If you have a male DP/DH?

(59 Posts)
dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 09:50:49

Does he pull his weight around the house? And if so, how have you got things to that point?

I ask because DH is supposedly on board with feminism but his actions (or lack thereof) continually fail to measure up to the ideals.

He is not terrible (I don't want to LTB!). He does some cooking, helps with baby and walks the dog for example. Its definitely a help having him around. Its just noticeable that things aren't equal.

DH works part time from home. I am on maternity leave with our first DC. I do the vast majority of the housework as well as some extras like making a batch of jam to save us money on Christmas presents. When he saw me doing this he said "Wow it would never even occur to me to do that"

I thought that was very telling, and maybe the crux of the issue: Things like that do occur to me because I've somehow taken the responsibility onto myself.
By contrast DH doesn't appear to notice really obvious things that need doing, like putting clothes away in drawers.

I feel like I'm fighting a rear guard battle to keep him on board with the practical running of our home. Is this just what heterosexual relationships are like or has anyone here achieved equality in the home?

It's the other way around in our house. DP is much tidier than me. It's just the way he is I am on mat leave also. But if I'm struggling with feeding baby DS and watching DDs, then he will make meals. I do sometimes have to hint at the time though.

He was like this when I met him. I love it. It makes me do more too.

givemeaclue Mon 19-Nov-12 10:00:43

Yes we have equality in the home, we work as a team . he notices things I don't, I notice things he doesn't etc.I would struggle in a relationship that wasn't like that, but each to their own!

It would never occur to me to make a batch of jam for Christmas presents either.....so I don't necessarily think that's a gender thing. I think that some people are more house proud and notice things needing doing, more than others.
Messiest house I know, with nothing put away in drawers, and light fittings with no shades etc...belongs to a female friend of mine. She just isn't interested in that stuff. She reckons life's too short.
Don't suppose that really answers your question though!

DH does his fair share of the housework. We don't have set chores but he sees what needs to be done and does it (although he ends up doing most of the washing up as I loathe it!). He's also a good cook.

He's always been like this, he was brought up to do housework and look after himself.

dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 10:35:08

Up until now it would never have occurred to ME to make bloody jam either! Why am I making Jam for cristsakes? I think I am just super bored on maternity leave and looking for ANYTHING to do.

In the past I have not been very house proud either, as many past house mates can attest. Before DS, me and DH used to "share" the housework in the sense that neither of us could be arsed to do it and the house was a tip.

I think post DS, I have upped my game and DH has not. Just before he was born we had an erm.. "social services scare" which I posted about on here. I think that may have influenced me. I was very aware that there would be health visitors and such like coming over and they would be looking and judging. Plus, an ordered, clean environment is of course good for the little one, in itself. So now, I follow the flylady and do my little bit each day.

I suppose what bothers me is that before DS, we were both very politically active and now it seems that he has time to continue all that but I do not. So I am obviously a bit jealous about that because, y'know, I'm an intelligent person that wants that connection with the world as well.

I guess I see the same pattern in the relationships of people around me as well. Everything nice and equal before kids, then somehow, the 1950's descend once they are born. There was a really good book about exactly that called Shattered which I read before I had DS. I always hoped it would not play out in my relationship, but it seems like it has sad

Maybe things will improve when I go back to work?

givemeaclue Mon 19-Nov-12 11:10:06

Why wait? Why not improve them now he you feel you are living in the fifties.

What was the ss scare?

MikeOxard Mon 19-Nov-12 11:32:48

Dh does more than his fair share. I haven't 'got it to that point' at all, he has always been like it. At first he just felt uncomfortable if I was doing housework and he was just sitting around, so he never would, we would do it together or he would do it while I did something else. Now with 2 dc, usually if one of us is doing housework, the other is looking after the dc. Dh works full time as well, and I am on mat leave, but usually work f/t.

My ex was the opposite, a lazy, selfish git, who thought that doing one bit of washing up, once in 3 years or so was 'helping me out', like it was my job, even though we both worked full time. At the time I was very young and thought maybe this was what marriage was like, but then I wised up and LTB.

Noren Mon 19-Nov-12 11:34:02

In the main, yes. He is the laid back type and has grown up being told when and how to help by his organised type parents. I am the more organised/self-motivated type. As a result, he's often late/disorganised/not especially productive at getting stuff done. He takes a lot longer to cook than I do because I have a mindset of getting things done quickly whereas he is slow and careful.

This has led to a few discussions recently because I feel like it's easy for me to slip into doing all the work of organising him - for example if we're going out he's got used to me reminding him to get ready. I've taken a step back because I do find it work and irritating, but it does seem very hard for him to learn. He is like this at work too, and really hates about himself that he doesn't have good time management. But gets too bogged down in feeling bad to be able to improve. However, his tendency to do things slowly and carefully also means PROPERLY. So, for example he started the task of painting a ceiling by not just moving the baskets of our clean clothes into another room (my technique) but by folding and putting all the contents away, seeing it as an opportunity to learn the new system I've devised for my clothes.

