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Constant housework! Aibu?

41 replies

Jakeyblueblue · 04/04/2021 23:38

Hi, in a nutshell, mum of three boys, 9,6,2. Husband self employed and works long hours, living in three bed semi. I work 30 hours across four days, lots of responsibility, with some nights and weekends on call from home. Am constantly cleaning and tidying! Feel like I never get on top of it and house is always a tip! Some nights I'm doing cleaning and tidying after everyone in bed but within an hour next morning, Its a mess again! I literally never have any down time! If I'm at home, I'm doing jobs!
Is this normal, AIBU? Am I setting my standards too high?
Husband and kids all messy. Eldest son asd and dyspraxia so is extremely clumsy and lacks any sort of self organising skills so often leaves a path of destruction wherever he goes, middle son is a little whirlwind and also leaves a path of destruction and the 2 year old is into everything, pulling stuff out of drawers etc! Husband is one of life's messy people. Mess doesn't bother him at all, he doesn't expect me to clean up after him, he could live like it, it's Just my standards are higher and it winds me up so I end up doing it!
Don't know what I'm asking for really, any tips? Words of encouragement or boot up the bum to get a grip and accept life with 3 boys in a smallish house is going to be messy!

OP posts:

Anoisagusaris · 04/04/2021 23:40

Lower your standards. Who is it hurting if clothes aren’t nearly in drawers? No one.


TakeTheRibbonFromYourHair · 04/04/2021 23:46

I feel like this, that it's relentless. I am a single parent of 2 under 5 so not really anyone else to help. I think it is fairly constant, if you like things neat and tidy that is. I do.
Can you afford to pay for some help? In my case I cannot and it's not THAT bad.
Laundry alone is relentless though.


jessstan2 · 05/04/2021 00:12

I too was thinking that getting some paid help would be a good idea.


Pinkycheeks · 05/04/2021 00:18

If you feel happy to tidy up it. If you don’t want to ...,don’t ..,no pressure.. do it your way.


LittleOwl153 · 05/04/2021 00:20

I'd say you need to get some organisation into the lives of your brood of boys. It is only going to get worse as they get older. (Their father sounding like a perfect bad example!)

You say your eldest has no self organisation skills. Can you give him some patterns to follow to help organise himself? I assume he's primary aged - but he will struggle in secondary if he can at least follow some organisation. Start with baby steps and build up.
The middle child needs to learn to clear up after his whirlwinds again, without knowing age, difficult to make suggestions - but even the 2yr old can be taught to put toys in a box etc.

The husband - he either mucks in and helps or stop sorting his crap just dump it where it will annoy him most. Why the he'll should you be his skinny. He is the main cause of the problem - showing a perfect example for.your kids to follow!!


RiojaRose · 05/04/2021 00:46

Several of my family members have ASD and/or dyspraxia. I like things tidy. I manage by insisting on having one tidy room, usually the living room. I issue very specific instructions to specific people about the exact things they need to pick up, and exactly where to put them. Usually this works well enough. If it all gets too much I get loud and annoying. I feel your pain. But there’s no reason you should do it all. You can reasonably expect others to pitch in.


sykadelic · 05/04/2021 03:19

OMG I was just saying this to DH. I swear we tidy and it takes nothing before it's a mess again.

The thing that (mostly) saves my sanity is its messy, not dirty. That's an important distinction!


IdblowJonSnow · 05/04/2021 03:34

It's all very well your DH saying don't do the housework but then that means you have to live in a shit tip that isn't if your making. And that simply isn't fair.
So he needs to step up and model to your 3 boys what needs to be done.


Bythemillpond · 05/04/2021 04:02

Really understand about the 2, year old pulling stuff out of cupboards. It is a nightmare

I found things get a lot easier if you don’t do it all.
Dc were in charge of there room from a youngish age. That way I could close the door on their mess.

