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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.

jeansthatfit Sun 20-Oct-13 20:15:20

I'm hearing confusion over whether you think you chose or were forced into the' role that you are in, tbh.

If your situation was a temporary agreement, for while children were small etc, then what will you do in the future? Do you see your dp taking on more household organisation/child related duties if you were to do more hours in a job? Or would you still be expected to do everything you do now, but just add some more work outside the home on top of that?

The problem lies partly in what you have both agreed to contribute to the household/family - and what you understand the other's role and responsibility to be.

If he earns ten times what you do and you earn a pittance, and you have agreed to do all the family/household stuff, I'd be honest with yourself about whether you are happy doing this. It would be an idea to ask your dp if he is happy with this too - and get him to be honest about what he expects of you. Interestingly, I think the person who does the domestic side of things is ALWAYS judged more on their performance than the one who works outside the home. As long as the worker keeps in a job and brings home a certain amount each week, their partner isn't in a position to offer comment on what they do. Whereas the partner at home engages much more with the 'life' of the working partner - shopping, meals, clothes, etc - all are 'experienced' and potentially judged.

I do think that if you have agreed that there will be one person who does virtually all of the hands on 'caring' (obvs earning enough to pay mortgage and bills is 'caring' too in a different way) - then a lot of that does mean catering to other people's needs. That's what caring is. And if my partner had agreed to do the vast majority of household cooking and shopping, and I come home to find the fridge empty, in the absence of of some perfectly good excuse (illness, crisis, another unexpectedly time consumung task) - I would feel entitled to ask why he wasn't doing what we agreed. Yes, I could go shopping myself - but if we had agreed I would put my energies into work, as the main earner, and he would shop and cook... then I'd think he was taking the piss a bit.

fwiw, my dp and I have put a LOT of effort into trying to share things out equally (I earn more than him but we both work similar hours). It is hard - in some ways the world prefers the pattern of one full time earning partner and one who works pt for pin money - but I have seen too many marriages go down the drain because of this 'division of labour' thing. It is very difficult to change any template set when children are small, ime.

thehovelinspector Sun 20-Oct-13 17:58:18

Jeans - fair point about the food preferences. He is very fussy indeed (well in my view!) but it's reasonable to have some say in what we eat.

I didn't choose to be PT/ sahm it is because it would make no sense at all for him to go PT or be a sahd as he earns more than ten times more than I do. In an ideal world our earning power would be more equal. It was slightly more so before dc. I had the kind of career that would have meant a very full time nanny would have been needed as there were very long hours and lots of travel and I chose not to go down that route yes.

jeansthatfit Sun 20-Oct-13 12:20:09

PS theimposter - sorry but I would get out of that relationship before it breaks your spirit for good.

jeansthatfit Sun 20-Oct-13 12:18:44

I'm still confused here.

Aren't you actually in a bit of a 1950s housewife set up anyway?

You have chosen to work part time, in a job that brings little income into the family, but contribute instead by taking nearly all responsibility for childcare, household, cooking, shopping, school stuff, and general family organising.

Was that actually your choice? did you want things that way, or did your husband push you into living that way?

Isn't reasonable to accommodate his preferences in some ways? (I'd like to point out there is another active thread aibu atm called 'Is DP being an arse about this or am I' - something like that - where the poster's DP does most of the family cooking, voluntarily, and enjoys it, but the OP is complaining she doesn't get a say in what is cooked. Just eats what is in front of her. Her DP was making a spicy dish when she doesn't really like hot food, and she commented and he got huffy. Anway - the thread is nearly all people saying 'HE'S being an arse - if he's cooking for you he should consult you about what he cooks!' In contrast to this thread, where it's all 'he should have no say in how you do things, and if he comments, tell him to fuck off').

I don't think anyone should put up with tetchy or pa behaviour, and it is tedious when couples take each other's work for granted, or worse, underestimate it.

