Working moms with stay at home dads-what do you do at home? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-16-2010, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I work full-time during the school year and my husband works part-time and stays home a couple of days of the week. I find that I do most of the housework unless I really make a fuss about it, which I don't like to do. My husband does most of the cooking and takes care of the garden. So, he's definitely busy on the days that he stays home and is a really good daddy. But, he only does what he enjoys doing at home. He likes to cook and garden and he doesn't like to clean. It's really important to me to have a clean house, but I'm often too tired to keep it the way I like. I don't expect the house to be perfect, but it really bothers me when it's crazy messy.
So, I'm wondering what other parents do (and don't do) who work full time with a part-time stay at home partner? I think we pretty evenly divide the childcare except, of course, when only one of us is home.

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Old 05-16-2010, 10:59 AM
 
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My husband is pretty good about at least surface cleaning. He's not great about laundry, and a couple other things, but he is good about keeping the house from looking entirely like a war zone most of the time.

He also tends to make meals a lot. I don't love that he likes foods that are more processed than I use, but he does cook.

Ultimately, the way he does things means that I play catchup when I'm home. That's when the laundry is done, chores outside are done, beds are stripped and linens changed, toys rotated etc. He is overwhelmed by multitasking in a way that I am not, and for him to pay lots of attention to the kids means that other areas take a hit. I try to keep in mind that he is first parenting the kids, and the rest is what he tries to do around that so if it's not done, I do it when I am home.
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:06 AM
 
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What is your set-up on the days he works?
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Old 05-16-2010, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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The kids go to a babysitter on Mondays and Tuesdays, and stay with my mom on Thursdays. My husband stays with them on Wednesdays and Fridays, and they stay with me (usually, sometimes my mom or dad help out, though) on Sundays while he works for a few hours. I always clean the house on the weekend, but I'd like for the house to get a once-over during the week, too, so I don't have so much to do on the weekend. That usually doesn't happen unless I make a really big deal out of it, which I would prefer not to do. I always have a LOT of grading and lesson planning to do on Sundays, so Saturday is really my only day "off" and I wish I could just focus on spending time with my family that day instead of having to catch up on housework.
I forgot to mention that my husband also does the majority of the laundry, but has a hard time figuring out where things go!

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Old 05-17-2010, 08:07 PM
 
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I do all the laundry and wash our bathroom and about 25% of the dishes. That's about it. I work a lot!

DH didn't do a great job of cleaning at first, so I hired a housekeeper. He really hates hiring a house-keeper, so he stepped up the cleaning. I'd suggest you hire help if you can afford it.
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Old 05-18-2010, 12:48 PM
 
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DH doesn't SAH now, but did when DD was born for about a year. He was never one for laundry much, so that I had to do on my own. But he did (still does) a fair amount of cooking and almost always washed my pump parts/bottles for me.

Other than that, he'd do cleaning that he felt needed done, but neither of us are the sort that will vacuum the living room every day or several times a week. There are certain things that he's particular on and things that I'm particular on, and we each tend to gravitate toward those. It used to irritate me that he'd zone on the laundry, but I've grown up a bit since then.

Of course, he did great with the baby. But he's always been the far better parent of the two of us.

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Old 05-19-2010, 02:19 AM
 
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Is it at all possible for you guys to hire a cleaning person to come once a week to come clean the house?
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:58 AM
 
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Yeah, I've been on your DH's schedule (more or less) before and not really been able to do a once-over during the week. I think paying someone once a week would be a very good idea.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:08 AM
 
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Since I've gone back to work and DH has SAH (since DS was 7 weeks old) DH does most of the cooking and nearly all the dishes. He will not touch my pump parts. they aren't difficult to clean, so I am not sure why? He will dust and vacuum on occasion. He will put clothes in the washer and dryer, but not fold or put them away. He takes out the trash. He will clean the toilet, but not the rest of the bathroom, and often not until it is kinda yucky.

