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Help From The Husband?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

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?

post #2 of 13
Thread Starter 

I would also like to add that I have tried making a chore chart, a very simple one, in which he put a star on each day that he put in 15 minutes of work. It did actually help, it was AWESOME. For about a week.

post #3 of 13

I saw this post's titled and laughed. sorry I can't help but I'm giving up for now trying to get help around the house.hang.gif

post #4 of 13

i really feel for you, because i know EXACTLY how you feel. im struggling with this as well, the story is slightly different but shockingly the same.


one thing that im working on in my home is that we simply are not to sit down at our computers after the kids go to bed until the kitchen is clean. so at least i dont have that to do in the morning.  no if you go to bed with the kids that makes that harder for sure.

do you have to go to bed with your kids? could you spend 30 min before you goto bed cleaning together?


i think it is all too easy once the computer is in front of you to never move, heck i cant even get my own but up once i start reading stuff. i cant even imagine how gaming would be.  my hubby used to game before the kids and i really resented it at times, frankly i made it clear that unless our family and home was running like clockwork no body in this house was gaming as we raised twins, thankfully i think i only said that once way in the beginning, its so crazy here at time he never really started them up again.


here is one of the plans im working on, a chore list of things that have to be done daily and weekly, each has a time amount next to it that it should take. we each need to check off 30min of daily stuff each day. its amazing how much you can do in 30 min each day, i feel its more reasonable than 5 hours at once for anyone.


then the weekly stuff, im writing that stuff out to a one thing every other day or so right now that each of us do, that just gets done till its done, some is fast, some is longer. he can pick what he is most willing to do and then it is his every week, no excuse. 


now i still no more than him by far, but im also a stay at home and frankly that is part of my job. but him doing his share lets me feel like i have a partner in this and feel more respected.






now i will say that a lot of my plans are still in their infancy and i dont really know how well they will work, its just plans right now. im guessing my house looks a lot like yours, at least i feel the very same way about it as you described. so you have a commiserating partner on that front

post #5 of 13

Have you ever heard of Flylady? I love her. She has a lot of great advice, and one of the things she says is to not play the martyr. Don't misunderstand--I'm sympathetic, he should definitely help around the house because he's an adult, he lives there and it's the right thing to do. But, it doesn't sound like he cares about a mess the way you do. My DH is the same way. Unmade beds, things on the floor--he doesn't even see them. If I mention it, he'll do whatever cheerfully but he almost never notices on his own.  I used to get super irritated picking up until I realized, he just doesn't care. Since I care, I pick it up. I like living in a tidy house and if DH wasn't around I'd be doing it anyway so I do it and try to have a good attitude. I'm blessing my family by cleaning up, but I'm also blessing myself because I'm the one who gets stressed and embarrassed when it's a mess. If it didn't bother me I think I'd just agree to live w/ more mess but sadly, I can't, lol.


Re: the free time, just take it! You say he does every day, why can't you? Just tell him, I'm doing x and go do it! I used to sit around and wait for the perfect time to get some free time for me, or wait for someone to notice that I got no free time and guess what, it never happened. Now I just say, "hey, I'm going to do X, it shouldn't take more than an hour or so" or "the kids have been driving me nuts, you have to take over" and I go and do it. You have to be proactive IMO.


Sorry I wasn't more help and I hope you work it out. Get yourself some free time and I think that'll go a long way in making you feel better.

post #6 of 13

I'm so sorry your dh is being that way!  It sounds horrible.  And you sound near the end of your rope.  And I cannot imagine life without a little bit of time to myself.  I *need* it and I take probably quite a bit more than I should.  As previous poster said, you should just take it, right off the top.  


I have leanings towards your dh's way of being.  :(  I'm a slob, first of all, and very lazy when it comes to housework, and surprisingly fine about living in a pit.  I know at times that my dh has felt some of the things that you're feeling.  I suppose being the *wife* and the sahm makes it a little harder for me to be that way and pretend I haven't done anything wrong.  I've worked really pretty hard at getting better about these things.  Once I had my first child, I decided that it wasn't healthy for him to live with loads of dirty dishes in the sink and piles of laundry and clutter everywhere.  I feel like if I could change (and I am by no means good at keeping the house up, just not anywhere near as bad as I once was, and I think much better than you describe your hubby), there is some hope for him.  


I don't know if this is at all helpful, but I can almost promise you that he feels horrible about it.  


I wonder if there's an area of the house that you can make "his."  Like, you will start off with say 85% of the house being your responsibility (assuming that he's working out of the home and you're not, and maybe you can make his share a little bigger if he can get through the 15%), and then assign to him the kids' room and the main bathroom.  Or something along those lines.  And then when his share is not done, it's more obvious because he's actually responsible for that part of the house.  Does that make any sense?  

post #7 of 13

Tell him next time that you are going to hire a hosue cleaner for 5 hours a week to help you out.

post #8 of 13
Originally Posted by LLQ1011 View Post

Tell him next time that you are going to hire a hosue cleaner for 5 hours a week to help you out.

I second this suggestion! And then maybe actually do it, if you can afford to! For a while we were hiring 2 teenage sisters to come once every 3 weeks and deep clean our whole house, floors, bathrooms, windows, everything. We don't have them anymore because we moved away greensad.gif but to this day DH and I agree it was some of the best money ever spent!

