. However, and its a big however, if DH ever TOLD me it was my role because of the above and he brings home about 4x what I do, he would get told in no uncertain terms where to go!

bakingaddict Sat 19-Oct-13 18:15:43

I agree with sleeplessbunny, don't put pressure on yourself to conform to this housewife type role that your DH expects

If he doesn't like the food you buy and isn't prepared to make a list then say you are more than happy for him to do the weekly shop instead. Again regarding meals, if he isn't happy with the quality of them suggest he cooks a couple of nights a week or takes you all out to a restaurant.

Stop facilitating his expectation that household management is all your responsibility and use it to your advantage to get him to participate more

Hunfriend Sat 19-Oct-13 18:45:44

If he is doing the shopping for "his" thingshmm
Then take this opportunity and say he can be responsible for the food shopping win/win grin
turn it to your advantage OP wink

Hunfriend Sat 19-Oct-13 18:46:26

Wot baking said blush

Pinupgirl Sat 19-Oct-13 18:56:59

My dh can be an arse about this too op. For example a few months ago we were both quite poorly with the flu. He came home from work early and went straight to bed. I had to soldier on. When I decided I was too ill to make dinner one night he was furious and went to bed hungry!

Just tonight he asked what I was making the kids for dinner-I replied what are YOU making themgrin He was not happy but he made the kids dinner!

thehovelinspector Sat 19-Oct-13 20:29:37

Oh dear he sounds bad pinup!

Some useful food for thought on here. Thanks for your comments.

He is making dinner tomorrow grin

ilooklikegrotbagstoday Sat 19-Oct-13 20:39:36

How do you think 1950's housewives coped???

They took uppers and downers and drank copious amounts of Gin!

thehovelinspector Sat 19-Oct-13 20:45:25

Now there's a plan with the gin!!

Hahahaha I just mistyped that as gun...that would be a little too extreme grin

anonacfr Sat 19-Oct-13 20:47:54

Freudian slip? grin

theimposter Sat 19-Oct-13 22:48:16

After a huge row with my OH today this post rang so many alarm bells with me I had to join up to comment. He runs his own business (faaar more important than anything I can offer) and his ex (and mother of his kids) was on benefits and a SAHM and did all his housework previously and has commented that she got fed up of his attitude regarding housework and his business obsessiveness etc. I gave up my lovely house to move to his area (because of the kids schools and his work (which is mobile anyway?!)) and I hate it here. I run my own business, have just started a 2nd to supplement income and also have a part time job 3-4 mornings a week. He has it in his head I should be some Stepford Wife and that I spend my days doing nothing much. After I spent 1 1/2 hrs today cleaning the bathroom whilst he was out with his youngest I commented to older stepchild that he was bound to moan about it wasn't good enough. And sure enough he did. I lost it with him as am at the end of my tether with being made to feel like my work is not important and thus I should be doing all the housework etc. He moans about everything. Am seriously considering leaving I have to say as I can't be doing with all the put downs and nasty comments. Nearly 3 years in and early 30's; he is late 30's. Starting to think that I have wasted it and getting royally fucked off with all my friends asking when we are going to get engaged. He is a perfectionist and makes lots of comments about my weight and that I am a slob.

thehovelinspector Sat 19-Oct-13 23:17:27

Oh imposter that's terrible. Poor you as it sounds like he has always been this way. I have had comments about my weight too (ridiculously as I'm not skinny but I'm not overweight!) etc.

You deserve better than this as it is. Does he realise how vile he is being to you?

Mellowandfruitful Sat 19-Oct-13 23:31:56

theimposter that is really unpleasant behaviour. I take it he is Brad Pitt himself and never does anything less then perfectly? No, thought not. If he is constantly making nasty comments that justifies a rethinking of the relationship to me. Can you start answering everything with 'Well, you can do it next time and then I presume it'll be done right'? and then leave

theimposter Sat 19-Oct-13 23:33:58

He 'says things how they are'. Which in his world means he thinks he can say whatever he likes without caring too much about the outcome. I like people who are honest and don't beat around the bush but he takes it too far sometimes and is just plain rude. I guess he just doesn't respect me any more and all he sees is work and money sadly whereas I am happy with less money and enjoying spare time.

foreverondiet Sat 19-Oct-13 23:37:45

Hard one. Firstly he was v rude about the meal he didn't like. If he doesn't like your food then he can cook for himself.

I also work part time and Dh full time - but we have 3 kids...

Re: having food - I do shopping via Tesco and Dh has the Tesco app on his phone and I add the delivery to our shared calendar - he often logs on and adds stuff! If he complained about not having stuff I'd say it was him fault for not adding to the list. We have order every Monday and Thursday night - I do set up the orders though as I have more time - eg in days I don't work when dc at school.

Think you need to have a chat about his attitude which isn't good...

thehovelinspector Sun 20-Oct-13 00:35:26

Theimposter, you are financially independent, you are young, please think very carefully about getting engaged to this man.

I know it is very hard but walking away now will be much easier than later.

