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DH attitude to working as a team

132 replies

Ticked · 02/06/2011 08:40

The title doesnt really explain the situation to well. We are 5 people, dh, 3 ds and me. All 4 boys have stopped helping around the house completely (ds 1 will do something if told). I mean not even taking their mug or plate through or picking up a piece of paper thrown down, never mind making beds and things. I have hinted to dh that we need to have a chat as a family and remind everyone to do their bit. He took off at me and told me Im being unreasonable and nobody wants to clean all the time. I tried explaining that I dont expect anyone to clean all the time or even do washing, dishes, dusting, hoovering and things. I just expect them to do their own stuff a bit at least. He said if I didnt want to do it I just mustnt and the house can just turn into a tip. I am beside myself as we dont have much but, dont want it to be disgusting. Untidy is fine but not dirty :(

I just want him to be a team with me and we sit down and explain about pride, keeping it reasonable, working together, to the kids. He has now not spoken to me for 2 days and there seems to be no resolution other than keep quite and run after them all on my own. Please tell me if I am BU and if not - suggestions as to what to do?

OP posts:
fedupofnamechanging · 02/06/2011 09:43

Your husband is treating you like a skivvy and the boys are following his example. Sort him out and they will be easy.

The 12 year old is still a child and I would still do his washing and cooking tbh. Tell the 16 and 19 year old that you will put in the machine anything in the washing basket. If it's not there it doesn't get washed.

Give the boys specific chores, like vacuuming their rooms, or washing/drying the dishes after dinner. If they leave a cup in the sitting room, send them back in to get it. They will get fed up of being called down from their bedrooms to take a cup into the kitchen and eventually the penny will drop that if they just take it out in the first place, then that will be easier for them.

Your husband is trickier. I don't think I would want to live with someone who thought it was okay for me to run around after him all the time while he sits on his arse and lets me. You need to tell him that his lack of respect and sulking are not attractive qualities. He sounds petulant and childish and very very rude.

Stop washing for him, cooking and whatever else you do to make his life smooth and easy. When he runs out of clean clothes he will have to wash them himself. If there is anything in the shopping list that you buy just because he likes it, then stop.

I think you are at a crossroads now, where you can either ignore the fact that he is an arse and spend the rest of your life living with an unappreciative and disrespectful man, or you can stand your ground and insist on change, even though this might lead to a breakdown in the marriage.

rainbowinthesky · 02/06/2011 09:44

Great post, karma.

BsshBossh · 02/06/2011 09:45

Be firm, be tough and follow through, OP. Good luck!

Scheherezadea · 02/06/2011 09:48

Disgusted by your DH and DS. I was living on my own at 16 (and am only 24 now, so not like it was in the 1950's!).

I don't work, but my DP still shares housework with me - he cooks, washes up, does washing, hoovers, gardening.

You sons are not children, they are fully grown adults, at 16 you are not even legally responsible for them!

I am afraid you have spoilt your children, and created a pair of filthy selfish slobs to fill the world. I'd act quick, before your 12 year old turns into one too. This is not raising children well, or creating good citizens. Your DH is a terrible role model.

Katisha · 02/06/2011 09:49

oh yes shirleyshortcut my DH does absolutely everything and I sit on my arse.


SarahBumBarer · 02/06/2011 09:51

Just to say, I don't think it is too late for the older kids. We started to tackle DH's attitude when he was 39 (I met him that year and sacked his housekeeper) and slowly (oh so slowly) but surely things are improving.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

Ticked · 02/06/2011 09:52

Thanks Sarah, I will get cracking and I can hopefully turn this round.

OP posts:
expatinscotland · 02/06/2011 09:55

I would do complete and utter fuck all for this 'husband' and two adults.

I'd take the 12-year-old and leave.

Get the 12-year-old on a rota with pocket money. Don't do the chores, see how boring life is.

Sorry, but I'd not put up with this type of behaviour in my home from anyone, male or female. They want to act like that, they can get the fuck out. Seriously. If it were my husband, I'd walk out on him.

DamselInDisarray · 02/06/2011 09:58

Shirleyshortcut: my DH does all the laundry but I do all the cooking. It's called a division of household labour. We've simply chosen the tasks we prefer/are better at. I don't think anyone was boasting that they treat their husband as a skivvy.

It doesn't have to be the case that everyone does everything, or that the shares are exactly the same. What matters is that you, as a family, are happy with the division and can get on with keeping the household running. For example, it takes me longer to cook everyday (and to shop for the food) than it does for DH to wash up. Often considerably longer. But, I quite like cooking and I'm a far better cook than him. I also hate washing up, whereas DH finds it quite relaxing (apparently). This works for us. Others may choose to divide up the tasks differently, depending upon their inclinations and circumstances. That's completely fine.

