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People who are just weary of the endless cycle of domestic jobs and who TRY to change but fundamentally don't like housework: come and talk to me

(24 Posts)
Prunerz Tue 13-Oct-09 07:01:42

I didn't know whether or not to put this in relationships. Basically DH and I really don't enjoy housework. Our place is not filthy and it's in good nick but there are constantly piles of things that need putting away. Mail...old receipts that need keeping...trays of craft stuff we are half-doing with ds...DIY bits and bobs.

We've been here for 2 years and we don't have a place for the iron. That sort of sums things up.

Basically I've said "Look we can't live like this, we need to have a place for everything we have containers and cupboards but no organisation, so let's make a list of everything that needs a permanent home, sort it out, and bob's your uncle." DH nods in agreement and then WILL NOT do it - I know he won't, before I even open my mouth.

But (and this winds me up so badly) I say that and then do nothing. I would LOVE it if DH nodded and then brought it up again and we worked together on it. He has never been like that. It is kind of up to me. I HATE this role - it's like being a mother to him and it makes me cross, resentful, it makes him unattractive to me (I mean how can you have a 100% keen attraction-based relationship with someone whose clean t-shirts you have just gathered up from 4 different places in the house and put away? And don't say 'well don't do that then' because I didn't, but 6 weeks later I couldn't stand it any more).

Anyway, he's crap and I'm crap and I don't want to be a shrew. We've been together donkey's years and neither of us is going to miraculously become excessively houseproud. I am not going to nyip nyip nyip at him until he sees my way is the best - especially as I am just as bad at the actual doing. But is there any way I can get him to either come up with ideas to improve things or to go along with mine?

He has gone away for a week and I have a bit of space to look around and it's soul-destroying.

saadia Tue 13-Oct-09 07:04:54

If I were you I would just do it myself. Once you have a system in place perhaps he will find it easier to be more organised.

sarah293 Tue 13-Oct-09 07:05:58

Message withdrawn

Knickers0nMaHead Tue 13-Oct-09 07:09:06

dp can be like this but I started saying, look, this needs sorting out.If it isnt done by X, then its the bin. Funnily enough, since throwing his dvds aways, he has sorted things the same day grin

sarah293 Tue 13-Oct-09 07:10:47

Message withdrawn

stuffitllllama Tue 13-Oct-09 07:10:58

Been there. You left the best bit till last! He has gone away for a week.

Your best bet is to sort it and say: it stays this way. If he's not been brought up to put his filthy washing in the laundry it's a damn shame but you have to make him. Plastic bag full of unwashed clothes until he runs out, I think it's the only way.

How old are the dc Prunerz? How many hours a day can you devote? Are you working?

I have quite a good bit of advice I think. You probably have quite a lot of "running" housework to do before you can even think of starting on the clearing jobs.

My advice is, don't do it, apart from putting on washing loads and cooking. But for this I would give the children beans on toast for a week.

Start on the big jobs now. Get two done today eg school letter and bank statement sludge, and a list of what else needs to be done.

Getting paper sludge done will completely energise you for the rest-of-the-week list. And with that, be ruthless.

Award yourself an hour in a supermarket to buy folders/stickers/plastic tubs and whatever you need and then get started without thinking about filthy toilets and so on. It's the only way. That stuff will just have to wait because "running" housework is endless and if you procrastinate until you've "finished it" then the big jobs will wait forever.

Good luck.

Podrick Tue 13-Oct-09 07:12:42

Why not make the list yourself and work through say 3 things a week ? I am doing this myself at the moment as my house is untidy and also just full to overflowing. It is satisfying to sort things out but sometimes depressing just how much more needs doing!

stuffitllllama Tue 13-Oct-09 07:13:09

I agree with knickers.. if he's not been brought up that way and he's not listening then you teach him the same way as with the children. Use it or lose it (or in this case tidy it or lose it grin. Tis an issue of respect but he's blind to it right now.

I think you just need to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, and get on with it yourself. I have found that by de-cluttering my house (it is an ongoing process) then housework is a) much less and b) much easier.

