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Why is housework such a difficult concept?

(31 Posts)
Freshfaced85 Wed 25-Oct-17 23:05:32

Exactly the title. Why is it so hard for my husband?
Do other people have the same problem?

Every Tuesday I go to an exercise group (only just started going) so dh picks up dd from nursery, does tea and bedtime.
I tend to be home when it's story time so end up doing a final story and finishing off bedtime. Dh takes the dog out while I do this.
But then I'm the one who washes up as he just goes to his room to do his hobby.
Tonight we had tea and I had to nip out after dds bedtime. I come back and yet again he's in his room doing his hobby with plates in the living room, washing up still to do.
He commented that I should just sit down and leave it til later (this was at 9:30pm), but it's the same thing on a cycle. As soon as he can he is straight off to do his hobby with no thought about any other things that need to be done.

On Tuesday, yes I went out for some "me" time so he had charge of dd, but he could have washed up whilst I was finishing bedtime. I've not had "me" time on a regular basis in about 4 years so I don't think I'm expecting much.

He does (and has for the past 10 years) gone out each week for the evening (returning at about 11:30pm) to see his friends. Even since dd was born I havent stopped him. On these nights I do bedtime, wash up, chores. How come if I can do it when he goes out, yet he can't when I do?
It's so bloody frustrating. I've tried everything to get him to grow up and help but it lasts for a week and it's back to normal.

RespoCreepyDoll Wed 25-Oct-17 23:06:58

Don't take it personally.

TheSockGoblin Wed 25-Oct-17 23:23:58

But it sounds like he prepared tea? So if he did, isn't it fair for you to wash up? Or have I misunderstood?

MyDearAnnie Thu 26-Oct-17 05:32:47

My exh and I split the housework fairly evenly.

There were times when I did more than he, times when he did more. It largely depended on other commitments and responsibilities at the time, but I'd say it evened out pretty much over all.

If one of us cooked, the other would always wash up.

Tbf, I found these sorts of things are pretty much established, known and understood long before marriage. If you didn't want to be stuck with a man who behaved like this, then why did you marry one?

If I were you, I'd be suggesting a 'family meeting' to review how your combined and individual lives look now your daughter is X age. Create a timetable that you both agree to stick to, or general rules - eg he always cooks and does bed on a Monday so you can go to yoga and you'll wash up when you get back. Or one of you cooks and the other washes up. Or he has Wednesday night to himself to focus on his hobby. And then stick to it.

If he doesn't, then what are you going to do about it? Because you can't change him, only he can decide he wants to play more fairly.

You have to decide whether it's something you're happy to live with or not. But just complaining about it won't change anything.

Her0utdoors Thu 26-Oct-17 05:50:28

Similar here, taking legal advice re: divorce and making it clear that I am not joking about ending our marriage over his lack of involvement on a domestic level has improved helped. For how long, we shall see.

Freshfaced85 Thu 26-Oct-17 07:07:28

Yes he did cook tea, however I cook tea the rest of the week, do bedtime the rest of the week and wash up probably 5 days of the week.
We've had discussions about him helping more, we've had lists of things for him to do, we've agreed for me to ask him to do things, but nothing seems to last.
The list of who does what when lasts for a few weeks and then he stops, asking him to do things is the same and after a few weeks he starts to get annoyed that I'm asking him, and delays doing things and forgets (even though we've agreed that hed like me to ask him to do things)
It's just a constant cycle.
I've explained to him how I feel and we'll be having a big chat about what needs to change.
And regards to why did I marry him, I loved him and still do.
I expected to be OK with the set up I think, but you can't see into the future.

LesisMiserable Thu 26-Oct-17 07:15:43

One word: mothers. How we train our kids is how they grow.

nowt Thu 26-Oct-17 07:17:59

Hey, hows about we blame the fathers for being a poor role model? Or is it just women's fault all the way back?

AlternativeTentacle Thu 26-Oct-17 07:20:37

first you need to knock the idea of 'helping' off the table. how is it 'helping' when he lives there? it should be 'doing' his share.

OliviaStabler Thu 26-Oct-17 07:20:48

Will he wash up later I'm the evening or simply leave it there?

LesisMiserable Thu 26-Oct-17 07:23:16

Yep. I think its the mother's spoiling their kids. I'm guilty of it too. The fathers blame them all you like as far back as you like but the fathers of the future will only evolve when the mothers of the past and today stop waiting on their boys.

tribpot Thu 26-Oct-17 07:24:51

I think part of the problem is the lack of long term involvement in tasks. If you knew that without fail the next day's washer up was not going to be you, you know there are no negative consequences for you in just leaving the washing up for the next person. There's no incentive to do it.

However, it doesn't sound like you've really given him a lot of leeway - if he says he's going to come back and sort it after his hobby time, does he? If he does, does it matter? You do have accept differences in 'working practice' when someone else is doing the chores. And who normally walks the dog? Presumably once you come back (and you shouldn't feel he's doing you a favour by looking after his own child once a week so you can go to the gym) he's got a choice of:
- do the washing up, which manifestly can wait til later
- get on with the dog walk, before it gets colder and darker still.

I'd definitely defer the washing up at that point (I accept leaving the plates in the living room is taking the piss somewhat - your dd will be learning better than that at school soon if she isn't already).

