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Sharing the chores(15 Posts)
Long time lurker, very first post so be gentle!
Will try not to drip feed OR write an essay
I live with my boyfriend (no kids). I work fulltime, but relatively local and/or can choose to work from home pretty much as I please. He works - also fulltime - about 1.5hours each way commute away and cannot wfh at all.
He also has an exercise-based hobby that is time-consuming by it's very nature. He had this when we met so it's not like it's a new thing. Although to be fair he has cut it down a lot since we got together as he prefers to spend more time with me . I wouldn't feel fair asking him to do even less than he does now. I do a similar pastime, but to a far lesser extent (my choice).
My problem is housework. Simply because I am physically at home more so have more free time, it is 'easier' for me to do chores, and it means it's one less thing to eat into our valuable weekend/evening leisure time together. But I am very wary of becoming the drudgess of the house by accident, if you see what I mean? And then potentially starting to resent it.
I've spoken to him about my worries. I know he would do ALL the housework without a murmur if that's what I wanted, but as mentioned, that would severely eat into our free time. So mostly he gets home to find dinner underway and the house clean and tidy just because I've had the time to do it.
Have any of you had a similar setup and if so, how did you work it out?
Does this set up work for you at the moment and are you happy with it?
If you are then I don't see a problem.
If you want him to share more of the chores then write a list and decide what he can fit in that won't take up too much leisure time.
Could you maybe put 1.5-2 hours aside on a Saturday or Sunday to both blitz the house?
Could you afford a cleaner?
I got one recently and it's absolute bliss.
2-3 hours a week for a 3 bed house £25-30!?
Do-able for you?
But like I say, if you have the time and are happy to do it then I'd carry on.
Seriously, don't do it. You might think is fine now, but you'll become the drudgess. You'll have to fight against that shit constantly being the woman anyway, don't invite it. And if your relationship goes the distance, how you behave now will become the norm and in five years you'll be on here complaining the bastard never does a lick and you'll be advised to LTB. Or you could just get a cleaner. My relationship would never have survived without one.
I don't mind it, although who loves hoovering?! I like having a tidy home to relax in.
Re. Cleaner. First I don't really want one, but second, it's not really tasks that get left for one big weekly blitz - it's doing the dishes, laundry (lot of sports kit for us both ) and general daily "straigtening up"
As summer rolls round, his hobby will start really ramping up and I am worried I'm going to feel like the servant left at home while he goes off on "jollies" (actually extremely demanding events).
I know for sure he would happily make dinner every single night (for example) but that means eating too late for both our preferences. And the issue is I want to spend time with him doing nice things, not sit on my fat bum for even longer every day watching him clear up.
I just want to nip any issue in the bud, before I realise it's gotten to me too late (I have form for simmering on things until they explode into a huge deal). I just don't know how to achieve balance.
We've divided chores on the basis of available leisure time. Hobbies form part of available leisure time.
Because DH's commuting/work hours have been unpredictable and variable, chores have generally been divided so that I do the things that have to be done regularly (eg cooking and tidying away) whilst he's done the things that can be left without too much issue, such as bathrooms and mopping, as it doesn't matter if they don't get done religiously.
That's worked well for us.
...oh and the hardest thing has been for me not to step in and help him because all mine are done and he's not done some each day of his despite having the chance but can't be arsed!
It's difficult to sit and read when he's trying to blitz his jobs in one go. That's my problem not his though!
I generally do the lions share of the tidying and cleaning because I work less hours than dh. He cooks as I work evenings. I feel bad that he has less down time than me but.it's just how things have worked out.
Saying that, I'm pregnant atm and have been poorly so he's taken over most things.
As long as he's willing to step up when needed I'd say there's no problem if you're happy with things?
Hmm, maybe the divvying up into regular/irregular might work, thanks Joysmum - but cleaning the bathrooms is about the only thing I can think of that falls into the latter category (I'm not even going to say how infrequently mopping gets done, except that its less often than dusting). I'm definitely on the slattern end of the scale - I'm content with tidy piles of crap rather than a cleaned and disinfected space where the pile used to be type thing.
To those of you asking if I'm happy with the situation - I'm not unhappy because it means (a) the house looks presentable but lived in and (b) when he gets home we have time to enjoy together. But I am unhappy that I'm now clearing up the bigger mess of two people more frequently than I used to have to deal with the mess of me alone.
Just to clarify, "unhappy" is a relative term. I don't sit there crying about it or anything! ( I cry about plenty of other ridiculous things though). He is generally a pretty fabulous boyfriend!
"Irked" is probably more appropriate word.
I definitely think you shouldn’t be doing all of it (which it sounds like is the case) – you don’t want, in the longer-term, for him to take it as the norm that he doesn’t have to lift a finger and everything is done for him by the magic housework fairy. It sounds like you’re halfway down that road given that it sounds like he’s expecting you to tell him what he can help with rather than seeing it as a joint responsibility.
It’s not unreasonable for him to do a bit less than you because of his commute – but I don’t think his hobby should factor into it at all, that’s something he’s choosing to do. I would also strongly advise that you get him to take on some household tasks in full – not “helping” you when asked to, there are some things that are just entirely his responsibility and you don’t even think about them. In your situation, given the lengthy commute, I think it would make sense for you to do more of the daily tasks (cooking especially) but that he could take on more of the less frequent tasks (e.g. laundry, including changing sheets/towels).
"you don’t want, in the longer-term, for him to take it as the norm that he doesn’t have to lift a finger and everything is done for him by the magic housework fairy"
I don't think that is the case here (or in the future). He's a pretty domesticated soul; and would hate for me to think I was unhappy with things - hence why we've spoken about it a few times but the practicalities of life (commute etc) have got in the way of a realistic solution (hence finally joining up and posting here)
" I would also strongly advise that you get him to take on some household tasks in full"
Good idea, thanks. I like the idea of each of us having tasks to "own", rather than me decreeing what needs to be done to "help", but would def need to agree a schedule of frequency for them!
I do want to stress that he's not lazy by any stretch, and would do anything to make me happy, so it isn't a case of him being a lazy sod; it's just a case of finding the path which works for our lifestyles individually and as a couple.
I appreciate the perspectives here, thanks.
At the very least, can he take responsibility for washing his own sports kit - maybe yours as well, in the interests of redressing the balance? He'd have to if he was single, and you're clearing up more mess as a result of being with him...
Doing his laundry is unnecessary. It takes seconds for him to bung his own stuff in.
I know it might only take seconds for you too but it's the expectation it creates - if someone did my laundry all year I would start to feel pretty entitled to having it done for me.
By the way I don't do my DHs laundry. We each sort our own and bung the kids in with whatevers in the machine.
Laundry is a bit of a red herring in this context. We both put a load on whenever it needs it. I'm far too much of a scrooge to be divvying up clothes and doing separate half-loads.
Yes I admit I probably do more than he does, but again, if I'm wfh and the sun is out, why wouldn't I bang a load in to take advantage of a good drying day?
(not because I have a weird thing about enjoying watching clean washing flapping on the line)
But I take the general point. In fact I was mulling this whole thread over quite a lot last night, so thank you all for your comments.
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