Cleaning up after dh, not sure what to do. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have started a new challenge for myself and I put it in the January cleaning thread.  So, I stated that I am going to work on making sure the living room is tidied up and the top of the only cabinet in the living room is cleaned off.  My dh mentioned that when that room is cleaned up when he comes home, he feels happy coming home.  He isn't stressed.  I want that for him too!!  He is ok with the rest of the house being cluttered if the living room is clean.

 

Now, after cleaning up the living room yesterday, I noticed a lot of what I was putting away was things he left out.  I am trying hard to either not make a mess myself or put my stuff away as soon as I am done with it so none of my stuff was out save for a dvd that needed to be put away.  The other things were dirty clothes from the kids and toys.

 

Here is my dilemma:  Do I approach this with him?  Do I mention that he leaves a lot of things laying around?  I am trying to keep that room tidied up for him but if most of the things I was putting away aside from kids stuff, is his, why do I have to clean it up?  I know, I am started to sound kinda immature about it.

 

I know at this point, I will not say anything.  I will continue to pick up the living room and with a happy attitude till I figure something out.  Also, I have a counselor that I have been seeing to figure things out in my personal life and I would love to bring this up with her too. 

 

Help!  Do I need to get over this b/c as a sahm mom, its my responsibility to keep the house clean or talk with him?


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#2 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 07:53 AM
 
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What sort of things are being left out? My ds has a very bad habit of leaving dishes and cups on the tv tray. I just pile everything up and remind him to clear it away.Same thing with toys and books Could you just pile the things up so he can *see* all the things he is leaving out? Ofcourse if he is the type that gets upset easy then it might not even be worth it to mention it.

 

I do mention to my dh about dishes.I hate dishes being left ANYWHERE but the sink.

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#3 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Some of the things he leaves out are hangers.  If he doesn't get up early enough to head to the gym before work, he will get dressed in the living room and leave the hangers and gym bag in there.  His shoes are always left out.  Newspapers if he get one.  He left the manual to the Wii out after he was looking at it.  He leaves the Wii remotes out a lot.  I have a container I bought especially for the remotes, games, books,etc that has a lid but older ds and dh rarely put those away.  He gets packages in the mail almost daily and leaves the packaging laying around.  This doesn't happen often, but enough for me to want to pull my hair out in frustration!!

 

Part of me wants to clean the room but leave his stuff all over the place and see what he says.  But again, thats being immature and I don't to act that way.


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#4 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 08:21 AM
 
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I would probably pick up while he is around and remind him *gently* that you and he are modeling behavior for the kids.I told dh I don't want the kids to think mommy's job is to pick up EVERYTHNIG  every time after everyone in the home.Yes,mom does much of it,but the family is a team.It takes everyone to help keep the home neat. Your dh is right in that a tidy area does make a person feel better.I feel it when I clean. I can't relax in a messy area,and no not every room is clean at my place!

 

Gentle reminders for everyone to put things away after use.Takes a while for it to become habit..Maybe dh can put the hangers and gym bag in a laundry room,or just find a agreed upon place.

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#5 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 08:28 AM
 
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You are a better person than I am.

 

One thing *I* would probably do is, for things that are his and do not belong in the living room (hangars), I would "dump" them towards/in the location where they belong. Hangars and gym bag? In a pile in the bottom of his closet or on his side of the bed. But I have passive-aggressive tendencies around these sorts of things, and I don't write them here as a positive suggestion.

 

If the living room has been typically messy and cluttered for a while, it may just be a matter of time to establish the new habit of "we don't leave things lying around the living room." It's harder to leave the only item cluttering a clean cabinet top than it is to leave something draped on a couch that already has several items draped on it.

 

The remote basket has a lid? Could you remove the lid to make it even easier to store the remotes in? Put it in the spot where the remotes are usually left?

Could you put a fabric lined basket in the room and put DH's items (not dirty dishes, but his personal effects) in it?


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#6 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattemma04 View Post

I would probably pick up while he is around and remind him *gently* that you and he are modeling behavior for the kids.I told dh I don't want the kids to think mommy's job is to pick up EVERYTHNIG  every time after everyone in the home.Yes,mom does much of it,but the family is a team.It takes everyone to help keep the home neat. Your dh is right in that a tidy area does make a person feel better.I feel it when I clean. I can't relax in a messy area,and no not every room is clean at my place!

 

Gentle reminders for everyone to put things away after use.Takes a while for it to become habit..Maybe dh can put the hangers and gym bag in a laundry room,or just find a agreed upon place.


