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Wifework. How to make an otherwise lovely man pull his fucking weight?

(147 Posts)
InNeatCognac Thu 17-Jan-13 10:04:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MMMarmite Thu 17-Jan-13 10:56:04

I think you have to put up with the faffing, just turn a blind eye. Getting him to do it is the key, rather than getting him to do it exactly the way you would.

I'm wondering what it is that makes him do those two loads? Is it after you mention it? Or for specific clothing? Or does he have an internal sense that 'two loads a week is my fair share' and the internal sense needs recalibrating?

InNeatCognac Thu 17-Jan-13 10:59:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

InNeatCognac Thu 17-Jan-13 10:59:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

If you have the £200 a month then get the new car. Why can he not see that when old cars reach a certain point they just become a constant drain on your finances?

MMMarmite Thu 17-Jan-13 11:01:41

Haha, pale blue is very tricky ;)

Hmm. See, I do think it's a good idea to not just look at housework but at everything that needs to be done, when figuring out how equal things are. As it stands, he's doing things that you hate -- does he not mind them, or is it a sacrifice for him as well? Because if you are both doing things you don't like, that's a bit more equal. But it's still not fair if he has way more free time than you.

I think as you have already threatened to hire a cleaner, and he has shown that due to his inaction it actually is necessary, then you should just go ahead and do it. It makes such a huge difference.

Does he use your car? Would you pay for it out of your own wages?

badinage Thu 17-Jan-13 11:04:07

You just have to tackle the root cause here - which is laziness and selfishnessness borne out of sexism.

All the lists, charts, rotas and cleaners in the world won't tackle the fundamental problem which is that he thinks this is your responsibility because you're a woman.

Anniegetyourgun Thu 17-Jan-13 11:04:35

Or not spending money on things that would primarily benefit you?

TigerFeet Thu 17-Jan-13 11:05:27

bigkids oh I see, well if everyone's contributing to it then it's a good idea, one which I may have to steal grin

bassingtonffrench Thu 17-Jan-13 11:07:55

nurseries have cleaners, if you are a childminder working full time I would consider a cleaner a necessity. it will be tax deductible.

to be fair to both of you, you both sound very busy

another idea and what seems to work for me, is to pick a few things you refuse to do, tell him you don't do these things, and then wait for dh to realise that he needs to do them.

for me, I never do dh laundry or ironing, i don't clean the shower, I don't clean the hob top, i don't clean his side of the bed - a few other things also.

This DOES mean that certain things get disgusting, and I have to lower my standards - BUT on the plus side, he does notice these things, he does get round to them, and we don't row.

InNeatCognac Thu 17-Jan-13 11:09:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

1charlie1 Thu 17-Jan-13 11:21:54

There is a theme here of not spending money on things that aren't desperately needed, you see.

Yes, there is definitely a rather unpleasant theme here of not spending money on things that aren't desperately needed BY YOU.

He sounds very selfish.

Do you think his 'not paying for anything that isn't necessary' and his 'not cleaning anything that isn't necessary' are connected?

Does he just have sort of low standards and expectations in life?

Just wondering if this is about more than just sexism and wifework. Like, maybe you have to convince him that it's actually really nice to have a nice clean house and a decent car and it's okay to expend some effort/time to get that. Maybe he just doesn't see the point and is thinking it's fine for you to make the effort because that's what you want.

Just to clarify, I'm not saying he's right to think that way, but maybe there's a bigger psychological issue here to address.

Dahlen Thu 17-Jan-13 11:28:39

Get him to read Wifework or just stop doing the things that benefit him. He doesn't like criticism? Simple solution: stop being a lazy arse. If he pulls his weight you'd have nothing to criticise him for. It's entirely his own fault.

Personally, this would be a deal breaker for me. OVer time, it fosters such resentment and can easily contribute to the breakdown of a marriage. A wife is someone you should cherish and want to share the load with; not a skivvy who should somehow accept the fact that she has to do the boring mundane domestic crap for a husband (a grown adult hmm) because she's less important.

1charlie1 Thu 17-Jan-13 11:33:09

Heck, I meant things that aren't desperately needed BY HIM! Sorry.

I had a serious chat to my DH about housework very early on. I said him not pulling his weight in the house would be an absolute deal breaker. And I meant it. I grew up in a house poisoned by my DM's resentment of her sole responsibility for the domestic load. All my parents' fights occured when 'critical mass' was reached by my mother. Very upsetting for me as a child.
DH is great. He is not a natural at cleaning (great at car stuff, diy etc - which is why I happily do MORE domestic stuff, just not ALL) but he has a good go, and takes on HIS SHARE, which is the most important thing.

InNeatCognac Thu 17-Jan-13 11:37:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

InNeatCognac Thu 17-Jan-13 11:38:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Chopsypie Thu 17-Jan-13 11:44:20

Badinage, cognac my apologies, I was trying to be lighthearted.

BertieBotts Thu 17-Jan-13 11:47:42

I think I'd have to issue an ultimatum about the cleaner.