Then it is a case of getting rid of everything else. I don’t have a single ornament, vase or picture. I have very few possessions.
Also put childlocks on all the cupboards


midsummabreak · 05/04/2021 04:20

Get Dh to help prepare meals and wash up
and other chores

Leave a few things but Take most of the things or clothes out of the drawers the 2 year old likes to play with and put it up high out of reach ?
Satisfy your 2 year olds desire for exploration and mayhem and let him take out pots and pans and plastic containers and bash with a wood spoon every now and then !!! After, get him and others to help put it away to a fun song Reward any packing bag up with morning or afternoon tea

Make a roster and allocate pocket money for weekly chores done including pick up clothes from floor, make bed.
Keep main rooms tidy-ish but with very few ornaments or items so it’s kid friendly. Put a couple of baskets or boxes out for toys and before meals or snacks get them to put toys in basket/boxes and praise them for their hard work.
Rotate the toys you have accessible to them once every few days, and put some away up high and some in boxes or baskets.


Laserbird16 · 05/04/2021 04:34

I think you need a pincer movement on the mess. By the way I feel you are living my life as wherever I look there are underpants, my little ponies, duplo, scraps of paper....

If you can get a cleaner. It is so nice to come home from work once a fortnight to a house with the bathrooms clean, floors mopped, dusting done etc. I couldn't never do that in one go and so just felt like it was never ending. Plus any spare time I have I don't want to do that, there is still an ocean of fridge clearing, garden weeding etc that I prefer.

Second, pull everyone up on their mess. My DDs are 4 and 2 and just constantly making a mess. I try to get them to tidy up one thing before getting something else out...with limited success but every now and then I see oldest DD put stuff away with no prompting or threats and I want to weep with joy. I also try to have lots of places that things go so it's easy to just dump duplo in a box etc. DH is a serial sock abandoner. I get him to look at his abandoned socks with me and contemplate his actions. DH does pull his weight but the damn socks! DD also gets called in to look at all her damn underpants everywhere. Maybe it's genetic.

Third, just don't care so much. Good enough is good enough.


midsummabreak · 05/04/2021 04:34

Get kids to all help dad cook/wash or dry up after dinner.
Don’t aim for a majestically tidy home, aim for near enough and keep yourself sane.
Tools down and relax as much as possible
They will not remember chores or keeping the home tidy fondly especially if you are stressed about them making messes Keep it fun and as others say lower your standards to keep a child friendly home. Don’t worry when they inevitably don’t want to help or get distracted or get crazy or cranky! It is far more important to focus on your precious children getting one to one time and you and Dh getting time out than keeping a tidy home. Keeping the mess down is not the most important thing in your life or their lives.

I like the saying “ fuck the housework let’s dance”. Good motto to remember your priorities
Easter Grin


DYWMB · 05/04/2021 07:04

Get giant toy boxes for each room.
Then once a week the boxes get sorted back into their respective rooms.
I also have a box on the kitchen counter wgere any random shite goes and again it's put away once a week or so. That way I'm not flapping backwards and forwards finding the homes of every sodding thing.

Kids rooms need storage. Inhace kalkax or cube storage and they can label them and stuff gets put away.

I do laundry every day to keep the pile down but hang wet items straight onto hangers don't get go straight into wardrobes.
Baby clothes get put into cube storage rather than hung up.

Stick vacuum means you can whizz through the entire house in 20 mins.

I hate people saying just lower your standards. It's not fair to live in a shit hole because others are lazy pigs.
Who cares if lumpy husband 'doesn't see mess'if he's not prepared to tidy and clean he can pay for it to be bloody outsourced.
That's like saying 'oh I don't see money/nice things' and not working while enjoying the rewards of the person who does work.


itsgettingwierd · 05/04/2021 07:21

Agree with DY

You need a storage system that doesn't allow this. It's not acceptable just to accept messiness.

It's lazy not to be able to put stuff in a box.

Have you boxes - have certain ones out and children put back what they've got out before the next one is got out.
Even a 2yo can put stuff away and my ds asd and he can put things in a place that has a home (obv dependent on LD) - but he's he's one who can move the entire furniture around in a room just walking through it 🤣

But that's the trick. Don't have stuff out that can just be moved or chucked.

Magazine racks for letters. Too one for unopened mail, second for stuff that needs auctioning and bottom for stuff to file (even if it's filed in recycling) sort once a week. No reason the children or DH can't spread it before it goes in bin.

Perhaps as well start a chore chart. Everyone has a job a day. Even laying table which a 2yo can assist with (sauces and cutlery).

Then have a room a day that's cleaned - once it's all sorted you can do a room clean in 15 minutes.


