Dividing up domestic work
I married for the first time at the age of 41. I bought my first house at the age of 24. DH was living in squalor (an exageration, moderately severe untidiness is probably more accurate) in a rental apartment before he married me. After we married he had some job trouble and we finally decided that it would be best if we moved to my home town, where he had always wanted to live. I left my rather cushy job, sold my house, and took a job back in the big city with much longer hours (better pay!) and we bought a house together. This is house number five for me and house number one for him. Unfortunately, after moving into the house it turned out that there is much more work that is needed than I realized. None of it is particularly expensive or demanding work, but it does require that I either hire someone to do the labor and supervise myself or with my dad's help or I do it myself on weekends.
Shortly after we were married, I gave him a new guitar for his birthday and he became absolutely obsessed with learning to play the guitar. This is normal behavior for him. For his entire life he has been kind of compulsive about practicing whatever activity is catching his fancy at the time. Currently, on weekends he will get up at 10 a.m. and play guitar pretty much uninterupted until midnight or one a.m. During the week he comes home and plays the guitar until I call him for dinner and then he goes back to his guitar until midnight. He says that he still doesn't get enough time to practice. Most of the time I can lure him away for a fun activity although he prefers to eat at local restaurants so that he can get back home as soon as possible to resume practicing.
The problem for me is that I start to get resentful about the housework. Although it is no more work than I did before I was married, I still feel like he should help. I do all of the grocery shopping, cooking, clean up (he puts dishes in the dishwasher, starts it when full, and empties it if I ask enough times and am patient enough to wait). I also am responsible for our thankfully low maintenance yard, household repairs, and cleaning. Occasionally he takes the dry mop to the hardwood floors, but he leaves the pile of dog fur in the corner and the mop next to it, since it is apparently my job to scoop up the dust and fur and put the mop away. He also picks up the mail when he comes in and carries it to the dining room table, because, you guessed it, it's my job to throw the junk mail away.
He is living the lifestyle that he lived before he was married: minimal housecleaning, no house or yardwork, eating in "restaurants" and I am living the same lifestyle that I lived before I was married: 100% of all domestic work along with rehabbing an old (only this one isn't charming) house. We rarely argue, but when we do it is invariably about housecleaning. He criticizes the mess and I react. I feel he should help me around the house a little bit and he feels that I should just hire more help. We can certainly afford to hire help, but I find it incredibly time consuming to get estimates and arrange to supervise workers. We did have a house cleaning service when we lived in my old house before moving, but I just haven't gotten around to arranging that. I never felt that having the bathroom swiped with who-knows-what was all that useful a service, but it did force me to tidy up and put things away before they arrived. Of course, it was my job to remember their schedule, lock the dogs out, write the check, etc.
What would be a fair distribution of labor? He doesn't know how to use tools and is too sensitive for me to teach him. He still resents that his mother made him help around the house when he was a child and says that his first marriage ended because his ex "wanted to be taken care of". When I try to get him to supervise house repairs he usually has to go to work "early" that day or on weekends has plans for guitar shopping or going to his friend's house to play guitars. If I ask him to put dishes away in a matter of fact tone, he accuses me of "nagging". Does anybody have any advice for solving this problem? My sister is a princess whose husband waits on her hand and foot. That would make me nervous, but I wouldn't mind a bit of help on Saturday mornings....