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DH and the housework - again. I'm so very bored of this.

(161 Posts)
TAFKAtheUrbanDryad Fri 10-Jul-09 11:36:24

I was going to post this in AIBU, but then I realised that I don't actually care if I am BU or not, and I don't think i am BU. I think I'm tired and stressed and fed up of being used as a fucking doormat.

Housework has been a constant flash point for dh and i since we've been living together. When our dc came along it only got worse because I had less time to do the cleaning/houseworky stuff because of looking after the dc. I think what it boils down to is that he has a much lower standard of "clean" than I do, and doesn't see mess that needs tidying.

So, you know, fine. I can live with doing most of the housework, especially given the fact that he has a very demanding job and I am on mat leave at the moment. But the washing up is a constant wind up for me and it feels like he's doing it on purpose, and it feels like such a deliberate lack of respect on his part.

Our evening routine used to be: dinner at 7 (when he gets home from work), bathtime for dc, I put dd to bed, he puts ds to bed. I would do washing up while he did ds' bedtime (dd goes down v easily). But ds would get so stressed out, screaming for me at bedtime, it was very upsetting for all of us. So we adjusted it to me putting both the kids to bed while he does the washing up.

All well and good you think. But no. First of all, the washing up is rarely done by the time I get downstairs after putting dc to bed. Blood pressure rise number 1. Secondly, when he does do it, he does it with such an air of resignation I feel like ramming the dishcloth up his arse and doing it myself. Thirdly, he does it so bloody poorly I have to do half of it again, and then he doesn't wipe the sides, clean the top of the cooker or put away the clean, dry dishes from the draining board so we get very creative stacking which means that things fall down and break.

So, I wrote a checklist for him, because I know that he's very tired by the time he comes to do the washing up, and might forget to do stuff which seems obvious to me. It has stuff like wiping the sides, the table, under ds' high chair on, and putting the washing up bowl away. Yet every fucking morning I come downstairs to find a bowl of stagnant greasy water in the sink and the (barely clean) dishes teetering dangerously on the draining board.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not some sort of Monica-esque clean freak. I have a fairly low standard of house-hygiene and think that germs are good for kids. But leaving stagnant water and dirty, wet dishcloths around the place - especially in this hot weather - is just vile and horrible and I AM FUCKING SICK. OF. IT.

It's not even really about the washing up anymore. It's about the fact that he seems to think it's ok to treat me as his unpaid skivvy, his unpaid childcare, his laundrymaid. Don't even get me started on the leaving pants on the bedroom floor thing. It's a basic lack of respect for me, his wife, and the mother of his children. And I have talked and talked and talked to him about it, and all I get back from him is how miserable he is in his job. How unhappy he is. How tired he is. NEWSFLASH - I'm tired, I'm stressed, I'm unhappy, at the moment I feel so shit about myself I can barely look at myself in the mirror without wanting to slash my arms open (deep, unresolved self-harm ishoos). And, yes, he probably is depressed, before any of you say it. And I have suggested countless times that he sees the GP to either sort some counselling out, or get some AD's as a stopgap measure. But he won't.

I love him very much, and when things are good (when he's off work) they're great. He is a good father (when he's not at work) and does stuff around the house (when he's not at work) - it's just that obviously 85% of the time he is at work, and I hate that he can just use that fact as an excuse for being shit.

Sorry it's such a long rant. Coming down this morning after a night of 2 screaming unhappy children (1 teething, 1 just a little shit sometimes - dh decamped to ds' room) to a pile of dirty dishes and a bowlful of greasy water was pretty much the last straw. The only reason I didn't pack my bags and pile me and the dc out of there is cause I love our house and I can't bear to leave it behind. I desperately want my marriage to work, I just don't know how. sad

Simples Fri 10-Jul-09 11:41:30

oh poor you
things are tough arent they and the housework seems to be the trigger.
I bet you are feeling like running away.

Simples Fri 10-Jul-09 11:43:06

try making an account of how you feel avoiding accusation.
eg
i need the house to be tidy ish to feel in control

I can only relax when I no there are no more jobs to be done

TAFKAtheUrbanDryad Fri 10-Jul-09 11:52:33

Simples - good idea, kind of How To Talk So DH Will Listen?

