Mothering Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,445 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
<p>Ever since the beginning of our marriage one constant is that every so oftern we have a fight about housework.  It's dh getting mad at me if the house is messy.  I'll admit I'm not one of those people that are tidy by nature, but I really do try.  It usually goes something like this:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Dh goes to the kitchen to do something.</p>
<p>Gets frustrated that it's messy.</p>
<p>Starts angrily cleaning the kitchen and then starts complaining, asking what do I even do all day, saying how the agreement was that I stay home and take care of the house and baby and he goes to work...and I'm not keeping up my end of the bargain, (keep in mind that when we both worked it was that "housework was the wife's job.")  </p>
<p>I usually reply with something snarky like "I don't have the energy for this right now" or "can you be a little more mature about this?"  </p>
<p>Then he starts in the with the put downs, that I never do anything, that I'm lazy, maybe name calling, over all making me feel like crap and hurting my feelings because I feel like I'm constantly doing things for others and barely ever do anything fun just for me.</p>
<p>I say "don't talk to me like that"</p>
<p>He says "you deserve it."  </p>
<p>At that point I usually yell back in efforts to keep my self esteem intact....and then end with crying in the other room.  If DH hears me, he usually says something like "oh, paa-leez"  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>It just makes me feel worthless and unappreciated and I start to get really down on myself.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>I used to think this specific argument and way of going about it was normal, until I started talking about it to my sister and friends.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>We've tried talking about solutions.  The latest one was that we made a chore list, and my motivation for doing the chores on the list was that I could spend a certain amount of money on whatever I wanted.  (jewelry, craft stuff, etc.)  I tried my hardest, forfeited naps, but could not get the list completed.  So, it kinda makes me feel like a failure.  I mean, lots of other moms with more kids keep their house clean, and still manage to cook, grocery shop, get Christmas cards done, keep up on scrapbooks, go to story time, and even work a part time job.  </p>
<p>Just an fyi, my typical day is spent taking care of my 9 month old (meals, nursing, pumping, diapers, putting down for naps, playing, etc.), ironing dh's work outfit, making his breakfast, coffee, and lunch....errands, groceries, housework, laundry, making dinner.......just the usual mom stuff.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>For me, I guess the ideal solution would be for dh to approach housework as more of a team effort and if I'm behind on something, I would like him to just pick up the slack instead of getting mad or acting like he's doing MY work.  Is this out of line?  I was at a friends house this weekend and was blown away by how her husband helped with dishes and cleaning the kitchen, made his own lunch before bed, and made his own coffee and breakfast in the morning before work....without even being asked.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I just wish we could find a solution to this recurring issue.  It would cut down on a good 85% of all arguments.  I'm just hoping someone out there has BTDT or can offer some sort of insight, advice, or other thoughts.  Please ask questions if I wasn't clear on something.   Thanks for listening.</p>
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
329 Posts
Sorry if this sounds blunt but, from the way you described it, this doesn't seem to be about housework. It sounds like it has more to do with respect and maturity. No one deserves to be put down and made to feel worthless, especially by their partner. Are these the values you want modeled to your children. I hear you want teamwork but, IMO, you have to have mutual respect within the team before you can be supported by the team. Just my reaction to how you've written it... Please disregard if it doesn't resonate with you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,484 Posts
<p>My first question would be with the chore list... how realistic was it?  being that you have a 9? month old, getting things done can truly be HARD.  Trying to keep the house 100% clean every single day isn't realistic at all, so first you need to make sure your goals are realistic.  Getting dishes done each night (or the next morning) is realistic.  Getting dishes done after EVERY meal?  might not be realistic.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Second, what is your main problem?  cleaning things like dishes every day?  or things like keeping everything picked up and put away?  Would decluttering help?  I know that I can keep my house MUCH cleaner when I have fewer things.  Fewer toys, fewer clothes, fewer anything kiddo can reach.  We used to have close to twice what we have now but as kiddo has grown and as I've had my own struggles with getting things done, I've become VERY good at deciding that if we just don't use it often, its not worth having at all.  I've gotten my house now to where even if EVERYTHING is dirty (dishes and clothes, toys not put away etc) it won't take long to do because I only have enough for a short amount of time anyway.