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Messy v tidy - anyone else have this problem?

(23 Posts)
Tidytimswife Mon 26-Sep-11 14:42:09

My problems are nothing compared to what many more mums netters go through with their other halves. Title says it all. I am naturally quite an untidy person. I do try to keep some semblance of order in the house, but it does often sometimes go to pot when work/life gets busy. DC take after me unfortunately, either tidy genes missed them and/or I haven't got them well trained. I think it would just about kill me to keep a house likeplace ace and frankly I've better things to do with my time.

DH is the opposite, Mr Spic n Span. Increasingly we are starting to resent these traits in each other. He works long hours in the week, but at weekends he makes a big deal about huffing and puffing as he tidies the kitchen etc and is becoming... I hate to say it...a nag. It's definitely worse when he's stressed at work.

I see where he's coming from, but am starting to feel he wants me to be something I'm not. His wittering is boring and depressing me. I don't seem to get much appreciation for what I do do well - doing just about everything for the kids, looking after PIL, working, washing, ironing, cooking.

I guess both of us need to give a little. Anyone been here and found a happy solution?

Thank you.

Tidytimswife Mon 26-Sep-11 14:43:43

* fifth line should say "like a palace"

fallingandlaughing Mon 26-Sep-11 15:19:30

Sorry I don't have a solution, but you do have my sympathies. my DP is like this and as a result I have become much tidier. However I sometimes feel I can't ever live up to his standards! people come into our home and can't believe we have a young baby. I think to DP mess=stress and also being messy=not caring. so I do try to convey to him that the latter is not the case.

Tidytimswife Mon 26-Sep-11 15:37:05

Thank you Falling, glad I'm not the only one. He's great in so many ways and we've put up with each other for so long, but are both getting grumpier and less tolerant. I'll try and take a leaf out of your book, Falling and try to make more of an effort.

Anyone else?

glasscompletelybroken Mon 26-Sep-11 15:37:31

I think there has to be a bit of give and take. Can you sit down and talk about it calmly. tell him you know it annoys him that you are untidy but that it also annoys you that he makes a big deal of it.

I do think that it's important for children to be involved in a certain amount of "housework chores" even from an ealry age so maybe agree with them on specific tasks that they will be responsible for. It doesn't have to be anything big but it will be good for them and also help your DH to know that everyone is making an effort.

As far as your contribution goes I would do the same - agree with him on specific tasks you will undertake but point out that it is not life and death if the house is a bit messy and that if it is so important to him then he will have to take responsibility for it - either by doing it himself or by getting a cleaner.

It sounds like you are doing all the other household stuff anyway so that's not unreasonable - are you both working FT?

Tidytimswife Mon 26-Sep-11 15:52:35

Thank you for taking the time to answer, Glass. Yes we should sit down and talk about it. We have in the past; I readily admit to being messy and he knows he's a moaner about it, especially when tired. But hopefully we can meet half way. Yes and dC do need to get on board. TRraining them is a job in itself - and because I'm quite relaxed domestically, it is a struggle for me to keep them in check about tidying toys away etc.

I work part time and we already have a cleaner (hides head in shame). Just she's not here 24/7 sadly, just a couple of hours a week.

MummyFirst Mon 26-Sep-11 18:24:41

I think you and my husband would get on marvelously!!! I'm quite sure that your post could have been written by him, although I do all the extras that you do and work, and then clean cook wash and iron!!!

Sometimes this boils over into a huge row, normally when i've done a full scrub and everything is 'perfect' then he walks black sock fluff across the cream carpet (hangs head in shame as I realise this is not the end of the world). He does try then for a while and no matter how much we discuss my 'monicaisms' as he calls it, we fail to see eye to eye on the matter. I know my obsession to have all the lightswitches the same way round drives him bonkers though!

He has improved somewhat however and I've found he'll do little things now which help greatly.

There will always be the parliamentary ruckas over why the bin has been overstuffed instead of emptied though!

We could have worse problems, and in the grand scheme of things it really isn't that bad.

PamSco Mon 26-Sep-11 18:29:00

Oi TidyTim what you doing in my house messing it up? Oh no - that's me smile

I could write your original post verbatim - all the same here.

I try hard to be tidier but life is too short! I'm concerned that when I'm on mat leave and have more time in the house he gets used to me being a tidy person. As I know I can't continue that kind of life when I'm back at work.

Apparently good storage is the answer...

4merlyknownasSHD Mon 26-Sep-11 18:51:49

Glass, "Tidy himself or by getting a cleaner" doesn't really help. My kids used to say "The cleaner's coming" when I asked them to tidy their rooms. In my view, a cleaner is for cleaning and NOT for tidying. If they (cleaners) tidy, you will never know where anything is OR it all gets piled up like the leaning tower of Pisa!

I used to be really tidy before I got married, but my wife isn't. Unfortunately some of this has rubbed off on me rather than the other way around. She blames it on having to work with an implied suggestion that the house would be tidier (and us poorer) if she didn't work.

House is certainly a little tidier with 2 away at Uni.

Why don't you discuss having particular rooms you each take responsibility for. Tidy sitting room, kitchen and bathroom, and his side of the bedroom.

