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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 18:40:07

You've asked why she doesn't work?

She's an artist and wanted to pursue this. We didn't need the extra money she would bring in from a traditional job, so she does art work. However it doesn't bring in any real money (nothing if you include the costs). That's not a problem (although I think she has great potential and I've offered to help with the business side) but sometimes I feel it takes priority over other things that need doing - not every day because we all sometimes need to say "s*d it", I'm doing MY stuff today. And, to be fair, she does all the cooking and washing.

MrsLion mentioned an allowance. The money is for incidental day to day household stuff and items for her art, hairdresser, clothes, etc. Historically, when we both worked, we had both had bank accounts and split the bills. Once DC was born, I tended to pay the majority of the bills. When she stopped working, I just started to pay money into her account. It's just something that we never thought about.

I'm not really asking who's right or wrong, that's pointless. I just know it leads to unnecessary arguments. Really I'm just after your suggestions how to best keep everyone happy.

PicaK Sat 09-Feb-13 18:42:35

I shudder at the way you talk about "giving" her money.

Get a cleaner. Then Put money for all bills in one account (incl hols etc) then give some to your daughter to manage and split the rest between you and your wife equally.

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 18:43:43

Great that she has her art but realistically she needs to do more. Could she set aside the morning a few days a week to get housework done? Then know she's got all afternoon/evening to be creative.

Or would it be reasonable to have a good clear out between all of you. Get some proper cleaners in as a one off and then it's not such a daunting task.

Tryharder Sat 09-Feb-13 18:45:31

She is a lazy arse. The person staying at home should do the lions share of the cleaning. I can't comment on the £500 as that, obviously, depends on your total income. But I would personally be more than happy with £500 in my pocket for my own spends.

So when can I move in? wink

InMySpareTime Sat 09-Feb-13 18:47:47

The best way to keep everyone happy is to discuss the household maintenance and finances with the family, clear the air and be honest with them.
Your DC will be an adult soon, so needs to learn how to manage a household budget, and household tasks.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 09-Feb-13 18:47:59

Wait, sorry - so she is working?

I'm sorry, but you need to discuss this. If you feel her job isn't worthwhile, the both of you need to agree.

I would be livid if DH decided my work wasn't important because I didn't earn as much as him, and therefore I should be his skivvy. How is she going to get ahead in her career if you are assuming she will prioritize the housework instead of it?

I think you need to consider that perhaps it is rather selfish to work such long hours when you are assuming she will curtail her hours to look after the house for the both of you.

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 18:51:57

Selfish of him to work such long hours and subsidise his dw so she can persue her artwork? Seriously?

DrGoogleWillSeeYouNow Sat 09-Feb-13 18:52:02

I would hesitate to call it 'working' when that 'work' doesn't even cover the costs of said 'work'. That's more like a hobby isn't it?

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 18:52:55

Plus, no where has he said he expects his dw to be a skivvy and he has said that he mucks in as well.

grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 18:56:19

LRD : Sorry, if I wasn't clear. She is working but it brings in little to no money (maybe £20/month?) and the costs are more than the income. I have offered to help her develop the business but she doesn't want to do it.

The dream would be for it to bring in enough money for us to live on, then I would do all the cleaning.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 09-Feb-13 18:56:40

manic - but if that's her career? It's not a hobby, I think? Forgive me if I am wrong.

I do think that it is not on to expect someone to jeopardize their career so they can pick up after you, especially if you earn enough to consider a cleaner.

I am not currently earning, and if DH told me he therefore expects me to sacrifice my career to do his share of the housework, I would be furious. Of course, it does depend hugely on how this couple see it. I may well be misreading. But surely it is a common thing that people's careers are uneven, and one person may earn more than another? Are we really saying that the person who earns more always gets to dictate the terms of the partnership? confused

grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 18:57:28

Tryharder : Very funny - made me smile

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 18:57:28

So get a cleaner.

Your DP could sell her artwork on ebay. I have bought some lovely pieces there.

And I think you need to emerge from the 1930s.

MidnightMasquerader Sat 09-Feb-13 18:57:30

1. Both of you should have equal access to a joint account. Housekeeping is, as has been outlined (and admitted by you - fair play) and fairly demeaning.

2. If you have a school-aged child, then she should be looking after the house, doing general chores, child-related stuff, household bills and finance, etc, more or less 9-5, building in time for her art around that. Anything required doing outside those hours (evenings, weekends) should be split 50:50.

