Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Impractical DH getting me down

(30 Posts)
beakysmum Mon 29-Apr-13 15:54:49

This might sound silly but my DH is so impracticalround the house and I find it so wearing. He tries to help and I do appreciate that.

But washing up, I often have to do things again. Cooking he has no idea about quantity and cooks way too much. It's often dripping in fat because heforgets to drain eg mince Iin bolognaise sauce.hes a very messy cook and it takes me ages to clean kitchen, cooker and floor after he's been in there. He doesn't seem able to put a fitted sheet on a bed properly.

We have been together 10 years and have 3 children under 7. There are times when I long for someone competent to take the strain with me. Aaaagh!
Anyone know what I mean?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 29-Apr-13 16:05:53

I know what you mean but stop doing things again.... Make him clean the kitchen if he's left the place in a state, for example. If he cooks too much, so what? Of course he can put a sheet on a bed, but if he cracks on he can't then you (muggins) ends up doing everything.

Leave him to it but insist on high standards.

MadBusLady Mon 29-Apr-13 16:13:56

Definitely he needs to be cleaning the kitchen after his cooking, if you usually do it after yours.

I think I'm with him on "forgetting" to drain the bolognaise though. I'd no sooner do that than take the actual mince out. And over-cooking is great, you can freeze the leftovers.

BranchingOut Mon 29-Apr-13 16:48:02

Ask him to put some newspaper on the surfaces before he cooks?

Phineyj Mon 29-Apr-13 17:47:50

Depends on finances, but if he is genuinely this rubbish at cooking and cleaning, strongly encouraging him to visit COOK or similar to purchase freezer meals and pay for a cleaner would be simpler than trying to "train" him (or at least get a dishwasher). I mean, I could ask my DF to babysit and just possibly he might agree, but it would be so stressful trying to get him to a level of competence with it that I'd honestly rather he stuck to helping with stuff he is good at. Good luck, anyway!

beakysmum Mon 29-Apr-13 17:49:09

Thanks for your support. Its just been getting me down.

Almost it's not each issue as much as the fact he can't / won't change. Mostly I let him get on with it but if I say something he is unbelievably defensive and and just says why don't I recognise the effort he is making? Well effort is good, but end results count too.

He does clean kitchen after himself but seems incapable of wringing out a cloth so there are always patches of water left on the sides. I've lost count of the number of papers I've got wet thanks to him.

And over cooking is good but its always random items, not stuff I can freeze. Yesterday was 8 roast potatoes over. So often he'll cook as it says on the pack but not check the end result. Think under cooked meat and those part baked rolls still soggy in the middle

Give me strength sad sad

Darkesteyes Mon 29-Apr-13 17:55:03

How the fuck is he going to cope if you get ill OP He needs to buck his ideas up.

BalloonSlayer Mon 29-Apr-13 18:10:31

The last time I made DH change the bed he found a valance from a bed we hadn't had for about 8 years! How the feck he chose that with all the other fitted sheets in the cupboard I'll never know. I didn't think he was being PA because he isn't like that . . . I am though wink

Instead of throwing a wobbly what I did was pull it right over to my side and tuck it in well, making it comfy to me but meaning that he would have to sleep on the seam and the frill and it wouldn't tuck in his side.

I waited to see if he would notice. After a couple of days he mentioned it wasn't all that comfortable. I pointed out that it was a valance and had the unutterable joy of adding "Well you made your bed, DH, now you have to lie in it." Which he laughed at.

JustinBsMum Mon 29-Apr-13 21:47:37

I don't know, it just seems like a sort of passive-aggressive stubbornness to me. I have a female friend who can't cook, but how can you get to the age of 50 and not learn how to cook anything?? despite having brought up a family.

My DH makes a hash of some things, decorating for example, but can, as he is an engineer, repair/adapt/remodel just about anything if he puts his mind to it. I am crap at washing the car..... because I don't like doing it.

Is there anything you can hand over to him eg bathing DCs? so that you don't end doing more than he does.

BranchingOut Tue 30-Apr-13 09:52:02

To me, it sounds as if he is doing things, but just not quite how you would like. ok, he should clean up after he cooks, but water on the counter tops is surely not a deal breaker?

I am on the other side of the coin and believe me it is soul destroying to be criticised for not loading the dishwasher in exactly the way that my DH believes is most efficient.