He does plenty. He cooks very well and won't complain if I've not been working and he has (I am part time) but I don't feel like cooking. Each morning he makes me tea and breakfast and generally unloads the dishwasher at the same time.

He is less likely to do the big cleaning jobs unless something makes him think of it, like if we are having visitors or I remind him. So our house isn't as clean as I would like. I think it's partly because we are fairly busy people and a big cleaning task would take him a lot longer than me and so he runs out of time. Usually we will clean together, such as loading dishwasher together, or cleaning up before vistors together, but I will end up doing extra stuff when it's my day off.

I do feel like I come in for a lot of the work like reminding him to buy cards/helping him to think of presents for his family. I have taught him the ways of Google Tasks/Calendar reminders and I think he's getting better.

What I really value is if I point out something is not fair he will make every amend to fix it, even while hampered by some of his natural flaws, and very much appreciates the things I am good at doing for him. We don't have children yet but we have discussed how things will need to change when we do like being cleaner, and that we don't want it to be all me. We are going to share some of the maternity leave so this will hopefully help with the issue.

EldritchCleavage Mon 19-Nov-12 11:37:00

DH and I do ok on the sharing front, mostly I think because he is naturally tidier than me and because he is the at home parent. It has taken a little while to get to an arrangement we're happy with, though.

And within that 'equal' share we each monopolise certain things, generally on a fairly traditional gender split because this happens to play to our strengths. While DH can cook, he doesn't like doing it. I love it, so I always cook, which can still get to feel burdensome at times. DH has now said he'll cook once a week. On the other hand, I never empty bins, tidy the front and back yards etc-DH always does it. We do our own laundry mostly, though DH does some of mine while I'm at work. We both do the children's laundry and the household linen.

We got to this point by talking about what needed doing, and about the jobs we hated and trying to make sure the other did them (e.g. DH hates washing up pans-we've got a dishwasher-but since I don't mind that, I do it. He always sweeps up, for a similar reason) and most importantly, doing the work together. We try hard to avoid a situation where one person is swanning around doing nothing while the other is doing a boring chore. We also always thank each other when we notice something's been done.

My DH does all the household stuff. Washing. Dishwasher. Putting clothes away. Hovering.

Not all by himself but he does more than me.

Waspie Mon 19-Nov-12 11:40:37

I think it's difficult when a woman is on maternity leave to get a balance because a woman will tend to take on the housework while she's off, but then the man gets out of the habit and by the time she goes back to work they have settled into an unequal distribution of chores.

How about a rota? This would ensure you would both have free time for your personal interests.

Djembe Mon 19-Nov-12 11:47:45

I'm a SAHM - well just, we have an 11mo but I'm not returning to work.

I find that because I have responsibility for DS all day, so much of it is meal planning, shopping and prep, making sure the house is clean for him to play in, he has clean clothes etc, and also just because I am at home more I am noticing what needs to be done and it bugs me if there is dirt or dishes or whatever. I'm sure if DH was at home he'd be the same. So anyway I do most of the housework because it just makes sense.

Children add a kind of self-perpetuating housework though, don't they - it's like chasing my tail sometimes! I definitely do tasks that DH used to do before DS came along and we were both working though. Tbh as we're in the lucky position to afford for me to be at home with DS, which is what we both wanted, we need DH's career to fly so we actually have any spare money - it's easier for him to work late, focus at work and so on ifhe knows I'm taking care of food and cleaning, mostly. I'm aware it's a pretty traditional arrangement but I think as long as you arealways aware and don't let either partner take the other for granted then it's ok. I often grump about what a hard day I've had to DH, who's been out earring a crust all day! He'd never dare suggest that his day has been harder than mine grin

Djembe Mon 19-Nov-12 11:49:17

Sorry, that was v waffly blush

I read on MN ages ago that 'equal amounts of leisure time as a starting point' for couples with children, is the way forward, regardless of how childcare and household tasks are split. That's how we try to run things.

SamuraiCindy Mon 19-Nov-12 11:51:42

My DH had me fooled before we moved in and got married. He kept telling me that he would NEVER again live with other blokes because they are too messy and smelly and he is so tidy. So I was thinking....WOW!! This guy is great. Then when we moved in, I discovered his idea of tidy is different from mine. He left clothes on the floor, didn't clean the bathroom/toilet when HE made it messy, left things strewn over counters, didn't iron clothes. Yet for some reason he thought I shouldn't mind as compared to other men he thought he was pretty good!!! hmm

So I just kept (gently) asking him to do these things when needed.

He has definitely improved, but he works 50+ hours a week, including night shifts, so I do far more than him, as well as the majority of childcare.

He doesn't do it particularly well but he tries and to be honest this is what matters...that he loves me and listens to me and tries.

dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 12:01:30

"I think it's difficult when a woman is on maternity leave to get a balance because a woman will tend to take on the housework while she's off, but then the man gets out of the habit and by the time she goes back to work they have settled into an unequal distribution of chores."

