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Arguing about housework

(51 Posts)
orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 13:08:41

I am so sick of squabbling with dh about housework. He is much much more house proud than me. I was bought up to believe there is always something better to do than housework. It was not a priority when I was little. I am not a slob, I can be untidy, but I can't stand clutter. It usually gets to the point where I will blitz when I can,t stand it any more.

I work 3 days a week. I used to do 4 but the job I do is very stressful, and after 6 months off with stress last year I dropped to 3.

I clean nearly all of the house on one of my days off ( it is a big house). However dh is constantly accusing me of not doing anything, or things like it only takes 3 hours to clean up. He is always sniping and digging about it. I intensely dislike housework, but I do it. He is much more obsessive about cleaness than me. What bothers him, doesn't even get on my radar, but I am not scruffy or slobby. He does really irritating things such as, if I forget to take my cup out of a room, he deliberately leaves it there until I remember it. When I am clearing up, I just pick up all random cups etc, I don't even notice who's cups they are. I aWays drink skimmed milk. If I forget to take the empty bottle,out of the fridge, he will never move it, whereas I just take any empty bottles out when I remember or see them

Last weekend, dd was paddling. She trailed muddy footprints into the kitchen. He went ballistic. I was like Wtf? They will clean up. Dd was really upset. I have told him hundreds of times that I hate this side of him, but he is getting worse and worse. I feel like I am constantly jumpy in case he picks up n something and it is really pissing me off

JennyMakkers Thu 09-May-13 13:21:01

So you're doing more housework than he is, but he's criticising you for not doing enough?

He sets little 'tests' for you though, his test that you can fail?

And your (and his I presume) daughter trailing foot prints through the house is perceived to be your fault/responsibility?

I find it quite unsettling (on your behalf)that although a tidy house is important to him he would rather leave a used cup sitting around for days to test you, show you....... teach you ??

He seems to have a basic belief that the mess made by an entire family is your responsibility and your fault.

I had this with my x. tbh it was one of his many faults. But he expected me to run the house like a hotel, serve up meals like a michelin star restaurant, look after the children and keep them quite and amused, on a shoe string I might add......

I don't know how you tackle that level of entitlement. I don't know how you make it clear to them that they have no right to blame you and criticise you.

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 13:23:54

Well, he works full time, so I do do more.

I'm not sure it's entitlement, he does a fair bit, it's more like nitpicking, or trying to catch me out. I don't get it at all. I just don't care enough about housework to even notice the things he is on about.

jasmineramsden Thu 09-May-13 13:31:14

Hmmmm. Its the opposite in our house. I'm much tidier than my partner and do far more housework than him. He too would rather leave things to build up then do a big tidy, whereas I constantly pick up as I go along. He would do it, if I left it all but it never really gets to that state so its me doing the lions share of picking up and cleaning. If his standards are higher than yours, he should do the extra, as long as you're both doing jobs each and its not left to one person issuing the orders. You have to pick your battles. My other half can be a scruffy so and so and it drives me mad. I don't however get all nutty and controlling over it. I accept that if I want the place to look immaculate I'll do that myself, as should he.
The big one overall is, are you both getting equal leisure time? That usually shows if things are fair in terms of the division of labour both in and outside of the home.

jasmineramsden Thu 09-May-13 13:32:25

*As should he = as should your partner OP

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 13:35:30

But I do most of it, BUT he thinks he does most of it. This is impossible as I spend a whole day off doing it. The footprints thing was about him thinking he would have to clean it up.

However, I also do all of washing, and most of cooking. He doesn't feel entitled, but he does have this thing about resenting clearing up after people hence the cup thing.... I just sweep up all the crap as I go along, regardless of who it belongs to

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 09-May-13 13:41:10

Your partner should not be 'going ballistic' with you over anything at all, let alone housework. The way you describe it he's being over-critical, offensive, and that thing about leaving cups until you notice.... hmm ... that's just childish. He isn't houseproud at all, he's a controlling bully. If he wants to live in a very, very tidy house and if he wants to live with you and be part of a family, he should respect you enough not to 'go ballistic' about chores but find a better solution instead. A cleaner for example. However, my guess is that this is is he quite likes having this stick to beat you with.... and it has nothing to do with house tidiness at all.

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 13:45:22

He went ballistic at dd not me. He wouldn't go ballistic at me, because I would have retaliated.

I totally ignore the cup thing, in fact sometimes I deliberately leave them to build up until there are about 5 or 6. I am just trying to clarify what his problem is, or trying to find out if it's me not caring enough.hmm

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 09-May-13 13:46:03

"I work 3 days a week. I used to do 4 but the job I do is very stressful, and after 6 months off with stress last year I dropped to 3."

Do you think perhaps that the living conditions making you constantly jumpy are a big source of the stress? You've already cut your working hours making you more dependent on him. Don't let him terrorise you into giving up work all together.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 09-May-13 13:46:31

"He went ballistic at dd not me."

So he's a coward as well as a bully.... nice.

