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AIBU to be annoyed that his response was "tell me what you want me to do to help you?"

(58 Posts)
Iwalkinmyclothing Fri 05-Jun-20 16:57:58

I am working FT outside the home as normal during the virus. My job is pretty full on anyway but particularly so at the moment.

DH is currently furloughed so is at home with the dc, and drives me to and from work.

I am really fed up of a lot of things at the moment and we have issues in our marriage anyway- which is why I am not sure whether I am BU because I am already cross, or whether in fact DH is BU.

DH did something we agreed should not be done which led to a bunch of fairly minor issues, but all issues which fall to me to sort out. And that led to me becoming, not for the first time, annoyed at the lack of equal responsibility. It seems these days like everything falls to me- all the life admin and arranging and planning and checking and so on. I texted to DH "I am so tired and I feel totally unsupported. I organise and plan everything. Money, bills, education, childcare, health, activities, tax, insurance, everything. It is like I have two full time jobs. I am tired."

DH's response was "OK how do you want me to help you with that?"

… and I just want to scream. I don't want help, I want him to take on equal responsibility. I don't want to tell someone I am tired due to being the one who is responsible for everything and them to push back to me the responsibility for coming up with a solution to it.

AIBU to feel like that?

OP’s posts: |
Iwalkinmyclothing Fri 05-Jun-20 16:59:29

I have to do some things so won't be around to reply for a couple of hours smile

OP’s posts: |
longtimecomin Fri 05-Jun-20 17:05:18

You need to have a frank discussion with him and divvy up the chores.

GhostCurry Fri 05-Jun-20 17:12:48

Reply, “I want you to do all of them.”

GhostCurry Fri 05-Jun-20 17:13:51

Not being flippant by the way. You can delegate, he can execute. As and when things come up you can - in the beginning - give him guidance. And then he does all the legwork.

FattyIDingAsThinny Fri 05-Jun-20 17:24:47

I'd also go nuts at that response.

The idea that grown men "help" with organising their own lives (including their own kids, so 50% of all work related to them is his) is preposterous.

Ordinarily I'd give him 50% but seeing as he's furloughed I'd give him the lot and the day he's back at work, divide it to 50%.

Well done for not replying straight away! I'm impressed at your restraint! I'd have said something I later had to apologise for!

Lougle Fri 05-Jun-20 17:28:28

The sentiment on your part isn't unreasonable, but I think that he's shown that he's willing to do stuff, so a shared discussion about what each of you should take responsibility for would be helpful.

TinyPigeon Fri 05-Jun-20 17:33:24

Make him a long fucking list of all the things you've been doing. Tell him it's up to him now.

And the key part: if he doesn't do it, don't jump in. Remind him once, then leave it.

CupcakesK Fri 05-Jun-20 17:34:39

You are taking on all of the mental load in your household, no wonder you are exhausted. It isn’t up to you to delegate the chores.

Here are some cartoons to explain it better than I can:

edwinbear Fri 05-Jun-20 17:36:31

You're tired and annoyed, but it's semantics isn't it. He's asking you what you'd like him to do, but perhaps hasn't phrased it as well as he might. Take him up on the offer and tell him which areas of responsibility you want him to take over.

pinkbats Fri 05-Jun-20 17:39:41

Hi there,

This is called the ‘mental load’ and answering the question “What can I do to help?” just adds to your ‘To Do’ list. Here is a great cartoon posted on the Guardian. It’s called ‘Gender wars household chores’ in case the link doesn’t work. It brilliantly describes the issue to those who don’t get it. I regularly (!) send screen shots of it to my DH! He’s a great partner but ‘forgets’ sometimes grin x

EL8888 Fri 05-Jun-20 17:40:19

YANBU. He needs to step up especially as he’s not at work, l would massively step back if l was you. I might assist with a rough for each day / week but he also needs to anticipate bigger things eg. Christmas, birthdays etc. The lack of initiative would drive me insane.

Seventytwoseventythree Fri 05-Jun-20 17:41:52

Show him this:

And then sit down and say look, these are all the things we have to do as a household. I am not the manager, we are a team. Its exhausting having to think about everything all the time. You have to take on 50% it’s only fair. And I mean all of your 50%, you don’t make dinner but leave half the vegetable drawer on the counter, or “clean up after dinner” but actually just load the dishwasher and leave the pots to be washed and the surfaces to wipe. If you’re meal planning just do it, all of it, don’t ask me. Do you have any preferences? I would prefer XYZ”

You can probably tell I have had this exact conversation. Others may not agree but I found by giving him the stuff he wanted to do more (all relative isn’t it) I had much less of an uphill battle on my hands. I also found sitting with him and setting a reminder on his phone for some things to be very useful e.g. a weekly alarm “wash towels”. It felt a bit like I was parenting him at the beginning but it’s saved us a lot of arguments. Over the years he has started to take on extra things including the mental load by himself (eg we moved to a house with a garden, he quite likes the gardening so has taken on all the mental and physical effort, suits me fine!) And I think it helped that I flat out refused to help with any of the things he said he would do, he’s a professional man with a job, turns out when he knows I won’t step up to help he’s perfectly capable of renewing the car insurance on time.