Mine thinks it is important to be honest and hence comments about my appearance and other hurtful things, albeit only occasionally but I don't forget the time for example he told me I carried too much fat (i was a 10 to 12, and had had some medical reasons that had caused slight weight gain) and lots more stuff I won't go into.
That is just one little example. He has been better recently with that kind if thing and confines his negative feedback to the dinners not being to his taste etc.

theimposter Sun 20-Oct-13 01:00:08

Thanks; we just seem to go in cycles- it's not all bad but as per the OP I do feel like he expects stuff that I am not really cut out for in terms of share of duties etc. And the more someone is negative with you the more you don't feel like keeping the sex side up either which is something else he moans about. I know no man is perfect (and I admit I am a messy bugger!) but I feel like I can't relax into anything further like having kids etc as then he really does have all the cards so to speak. It sounds like I'm not the only one living with a man who is in the mindset of 50 years ago!

TheDoctrineOfSpike Sun 20-Oct-13 01:13:31

OP, do you like your husband?

I'm not asking if you love him, but if you like him.

thehovelinspector Sun 20-Oct-13 10:19:47

Yes largely I do. I'm not sure he likes me as much and therein lies the problem.

mrsjay Sun 20-Oct-13 10:54:11

tell him you were thinking of getting a housekeeper and what does he think then the housekeeper can do the shopping for him as that really isn't your fucking job to serve him,

jeansthatfit Sun 20-Oct-13 12:18:44

I'm still confused here.

Aren't you actually in a bit of a 1950s housewife set up anyway?

You have chosen to work part time, in a job that brings little income into the family, but contribute instead by taking nearly all responsibility for childcare, household, cooking, shopping, school stuff, and general family organising.

Was that actually your choice? did you want things that way, or did your husband push you into living that way?

Isn't reasonable to accommodate his preferences in some ways? (I'd like to point out there is another active thread aibu atm called 'Is DP being an arse about this or am I' - something like that - where the poster's DP does most of the family cooking, voluntarily, and enjoys it, but the OP is complaining she doesn't get a say in what is cooked. Just eats what is in front of her. Her DP was making a spicy dish when she doesn't really like hot food, and she commented and he got huffy. Anway - the thread is nearly all people saying 'HE'S being an arse - if he's cooking for you he should consult you about what he cooks!' In contrast to this thread, where it's all 'he should have no say in how you do things, and if he comments, tell him to fuck off').

I don't think anyone should put up with tetchy or pa behaviour, and it is tedious when couples take each other's work for granted, or worse, underestimate it.

But as for being 'forced' into a 1950s housewife role.... if you take on a role which is caring for a family by cooking, shopping, looking after etc, then tbh, of course you are in some way catering to their needs. You say in your OP that you do the shopping - so filling the fridge IS your responsibility, right? That's not to say for a second that you couldn't renegotiate and make this your husband's job, if that suited the balance of tasks - but it seems to me as if yout have taken on a particular role, and don't like how it is panning out.

I don't blame you btw. This is one reason I personally could never live off a man's money, and insist he shares an equal role in hands on parenting and household tasks. A lot of men (most men?) do equate housework and caring with domestic servitude. I wish women would wake up to that more' and not get into this position.

jeansthatfit Sun 20-Oct-13 12:20:09

PS theimposter - sorry but I would get out of that relationship before it breaks your spirit for good.

thehovelinspector Sun 20-Oct-13 17:58:18

Jeans - fair point about the food preferences. He is very fussy indeed (well in my view!) but it's reasonable to have some say in what we eat.

I didn't choose to be PT/ sahm it is because it would make no sense at all for him to go PT or be a sahd as he earns more than ten times more than I do. In an ideal world our earning power would be more equal. It was slightly more so before dc. I had the kind of career that would have meant a very full time nanny would have been needed as there were very long hours and lots of travel and I chose not to go down that route yes.

jeansthatfit Sun 20-Oct-13 20:15:20

I'm hearing confusion over whether you think you chose or were forced into the' role that you are in, tbh.

If your situation was a temporary agreement, for while children were small etc, then what will you do in the future? Do you see your dp taking on more household organisation/child related duties if you were to do more hours in a job? Or would you still be expected to do everything you do now, but just add some more work outside the home on top of that?

The problem lies partly in what you have both agreed to contribute to the household/family - and what you understand the other's role and responsibility to be.

If he earns ten times what you do and you earn a pittance, and you have agreed to do all the family/household stuff, I'd be honest with yourself about whether you are happy doing this. It would be an idea to ask your dp if he is happy with this too - and get him to be honest about what he expects of you. Interestingly, I think the person who does the domestic side of things is ALWAYS judged more on their performance than the one who works outside the home. As long as the worker keeps in a job and brings home a certain amount each week, their partner isn't in a position to offer comment on what they do. Whereas the partner at home engages much more with the 'life' of the working partner - shopping, meals, clothes, etc - all are 'experienced' and potentially judged.

I do think that if you have agreed that there will be one person who does virtually all of the hands on 'caring' (obvs earning enough to pay mortgage and bills is 'caring' too in a different way) - then a lot of that does mean catering to other people's needs. That's what caring is. And if my partner had agreed to do the vast majority of household cooking and shopping, and I come home to find the fridge empty, in the absence of of some perfectly good excuse (illness, crisis, another unexpectedly time consumung task) - I would feel entitled to ask why he wasn't doing what we agreed. Yes, I could go shopping myself - but if we had agreed I would put my energies into work, as the main earner, and he would shop and cook... then I'd think he was taking the piss a bit.

fwiw, my dp and I have put a LOT of effort into trying to share things out equally (I earn more than him but we both work similar hours). It is hard - in some ways the world prefers the pattern of one full time earning partner and one who works pt for pin money - but I have seen too many marriages go down the drain because of this 'division of labour' thing. It is very difficult to change any template set when children are small, ime.

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