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"just tell me what needs to be done"

(23 Posts)
TravellingToad Thu 08-Jan-15 06:47:40

The most irritating phrase in the world. Or is it just me?
We have a cleaner starting this morning at 10:30am. Both DH and I would normally be working, but both of us work for ourselves so can easily ditch the emails for a bit and show her the ropes. She's going to do upstairs only as we're on top of downstairs, but 2 very full on businesses and 2 children under 2 means that the bathroom is disgusting and you can hardly see the carpet for fluff!

So yesterday I mentioned about tidying it up and even doing some light cleaning so as now to repulse this lady..I got a "just tell me what to do" in response... I tidyed quite a bit yesterday but still more to do. This morning when I was getting dressed I repeated it - that she was coming at 10:30am and I was 'happy' to take time out of my work to show her the ropes but I wasn't happy to take sole charge of clearing up the place first. He kept saying "tell me what I need to do then" I replied "you're an adult, look around you" and he got arsey "oh grow up, just tell me". I explained that just because I had a vagina I wasn't micro managing this task and we both lived here.

He's in a huff and I'm in a huff. I'd love him to have sorted this out, and it to be ME saying breezily "oh just give me a job off your long list and I'll do it darling"

But maybe it's just me :D I find that phrase so irritating.

caravanista13 Thu 08-Jan-15 06:51:03

My pet hate is 'I've emptied the dishwasher/hoovered the carpets etc for you'. Drives me nuts!

Flissity83 Thu 08-Jan-15 06:57:13

I get you. My fella says that. I take it as code for 'I don't really want to do any of it'.
Yesterday he told me he'd run out of clean pants.....aaaand?

cailindana Thu 08-Jan-15 07:11:03

DH has admitted that he used to say this because he believed it was my job and was grumpy at having to 'help.' A threat of separation (this was a small part of a bigger problem) and a good dose of Dworkin later and he gets how shit it was.

TravellingToad Thu 08-Jan-15 07:28:00

Ohhhh DH would never say "hoovered/tidyed FOR YOU" that would really do my head in!

FunkyBoldRibena Thu 08-Jan-15 07:31:56

'Imagine you are a cleaner. What would you want putting away so that you could clean? Once you have identified those items, put them away. Simples'

whatdoesittake48 Thu 08-Jan-15 07:36:23

I have a tendency to take over certain jobs and not like anyone else to do them. It is really dumb because then I get cross that I am the only one who does it. But I like it done my way so it is entirely my fault.
My husband is ok at tidying and always picks up after himself but rarely tackles the big jobs unless I suggest it.
I hate this thought that men are incapable of seeing what needs doing. It is their innate feeling that it is women's work that influences their attitude to housework.

PetulaGordino Thu 08-Jan-15 07:50:10

This attitude is one of the signals that we still have such a long way to go to get true equality

Men who believe themselves to be completely non-sexist still have this ingrained attitude

frosch Thu 08-Jan-15 07:55:36

Ah, I heard this phrase a couple of weeks ago, just a few hours after he breezily announced that he wanted "a stress-free Christmas". "I do not really like the cleaning process," was the other one.

In the past, I've made lists of things to be done or reeled off a verbal list but no more. A deep breath, calm voice and "Look around you. What can YOU see that needs to be done?" I get the raised eyebrows and swivelled eyes to let me know that he finds my attitude exasperating but then he gets on with it.

tribpot Thu 08-Jan-15 07:56:12

Agreed. I don't go into work and expect my (male) colleagues to spoon feed me through the tasks that I have to do every day. I don't do one task and then bound back like an enthusiastic dog with a ball and expect the ball to be thrown again for me to chase. Because if I was completely incapable of independent thought I wouldn't expect to be very employable.

The only thing I would have done in your situation, OP, is say "which room are you starting with?" so that you could then start on another.

sydlexic Thu 08-Jan-15 08:06:33

DH asked me to open a PayPal account because he doesn't know how to do it. I told him to go to the site and work it out, like I did. Apparently I am rude.

Beachcomber Thu 08-Jan-15 08:29:15

I hate that one too. DH doesn't do it anymore but he used to. For example we would have people coming for dinner or to stay and he would be all willing to "help" once I told him what to do hmm.

I would say stuff like well engage your brain and don't ask me to spell out the bleedin obvious to you. We have people coming, they are going to sleep in a bed, it would be reasonable for them to expect sheets on the bed, no?