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 13:47:08

He doesn't beat me with it, because I always have a go back. But it's wearing, especially when it's about such unimportant trivial shit.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 09-May-13 13:49:26

You said you're constantly jumpy. That's usually what happens to people who are bullied. Even if you're having a go back (and well done for doing that) you should be able to relax in your own home. Your DD can't have a go back, can she?

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 13:49:43

I am not dependent on him. I have rental income from elsewhere, so our incomes are about equal. I also had a right go at him about dd, but who was being unreasonable here. Me or him?

Me for not caring, as dc makes messes as this is what being a dc is about, or him, because dd was training mud everywhere

jasmineramsden Thu 09-May-13 13:51:21

Devil's advocate-
I've seen several threads on here where the woman is complaining that her husband is not pulling his weight in terms of domestic chores. Just picturing this from the other side (possible point of view of the man here...)
If a woman was saying, I work far more hours than my partner yet he is slack and a bit lazy when it comes to housework. He knows its important to me to have a clean place but can't really be bothered as it isn't important to him. He doesn't 'see' jobs that need doing. He'd rather leave it all build up in a big mess only then will he tidy up, knowing this drives me potty etc etc,
I think a lot of mumsnetters would be shouting-stop picking up after him! And so on...which OP's husband apparently has...

Dahlen Thu 09-May-13 13:51:27

I think I need more context to decide what's going on here. I could easily agree with the other posters, but at the same time, your comments that things "aren't on your radar" and you just "blitz" when it gets too much, could paint a different picture. No way would I take another person's cup out of the living room for them, for example. My DC did that for themselves even as very small children. If you only clean up when you feel it really needs doing, how long might that cup be left there? A few hours? No big deal. A few days? I'd be hopping mad.

Likewise, no way would I put an empty bottle back in the fridge expecting someone else to deal with it. confused

If this is just a case of very different standards and expectations, you need to discuss it and reach a compromise where he lowers his and you raise yours. If, he's nitpicking in other respects though, it's very relevant to how you handle this situation.

Dahlen Thu 09-May-13 13:52:25

How old is DD BTW?

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 13:57:48

I clean the whole house every week. I tidy round every night, we both do dishwasher ( although him more than me). I do a lot around the house. I work 3 days, he works5, therefore I should do the majority, which I do. I don,t deliberately put empty milk bottles back in the fridge, I do it without thinking...as does he. However, I take them out when I notice them, but he only takes his out. I certain
I don't put them in, thinking someone else can take them out, I just don't think like that

In terms of blitzing, if I lived alone, that is how I deal with mess, and I often need mini blitz's at home. The interesting thing is my tolerance for clutter and mess is lower than dh's, but he is more house proud than me

jasmineramsden Thu 09-May-13 13:59:57

Exactly Dahlen.
I also was a bit hmm as to why you would put an empty milk bottle back in the fridge. Stuff like that over time does become irritating

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 14:00:05

Dd is 6. I just don't get this picking up after pele thing tbh. If someone has left piles of shit, then no way would I pick it up, but a cup?! I would just pick it up as part of general tidying, I wouldn't notice or care who it belonged to

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 14:01:06

Pele? People!

Dahlen Thu 09-May-13 14:03:59

Thanks for clarifying what you each do and that you have a tidy round every evening. If you're doing all the laundry and most of the cooking as well as that once-a-day tidy, and you're happy to clean up his mess as well as your own when you have your blitz, then he's being an arse.

Expecting someone to pick up after you is selfish. Having a house that is a health hazard or to which you'd be embarrassed to invite a (reasonable) person is not good. Those things aside, however, no one ever lay on their deathbed and thought "I wish I'd done more housework".

I agree that it sounds more like he's looking for opportunities to throw his weight around. What does he say when you tackle him on this?

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 14:07:04

He laughs and says I'm being silly. Then I get a lecture on how stressful he finds it living in a mess, despite the fact that he leaves stuff lying around which he just refuses to acknowledge. He doesn't take me seriously and thinks he's goddam perfect

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 14:09:22

The house is never ever in a state where someone couldn't walk in. It's usually pretty tidy. Like I said, I'm not a slob, I couldn't live like that ever. I need order and space to feel comfortable, that's why I am so sick of the squabbles

Lweji Thu 09-May-13 14:14:35

Ok, so who do all those empty cups and empty bottles in the fridge "belong" to?
Does he even notice "your" bottles are empty? Are they obviously empty?

I can understand him, in that if you tend to leave cups behind and empty bottles in the fridge (does he do it as well, really? why and how would anyone do it?) then he'd be picking up after you all the time, probably.
Just as long as he doesn't berate you for that, does it matter that he doesn't pick them up?

Your DD, being 6 could be taught to clean up her own muddy prints.
Going ballistic is not a good thing, but at 6 she could be more careful, or at least help clean after herself.

And why would you let cups build in on purpose? Seriously? How old are you?

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 14:19:01

Ancientgrin. I do it to wind him up. Surely this is a totally adult and appropriate response?. Anyway, I pick his up, so I think he's being petty leaving mine.

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