If you criticise what he does, just be aware that it will have an impact on how your DH feels.

curryeater Tue 30-Apr-13 10:24:43

I have never had a ltr with a man who didn't annoy me in ways like this, and I feel like a nasty person because of it. Whenever I have complained about the work they make for me, they get very victimy and make out that I am being mean and nasty for criticising their "efforts".
Sorry to hijack your thread, OP, but I am feeling sorry for myself today because I haven't had much sleep with dc2 in the bed and dp snoring. I honestly feel I do so much more than him that is unappreciated because I pick up all the bits that he has almost but not quite done, and the bits he never even sees, as well as doing the bits I "officially" do. I am exhausted but I can't say anything because it then becomes a "you don't appreciate me" row. I do know he does some stuff and I never say or imply he does nothing but I can't get him to pull his weight equal to me because if I try to talk about it, it's all "you think I don't do anything!"

this is a small but disgusting point and I apologise in advance for the tmi so please look away if you are eating. I would love to hear from any women on here who are in relationships with men who know how to properly clear up the small dc's bodily fluid disasters (pooey vests or sicky sheets etc) without doing things like pouring shitty water down the kitchen sink next to the clean plates. I think it is blinding bloody obviously not the right way to deal with shit but I am always either siezing control of the situation before he does something like this, or helplessly begging him not to, so triggering another "you are so critical and don't appreciate me" row, or letting him do whatever crappy job he feels like doing and cleaning the kitchen and everything on the draining board properly from scratch afterwards, while also congratulating him on having done the job that has left a ton of work for me (I would also be interested to know if anyone else thinks it is ok to clear up baby sick and crap in the kitchen sink - maybe this is just me?).

OP I have no solutions for you but I offer you sympathy. Sorry about the hijack.

virgilsmuse Tue 30-Apr-13 12:46:49

Hmmm.

As a man I know loads and loads of men like this, but some women too. It annoys me I have to say...

It comes down to attention to detail. Some people genuinely don't have it, others are lazy and do it to avoid being asked to do stuff. It's hard to say which one your DP is, but it does sound like he makes an effort. I sympathise though.

NoSquirrels Tue 30-Apr-13 14:02:25

curryeater I know how you feel. Lack of sleep, 2+ children and working with a not-sufficiently-domesticated DP is a complete killer. It is emotionally draining, physically draining and you get to the point where you can't be arsed to discuss it because the victim-mentality of the poor, put-upon man who had been 'trying his best' is infuriating and upsetting in equal measure.

I have, in the past, given myself all the following excuses: He doesn't 'see' the mess like I do. He just didn't think about the practicalities (like your shitty-clothes/clean dishes cleaning, which yes, boak). He's working full-time and I'm part-time/SAH-on-ML/etc, so I have more time. He does do X/Y/Z though so perhaps it doesn't matter that he doesn't do A/B/C. And on and on the excuses I have generated go, in order not to have to deal with it once and for all.

BUT. I am about to have it out. Quite probably tonight. I have lurked on too many of these threads and yes, it is CRAP. Men are capable of learning, doing tasks properly from beginning to end and can 'see' mess. They go to work and hold down jobs where they would not dare to respond to a skills review with 'but I've been trying so hard, boo hoo, poor me, you don't appreciate the effort I do put in' or dump tasks on a team member because 'it's not my fault that i haven't done essential task A because I didn't remember that I was supposed to do it'. They would not go to work of a morning, sit down and say 'I can't do my job because I'm too tired -- I had to do half the jobs at home as well you know'. They would miraculously find the energy (like women have to) to do both things. My DH, and I do love him, is the King of Self-Delusion. He thinks he's better than he is at doing his bit. He thinks he's a modern, fifty-fifty chap. I bet your DH is the same. I am about to burst his bubble, cos I've had enough.

I will be saying: It is disrespectful. You prioritise your time and energy over mine, at the expense of mine. It is not enough to pay lip service to the notion of domestic chores. If you seriously need to be 'reminded' that the toilet needs cleaning regularly or have it pointed out that the kitchen sides need wiping AS WELL AS doing some washing up, then you are not an adult but a child. And I do not need another child to be responsible for. It is not OK for you to 'not mind' living in a mess when I do not wish to live in a mess. Your needs do not take precedence. When you are the only other adult in the house, you need to model good behaviour. You cannot expect to shout at the kids about picking up their toys if you leave your shit out everywhere. If you continue to treat me disrespectfully I will be looking further at our relationship.