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Also, what specifically is your problem with getting things done?  Are you just too exhausted chasing after the little one?  do you have too many commitments or projects?  are you easily distracted and overwhelmed?  Knowing the root of the problem can help as well.  for ME, I was too easily distracted and overwhelmed.  Turns out, I have ADD inattentive type that has probably gone undiagnosed for YEARS and probably also explains my problems in high school.  When kiddo was younger, being exhausted was a problem as well.  I should have honestly tried sleeping more as well as asked husband to take kiddo for a bit once in awhile (even just half an hour a couple times a week) so I could sleep or just veg or even get something done without having to keep one eye on kiddo the whole time which for me makes everything go a lot slower and makes me a lot more frustrated.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>None of this of course addresses the unhealthy arguments the two of you have nor your husband's attitude towards what is exactly your job vs his job.  That particular routine will be hard to break because its just a script ingrained in both of you.  You can definitely start that process though by trying to remember not to rise to the 'you deserve it' attitude and instead saying something like 'I don't think now is a good time to try and discuss this' and then leave the room.  I know from experience it is really hard to change typical reaction, learning to remember and to change is a process that you won't get at first most likely.  It is a change you can make though since you won't be able to change HIM right now.  That is my biggest piece of advice.  You can't change him right now... just work on you and do your best to continue to be a good wife (by the definition you feel comfortable with as we all have our own definition for 'good wife') and he just might follow your lead and learn to change the script as well when he sees that you aren't willing to rise to the old one nor to stoop to anything hurtful as well.</p>
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,674 Posts
<p>As a stay at home mom and homemaker.. most of the housework is my job. That doesn't mean that dh doesn't pitch in when needed. And he doesn't get snarky about it. Everyone who lives in a house can contribute to its care. Ok, except the cat.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>If I had a high errand day, the house falls behind. If I cleaned the house like a whirlwind, I might not get milk at the store. It's all a trade off and mature partners recognize this.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,403 Posts
I know you have a lot on your plate right now... I would start by trying not to engage with him when he's being like that as much as possible just to keep yourself calm and your head clear. He probably wants the fight and gets some kind of release from it and then goes about his merry (or perhaps not so merry) way, whereas it likely leaves you feeling bad for hours.<br><br>
I know you are so busy with your baby but I would research emotional abuse and ways of emotionally detaching. What your husband is doing to you is so disrespectful, a loving spouse doesn't do that. The chances of him seeing the light and becoming a loving (or respectful) spouse aren't great. (Yes I know he's not always like that-- but he could act like the husband of the year the rest of the time and it still wouldn't balance it out)<br><br>
The issue isn't the housework, it's your husband's treatment of you and it is poison to a marriage. Learn as much as you can about emotional and verbal abuse and ways of coping with it and then you can better decide where to go from there. Do you have anyone IRL you can tell this stuff to? Someone needs to know he's not all he seems to be and support you through this.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
971 Posts
<p>i agree with some of the pp, we fight about housework sometimes but it never turns nasty? kwim? just kind of tired squabbling but cleaning eventually gets done.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,101 Posts
<p>Your husband is not your employer and has no right to treat you that way.  He should be happy if the baby is well taken care of, because that's a full job unto itself. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>If you're overwhelmed (and it can be overwhelming), he should support you, not tear you down!  This is NOT about lists and chores - this is about a very unhealthy, disrespectful dynamic.  Don't doubt yourself.  The fact that he insults you and then when he hears you crying, is dismissive and rude... Is completing a chore list going to change the fact that he is capable of such nasty behavior?!   </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Your life hasn't devolved to the point where housework says anything about who you ARE as a person.  I would give <em>him</em> a list of ways he may/may not treat you, and propose an alternative to marriage if he can't wrap his head around the fact that his wife should be treated with love and respect. </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,792 Posts
