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The Housework Row -Dads I need your help!

(75 Posts)
saintpeta Mon 23-Jun-08 14:45:02

I have had this recurring row with my dh who has this idea that I do too little housework at home while he is at work. I know because I am at home that I am working like a dog! -its so infuriating that he thinks otherwise. He refuses to do anything at home although when we didn't have kids it was balanced. I can't stand these stupid arguments as he always threatens to leave and i always say go then...but then we get back to normal again the next day. There is no compromise with him and I welcome your opinion-any thoughts?

bossybritches Mon 23-Jun-08 14:46:24

Don't do everything you DO normally do one day & see if he appreciates the difference!!!

Cheeky sod.

Twelvelegs Mon 23-Jun-08 14:48:37

Even though I'm like you, rubbish at housework there are some people who can do both. My sister's house is immaculate but lived in, IFYKWIM,and she has a very small baby and a three year old.

bossybritches Mon 23-Jun-08 14:49:54

Seriously though I'd sit down with him & a list & say sweetly "Right what do you think ought to be done each day dear?"

Then ask him to choose which bits he is prepared to do for his half of the list, as you used to do pre the DC's.

What age are your kids? He may need a reality check in the form of remnding him how much you are saving on nursery /cleaners fees.

Come to think of it -stop rowing & get a cleaner anyway or send out the ironing &make sure HE gets the bills.


micci25 Mon 23-Jun-08 15:00:30

er i had this problem with dp not long ago, exploding is what i found works best!!

what you need to do is start screaming and shouting and swearing incoherently at anyone or thing who comes near you, even the dog, because you have had enough. once your screaming is over clean manicially stating that you have realised you will never be seen as anything other than a housewife and mother and you might aswell just get on with it. if you are planning anything like college courses/days out with friends tell dh you ahve cancelled as you are merely wife and mother and dont have time to do anything for yourself, make sure a cry a few times that day too, but dont tell him why. refuse to eat as you dont have time, you are too busy cleaning up after every one as you seem to be the only adult in the house.

once he is sufficently worried, sit down cry some more and explain how you feel you are taken advantage of and how you need more help and he will tell you that he didnt realise you wanted more help angry!! worked for me lol! or throw him out, that also worked a few days later re his shouting!

does your dh have any holidays planned? encourage him to take some and stay home so he can see exactly how much you do, my dp has promsied that he will never go on about the house again now he has seen how the mess is made (eg constantly, i am in kitchen cleaning dd1 is wrecking living room that has just been cleaned) and how difficult dd1 can be!!

sorry not much pratical advise there! but i tried everything from list making to nagging to doing everything he asked before i exploded and was the only thing that worked!

Twelvelegs Mon 23-Jun-08 15:07:02

Do you need to get a little organised? Perhaps have children's toys in one room only?
Only I couldn't manage and so we got a cleaner, but if your partner does an eight hour day it's not so big an ask to come home to a vaguely tidy house, is it?
Perhaps in the morning you tidy, get the dcs who are old enough to muck in (pretend) and leave the afternoon to go out?

StripySails Mon 23-Jun-08 15:09:44

I like micci's suggestion. It's probably how I would handle it.

JodieG1 Mon 23-Jun-08 15:12:24

I like micci's suggestion but if I did that dh probably wouldn't even notice and if he didn't it wouldn't worry in the slightest.

UnquietDad Mon 23-Jun-08 15:13:52

Should he really do half if he works?

The way I see it, if you make the decision for one person to stay at home and the other to go to work full-time then it is one person's job to Earn The Money, which they should not expect the other to contribute to, and the other person's job to Manage The House, which they should not expect the other to contribute to.

The proportions should be scaled up or down according to the balance of work. So if you both work full-time it should more or less 50-50 with the housework. But not until or unless that is the case.

LittleMyDancing Mon 23-Jun-08 15:15:49

how old are your children saintpeta?

I found some stuff is easy to do with children, like putting the washing on, but other stuff is impossible (hoovering in our house has to be done when DS is asleep, as he's scared of the hoover hmm)

have you ever left the kids with him for a day? so he can see how little time you have to yourself when you're looking after them? I went to a conference for two days and it really opened DP's eyes to how much work it is taking care of just one DS on your own.

EustaciaVye Mon 23-Jun-08 15:17:31

I am at home most of the time and agree with UQD. I do work one morning a week and also some evenings. DH has offered a cleaner but if I want one but I see it as part of my 'job' I guess.

My DH helps to bath the kids at night and I run the hoover around or sort the washing out. I do the rest during the day. He cooks dinner most nights too.

Sounds like you and your DH are very inflexible with regard to just 'doing what needs to be done' as opposed to doing what you both see as each others jobs. Make a list of every job and allocate ownership would be my advice.

laidbackinengland Mon 23-Jun-08 15:17:33

But unquiet dad - this would be OK if the one Earning the Money never came into the house and made any mess !! If the one Earning the Money lives in the house to, then surely is reasonable for them to do SOME of the cleaning/household chores.

laidbackinengland Mon 23-Jun-08 15:17:56

too blush

LittleMyDancing Mon 23-Jun-08 15:18:12

Unquiet Dad - depends if you think 'Manage the House' includes 'Take Care of the Children' and that both those tasks together are the equivalent of one full time job outside the home.