Bring it up again. When he comes out with "But we could do it ourselves..." point out that he doesn't do his share, though, and he probably isn't likely to do his share. Maybe give him some kind of deadline - for the next 3 months I want you to pull your weight, hopefully by the end of the 3 months, it will be habit. If you can't even keep it up for 3 months, then we're hiring a cleaner. Because I can't do it alone and, much as I love you, it doesn't seem to be in your nature to help with the cleaning stuff.

Most people would hire an electrician or plumber rather than deal with electrics or plumbing themselves - this isn't really any different, if it's something he's actually unable to keep on top of.

Avoiding problems until they go away doesn't work. It's not an adult way of dealing with things. I'm only really learning this now blush I'd rather throw money at things, although of course this isn't always possible.

I'm a bit blush because I can see a lot of myself in what you describe of him! I really don't like spending money on things which are unnecessary but I've been able to loosen up a bit recently. Dealing with a problem is much better than avoiding it, even if that creates another problem (shortage of money?) - you just deal with that too. I wonder if he finds the idea of <insert problem here> scary and that's why dealing with it isn't an option? Whereas if you just do it you get used to it and it's not scary at all.

moogalicious Thu 17-Jan-13 11:51:10

Another one saying you can claim back the cost of the cleaner - although only for the areas your mindees use, so eg the kitchen, bathroom, downstairs loo if you have one, front room, dining room...you get the idea.

Tell him this!! He will not have a leg to stand on!

dequoisagitil Thu 17-Jan-13 11:54:35

I'd have thought there was an economic argument for the newer car, plus benefit of reliability etc.

Your dh seems to put income above quality of life. Obviously without money, quality of life drops radically, but if you can use what you have to improve the way you live, you should.

MustafaCake Thu 17-Jan-13 11:57:05

Ugh DP (otherwise lovely) was like this and no amount of conversations about him pulling his weight more worked. Ever. It got to a point where it was a real deal-breaker for me in our relationship, it was like having an extra child in the house. Infact my 5 year old probably helped me more.

I'm afraid what worked was threatening to leave him and taking meaningful steps towards doing this eg getting house valued for sale and looking into benefits to support me in short term till I could get back to work.

I think it scared him TBH. Although I'm not sure how long his helpful behaviour will last!

Good luck OP I know how utterly shite and exhausting a life of just kids and housework can be.

Ah okay, that's really difficult then.

This may be going way out on a limb but -- you said he's sensitive to criticism, do you think he has low self-esteem? Maybe at some level, he doesn't care about nice things because he doesn't think he deserves them? Or he doesn't want to make a big effort to improve his life, only to find out he still feels the same way about himself?

I'm not suggesting any of this as an excuse for his behaviour (I hate those threads where the DH is an arse and everyone is all, maybe he's depressed) but just to suggest some new avenues for attacking the problem.

Have you openly acknowledged with each other that you have these different approaches? Do you think there is any room for compromise?

For example, maybe you get a cleaner OR a new car. Maybe you could see a financial counsellor to try to get a bit closer on your attitudes toward money (e.g., you could still spend the same amount at Christmas, but save a bit of money every month for it rather than putting it on a credit card).

Maybe getting closer as far as the bigger picture will filter down into the housework problem and make things better?

FarrahFawcettsFlick Thu 17-Jan-13 13:20:23

*You work an 11 hour day - get the cleaner. You can agree with the cleaner what needs doing and when.
*Garden - get someone in once a fortnight to mow and tidy.
These things you should have in order to run your business properly.

Get your answer ready, "you won't do it and I don't have time". Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Old cars cost and are unreliable. However, if you use this to transport the child/ren you mind then I would be very unhappy as your client knowing you were using an unreliable vehicle to transport my child. You could use this as an argument for the new car.

Look into tax deductions for these things. Do you submit tax returns?

AutumnMadness Thu 17-Jan-13 14:00:09

InNeatCognac, I had a virtually identical thread a couple of months ago here. It's just shit. And I agree with the other posters that it is many things mixed up - blindness to housework, refusal to take ownership of housework because deep deep in the subconscious it is perceived as women's work, confidence levels, attitudes to life in general.

I definitely do not have a solution. I still shoulder most of the house and family-work. What helped a bit is agreeing that DH will do three days a week in the kitchen, meaning he will do all kitchen work - planning a meal, buying ingredients, cooking and cleaning up. I love cooking, but daily kitchen duty is mind-numbing grind. I also ignore everything that has to do with him but does not impact me of DS - e.g. his family's birthdays, his socks, his shirts, etc. I will do his laundry when I feel like it, but I am not in the least bothered whether he has clean shirts or socks and I do not iron anything of his or worry about his dry cleaning. When he does not perform house tasks to standards, I complain, nag and accuse him of sexism. Yep, I am the evil nagging wife, but it's easier on my emotional well-being that trying to be a doormat cum workhorse.

It just sucks that we women have to fight this fight.

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