Help! I don't want to have to do a full spring clean every single day!(59 Posts)
My house gets in such a state every day as I am the only person that does any cleaning or tidying. It seems to get not just messy by absolutely filthy, and it's getting so that every day I have to give it a spring clean, it's disgusting.
For starters DH and our 3 DCs are very, very messy. Not just a bit untidy, but things like leaving taps on, and taking shoes off in the front doorway and leaving them there so that the front door cannot be shut until someone (ie Me) moves them. They leave stuff anywhere and everywhere. The 3 year old trashes his room probably 3 times a day, and whilst I'm tidying that he goes and trashes another room. DH dumps stuff wherever he is when he's finished with it; on the stairs, bathroom floor, kitchen floor, wherever. I'd say each day before I can do any cleaning it takes me between 2 and 3 hours to clean up the mess generated the previous day. To cap it all off, DH decided a while ago to get a dog, which mainly lives in a run outside but is allowed in the house in the evenings, and it's a dog that moults a lot and there is dog hair everywhere so I have to hoover/sweep/mop through the entire house every single day.
Everything just gets so dirty, as no one seems to have any pride in living in a nice place. The sink in the bathroom is usually infested with toothpaste so I have to clean it every day. The toilets get in a filthy state. The lounge gets so dusty on a daily basis it looks every morning like it's not been dusted literally in months. The windows and walls get filthy as the kids touch them all the time and I end up cleaning all the windows, every single day. I get jealous of people that say they do housework 'twice a week', as I wish I could just do a job then know it's done and won't need doing for a few days. It is absolutely soul destroying having to clean every day like I do, and I have no life! Yesterday I cleared the kitchen table of everyone's crap, wiped it down, polished it and it looked great. This morning it is encrusted with food, with so much crap on it you can barely see the table. DH even went up the shop last night to get a few bits, got home and dumped them all on the table.
DH has made it clear to me that he will not do any housework. He'll maybe unload the dishwasher once a month, and cook a meal once a month (and then use every pan and utensil we have and leave it all for me to clear up). The DCs just make mess constantly, and won't clean up at all. It's just making me so depressed every morning coming downstairs to DH's plate from the night before left unscraped on the work top, and cups, glasses and wrappers everywhere. This morning the bin, which I disinfected and cleaned throughly on Sunday, is encrusted with food, all down the side of the bin and all up the wall behind it! Laundry piles up and no one will even put a pair of their socks in their own drawer. DH will go through the tumble drier looking for something of his, then get the whole lot of washing out and leave it all on the kitchen floor.
It is all sapping the soul out of me. I just want to go out all the time, but then of course I get home to the same mess. I have tried striking, talking to DH, reasoning with him, explaining why he needs to pitch in etc but it's no good. I don't necessarily expect everyone to do housework but I wish they'd all respect the housework that I do and play their part in keeping the house as clean and tidy as possible between cleaning sessions.
I had this for a while, although not as bad as you seem to be putting up with. I stopped doing housework, and when they noticed and commented I told them, all together, that I am not willing to clean up after them and that's why no washing, tidying or cleaning had been done.
Now I only wash clothes which are in a linen basket, if they run out of clothes it's not my problem. OH sorts and puts away his own clothes and DDs either put away their clothes or dump them upstairs, if they dump clean ironed clothes they wear crumpled clothes - not my problem. If their bedroom floors are covered in toys I don't vacuum, or I pile everything on the bed to vacuum.
They earn pocket money by doing light chores and keeping their rooms tidy. Other tactics that friends use include everything not put away goes in a black sack, ( I'm willing to put in the bin) someone asks where's X?, "look in that bag". They can't find something? Not your problem. I would change to Paper plates and disposable cutlery.
We eat together so that DDs are reminded to take their plates out and scrape them into the bin (I am willing to remove the bin and allow rubbish to pile up on the floor, and they know this). DDs, aged 11 yrs, set the table and do drinks. We also have dogs, my OH has had to accept that if he wants the dogs inside he has clean up after them.
Windows get done once a month here, OH does them. If DCs put sticky fingers on the windows give them a cloth and make them wipe it.
My OH has tried to be arrogant and played the "I go out to work" card. My answer was that I facilitate him earning what he does and having the lifestyle he does by looking after the DCs, if he had to collect them from school and get their dinner ready five days a week he'd have to go part time.
My DDs help with the dogs, feed them when I'm busy, brush them - outside.
So, if you can't get your H to change then kick him to the curb, if you don't want to keep the dog send it with him.