It's fair enough if she doesn't enjoy running a home - a lot of people don't. In which case she finds something else to do, which contributes to the family coffers. I mean, all of us would love to 'find ourselves' and 'pursue interests', but if those interests don't bring in an income, then you're reliant on someone else to keep you and you lose the right to call too many shots, esp ifyou're simply not pulling your weight. In fairness, a bloke in such a partnership would rightly be referred to as a cocklodger...

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 18:59:37

I think you're reading way more into this than there is, LRD.

He has even offered to help his dw with the business side but she doesn't want to, so not really much of a business is it?

OP, you sound supportive and just fine. The suggestions above ^ were so things could be made easier for everyone.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 09-Feb-13 19:00:14

Cross posted.

grumpo - can you sit down and talk to her? This sounds to me like a failure of communication. Maybe ask her what she thinks her work is aiming at?

If she thinks she is trying to get a career going, and resents being the person doing the majority of the housework, it does sound as if you can afford to work this one out. Clearly you earn quite a lot and work very hard.

I admit, that scenario comes naturally to my mind when you describe things, but if not - why do you think she's doing less? Does she not realize how much it bothers you to live somewhere not clean and tidy? Can you perhaps explain to her how that makes you feel, and see what she thinks?

I think it matters a lot whether she is happy with the state of affairs, or not - because if she has lower standards than you but would theoretically take responsibility for cleaning, she needs to realize that it is not fair for one person in a partnership to live in an untidy home just because the other is less bothered. It's really not.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 09-Feb-13 19:01:13

manic - I may well be. I don't know.

I do think that people's careers aren't all to do with how much money is earned. If they were, DH's career would never have got off the ground, and he'd still be tidying up after me.

zlist Sat 09-Feb-13 19:02:23

I think the whole housekeeping concept is a bit strange but I also think it is strange the someone who doesn't work at all, with one mid-teen at home, doesn't manage to keep the house clean unless there're is a reason for this?
Considering you pay all the bills, including the big shops, then you are being more than generous with the £500.
I don't know what to suggest really without knowing the full situation. I guess I would go with taking a week off work to give the house a de-clutter and a thorough clean, and a talk...maybe with the help of a councillor?

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 19:03:48

Fair enough. I'd love £500pm and time to get into some art. Sadly, work has to be done and I don't count doing the decorating as art. grin

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 09-Feb-13 19:05:37


Oh, me either. Mind you, I didn't used to count DH playing about with computers as work and now he earns far more than me, so it's not always fair to judge someone else's career plans unless you've discussed them, IMO.

cantspel Sat 09-Feb-13 19:08:40

I am going to go against the flow of answers and ask why should he give her more money? Or access to all he earns?

As to me it looks like she is contributing very little to the home, so why should he give her more?
Sounds like she has it pretty cushy as it is. All bills paid and £500 per month to play artist with. No young child to look after and cant even give 15 minutes a day to keep the kitchen clean.

If she wants an equal partnership and so equal access to the family income then she should be pulling her weight as well either by earning or with her labour in the home.

Goes to put on my flame proof suit.

zukiecat Sat 09-Feb-13 19:10:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 19:11:15

LRD: You're absolutely right, it's not all about how much money you earn. But, OTOH, there are bills to be paid. If I had a choice in career, I'd probably do something different but I currently can't afford to.

To my mind, work is something that, typically, you don't entirely enjoy doing (unless you're very lucky) - what you do is driven by someone else, not you. If you only do the bits you enjoy, then it often isn't work (or, at least, you won't be in work for very long!).

AThingInYourLife Sat 09-Feb-13 19:12:02

"but if that's her career? It's not a hobby, I think? Forgive me if I am wrong."

You are wrong.

A career is something you get paid to do.

She has an unbelievably time-consuming hobby and her life is entirely subsidised by someone else.

The person doing the subsidising does get to ask questions about the terms under which they pay all the bills and live in a pigsty while another adult in the house farts around doing their art.

If grumpo leaves her, she will be fucked.

They're not married, so she will have no claim on his income and she will be expected to look for work.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 09-Feb-13 19:13:30

Pay for an oven cleaning service to come and do your oven (who in their right minds wants to clean an oven?) do your own washing and shop for and start cooking a meal for everyone a couple of times a week. After that then you can talk about whether or not she is doing her fair share of housework.

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