Once you have got your house to an reasonable state you then have to TELL your DH what you expect of him. Do not ask, do not cajole tell him make sure it is a SMART objective (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) i.e by the time you come to bed tonight please will you unpack and put away the stuff in the dishwasher.

Prunerz Tue 13-Oct-09 07:17:40

He won't, saadia. He simply isn't a person who is capable of/likes/values/can be bothered with neatness and tidiness. One of those. I don't know which. Different ones at different times, I suspect.

I suppose the thing is it is my role - and Riven you are right, it feels like being forced into it. I gave up work 3 years ago (now work p/t) and while I do accept that I will do more (not all) of the work in the home, I don't like that it is my job - solely, just ME. I never, ever, saw myself as a housewife, yet I'm in a position where I either just make all the domestic decisions or I nag him to help me make some of those decisions. Either way, it's infantilising him. Or he's infantilising himself. Or something.

I'm not talking about doing the dishes, btw. It's more about sorting our house out. We have some work to do on it, renovations too. It does all involve him, his things, our lifestyle, etc.

I am not 100% happy with being the one to do the hoovering while he's at work but I accept that's a fair swap, at the moment.

Also farm out the truly horrible jobs, I have just hired someone to clean my oven or if you could afford it you could pay a company to come and do a deep clean of your house to sort of act as a starting point.

Prunerz Tue 13-Oct-09 07:19:23

Knickers grin

Call me soft, though, but I don't want to live with someone whom I have to treat like a child!

Prunerz Tue 13-Oct-09 07:21:53

Ooh good ideas here.

Actually when I got up, I thought I would go round the house later, gather together everything that needs a place, dump it all in the spare room (his office) and when he gets back he can see the scale of our problem.

stuffitllllama Tue 13-Oct-09 07:23:47

It's not necessarily infantilising to not make decisions about renovation. You should take on that responsibility if you want it done yourself and he doesn't care. It would involve telling him you are setting up a budget and planning it and if he wants input, fine -- but if he absolves himself of responsibility completely then he hands it over to you completely.

Seriously, it might seem unfair but if you want it done, do it.

Knickers0nMaHead Tue 13-Oct-09 07:24:16

prunerz, i had to do it once. Surely thats better than a lifetime of doing it all yourself?

stuffitllllama Tue 13-Oct-09 07:32:18

Prunez in the most basic terms: I think it's impossible to beat a man in a game of chicken on this issue. Am definitely a feminist. Am also pragmatic.

purepurple Tue 13-Oct-09 07:32:26

Ooh, I did this once.
I collected everything that didn't have a home to live in. I put it all in a bin liner and dumped it on the kitchen table.
DH hit the roof. We had a row. But we did come to an agreement, and DH has got better about putting things away.

bumpyandfrumpy Tue 13-Oct-09 07:38:23

I have had this too. I reorganised the under-stairs cupboard and redid the way we do our filing while DH was away.
As a result, he now whines about how he doesn't like the way it is done and makes a point of not using it. I have asked him to come up with a better solution and SURPRISE it still hasn't happened.
Men.

Prunerz Tue 13-Oct-09 07:41:16

lol at 'a game of chicken' grin
You have hit the nail on the head there!!

scattyspice Tue 13-Oct-09 08:17:59

this sums it up

TheApprentice Tue 13-Oct-09 08:40:34

Oh I feel your pain, I really do! Dh is SO untidy and I'm not naturally tidy either, but I have (low) standards and sometimes all the mess and clutter just does my head in. Its the not putting away I can't get my head round. If you are going to get the shoe cleaning kit out to clean your shoes, how much more effort can it be to put it back in the cupboard when you have finished? Like you we have piles of stuff accumulating everywhere. We went to visit my parents recently (they are v houseproud), and Dh said "It's quite interesting, they've got a place for everything haven't they?" as if this were some fantastic new discovery!

Things I have found that help are:-

Dh has got into the habit of asking me most days "Is there anything I need to do for you?". This is great as I can ask then ask him to tidy something up without feeling like I am nagging. Disclaimer: He doesnt always do it though!!

