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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 20:06:29

You can train him to show you respect. But his attitude might get worse before it gets better. Tell him that you will be doing no more than 50% from now on, NO more. And possible less than 50% if your efforts aren't appreciated. When he criticises, or tuts, or sighs, this all counts too. Do you do the shopping. do you wash the clothes? do you do the real coalface childcare at the weekends? It's very likely being a typical man that he doesn't SEE this. The only way he'll SEE it is if it doesn't get done. He won't hear your words. To him that just sounds like the inevitable white noise you would come out with when he vocalises his observations (as he sees them).

You can 'train' a man to do more housework but not with WORDS. You having fairness on your side, appealing to him to listen to your reasoned logical arguments............ that is white noise. And by the way, the skirting boards are filthy :-|

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 19:58:21

He responded sheepishly, but then niggled about the flicking cups again. I will bear in mind about doing less and not responding

JennyMakkers Thu 09-May-13 19:38:20

and how did he repsond to your pointing out what you did? with newfound respect ? or as though it's the least you should be doinng and if only you would just do it better and more often?

MadBannersAndCopPorn Thu 09-May-13 19:35:50

If you are accepting 'household quirks' that he has then maybe he should do the same for you. You've said that your house is clean to the extent that if anyone came over you wouldn't be embarrassed which is more than I can say for my house sometimes
As Dahlen said, nobody looks back on their life and thinks "at least I kept a spotless house"
Maybe some simple household rules/ goalposts would help straighten things out?

1. Everyone takes out their own cup/plate etc. rinses it and puts in dishwasher (help dd if necc)
2. General (weekday) household chores are done by OP washing, hoovering, changing beds etc. If anyone wants to go round the skirting board with a cotton bud or any other extreme cleaning activities, crack on but do not criticise OP for not.
3. sit with DH and discuss what constitutes general household chores (relative to the time you spend at home) and what is acceptable for dd to be doing e.g. muddy footprints, paint, etc
4. Chill, remember what life is about. Nitpicking makes couples bitter, resentful and petty brew

JennyMakkers Thu 09-May-13 19:34:13

If you are doing more of the housework than he is doing I would respond to his criticisms and sighs and tuts and tantrums by doing LESS. Do not try to please him. I know from experience that the reward that your h enjoys from criticising you about housework is that YOU feel you're on trial for not doing enough.

Think about that. You do most of the housework, and yet YOU feel guilty for not doinng more, criticised for not diong enough. You say that you have a go back at him, you seem to be sticking up for him almost by telling us taht you challenge his accusations but that's not the point. You're defending he's accusing. He gets to criticise and accuse and you 'have' to defend. I think you should STOP defending yourself.

The current status quo suits him beautifully. He has as a tidy a house as it's possible to have with a young child(ren), the bulk of the housework is done by somebody else and somebody else who also works hmm

Trust me. I learned every lesson the hard way. Stop defending yourself. Do a list of everything you do and a list of what he does. Tell him that housework gives you no satisfaction and it's a massive source of anxiety, stress and anxiety for you, and maybe if you were in the privileged position of doing 35% of the house work you might choose to suck that up, but it's not a situation you''ll accept when you're doing more of the housework than he is. You will have to train him to stop criticising and judging YOU for the mess by doing LESS. Do not defend yourself. That is not you being able to give as good as you get. That is you being wrong footed. You're the one on trial in that conversation. Refuse to have that conversation. YOu do not have to defend yourself.

Monka Thu 09-May-13 18:52:39

Why don't you write a comprehensive list of everything you do and how often and get him to do the same? We did that and it's pretty hard to be in denial when you have the evidence before you. My husband leaves clothes lying around but If he doesn't put them in the wash basket then they don't get washed. He also leaves piles of paperwork everywhere which is very annoying! I do majority of housework and cooking but now that I am pregnant he has really stepped up as he should. I never minded doing the majority before as it kept me slim (i hate the gym) and he pays more towards the household bills to compensate me for my reduced leisure time.

If he doesn't believe you regarding the list or thinks he does more draw up a table with the chores and dates performed against it with initials of person who did the work and collect data for 2 weeks. It sounds petty but its always something we encourage at work if you want to make a change and the person doesn't believe you have a case build up the evidence and it will work with men. Personally you shouldn't have to do this as he should just take your word but you take the heat or emotion out of the argument when you are able to present the data back.

"He's so bad, that he won't let dd paint or do stuff like that because it makes a mess"

I think this is a bit of a problem tbh - do you think he might be a bit OCD?

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 15:46:58

Have just led him round and pointed out what I've done.....

jasmineramsden Thu 09-May-13 15:10:49

Its not petty necessarily hun these little things can cause such a problem in relationships, you just need to find a middle ground that both of you find acceptable.
If he moans about the floors needing doing for example, I'd just smile and say, that's on the list for tomorrow/wednesday/whenever it is, but if you want it done sooner crack on by all means smile

chocoluvva Thu 09-May-13 14:59:50

My DH leaves stuff all the time; mail stays where he read it, he rarely ever puts anything in a bin or plates in the dishwasher and leaves his dirty washing around for days on end. I am averagely clean and below averagely tidy, but his excessive carelessness is very annoying. I hate it.

elfycat Thu 09-May-13 14:59:26

DH and I had a turning point in housework when we started using timers and seeing what we could do in 15 minutes. We each had to go clean or tidy whatever was most winding us up without apportioning blame. He tended to collect lost cups and wash-up/tidy the kitchen. I'd pick up things placed on surfaces to put away later. Then if we liked we could sit back down knowing we'd done something.