I want to do more around the house, I just need to do it; but I am working FT, even if 3 of the 5 days I am WAH, and I am nursing DS, do most of the other childcare when I'm home, working or not (diaper changes, baths, clothing DS, etc), so it is 2 FT jobs. DH pitches in when he feels like it, doing things he likes to do. I shouldn't complain . . .but you know, I want to! and he coupons, which is great! but he can't meal plan for more than one or two meals in advance, and doesn't seem to understand that multiple grocery store trips do not save money! I might need to take that task back.

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Old 05-19-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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OP - Have you talked to your DH about your ideals for a "clean house" and your expectations for him to help and pitch in.

I think that's the first step - because when I finally did that with my DH it became clear, cleaning the house was not his first priority once a week and it was mine. Then if it was mine I had to own it. I tried for a while and then it fizzled and now we give the house a good scrubbing 1xmonth with surface cleaning more often in the frequently used areas (LV, Kitchen, Bathroomsx2).


In quickly re-reading your post - I see having a clean house is your ideal, can you make any adjustments in your expectations to be comfortable with less cleaning or like the other PPs - hire a cleaning person to do your cleaning.

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Old 05-19-2010, 12:46 PM
 
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We have SAHMs who feel their job is the kids, and the house cleaning is just secondary - when they can get to it.

I'm a WAHM and DH is a SAHD (who does some Internet stuff on the side). Our split looks like this:

Me: Work, laundry, most cooking, meal planning, some light pickup (like I make the beds about half the days - the other days they go unmade ). I am also the sole cleaner of the bathroom, but it doesn't get done that much

Him: Childcare (including taking DD to playgroups, to the park, playground and so on), dishes, sweeping/mopping/vacuuming, bill-paying, yard work, car maintenance, grocery shopping and any other errands.

We both often fall behind. I mean, sometimes the dishes pile up. Sometimes the laundry piles up. Our expectations are lowered so nobody is on anybody's case. If I'm so far behind on laundry that DH is out of pants, he'll just throw in a load himself. If I don't have a pot to cook in, I'll usually scrub it myself. It does mean our house is nowhere near perfectly maintained, but we get along

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Old 05-19-2010, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. Reading the responses has at least let me know that I am not alone!
My first priority is making sure that my children are happy and well-cared-for and my second priority is having a harmonious marriage! After that comes work and home.
Our breakdown of duties looks like this:
My husband takes the kids to the park most days, cooks dinner about 3-4 times a week, does laundry twice a week, works 20 hours, does the dishes about 3-4 times a week, and some other small things (recycling every other week). He also does any night-time feedings for our almost 9 month old.

I bathe and often feed the kids, do laundry or hang up laundry about once a week, vacuum and sweep and mop, mow the lawn, get dinner on the table about twice a week (I wouldn't say I cook!), pay the bills, collect and take out the trash, take and pick up kids from the babysitters, and work about 50 hours a week. I also do most tidying up. If bathrooms or windows need cleaning, I do that too. I also am the only one who ever cleans the cars.

That said, I find it really hard to relax and enjoy my weekend when the house is messy. I would keep the house very clean if I could, but I don't mind if it goes a bit or even a fair bit for a few days. However, it really bothers me, if, for instance, my daughter who is beginning to potty-train POOPS on the couch and the floor and he pretty much leaves it for me to deal with.

I have certainly looked into having someone clean the house, but my husband thinks that is an unacceptable waste of money. I also am afraid that whoever came to clean my house wouldn't be able to get around to clean unless I first did quite a bit of tidying. The house is always at its messiest after my husband has been home with the kids for a day, which makes sense, I guess.

I've talked and talked to my husband about all this, and mostly he thinks I'm crazy, I think. I have asked him to take some things off my plate, like cleaning bathrooms twice a month or vacuuming or paying bills, but I think maybe he does them badly on purpose b/c he's resentful? Not sure, but last week when he vacuumed he didn't connect the hose on the vacuum and just blew the dirt around, for an example.

And, as a last word, I don't want to spend the little time we do have together fighting about the house, if that makes sense!