DizzyKipper Mon 26-Sep-11 19:14:14

Me and OH are similar, though in reverse. For me the tidiness of the house used to be a big issue when growing up and the 'excuse' for many arguments - lots of yelling throughout the house, slamming of doors etc. Hence I get very stressed if things start getting too untidy (although I'm by no means a neat freak). OH can be quite good with getting on with things if I ask him to, but if left to his own devices won't do a thing - he'll have the very best of intentions but then instantly get distracted and do something else. If left on my own to sort everything out I start becoming quite depressed and down because it all feels like "too much" for me to be able to cope with on my own.
I worry about it becoming an issue a lot, it's not something I want to be having arguments over. We seem to be getting on ok at the moment. Every time I have a day off I'll expect to spend that day cleaning. Any time I ask OH to help he does, no moping or whining, he just gets on straight away and does it. I can see why your OH would be frustrated about spending some of his weekend tidying though (I also sometimes tie myself in knots on my days off getting too depressed because the house is untidy). Days off are meant to be fun, but the fact is it's realistic to expect yourself to have to spend some of it cleaning. Maybe he needs to have a think about what to him is a reasonable amount of time to be spending on housework during the weekend, and you need to match it (so long as it is reasonable and not massively inflated). And both of you (not just you, if it is just you) just try your best during the week to keep on top of things as much as possible.

diddl Mon 26-Sep-11 19:17:34

Well for me the solution would be that if something isn´t "good enough" for him, he does it without the drama tbh.

Tidytimswife Mon 26-Sep-11 20:34:32

Thank you all for your input. We are both frazzled at the moment, nerves have been frayed and things have come to a head a bit. Time to take stock and see if we can have more relaxing weekends. Trouble is, unless you eat out all weekend, there is always tidying!

Diddl I think I will print off your post to cheer me up --and show him--when I'm fed up. But I think I "could try harder" too blush.

nilequeen Mon 26-Sep-11 21:09:48

Yip Tidytimswife, same situation at my house. My DH is absolutely shite not particularly good at cleaning or tidying. However, he enjoys huffing and puffing and stomping about at the mess I've made. Sometimes I think he does it deliberately just to wind me up.

I just can't be bothered with housework and as a result my house is embarrassingly messy. When I was pregnant (I'm afraid PamSco I'm even untidier when on mat. leave!) the situation reached it's peak and things were really strained between DH and I. As a result we rarely had sex.

We have however, reached a solution. My husband knows that for the sake of our happiness and our sex life, he has to pick up after me and bite his tongue. So long as he's getting laid, he's happy. grin Whenever he complains I remind him that I never nag and give good head blush untidy house is therefore a small price to pay.

glastochick Tue 27-Sep-11 16:22:16

We are very similar. The tidy gene completely missed me. Used to drive my parents crazy, and now drives DH crazy! Situation got worse when I returned to work from maternity leave, as I just didn't see why I should spend the previous few hours I got with DS cleaning. So our compromise was to hire a cleaner. She does the stuff neither of us wants to do (vacuum stairs, clean bathrooms, mop floors), and things have improved because now we work together before she comes round to tidy up. We both now make the effort to file away bills, and keep surfaces clear so she's got somewhere to clean.

A small price to pay for the increased harmony :-)

glastochick Tue 27-Sep-11 16:22:39

precious, not previous!

mh85 Tue 27-Sep-11 16:35:09


OK here's what you do - the pair of you spend one weekend (and I mean a whole weekend) tidying up the house, making everything neat, tidy & clean and then you just need to put things away after you've used them - trust me it's much much simpler in the long run! Untidiness for me is a really really big stress and I used to struggle with my ex when he'd leave things about - just meant something else i'd have to run around after him for!

You said 'frankly I've got better things to do' but I do think that's a really bad attitude to have - you have responsibilities and providing your children with a clean house is one of them. Get them to shape up too and help you out - failing that get a cleaner in! Sorry if this sounds a bit harsh, I just have very strong opinions on this one!!

Tidytimswife Tue 27-Sep-11 20:16:51

Thank you Glasto, it has helped us having a cleaner.

Mh85, I hope I do provide my children with a clean, if slightly messy home. I have many responsibilities and struggle to be domestic goddess as well as everything else. Your idea of having a major major blitz is a good one; it's something we never make time to do.

eversoslightlytired Tue 27-Sep-11 20:52:23

Hi Tidytimswife. I am sure if my DH saw your post he would think it was me who wrote it. We have EXACTLY the same issues! I just find it very hard to keep things tidy (as does DS 4yo) and with a baby of 6m it is now even worse! We used to have loads of rows about it until the time when I had to go to work and he took the day off to have our DS. When I came home it was like a bomb had hit the place and he did actually say that he could understand what I meant.

He is much better since then (I can actually see him biting his tongue) but every now and then he goes off on one until I say to him that I would be more than willing for him to live my life for a day or two and see how tidy the house is then!! We do still have the odd blow up about it though where I will either feel guilty and try a bit harder or tell him if it is bothering him that much then he can bloody well do something about it!

Tidytimswife Tue 27-Sep-11 21:07:40

Thanks eversoslightly. You have the perfect reason to be a bit messy with two little ones. Mine are now definitely old enough to be useful hmm.
If my DH were left in charge, I would return to an immaculate house and nothing for tea I suspect.

eversoslightlytired Tue 27-Sep-11 21:21:03

True but unfortunately we have always been like this, before the DC were born! I'm just not a naturally tidy person. It's not that I am dirty, just untidy. I look at things and think I'll put that away and then forget! DH is actually quite anally retentive about tidyness as long as it's not him having to do it.

The time I did come back I had a very untidy house and when I asked what was for tea (as he does every night) he looked horrified at the thought that he was supposed to cook tea whilst having DS! Men!!

cantpooinpeace Tue 27-Sep-11 21:28:33

We were like this but in reverse, we've come up with a loose rota and it's made things a lot easier. Also instead of resenting him whilst I'm cleaning I try and tell myself that if I get it done it means we can have fun together as a family another time instead of cleaning.

PamSco Tue 27-Sep-11 22:17:07

Oooh mh85 - messy doesn't always mean dirty. My house is clean - especially in kitchen and bathroom. The piles and piles of books and papers isn't a danger to children. I must have missed the rule book on obligations when I got up the duff wink

Tidytimswife Wed 28-Sep-11 08:41:38


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