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Equality of labour

(78 Posts)
gondolo Wed 25-May-11 18:46:20

My DH and I both work full time in exactly the same jobs (both hospital doctors). I am 5 months pregnant with our first. Despite nagging / ultimatum / upset etc I still do 99% of all household tasks. We moved house recently, I did all of the move and all of the associated administration.
I do all of the cleaning / shopping / cooking / bill paying / household administration. I don't think DH even realises we've got a garden so I do lawnmowing / watering / putting bins out etc.
I look after our dog (taking to vets etc) and do everything else.
I stopped doing DH's laundry in February and it took him 6 weeks to put a load in! He does occasionally do the laundry but not enough and he doesn't do it properly.
He has never made / changed the bed in all of the time we have been together. He often leaves pants / socks on the floor etc.
We have a cleaner who comes in once a week, which has helped a bit.
How do I make him do more housework? If I ask him to do a specific task he whinges and won't do it for ages so it's just not worth asking him and I end up doing it myself.
I am actually considering leaving him over this issue, he's just being so bloody selfish, and it's only going to get worse when the baby comes along.
Anyone got any tips on how to get him motivated? Or to use a bit of his own initiative occasionally?
Help much appreciated! Thanks

IThinkTooMuch Wed 25-May-11 19:04:12

Does he know you're considering leaving him over it?

Beamur Wed 25-May-11 19:06:59

Get the cleaner in more.
He's unlikely to change much - do you really want to break up over this?

HumphreyCobbler Wed 25-May-11 19:09:55

yes, have you told him that you may leave over this? Does he know exactly how pissed off you are?

blackeyedsusan Wed 25-May-11 20:29:57

have you told him it would be less work if he wasn't around?

tribpot Wed 25-May-11 20:33:30

What does he say when you ask him why he doesn't do his share of household tasks?

nuttyone Wed 25-May-11 20:34:56

Similar problem, only my partner works a lot less hours. You can't change him. Either get more help in or move on.....
When our No1 arrived it was awful.. He whinged that i hadn't cooked and cleaned the house whilst i was 'off'!! Now its a constant battle. He moans when i have been on-call because he has had to look after our DD.
I have stayed, for other utterly selfish reasons, and i paid for a cleaner to come etc
Good luck

7to25 Wed 25-May-11 22:32:54

my husband is a hospital doctor and does nothing. I do not think it will change and you are wasting your time with the nagging and ultimata. When you have the baby he will just stay at work until he thinks the coast is clear and it is safe for him to come home. They have a 24 hour a day escape route!
What you do have is money.Get the cleaner in 3 times a week and get them to do the washing and ironing.Get a gardener and a dog walker. he should contribute fully for these services.
if this is unacceptable, then you will have to leave him. I would honestly try and buy in as much help as is humanly possible and try not to over think the whole thing. It is terribly hard to have two medical careers in a marriage!
Take any route you can to make it easier.

Point out to him that men who do their fair share of domestic work (their fair share by the way is enough for there to be an equal amount of leisure time for all the adults in the house) get more and better sex, while men who do fuck all around the house get less and less sex and get divorced. Because it's hard for a woman to feel any sexual desire at all for a man who is demonstrating that he considers her his servant.

FabbyChic Wed 25-May-11 23:37:24

Stop cooking for him and don't do anything for him at all, move into a different bedroom and have your own room that is clean so you don't have to live with his shit, he should get the message then, he sounds lazy.

perfectstorm Wed 25-May-11 23:58:35

Cleaner who comes in a lot more often and a gardener is the only answer. My DH is exactly the same - when I was pregnant I also had severe SPD, no cleaner and a lodger whose ideas on cleaning were the same as DH's. Hell. And when you have a newborn the washing machine/dishwasher/mess will get worse, while his behaviour won't. If you can afford to contract this argument out I would, in a heartbeat.

animula Thu 26-May-11 00:00:44

I'm not sure I agree with the "throw money at the problem" (to use a phrase from La Thatch), well, not entirely, anyway.

