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Housekeeping and housework

(132 Posts)
grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 15:23:58

To set the scene, I have a fulltime job, my DP does not work. My working hours are quite long and I normally don't get home before 7PM. I often have to work at home and at weekends.

I give DP £500 a month "housekeeping" (plus she gets the full child allowance). She does not pay any bills, I pay for the main weekly shop (which we do together) and I normally pay for any other items for the house. She will buy bread and other odd items during the week, the rest she spends on herself. Do people think £500 is reasonable, to much, too little?

Our house probably cannot be described as being tidy. It is cluttered and I've tried to clear a lot of my stuff up, to try and set a good example. However, she shows no interest in tidying. The vacuum cleaner rarely gets used (only after arguments and never upstairs unless I do it), the fridge rarely has its contents removed to be thoroughly cleaned (unless I do it, when I'm told she was just about to do it), the oven is never cleaned (unless I do it), cobwebs, grease all over the kitchen, etc. etc. Mentioning this and asking if she could do a bit more leads to an argument, which makes me feel bad and that I'm being unreasonable (which I may be?).

I'm thinking about getting a cleaner regularily but this is expensive and I'm not sure that's going to work with DP.

At the moment, I just try and accept it but it makes me depressed, especially when I see other homes. I don't want it to be pristine, a bit cluttered and chaotic but hygienic is fine.


grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 15:26:04

Ooops, sorry, meant to say - Not sure if etiquette decrees I should post this on Dadsnet, but I'll post this here and if it's inappropriate then I will move it.

whattodoo Sat 09-Feb-13 15:29:32

The $500 question is really dependent on many other factors. What is total household income? Does she do the shopping for birthday and Christmas gifts? What about expenses for your DC/s - clothes, parties, after school clubs etc.

With regard to the housework, I agree on the face if it that she probably has time to do more. But how many children are there? What ages? Any other factors?

You sound (from your post) quite overbearing and as though you are superior to her (forgive me if I've misread that)

calandarbear Sat 09-Feb-13 15:32:11

I think housekeeping is a bizarre outdated concept. I am a SAHM we have a joint account I use money as I need it it is not DHs money it is family money.

Re housework, I stay at home so I do most of the housework but DH does do stuff if he sees it needs doing and I haven't got round to it. My main role is caring for the children.

valiumredhead Sat 09-Feb-13 15:33:41

Does she have full access to all money, joint account etc, or are you just dishing out what you think she should have?

Have you asked her if she feels ok? Is she depressed at all?

It's hard to comment as there could be all sorts going on but from your OP I think it's reasonable for the person at home to keep the house tidy (ish)

Do you have kids?

InMySpareTime Sat 09-Feb-13 15:33:51

How old are your DCs? Have you had a frank, non-judgemental discussion about housework?
Could you pay for the cleaner out of the £500 a month you give DP?
We have a whiteboard where we write things that need doing (small cleaning tasks/cheques to write/phone calls/maintenance) then whoever completes the task ticks it off. Could this work for you?
Your DP must have some redeeming characteristics as you have stayed together this long, think about why this bothers you now?

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 15:34:31

If this was the other way around and you were a woman posting about your husband being the stay at home parent, someone would have told you to LTB by now.

Seriously, how old are the kids? Is she depressed? I got very behind with doing domestic stuff when I had twins as I was just so worn out. Ex complained a lot but it just made me feel crap so I didn't get on top of it really.

Could you have a chat with her, may be suggest both working on the clutter together and then suggest she pays for a cleaner out of her £500?

Summerblaze Sat 09-Feb-13 15:34:32

Don't think the problem here is the money. It's that she can't be bothered to do the housework. I am a SAHM and DH has a job that means long hours. We have one bank account that his wages and my child benefit goes into and we both use when we want to and it is usually me that sorts out financial stuff.

We have 3 dc and I do the majority of housework and DH helps when needed. I keep a clean and tidy (most of the time) house and don't think there is any excuse (except disability) to see why she can't if she doesn't have a job.

Some families live differently I know but you and her are on different pages.

hermioneweasley Sat 09-Feb-13 15:35:41

How many kids do you have and what are their ages?

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 09-Feb-13 15:35:54

Housekeeping is ridiculous. It's giving you the impression you are paying her to look after the children.

MerylStrop Sat 09-Feb-13 15:36:41

Firstly must say that I am irritated by correlating "housekeeping" money with housework. These are separate issues imo
Did you agree that she would do the housework when you set up this arrangement?
How old are your kids and how many?
You just have different standards, possibly, and will need to meet in the middle about that.

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 15:37:26

The housekeeping is a red herring. It's neither here nor there how the finances are arranged. Doesn't sound like she's kept short or anything.

Kleptronic Sat 09-Feb-13 15:38:11

No one I know 'has an interest' in cleaning. And as for clearing up yourself to 'set her a good example', well, your turn of phrase is unwise.

Cleaning is something which should be split equally between inhabitants of a house.

Do you feel like you are paying her to clean up? As this is the impression you're giving. The impression is that you pay her £500 to keep house and she's not doing it.