I also like the idea of making part of the house his responsibility, or perhaps certain chores (like all dishes are "his" chore for example)--that could work well if he will agree to it. You'll probably still have to "nag" if he's not in the habit of taking responsibility, but then at least he can't act put upon.
post #9 of 13
Honestly, this is our biggest issue as well. My dh used to handle so much more and was at least willing to discuss it. Now, he will do the dishes, but he will do it in his own time. That means he would go days with out washing the dishes and let them pile up. He'll hand me some paper bowls and plastic spoons and be puzzled when I get upset about it. I end up spending way too much time nagging him to do it. He will take out the trash, but not until it piles up. He also mows the lawn and pays the bills. He won't do online baning, but is willing to write out the checks. Of course, I mail them out a week before the due date, and he mails them on or after the due date. I really think he has Adult ADD or something. Now-- I am not a neat and orderly person by nature. Not in the least. I am sitting here typing looking at the milk and cereal box that I left out. I will eat my cereal before putting it away. But that means that I have to work extra hard to stay on top of things. It's hard being the only one who cares. I have explained that the condition of the house directly affects my mood and concentration, and he just looks at me like I am so wierd, over-sensitive, and dramatic. I hate it. I really do. I hate having my feelings disregarded. I have thought about leaving him over it, in fact. The truth is that I would miss him. I promised to work with him through thick and thin, and I take that vow very seriously. But it's disheartening to say the least that he won't work with me on this.

I have hired help before. In fact I am trying to decide who to have come in to help me catch up soon. I think if I could find someone really good, it would really help us. But I'm picky. I want a non-smoker, willing to use only my supplies who will spray my vinegar and let it sit for 10 minutes and let it disinfect before rinsing it. I want someone who is trustworthy and since my dd and I are here, I want someone who is easy to get along with. Who won't come into my house when she is sneezing and coughing and get us sick. Who won't keep me waiting for hours wondering if she is safe and come in with a bunch of dramatic stories that make me wonder if she is a compulsive liar.

So for now, what I am doing is working really hard to declutter and get organized and keeping my eye out for help. My dh does a great job of bringing home the bacon and he's my best friend, great to look at (hehe) and a great daddy to our kids. I have hope that he will sit with me one day and look at my list of duties and lighten my load, but I have to let go of some of the anger because it's just making me miserable. Oh, and my dh is on the computer all of the time. Sometimes it's games. Other times it's reading random crap on wikipedia. He spends hours though. I wish I could toss the computers out the window sometimes. smile.gif But then how would I get on here and complain about him? LOL!
post #10 of 13

Getting my DH to help me would be like winning the lottery. He is also disabled so he can't do a lot. As a result, I am a compulsive declutterer. I have delegated chores to all my kids. My 9 yr old washes all the dishes...every day. He also keeps his room clean and cleans the toilet once a week. My 3 year old likes to vacuum so thats what he does. He also picks up trash just laying around the house. We have to go to the laundry mat to wash clothes...so whoever doesn't feel like helping...their clothes don't get washed. We have a nightly cleanup that takes about 15 minutes before the kids go to bed. Everyone also knows that if I have to pick up their belongings...I get rid of it...doesn't matter what it is or who it belongs to. So my DH and I made an agreement...he cooks dinner every night (and his food is AMAZING) if I keep up on home maintenance.


It took a while to get to where everyone knows the rules and their job...but it works...at least for me.

post #11 of 13

I have a disabled husband too. Chronic joint pain for him, due to an auto-immune disease. Also, any type of stress makes his condition flare up. He became disabled while we were still dating. Though he has always been a very self-sufficient, self-sustaining person by nature, his disability severely limits what he can do on a regular basis. Help me with a project, make a gourmet dinner, watch the bigger kids for a few hours and then rest for a few days or couple weeks? Yes. Do the daily grind of housework, financial tracking, errands, food making and childcare? No.


I do everything. It works well though because I am a control freak and he is easy-going. winky.gif Yes, I would like a little more help and some relief sometimes, but I also remind myself that this relentless demand from the little ones and the house is only for a season. The kids will get bigger and more helpful as I train them. The house remodeling will get done and our home will not be chaotic. I will have more time for me and a clearer house. smile.gif

post #12 of 13

yeah i think it is a huge difference between not getting help from a partner because they have a legitimate condition that prohibits it and not getting help from a fully able body and minded person because they are to busy playing video games.


and there is also a big difference between not helping clean and actually leaving extra messes everywhere for you to clean up after them.   i don't expect my hubby to clean the bathroom sink for instance, but i get pissed and feel hurt when he spits mouthwash into it and does not bother to rinse it out, therefore making it slimy and smelly much much faster and my cleaning job much harder.  the first is a division of labor and totally fair depending on the circumstances. the second is, in my eyes, disrespecting of my time and effort and disrespecting of the environment that we as a family live in.

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

I just want to quick let you all know that I have (finally) read all of your responses, and I very much appreciate them! There are some things I want to say, but I haven't got enough time right now. I will try to when I can, and I may need first to respond to just the first few comments, which doesn't mean I didn't read or have anything to say about any comments in between those and my response. I will get to those when I can, too!

Since I don't know at what point I will scrape together time to do this, (I will see if I can today, maybe? The kids may just luck out and get a movie, hehe...) I do want to say that I have been pursuing the issue and I think it is actually getting a little better!

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