Wish me luck! I have had versions of this conversation, in gentler tones, ever since we had kids. Weirdly, I didn't notice his crapness before, or at least it didn't bother me in any way, perhaps because my standards are not all that high in the first place. But now I have worked myself up into a proper feminist rage about it (having had the time to regain my sense of self a bit now kids are not small babies - though still tiny really -- and sleep better and I'm not just surviving every day) and I mean business. My time is valuable. I contribute a hell of a lot. If you can't do the same, DH, well, then we have a Bloody Big Problem.

NoSquirrels Tue 30-Apr-13 14:08:37

God, that was long. Sorry! Am fuming today, clearly.

Btw virgilsmuse I don't buy the attention to detail thing any more. It was one of the things I used to say to myself to make myself feel better, but actually, when it comes down to it, I bet every person who 'doesn't pay attention to detail' has an area in their life in which they absolutely DO pay attention to detail, either because they love whatever it is and so it is easy for them to do so (passionate hobby, for example, or valued career), or because they have learned they have to (driving, for instance). Either way, if it's important enough, they pay attention to detail. So all it shows you is that they don't consider domestic tasks 'important enough'.

curryeater Tue 30-Apr-13 14:42:16

'kinnell, nosquirrels, no prisoners either!
Good luck. Come back and let us know how it goes.

I am very disheartened because I think bringing - trying to bring - full clarity to this situation would break us up. I honestly think that he is not ready and will never be ready to see how he systematically exercises male privilege in making me do more housework than him. I think the attempt would make him very angry, and nothing less than a full retreat from my position would be acceptable.

So - I wait and watch for your story with bated breath!

cerealqueen Tue 30-Apr-13 14:52:59

Because deep deep down, whether they admit it or not, they think all this stuff is 'women's work' and it demeans them to do it. So they do it badly, and you do it well because its 'women's work' and therefore you are better at it.

DP was shocked when I told him I did not enjoy doing housework either. Genuinely shocked.

curryeater that is just disgusting. He knows it and hopes he won't be asked to do it again.

Yes cleaning up after dinnner means wiping down surfaces and the cooker. So many times I have to come down in the morning and complete these tasks.

curryeater Tue 30-Apr-13 15:01:30

no, I don't think he does know it. I have never met a man who knows things like this. Do most men?

I am sick to death of the whole merry go round.

Dutiful acceptance - polite (ignored) request - shouty rage - apology - dutiful acceptance - ad infinitum

SillySooz Tue 30-Apr-13 15:12:40

'I have had versions of this conversation, in gentler tones, ever since we had kids. Weirdly, I didn't notice his crapness before, or at least it didn't bother me in any way, perhaps because my standards are not all that high in the first place'

I am finding the same with DP NoSquirrels, his general clumsy nature and inability to do any DIY, read instructions etc really gets me down now. I feel bad because of course I'm not perfect but there are simple and effective ways of doing things and he just seems to pick the weirdest/most difficult way or option. I do bite my tongue to avoid him getting annoyed and then not 'helping' but it's so hard now.

The final straw recently was when he did a night feed and (accidently) fed DS some formula milk that had been out on the side for 12 hours - it was left over from his last feed next to the sink and he picked that up instead of the correct one he'd just got out of the fridge. I knew what he'd done as soon as he said 'why was there was only 120ml in that bottle I just gave him' - this is far below what DS always has, so why wouldn't he just checkwith me first! I was then petrified DS would be ill and couldn't sleep with worry (he was fine)

I'm very aware that I don't want to make him feel rubbish and do him down all the time but I find it increasingly hard to keep schtum and to not feel slightly bitter that I have to know everything about raising DS and everything that comes with that and he can just ask me!

Have even given up asking him to put together stuff and did the walker/bouncer/baby monitors/travel cot etc myself even though I'm crap at it too

NoSquirrels Tue 30-Apr-13 15:19:57

"I have never met a man who knows things like this."

