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The Experiment - advice please

(50 Posts)
SerendipitousHarlot Thu 02-Jul-09 11:45:31

Ok, sorry but bear with me if this is a bit long and rambling.

Dh has been unemployed for almost 2 years now. He took voluntary redunancy 2 years ago, wanting to go into another field entirely - but he tried it and hated it.

Then over the last 2 years he has had 2 knee operations and depression, and is currently on incapacity benefit. I work full time and he is SAHD.

Over the last 6 months, he isn't pulling his weight in the house, imo. Every day I get home and there's stuff that needs doing - there's always a excuse reason - he hasn't felt well, he was too busy, blah blah.

I've said this morning that I want to have A Talk when I get home after the dc are in bed - he has obviousy gone straight on the defensive, said that I'm accusing him of being lazy, and that if it wasn't for him, the house would be a 'shithole' hmm

I don't agree. When I get home, there's no dinner, because he wasn't hungry, so I end up having to cook something for myself. I know from speaking to dd that he leaves some housework for her to do when she gets home from school! I always have to put a wash on, put clothes away, and usually hoover.

My idea, that I want to suggest, is that next week, I don't do any housework for 5 days, so that I can make him understand what needs doing. Is this a good idea? Has anyone done anything like it, and did it work?

AIBU to expect this?

Sorry to sound like a husband from 1900 wink

flamingobingo Thu 02-Jul-09 11:49:36

How old are your children? Does your DH have to care for them the whole time or do they go to nursery or something?

SerendipitousHarlot Thu 02-Jul-09 11:55:48

11yr old at school and 3yr old that's at nursery mornings, flamingobingo. He's at school full time in September.

AliGrylls Thu 02-Jul-09 12:34:25

I don't think you're being unreasonable in expecting him to do significantly more than you around the house. If he is at home all day he should. If the roles were reversed he would probably expect the same in return.

However, I would try to be reasonable and ask him what he does in a day that prevents house from being a shithole. Maybe he does more than you think.

GrendelsMum Thu 02-Jul-09 13:16:44

Could you get together and jointly make a list of what needs doing in the house, and then share it out as you both agree is appropriate?

MummyDragon Thu 02-Jul-09 13:41:23

YANBU to want to try the 5-day experiment (if you can last that long!!) - but bear in mind that he may be feeling pretty emasculated so do tread carefully.

SerendipitousHarlot Thu 02-Jul-09 13:46:35

I am trying MummyDragon! And have been trying for 2 years! But it's getting beyond a joke now, if I'm honest. I support everyone financially, which I know makes him feel emasculated. But don't take the piss, kwim??

norksinmywaistband Thu 02-Jul-09 14:00:03

From the other side, I have 2 DC in Preschool 5 mornings and am a SAHM.
There are days when I need to get things done later in the day, not everything can be done in the 2.5 hours they are not with me.
I understand your frustration, as H was always asking similar questions when I was still slogging away in the evenings.
Lots of discussions later he agreed that if things still had to be done in the evenings then we would share them. Just because he was the main/only wage earner did not mean that In my role of Sahm, I sould also always manage to be the cook, cleaner, laundrette etc.

I think in your experiment YABa bitU. If a MN'r posted the question AIBU DH expects me to do all household tasks and is refusing to lift a finger to help, and I really cannot get it all done in the time I have.- I think you may have a different set of responses

MorningTownRide Thu 02-Jul-09 14:21:00

Dh is a SAHD.

He - washes up
- hoovers and tidies
- cooks
- does the washing
- takes dd to nursery am
- will be taking dd to school f/t and ds to nursery in September. I consider this the bare minimum. If he did any less I would go spare.

Sometimes I get home and it looks like we've been burgled.

I get really upset sometimes with the dust/ nasty oven/ grotty floors/ dusty blinds/ dirty walls etc. BUT, when they are both in school in September I will expect it to be cleaner and this is something we have discussed.

IMO your experiment won't work. DH simply doesn't notice or care about the grot and from reading similar posts your DH won't notice either. You need to talk to him about what you expect. Or lower your standards!

Good Luck

SerendipitousHarlot Thu 02-Jul-09 14:33:50

norks - I do understand where you're coming from, but I'm not expecting to 'not lift a finger' - honestly. I think to a certain degree these things have to be shared, just that it shouldn't be me that does more than him and go to work.

Also, in fairness, ds is at nursery 2.5 hours in the morning, and is still having a 2 hour nap in the daytime - when I sometimes call dh from work at lunchtime, I often wake him up hmm DH, I mean grin

SerendipitousHarlot Thu 02-Jul-09 14:37:00

MorningTownRide - I don't have particularly high standards! grin

And there's other stuff as well, that I consider should be his responsibility - what prompted a lot of this was that we have missed an important appt for ds because we lost the letter - obviously we all lose stuff, but somehow all the parents evenings, school admissions etc have become my job as well! I just feel put upon a bit, that's all.

MorningTownRide Thu 02-Jul-09 14:37:26

He sooooo should be doing more housework then!

norksinmywaistband Thu 02-Jul-09 14:39:41

In that case Yanbu to make sure he pulls his weight.

Just that I know from experience, there is no point in vaccuming in the morning as crumbs appear from nowhere during the day, so best done in the evening. Also I put the wash on in the evening as the load is normally ready by the due to multiple clothes changes during the day( Ds has a mud attraction)

I do know that when I had depression it was very hard to focus on what needed to be done and lists were a life saver.
Can you sit down together and write a daily to-do list?

Has he fully recovered from the depression?