Waspie ^^ Yes this is what's happened, I think.

Give me a Clue: Not to derail the thread, But the SS scare was something really silly. Some antenatal appointments got sent to the wrong address and so we got investigated for "failure to engage with services." There was a thread about it here
SS now accept the referral was a mistake by NHS and we have that in writing.
NHS however, have still not accepted this (we are pursuing a complaint) and therefore my records with them still state I don't engage.
Given we are on a low income and live in a "deprived" area, this is enough to make NHS staff take an interest in how we live so I am now VERY careful to be on top of everything and seen to be.

Thanks for everyone's replies. I sort of expected my experience to be more usual. Now I see it is not, I will be much more assertive in pulling DH up!

"Is this just what heterosexual relationships are like or has anyone here achieved equality in the home?"

hmm I am in a civil partnership with my DP, we have 2.5yo twins, I work full time and she is at home with DTs and I still find myself doing most of the cleaning! smile

I think, in essence we all have different mess/dirt/piles of crap tolerance levels and unfortunately I have discovered that mine is considerably lower than DH's hmm
I end up doing things not because she won't but because I can't bear the chaos until such time as she decides it's time for some housework.

So not always a gender thing imo smile

lostconfusedwhatnext Mon 19-Nov-12 12:03:56

SamuraiCindy, I would run a mile from a man who says he doesn't like living with other men because of the mess. This often means he expects a woman to tidy up after him as well as herself.
I have heard it hundreds of times: "we're looking for a girl to take the 3rd room in a shared house... we've got two guys in the other two rooms and we don't want to live in a house with all guys". This means: Friend and I (both male) have decided to live together because we like each other and it will be a laugh, we want a girl too to pick up the pizza boxes as this is obviously what girls are for.

DONT MARRY ONE OF THOSE

I actually only know one couple with a genuinely fair housework sitch. I have seen the woman scream at her husband because he thoughtlessly left dirty dishes out for her to wash when they had both been at work all day. This was years ago, she sorted him out, some would say (on here) that she has been abusive in the way she expressed her anger about being expected to act as a servant. they seem happy though, a very solid couple.

stargirl1701 Mon 19-Nov-12 12:06:39

My DH is very good at doing things that need to be done at home, e.g. emptying the dishwasher, hanging up the laundry, cooking the dinner, etc.

He isn't so good at organising the stuff that needs done, e.g. booking dental appts, sending cards, buying gifts, etc.

SamuraiCindy Mon 19-Nov-12 12:11:26

Lostconfusedwhatnext...you could very well be right, because when we moved in I was amazed that the so-called tidy person he claimed he was had vanished to be replaced with a scatterbrained and lazy slob. But I will say in his favour he has improved 100 times.

I always think of that old sitcom Roseanne - there was a scene in it where the women in the factory said to Roseanne how great it was that she had found Dan, the perfect man....hardworking, tidy, thoughtful...

And she said 'What?? Do you think he started off like that????'

It stinks that men (including my DH) have it in their heads that the little woman will do all the gruelling, grinding drudge, but this CAN be changed I think.

lostconfusedwhatnext Mon 19-Nov-12 12:15:54

dashoflime, x-posted. I think your situation is very usual but still I think you can and should change it and should be assertive.

I think:

a lot of women don't admit to how much they do more than the man because they don't really think it is right, but don't want to LTB. So they cover up. Sometimes even from themselves.

a lot of women do more in unaccounted ways by:

doing things properly (so if the man and the woman alternate washing up, one time in two the job includes cleaning all the surfaces, putting a wash on with the cloths and tea-towels, collecting up all the lids and odd little things like that that end up scattered about the kitchen, washing and putting out the recycling etc). So in theory the job is shared, actually it only gets finished half the time, always by the same person, often enough to make the kitchen usable;
doing things while apparently doing other things (noticing and dealing with slightly grubby surfaces while the kids are in the bath; sorting post while on hold on the phone; tidying and cleaning the fridge while putting away shopping; etc);
Doing things that would just be left if she didn't do them, but she would feel shame where he wouldn't (making something homemade to bring to a bring-food-party; remembering birthdays, sending cards; certain aspects of the kids' appearances etc)

There are a million more ways where women do more. I have a dark cynical hypothesis that the convention of married couples sharing a bedroom is so that the man has somewhere nice to sleep because the woman will always tidy it before getting into bed. I do not share with my DP because he snores like a bastard. His room is vile, covered in mounds of clothes and books; mine has a couple of jumpers on a chair and everything else is put away. He finds his room depressing and resents me for having a nicer place to sleep but I don't know why he doesn't put his things away if he hates it so much. I think deep down and subconsciously he thinks that if we shared a room, as we "should", he wouldn't have to put things away to have somewhere tidy and calm and soothing to go to bed in.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 19-Nov-12 12:21:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Waspie Mon 19-Nov-12 12:22:47

It's only my theory based on what I've read from threads on relationships and AIBU really dashoflime smile I also think it's a lot to do with the personality of the DH/P (whether male or female really).

