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To feel like Dh wants a 1950s housewife

(89 Posts)
thehovelinspector Thu 17-Oct-13 23:31:27

Dh works FT in a very well paid job. I work PT in a craply paid job but do the after school care, school run, cooking, shopping, general family organising e.g. Holidays, birthday cards, builders, plumber, school uniform, school admin etc. we have just the one school age dc so I things are fairly easy on that front.

So...tonight dh is moaning because the 'fridge is not well stocked' and last night he didn't have anything for dinner. Except I made a home made dish that he previously has eaten here and elsewhere but he has now decided he does not like this meal.

This is pretty typical. I feel I am expected to conform to this 1950s housewife ideal. It makes total sense for me to do the jobs I do eg cooking but the way he seems disappointed if I'm not making exactly what he loves to eat and haven't stocked the fridge etc. it's the assumption that anything house hold is my job and if I don't do it perfectly his way, I'm not doing my job properly.

Definitely not a sahm v working mum chat. I love working PT and appreciate my job's flexibility but feel like I'm forced into a traditional housewife role and he does nothing of that sort just because he earns loads and i earn a pittance.

wordfactory Fri 18-Oct-13 12:53:51

I think what you absolutely have to ensure you don't do is pander to such childish behaviour (from children and partners alike).

No one needs to have the favourites to hand at all time.
Everyone needs to be flexible about eating (pickiness is unattractive).
Everyone needs to be thankful to the person who caters and accept it is time consuming.

What you must not do, is even attempt to provide the service expected. Demands will simply become ever more emperor-like.

LoonvanBoon Fri 18-Oct-13 12:55:46

I'm quite sure that most 1950's housewives wouldn't have been impressed if their husbands had refused to eat a meal they'd prepared & complained about the lack of an alternative. That's just rude, quite apart from any issues about who does what around the house. He sounds like a toddler.

If the house is mainly your responsibility, then you do things in the way that works for you - he can't have it both ways. Also, if that side of things is mainly left to you, it needs to be respected & valued. I've been a sahm & worked part time & my husband always thanked me for things like sorting out presents for his family etc. - it was never something that was just expected. And if he had been rude about the meals I'd cooked etc., I would have told him to fuck off & stopped cooking for him. I would have been outraged, actually.

More generally, I guess couples should divide up household labour in a way that suits them: but the principle I've read on MN a few times about ensuring you have equal amounts of leisure time seems a good guideline.

thehovelinspector Fri 18-Oct-13 13:06:36

Special - to be fair he didn't actually say that it wasn't good enough, he just made me feel it wasn't.

Wordfactory, I like your style! God yes the pickiness drives me mad and is such a bad example to dc who fortunately is old enough to merely think dad is being unreasonably picky rather than copy him. It's almost like he has become spoilt with his very well paid job and lifestyle of swanky restaurants for work lunches/ business trips and what used to be ok for me to make for dinner isn't anymore. It's not a bloody restaurant.

OK so I will sit him down and have a chat calmly. I feel like I've been forced into this role at best by circumstances. The huge disparity between our earnings and only having one child means I am meant to do 90% of the other stuff as well as working PT.

I know I could call his bluff and say he should do more but he will just do this thing where I quietly end up feeling I'm not good enough and I don't contribute enough to the household etc. I don't think he realises what I do although again, I don't think my life is especially stressful or that I'm overworked to be fair.

In his ideal world, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't work and would just look after his needs/ the house etc. We do not need my paltry salary and so to him he sees it as my choice to work. He also says I can hire someone to do his fare share of the household stuff but that's not really practical beyond a cleaner unless we are at the hire a housekeeper stage/ income bracket which we are not! And I wouldn't want that.

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Oct-13 13:10:27

I also work part time and do the childcare stuff, shopping, majority of cleaning. DH does the cooking.
We have a big pad of post-it notes in the kitchen which form the shopping list. If either of us spot that we are low on stuff, it goes on the list. When I go shopping, I buy stuff for our dinners, packed lunch for DS, bread, fruit, biscuits, snacks. If DH decides that he wants anything in particular, like he fancies crumpets for breakfast, if it goes on the list then I buy them. If he runs out of his particular breakfast cereal that only he eats and I don't monitor, and complains, I ask if it was on the list and he says no and I say 'put it on the list then!'
So he takes responsibility for the cupboards containing what he wants too.

