Okay, I realize this probably isn't just me, but it is infuriating. My husband will do something if I am there and specifically ask him to do it, but otherwise...?
Neither of us, by any means, are tidy people by nature. I don't even want to talk about what our house looked like at times prior to having kids. Now I try my best to keep up on things, and it is always a major effort. I struggle with it. I don't expect, (or want, for that matter,) my house to be spotless, I just want not to get nauseous if someone stops by unexpectedly, or to be able to say "yes" when my daughter asks if she can have a friend over without having to prep for several days.
These are probably not big goals for many people, but, without bothering to offer any explanations or excuses, they are for me.
I can manage this. Here's what I can't manage: To do anything at all for me, ever.
I can keep up on everything. If I go to bed when the kids do, if I spend all of my time taking care of children and cleaning. If I never have more than 1 minute at a time to myself. Don't get me wrong, I steal the occasional minute during the day here and there to quick check my facebook, or e-mail, or whatever, but that is really all it is. And the kids are rolling around on the floor ripping up a bag of paper towels I will have to clean up afterwards while I do it. Which is what they are actually doing right now. But I am desperate.
My husband works 3rd shift. When he didn't, I hated the necessity of hounding him every moment to get anything done, what in a human would be considered asking for their fair share of help, but in a woman constitutes b****ing and nagging. I hated how that made me feel. Now, I just don't get any help. If he isn't "supervised", he doesn't do anything. I don't want to be the only responsible adult in this house.
I like him, I really do, and this is the only issue in our marriage. However, while it is something that he can dismiss and forget about all day, every day, aside from when I am actually doing the begging, it preys on me all the time. It makes me angry, and terribly depressed. It makes me feel like he has no respect for me whatsoever, as in, somehow I deserve to do all this crap, and he deserves to play video games for several hours. Or more. It makes me feel shamed and belittled, because if I say anything, be it polite, ("Could you please take your cereal bowl to the sink?") or spoken out of anger, ("I'll just pick these dirty underwear up off the kitchen floor and take care of them, shall I?") I get the same reaction. Anger. Anger for getting on his case, or "nagging". I get a reaction like I have just kicked a sick puppy. And often, "I was going to do it." But he wasn't going to. I know he wasn't going to, because he doesn't. If I don't do it, it will stay there. And the injustice of him being upset over something I feel I have the sole right to be upset about kills me! It makes me feel like my emotions are illegit. Like I am expected just take care of everything and be silent about it. Which makes me boil with shame and rage. It makes me cry.
I like honesty and communication. So everything I have just said, I have said to him. Multiple times. As calmly as I can. Generally through tears, but not shouting, or angry. Just trying to lay out to him why what he does is upsetting. He agrees. He apologizes. He promises. He changes nothing.
He takes a minimum of a couple hours every single day of "free time" after work, which he uses to sit at the computer and play video games. On his weekends, he takes much more. Because I go to bed with the kids, and he has all night by himself. Hours, by himself, with no kids. These two nights a week are what get to me the most. He gets about 10 hours. And he spends the entire time effing off. He plays video games, and eats leftovers.
What I have asked of him is to take half his time on these two free nights a week, and help me catch up on housework that I have fallen behind on during the week. I feel like this is more than fair, as it still leaves him 5 solid hours of free time a night that he could do anything he wants with. Which is a **** of a lot more than I get. What I actually get is maybe him loading the dishwasher. Or something akin to that. Something that was obviously about 20 minutes of work. And that is only if I have gone through my spiel before going to bed about please, for the love of god, do something to help me, I'm drowning.
Which I didn't do last night. I just went to bed. And when I got up, nothing at all had been done. You see, last night when I put the kids to bed, I wasn't feeling well, which my husband knew. And so before bed I did not clean up the teacups and plates on the table from the tea and snack we had all had before bed time. (All = includes him.) I did not wipe up the crumbs, or sweep the floor. I did not make sure to tidy things up or gather random toys and put them away. So I woke up to all of it still there.
And now, once again, I have spent my entire day cleaning and looking after kids, all the while boiling over inside, wondering why he could not, in the least, have gathered up the teacups.
I don't want to go on like this, it make me feel like [expletive word for poop]. Thank you very much to anyone who read through this, and I would greatly appreciate any words of advice, insights, or experience on the matter. I know he loves me. I know he understands and agrees. So why can't I get this to translate to actually being a helpful partner? Or, better yet, taking equal responsibility all on his own, without having to be asked? No one has to ask me to vacuum the floor for me to know it has to be done. I am an adult. He is also an adult. I don't feel like I should even have to tell him **** needs to be done.
In addition to these things, I have also explained to him that him helping, at all, on a regular basis would mean that I, too, could have a little free time here or there. Get to talk to some of our friends as well. Maybe even play a game or two. He gets to do all these things every single day. I am so tired of doing the equivalent of stamping my feet and shrieking, "IT'S NOT FAIR!" in as civilized of a manner as I can muster. How can I get actual change?