I'm naturally a lazy cow and bloshy so I couldn't live in a relationship where the balance wasn't even between my partner and I. But we also have the benefit of earning approximately the same amount and working roughly similar hours, so neither of us can pull the "but I earn all the money and you sit around drinking coffee and being on MN/Planet Rugby so you should do all the housework" card.

If I were on maternity leave, or a SAHM, I think I would approach it by having a value (monetary or time) to a task and then add it up and when the amounts for both partners balanced anything in addition to that becomes shared 50/50. Easier said than done though I would imagine! smile

Waspie Mon 19-Nov-12 12:25:45

I've seen Wifework referenced positively several times on FWR StewieGriffinsMom, I think I'll add it to my Xmas wishlist!

lostconfusedwhatnext Mon 19-Nov-12 12:30:39

Waspie, I think that is a great idea, if your relationship can sustain it. The problem is that the request to account for things can seem petty or accusatory.

I sat in church yesterday listening to a sermon about unconditional love and forgiveness and stuff and boggled as I always do about the mismatch between a. the very true position that being mean-spirited is not the way to being happy, and in fact giving is honestly better than receiving, and to love is to be happy; and b. men take the piss out of women's time and energy constantly, without even realising it, and if you are not allowed to point this out, no one else is going to, and in the end you will die of exhaustion or melt out of resentment.
I have no idea how to reconcile my quasi-marxist, time = money = energy position with respect to how I have been effectively massively ripped off by men all my life and it is still happening, with the emotional truths that make other things so much more important.

BelaLugosisShed Mon 19-Nov-12 12:45:22

Mine has always done his fair share, we wouldn't have stayed married for nearly 30 years if he didn't!
I do the majority in the week because I work half the hours he does, at weekends I'd say that he does more than me , he's been off today and when I got in from work he'd done all the weekend's dishes (we'd been out for the whole day yesterday and it was 7pm when we got home) and cleaned the sink, plus made me a cuppa for when I got home.
I don't tidy up before I get into bed, I sit down and get undressed, throwing my clothes onto the floor on DH's side, then he picks them up and puts them in the basket , unless it's dark because I've gone to bed before him, I put his clean undies and socks on the bed because the way he arranges his stuff in his drawers irritates me.

I don't actually think that untidyness is a gender issue, the two messiest people I know are my SIL and my DD, my DD can't keep a room tidy for five seconds, she comes home from University and takes over the house, bags, shoes and folders all over the living room, piles of stuff in her bedroom, when she leaves again I find wet towels on her bed and half a dozen glasses strewn about, yet me and DH are fairly tidy people, she has always been the same.
I honestly don't think you can train people to be tidy, my SIL's house is like something off extreme hoarders, truly awful, yet she and DH were brought up exactly the same.

samandi Mon 19-Nov-12 12:46:26

Does he pull his weight around the house? And if so, how have you got things to that point?

Yes. I didn’t have to “do” anything, it’s always been like this.

Waspie Mon 19-Nov-12 12:57:39

lostconfusedwhatnext you are right, I think it is a very fine line to try and tread. I am fortunate because I have never had to test whether my relationship would withstand the time= money = energy equation which is a very unemotional way of trying to retain equality in the home. I doubt it can be done because the unknown factor of emotion carries a weighting that i can't quantify.

I like to do things for the people I love but it doesn't really extend to housework, apart from cooking. I love to feed people smile Having said that I had a major operation two months ago and was unable to contribute to the chores for several weeks and I felt so terribly guilty that DP was doing everything and not complaining at all. I know that had our positions been reversed I would have done this too but I do feel grateful because I know that not everyone's partner (M or F) would have done the same. This is the resect and love elements of a partnership I guess.

DH does loads round the house and always has.

Mum deliberately brought my up to not end up being a housewife (like her). She didn't get me to help with housework, cooking or cleaning except if I wanted to. She taught me how to build brick walls, climb trees and grow veg intead.

One result of this is I'm quite happy with fairly low standards (though I do more since the DSs came along).

It also means DH and I see each other as equals in all the housey type things. We also both learnt to cook properly at university, so equals there too.

MMMarmite Mon 19-Nov-12 13:30:13

I sat in church yesterday listening to a sermon about unconditional love and forgiveness and stuff and boggled as I always do about the mismatch between a. the very true position that being mean-spirited is not the way to being happy, and in fact giving is honestly better than receiving, and to love is to be happy; and b. men take the piss out of women's time and energy constantly, without even realising it, and if you are not allowed to point this out, no one else is going to, and in the end you will die of exhaustion or melt out of resentment.