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Oct-13 13:14:29

He also says I can hire someone to do his fare share of the household stuff

Wtf! Why should you be hiring a cleaner to do his share of the chores. If anything, a cleaner should be making both your lives easier, not just his. What a lazy arse.

FreakinRexManningDay Fri 18-Oct-13 13:18:22

What would happen if you were ill in hospital for a week? Or if you decided to say fuck it,I'm not cooking tonight?
As a grown adult I would be ashamed to be so demanding and dependant on another persons time when I am capable of doing for myself.

RevoltingPeasant Fri 18-Oct-13 13:33:06

Hmm OP am going to go slightly against the grain here, because I wonder if what your husband is cackhandedly expressing is not frustration with dinner but frustration with how your set-up is organised.

You said he has asked you in the past to get a higher-paid (presumably longer hours) job but you like to be at home after school.

Which is fine, but have you thought perhaps he would rather not be working such a high pressure job? Maybe he feels like he is 'keeping' you and he'd rather not bear all the financial pressure. So, his way of expressing this is through dissatisfaction with what you 'produce' around the house if you see what I mean.

Disclaimer: that is not an anti SAHM comment, more just that you both need to agree on the arrangement you have. It sounds to me like maybe DH doesn't agree and wants things to change.

Maybe you should raise that when you chat to him?

thehovelinspector Fri 18-Oct-13 13:36:33

I am trying to think of what he would be saying if he'd posted an AIBU, in the interests of fairness.

Maybe "I work all day and dw is only working part time, so she has x hours at home after school to do the shopping [in reality I do this during school hours as it's easier and I want to spend the after school time with dc doing quality things]. We have a cleaner so she doesn't need to do that and there is not that much to do for one child anyway. I don't like the food she makes and want her to listen to what I would enjoy more. She doesn't have to work and should be glad she has that choice - but she chooses to do so so I don't see why I should pick up the slack because she wants to work."

I suppose I'm reinforcing the idea that it is probably fair and right I actually do the household stuff, but he is making it more awkward than it is. I do not like this idea that because I don't HAVE to work (outside the home), I'm making my own bed. I feel I can't win as if I didn't do my job at all, even if I did things 'better' for him/ the house, I'd be miserable (no judgement on others but at dc's stage, I can't justify not working outside the home and enjoy it.

I have these choices:

- get a FT job - won't work as he will not be able to share childcare/ arrangements etc. if e.g. I have an early meeting - we struggle with this even with my PT role although occasionally he has stepped in if it has been convenient. And of course in the school holidays! His answer would be to get a nanny then.

- stop working in my job - but running the house and cooking does not fill the 6 hours dc is at school so then what? I'd feel guilty about that too, unhappy as I want to work in my job in a career I've spent a decade building up and it's quite an interesting career.
Also under this model I'm pretty sure he will expect me to do my leisure stuff in the day so he can do his sport etc. in the weekday evenings/ at weekends but some of mine is then.

- carry on with the status quo of me doing a PT job and 90% of the other stuff but find a way to get him to be a bit more respectful about this.

SeaSickSal Fri 18-Oct-13 13:39:24

Tell him to phone for a takeaway, lazy bastard.

thehovelinspector Fri 18-Oct-13 13:40:32

Revolting that is a fair point.
That said, he too has the option of finding PT work/ semi-retiring quite young as we have low overheads and I am, frankly, a cheap date so he doesn't have to earn lots to please me or retain our lifestyle, pay a mortgage or anything like that. There really isn't any financial pressure on him and he does do his job FT because he likes it.

I do hope I don't sound like a spoilt brat as I know we are extremely lucky financially to have this situation.

But maybe there is an element of 'I work hard and travel lots so I'd like my home life to run the way I'd like it to do' i.e. I want a dinner I like and my favourite stuff in the fridge.

kerala Fri 18-Oct-13 13:44:39

Shocked at prattish attitudes. My dh's position is grateful for any food provided I wouldn't be responsible for my actions otherwise...

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Oct-13 13:49:06

He works because he likes it, you work because you like it. He happens to earn more money than you, but that doesn't buy him the right to act like the lord of the manor. You are equals.