Yes, I might do that in the short run but...

I'm an old "Penelope Leach"-style parent, and one of the great things I read in one of her parenting books was her somewhat dry overview of gender, labour and parenting. She observed that supposed equality between the sexes often goes out of the window when the children arrive. That is experienced as a shock, partly because the fact that men (usually) do very little of the home work is disguised pre-children by the fact that a lot of household tasks are contracted out.

Now, you are pre-children, and you already know your dh is doing less. Yes you can contract out a lot of those tasks, now, and after your child arrives. But here's the thing, Penelope was pointing out that tasks expaaaand after the baby arrives, in ways that you can't, completely, contract out.

That suggests that, while you might well throw some money at it now, this problem isn't going to go away (you've already guessed it won't) and it really would be good to have a (very, very firm) discussion of it now. Ideally, before maternity leave, which can set patterns of you taking huge amounts of responsibility as "your" job set in stone.

I think telling him, and making it clear with action, how seriously you take it is the way to go.

And it can work. One of friend's dhs was like this, and he shaped up after some firm talk. Though that was post-baby. And she did, actually, kick him out (for three days) once. though hopefully it won't come to that.

And good luck with the pregnancy!

carantala Thu 26-May-11 00:11:50

Is a "hospital doctor" the same as a doctor (GP)? If so, understand that the remuneration is exceedingly generous!

Pay someone to deal with the tedium of everyday tasks

carantala Thu 26-May-11 00:16:20

Understand that GP's can now earn over £100,000 per annum

animula Thu 26-May-11 00:20:51

Thing is, she may not wish to pay for round-the-clock childcare for her child, or for someone to take on a share of the thinking, planning, and almost-invisible doing of parenting.

In my (limited) experience, the parent who does not involve themselves in the maintenance of life and the reproduction of the quotidien at the level of household tasks often fails to pull their weight at the really important stuff, that often folks feel squeamish about contracting out (unless they are old-skool Royalty, really).

That leads to a lot of resentment. Usually after the female parent has cut back on her working hours and thus her career.

animula Thu 26-May-11 00:26:47

Also, isn't there something just a little bit weird about a family paying another, lower-paid woman to do the tasks of the male member of the household?

Because it's not the OP's share of the workload that this lower-paid woman (and it most likely will be a woman) is being employed to cover. And she is working the same (paid) job.

And kind of a weird message to send out to your children: "Yes dears: we have Nadja, Magdalena and Pietr in because daddy's penis means he is just soooo tired of an evening. Having a vagina makes me far better at doing several jobs. Though I don't get paid as much, now, because my vagina means I am far better at taking days off when you're ill/on holiday."

thumbwitch Thu 26-May-11 00:34:51

I'm with the "have a very serious talk with him about this" crowd - you need to TELL him how much it affects your feelings and how close you are to walking out on him. He may never change, in which case you can re-evaluate how much you really want to have him around, since he adds to the housework without helping out with it.

You need to stop doing it all now. Don't wait until the baby comes, or he will blame the baby for you stopping. Tell him it's time he took his fair share of teh responsibility of running the home. Draw up a roster if necessary (although that can be counterproductive as they find it patronising or something) but STOP doing stuff for him.

However bad it is now it's going to be so much worse when the baby arrives, especially if you have to have a CS - unless he suddenly mans up and realises that he has to take an active part in home-running. And he's not likely to do that unless you give him some really big hints.

Good luck.

Hedgerow7 Thu 26-May-11 00:36:33

I second the question someone asked, what does he say when you ask him why he doesn't do his fair share?

My question is why did you decide to have a baby with this man?

ALthough you can afford hired help, surely this just masks the problem and he will still be the same selfish pig, he won't have to change.