My feeling is that 'Take Care of the Children' pushes it over into more than one full time job. Depending on the age of the children.

After all, if both people are working full time, then they'd still have to split the cleaning in the evenings and weekends, wouldn't they?

StrictMachine Mon 23-Jun-08 15:21:40

One afternoon a man came home from work to find total mayhem in his house. His three children were outside, still in their pyjamas, playing in the mud with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard.

The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house. Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room, the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

He ran up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He found her lounging in the bedroom, still curled up in the bed, still in her pajamas, reading a novel.

She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went.

He looked at her bewildered and asked, "What happened here today?"

She again smiled and answered, "You know every day when you come home from work and ask me what in the world I did today?"

"Yes," was his incredulous reply, half shouting.

The smile remained, "Well, today I didn't do it."

StrictMachine Mon 23-Jun-08 15:22:16

That joke always annoys me for some reason, but the sentiment is true.

DaDaDa Mon 23-Jun-08 15:25:40

In my view childcare alone is equal to the job (if the children are below school age) and any housework other then basic tidying up as you go along during the day should be 50:50. If the children are at shool then that is very different.

Has he ever had any extended periods of looking after the children?

Anna8888 Mon 23-Jun-08 15:31:34

I'm with UnquietDad here - I think that sole breadwinners shouldn't be expected to do housework.

With the caveat that everyone in a household should clear up after themselves in a general sort of way (put clothes/shoes away, put dirty laundry in the basket, help clear up after collective meals etc).

seeker Mon 23-Jun-08 15:38:49

I really don't see (and I know I'm going to get shot down in flames for this) that spending the day at home with anything except a very tiny baby is anything like as hard as working a full day outside the home and possibly commuting. Babies sleep. Toddlers watch TV and play and sleep - is it really so hard to keep a house reasonable at the same time? Personally, I would far rather dp played with the children than hoovered when he gets home. I agree with Anna that the working outside the home one should be as considerate as anyone else living in the house - wasning in the bsket, towels on the rail, stuff taken out put away, worktop clean if he's made a sandwich - that sort of thing. And as dp says "I never meet anyone as fun and interesting as the dcs at work"!

micci25 Mon 23-Jun-08 15:39:45

i like that joke!! unless you are a househusband i feel very sorry for your wife unquiet dad!

there are some things that should be done fairly re housework even where one works and the other doesnt. my dp works he sees his time not at work as 'his time' i.e. his time off! if had two days a week 'off' and every evening the house would be in uproar! much as it is now actually, as dp has just had two months off work and it annoys the hell out of me cleaning while he sits on backside looking at holidays we cant afford!!

i agree that stay at home one should do most of the housework (me) but the other should do something!

a fair compromise i have is that dp is responsible for picking up after himself, i.e. taking out plates once he has eaten, putting lager cans and takeaway cartons out after himself, washing must be put in washing basket, if i cook he washes up, we take turns bathing and putting kids to bed, dp shred's the junk mail, if he needs anything specific washing for a certain day he has to take responsibilty of that himself, he takes the bins out and brings back in.

on a weekend i expect him to clean the yard, help bath the dog, fix the hoover (i have a habit of hoovering things up that shouldnt go up the hoover)and feed and entertain the dc's.

the rest i do myself. although he really should do more, he is actually incapable of cleaning up and it infuriates me watching him try as he actually just causes more mess!!

LittleMyDancing Mon 23-Jun-08 15:41:44

Whatever the ins and outs, to be honest, I don't think there is a right answer. It comes down to what people are willing/able to do for each other.

Just saying 'I earn the money, therefore I won't do housework' isn't really helpful in the context of a loving relationship.

But saying 'I really don't have the energy/inclination to do housework when I get back from work, but how about I take the kids to the park on a Saturday morning to give you the chance to catch up on a bit of housework and have a long bath' is more useful, iyswim?

EffiePerine Mon 23-Jun-08 15:42:20

well, unless you are working outside the home 24/7 I think you need to take turns. Maybe not 50/50 but certianly helping out at the weekend and in the evenings.

It's reasonable to expect the person at home to do the day-to-day basics (whatever they are in your hosue) but not to take responsibility for ALL the house stuff, all the cooking, cleaning, admin...

Seeker: ever had a colicky baby or a difficult todder? I come into work for a rest!

EffiePerine Mon 23-Jun-08 15:43:53

'babies sleep. Toddlers play and watch TV and sleep'



seeker Mon 23-Jun-08 15:45:36

Look me in the eye, Effie and tell me that you spent every second of the day looking after your dcs when they were past, say, 6 months?

UnquietDad Mon 23-Jun-08 15:46:03

Well, we both work so we split the housework. So no need to feel sorry for anyone.

That joke has been done to death now - it's not that funny. I'm sure there is an equivalent one to be made about the electricity & gas being cut off and the house being repossessed and the husband saying "Oh yes, you know that money I usually earn? Well, I didn't do that for the past few weeks."

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