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Old 05-19-2010, 06:57 PM
 
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If he won't clean and doesn't want to hire someone, does cleanliness make him anxious? Some people get nervous when things are "too clean." That could be something to work on.
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekh View Post
Thanks everyone. Reading the responses has at least let me know that I am not alone!
My first priority is making sure that my children are happy and well-cared-for and my second priority is having a harmonious marriage! After that comes work and home.
Our breakdown of duties looks like this:
My husband takes the kids to the park most days, cooks dinner about 3-4 times a week, does laundry twice a week, works 20 hours, does the dishes about 3-4 times a week, and some other small things (recycling every other week). He also does any night-time feedings for our almost 9 month old.

I bathe and often feed the kids, do laundry or hang up laundry about once a week, vacuum and sweep and mop, mow the lawn, get dinner on the table about twice a week (I wouldn't say I cook!), pay the bills, collect and take out the trash, take and pick up kids from the babysitters, and work about 50 hours a week. I also do most tidying up. If bathrooms or windows need cleaning, I do that too. I also am the only one who ever cleans the cars.

That said, I find it really hard to relax and enjoy my weekend when the house is messy. I would keep the house very clean if I could, but I don't mind if it goes a bit or even a fair bit for a few days. However, it really bothers me, if, for instance, my daughter who is beginning to potty-train POOPS on the couch and the floor and he pretty much leaves it for me to deal with.

I have certainly looked into having someone clean the house, but my husband thinks that is an unacceptable waste of money. I also am afraid that whoever came to clean my house wouldn't be able to get around to clean unless I first did quite a bit of tidying. The house is always at its messiest after my husband has been home with the kids for a day, which makes sense, I guess.

I've talked and talked to my husband about all this, and mostly he thinks I'm crazy, I think. I have asked him to take some things off my plate, like cleaning bathrooms twice a month or vacuuming or paying bills, but I think maybe he does them badly on purpose b/c he's resentful? Not sure, but last week when he vacuumed he didn't connect the hose on the vacuum and just blew the dirt around, for an example.

And, as a last word, I don't want to spend the little time we do have together fighting about the house, if that makes sense!
Wow I'm taking back idea of you having to lower some expectations especially if someone leaves POO on a couch or floor. I think your DH is putting you in a tough spot, he can poo-poo the idea of hiring someone, but not be willing to pick up some additional responsibilities, its not leaving a lot of options to work with.

As for doing things badly - hmm I wouldn't let him off the hook, if your DH agreed to do it. I would just point out - like hey hun, thanks for vacuuming I really appreciate your willingness to help! Next time could you double check to make sure the hose is connected, I know it happens to me sometimes and then dirt just blows around everywhere! Thanks If he gets huffy then suggest well maybe we should just get someone to clean a bit 1x week?
I know when I turned over paying bills to my DH it was a struggle because he does it differently than I would. I LOATHE how he pays the bills, but he has a system and it works and it gets the job done and I'm just not going to fight it.

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Old 05-19-2010, 08:14 PM
 
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OP, from your list I think you have too much of the burden. I'm the one who is pretty laid-back with her husband, and I also really am sympathetic to different views of what "needs" to be done, but I think you've described taking on a good deal more than your fair share.

But you didn't list what your husband does - for all I know there might be a good deal in there. But it seems like you named the bulk of the household duties as being on your plate.

Now, if we're talking about degrees of tidy - maybe you want everything company ready 100% of the time, and your husband is fine if a dish actually sits in the dish pan for a while - I'm inclined to suggest, for your own sake, to see if you can find it within yourself to relax a little.

But if your husband just isn't lifting a finger, and then saying a housekeeper won't do either, I'm cranky on your behalf. But I also value my marriage and I think I'd try to do it without crushing him - "let's just do it so you don't have to worry about it" rather than "since you can't get off your ass and do it I'll have to hire."

If he puts his foot down, I'd tell him I'm open to his suggestions. Him just vetoing you isn't really a partnership. A dialogue is called for. Maybe he thinks you're too picky, fine, let him discuss that with you and come to a compromise. Let him ask you what's really important - like can you live if just 1) the dishes are done 2) the kitchen is swept and 3) the beds are made? (Or whatever). But this can't be just you telling him. This needs to be a two-way conversation, with him as interested in solving the issue as you - otherwise it boils down to you just ordering him to do certain chores, and I know I wouldn't want to hear that from my husband.