He did tend to put the onus on me. It was how it was done in his home growing up, and his mother is diagnosably OCD over housework. My mother ran a business with my father and did invisible housework when we'd gone to bed. Discussing this helped us find our own tidiness levels and expectations. The house is now above my -slatternly ways-- past standards and below his mother's expectations.

It sounds like a power struggle that is deeper seated than just empty cups. Is this a battle worth having? when there are so many others to pick from wink

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 14:49:33

I think my tolerance is lower than his. I do need order around me. But my tolerance for dirt is higher than his. And let me say, I don't mean minging and disgusting, I just mean floor might need mopping, or hoovering. He notices this sooner than me, and then moans about it.

However, I have realised how petty we are, but I just needed to sound off. Would love love a cleaner, but can't afford one, so will have to carry on bickering grin

curryeater Thu 09-May-13 14:47:09

"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"

this is interesting - dahlen has already picked up some of what I was going to say. I would not expect someone else to clear up my stuff and would always clear up my own. On that basis, someone else leaving their stuff for me to put up with over time gets very annoying, even if in theory they would clear mine in a general sweep - because the general sweep doesn't happen often enough, and because it is not really general, because I have been picking up after myself as I go along.

I am sure you do a good job on the day you spend on the house, but it is annoying to be always picking up bits and pieces and yet always coming into a room that has someone else's shoes and cups and crap in it, though you never leave yours there. Some of this you have to take on the chin when you have kids but I don't think it's fair for adults to treat each other that way.

Perhaps he doesn't know how much cleaning you do when you blitz, because he is unrealistic about how much mess is created in a family house. But perhaps you are also being a bit unfair about leaving stuff as you go along, when it could be so much nicer for him not to have to see your old cups and milk bottles when he has already cleared his own and would never leave them for you.

jasmineramsden Thu 09-May-13 14:42:07

Just don't pick up his cup, problem solved. You're both adults and should put away after yourselves.
You said at length at the beginning of the thread about how you don't like housework (who does, to be fair) and that you feel there's always something better to do than clean and tidy. You indicated that some mess doesn't bother you as you don't 'see' certain tasks that need doing and you'll do a blitz indicating a fair bit of mess has built up. Then in a later post you say your tolerance for mess and clutter is in fact lower than your DH's.
Sounds to me like the pair of you are more similar than you think. You both want to live In a clean and clutter free home but are both a bit 'can't be arsed'.
Perhaps going halfs on a cleaner for a couple hours a week would be your solution.
And again, just tidy up after yourself! Both of you!! Jesus.

BigBlockSingsong Thu 09-May-13 14:40:24

I have this my DP is like look how much I have cleaned, and I'm like right ...thats nice, but its noon they are still in last nights clothes and pants/nappies.....priorities!!!

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 14:38:34

And, I don't think I am particularly untidy, but he thinks I am. I'm not untidy at work, I can't work in a mess or clutter, but he says his desk is a tip at work. I feel I am always trying to defend myself about being messy, but I'm not really. He's so bad, that he won't let dd paint or do stuff like that because it makes a mess

Dahlen Thu 09-May-13 14:37:54

May I suggest you read - together - Wifework by Susan Maushart. I think it may help both of you to see the other's POV.

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 14:35:59

I don't expect him to pick it up. But if I forget, and he sees it, he will ideliberately not pick it up. Whereas if I see his forgotten cup I will pick it up. At no point do I ever expect anyone to pick up after me ever.

As for inconsistencies, well I don't know what I ave said that is inconsistent, but the crux of this is about him thinking that I do nothing as I seem to be unable to reach his exacting standards

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 14:34:40

I don't expect him to pick it up. But if I forget, and he sees it, he will ideliberately not pick it up. Whereas if I see his forgotten cup I will pick it up. At no point do I ever expect anyone to pick up after me ever.

As for inconsistencies, well I don't know what I ave said that is inconsistent, but the crux of this is about him thinking that I do nothing as I seem to be unable to reach his exacting standards

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 14:30:45

Oh tell me about it, that is exactly what it,s like. My dh frequently forgets to give dd anything to eat. How? He has no idea at all how much I do. None

jasmineramsden Thu 09-May-13 14:30:17

Why would you expect him to pick up your cup? Can you not each agree to each pick up your own cups, clear up after yourselves and you do the major cleaning as you currently do?
You've been quite inconsistent on this thread OP...its predicatable as always how quickly some people jump on the he's a horrible bully bandwagon before they've considered all the facts. Although I do agree he shouldn't have 'went ballistic' at your DD, the appropriate response I feel would have been for one of you adults to ask her to assist in cleaning up the mud.

SlowLooseChippings Thu 09-May-13 14:25:50

I think you must be married to my DH! He thinks he does everything and do nothing!

It's so frustrating. His argument is that when I'm not here, the house is spotless. That's because he doesn't cook for himself, isn't here in the day, doesn't shower at home (only in the gym at work), doesn't think to change bedsheets/towels and doesn't come out of the computer room when he is home. He will very occasionally cook one of two things when I,get fed up and protest but only if I tell him what I want him to make and I shop for the ingredients. He has no idea what DS's feeding schedule is and what he does and doesn't eat yet.

I hate housework. I do it, but I hate it... It's just frustrating because there is so much more to do that DH doesn't see because I'm doing it as I go and the house is well-lived-in on a daily basis!

BigBlockSingsong Thu 09-May-13 14:24:08

Just marking my place I am in a similar sit,
I am no born housewife, but I have all the childcare so if my DP wants to l;Ive in a hotel he can pay me a maid/stewards/nannys wage.

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 14:21:12

Aha, and that is my point. I would have had a towel by the door, but he was overseeing it, and would never think about having a towel in place. But he still rants about the mess, making everyone upset

orangeandemons Thu 09-May-13 14:19:37

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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