Sparkletastic Fri 05-Jun-20 17:44:46

'I don't want you to help me. I want you to take on an equal share of these responsibilities.'

WhatALearningCurve Fri 05-Jun-20 17:45:46

YANBU. I ended things with my ex due to this reason. Turned out - doing all those things alone is actually pretty easy when you're not wasting energy being angry about the fact there's an equally capable adult in the house who isn't pulling their weight

Turnedouttoes Fri 05-Jun-20 17:46:32

I think splitting the household chores is a good way to go. DP and I did this when I first moved in as I was getting annoyed that I was doing everything. It wasn’t so much that he’s lazy or anything but I’m much more on top of things so would have done the laundry, emptied the dishwasher, cleaned the kitchen before he’d even thought about it.
It’s so nice that I now don’t even think about the state of the kitchen because that’s one of his jobs to do every night. Means I also don’t feel like I’m nagging him all the time either.

Purpleartichoke Fri 05-Jun-20 17:54:15

I’ve had this argument before. My DH really doesn’t understand why I resent needing to provide direction. His argument is he will do anything I ask even if it is everything but deciding what needs to be done. I’ve finally just accepted it. I give him lists, he does them. I have stopped bothering to fill him in on the why or involve him in the decisions. It’s not a great system, but it works, and it’s just not a battle I’m going to keep fighting.

redwinefine Fri 05-Jun-20 17:59:36

It's very frustrating. Mine is the same sometimes - he wants me to tell him what to do. I just think 'well, you can see what I can, there are some dirty dishes that need cleaned and a washing that needs hung up!' Especially as your dh isn't working, he needs to be doing more. Thankfully, after a few 'chats', my dh is better i.e. puts bleach down the sink of his own accord but still expects a parade when he does it!!

Cadent Fri 05-Jun-20 18:05:18

It’s like they want to crane back in the womb to Mummy.

Ask him for a list of chores that he will take on from tomorrow and list of chores he would like you to do, based on who is WFH and who is furloughed. Not ideal but puts onus on him.

Cadent Fri 05-Jun-20 18:05:32


HeckyPeck Fri 05-Jun-20 18:09:08

Maybe he wants to know which ones he should take on and which ones you’ll keep?

Can you just work out which ones you want him to do and then tell him? You do need to set it out so you aren’t both doing the same/missing things.

Malbecqueen Fri 05-Jun-20 18:10:51

This is such a common issue. It's utterly crap - and it grates to have to delegate. It's not our responsibility, and so we shouldn't have to manage the divvying up of tasks/ telling them what to do...

BUT if you want things to change, you absolutely need to. I had this conversation so many times with my husband, but it was only when I broke it down to basics that he got it. So - I broke it down to exactly what's involved in sorting out costumes for school (reading the newsletter, trawling through Amazon, missing the delivery, naming the thing) or whatever the tasks that were bringing me to my knees happened to be. That's when he got it - and that's when things could start to change. It is a process and it doesn't change over night - but he sounds like he wants to do more - you just need to help him see how to do it...

Sceptre86 Fri 05-Jun-20 18:14:19

Start slow and build up. You are working he is not so he can make sure the dishes are done and put away and the dinner is cooked as well as a general tidy up and hoover everyday. He can do the shopping and you can work together to put a list together, get him to check the cupboards and fridge to see what it is that you actually need. Step back and allow him to do this even if it would be quicker to do yourself.

Then build up to other tasks. My dh will cook and clen but it is the fact that things need to be pointed out to him that pisses me off to no end and I hate the having to remember everything. We have kids and I am no more responsible for getting them to a dentist appointmemt than he is. I have now taken a huge step back and whilst it can be frustrating at times as he does not ( not cannot) multitask I will relax whilst he gets on with it.

Small changes are likely to work better if you have the patience for it, if not ltbwink

Sceptre86 Fri 05-Jun-20 18:15:07


HeckyPeck Fri 05-Jun-20 18:16:28

Mine is the same sometimes - he wants me to tell him what to do. I just think 'well, you can see what I can, there are some dirty dishes that need cleaned and a washing that needs hung up!

I think that’s where different standards come into play. For example, my husband wants to dust as soon as there’s the tiniest amount whereas I probably wouldn’t bother until it was really noticeable. So he’d be thinking “FFS Hecky never bothers with the dusting that needs doing she just leaves it for me” but I’d not think it even needs doing.

So if he said just use my eyes it wouldn’t actually get us anywhere.

He’d have to (& has in fact) be more specific and say I’d like surfaces dusting every day/2 days or whatever & then split that amongst the other chores.

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