If he gets his dinner cooked and he doesn't like it, then fine for him to request you don't have it again. But not to demand that you make him something else, you are not his servant.

gamerchick Fri 18-Oct-13 13:49:41

I don't think the issue is what other people do.. its whether it's appreciated and not taken for granted.

For eg.. During the week my husband works and I do everything at home. I treat him like a king when he gets home. This isn't expected by him and he's always willing to pitch in if it's needed.

On a weekend I work in a physical job and he takes over the house and kids.. cooks, cleans and sorts the kids out. He ushers me out a couple of nights a week so I can have a break and I chase him to his man cave or fishing if I'm on holiday. We do food shopping and meal plan together and once a month we get out together for a few hours.

None of it is taken for granted.. We bounce well off each other and it works for us very well.

But we are happy with the set up and never would either of us complain about things not being up to standard in each others opinion. It breeds resentment.

If somebody wants something done a certain way then they do it themselves. Tell your bloke that.

pianodoodle Fri 18-Oct-13 13:58:14

I do hope I don't sound like a spoilt brat as I know we are extremely lucky financially to have this situation

No I don't think you do! You're entitled to be unhappy about not feeling valued and respected by your husband.

We don't have money (in fact at the moment we have less than no money grin) but I know DH will come in and merrily scoff down whatever shite I serve up saying "this is amazing cheers!" even though it's so obviously not amazing smile

Hopefully we'll be better financially some day but that's something we can worry about together. It would be harder having to worry about DH's attitude all the time as I'd feel lonely.

I'd outright ask him exactly how he views your contribution to the family and take it from there.

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Oct-13 14:07:38

He is extremely lucky to have a wife prepared to take a hit on her enjoyable and fulfilling career that she has worked hard for in order to care for his child and make his homelife easier. What about your pension, job prospects etc?

hellsbellsmelons Fri 18-Oct-13 14:18:30

You have another choice as well.

Talk to him and tell him what you have told us here.
You are not a restaurant and if he doesn't like your choice of meal then he can shop for and make his own.
And... if he keeps making you feel undervalued you will stop doing anything at all for him and he will need to everything for himself - and make sure you follow through.

No point doing all his sh!t if he doesn't even appreciate it - if he thinks he can do better then let him get on with it!

Topseyt Fri 18-Oct-13 14:52:01

There are two choices on the menu in our house every evening:

1) Like it.
2) Lump it.

My family are also used to me telling them that they can eat what I have got in that week, or they will get nothing. It doesn't mean they never argue or moan, but it does enable me to keep a semblance of control.

Choos123 Fri 18-Oct-13 16:03:37

Hmmm this could be my dh too personally I decided to point out his bad assumptions and push ahead with my job, ime being jobless makes it worse as then you may feel it is your job to please him and it's more about his stress than anything... Dh rejected a series of fridge leftovers and made himself an omelette last night, his choice...

Preciousbane Fri 18-Oct-13 18:03:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DrCoconut Fri 18-Oct-13 18:47:50

If my lot moan I tell them it's not Downton Abbey, they don't get to ring a little bell and have the servant come running. They have the same access to kitchen, washer etc that I do. That's not to say I won't do anything for them but I refuse to be a domestic slave.

Longdistance Fri 18-Oct-13 18:51:14


Until he can bother his arse. Direct him to the nearest supermarket. If he doesn't like his dinner he can cook his own.

Hunfriend Fri 18-Oct-13 19:03:36

Tell him you are more than happy to hand over the shopping ,cooking and meal planning to him < big smile>
How great of him to offer to take it over ...

lineup Fri 18-Oct-13 19:10:24

I have a DH who irons his own shirts & fixes his own dinner, if what DCs & i have eaten isnt what he fanices, or if he isnt hungry enough to eat it. i have been known to mutter 'tough shit' or 'fuck off' if he asks if there is anything else he has heard it & learned from it...

they are like pups, just need training...

ignore him, he's a big boy who can & ought to look after himself.

how his mother raised him is also significant here re domestic life

lineup Fri 18-Oct-13 19:11:16

oh & start DOING LESS. trust me, it works smile

lineup Fri 18-Oct-13 19:16:34


repeat within earshot of your DH

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