DinosaurDiana · 05/04/2021 07:27

You need to have a massive clear out of junk.


Silverfly · 05/04/2021 07:30

If DH doesn't mind the mess (which is like I am to be honest), maybe it would work best if you were in charge of tidying and he was in charge of things that he does notice if they're not done (eg cooking, laundry, dishwasher). Would that result in a fairer split of chores?


IwishIwasontheN17 · 05/04/2021 07:35

Similar story here , incredibly messy husband and DC with dyspraxia. I have a strict ‘box for crap’ in every room system. Even if they can’t figure out how/where to tidy a whole playroom, they can chuck whatever they’re playing with into one of the boxes and e can sort it at the end of the day. I have a colour for each child’s underwear, tee shirts, socks etc which makes it easier for them to help put away their laundry.
It sucks though. You do spend hours dealing with mess of other people’s making. It’s not just mess, it’s dirt as well - bathrooms need to be cleaned frequently when people can’t/won’t clean as they go.


ThePricklySheep · 05/04/2021 07:36

I think lower your standards too.

I do a thing where I get all of mine downstairs to pick up all their stuff. They need a bit of directing but that’s ok. It makes a lot of difference.
I also help them to tidy their rooms if they’re struggling. Like tell them to sort out clothes on the floor into clean or dirty. I then wander off for a bit while they do that.
Get them to do anything they can. Taking recycling out, hoovering a room a day. It doesn’t need to be brilliantly done.

Get one or two rooms ok and then forget the rest in the evening.


Times10 · 05/04/2021 07:38

We’ve had to get rid on loads and loads of stuff before the house (more) manageable. We’re all quite messy but by limiting the amount of stuff, it doesn’t take too long to get everything back in place. So I’d suggest a huge declutter. It won’t help making less workload while you’re doing it, but once you’ve made a dent, it really does help.


KitKatKit · 05/04/2021 07:42

I hate people saying just lower your standards. It's not fair to live in a shit hole because others are lazy pigs

Yep, this. Also, by doing this and not actually instilling domestic habits and some sense of responsibility into our kids, surely all we're doing is creating adults who can't be self sufficient / the dreaded man-child/cock lodger who you hear about on MN all the time?!?


Itsalonghaul · 05/04/2021 07:45

You need a plan op.

A cleaner to help you once a week so you can at least enjoy some free time.

The children need to get involved at lunch time clearing up before they have lunch, unless they are playing a game or mid flow. At the end of the day the whole house has to be tidied before dinner is served. Teach them where to put the toys by organising proper storage.

Every morning they start making their beds, start now, except two year old all can manage. Staching dishwasher or cleaning the dishes after meals, no one leaves until it is done.

Start teaching them how to use the vacuum. House work is a finally job not yours, you are simply raising lazy children if you don't do this (and ones that will end in failed marriages further down the line)

DH needs to get involved, long hours or not. Esp at weekends.

A family Sunday declutter and tip visit. Start with a spring clean (paid or not) and keep it up from there with everyone helping.


FusionChefGeoff · 05/04/2021 07:49

I would get 4 large but relatively nice looking baskets or boxes ideally with handles. I've just bought this for the top of our froedge which would work well:

Hossejoy Woven Cotton Rope... poppmobappshare

Every day, each boy has to get their box and go through the house room by room filling it with their crap. You and 2 year old doe theirs together.

What they do with it after is up to them but hopefully eventually they will work out it needs to go away otherwise box is full / can't find anything.

Worst case, you do the putting crap in baskets but it shouldn't take very long and is less mental effort.


ThePricklySheep · 05/04/2021 07:52


I hate people saying just lower your standards. It's not fair to live in a shit hole because others are lazy pigs

Yep, this. Also, by doing this and not actually instilling domestic habits and some sense of responsibility into our kids, surely all we're doing is creating adults who can't be self sufficient / the dreaded man-child/cock lodger who you hear about on MN all the time?!?

She specifically asked if her standards were too high. If she is tidying ALL the time then they clearly are.

I also advised how to get children to help.

FourTurnings · 05/04/2021 07:54

Maybe get a cleaner?


Potpourriandpennysweets · 05/04/2021 08:23

Lower your standards, but raise theirs.

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