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If you have a male DP/DH?

(59 Posts)
dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 09:50:49

Does he pull his weight around the house? And if so, how have you got things to that point?

I ask because DH is supposedly on board with feminism but his actions (or lack thereof) continually fail to measure up to the ideals.

He is not terrible (I don't want to LTB!). He does some cooking, helps with baby and walks the dog for example. Its definitely a help having him around. Its just noticeable that things aren't equal.

DH works part time from home. I am on maternity leave with our first DC. I do the vast majority of the housework as well as some extras like making a batch of jam to save us money on Christmas presents. When he saw me doing this he said "Wow it would never even occur to me to do that"

I thought that was very telling, and maybe the crux of the issue: Things like that do occur to me because I've somehow taken the responsibility onto myself.
By contrast DH doesn't appear to notice really obvious things that need doing, like putting clothes away in drawers.

I feel like I'm fighting a rear guard battle to keep him on board with the practical running of our home. Is this just what heterosexual relationships are like or has anyone here achieved equality in the home?

OneOfMyTurnsComingOn Mon 19-Nov-12 09:55:18

It's the other way around in our house. DP is much tidier than me. It's just the way he is I am on mat leave also. But if I'm struggling with feeding baby DS and watching DDs, then he will make meals. I do sometimes have to hint at the time though.

He was like this when I met him. I love it. It makes me do more too.

givemeaclue Mon 19-Nov-12 10:00:43

Yes we have equality in the home, we work as a team . he notices things I don't, I notice things he doesn't etc.I would struggle in a relationship that wasn't like that, but each to their own!

2blessed2bstressed Mon 19-Nov-12 10:01:00

It would never occur to me to make a batch of jam for Christmas presents I don't necessarily think that's a gender thing. I think that some people are more house proud and notice things needing doing, more than others.
Messiest house I know, with nothing put away in drawers, and light fittings with no shades etc...belongs to a female friend of mine. She just isn't interested in that stuff. She reckons life's too short.
Don't suppose that really answers your question though!

PeggyCarter Mon 19-Nov-12 10:01:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 10:35:08

Up until now it would never have occurred to ME to make bloody jam either! Why am I making Jam for cristsakes? I think I am just super bored on maternity leave and looking for ANYTHING to do.

In the past I have not been very house proud either, as many past house mates can attest. Before DS, me and DH used to "share" the housework in the sense that neither of us could be arsed to do it and the house was a tip.

I think post DS, I have upped my game and DH has not. Just before he was born we had an erm.. "social services scare" which I posted about on here. I think that may have influenced me. I was very aware that there would be health visitors and such like coming over and they would be looking and judging. Plus, an ordered, clean environment is of course good for the little one, in itself. So now, I follow the flylady and do my little bit each day.

I suppose what bothers me is that before DS, we were both very politically active and now it seems that he has time to continue all that but I do not. So I am obviously a bit jealous about that because, y'know, I'm an intelligent person that wants that connection with the world as well.

I guess I see the same pattern in the relationships of people around me as well. Everything nice and equal before kids, then somehow, the 1950's descend once they are born. There was a really good book about exactly that called Shattered which I read before I had DS. I always hoped it would not play out in my relationship, but it seems like it has sad

Maybe things will improve when I go back to work?

givemeaclue Mon 19-Nov-12 11:10:06

Why wait? Why not improve them now he you feel you are living in the fifties.

What was the ss scare?

MikeOxard Mon 19-Nov-12 11:32:48

Dh does more than his fair share. I haven't 'got it to that point' at all, he has always been like it. At first he just felt uncomfortable if I was doing housework and he was just sitting around, so he never would, we would do it together or he would do it while I did something else. Now with 2 dc, usually if one of us is doing housework, the other is looking after the dc. Dh works full time as well, and I am on mat leave, but usually work f/t.

My ex was the opposite, a lazy, selfish git, who thought that doing one bit of washing up, once in 3 years or so was 'helping me out', like it was my job, even though we both worked full time. At the time I was very young and thought maybe this was what marriage was like, but then I wised up and LTB.