Ephiny · 02/06/2011 10:00

What an awful situation, you should not be running around acting like a servant for two grown men and two teenage boys! Certainly your DH and the 19 year old should be doing their own washing and ironing, and doing a fair share of the cooking, shopping, cleaning etc. I would right now stop doing any laundry or cooking for the two of them. I wouldn't dream of doing another adult's laundry for them, it's certainly not what 'everyone' does!

Even the younger boys should be doing things like making their own beds and putting their dirty clothes in the laundry bin, tidying their rooms, putting dirty plates and cups in the sink etc. I would have them start learning to do laundry and some simple cooking as well, because these are important life skills for the future.

Can imagine it will be difficult though, with their dad and older brother being such useless role-models...

fedupofnamechanging · 02/06/2011 10:06

I think it will be fine Ticked. Boys, even when they are 19 can still be quite child like and 'trainable'. I have 3 boys (14,11 and 9) and a husband who is prone to being a bit of a lazy arse at home and I nip it in the bud by making the kids come back and collect their dirty dishes from the table and take them to the kitchen, put their clothes in the wash, with hold tv/playstation until they've picked all their toys up off their bedroom floors. These are little things, but I've found the constant repetition has worked. I've told my DC that I don't expect them to clean at this age, but I do expect them to be responsible for their own belongings and that I shouldn't have to tidy up their stuff before I can hoover.

With DH, I just hand him the hoover and ask him to do upstairs, or ask him to come out and help me clear up after dinner. I periodically remind him that I am a SAHM to the children, not him, and although I am happy to do the majority of the housework when he is at work, I do expect him to pull his weight when he is here at weekends etc . I present it as an expectation that he will do his share, rather than an option he can take or leave.

DamselInDisarray · 02/06/2011 10:07

OP: It's definitely not too late for any of them. There's no reason at all (other than laziness and/or misogyny) why your husband and sons can't learn to do housework.

Sure, they're not going to be terribly good or efficient at unfamiliar household tasks straight away, but they can and will only get to be good at it with practice. You will be doing them a favour by letting them get that practice.

Also, be prepared for the age old tactic of them doing things very badly on purpose to try to manipulate you into doing it for them, or for you to do it again afterwards and then, gradually, take over doing it all yourself again. My stepdad does this all the bloody time, and my mum lets him away with it. It infuriates me. You'll have to be willing to put up with things done badly for a while, but eventually they'll learn to do it properly and things will get better. Just keep your little clean and tidy space and retreat there from it all.

Your DH will almost certainly react badly to this. Remember that he is being thoroughly unreasonable. Think of it like dealing with a tantruming toddler who has been giving into too many times by his parents. It'll take a while to realign his expectations and change the behaviour, but it will happen so long as you are consistent and firm.

TimeWasting · 02/06/2011 10:12

Ticked, are you working in the business too?

BsshBossh · 02/06/2011 10:20

OP, if they refuse to comply with any elements of your rota (cleaning, cooking, tidying up, laundry), what will be the consequences? What will hurt them the most if they don't do each/any item on the list. When I was a teenager, taking away TV viewing, pocket money, computer time would have worked, but you know your boys best so think about it before you present the rota. The ultimate consequence of course is no meals, no clean clothes etc, but think about things personal to each boy too.

IhateMarlo · 02/06/2011 10:20

I don?t have any DC yet, but do have an OH whose Mum did and would still do everything for him.
Our situation is a bit unique as OH normally works away for 4 nights a week, currently 2/3, but when he is home he is expected to pull his weight.

So while I will maintain the house at a level that I see fit during the week when he is home it?s all hands on deck.

However it wasn?t always like this, when we first started living together, he worked locally mon-fri; 9-5 and I worked 13 12 ½ hour shifts in a 28 day period, so although we both did the same hours because of the shifts I had more days at home, and did EVERYTHING., with the exception of car maintenance. More fool me.

It all came to a head on Sunday morning, I had just finished a run of night shifts, which had been particularly tough combined with no sleep due to road works, and OH waking me at 09:45 asking why I hadn?t done any washing that week. He luck I didn?t kill him, instead I exploded rather hysterically packed a bag booked myself in to a hotel for 2 nights and slept like the dead for 16 hours. Very childish of me, not the exploding but the walking out and not letting him know I was safe. In my defence I was so sleep deprived I couldn?t see straight, but I had called a friend to rant at, so she was able to stop him calling police etc.