Yes, absolutely (to the bolded part)  I agree and I have been working on this with the kids.  They are responsible to put their shoes in the basket in the closet, toys put in the toy basket and clothes in their hamper.  It doesn't happen every day but we are working on it.  Most of the time I am working on this room is after the twins are down for nap and I forgot to have them help before going down for nap.

 



Quote:
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You are a better person than I am.

 

One thing *I* would probably do is, for things that are his and do not belong in the living room (hangars), I would "dump" them towards/in the location where they belong. Hangars and gym bag? In a pile in the bottom of his closet or on his side of the bed. But I have passive-aggressive tendencies around these sorts of things, and I don't write them here as a positive suggestion.

 

If the living room has been typically messy and cluttered for a while, it may just be a matter of time to establish the new habit of "we don't leave things lying around the living room." It's harder to leave the only item cluttering a clean cabinet top than it is to leave something draped on a couch that already has several items draped on it.

 

The remote basket has a lid? Could you remove the lid to make it even easier to store the remotes in? Put it in the spot where the remotes are usually left?

Could you put a fabric lined basket in the room and put DH's items (not dirty dishes, but his personal effects) in it?

We had an agreement that when he doesn't make it to the gym that he takes the bag back to our bedroom.  He did pretty well for a while but now it's back to leaving it in the living room.

 

As for the living room being cluttered for a while, it's my favorite room in the house b/c it doesn't have a bunch of stuff in there.  It's also bright and cheery!!  I have been trying to keep the room cleaned up for a while now and he knows it.

 

As for the container for the Wii remotes, I bought it b/c it had a lid and could be snapped on to keep my twin toddlers from getting into it.  The container goes into the entertainment cabinet and the doors get shut and locked to keep the twins out of it.

 

My dh and I both have a drawer in the one cabinet in the living room to put our personal stuff in so he does have a place for that stuff. 
 


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#7 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 09:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by starbuckmom View Post

Do I need to get over this b/c as a sahm mom, its my responsibility to keep the house clean...?


My DH and I don't believe that a SAHM should be solely responsible for keeping the house clean, but even if we subscribed to that belief we wouldn't think that meant that the husband should just leave messes for his wife to clean up. Someone here at MDC once wrote it in a way that resonated with me -- she said, "How would your DH feel if you went to his office and created a mess and then left him to clean it up, telling him that it's his job to keep his office neat?" Part of being a mature adult is cleaning up your own messes -- working men aren't exempt from that expectation in my world, especially since one of our goals is to raise a capable, self-sufficient son. 

 

That said, I understand the desire to have a tidy space for when your DH gets home -- I love having bare, clean flat surfaces myself, and the times I go out I love it when I come home and DH has cleaned off the dining table and counters so I try to do the same for him regularly. But if it's consistently your DH's stuff that's left out, I think it's fine to gently bring it up. Maybe say something like, "I really love having the house tidy in the afternoons when you get home lately. I was thinking, though, maybe if you and I spent 10 minutes picking up our own stuff every evening it'd be easier for me to stay on top of it because I'd only be having to help the kids clean up their stuff throughout the day." That way you'd be working together and not just blaming him for leaving stuff out. 


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#8 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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It wasn't until I went away for a few months that my dp noticed how much he left lying around.  He has a much higher tolerance for clutter than I do, so to ease my own senses, I'd always just put things away - it's sort of automatic for me... I walk thru a room, see something out & take it to it's place.  So, until I was gone, he didn't ever connect that he left so much out, or that I was constantly putting away his things.  I'm not suggesting that you leave the house, and I don't know what a good way to convey this idea to him would be, really... but that was just my experience.  In my case, I was gone for several months, so he got in a habit of his own of picking up after himself b'c he also likes the space clear.


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#9 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 09:45 AM
 
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I think there is nothing for it except to kindly and respectfully ('gently' as we say here at MDC) remind him.  If he gets defensive, well, that's not your fault. 

 

Like the above poster, I can get passive aggressive. For example, dh was leaving soda cans around. I was mindlessly tossing them in the recycle bin but realized what I was doing and got angry. So I gathered some of them and stacked them in a pyramid on the bathroom counter. eyesroll.gif  He got the point but of course told me I was being childish. 

 

So I told him,  " I'm sorry, you're right, but I'm frustrated. I don't know what to do. The cans need to go in the recycle bin. I shouldn't have to do it. "  He remember to get them in the bin most of the time.

 

We hate to confront, we hate for anyone to be unhappy with us. At the root is this fear that someone will think we're a b*tch.  But if your language is kind and respectful the ball is in the other court. If the other person objects it's their problem, not yours. 

 

Ask for his input. Ask him if there's a way that would make it easier for him.