Thank God he pulled his finger out quickly and it stopped being an issue. I did once have to resort to a sarcastic "imagine you were at work and every time you wanted to use the photocopier you had to clear some annoying git's keys, wallet, sunglasses and newspaper off it, would that annoy you? Would you want to kill them if they kept leaving stuff there after you had asked them not to? Right, well stop using the (tiny) kitchen counter as your personal pocket emptying space then.

YonicSleighdriver Thu 08-Jan-15 08:40:25


cailindana Thu 08-Jan-15 09:06:47

My DH admitted that he had ingrained assumption that I found housework and childcare easier and less boring than he did.

It's no wonder that's the case when practically every single ad for anything vaguely cleaning or childcare related has a woman in it.

He also admitted that being good at housework felt a bit like putting on a dress - not right somehow, like taking on the wrong role.

Again, not that surprising when men have no role models in the home sphere - it is painted as women's domain.

BarbarianMum Thu 08-Jan-15 10:29:12

You're right but now I had extinguished the phrase in our house (and have also stopped prefacing any discussion about housework with "Will you do me a favour and...?") I am still not happy because what we 'see' is very different. Last weekend we cleaned the house - I did bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen and hall whilst dh deep cleaned the living room (I mean it gleamed afterwards - cleaned windows, moved all the furniture, washed skirting boards, the lot). It took hours - whilst what I was envisaging was a quick going over of the lot then outto the park.

Ah well, price of liberation.

The living room was really very clean though.

PuffinsAreFictitious Thu 08-Jan-15 10:30:09

He also admitted that being good at housework felt a bit like putting on a dress - not right somehow, like taking on the wrong role.

I can see why. Most adverts for cleaning products had overjoyed women gaining great satisfaction from their sparkling clean houses, or 'wimpy' men struggling with 'tough' jobs until a magic cleaning thing came along. The messages are that only women and wimpy men should clean, not manly men like most men like to see themselves.

Not excusing it at all, DH is far better at cleaning than I am, but we still share it, and DS does his share as well, because that's how teams work.

slug Thu 08-Jan-15 10:49:58

"Just tell me what need to be done" Implies that you are the one who is in charge of the cleaning/housework.

I need you to recognise that housework isn't women's work perhaps?

CinnabarRed Thu 08-Jan-15 10:59:07

There were the Flash ads with Jacko off of Brush Strokes. I can't think of any other cleaning product ads that featured 'normal' men.

And even the Flash ones were all about how clever he was to use Flash compared to his idiot wife who was using the competitors' products and taking twice as long to do half the job - so not exactly liberating.

GotToBeInItToWinIt Thu 08-Jan-15 11:03:35

My DH often says things to me like 'I know I need to help you more with the housework'. I know his intentions are good but it infuriates me, why is it helping me??

CinnabarRed Thu 08-Jan-15 11:09:37

I do think that one of the issues, at least with respect to DH and me specifically, is that he really does have much lower standards than me. The flat he lived in before we got together was absolutely disgusting.

I do think that some of the dynamic between us is caused by the fact that he is fundamentally a slovenly individual and I am not.

Interestingly, both his DF and my DF are the more houseproud in our parents' relationships, and both do far more housework in their homes than either of our DMs.

scallopsrgreat Thu 08-Jan-15 11:37:44

Its strange though, CinnabarRed, how generally it is men who seem more slovenly than women. (Although on some of the threads on MN there are an awful lot of men who love their sparkling houses, expect them in fact, without actually having to lift a finger to make it so).

Or maybe not so strange given the social influences.

CinnabarRed Thu 08-Jan-15 11:58:25

Yup, agreed. I'd divorce DH if he expected a sparkly house but wasn't prepared to put in any effort to achieve it.

In our case, we had a huge row, and then sat down and allocated tasks between us - so I do the washing, he does all of the cooking and shopping, he loads the dishwasher and I unload it, he empties the bins and puts out the dustbins, I do everything needed for the cat. And we stick to it religiously (unless one of us is away). If he forgets to put the bin out on dustbin day then he gets to take the stinking lot in his car to the tip.

grimbletart Thu 08-Jan-15 11:59:29

Tis quaint I agree. When I mow the lawn or put the bins out (both seen as "male" jobs by many people) I don't say to DH "I've mowed the lawns for you" or "I've put the bins out for you". I just, well, mow the lawn and put the bins out.

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