Can i shoehorn "Don't get fresh!" in there somewhere?

The trouble is, when i go on about the washing up 2 things happen:

1) I turn into a horrible, repetitive nag.
2) He says, "Do it yourself then," which makes me want to stab him.

expatinscotland Fri 10-Jul-09 11:56:41

Well, tbh, I'd never have married him if it was a flashpoint when you started living together, much less had kids.

But seeing as that's water under the bridge, the only solution is for HIM to do the kids' bath and bed, no matter how much your son screams.

He'll just have to get used to it.

As for the pants on the floor, don't wash them. Don't wash anything he can't put in a washing bin.

When he has no more clean pants, that's his fecking problem.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Fri 10-Jul-09 12:01:28

Ask him why he doesn't want to make things easier for you and why he seems happy about you being unhappy.

Simples Fri 10-Jul-09 12:01:50

LOl at get fresh.
My dh is very good at disarming me with a laugh and so when i get into rantlock he will do a comedic ra ra ra noise and i end up giggling.
do you ever feel you could takez le piss about it?

stripes200 Fri 10-Jul-09 12:02:00

I don't mean to make light of your situation, I'm really not trying to, I know how some things even if they might sound small, like the washing up can niggle and niggle and make you want to kill someone in their sleep and feel entirely justified but how about a dishwasher?

He could load that while you put DC's to sleep, only takes 5 minutes and then wipe sides down before you come downstairs again and then the issue of the greasy bowl of water just won't be there anymore.

We have recently invested in a dishwasher and I love it more than any other household item. It is wonderful. I wholly recommend them.

Simples Fri 10-Jul-09 12:03:22

I think re read HTT

then start it on him
lots of positive praise wink

he is a wnaker though

TAFKAtheUrbanDryad Fri 10-Jul-09 12:04:44

expat - it's not really an option for him to do bedtime, as both the kids are still nursing and it's a biological impossibility for him to do that (well, easily, anyway)!

I don't mind doing bedtime. I don't mind doing the rest of the housework. I do mind being treated like a fucking skivvy just because he has the higher earning potential!

phdlife Fri 10-Jul-09 12:06:23

My bf took to putting the unwashed (or not washed to her satisfaction) dishes in her dh's side of the bed. Under the duvet. He took the hint - for a while.

TAFKAtheUrbanDryad Fri 10-Jul-09 12:07:14

We have a dishwasher! It's currently sitting in the garage, waiting to be installed. We need to shuffle things round in the kitchen cause of waste water pipes and things, and there isn't room in the kitchen at the moment for the dishwasher, so we either need to remove a cupboard, or build a small lean-to extension. It's on our lists of "things to do". I need a good solution until we can afford to re-do our kitchen or build said extension!

AirPieandWindyPudding Fri 10-Jul-09 12:09:35

I'm heard so much about your DH over my time on MN (am a namechanging regular) and I think he needs to finally once and for all learn one simple fact:

Even if you work full-time, there is other stuff you have to do and you need to LUMP IT.

If he had the very same job and was a single man living on his own, he would have to do some housework. He's living with you and you have two DC and that is a full-time, demanding job for you. At the end of the day, you are both tired and stressed. Now comes the housework. If you do a bare minimum, fine, but you share it equally (or get a cleaner and pay them to do it - not an option for a lot of people).

It seems he has this big thing about his stressful work meaning he's incapable of normal adult behaviour. I am sorry for him but the solution is action:

1) he must look for another job, go freelance orcould he become a sahd while you work - look at all these options.

2) he must get help and medication for your stress/depression - if he refuses to do this, then how can he expect any sympathy when he claims he can't do stuff? There are solutions he can try.

3) he must grow up and realise having a job does not exempt him from doing all the other stuff that comes with being an adult.

The ironic fact is if he could become more effective and responsible it would actually help his self-esteem and reduce stress. That is hard when you are depressed but ADs can help with the process.

I hope I'm not being too flippant if I also suggest a dishwasher - I'm sure money isn't plentiful atm but if you possible can it would help with some of this.