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#10 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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Here is our system.  Everyone has a basket.  On laundry days it's used to put their clean clothes in.  Every other day it gets filled with the stuff they leave out.  Then everyone is expected, when they get home from work or school, to take their basket and put the things away.  Of course the 4 yr. old is awful at this and I have to help him, BUT, the others picked up on it quickly.  Especially, for the kids, because if laundry day comes and they don't have a clean basket, then the basket gets emptied into a box and they have to "earn" their belongings back.  DH used to complain about the clutter and mess in the house until I did this and then he realized that his basket was just as full as everyone else's.  Basically, he was honestly clueless about how much he contributed to the problem, when it was made clear to him, visually, he cleaned up his act. 

 

Oh, and being a stay at home mom, to me, doesn't mean I am dh's servant.  It means I choose to "work" at being a mom.  I end up doing most of the cleaning because the kids make most of the messes.  With that said, part of that is training the children to do those same chores.  I am not there to teach dh to clean up, nor am I there to clean up after him.  We have 4 kids, that is enough people for me to clean up after.  Of course, dh doesn't expect me to clean up after him, so we haven't had any issues with that.

 

It isn't immature to point out that he is contributing to the workload.  Stop looking at it in terms of immaturity.  It IS immature to expect someone to pick up after you and get upset if they mention it.  It is NOT immature to find a way to address this issue that he will understand.  It is NOT immature to get upset when he leaves messes.  Basically, stop getting down on yourself and address the problem, he happens to be creating a problem, so you need to address it with him. 

 


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#11 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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As I consider your examples, I find that there are things that I think of as "normal living room clutter", and therefore the job of the person who tidies the living room, and other things that I consider to be the job of the specific person who caused the clutter.
 
As I see it, normal living room clutter is what occurs when people use their living room in a reasonably relaxed fashion, without worrying about hopping up and putting things away the instant they're done with them. I consider the cleanup to be a worthwhile price to pay for the relaxation.  However, that means that it's a problem for the _same_ person to always do the cleanup, because they're the one who's always paying the price, while everyone else is benefiting. 
 
So I think that your DH should sometimes be responsible for tidying the living room, so that he can understand the annoying elements, and so that _you_ can occasionally enjoy the relaxation of hanging out in your living room without knowing that you'll have to tidy the clutter.
 
I don't know what that "sometimes" would be, but it seems logical for him to have the job on weekends and all other days off, like holidays and at-home vacations. This is on the assumption that since you usually take care of the kids, you have more work to do on these days off than he does, because it's hard to swap some tasks on a day to day basis. 
 
And if older DS is old enough, you could also assign him the tidying job on some days.
 
So, that long long ramble was partly to introduce the idea of "normal clutter" and "clutterer's job". I'd say that, going through your examples:
 
- Hangers: Clutterer's job. Adults--and children beyond a certain age, for that matter--should put the hanger from a garment back in the closet promptly, as a matter of course. If he doesn't want to walk back to the bedroom, he can just remove the garments from the hangers when he gets the garments, rather than carrying them into the living room, hanger and all.
 
By the way, why is he dressing in the living room? Is there something about the bedroom that makes it inconvenient to dress there, and is it possible to fix that to break this habit?
 
- Shoes: Normal clutter. Is there a designated place in the living room to kick off shoes? We have a bench that we kick them under, and every few days when the space fills up, I carry any excess off to the bedroom. While perhaps people _should_ walk to the bedroom, take off their shoes, and come back, I think that coming-home habits are the hardest ones to break, and that it would therefore be worthwhile to designate a place for shoes in the living room. If he doesn't change his shoes a lot, maybe his everyday shoes could just live there permanently.
 
- Packaging: Clutterer's job. Similar to hangers; the person who gets the package should deal with throwing away the associated trash, and should do so promptly. Is it pretty easy to throw the trash away? If it's difficult - for example, if you have to go all the way to the cold garage and squeeze past the car to put the box into the recycling--then it might be worthwhile to make it easier for all of you. But in general, yeah, the package recipient should be dealing with this.
 
- Remotes: Unsure. A few remotes is, to me, normal clutter. A big tangle of joysticks and cables and little control boxes is "clutterer's job".
 
- Newspapers: Normal clutter, unless they're all pulled apart and covering a whole lot of square feet.
 
- Gym bag: I'm undecided, but leaning toward "clutterer's job", and again wondering about how to break his habit of dressing and dealing with clothes in the living room.
 