Forgiveness is great, but only if the action which requires forgiveness has now stopped. For forgiveness to bring happiness and harmony, the transgressor needs to understand what they did wrong, preferably apologize, and crucially, not do it again. Otherwise there's no incentive for the transgressor to change, and the 'forgiver' inevitably feels resentment.

dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 13:36:15

"Doing things that would just be left if she didn't do them, but she would feel shame where he wouldn't (making something homemade to bring to a bring-food-party; remembering birthdays, sending cards; certain aspects of the kids' appearances etc)"

Yes to this ^^

dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 13:40:11

Wifework looks interesting. There's an extract here

HerriotsofFire Mon 19-Nov-12 13:46:17

It's not just the doing, it's the thinking. And planning. That's the wifework bit, isn't it?

dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 14:02:12

I think so, yes

EllieQ Mon 19-Nov-12 14:07:59

Yes, I do think my DH and I have an equal split of housework (though we don't have children - we're ttc at the moment and I wonder if things will change after having children).

We tend to split things by area - so I do laundry (including changing sheets, towels etc) and DH does ironing. I'm responsible for cleaning the kitchen, he does the bathroom. I do most of the tidying, and all dusting, and he probably does more hoovering than me (70:30 perhaps?).

He does DIY, gardening (only have a back yard with a few pots), and takes the rubbish/ recycling out. I do the spring-cleaning type jobs.

I tend to organise the cleaning more, just because I am tidier and have higher standards than him eg: saying could you do x while I do y.

You say your DH works part-time while you're on mat leave - does he ever take over some of the childcare so you can have free time, or does it all fall to you?

EllieQ Mon 19-Nov-12 14:10:05

Also, I don't do presents/ cards for his family, though I may give him a gentle reminder!

LeBFG Mon 19-Nov-12 14:26:45

I think it's much easier to have a gender neutral attitude to household chores before kids...or after they leave home (some of the most balanced relationships are the old folks I know, oddly).

I remember DH was totally self-sufficient before I moved in - then we both worked FT so shared everything.

Now we live in a part of the world where this life is honestly no longer possible. WHy?

1. Money = power.

Because there are many more jobs for males, the jobs for men are better paid. We've struggled with this one. The best solution is for me to SAH whilst he goes out to work. Early on, he had more power in the relationship - he'd dictate certain things. THis broke once I got a job and he could realise the contribution I made to our lives. I'm now a SAHM but were are much more contented with things now the power wedge has been driven out of our relationship. I think a lot of couples experience this tbh.

2. Household jobs split down gender lines.

Because men are outside doing chores, the women are doing the stuff inside. Many households (incl ours) are heated with wood: fetching trees, chainsawing up big bits, lumping them around, splitting logs etc is so physical that it's only the men that so this. There are lots of other examples of this (killing pigs, mending tractors and cars, weighing and moving grain). THis leads to the perpetuation of 'woman's place in the home'. Women are frequently blamed if the house isn't spick and span. I find this expectation around me very disturbing and sometimes hard to deal with. This also leads to a more profound division of the sexes - conversations are either women or men centered - men talk about wood (for example) and women compare recipes. At parties, it is not unusual to see whole tables with one gender or the other.

Finally (not related to where I live)

3. Childcare will always favour women.

Because women are just hormonally wired up better for this. I do really believe this. Though I do think the biology is used far, far too often to justify the absence of men from childcare and that really annoys me as they bring so many positives to children's lives. Men are really underrated!!!

With specific stuff in your OP: if you are making jam, why? Is this the affordable Christmas gift (not being rude, it's just it's likely - we're in this situation). If so, he should help or find another gift of a similar value. Or, do you feel people expect you to give home-made gifts? If so - why? You don't have to if you don't want to! And you (and your DH) could point that out to crabby relatives - you're going to do what you like, you don't necessarily want to faff about making home-made gifts for people.

I'm not sure I'm really able to contribute helpfully due to not having children, and that being such a huge issue here, so do ignore from here on if so. But, yes, my DH is male, and he is much better than he was. I had to get the power of MN Feminists behind me, though! I talked things through a lot on here and showed him what people were saying, and it did help me work out how to say whether I thought things were fair or not (and it helped me reassess too, it wasn't just him).

It's very much work in progress but we are getting there. For me it helped to be able to explain to him that people judge me on things they wouldn't think to judge him on - so if the house isn't clean, or we don't send out christmas gifts, or whatever - that's seen as my fault. So he needs to know that, and he needs to accept he has to pitch in with, say, cleaning up the house before people come around, because even if he doesn't feel bad about the state it's in, he caused half the mess and I get judged for all of it.

It also helped to realize that we're entitled to live in an environment we like. If he has preferences, so do I: if mine are that the carpet is hoovered, so be it. This helped me because before, I was accepting that he liked a particular brand of this, or the light on at such-and-such a time, and I was accepting it with no issue - but he wouldn't think to accept that I hate living in a house where the floor is covered in crumbs. Now we're both a bit better (not perfect!) at seeing my prerefences and his as equal.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 14:44:28

i think the problem is that you have decided to change your tune about house work. If you were both comfortable messy it's not really fair for you to now decide this is our new level and this is where you (your husband) needs to be with the tidyness. My dh was borderline ocd very clean when I met him. I did my best when we moved in together but he had to realize we aren't on the same level. So suck it up. We've moved in to a middle ground now. Also just because someone is working from home doesn't mean they should be doing housework etc while they are at home. Remember they are still working and contributing the same as you. Housework needs to be shared reasonably when he is not working but yes, you may do the lion's share because you are on maternity leave.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 14:45:53

*oh and sorry but the jam thing isn't relevant unless yoru dh is expecting you to be in charge of finding all gifts for relatives (yours and his). If he is make him realise that's not your job.