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Old 05-20-2010, 01:18 AM
 
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This past semester, DH was the SAHD and I was a full-full-full-time student.

He did pretty much everything. All I did was the nighttime parenting, the AM getting-the-kids-ready parenting, some errand-running, and DSD's lunch for school. He did most other things.

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Old 05-20-2010, 01:06 PM
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DH works now, but he SAH for the first year after DS was born. It was actually pretty frustrating. He did not cook, and I cared for DS most of the time. On many occasions, he asked me to take DS to work (which I was totally allowed to do), while he worked on rehabbing the house. He cleaned, but that is because he likes to clean and I don't. I still did most of the caring for DS, while he worked on the house and cleaned. I have realized over the years that DH is very bad at multi-tasking. He sends DS to the babyistter even though he is home one day a week, so that he can get cleaning and laundry done, although when I am home I am totally able to do this kind of stuff (and more) while DS is around.

Would love to hear whar others have to say.

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Old 05-20-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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i do the bathroom, bedroom, mop, and put laundry away. the kids have chores too
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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I once had a conversation with the director of my nursing program, who is now a dean. She repeated a conversation she had with a friend, and it has stuck with me...

"Do you have a job?"
"yes"
"Do you have a checkbook?"
"yes"
"then you too can have a housecleaner."

It just helps to remember that although your partner might not want to pay for one, if they aren't doing the work, then they might really not get a vote.

One of my main fantasies for after I finish grad school is having a housecleaner. Oh, and a job. I've got a checkbook already!

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Missing Asa James, born into this world 11-17-08 and into the next 12-25-08
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Old 05-21-2010, 01:49 AM
 
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rsummer, I have a job & a checkbook too, but I have to wait until after I enter & finish Grad school too .

DH is a SAHD right now & I work 40+ hours per week. DH tries really hard to do most of the cleaning but takes so many breaks throughout the day that when I leave he might be starting a job, but might not be done with chore 3 by the time I get home.

He is however, really good with Laundry, tho he doesn't put them away.

So, he stays at home with DS, does laundry (we really do have a lot of laundry, but I don't know why), cooks 1/ every 2 weeks (on average), plays with DS a lot, homeschools our 3 yr old DS, & plays a lot with DS.

I work 40+ hours, do dishes (DH swears that he does them), tidy up, clean the bathrooms, clean up outside, and pay bills.

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Old 05-22-2010, 11:30 AM
 
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I work fulltime and my dh stays home with our 2 kids.

I do have higher standards than him and I tend to be more particular about how things should be in terms of a clean house.

So we have needed to talk a lot of this through and I have needed to let go of certain things. For me, I have to focus on how fortunate I am to have a loving, compassionate husband who does a great job being with our children. When I start to freak out on how the house is, that becomes my mantra. Also, when things are really bad, I tell him what I need and we try to work something out together.

So we do divide things up. here is a bit of a run down:

DH cooks, gardens, mows the lawn, frequently cleans the cat boxes, does the dishes and picks up the house on a daily basis. He will start but not often finish the laundry.

I cook a couple of times a week especially on the weekend, finish the laundry and do a few loads on the weekend, dust, do the big projects (changing winter to summer clothes, major cleaning like washing the walls, re-organizing things, sorting and purging), dishes on the weekend or in the morning before work. I also am a bit more successful at getting our children bathed a few times a week.

And we do a lot of this stuff together too. We homeschool our kids and we share that responsibility. When we are both home and we have guests coming over, we clean the house as a family.

I think the key is talking about it. Allowing him to state what is important (or not important) to him and you doing the same. And then asking for help when you need it.

Both parents need an outlet. My dh goes out for breakfast with his best friend a few times a month and I try to send him off in the woods when he starts to get frazzled. Being home is tough too. And I go out with friends, do a book discussion and read a lot!

When we have unresolved resentments, it can erode our relationship and cause hurt feelings. I speak from experience here, not judging your situation.


Good luck to you!
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