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#12 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petie1104 View Post

Here is our system.  Everyone has a basket.  On laundry days it's used to put their clean clothes in.  Every other day it gets filled with the stuff they leave out.  Then everyone is expected, when they get home from work or school, to take their basket and put the things away.  Of course the 4 yr. old is awful at this and I have to help him, BUT, the others picked up on it quickly.  Especially, for the kids, because if laundry day comes and they don't have a clean basket, then the basket gets emptied into a box and they have to "earn" their belongings back.  DH used to complain about the clutter and mess in the house until I did this and then he realized that his basket was just as full as everyone else's.  Basically, he was honestly clueless about how much he contributed to the problem, when it was made clear to him, visually, he cleaned up his act. 

 

Oh, and being a stay at home mom, to me, doesn't mean I am dh's servant.  It means I choose to "work" at being a mom.  I end up doing most of the cleaning because the kids make most of the messes.  With that said, part of that is training the children to do those same chores.  I am not there to teach dh to clean up, nor am I there to clean up after him.  We have 4 kids, that is enough people for me to clean up after.  Of course, dh doesn't expect me to clean up after him, so we haven't had any issues with that.

 

It isn't immature to point out that he is contributing to the workload.  Stop looking at it in terms of immaturity.  It IS immature to expect someone to pick up after you and get upset if they mention it.  It is NOT immature to find a way to address this issue that he will understand.  It is NOT immature to get upset when he leaves messes.  Basically, stop getting down on yourself and address the problem, he happens to be creating a problem, so you need to address it with him. 

 


I like the idea of the baskets.  Maybe he will see how much he is adding to the clutter and be more mindful next time and put things away in a timely fashion.  I would like to do this for my older ds too.  This way, its less work for me.

 

I like what you said in the last 3 sentences.  I'm not getting down on myself, this post was more a "Do I just ignore or do I approach him" thought.  I have come to the conclusion I am going to chat with him about it.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Crayfish View Post

 

As I consider your examples, I find that there are things that I think of as "normal living room clutter", and therefore the job of the person who tidies the living room, and other things that I consider to be the job of the specific person who caused the clutter.
 
As I see it, normal living room clutter is what occurs when people use their living room in a reasonably relaxed fashion, without worrying about hopping up and putting things away the instant they're done with them. I consider the cleanup to be a worthwhile price to pay for the relaxation.  However, that means that it's a problem for the _same_ person to always do the cleanup, because they're the one who's always paying the price, while everyone else is benefiting. 
 
So I think that your DH should sometimes be responsible for tidying the living room, so that he can understand the annoying elements, and so that _you_ can occasionally enjoy the relaxation of hanging out in your living room without knowing that you'll have to tidy the clutter.
 
I don't know what that "sometimes" would be, but it seems logical for him to have the job on weekends and all other days off, like holidays and at-home vacations. This is on the assumption that since you usually take care of the kids, you have more work to do on these days off than he does, because it's hard to swap some tasks on a day to day basis. 
 
And if older DS is old enough, you could also assign him the tidying job on some days.
 
So, that long long ramble was partly to introduce the idea of "normal clutter" and "clutterer's job". I'd say that, going through your examples:
 
- Hangers: Clutterer's job. Adults--and children beyond a certain age, for that matter--should put the hanger from a garment back in the closet promptly, as a matter of course. If he doesn't want to walk back to the bedroom, he can just remove the garments from the hangers when he gets the garments, rather than carrying them into the living room, hanger and all.
 
By the way, why is he dressing in the living room? Is there something about the bedroom that makes it inconvenient to dress there, and is it possible to fix that to break this habit?
 
- Shoes: Normal clutter. Is there a designated place in the living room to kick off shoes? We have a bench that we kick them under, and every few days when the space fills up, I carry any excess off to the bedroom. While perhaps people _should_ walk to the bedroom, take off their shoes, and come back, I think that coming-home habits are the hardest ones to break, and that it would therefore be worthwhile to designate a place for shoes in the living room. If he doesn't change his shoes a lot, maybe his everyday shoes could just live there permanently.
 
- Packaging: Clutterer's job. Similar to hangers; the person who gets the package should deal with throwing away the associated trash, and should do so promptly. Is it pretty easy to throw the trash away? If it's difficult - for example, if you have to go all the way to the cold garage and squeeze past the car to put the box into the recycling--then it might be worthwhile to make it easier for all of you. But in general, yeah, the package recipient should be dealing with this.
 
- Remotes: Unsure. A few remotes is, to me, normal clutter. A big tangle of joysticks and cables and little control boxes is "clutterer's job".
 
- Newspapers: Normal clutter, unless they're all pulled apart and covering a whole lot of square feet.
 
- Gym bag: I'm undecided, but leaning toward "clutterer's job", and again wondering about how to break his habit of dressing and dealing with clothes in the living room.
 