Chottie Mon 19-Nov-12 14:48:01

My DH does more housework than me. He says he relaxes by cleaning and he likes things to look neat and tidy and clean.

xlatia Mon 19-Nov-12 14:55:08

My DP does a bit, but less than I do. That's partly down to the fact that I notice more (he just doesn't seem to mind certain things) and also he forgets to do things I asked him to do and then end up doing myself. I'm sure he doesn't do it on purpose, he's just a big scatterbrain (and so am I).
On the other hand, he takes care of stuff I LOATHE, like dealing with all the paper work and DYI stuff, so I reckon it evens out somehow.
Whenever I get totally fed up, I just talk to him (reasonably, if I still manage by that point) and ask him to do more and if he actually manages I heap praise on him. Much the same as with my toddler grin but it seems to work.

KirstyJC Mon 19-Nov-12 15:00:17

DH does different things to me in the house, but still contributes a reasonable amount - half the chores or close enough. When he first moved in with me, he was a student so had loads of time to do household chores. (In between Playstation of course). He did some cooking, some washing, some hoovering and has always cleaned the toilet and put the bins out (2 jobs I hate).

Then we both worked FT so shared things mostly evenly. I tended to do more washing becasue a) I got home before him so put a load on then and b) he actually reads the labels on clothes and puts them on the correct (long) wash, whereas I chuck everything on a quick wash at 30!

Then came Maternity Leave, with me being at home until I started a FT university course when DS1 was 11 months. On Maternity Leave, the house was a tip - he once made a comment about how come it was so messy when I was home all day.........he never did it again. I think it was new father stress as he is more houseproud that me. Last time I was on Maternity Leave with DS3 he even commented on how I shouldn't do so much around the house, saying I was supposed to be looking after baby not doing housework!

He regularly asks if I want him to do more as he feels he's not sharing things equally and he wants to. I only work PT now so don't mind doing the bedding wash/hoovering during the day, but he often still cooks and does things at the weekend.

But he was like that at the start, I didn't make him that way.

dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 19:45:06

LDR: Yes the Jam is cheapy presents! I'm actually pretty proud of it: Chillie Jam Yum yum. Really enjoyed making it too: BUT did not enjoy cleaning dirty kitchen before I could do so!

HalloweenNameChange Yes, this is what's happened. However, I think its reasonable to keep house to a better standard now there are DC to think of. Apart from anything else looking after baby is much easier if everything is where it should be, there are clean clothes available etc...
Agree, when he is doing his paid work he should be able to concentrate on just that. Its the other days I'm talking about.

I am fairly hopeful of sorting this out. The bare structure is in place for equality, if this makes sense, as (when I go back to work) we will both work part time. So going into the future, childcare can be split evenly.

This is my ideal arrangement but obviously it will only work if we're both on the same page with what needs to be done. I don't want to find myself trying to fit a weeks housework into my allocated days at home. I think I need to deal with the difference in attitude/commitment now before it becomes entrenched.

Absolutely agree with LDR about judgement. I think this may explain why I have upped my game now and DH not. I'm aware of an expectation on me which he just isn't subject to.

Hopefully respectful dialogue will resolve it. thanks for all your suggestions.

alexpolismum Mon 19-Nov-12 21:06:36

My MIL is obsessed with tidiness, not a pin is out of place in her house. If you get up from sitting on the settee she will immediately plump the cushion and smooth over the seat. And this is how the house was as DH was growing up.

He thinks things ought to be tidy. I, on the other hand, am very messy. I don't notice clutter and until I saw MIL doing it it would never have occurred to me that anyone might want to constantly smoothe sofa cushions!

So we have reached a compromise. I have agreed not to have too much clutter around the place and he has started to put his feet up on the settee and relax, without it looking perfect.

Now we have 3 children and the clutter is out of control. DH hoovers now and then (I never hoover, I just never think of it) and cleans the bathroom. I clean the kitchen. We both cook. He makes bread, homemade pizza (including the dough), bean dishes, spaghetti bolognese, egg fried rice and whenever he wants anything particularly Greek on the menu. I make everything else and bake cakes. He also likes making salads, much better than me, as my idea of making a salad used to be chopping a few tomatoes, a bit of cucumber and throwing some lettuce in.