AirPieandWindyPudding Fri 10-Jul-09 12:10:07

oops x-post about the dishwasher, sorry.

JesuslovesDubrovnik Fri 10-Jul-09 12:10:49

get a cleaner - would £30 pw ease married life

then darling - hire a cleaner - for the sake of your happiness get one in three times a week to bottom out your kitchen and living room

BalloonSlayer Fri 10-Jul-09 12:11:53

phdlife, if my DH put "unwashed (or not washed to [his] satisfaction) dishes" in my side of the bed under the duvet, I'd take the hint all right. I'd divorce him. Immediately.

AirPieandWindyPudding Fri 10-Jul-09 12:11:58

oops "your stress/depression" I meant his (- I started out writing it addressed to him than changed it)

HighOnDieselAndGasoline Fri 10-Jul-09 12:15:39

Oh I do feel for you - my XP was exactly like this and it made me absolutely furious and miserable.

Honestly, I don't think it has anything to do with higher earning potential - although I can absolutely see why it makes you feel that way. I earned more than XP and he still behaved like this. It's about them being lazy arses and in some part of their brains thinking they are too good to do housework.

The 'low standards' thing is a total red herring - imagine how they would feel if we said 'I just have lower standards in sex than you darling - sorry!'

SolidGold has posted this link before and I think it sums it all up really:
www.cwluherstory.org/the-politics-of-housework.html

I'm sorry you are so unhappy and I hope things get better soon.

bran Fri 10-Jul-09 12:18:14

Make space in the cupboard for an extra pile of crockery. Put the plates and bowls that are not properly washed in that pile and use them only for him while you and the kids have the clean ones. If he comments that his plate/cup/bowl isn't clean act surprised and point out that he washed them.

My DH does the dirty clothes on the floor thing, I just walk over them. Very occasionally I will snap one of the buttons on his shirt or fray the seam of a t-shirt I don't like. When he notices I act unconcerned and a little bit later it will 'occur' to me that perhaps his clothes are being damaged by being walked on because they've been left on the floor. (I may be just a touch passive aggressive. wink) If you can't stand leaving things on the floor then throw any pants you have to pick up into the bin. When he finds he's out of pants say "Well I've washed everything that was in the laundry basket. Where do you think they could have gone?"

moaningminnie2020 Fri 10-Jul-09 12:27:51

My DH is pretty similar. He does not do any washing up at all.

I make a point of only washing dirty clothes that have been put in the basket, even if that means I have to walk around 6 pairs of dirty socks for days on end. I don't mind washing his socks, i VERY MUCH mind being expected to pick them up off the floor.

If I want him to help change the bedding I have to strip it all and offer to 'help' him put the clean stuff on - he would sleep on the bare mattress/duvet if left up to himangry

I got to a stage where I thought I can't change him, I an only change how I react to him, although it does sometimes feel like a)he does it on purpose to piss me off (i know he doesn't)
or b) I feel like I'm a surrendered wife, only not willinglyblush

TAFKAtheUrbanDryad Fri 10-Jul-09 12:40:43

Thanks for that link HighOn. Have emailed it to dh with this quote highlighted: "I've got nothing against sharing the housework, but you can' t make me do it on your schedule." MEANING: Passive resistance. I'll do it when I damned well please, if at all. If my job is doing dishes, it's easier to do them once a week. If taking out laundry, once a month. If washing the floors, once a year. If you don't like it, do it yourself oftener, and then I wont do it at all.

Talking of passive aggressive, I've just changed dd's leaky nappy on "his" chair. Lolz.

You know what though, I hate that this situation turns me into the passive aggressive, whinging, nagging fishwife. I hate that about me. I don't want to hear, "Nag nag nag nag," coming out of my mouth all the fecking time! I have better things to do and better things to talk about!

Must get dishwasher sorted. Anyone recommend a builder in South Bucks? wink

HighOnDieselAndGasoline Fri 10-Jul-09 12:46:06

YES, I absolutely hated how XP made me feel and behave as well. And then he would use it against me ie you are a horrible angry person, you are petty minded and only care about housework, while my mind is on higher things etc etc. It is a blessed relief not to feel that anger any more.