Crayfish

I like the idea of giving him the responsibility of cleaning the living room on the weekends and a few holidays aside from Christmas when we all make messes in there! 

 

As for why he is dressing in there?  He gets the gym bag and his dress clothes ready to go the night before and sets them in the living room so they are ready to go in the morning to head to the gym.  On the days that he wakes up late and doesn't get to go, he dresses out in the living room since everything is right there. 

 

I just cleaned out the closet last week and got rid of shoes that we weren't wearing and coats too so there is plenty of room to put his tennis shoes.  The kids take care of their shoes when I remind them.  The twins will put their shoes away even w/o me asking since they see big brother putting his away!!  If the shoes don't get put away before nap, then it's older ds chore to round up the kids shoes and put them away.

 

Thanks for everyones thoughts and help!! 
 


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#13 of 18 Old 01-13-2011, 06:02 PM
 
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I would talk to him.  Maybe he needs his own box to throw clutter mindlessly in until he can get to it at a later point?

Sometimes we have to put some paperwork in a box when life throws us curve balls and we can't organize like we would like. 


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#14 of 18 Old 01-15-2011, 07:30 AM
 
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My DH does this too... he crabs if the house isn't picked up but most of it is his.. today he left a wrapper from something on the counter and I brought it to him and said "are you keeping this for something?  Or should I throw it out?"  I get so irked at him.  He also made a snide comment about how he was tired of looking at a pile of clothes on the bedroom floor, so I went up and grabbed it and dropped it at his feet and said "ITS ALL YOURS!" Grrrr. 

 

The thing is, my husband will only remember that there were clothes on the floor, not that they were his.

 

I have no answers and I didn't mean to take over your thread... but I will say one more thing, my stepmother once told me my father would leave his shoes around all the time, and one day she said "You know what this tells me?  You are too important to pick your own shoes up and I am not."  I liked it.  He stopped leaving his shoes around.  I need to try that technique.


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#15 of 18 Old 01-15-2011, 09:35 AM
 
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I am kinda in the harsh reality boat too...I am a wife and mother, not a maid. Fair is fair. If I can work full time, have a young son and animals, and all my projects I like to be part of, then he certainly  needs to get onboard. I keep a HUGE plastic basket that I fill with his lurking stuff and I shove it next to his bed to give him a hint. I refuse to pick up anymore after I was spending my precious weekend time cleaning  by myself, with no help, even after asking nicely. Decluttering and simplifying is helping a lot. My biggest PITA right now is the constant dirty bathroom. I left some clorox wipes in there so he could wipe down his "mess" and he doesn't do it...I feel it disrespectful. He doesn't get it.

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#16 of 18 Old 01-15-2011, 03:32 PM
 
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Put a basket in the living room. Dump his stuff in there. If you happen to see him getting dressed in the living room, tell him to toss his hangers and such in the basket. When he gets home, let him relax a bit and then hand him the basket to put away.

 

that way, you'll only spend 5 minutes on his stuff in the living room and get to enjoy a clean living room all day.

 

If you can get him in the habit of using the basket, you won't even have to spend 5 minutes on it.

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#17 of 18 Old 01-16-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by catscharm74 View Post

I am kinda in the harsh reality boat too...I am a wife and mother, not a maid. Fair is fair. If I can work full time, have a young son and animals, and all my projects I like to be part of, then he certainly  needs to get onboard. I keep a HUGE plastic basket that I fill with his lurking stuff and I shove it next to his bed to give him a hint. I refuse to pick up anymore after I was spending my precious weekend time cleaning  by myself, with no help, even after asking nicely. Decluttering and simplifying is helping a lot. My biggest PITA right now is the constant dirty bathroom. I left some clorox wipes in there so he could wipe down his "mess" and he doesn't do it...I feel it disrespectful. He doesn't get it.


OMG, are we married to the same guy?  LOL!  I work, have a 6 month old, and feel like I spend every spare minute (by myself, of course!!) trying my damndest to keep the house livable.  Thank God we have two bathrooms.  I let his go to hell a long time ago.  

 

I really like the plastic bin idea.  Gonna start doing that.


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#18 of 18 Old 01-16-2011, 01:08 PM
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I think I would mention at the dinner table or a family meeting (to the whole family, not just dh) that you hope that everyone will help you out with the goal of keeping the living room clean.  Remind the kids that they can help by putting their toys away just as you and daddy help by trying to clean up after yourselves.  If he is like my dh, he will offer up thoughts as well and then try to do his end.  Not that he would be perfect at it. . . but if I noticed an effort, I would then thank him for helping with it.  Appreciate the efforts of the kids and dh.  

 

Amy


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