But as for being 'forced' into a 1950s housewife role.... if you take on a role which is caring for a family by cooking, shopping, looking after etc, then tbh, of course you are in some way catering to their needs. You say in your OP that you do the shopping - so filling the fridge IS your responsibility, right? That's not to say for a second that you couldn't renegotiate and make this your husband's job, if that suited the balance of tasks - but it seems to me as if yout have taken on a particular role, and don't like how it is panning out.

I don't blame you btw. This is one reason I personally could never live off a man's money, and insist he shares an equal role in hands on parenting and household tasks. A lot of men (most men?) do equate housework and caring with domestic servitude. I wish women would wake up to that more' and not get into this position.

mrsjay Sun 20-Oct-13 10:54:11

tell him you were thinking of getting a housekeeper and what does he think then the housekeeper can do the shopping for him as that really isn't your fucking job to serve him,

thehovelinspector Sun 20-Oct-13 10:19:47

Yes largely I do. I'm not sure he likes me as much and therein lies the problem.

TheDoctrineOfSpike Sun 20-Oct-13 01:13:31

OP, do you like your husband?

I'm not asking if you love him, but if you like him.

theimposter Sun 20-Oct-13 01:00:08

Thanks; we just seem to go in cycles- it's not all bad but as per the OP I do feel like he expects stuff that I am not really cut out for in terms of share of duties etc. And the more someone is negative with you the more you don't feel like keeping the sex side up either which is something else he moans about. I know no man is perfect (and I admit I am a messy bugger!) but I feel like I can't relax into anything further like having kids etc as then he really does have all the cards so to speak. It sounds like I'm not the only one living with a man who is in the mindset of 50 years ago!

thehovelinspector Sun 20-Oct-13 00:35:26

Theimposter, you are financially independent, you are young, please think very carefully about getting engaged to this man.

I know it is very hard but walking away now will be much easier than later.

Mine thinks it is important to be honest and hence comments about my appearance and other hurtful things, albeit only occasionally but I don't forget the time for example he told me I carried too much fat (i was a 10 to 12, and had had some medical reasons that had caused slight weight gain) and lots more stuff I won't go into.
That is just one little example. He has been better recently with that kind if thing and confines his negative feedback to the dinners not being to his taste etc.

foreverondiet Sat 19-Oct-13 23:37:45

Hard one. Firstly he was v rude about the meal he didn't like. If he doesn't like your food then he can cook for himself.

I also work part time and Dh full time - but we have 3 kids...

Re: having food - I do shopping via Tesco and Dh has the Tesco app on his phone and I add the delivery to our shared calendar - he often logs on and adds stuff! If he complained about not having stuff I'd say it was him fault for not adding to the list. We have order every Monday and Thursday night - I do set up the orders though as I have more time - eg in days I don't work when dc at school.

Think you need to have a chat about his attitude which isn't good...

theimposter Sat 19-Oct-13 23:33:58

He 'says things how they are'. Which in his world means he thinks he can say whatever he likes without caring too much about the outcome. I like people who are honest and don't beat around the bush but he takes it too far sometimes and is just plain rude. I guess he just doesn't respect me any more and all he sees is work and money sadly whereas I am happy with less money and enjoying spare time.

Mellowandfruitful Sat 19-Oct-13 23:31:56

theimposter that is really unpleasant behaviour. I take it he is Brad Pitt himself and never does anything less then perfectly? No, thought not. If he is constantly making nasty comments that justifies a rethinking of the relationship to me. Can you start answering everything with 'Well, you can do it next time and then I presume it'll be done right'? and then leave

thehovelinspector Sat 19-Oct-13 23:17:27

Oh imposter that's terrible. Poor you as it sounds like he has always been this way. I have had comments about my weight too (ridiculously as I'm not skinny but I'm not overweight!) etc.