Not comparing the state of my house to my very tidy friends. I have also got a couple of friends whose houses are messier than mine, v helpful!

To a certain extent just accepting that Dh will never be tidy, it will never be important to him so therefore I must take more responsibility as it matters more to me.

Dh has his own office in the house (I accept that we are lucky to have the room) which he keeps in a dreadful state and I never enter it - so it never gets cleaned - but I keep the door shut so visitors dont see it!

Making the most of any evenings he is not at home to do tidying/organising. Can't do it in the day as have two small dc to run after.

Telling myself that having a messy home is not the end of the world. There are worse things.......

SmallSCREAMCap Tue 13-Oct-09 09:14:01

DH and I have been living together for 10 years and only sorted this problem this year, due to the arrival of DC2. V similar to you - DH full-time, me part-time but not prepared to be solely responsible for house, and neither of us remotely houseproud so no driving motivation to solve the problem on either side.

We had limped along for years with him washing (not drying/putting away) the dinner dishes and mowing the lawn in the summer and NOTHING ELSE, him thinking that he was therefore doing his share and me not having the energy to confront either him OR the housework. Result - regular pile-ups of work and regular melt-downs by me.

I told him that when he doesn't clean his own poo off the toilet, or leaves crisp packets on the coffee table, the message that it sends from him to me is "My time is more valuable than yours." This worked for about a week, but things drifted and I just felt resentful.

Finally I said "Being in charge of all the housework makes me extremely unhappy and I can't go on like this. What can we do about it?" Making it clear that it was a shared problem, and I was not going to let it go.

We came up with a housework rota, a very simple one for daily grind stuff, allocating who did the dishes, laundry, tidying and the hoovering. I was really tempted to add in every tiny job e.g. clean shower tiles, polish mirrors, but since these are things I tend to overlook myself, I kept it to the bare minimum of food-related housework, laundry-related housework, cleaning bathrooms & sinks and tidying up. DH had 3 jobs a day (e.g. wash up after dinner, tidy living room at night, put 1 load of darks on to wash) and I had 5.

Later on I added in the weekly & fortnightly jobs on a list at the side for us to tick off. These were the things that we really should have been doing regularly but almost never got to because of the layer of daily crap that needed getting through first - polish furniture, properly dust bookshelf, hoover behind & under things, etc. We both picked something and ticked it off when we had a spare 5 minutes at evenings & weekends.

Also, check out the "Squalor Survivors" website. here There's some great stuff about "demand resistance", which I think we both tend towards (i.e. if I know I need to do something, but it isn't life-threatening, I will resent getting on with it and try to wriggle out of it). I went round the house and took photos of every room in its untouched state and realised that I was living in what the website describes as "level 1 squalor." shock There have been times in my life pre-kids when I was definitely in level 2. The website advocates micro-bursts of work - do something for 5 minutes now, rather than try and do everything all day once a month.

So try a housework rota but keep it really simple to start off with and build on it. Good luck.

Prunerz Tue 13-Oct-09 10:03:40

Really interesting Small
And TheApprentice, v much like us.
I have done what I said and put all the gubbins in the spare room. I am slightly ashamed to note that more than half of it is mine blush. I'll make the list of what needs to have a place - we do have good storage here, but way, way too much stuff.
Ta everyone

fluffles Tue 13-Oct-09 10:16:16

i haven't solved this but i am trying to and i am trying by making things easier - e.g. intrays for post and paperwork so if it's in a pile at least it's a 'tidy' pile,

i've noticed recently that the ironing board NEVER gets put away, but 'away' is in a cupboard behind a chair and DP uses it a few times a week so i'm going to find another more convenient 'away' for it.

DP likes to make a HUGE mess in the kitchen and leave it all evening and then do a BIG tidy all at once... whereas i prefer to keep things manageable as i go along, i can't even go in there between him cooking and him tidying (which is all evening) but so long as i stay in the living room i can pretend it's not there... just a shame it means i can't use the kitchen table for studying sad wish i had my own 'office'...

i'm actually wondering if a cleaner is the answer so that we are forced to tidy every week before s/he comes...

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