<p>Even at our most stressed, when our first was a baby and we were still figuring out our new roles, dh *never* spoke to me like that or treated me like that. That's not cool at all. And I'm definitely not Suzy Homemaker when it comes to housekeeping, whereas he prefers a very neat house. I would take the state of the house off the table for a while and really work on how you communicate with each other, let dh know that he needs to get back to a place of caring and of remembering why you two got married in the first place. Because how he's treating you is not sustainable in a healthy relationship, and this right now is not a relationship you want to model to your sweet baby. A counselor might be of help here.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
415 Posts
<p>Well, this is tough.  You married a man with the expectation that housework is a woman's job, and now undone housework is causing problems.  I agree with the PP's that he is an azz for berating and being nasty, but you married him for some reason, and that's the reality of it.  I think you guys def need to address the abuse (which is what I believe the name calling and picking are), but you also need to step up and make the cleaning happen if that is your end of the bargain.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>In my mind this is just a symptom of a much bigger problem in the relationship.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
865 Posts
<p>your ds is exactly the same age as mine! i will say this, everything else aside, she is a LOT more challenging at this stage than she was at any other time. i have definitely noticed a vast difference in the amount i'm able to get done in a day than i was even a couple months ago. she is making her needs and wants a lot clearer, and even something as simple as getting to the grocery store seems to take up way more energy and time than it used to. our day (just a basic staying at home routine) is simultaneously more structured and more busy...</p>
<p> </p>
<p>i agree with the PPs. this is about way more than housework. you can either choose to address just the housework issue, or you can work on the relationship itself. if i was having the same issues as you, my first stop would be quite honestly couple's therapy. no partner should be speaking to the other like that.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>if you don't think that this is a relationship issue, and just want to fix the housework issue, then it sounds like you really need to lay out on paper what is going on in your day. your dh is clearly not understanding what the breakdown of your day is. spend a couple days just writing down by the minute what you and your ds are doing throughout the day, as well as any daily tasks you regularly accomplish (dishes, making dinner, laundry etc). you may find a lot of wasted time in your day, or you may not. based on what you find, you can either work on being more productive during that time, or you have proof to show your dh that you're not sitting on your behind all day.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>i personally realized that i was really frittering away my dd's whole morning nap, and that if i did a lot of housework and daily tasks during that time, i somehow had way more time for personal goals and downtime in the rest of the day. however, my dh is a pretty equal partner in most household tasks. if i get something big done (like the bathroom, mopping the kitchen, organizing a room) that is seen as a big extra. the jobs that i consider to be mostly my responsibility are taking care of dd, groceries, cooking dinner, laundry and very basic tidying. if those don't get done during the week though, no way is my dh yelling at me! his main responsibilities are going to work, washing the dinner dishes, finances and taking care of dd when i go out. major cleaning, errands and other stuff is completely shared. i am NOT responsible for preparing his work clothing (beyond putting in a load of laundry), making his breakfast and lunch (beyond making a little extra dinner for him to take in), or anything else... in fact, he generally makes my coffee and breakfast in the morning, as i am usually stuck in bed marathon nursing dd.</p>
<p> </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
701 Posts
<p>To be honest your DH sounds mean. A chore list with rewards? What are you 9 years old? And his anger at your for not keeping the house clean enough is totally out of line (name calling?) It sounds abusive. A lot of people are in relationships where one person likes things tidier than the other. The biggest issue to me is that he resorts to abusive behavior when it frustrates him. And why are you ironing his clothes and making his breakfast?? If the man wants a clean house he needs to have some priorities. You are his wife and the mother of his child, not his maid. What does he do to help? From your post I imagine if you had a super clean house and he found out you were plopping your baby in front of the TV all day to get it done he'd have a problem with that too.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
701 Posts
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>GuavaGirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282256/we-always-fight-about-housework#post_16078721"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>So, it kinda makes me feel like a failure.  I mean, lots of other moms with more kids keep their house clean, and still manage to cook, grocery shop, get Christmas cards done, keep up on scrapbooks, go to story time, and even work a part time job.  </p>