Good luck with the dishwasher. smile

TAFKAtheUrbanDryad Sat 11-Jul-09 23:12:24

Oh. My. God.

I am actually going to kill him. Thought about starting a new thread but don't want to clutter MN up with my dh - he already uses up far too much space.

So I've been on at him for some time to get himself a hobby, something outside the family which he would enjoy and bring him out of himself a little. So he investigated sailing clubs and found one - very inexpensive - near us, which he joined. Today was a "family fun" day, so he persuaded me to take the kids over to the reservoir.

I had serious reservations about it - ds is only 2 and a half and dd is 5 months. There is no buggy access so I have to take dd in the sling which means I don't have anywhere to put her down. Ds is also obsessed with water and swimming - he tried to fling himself in the long water at Hampton Court Flower Show on Thursday - so I knew that it might be a bit of a nightmare. Anyway, dh assured me it would be great, and there'd be loads of stuff to do for ds, and i might even be able to get out in one of the club boats.

So we get there, and it's a whole group of people I don't know, and who I pretty much have nothing in common with, and ds is being a total nightmare, and dd is in the sling and is crying because she wants to be put down to kick about and roll around and I can't because I have to run after ds. And in the middle of all this, dh says, "I'm going to go out on the water, will you be ok for 20 minutes?"

So I think, "Yeah, I can cope with them for 20 minutes," and off he goes.

An. Hour. And. A. Half. Later.

I have pretty much shouted myself hoarse at ds. He is miserable, tired and fed up with not being allowed anywhere near the water (we don't have a life jacket to fit him and there's a very steep drop into deep water) and dd is exhausted and wants to sleep. Everyone around me is judging me for being a terrible mother who shouts at her toddler (they're not judging him for fucking off for an hour and a half, of course) and I feel like I can never go back there now. So I bundle the kids up and march them back to the car, promising my poor, unhappy ds that he will never be allowed back to the sailing club ever again, as long as he lives which causes him to go into complete hysterics.

I am so angry I cannot speak. I drove home fighting tears. Dh phones and says, "Can you pick me up at 6 please?" I shout at him and tell him he is a self-absorbed bastard and when the fuck did 20 minutes turn into an hour and a half? He says, "I don't know what to say!" I say, "Sorry would be a fucking start!" I don't think he understands even what I want him to apologise for. He starts to say that I do loads of stuff and I stop him mid-flow because if he dares to insinuate that I have a life outside of children I may actually have to beat him to death with a rudder.

And yes - this is part of the problem. I have no idea who I am anymore. I'm just "Mama", "wife", I'm not me anymore. I am fat and I hate my hair and I look shit in all my clothes and all I fucking do all the fucking time is breastfeed and clean and wash. And the pathetic fucking thing is, I could do all this. I wouldn't even mind, but I can't do it on my own. I need him to help, or i need him to just fuck off and leave me to it.

I don't see a future for us. I really don't. I can't live like this. He thinks I have PND (again) which is about the least helpful thing he can possibly say - but then he's good at that.

I'm in 2 minds over whether to even post this. It sounds so pathetic and wimpy. Meh. Fuck it.

expatinscotland Sat 11-Jul-09 23:19:02

Well, this is no surprise coming from me but tbh I don't know why you bothered with someone who so clearly doesn't want to give a toss for so long.

Sorry.

And I know people will come with all these 'but he's a man' excuses which are just that, because last I checked, men are as human as women.

Best of luck to you.

muffle Sat 11-Jul-09 23:20:41

Oh UD, I'm so sorry, I can really feel how bad this is for you.

Is there any way you and the DC could go away for a bit - I don't mean a separation as such but a week or two at your mum's or similar? (forgive me if that's not an option as I don't know your circs) but if there is anywhere like that where you would have a hand with the DC and a bit of breathing space and not be constantly wound up by him.

He certainly needs to change but it's very hard when you're so angry to get him to take you seriously (not blaming you at all for that btw - the PMT comment is outrageous how can he not know that even when it is PMT you DON'T SAY THAT!)

Maybe after a break you two could talk more calmly and he'd be able to listen.

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