I think we have got a good balance.I don't think either of us does much more than the other. Some days I might do more, on other days he does. It all works out. I do read more with the children than he does, but this is quite deliberate, as I am trying to boost their English language skills as much as possible, and dh speaks to them in his own language, Greek.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 21:20:32

Is it worth making a rota OP? So your dh knows what needs to be done and when? This way if it is written out you can discuss frequency and make sure you are both on same page/

BertieBotts Mon 19-Nov-12 22:38:14

I think it's hard when so many people still come from a standpoint of believing that housework comes more naturally to women than it does men, or feeling that the housework is the woman's responsibility regardless of working status and refer to their husbands as "helping" with childcare, house responsibilities etc. It's not just a slip of the tongue, it's a semantics issue which outlines how many people still see it, I think.

Even if you have a situation (as some have described on this thread) where one partner works out of the home and the other stays home and to balance things out takes on more of the housework, I still think this is the case - there are responsibilities of all adults in the household, and cleaning, cooking, meal planning, childcare, bringing in a wage are all things that need to happen. If people are dividing these up in a way which results in equal labour and/or equal leisure time then this obviously works well for them. It's when the tasks/responsibilities get divided up unfairly, based on outdated fashions or just assumptions that it's a problem. If everyone's aware that the responsibilities are equal it's fine for adults to agree "Well - you take on my share of the wage earning for now, and I'll take on your share of the housework and cover the childcare while you're out of the house".

The coming more naturally to women one is damaging too I think, and I apologise for quoting a poster on this thread, please do not think I am getting at you personally, it's a general pattern I've seen and of course I don't know the balance or personality types in your relationship at all - but it's this concept of "Well, he tries". Like it's so much harder in the first place? I object to the gender thing in the first place because I am a woman and I am utterly terrible at all things housework related, organisational or which involve thinking/planning ahead. But really, you know, these are life skills which every adult needs to learn and you don't get very far just by trying, unfortunately. I agree that it's better for someone to make an effort rather than do nothing, but I also think that if that person is making an effort but they are still resting heavily on the efforts of other adults in the household, then something is wrong. And I say that, being guilty of it myself blush but since DP has been living away it's opened my eyes to it a lot, especially when he came to visit and specifically didn't do anything and I realised I'd been waiting for him to come and do it all for me, it made me feel like shit, I hadn't realised how much I'd taken him for granted and that was sad - and he wasn't that happy with it either. Anyway he suggested I employ a cleaner grin but it's made me feel more motivated to get myself sorted and better at the everyday stuff before we move in together again.

Sorry for the essay blush

ByTheSea Mon 19-Nov-12 22:41:58

DH does at least as much around the house as I do, probably more. We have a cleaner as we both work FT. I do most, but not all, cooking and most, but not all, shopping. He does all laundry, ironing, gardening, bins. Depending on who has been working more in our past, childcare has always been pretty equally shared. Unfortunately, I do all the driving as he hates it.

rogersmellyonthetelly Tue 20-Nov-12 08:59:35

I started as I meant to continue, when we moved in together we both worked similar hours and we therefore shared the housework equally. I didn't have to argue or fight for it thankfully, but I wouldn't have stayed with a man who didn't pull his weight in all areas, that's earning, cleaning, supporting, looking after our kids etc. He does come out with some stupid sexist comments sometimes, but on the whole, his actions speak louder than words! Most of his comments are down to his upbringing and the fact that he hasn't really thought about it too deeply, and once he does he sees the light.
These days I do do more of the housework, I don't work outside the home, and I'm pregnant at the moment, so I won't be for a while, he has a job, and I'm quite happy to do it as my contribution to the household, but if I do have a busy day and I haven't done the tidying by the time he gets home, he comes home and mucks in quite happily. He still does all the washing, I do the cleaning, day to day tidying, ironing etc, but if he makes a mess doing something, he bloody well clears it up! And I don't pick up after him!

dashoflime Wed 21-Nov-12 11:44:53

Right, I have spoken to DP about this and have written up a list of things that need doing by SOMEONE everyday.

It is saved on the PC desktop where he will see it and I will be asking him for suggestions things to add/take away etc..

Here it is:

Lime Family Housekeeping

Daily Tasks

1.Wash Dishes
2.Put on one wash load (and fold and put away previous laundry if needed)
3.Straighten Living Room
4.Hoover Living Room
5.Walk Dog
6.Cook Dinner
7.15 minutes tidy or clean one other area (use fly lady for inspiration)

Weekly Tasks

1.Food Shopping

Of the things here: DH reliably does hoovering, dog walking and food shopping. The rest is usually me and that's on top of breastfeeding. Its no bloody wonder I don't have time to myself!! angry

This must change! The idea of him working part time was meant to be to allow me to pursue my own work and interests and share childcare half and half. Not for him to be a cocklodger.

There will be words.

cloudpuff Wed 21-Nov-12 11:53:08

I do the bulk of housework the majority of the time because my Husband works away and I'm at home so it makes sense. When he is home on weekends he pulls his weight, if he sees something needs doing he'll do it.

OneMoreChap Wed 21-Nov-12 12:15:16

I'm a DH.

I don't do enough, because I'm a lazy sod, and don't think things through properly.