Noren Mon 19-Nov-12 11:34:02

In the main, yes. He is the laid back type and has grown up being told when and how to help by his organised type parents. I am the more organised/self-motivated type. As a result, he's often late/disorganised/not especially productive at getting stuff done. He takes a lot longer to cook than I do because I have a mindset of getting things done quickly whereas he is slow and careful.

This has led to a few discussions recently because I feel like it's easy for me to slip into doing all the work of organising him - for example if we're going out he's got used to me reminding him to get ready. I've taken a step back because I do find it work and irritating, but it does seem very hard for him to learn. He is like this at work too, and really hates about himself that he doesn't have good time management. But gets too bogged down in feeling bad to be able to improve. However, his tendency to do things slowly and carefully also means PROPERLY. So, for example he started the task of painting a ceiling by not just moving the baskets of our clean clothes into another room (my technique) but by folding and putting all the contents away, seeing it as an opportunity to learn the new system I've devised for my clothes.

He does plenty. He cooks very well and won't complain if I've not been working and he has (I am part time) but I don't feel like cooking. Each morning he makes me tea and breakfast and generally unloads the dishwasher at the same time.

He is less likely to do the big cleaning jobs unless something makes him think of it, like if we are having visitors or I remind him. So our house isn't as clean as I would like. I think it's partly because we are fairly busy people and a big cleaning task would take him a lot longer than me and so he runs out of time. Usually we will clean together, such as loading dishwasher together, or cleaning up before vistors together, but I will end up doing extra stuff when it's my day off.

I do feel like I come in for a lot of the work like reminding him to buy cards/helping him to think of presents for his family. I have taught him the ways of Google Tasks/Calendar reminders and I think he's getting better.

What I really value is if I point out something is not fair he will make every amend to fix it, even while hampered by some of his natural flaws, and very much appreciates the things I am good at doing for him. We don't have children yet but we have discussed how things will need to change when we do like being cleaner, and that we don't want it to be all me. We are going to share some of the maternity leave so this will hopefully help with the issue.

EldritchCleavage Mon 19-Nov-12 11:37:00

DH and I do ok on the sharing front, mostly I think because he is naturally tidier than me and because he is the at home parent. It has taken a little while to get to an arrangement we're happy with, though.

And within that 'equal' share we each monopolise certain things, generally on a fairly traditional gender split because this happens to play to our strengths. While DH can cook, he doesn't like doing it. I love it, so I always cook, which can still get to feel burdensome at times. DH has now said he'll cook once a week. On the other hand, I never empty bins, tidy the front and back yards etc-DH always does it. We do our own laundry mostly, though DH does some of mine while I'm at work. We both do the children's laundry and the household linen.

We got to this point by talking about what needed doing, and about the jobs we hated and trying to make sure the other did them (e.g. DH hates washing up pans-we've got a dishwasher-but since I don't mind that, I do it. He always sweeps up, for a similar reason) and most importantly, doing the work together. We try hard to avoid a situation where one person is swanning around doing nothing while the other is doing a boring chore. We also always thank each other when we notice something's been done.

TomsBentPinky Mon 19-Nov-12 11:38:35

My DH does all the household stuff. Washing. Dishwasher. Putting clothes away. Hovering.

Not all by himself but he does more than me.

Waspie Mon 19-Nov-12 11:40:37

I think it's difficult when a woman is on maternity leave to get a balance because a woman will tend to take on the housework while she's off, but then the man gets out of the habit and by the time she goes back to work they have settled into an unequal distribution of chores.

How about a rota? This would ensure you would both have free time for your personal interests.

Djembe Mon 19-Nov-12 11:47:45

I'm a SAHM - well just, we have an 11mo but I'm not returning to work.

I find that because I have responsibility for DS all day, so much of it is meal planning, shopping and prep, making sure the house is clean for him to play in, he has clean clothes etc, and also just because I am at home more I am noticing what needs to be done and it bugs me if there is dirt or dishes or whatever. I'm sure if DH was at home he'd be the same. So anyway I do most of the housework because it just makes sense.