<p>Just an fyi, my typical day is spent taking care of my 9 month old (meals, nursing, pumping, diapers, putting down for naps, playing, etc.), ironing dh's work outfit, making his breakfast, coffee, and lunch....errands, groceries, housework, laundry, making dinner.......just the usual mom stuff.  </p>
<p> </p>
<p>For me, I guess the ideal solution would be for dh to approach housework as more of a team effort and if I'm behind on something, I would like him to just pick up the slack instead of getting mad or acting like he's doing MY work.  Is this out of line?  I was at a friends house this weekend and was blown away by how her husband helped with dishes and cleaning the kitchen, made his own lunch before bed, and made his own coffee and breakfast in the morning before work....without even being asked.</p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
</div>
</div>
<p>Just wanted to add:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Okay, other moms do NOT do all that. At least not most of them. And really, it gets easier when your kids get older. I have three kids (6, 4 and 2) and I am able to keep my house cleaner than when I had one 9 month old. Because 1) older kids don't need as much constant attention (or at least you can say "No, go play!" and 2) when you have three kids, they play together and don't need you with them constantly. And every single mom I know does not do all those things you listed. If they do they have a very supportive husband who does a lot or a cleaning lady. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>My DH works a full time job and still helps a lot around the house. I do by far the most housework, but when he is home he (without prompting) goes and switches over the laundry or pulls some out to fold. He makes the bed when he wakes up every morning and makes his own breakfast and lunch. On the weekends he does more - usually a few loads of laundry and general tidying. Yes, your DH is not doing enough to help and is overly critical.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
480 Posts
<p>Hugs mama, I read your post earlier and I've been thinking about it all day.  I would look into reading <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FCodependent-No-More-Controlling-Yourself%2Fdp%2F0894864025" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">Codependent No More</a> from your local library.  It may be something that resonates with you and will help you learn how to set boundaries and then detatch when your significant other is acting in a manor that you find acceptable (and IMO, name calling is unacceptable behavior).  Many pp have stated that this is an issue that is much larger than housework, and they are correct.  True, you made a bargain to SAH and manage housework, but are you ever able to be 'off work' like you DH? A baby is a full time job in and of itself, let alone managing a house all day....Does your DH's belief that housework is 'women's work' stem from a religious tenant?  If so, maybe talking with your spiritual leader may help you and your dh come to a REASONABLE compromise (not 'you do it because you have woman parts') and actually define what 'housework' is and remind him that he isn't your BOSS, but he is your PARTNER.  Decluttering is also a good suggestion.  Its easier for me to clean after I've purged the house of unused items (I too am not tidy by nature and it's something that I'm always  working on...).  There are some really neat blogs that can help you as well as the decluttering forum on here :) but by all means, don't feel like you HAVE to do anything that anyone suggests in the tidyverse (IMO, if the kids are clean and happy- the rest can wait ;) ).  Hugs mama, you're not a failure. </p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,892 Posts
<p>Your DH is being totally unreasonable. I agree it's about more than just the housework. Your DH sounds a lot like my XH. I did not stay at home at the time, but he had that same mentality that housework was a woman's job and refused to do anything around the house but complain about what was or wasn't getting done. I would second the book Codependent No More.</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,446 Posts
<p>I don't think this is about housework.  Your list of things for your day is pretty big already.  You do a lot.  Now, could you declutter and reorganize and have a tidy house as well?  Probably.  I personally find that I am much more at peace with the world when the norm for my home is clean and tidy, rather than messy.  And because of the hours my dh works, I don't feel it at all unreasonable to do the vast majority of housework, or even non "work" things like getting him tea and the like.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Also, from your post, it's hard to tell if the house is a wreck, or if he is just persnickity. </p>
<p> </p>
<p><strong>But, and this is a big one, because of your husband's approach, I don't think having a clean home would solve this problem.  It would be an independantly worthwhile thing to pursue, but it's not the cure for the problems in your marriage.</strong></p>
<p><strong> </strong></p>
<p>You need to process what you're going to do.  You could leave, and still have to deal with him as a coparent, so if you did, you'd still need to learn a healthy response to him rather than what you're doing now</p>
<p> </p>