Pace dashoflime I do

1.Wash Dishes (well stack the dishwasher but DW sometimes re-arranges, and wash non-dishwash stuff)
2.Put on one wash load (and fold and put away previous laundry if needed) [Yep, trained to know when washday is so do clothes and bedding appropriately and will line dry/inside dry as necessary]
3.Straighten Living Room (yep, at bed time)
4.Hoover Living Room (weekly)
5.Walk Dog (at weekends)
6.Cook Dinner (at weekends)
7.15 minutes tidy or clean one other area (use fly lady for inspiration) [Now, this I've looked at and am going to suggest this to DW - as lists make things easy for me...]

I iron every year... [DW hates me ironing because she says I'm slow; but it's my time]

I will wash surfaces I'm cooking on, and clean muddy floors. I tend not to notice I have left 2 magazines, 3 books and some work papers by the sofa until bed time.

She also tries to make sure I ring my family/buy presents for them. Which is a source of contention. My family don't do presents or much beyond weekly/monthly calls - and never have since my childhood. Her acceptable frequency is much higher than mine, and we have had words.

Also, By contrast DH doesn't appear to notice really obvious things that need doing, like putting clothes away in drawers. I'm obsessive about putting things away in the kitchen - I cook and like to know where things are. Similarly with my shed. [DW's I ask before I enter grin ].

I put away my own clothes where I want to find them...
I put keys in a key rack.

DW says things like "Why didn't you put x away?" And sadly, it's usually because I didn't see it or think about it. If I know it's something I need to think about, I find a pattern/place for things.

Waspie Wed 21-Nov-12 12:33:12

Hope your talk goes well Dashoflime

I've been thinking about this for the last couple of days (wifework wink) I think I'm perhaps a little unusual in that my parents shared the housework and chores evenly so I've never experienced the phenomena of "Women's work".

My mum worked full time and my dad worked shifts so he would more often than not do the school run and make dinner, iron our school uniforms and do our packed lunches. These are the chores that are visible when you're a small child IMO.

DP's mum died when he was young so he grew up in a single parent [male] environment so of course he didn't experience a "traditional" role household either.

I think our personal circumstances have meant that we have no preconceptions about what is done and by whom and this has helped us in our homelife and we started with a clean slate and progressed from there.

ConsiderCasey Wed 21-Nov-12 22:14:10

It's a toughie, Dashof. Was thinking about my parents' setup which is a real segregated arrangement: she cooks, he does DIY and gardening. They fit together pretty snugly and complement each other. But that's because they're old school and had very clear defined roles and expectations. All well and good if they are happy with those roles, which by and large they are.

I think today it's hard, when women have had expectations of work and ambition and then find it all goes pear-shaped when the baby stuff kicks in (read wifework - seriously!) and things kind of revert to trad setups.

Also, women who work part-time aren't seeing a proportionate drop in the percentage of housework they do. And even some women that work full-time are doing most of the housework. That's pretty unfair.

Although on the feminist boards, I think you're likely to see more egalitarian set -ups than in other parts of MN.

All I can say is, talk to DP. If he's a good egg, he'll listen ..

scottishmummy Thu 22-Nov-12 08:07:34

if your dh doesn't equitably share tasks,then youre facilitating it too
its not all oh men,roll eyes.reflect and think waht can you both do differently what was a SW scare?

BOFingSanta Thu 22-Nov-12 08:24:18

It's all up there ^^, scottishmummy.

DP does more than me, I think. Although he doesn't do laundry, and that is bloody immense in this house. Plus I do all the care of my disabled daughter. But I'd say it was pretty balanced.

dashoflime Thu 22-Nov-12 10:06:52

The SW stuff is explained up thread. The relevence here is that I went into motherhood with a big question mark over my ability to cope, visible to HV etc on their records. I therefore felt the need to have the house in a decent state when they came over as a sort of practical demonstration that things were OK. What I mean is I had a big scary jolt that made me up my game.
So now, things in the house are pretty ordered and I find, actually I like it that way! So the trick is to get DH in on the act.
I think I have a bit of an advantage as a previously messy person as I can explain exactly what I did to change. DH responds to lists and instructions fairly well I think.
I showed him the housekeeping tasks and he added a couple of things Id forgotten. We discussed where to stick it up. He agrees in principle those are the things that need doing. I also made him a google calender of when our various benefits get paid as he has not quite got on top of the schedule and it causes him anxiety not knowing what money we have. This also allowed me to frame the housework thing as part of a general planning session, not a nag directed at him.
Yesterday and today are working days for him, so Im not expecting housework from him till tommorow. He did cook yesterday but only because I asked him directly (when it bacame obvious I was stuck on the sofa feeding for the forseeable). I will remind him today, that he needs to do some tasks off the list tomorrow.

dashoflime Thu 22-Nov-12 10:09:15

Sorry for lack of paragraphs (bloody phone)

tisnottheseasonyet Sun 25-Nov-12 20:21:36

Your DH is sexist because he wouldn't think of what is admittedly a clever moneysaving idea? Kudos on the jam, but get a grip on the thread.

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