With DCs, the youngest one needs to be with you when you do his room. He passes you that toy and you show him where he should put it. As much as it's hard make it fun for him to stop him baling on you. Funny faces/voices etc. Same with his clothes. Older ones need to put their plates in the dishwasher if you have one, or clear them off and rinse them before putting in the sink/bowl. Stand over them to make sure bits of food go into the bin, if they miss they pick it up and then wipe bin-floor wether they want to or not. Ignore the lip they'll give you and stick to your guns. They need to put their clothes away, or wear screwed up clothes. If they leave the bathroom dirty they clean it. It really shouldn't need deep cleaning on a daily basis. It's going to take time to get the DCs on track, but you need to persevere unless you want to be their skivvy and their future wives to be skivvies too.
You really need to stand up for yourself and give yourself the respect you deserve. DCs will respond to that once they see you mean it, and if H can't show you the same level of respect then he doesn't deserve to share your life.
When the DCs do what you tell them to give them lots of praise - hugs and well done, good work, thank you etc.
I'll say what I always say, because apparently it just keeps needing to be said.
The only fair way to split work - paid work, housework, child care - fairly is to ensure that everyone has the same amount of free time. If you work longer hours, he uses the extra time to do the housework, and any housework left over is shared.
Housework comes after paid work but before leisure time, including hobbies. Fair enough, some hobbies can only be done at set times, so obviously sometimes you'll have to leave the house when it's not sparkling, but then you make up the work when you get home/the next day.
If one partner is at home with children, you proceed on the basis that everyone is acting in good faith; if that partner says that the children were hard that day and thus the housework isn't finished by the time the working partner gets home, then the remainder is split evenly. If the children are easy, the partner at home is able to do more and everyone gets an evening off.
'Personal care' work, such as making another person's lunch or ironing their clothes, comes after all work that benefits the household as a whole, and should only be done on a quid pro quo basis.
Everyone knows what the basic expectations of housework are, whether or not they choose to live up to them. Someone who 'doesn't care' about housework is probably lying and would care if it wasn't done (by someone else). BUT EVEN IF THEY DON'T CARE, they should do their share, because they care about you and part of caring about a person is putting in some effort to ensure that the environment you both live in, eat in, sleep in and love each other in is a pleasant one. If your partner is telling you that a) your leisure time and/or b) your ability to enjoy where you live are less important than his, then he's telling you something very important about how he sees you and your needs vs his own.
Well, I have a full time live in housekeeper (I know, I'm lucky - single mum, full time job, living abroad) and I wouldn't dream of treating her the way your DH apparently treats you. I know it's easy to say - but I wouldn't tolerate that.
A good tip I have for toys/kids' crap (I can't even begin to help you with your 'D'H) is to sweep it all into the middle of the room. Give them 10 mins to save and tidy away anything from the pile. Anything left in the pile at the end gets binned. It works a treat!
Your DH is being lazy as are your children (except the 3 year old - mine is a trasher!). It's not housework to clean up after yourself! It's basic manners and hygiene.
When people clean their teeth, watch over them and show them how to rinse the sink.
Show them how to scrap plates clean, put them in the sink etc.
Get everyone into a mini routine - so after tea, one kid wipes the table and another clears the plates. Just little tasks. Maybe Introduce rewards.
As for your DH - words fail me quite frankly.
And the "I work full time vs part time" is bullshit too. I work part time and DH full time. I earn more than DH does full time but we still share housework.
You are being treated like a slave by your family and they are showing you no respect, but you know this already.
You need a plan to make things better - write it down.
First off, and I don't mean to be harsh, but I do think you need to slightly lower your standards. Cleaning the windows every day should not be necessary - a few hand prints are acceptable!
Again, harsh, but if it were me I would look into rehoming the dog. Find out your options and then deliver an ultimatum to him regarding cleaning up after it - hoovering, cleaning the floor etc. If he doesn't happen - rehome the dog. I am assuming that you didn't want it and it is you that has to take if for walks. Sounds like your DH need a massive reality wake up call.
As for the kids, I think the black bin bags and binning things sounds like a great idea - you could do a sweep, with advance warning at a certain time each day, say just before dinner, so they know it is coming and have time to prepare for it if they want - they can't say they didn't know it was happening. At that time just scoop everything up and put it in the bin bag. Probably would actually bin it, but put it in the garage or something. I am sure a few days of this would make them think about things more.
Something that's helped with my children: as we're approaching the house, say "right, when we've put away our shoes and coats, and washed our hands, we'll sit down and have a snack". They know they won't get the snack until they've put away their stuff and washed their hands, but it's framed in a positive way. If they don't do it, I say "what's the rule about our shoes and coats?". They either trot out the rule or I do, in a neutral way. It was advice from a child psych - I've found it really helpful. If you can get the children on board with putting their shoes away and washing their hands the dirt/stickiness problem might get a bit better, so maybe focus on that to start off with.
Print off this thread and show it to him.
May help him begin to understand that other people, not just you, view his behaviour as unreasonable.