The only way I can see improvement is through counselling. I cannot understand how anyone can be like this and surely it will need outside help to get your relationship into a healthier place. I wish you luck. Just please do not put up with this, this is terrible and yes it will get worse when the baby comes.

montmartre Thu 26-May-11 00:36:38

animula- I love you.

that is all.

jenny60 Thu 26-May-11 00:39:48

I sympathise and also don't think paying people to come in is a long term solution, especially as you will be the one doing all hiring, firing, coordinating, paying etc... You have to insist on a fair distribution of labour or you WILL go mad over this.

Bast Thu 26-May-11 01:31:19

I'm Chaos, H2B's OCD. We run a nice home, somehow, between us.

It causes frustrations (more for him than me). But I'm a dippy sod and he's a bit of a control freak so we get what we need from each other. My (self acknowledged, not imposed!) need for direction and clarity of thought is fulfilled by him and and he gets someone to guide. Weird but with awareness of our 'positions' quite a perfect match!

7to25 Thu 26-May-11 01:32:49

I posted my opinion to try and offer a practical view of your situation. Try not to get embroiled in social theory or gender politics! You ask how to get your husband to do more housework? you have tried nagging, withdrawing labour and posters suggest that you implicitly threaten to withdraw sex, cooking services and threaten to leave him. I think, from experience, that none of these will work and I would love to hear of examples where they have worked on even a semi-permanent basis.
Posters are suggesting that you start a domestic war. That may be justified if your husband was lying on the couch playing a PS3 all day, but that is not the case. He works and earns enough to have help around the home. I can only tell you that I know no two-career medical families who have no domestic help. The happier families seem to me to have the most! the unhappier ones constanly fight about who does what. Do you want to bring the new baby into a family at war?
You will have a hard life in many ways, harder still if you are away from your families. encourage your husband rather than alienating him and get him to do things with the baby. The washing and the garden don't matter. They can be done by others.

Goodynuff Thu 26-May-11 02:41:12

I would write a list of everything that needs doing, sit him down, and say "pick half".
Make it clear that you are not will to keep things as they are, a baby is on its way which will add to the work, tension and schedualing.
(not that babies aren't lovely warm balls of wonderfulnessgrin)
If he protests, calmly point out that you are equal, with equal hours and abilities.
If he is smart enough to become a doctor, he can be smart enough to learn how to wash clothes!

Tambern Thu 26-May-11 04:12:39

7to25 the issue is the lack of respect or care shown by the OP's DH. It's very simple. He should do the same amount around the house as she does. Regardless of how much the cleaner does, whatever is left should be done by the two able bodied adults who benefit from the surroundings.

She works just as hard as he does, and is entitled to respect and the decency of him giving her an actual reason as to why she should take on what is effectively an extra job to subsidise the house while he does nothing.

TheRealMBJ Thu 26-May-11 06:08:31

7to25 - I'm sorry but this is about gender politics. It is not just about the housework, but about equal division of labour and responsibility. AmI right in thinking that everyone suggesting OP get a cleaner is assuming that she would be paying for said cleaner?

How is is right that her salary should be used to pay for the unwillingness of her H to pull his weight at home?

Having someone else come in to do his share of the domestic tasks may ease things in the short-term but it does not address the root of the problem. OP has exactly the same, equally demanding (and If I'm right in guessing, junior doctor) job as her H.

I'm sorry to say OP, but if he respects you so little now that it is obvious that you have an equal amount of (paid) work, what do you think will happen when you are on maternity leave and he thinks that 'all you do is sit around at home all day'?

I am trained as a doctor as well and having a baby came as a massive shock to me, I though I was used to coping with sleep deprivation and constant demands on my person, I was very, very wrong. Penelope Leach is right about the division of labour when you have children, and I am lucky to have a DH who really does pull his weight (and I'm a SAHM)

There is a small chance that your H just hasn't considered his inconsiderate behaviour and hasn't noticed because you just do pick up the slack. You need to sit down and discuss this issue with him seriously and explain how things are going to change unless he starts pulling his weight.

On a practical note, it helps to be a little slatternly yourself. I clean necessary areas but don't tidy much. Lower your own standard a little and make it clear what is expected of him.

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