But did you just "know things like this'? Or did you have to learn them? Honestly, I didn't "know" all this boring, domestic shit, I had to figure it out. But my DH will ask me "NoSquirrels, where is the X/Y/Z?" "How do I A/B/C"? "What should I do about blah blah blah." It's crap. He could figure it out, but he chooses not to.

I do feel a bit no prisoners, actually. I have my DC to think about, what behavioural standards this is setting for them. I will be adding that he should consider if he would like his future grown-up adult daughters to live with someone who behaves like he does, domestically.

I'm sorry you feel like it would be a deal-breaker and you are sad about that, curryeater. I feel a bit in a position of power on this, because I know I am in the right and also because I know my DH is a good guy at heart. Or rather, I shall be reminding him that good guys don't fuck over other people, no matter how convenient and tempting it is, and that's what he's doing, unwittingly or not.

curryeater Tue 30-Apr-13 15:30:26

one of the many "final straws", that are never final because I just apologise and start all over again, was recently when I took the kids out so he could do house stuff. He assembled our bed (which to be fair I could not have done on my own) which was in bits since we moved. But he did this in a small bedroom in which there was half a glass of red wine he had been drinking the night before. It got knocked and spilt of course, on the new cream carpet in our temporary rented place. I was so angry because 20 times just before going out I had clocked that glass, with full hands and doing something, and thought "I'll just come back for that before someone kicks it over - or should I? Shouldn't he do it? well I can't ask him to, he will kick off - well we are going out in a minute, he will surely move it before he starts flailing long bits of wood about". I went round in this mental circle so many times and finally went out, leaving it there, came back, saw the bed, hurray, "thank you so much for building the bed! ticker tape! balloons!" etc etc, and only a bit later realised there was a purple stain HE HADN'T CLEANED OR TOLD ME ABOUT.

Obviously I KNEW the tools would still be all over the floor waiting for the dcs to come and impale themselves on, obviously I KNEW I would be running up and down stairs putting dangerous things away immediately before getting dinner on, but ARGH! the red mist descended when I saw that stain. I had just had enough. I got cleaning stuff and he came up while I was cleaning it - he said, "let me do it" - I said (and this is when something snapped inside when I realised the horrible reality of what I was saying) "NO I NEED to do it because I need it done PROPERLY, NOW" and I realised that there is just no one on my side, if I don't do it, it will just be one of those half-arsed things that causes me more trouble later (in this case costs a lot of money off our deposit) and I felt so sad and angry and exposed that this is where I am: physically do it yourself, or it will just be shit. I scrubbed it for ages, properly, and it did come up, and I was shouting "you CAN get red wine off things IF you use the right stuff, IF you do it soon, and IF you do it properly, which means hard, for ages, even when you are tired and VERY VERY BORED!" and he just hated me, completely hated me.

Since then (and before probably) I have been all over mumsnet saying: cleaning is not negligibly easy, there are right and wrong ways of doing things, they disrespect us when they do it any old way and we pick up the pieces because a. we know how and b. we make the effort, and I am not sure how well we serve ourselves by saying "Oh FGS it's not rocket science" (which is the mn orthodoxy) because actually sometimes it is IS hard and I do a GREAT job when I can physically find the time and energy to do anything and goddammit, respect me for it!

then of course I apologised and square 1

curryeater Tue 30-Apr-13 15:39:43

"Or did you have to learn them?" exactly, squirrels. I have been learning this all my life, I started learning when I was 4 and my mum started training me. It downplays the skills and the knowledge when men think they can just do it with one hand without looking without giving it a second's thought, and think they can get the same result.

When I am in control (on mat leave) these are the things that NEVER happen:

we never throw food away (because it all gets used and bought in the right amounts. Even the remains scraped off plates are very small because I don't pile stupid amounts of food onto todders' plates)

dcs never get nappy rash (because they are always clean because I can smell properly and stop what I am doing to change them however inconvenient)

children sleep well (because they get fed and put down for naps at proper times)

we never run out of clothes

hardly anything needs to be ironed (because it is hung out properly)

the washing basket is never full

things do not sit about in buckets for days on end (AAAAAAAAARGH!!)

we do not have takeaway, we do not have ready meals, dcs do not have eggs or pasta or fish fingers more than once a week

