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My DH is a slob and I can't take it anymore!

17 replies

reesysmum · 21/08/2008 15:15

My DH is one of the most loving and considerate men I have ever known. Unfortunately, he's also very messy. He knows it makes me unhappy, and he knows it is putting a strain on our relationship. But he seems at a loss how to keep a tidy home. When he does try to help out, he does such a bad job I end up having to do it over. (eg: he washes the dishes, but they still have food and grease on them, and the counter and the floor is soppy with dirty dishwater.) My DH is not a selfish slob who expects the woman to do all the work around the house. The problem is that he just doesn't SEE any mess, even if it's right in front of his face. Here are just a few of the million sloppy habits he has:

  • leaving crumbs everywhere when he eats
  • leaving his clothes on the floor, or on whatever surface is nearby when he removes them
  • ditto shoes
  • not rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher even though the machine would not be run for days
  • leaving cups, glasses and plates lying around the house
  • opening his mail and leaving the envelopes, letters, bills all over the house, which then never get dealt with
  • leaving wrappers, empty cartons etc lying around instead of putting them in the bin, which is literally one foot away
  • even when he does something as simple as make a cup of tea, he manages to overflow the cup so tea gets everywhere. Ditto milk, juice etc.

I'm at my wits end now. I'm tired of telling him how to clean and I'm even more tired of doing all the cleaning (and cooking), especially now that I'm 6 months pregnant, on top of working full time. Any advice would be appreciated!

PS - We have a cleaning lady who comes once a week, but my DH can turn a house upside down within hours of her departure!
OP posts:
Dropdeadfred · 21/08/2008 15:18

If he really doesn't 'see it' himself could you provide him with a checklist (like the list you typed)that you would apprecate if he could check off before he leaves a room? It might help him get intothe habit himself eventually...?

pleasechange · 21/08/2008 15:19

I sympathise. Sadly I was also able to tick all your points about my DH! The bane of my life are the clothes piling up on the chair/floor in the bedroom, also constantly leaving crumbs all over the kitchen worktops - why why why?

I think some men just don't see mess.

smallwhitecat · 21/08/2008 15:22

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pleasechange · 21/08/2008 15:35

I think my DH genuinely doesn't see it as mess. He says he likes the house to feel "lived in" and says that I want to live in a show home. Different attitudes I suppose!

yomellamoHelly · 21/08/2008 15:38

My husband's a bit like this. But his parents always had (and still have) a cleaner and therefore turn a blind eye to the stuff that needs doing. Even when their house has been cleaned it's not that clean imo. So that's how he's been conditioned. Our boys'll be different!
Anyway I've given up and appreciate anything he does do. Every little helps and all that. Maybe you've just got to start the dishwasher going more regularly. Currently I find I have to spend about an hour putting the house to rights after the boys are in bed (joys of the summer holidays). On the days he's in that seems to be enough to guilt-trip into helping out. Bills I don't comment on until the red one comes through the door. Then he does a good enough job of having a argghh moment himself. (Has got a system of sorts in the last couple of years.) Ds1 taking his shoes off, hanging coat etc. also has some effect on dh!
They say you can't change others only how you react to them.

pleasechange · 21/08/2008 15:50

I was telling DH's mum about his messy habits, and she said she is the same, and leaves everything around the house! At least I know where he got it from

reesysmum · 21/08/2008 15:58

I also hinted to DH's mum about his messy habits. She told me that a comfortable home is one that is "lived in," where one can feel relaxed. (As opposed to a sterile hospital theatre.) DH's sister, though, takes the cake. Her place is so filthy and messy, the first time I walked in there, I thought it had been burglarized! One time, she came over for dinner and expressed awe that I would - - actually clear the table and wash the dishes at the end of our meal! Maybe it's something in the DNA... Sigh.

OP posts:
R2G · 21/08/2008 22:49

Sounds a bit sad but I have one like you. It used to really stress me out everything being in my head never relaxing and him just chilling without noticing anything.

Anyway, the arrangement we have come to is that each night he does 10 minutes of cleaning when he gets in from work (before he is tired). I decide what it is and it really helps. Actually set the oven timer and he does no more no less (always set it for 11 minutes if he isn't looking though as it always takes him a bit of faffing to get started).

Eg this week:
10 mins hoover the stairs and landing
10 mins weeding the paving slabs at the front of the house
10 mins taking the bins and recycling out
10 mins putting the ironing away

We just agree 10 minutes no more no less so I don't feel resentful and he doesnt feel like he has no time to himself

Minkus · 22/08/2008 13:11

I must say that a few crumbs, some evelopes and a pair of shoes lying about doesn't seem to be enough to get worked up about! I can understand why the cartons and wrappers would irritate though.

FWIW, I tend to be like this but the pleasure I get out of seeing how nice my home looks when clean and tidy motivates me a bit. The fact that if I am making an effort to keep the place looking reasonable goads dh into action too so the workload is actually halved.

But I can really see your husbands point of view, to me housework will always be "small stuff" (as in "don't sweat the small stuff") and I just can't see why people get so worked up about a bit of evidence of living. Well I can see why it winds them up but it just isn't important enough to waste energy over worrying about for me.