Do you have any children, is your partner caring for DCs? If so that's a job in itself.

photographerlady Sat 09-Feb-13 15:39:18

Money is an interesting concept. Both my DP and I have worked from home at different times. We always had the plan that the person that heads to work sorts out their messes like clothing on the floor, wiping the bathroom sink after using it etc but the one saying home chips in and does the housework. It's only fair.

Now in a few months I will be stay at home with the new baby but we will swap roles and I will maintain housework while DP focuses on long work hours.

Catsu Sat 09-Feb-13 15:46:30

The money entirely depends on what she needs to buy with it. Toiletries, contact lenses, mobile phone bill, petrol, swimming lessons, kids activities, school trip, kids shoes, clothes etc add up quite significantly!
If she feels she needs more snd you can afford more as a household then she needs more! If you have equal 'spare' cash to fritter away on a coffee and magazine here and there then it sounds fine as it is.

Housework entirely depends on how many kids you have and whether she has time to do more or not.
I have 3 kids, 2 at school and one toddler. The toddler keeps me very busy and doesn't nap so there's no way I would get the fridge or oven deep cleaned easily. I can just about manage to do the dishwasher, washing and keep on top of the constant mess the toddler makes each day.
Dh has to chip in a lot at the weekend and after work with things like changing bed sheets, putting washing away, paperwork etc and he still really has a lot more leisure time than I do with a rarely sleeping toddler!!

grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 17:04:51

Thanks everyone.

Perhaps I should have posted the questions on two separate threads? The two aren't really related.

We have one mid-teen DC. I normally pay for clothes, big presents, etc.

Yes, you're right, the phrase "Housekeeping" is old fashioned and not really the right phrase, just wasn't sure what else to put?

The joint account is a good idea that I hadn't thought of, then we can spend what we both need to each month.

About the cleaning, my wording was poor but I simply meant to say that I'm happy to pitch in and do my bit. I know some of my stuff around the house bothered her, so I've tidied it up and moved it elsewhere. I offer to help tidy up (I don't like cleaning but it's nice when it's done) but it normally gets put off.

InMySpareTime Sat 09-Feb-13 17:09:18

Why is the teenager doing housework either? You need a family meeting to discuss who does what, and how to distribute tasks fairly.
If your DC and DP can't or won't step it up, bring up the cleaner as a possibility, but make sure all family members understand the family budget, and how this is spent. That includes you knowing what money goes where.
I am amazed you have spent so long as a family unit but seem to have do little communication!

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 17:34:19

You have a teen? So it's not like she has small kids to look after all day. I think I'd be a bit pissed off that she wasn't doing anything much with all that time during the day when the dc is at school.

doublecakeplease Sat 09-Feb-13 17:43:55

Sorry if this has already been asked but is there a reason why she's not working?? If she's mentally well and able bodied then she should be working or the home should be her job.

calandarbear Sat 09-Feb-13 17:47:17

As your child is a teen then I revise my opinion if she isn't working and doesn't have a young child to care for then the housework should be her priority. Not to say you shouldn't help but yes she shouldn't leave things.

GailTheGoldfish Sat 09-Feb-13 17:50:12

If she is fit and well she is being lazy.

DrGoogleWillSeeYouNow Sat 09-Feb-13 17:52:02

Well on the face of it she sounds like a lazy arse and YANBU.

MrsLion Sat 09-Feb-13 18:12:00

Yes two separate issues here.

1) Housework.  
From what you've said, she's being lazy. 
She has 6 hours per day with only her in the house. No excuses really. No-one likes doing housework, but it has to be done and if she doesn't work elsewhere, the house is her work.

2) Finances. 
You dont say how long you've been together (assuming a long time if you are both the biological parent of your dc) but do find it very odd that you've never thought of having a joint account before??
And giving your DP an allowance of some kind seems very strange.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 09-Feb-13 18:22:55

It's not possible to say whether 500 is reasonable or not, and I agree with others that the idea of an 'allowance' is rather odd when she is your partner not your employee. And as others say - it does depend how old your children are. If she's doing childcare for a toddler for that length of time, won't she be knackered by the time you get in? You don't mention what housework you do other than clearing your own stuff but (forgive me), I suspect it can't be much as you work such long hours?

For me the important thing would be - whose decisions led to this situation? You're clearly not very happy with the state of the house. For whatever reason, you're working such long hours you don't do your own share, and your partner doesn't work at all, but doesn't do enough for the house to be tidy. Is this because she has a small child to care for, or what? If she does - does she want to be doing that, and would she rather you worked shorter hours?

I am not asking these things to suggest any blame on either side, because it is really hard to know from your account what it is that either of you do, but just to get a picture.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 09-Feb-13 18:24:14

Sorry, missed the teen bit.

So why isn't she working? Does she want to?

If it's her choice and she prefers to be keeping house, she should be doing a 9-5, and you should be sharing the rest. Sounds like you'd both need to do more but you wouldn't need to do hugely more.

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