<p>You could stay, and maintain the status quo.  That sounds like it's miserable for both of you.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>You could stay, and get mean in response to his meanness.  Also miserable.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>You could stay, and learn to respond to his huffing and puffing in a way that doesn't escalate the anger on both sides.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I would pick the last option.  Using your description of an example, since dh and I used to get into similar bad cyces...</p>
<p><strong>Dh goes to the kitchen to do something.</strong></p>
<p><strong>Gets frustrated that it's messy.</strong></p>
<p><strong>Starts angrily cleaning the kitchen and then starts complaining, asking what do I even do all day, saying how the agreement was that I stay home and take care of the house and baby and he goes to work...and I'm not keeping up my end of the bargain, (keep in mind that when we both worked it was that "housework was the wife's job.")  </strong></p>
<p><strong>I usually reply with something snarky like "I don't have the energy for this right now" or "can you be a little more mature about this?"</strong></p>
<p> </p>
<p>Having learned the hard way, I would stop something like this right there.  No snark.  You can't control his feelings or his words (he doesn't like mess, he's frustrated with finding a mess, he's frustrated because he feels that it is not his responsibility but he must do it if he wants it to be done, and he expresses his frustration badly), but you do have the power over yours, and many times that will translate into having power over the way the conversation goes.  If I could, I'd pre-empt him, go into the kitchen, and say "Thank you so much for doing that.  I got caught up in what the baby needed, and the dishes got left.  I really appreciate you taking the time to do that."   The first time I did that to my husband he was too stunned to say anything.  Because previously, I'd do what you do, which is get defensive and wordy and weepy, and he'd then get more frustrated and start saying stupid stuff.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>If he got his complaints out before I could stop him in his tracks with a love-bomb, I'd respond calmly, nicely, and honestly--with a list.  "I got the baby up this morning, dressed her, kept her well fed all day, changed her...oh, maybe ten times today...got your clothes ironed, got meals cooked, dropped off the mail, got groceries...I'm sorry you came home to a messy kitchen, but there are only so many hours in a day, and I had to prioritize, with the baby in top position." </p>
<p> </p>
<p><strong>Then he starts in the with the put downs, that I never do anything, that I'm lazy, maybe name calling, over all making me feel like crap and hurting my feelings because I feel like I'm constantly doing things for others and barely ever do anything fun just for me.</strong></p>
<p><strong>I say "don't talk to me like that"</strong></p>
<p><strong>He says "you deserve it."  </strong></p>
<p><strong>At that point I usually yell back in efforts to keep my self esteem intact....and then end with crying in the other room.  If DH hears me, he usually says something like "oh, paa-leez"  </strong><span style="display:none;"> </span></p>
<p> </p>
<p>All of this is both of you participating in escalation.  And again, you can't control what he says, but you can control how you respond to it.  You don't need to yell or cry in order to keep your self esteem.  My guess is that neither of these things really improves how you view yourself anyway.  If what he is saying is mean, the problem is with him.  If what he is saying is untrue, the problem is with him, not with you.  If there is some truth, but it's hurled at you like a brick rather than lovingly said, you can choose to accept what is true, and separate that from the junk he's wrapped it in.  You can say "What you're saying is hurtful and unkind and not accurate.  If you are bothered by something I'm doing or not doing, we need to talk about it, but we're not going to talk about it now, in this way.  When you are ready and willing to use kindness and respect in the way you bring up the problem, I will be ready and willing to listen and consider what you're saying."</p>
<p> </p>
<p> <span style="display:none;"> </span></p>
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,234 Posts
<p>I agree that this is not about the housework and it is about your husband. It's not okay to berate the mother of your nine month old baby and call her lazy and personally insult her character because the house isn't clean. Also, IMO opinion it's not okay to pawn all the housework off on your wife who also has a job because you think that housework is woman's work. I feel like that shows a disrespect of you in general.   </p>
<p>What he's doing isn't cool and sounds like it could edge into emotionally abusive territory -- basically, if he's using the house issue as an excuse to put you down, control you and make you feel bad about yourself. How's the rest of your relationship? I would suggest googling emotional abuse and seeing if it resonate with you.</p>
<p>It's tricky, because couples counseling is not recommended for emotional abuse and can actually make things work. There's also not really a way to respond to abuse that will make a person not act abusive. You can't make someone not abuse you. </p>
<p>If he's just being a garden-variety entitled jerk, the suggestions that Cappuccinosmom had could be helpful. If he's abusive by nature, then that's a lot harder to deal with.</p>
<p><br>
 </p>
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top