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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.


Bearbehind Sat 09-Feb-13 19:13:57

Cantspel, I'm with you. Why on earth should he give her any more when she contributes so little. I nearly choked on picak's reply to share everything- why???

Fair enough, some of the terminology is a bit outdated but why the fuck should she swan around doing nothing all month, with her £500 to fritter away, when she appears to be making no contribution the family.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 09-Feb-13 19:17:05

athing - well, as I say, if I'd taken that attitude, my DH's career would now not be subsidizing me, and we'd both be much poorer. So I do have a perspective on it that may be different from the OP's, as he doesn't know if her career will take off.

grumpo - I get what you are saying. I do urge you to talk to her. But - forgive me for saying, but just because you don't like your job, doesn't mean no-one does. I think you need to put your cards on the table with her. Tell her you don't enjoy your job and feel driven to work these long hours. Ask her how she feels about the art - does she think she is going to push to make it a career, or not? If not, then she needs to consider whether she has the right to - effectively - make you work long hours at a job you're not enjoying.

I think actually the housework is a red herring in all of this. It sounds increasingly as if the real issue is that you haven't worked out between you what is reasonable to expect another person to do by way of earning money in a relationship.

digerd Sat 09-Feb-13 19:17:44

Earning £20 per month ? But you don't really know. That isn't building a career, that's pottering about with a hobby. Hobbies are enjoyed after chores are finished. She is at home all day with a teen at school. Can try to get teen to do some chores, but my dad tried with us, but we didn't do them. And mum was working part-time and dad full time. Dad ended up doing all the washing up himself and cleaning the scouring pans - no teflon -coating in those days.
She is not pulling her weight and been getting away with it for ? years.

cantspel Sat 09-Feb-13 19:19:20

If this was a thread about a man who didn't do anything in the home and didn't bring any money in there would be cries of cocklodger and why are you with him.

But mn is so biased towards women some how it has to be twisted to be the mans fault.

Working until past 7 each night, paying for everything and still doing things in the home is clearly still not enough for the mn jury.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 09-Feb-13 19:20:43

I'm aware of that, cantspel. That's why I'm trying to be very fair. I think and hope that I would be the same if it were a man. Mainly because the OP's wife sounds very like my DH, as I am saying.

Mind you, he never did as much housework as her.

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 19:24:59

cantspel that's unfair. The first thing I, and many others, said was, 'So get a cleaner.' Why shouldn't the OP buy in help like so many other people do on here?

Thingiebob Sat 09-Feb-13 19:27:30

It sounds like you both need to discuss your expectations of each other and the division of labour.

If you are working until seven in the evening then doing housework, then I assume she is also working until seven in the evening and doing housework. If not, then the division of labour is grossly unfair.

FlouncingMintyy Sat 09-Feb-13 19:28:33

Has everyone missed the fact that she does all the washing and cooking (and presumably shopping)? In our household I reckon shopping, washing, cooking and washing up accounts for at least 20 hours per week, actual proper cleaning with hoovers and dusters etc is less than 3.

AThingInYourLife Sat 09-Feb-13 19:31:07

LRD - subsidising someone at the start of their career is different from indefinitely subsidising someone who is not attempting to forge a career but is occupied with a hobby that means they are not pulling their weight at home.

Bearbehind Sat 09-Feb-13 19:31:44

linerunner, why should they get a cleaner when there is one adult at home contributing very little, and one out working, who would have to pay for it?

cantspel is totally right, if this were a woman posting, her other half would be a cocklodger and she'd be told to LTB

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 09-Feb-13 19:34:18

True, AThing, but is it a hobby, or does she think it will be the start of a career?

I am not necessarily on her side at all, but I think the OP's best approach is to talk to her about this and see what she thinks. If she thinks she is on the brink of a successful art career she's recently got into, they need to discuss that and work out whether she's being realistic, or not. IMO.

I think mintyy has a point that it's not as if she's doing nothing - she may not be working full time cleaning, but neither is she sitting around doing bugger all.

catladycourtney1 Sat 09-Feb-13 19:34:38

Hmm. I have to say, I really wouldn't class what OP's DW is doing as working. Most artists pursue their art in their spare time and hold down a job too, and continue to do so until they are successful enough to justify stopping working and dedicating all their time to their art. Does she really spend as much time on her art as she would spend if she doing a "proper" job from home? Obviously she has the children to take care of and it can be hard for new artists to make much money, but of she's bringing in £20 a month or less then I would guess that she's not doing all she can. If she wants to call her art a job, she needs to also focus on the business side of things, otherwise it is just a hobby.