LastTrainToNowhere Thu 02-Jul-09 14:42:55

This probably not what you want to hear but I think you're being a wee bit unreasonable. I'm a SAHM and when my husband comes home the house resembles a tip more than anything. I can tidy all day but my 2.5 year old just undoes everything straight away. If my husband came home and accused me of not doing the housework to a "standard" I'd be spitting nails.

The way dh and I see it is that bringing a wage is HIS responsibility, caring and educating the children (just the one now, but more in the future hopefully) is MY responsibility. The house is OUR responsibility and we share tasks. I am in charge of laundry and he is in charge of hoovering in the evenings, for example. If one of us cooks, the other washes up.

Just because he is a SAHD doesn't mean he has to make the house spick and span for you when you come home...sounds too Stepford husband for my liking.

mummysaurus Thu 02-Jul-09 14:45:26

and what if he did do more housework would you really be happy?
This is not the real issue is it?. Surely what is really getting to you is that you think everyone, including him, would be happier he got a job or at least did outside activity. You are probably right but he is on a downward spiral. Staying at home if it is not a choice is v hard

It sounds as if he needs more help managing his depression rather than point scoring.


JemL Thu 02-Jul-09 14:52:10

I wouldn't bother doing the experiment as it won't work. I have tried it, just for fun! Your DH either won't notice, or won't be bothered.

Dh works full time and I work part time - but his shifts mean he is at home on some days and in the mornings. They way we work is that when he is at home I will ask him to do specific tasks. On days he is at home for the whole day, I write the things that need doing on a chalkboard in the kitchen. He is happy with this, and it means we don't row becuase he hasn't done something it would never have occured to him needed doing in the first place.

I think your time this evening would be better spent talking about the issues and how you can deal with them - it sounds as if you are really frustrated and want to "show" him - but I don't think it will be very productive.

MorningTownRide Thu 02-Jul-09 14:53:52

Sorry S-Harlot x-post!

Yep, same here. I deal with all the bills/ bank accounts etc.

AND all the school forms. We have ds starting nursery and dd starting reception. The paperwork! There is frickin' mountains of it.

Luckily, DH is trying to do the school stuff.

But I know that feeling when you come home and the place is a tip for the nth day in a row, a letter is handed to you to deal with and DH is sitting on the computer/ reading the paper or whatever.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Thu 02-Jul-09 14:55:26

I have a 2.8 year old and I honestly spend hours every day cleaning/tidying and by the time DH gets home, the place still looks like a "shithole" unless i have a chance to do it AGAIN just before, as she is so messy and just goes round creating a mini tornado of mess everywhere she goes...if DH accused me of doing nothing I'd be rightfully upset as i do lots but it all gets undone again!!!

SerendipitousHarlot Thu 02-Jul-09 15:01:20

LastTrainToKnowhere - Ok, I know I've posted this in AIBU, but did you read my 14:33:50 post?

"these things have to be shared, just that it shouldn't be me that does more than him and go to work.

Also, in fairness, ds is at nursery 2.5 hours in the morning, and is still having a 2 hour nap in the daytime - when I sometimes call dh from work at lunchtime, I often wake him up DH, I mean"

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Thu 02-Jul-09 15:03:18

my DD also goes to playgroup sometimes and then has a 2 hour nap, so i clean the entire house, and in the interval between her waking up and DH coming in she can easily turn an immaculately cleaned house into a complete and utter tip, so that there is not enough time to clean it before DH gets home, honestly, I wouldn't have believed it myself until it happened to me....

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Thu 02-Jul-09 15:04:10

maybe set up a camera to see if he is doing nothing or its being undone? wink grin

FairLadyRantALot Thu 02-Jul-09 15:05:23

Is your dh feeling depressed by any chance? I mean he has lost a big role in his life when he went to be a sahd...I think it might be time for him to find something that would fullfil him...and than see how things go?

Acinonyx Thu 02-Jul-09 15:12:47

I think general tidying and cleaning (inc hoovering) is negotiable depending on your standards. I generally tidy up once, maybe twice a week (usually for visitors wink. There is just no point in doing it more often with a 3 year-old in the house IMO.

But I think it's a different matter with the chores that just really have to be done routinely - e.g. dishes, laundry, cooking, shopping. Things can go downhill very fast if those don't get done.

I 'work' (PhD) 3 days/week (dd with CM) and while dd is at preschool the other 2 mornings. I do all the laundry, dishes and most of the cooking. Dh used to do the shopping on a Sat but now I've submitted I'm doing it. I deal with everything to do with dd's drs appts (quite a saga) childcare and school stuff. I decided this was reasonable since dh works full-time and tbh I personally think the fact that I bring in NO money at all means that I should pick up more of the chores even though technically I don't really have more time - I just try to fit them in and you get the hang of it even with a limpit 3 yr-old in tow.

Dh does a lot of diy, gardening and a lot of the heavy cleaning.

So I think your dh is majorly not pulling his weight and I'm surely it is largely because he is depressed. Your plan will not work as pp have said - just draw up a list of chores and negotiate how you will share them out between you. But you must also talk to him about his situation more generally and discuss things he might do to better his general situation which is clealry getting him down (it would certainly get me down, BTDT).

SerendipitousHarlot Thu 02-Jul-09 15:12:53

He is under treatment for depression FairLady - he has just upped the dose of citalopram - I am sympathetic to this, I promise - it's just difficult feeling like I have to be the capable one all the time.

Fanjo - that's an idea lol - one of those cameras inside a teddy perhaps grin

Acinonyx Thu 02-Jul-09 15:15:05

Could he get some counselling - I know men are not always very receptive but I'm sure it would help?

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