Barely nibbled apples do not get thrown in the bin (STOP DOING THAT! You KNOW she will not eat it, either cut some off for her, or cut the nibbled bit off and keep the rest, stop bloody throwing away BASICALLY WHOLE APPLES)

No one gets D&V

We do not have confusing piles of half-worn children's clothes all over the place which need to be either worn another day, or put in the basket (about 10 outfits, currently)

God this is getting out of control I need to stop posting

NoSquirrels Tue 30-Apr-13 16:09:19

we never throw food away (because it all gets used and bought in the right amounts. Even the remains scraped off plates are very small because I don't pile stupid amounts of food onto todders' plates)
DH guilty on this one.

dcs never get nappy rash (because they are always clean because I can smell properly and stop what I am doing to change them however inconvenient)
No, this is a high level of unacceptable, curryeater. My DH has never neglected the DC.

children sleep well (because they get fed and put down for naps at proper times)
DH soooooooooo guilty of this, and it drove me (and my lovely childminder) UP THE WALL because he took the easy life for him and made other people's lives hell for it. Including DC. Past this stage now, mostly, as everyone can manage without naps if need be, but at the time Words Were Had But Nothing Came Of It. Makes me itchy remembering.

we never run out of clothes

hardly anything needs to be ironed (because it is hung out properly)

the washing basket is never full

things do not sit about in buckets for days on end (AAAAAAAAARGH!!)
DH crap at all laundry. But, mwah-ha-ha, the door fell off washing machine yesterday evening and I have dispatched him to the launderette with 2 DC today (he is doing childcare while I work). I am taking no prisoners indeed. He went willingly because I have told him A Talk is happening, and he is worried.

we do not have takeaway, we do not have ready meals, dcs do not have eggs or pasta or fish fingers more than once a week

Barely nibbled apples do not get thrown in the bin (STOP DOING THAT! You KNOW she will not eat it, either cut some off for her, or cut the nibbled bit off and keep the rest, stop bloody throwing away BASICALLY WHOLE APPLES)
Ugh. Food. DH is rubbish at cooking and will feed kids but yes, would not occur to him that Toast for breakfast, Sandwiches for lunch and Beans/Eggs on Toast is not a balanced diet. And yes, god yes to the fucking apples!!

No one gets D&V
No, this is again bordering on neglect. Unacceptable.

Last year, smallest DC was under 2 and on return to almost-full time work DH was freelance and we had a lot of juggling of childcare etc, including DH doing more than he was used to sole charge. It was so draining, that it is only this year, now that I have cut down my hours, that I can properly address all the aspects of crap behaviour that went on. Survival was all I could do at the time. I'm sorry you feel the way you do, curryeater.

beakysmum Tue 30-Apr-13 16:31:44

Yes yes yes yes yes curryeater and nosquirrels!!!

Anyone little thing like water left on the side is not a deal breaker, but when there are so many many many things it drives you mad.

the comment about passive aggressive behaviour in my DH has got me thinking.....

And from a feminist point of view, is it also about, "women's work is so easy" but then not realiseing what it involves to do it properly. And yes, as girls we were probably all trained from knee high.

I come from a family of practical men and I honestly never realised how useless men can be (sorry!) and how important practical skills of any sort are. Or maybe I never realiesd til I had children and actually needed some help.....

I'm gonna make sure my 2 DS are houe trained, I tell ya!

curryeater Tue 30-Apr-13 16:40:05

I don't know what advice I would give my dds. I was probably brought up with the mindset that competence (in anything) can only be an asset. I am a feminist and like to think that women can do anything. But actually I am getting a bit bitter and twisted about having to do everything, which it so easily becomes. I am tired, tired, tired.

JustinBsMum Tue 30-Apr-13 16:54:05

I think the behaviour of DHs described here is not ok.

However, I let my DH do buggar all as far as housework and the DCs were concerned (me SAHM he demanding job (but also fulfilling and ego rewarding job)). But if we discuss this now 20+ years later he thinks he was a hands on Dad!!!
I am quite flabbergasted, had assumed he knew how idle he was.
So I think you really have to lay it on to them or they either kid themselves they are helping or they actually don't have a clue how much you do.

Fortunately now, with DCs long left home, I can just leave things if I don't want to do them, nothing for tea? well we just have cheese and biscuits, no clean washing, well he can wash his own socks or wear them twice! so there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now