It does feel like this particular problem could be sorted out by him doing the washing up one other night, then you will feel less resentful about doing it on 'his night'. In more general terms, I don't think these habits can stick when they are truly just 'bonus tasks', when it's clear to all that if he doesn't do it, you'll just pick up the slack. There have to be real consequences - for him - of him not doing them, as there would be if he lived alone. i.e. you do no laundry - no clean clothes. You do no cooking - no food.

nowt Thu 26-Oct-17 07:25:28

It's shit that he's like this. He shouldn't be, he should be a grown up who takes responsibility. But as this is the situation you find yourself in, and you don't want to leave, you are going to have to put some serious effort into training him. You say it lasts for a while but then he stops - the moment he starts to slip, pull him up on it. If he agreed he was wrong then that stands and he doesn't get away with it now. Don't accept being called a nag - if he did what was required of him as a grown up then you wouldn't have to ask.

You are going to have to be on him continuously until he learns that you won't let him slip again. It's either this, or accept the cycle and the resentment, or leave.

You are going to have to train him like a dog.

Falconhoof1 Thu 26-Oct-17 07:25:52

I know what you mean. It's like the minimum gets done because they're doing you such a massive favour. angry

LadyLapsang Thu 26-Oct-17 07:46:29

If he says he is coming down later to do the dishes, believe him and leave them. But if he doesn't, you will still need to leave them, until he completes the task. In terms of getting him to do his fair share, if he is not already doing his ironing, I suggest you start with that as it doesn't impact on you.

Joysmum Thu 26-Oct-17 08:29:21

But it sounds like he prepared tea? So if he did, isn't it fair for you to wash up?

Not in this house! When I cook I do so without using everything in the kitchen and don’t make a mess. I clear up and wash up when I cook because he makes a mess and creates a lot more work. It’s fairer on me that I clear up when I cook so that’s the way I like it.

Unfortunately, if you’ve got a partner who’s not bothered about mess and chores then it won’t even matter if you leave it as they don’t see a problem so it won’t have an effect. The only thing I’ve found that makes a difference to s losing my shit occasionally and working out what he cares about and pressing that botton to get him to feel empathy.

springydaffs Thu 26-Oct-17 08:52:47

we've agreed for me to ask him to do things

What?? So you have to be the foreman directing the works. Fuck that.

He's an adult, he knows what needs doing.

And what's with the 'helping'? Is he 'helping' when he washes his own body in the shower? He's not ' helping' when he's clearing up his own mess and dirt, whether off his own body or from the house he lives in.

No he doesn't do the housework bcs in his mind menial household chores are women's work and these are beneath him but are OK for you to do bcs you're the maid.

Freshfaced85 Thu 26-Oct-17 09:01:19

The washing up had already been left for over a day.
I washed up the things I had used to cook my tea after my exercise class and left what he had used. It was still there the next day.
I think the comment of you can leave it until later means he still thinks hes helping. He also tells me that he's done stuff as if he wants thanks.
He does very little around the house and I guess I need to get mean.
His mother used to do everything for him.

MyDearAnnie Thu 26-Oct-17 09:02:53

I think you married a dud then, 85

Joysmum Thu 26-Oct-17 10:03:17

He's an adult, he knows what needs doing

See that’s where I think people go wrong. People not interested in chores or being neat DON’T know what needs doing because to them it doesn’t need to be.

To flip this, my DH could say the same of me for the things he now gives and finds important. It’s not on my radar!

Also, if things you do are not on his radar then he won’t place value on you doing them and appreciate what you do.

springydaffs Thu 26-Oct-17 10:06:25

You put it to him clear and plain: he pulls his weight in the house and you do precisely half each, give or take, bcs you are both adults. Like a flat/house share you share the chores.

His mother may have been happy to be the maid but you aren't. He's not doing you a favour, he is pulling his weight on the onerous chores that noone likes. He doesn't get to shuffle off to his hobby leaving the house servant to do his dirty work.

Get serious girl. As you can see, a man who doesn't pull his weight on the domestic front, expecting me to do it, would kill my love and ardour stone dead. There would be no relationship left.

Aquamarine1029 Thu 26-Oct-17 10:17:00

Useless husbands were raised to be that way, and when they become adults, they choose to remain useless. My husband was taught how to cook and clean and had to do his own laundry from the age of 13. I have never had to ask him for "help" because he knows he's equally as responsible for our home as I am. My dad is the same way, so I have no experience with coddled men. I don't know how a woman could put up with it.

Her0utdoors Thu 26-Oct-17 11:58:48

To those who blame mothers for not teaching their sons to participate on a domestic level, it is not pertinent in my dh case, his mother had a full time career and his father was 'only' a teacher and did and still does shoulder the majority of the domestic burden. Dh , as a result looked a wife who 'kept a nice home' as he felt his mother's absence very keenly. If I'd known how important perpetuating these gendered rolls were to him when we met there wouldn't have been a relationship.

AngelsSins Thu 26-Oct-17 12:15:53

He thinks it's your job, he thinks his time is more important than yours. Stop doing things for him, don't do his washing or ironing, don't cook for him, and when he asks where his dinner is, mumble about how he can make something later and wonder off to do your own thing. treat him how he treats you!

Oddmanout Thu 26-Oct-17 12:28:44

You go out and do your hobby (exercise class) but he shouldn't do his? And he cooked, surely washing up is fair?

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