Also, while I do understand that you want your home to be at least hygienic and comfortable, and since your wife is as home all day it seems logical that she should be mostly responsible for that, something about the way you worded your post suggests that you give her the money in return for her cleaning your house, and I find that a bit wrong. Since she doesn't do it, I'm assuming she doesn't enjoy doing it, and you shouldn't be paying your wife off to do something she doesn't want to do.

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 19:34:43

Flouncy Fair point.

I do all our laundry at weekends. If it's bedding, clothes and towels, with drying, folding and putting away, from start to finish, it takes ten hours.

Cooking including all meals eaten at home and preparing lunches to take to work, school and college: fourteen hours a week.

Shopping: six hours.

This enables us to live quite frugally, in return.

cantspel Sat 09-Feb-13 19:35:22

Why should he pay out for a cleaner if she is at home doing nothing?

FlouncingMintyy they shop together and she washes and cooks.
How much washing can 3 people create that takes 20 hours a week?
Your pick it out the laudry basket and shove it in the washing and put some powder in. Must take all of 5 minutes maybe 4 times a week and a extra 15 minutes to put in the dryer and fold. She is hardly beating the clothes on a rock in some local river. Cooking 30 minutes a night if eating simple home cooked food.

I cant see how anyone can think she is doing her fair share in this relationship.

manicbmc Sat 09-Feb-13 19:35:30

Flouncing, OP already said they do the shopping together (and he pays for it).

It entirely depends on what she's cooking as to how long it takes really and washing does not take long at all.

hermioneweasley Sat 09-Feb-13 19:38:47

She is taking the piss. She has plenty of time to clean, or if she doesn't want to she needs to earn enough to fund a cleaner.

grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 19:39:36

Mintyy : You're right, as I said she does the washing and cooking. I would do the washing but she won't let me!

We do the weekly shop together - personally I'd rather have the time and order the weekly shop on the internet but she doesn't want to do that, which I understand.

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 19:41:43

How much washing can 3 people create that takes 20 hours a week?

I would say ten hours. But I don't iron.

MystiCally Sat 09-Feb-13 19:43:01

Has 'cuntlodger' been used before? grin

Tell her you're considering getting a cleaner and the wages would come out of 'her' £500. If she protests, she can do the cleaning instead. Your current set-up is not fair.

grumpo Sat 09-Feb-13 19:44:29

Iron? Gosh no, inflicting that on anyone is tantamount to torture smile

Molehillmountain Sat 09-Feb-13 19:44:41

Thus is making Me feel guilty about how much I do at the moment as a sahm. But I have three children, two preschoolers and the youngest sleeps very badly. And I certainly don't have £500 per month to spend. I have decided to look again at flylady to kick start pulling my weight. As to you, op, if there are no underlying issues of illness or depression, it dies look as if your dp isn't doing her fair share.

Bearbehind Sat 09-Feb-13 19:45:45

Linerunner, what do you to wash with if it takes 10 hours a week to wash for 3 people, excluding ironing!!

3 people, maybe 5 mixed coloured washes in a machine per week plus pegging out, 1 hour max

cantspel Sat 09-Feb-13 19:47:27

I have a family of 5, 2 adults, 2 teens, 1 disabled pensioner. I do one wash a day, extra at weekends with beding and towels and i iron.

It does not take anywhere near 10 hours a week. You cant count the time the clothes are in the machine as you dont need to give the machine a hand as it does it all on it own. Just push the right button and come back 90 minutes later to take it out again.

Why do some seem to think washing is so labour intensive?

catladycourtney1 Sat 09-Feb-13 19:51:12

I would like to add that I would also love to have £500 a month to spend more or less as I wish! My DP "gives" me about the same amount, BUT I combine that with my part-time wage and pay all our bills and do all the shopping out of it, and I'm lucky if I have £50 left over. Obviously what you can afford depends on your income, but I would feel positively pampered and probably feel slightly more inclined to clean up

LineRunner Sat 09-Feb-13 19:51:50

I don't know how much you wash, or what, or how, or why, cantspel. I know I wash what needs needs washing in the way that is most frugal and it takes how long it takes.

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