You deserve better than this as it is. Does he realise how vile he is being to you?

theimposter Sat 19-Oct-13 22:48:16

After a huge row with my OH today this post rang so many alarm bells with me I had to join up to comment. He runs his own business (faaar more important than anything I can offer) and his ex (and mother of his kids) was on benefits and a SAHM and did all his housework previously and has commented that she got fed up of his attitude regarding housework and his business obsessiveness etc. I gave up my lovely house to move to his area (because of the kids schools and his work (which is mobile anyway?!)) and I hate it here. I run my own business, have just started a 2nd to supplement income and also have a part time job 3-4 mornings a week. He has it in his head I should be some Stepford Wife and that I spend my days doing nothing much. After I spent 1 1/2 hrs today cleaning the bathroom whilst he was out with his youngest I commented to older stepchild that he was bound to moan about it wasn't good enough. And sure enough he did. I lost it with him as am at the end of my tether with being made to feel like my work is not important and thus I should be doing all the housework etc. He moans about everything. Am seriously considering leaving I have to say as I can't be doing with all the put downs and nasty comments. Nearly 3 years in and early 30's; he is late 30's. Starting to think that I have wasted it and getting royally fucked off with all my friends asking when we are going to get engaged. He is a perfectionist and makes lots of comments about my weight and that I am a slob.

anonacfr Sat 19-Oct-13 20:47:54

Freudian slip? grin

thehovelinspector Sat 19-Oct-13 20:45:25

Now there's a plan with the gin!!

Hahahaha I just mistyped that as gun...that would be a little too extreme grin

ilooklikegrotbagstoday Sat 19-Oct-13 20:39:36

How do you think 1950's housewives coped???

They took uppers and downers and drank copious amounts of Gin!

thehovelinspector Sat 19-Oct-13 20:29:37

Oh dear he sounds bad pinup!

Some useful food for thought on here. Thanks for your comments.

He is making dinner tomorrow grin

Pinupgirl Sat 19-Oct-13 18:56:59

My dh can be an arse about this too op. For example a few months ago we were both quite poorly with the flu. He came home from work early and went straight to bed. I had to soldier on. When I decided I was too ill to make dinner one night he was furious and went to bed hungry!

Just tonight he asked what I was making the kids for dinner-I replied what are YOU making themgrin He was not happy but he made the kids dinner!

Hunfriend Sat 19-Oct-13 18:46:26

Wot baking said blush

Hunfriend Sat 19-Oct-13 18:45:44

If he is doing the shopping for "his" thingshmm
Then take this opportunity and say he can be responsible for the food shopping win/win grin
turn it to your advantage OP wink

bakingaddict Sat 19-Oct-13 18:15:43

I agree with sleeplessbunny, don't put pressure on yourself to conform to this housewife type role that your DH expects

If he doesn't like the food you buy and isn't prepared to make a list then say you are more than happy for him to do the weekly shop instead. Again regarding meals, if he isn't happy with the quality of them suggest he cooks a couple of nights a week or takes you all out to a restaurant.

Stop facilitating his expectation that household management is all your responsibility and use it to your advantage to get him to participate more

IShallCallYouSquishy Sat 19-Oct-13 18:04:10

My DH once told me he had done MY dishes for me. He very soon realised the error of his ways wink

I'm very traditional in seeing it as my role to do majority of housework, cooking etc, as I only work one day and one night every 8 days whilst my DH works M-F for his own company. If I'm at home all day I see it as my responsibility to do all the household stuff. However, and its a big however, if DH ever TOLD me it was my role because of the above and he brings home about 4x what I do, he would get told in no uncertain terms where to go!

Beastofburden Sat 19-Oct-13 17:55:55

Lets focus on how he can be made to show a little more respect. Because the rest of it sounds right for you, a good balance of work and parenting, and no undue stress.

I prescribe a nice family holiday this coming half term, somewhere you can both feel spoilt. And then a discussion, saying, look, I actually don't mind a few new ideas for things to eat but could you please make suggestions constructively and with some respect for my contribution. I can assure you that my own mother did not take any such crap (she was a genuine 1950s housewife). But when they first got married, she went on a cooking course, as she really couldn't cook and they both agreed she really needed to learn.

FrequentFlyerRandomDent Sat 19-Oct-13 17:31:40

in 1950 male life expectancy was about 65 years.

in 2010 it was 76 years approx.

Do you think 1950s housewives arranged for a quick dispatch of their DH?

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