When I got back, he still didn?t understand why I had got so upset.
I sat down and we worked out a list of everything that needed doing on a daily/ weekly basis [found out then that he though that loos were self cleaning Shock].
Agreed that while we weren?t going to be petty about it: I did this you have to do that etc. But did agree that there were something that I was better at and some that he needed to do more of i.e.: washing clothes
All lovely and grown up, for about 2 weeks and then I noticed slacking off, we spoke, got better for 2 -3 days slacked off again, spoke again, the word nagging was mentioned, so I stopped.

Total Strike

I only washed my stuff, cooked for me, made drinks for me and yes I was petty about it I shopped daily so there was no extra food in the house etc, yes very petty and passive aggressive.
But it worked, it took a while, and a lot of self control from me not to do things, but EVENTUALLY it started to dawn on him how much I did, the difference between what made life comfortable and what made it tolerable. [He's always lived at home or with family so never had the horrors that are bad flat mates etc]

We have now settled in to a routine, and there are times when I think to myself FFS that would only take me 10 minutes why are you still faffing about?? The hardest thing for you IME will be to step back and let them get on with it, after all they have you well trained don?t they?

But there was no way I was going to live like that.
I hold my hands up and say I do blame his mother. . . .[who thinks I'm an evil bitch and don't I realise how HARD her baby works, yeap it's so hard living in a hotel 3 night a week with full cooked breakfast/ maid service/room service HAH!]

Anyway do you want to be THAT MIL in 10-15 years time?
Do it for your future DIL

SunRaysthruClouds · 02/06/2011 10:24

what works for me - with 3 kids who were of similar age range but now a bit older than this - is to make an announcement to all:
'If you don't clear up after yourselves then anything I find lying around of yours will end up in the bin' and mean it.
Then put it in bin bags in the shed the next time their stuff is dumped. They should get the message once their stuff goes out for the dustmen.
Admittedly I only have to deal with 'kids' but your H being the same should be rteated the same.

BsshBossh · 02/06/2011 10:28

Bravo IhateMarlo, I like your style Grin.

I am so grateful that my MIL ensured her two boys learned to cook, clean, tidy up and do laundry at 12. My DH came to me completely housetrained Grin. It truly is 50/50 in our household. We only have one DD who's 3 but she already "helps" with the dusting and loading the washing machine and helping DH cook and bake bread. She'll have a chores list when she's old enough and in DH she'll have an excellent male role model in her life.

Wellnerfermind · 02/06/2011 10:29

Threads like these remind me why I'm so glad I live on my own now (apart from the children) and will never live with anyone else again.

expatinscotland · 02/06/2011 10:30

Nowadays, these 16 and 19-year-olds are going to have to look abroad to find anyone who might put up with the idea that women are skivvies.

So any woman who's doing everything for her son is doing him a big disservice.

Once I got to about 30, if I went out with a man and his home or car was a tip, that was it, I left. If a guy gets to that age and can't manage cleanliness on his own, I really didn't want anything to do with him.

BsshBossh · 02/06/2011 10:31

My mum, on the other hand, never let me do anything in the house because she was a control freak. She let my Dad cook (because he's a great cook!) and do laundry etc but she did the bulk of the housework (she even cleaned before and after the cleaner!).

Consequently I went to university not knowing how to cook or do laundry. I learned very very quickly but I was Blush about it.

BsshBossh · 02/06/2011 10:32

I'm a woman, btw.

TheBride · 02/06/2011 10:35

Agree with everyone else. However, I think "rotas" are harder to ensure compliance with than allocated tasks (or at least that's what my mum found)

i.e rather than saying, today John will hoover, tomorrow wash up, wednesday take the bins out, allocate jobs to individuals that they do whenever required

As an example, when I was 15, my jobs were

  • loading, putting on and unloading the dishwasher every day
  • feeding the cats and the dog when I got in from school and taking the dog for a 30 min walk
  • Sorting the clean laundry into iron and non-iron, and putting the non-iron in people's rooms.

So, hardly slave labour, but basically, mum delegated those sort of jobs to us, and then just did the cleaning herself.
slug · 02/06/2011 10:36

The black bin trick has proved very effective in the past in the slug household also.

motherinferior · 02/06/2011 10:38

I am liking Bonsoir's division of the apes here.

Ticked · 02/06/2011 10:38

Sorry not ignoring, just had to dash out so on my phone. Someone asked earlier if I also work in the business, yes I do. Will be back in a bit :)

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