Children add a kind of self-perpetuating housework though, don't they - it's like chasing my tail sometimes! I definitely do tasks that DH used to do before DS came along and we were both working though. Tbh as we're in the lucky position to afford for me to be at home with DS, which is what we both wanted, we need DH's career to fly so we actually have any spare money - it's easier for him to work late, focus at work and so on ifhe knows I'm taking care of food and cleaning, mostly. I'm aware it's a pretty traditional arrangement but I think as long as you arealways aware and don't let either partner take the other for granted then it's ok. I often grump about what a hard day I've had to DH, who's been out earring a crust all day! He'd never dare suggest that his day has been harder than mine grin

Djembe Mon 19-Nov-12 11:49:17

Sorry, that was v waffly blush

I read on MN ages ago that 'equal amounts of leisure time as a starting point' for couples with children, is the way forward, regardless of how childcare and household tasks are split. That's how we try to run things.

SamuraiCindy Mon 19-Nov-12 11:51:42

My DH had me fooled before we moved in and got married. He kept telling me that he would NEVER again live with other blokes because they are too messy and smelly and he is so tidy. So I was thinking....WOW!! This guy is great. Then when we moved in, I discovered his idea of tidy is different from mine. He left clothes on the floor, didn't clean the bathroom/toilet when HE made it messy, left things strewn over counters, didn't iron clothes. Yet for some reason he thought I shouldn't mind as compared to other men he thought he was pretty good!!! hmm

So I just kept (gently) asking him to do these things when needed.

He has definitely improved, but he works 50+ hours a week, including night shifts, so I do far more than him, as well as the majority of childcare.

He doesn't do it particularly well but he tries and to be honest this is what matters...that he loves me and listens to me and tries.

dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 12:01:30

"I think it's difficult when a woman is on maternity leave to get a balance because a woman will tend to take on the housework while she's off, but then the man gets out of the habit and by the time she goes back to work they have settled into an unequal distribution of chores."

Waspie ^^ Yes this is what's happened, I think.

Give me a Clue: Not to derail the thread, But the SS scare was something really silly. Some antenatal appointments got sent to the wrong address and so we got investigated for "failure to engage with services." There was a thread about it here
SS now accept the referral was a mistake by NHS and we have that in writing.
NHS however, have still not accepted this (we are pursuing a complaint) and therefore my records with them still state I don't engage.
Given we are on a low income and live in a "deprived" area, this is enough to make NHS staff take an interest in how we live so I am now VERY careful to be on top of everything and seen to be.

Thanks for everyone's replies. I sort of expected my experience to be more usual. Now I see it is not, I will be much more assertive in pulling DH up!

Isindebusagain Mon 19-Nov-12 12:01:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lostconfusedwhatnext Mon 19-Nov-12 12:03:56

SamuraiCindy, I would run a mile from a man who says he doesn't like living with other men because of the mess. This often means he expects a woman to tidy up after him as well as herself.
I have heard it hundreds of times: "we're looking for a girl to take the 3rd room in a shared house... we've got two guys in the other two rooms and we don't want to live in a house with all guys". This means: Friend and I (both male) have decided to live together because we like each other and it will be a laugh, we want a girl too to pick up the pizza boxes as this is obviously what girls are for.


I actually only know one couple with a genuinely fair housework sitch. I have seen the woman scream at her husband because he thoughtlessly left dirty dishes out for her to wash when they had both been at work all day. This was years ago, she sorted him out, some would say (on here) that she has been abusive in the way she expressed her anger about being expected to act as a servant. they seem happy though, a very solid couple.

stargirl1701 Mon 19-Nov-12 12:06:39

My DH is very good at doing things that need to be done at home, e.g. emptying the dishwasher, hanging up the laundry, cooking the dinner, etc.

He isn't so good at organising the stuff that needs done, e.g. booking dental appts, sending cards, buying gifts, etc.