Good luck in getting your dh to change though, it is possible as I've found out- think I was a bit of a "project" for my dh in terms of attitude to housework!

mummydoc · 22/08/2008 13:17

are you me ? i get so cross and stressed because i cannot relax until the house is clean and tidy and my dh doesn't see it in the same way, i do not have the answer if i did we would be very happy ! i argue tha if he loves me as much as he says he does he would make mor eof an effort for me, but he says he feels i have unreasonable standards and shouldn't impose them on everyone else.

makeminealargeoneplease · 22/08/2008 15:54

Was he like this when you married him? If you can change a mans habits then I take my hat off to you. IMO no matter how much you nag, shout, scream or ask ain't happening.
4 words, old dog - new tricks.
Best thing to do is stop nagging him and letting it get you down, learn to live with a bit of mess or if not just tidy up after him. Pregnancy won't be helping, everything wound me up when I was preg. Try not to let it get to you, i can sympathise totally, my DH isn't so much of a slob, just very housework shy I'm pretty sure we are in a majority.

woodstock3 · 22/08/2008 16:32

my dh is exactly the same (just a guess - does yours also put empty milk bottles and juice cartons carefully back into the fridge, but appear unable to put anything else away ever?)
i dont think it's abut not seeing the mess, i think it's not CARING. my dh doesn't really give a stuff about the house being a tip and while he can dimly recognise that i do, he is puzzled as to why. with men like this most attempts to make them see it needs doing are doomed to end in failure.
my sanity has improved slightly by granting him one room in the house to turn into a disgusting tip without intervention from me (his study for us, but i'd recommend a shed if you have one) which appears to give him an outlet. then i do literally 15 minutes at the end of the day tidying up everything that's out of place and shoving the rest in the dishwasher/washing machine/recycling bin as appropriate. at least that way in the morning it looks ok and he has limited time to trash it before we both leave for work....

crokky · 22/08/2008 16:54

I think it's how some people are. My brother is just like this, however he is single and living alone so it is not bothering anyone. My advice to the OP would be just to clear up after him and accept that he is not being lazy or mean, it's just how he is.

The reason I think it is how some people are is that we were at my mum's one day. My brother took hold of the oven gloves, got something out of the oven and let the oven gloves fall to the floor (typical behaviour). He didn't pick them up. However, my 18 month old (at the time) DS walked over to the oven gloves and attempted to hang them back up onto the cupboard door knob my mum keeps them on.

Have you got any DCs? It's not great to leave glasses and plates around with a toddler - perhaps you could try that angle with your DH - you don't want a crawling baby going around picking up wrappers and trying to eat them and you don't want a toddler smashing glasses. My DH can't stop leaving glasses around so I have put the glasses in the charity shop and only allow him to have his 20 million glasses of water in plastic glasses .

deeeja · 22/08/2008 17:10

Oh, this sounds like my dh aswell.
It used to really get to me that he could make so much mess so effortlessly. It is as though he just has to touch something and he makes a mess, if he so much as moves anything he leaves a trail of crumbs/splashes/muck. I have gradually over the years grown accustomed to ignoring some of the not so major ones such as clothes not being put away properly, and have worked on what I consider the major things such as leaving a clean toilet, putting dishes in sink, throwing empty cartons in bin etc. I think he jus never knew how to clean up until he married me, his mother did everything for him, and it takes along time to learn new habits. However, he loves to cook, which I hate, and he likes ironing.
When I was pregnant it was a royal pain, so I understand.....

reesysmum · 26/08/2008 16:56

Thanks for all the advice and empathy. I am trying not to sweat the small stuff, and have pretty much given up picking up after him - well, his personal belongings anyway. Now, when he asks me where his keys / wallet / phone / watch is, I just tell him to look where he last left it (while trying hard not to gloat.) Still, like Deeja, I am having a hard time trying to overlook the trail of destruction he so effortlessly leaves behind. I just don't know how he does it. I marvel at his ability to pour a bowl of cereal and get flakes of oats all over the counter / floor at the same time. Even when he tries to clean up the mess, he ends up smearing and spreading the spill instead of absorbing it. And yes, he also seems to think that an empty jug of milk belongs back in the fridge (because it's easier to store it there than to look for a new recyling bag.) No DCs around the house yet, but dreading the day my soon-to-be DH starts crawling around... Will have to child-proof everything, including DH.

OP posts:
Minkus · 26/08/2008 17:54

Oh dear things are in a bad way if your dh is about to start crawling

BlingLovin · 26/08/2008 18:10

I know, I'm getting involved too late... but I'm a leeetle like your DH. Not entirely becuase I'm very clean and get into a complete strop if there's any dust on the bedside table... but in terms of general mess. We have kind of a compromise solution in that I try harder, and he accepts more. But the point we've both come to realise is that it is entirely unfair for me not to accept that it's an issue for him and that while I'll never care as much as he does, I have to try for his sake, even if I don't get it (clothes in bedroom being the key one).

I fail a LOT. But I do try. And I don't think it's unreasonable for you to insist that your DH does the same. Either on specific things, or on a more general basis. eg post goes in one spot, always, every single time. Even if it's just a basket that you both toss it into - he can sort it out later. Or, all clothes get put away before bed, every night.

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