SamuraiCindy Mon 19-Nov-12 12:11:26 could very well be right, because when we moved in I was amazed that the so-called tidy person he claimed he was had vanished to be replaced with a scatterbrained and lazy slob. But I will say in his favour he has improved 100 times.

I always think of that old sitcom Roseanne - there was a scene in it where the women in the factory said to Roseanne how great it was that she had found Dan, the perfect man....hardworking, tidy, thoughtful...

And she said 'What?? Do you think he started off like that????'

It stinks that men (including my DH) have it in their heads that the little woman will do all the gruelling, grinding drudge, but this CAN be changed I think.

lostconfusedwhatnext Mon 19-Nov-12 12:15:54

dashoflime, x-posted. I think your situation is very usual but still I think you can and should change it and should be assertive.

I think:

a lot of women don't admit to how much they do more than the man because they don't really think it is right, but don't want to LTB. So they cover up. Sometimes even from themselves.

a lot of women do more in unaccounted ways by:

doing things properly (so if the man and the woman alternate washing up, one time in two the job includes cleaning all the surfaces, putting a wash on with the cloths and tea-towels, collecting up all the lids and odd little things like that that end up scattered about the kitchen, washing and putting out the recycling etc). So in theory the job is shared, actually it only gets finished half the time, always by the same person, often enough to make the kitchen usable;
doing things while apparently doing other things (noticing and dealing with slightly grubby surfaces while the kids are in the bath; sorting post while on hold on the phone; tidying and cleaning the fridge while putting away shopping; etc);
Doing things that would just be left if she didn't do them, but she would feel shame where he wouldn't (making something homemade to bring to a bring-food-party; remembering birthdays, sending cards; certain aspects of the kids' appearances etc)

There are a million more ways where women do more. I have a dark cynical hypothesis that the convention of married couples sharing a bedroom is so that the man has somewhere nice to sleep because the woman will always tidy it before getting into bed. I do not share with my DP because he snores like a bastard. His room is vile, covered in mounds of clothes and books; mine has a couple of jumpers on a chair and everything else is put away. He finds his room depressing and resents me for having a nicer place to sleep but I don't know why he doesn't put his things away if he hates it so much. I think deep down and subconsciously he thinks that if we shared a room, as we "should", he wouldn't have to put things away to have somewhere tidy and calm and soothing to go to bed in.

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 19-Nov-12 12:21:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Waspie Mon 19-Nov-12 12:22:47

It's only my theory based on what I've read from threads on relationships and AIBU really dashoflime smile I also think it's a lot to do with the personality of the DH/P (whether male or female really).

I'm naturally a lazy cow and bloshy so I couldn't live in a relationship where the balance wasn't even between my partner and I. But we also have the benefit of earning approximately the same amount and working roughly similar hours, so neither of us can pull the "but I earn all the money and you sit around drinking coffee and being on MN/Planet Rugby so you should do all the housework" card.

If I were on maternity leave, or a SAHM, I think I would approach it by having a value (monetary or time) to a task and then add it up and when the amounts for both partners balanced anything in addition to that becomes shared 50/50. Easier said than done though I would imagine! smile

Waspie Mon 19-Nov-12 12:25:45

I've seen Wifework referenced positively several times on FWR StewieGriffinsMom, I think I'll add it to my Xmas wishlist!

lostconfusedwhatnext Mon 19-Nov-12 12:30:39

Waspie, I think that is a great idea, if your relationship can sustain it. The problem is that the request to account for things can seem petty or accusatory.

I sat in church yesterday listening to a sermon about unconditional love and forgiveness and stuff and boggled as I always do about the mismatch between a. the very true position that being mean-spirited is not the way to being happy, and in fact giving is honestly better than receiving, and to love is to be happy; and b. men take the piss out of women's time and energy constantly, without even realising it, and if you are not allowed to point this out, no one else is going to, and in the end you will die of exhaustion or melt out of resentment.
I have no idea how to reconcile my quasi-marxist, time = money = energy position with respect to how I have been effectively massively ripped off by men all my life and it is still happening, with the emotional truths that make other things so much more important.

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