What's fair got to do with it?

silverswordJune 10, 2011

Wow, two posts today. I'm on a roll.

I hear a lot here about moms/sms saying they are the ones to cook and clean the walls (!) and carpool and and and.

I know this is typical of women. We fought for equality and ended up with a bigger piece of the pie, but that comes with a bigger work load as well.

I work full time. And I do majority of the housework. And I am the primary grocery shopper, bottle washer, floor mopper, clothes folder, carpooler, event attender, tub scrubber, gift buyer, (I could go on but I think my point has been made).

Yesterday I got SO MAD. I had four hours sleep, worked for eight hours, ran errands for DH and DD (and me) for two hours while my oil was being changed and got home at 6:00pm. DH and DD had been home all day. My dad and SM were supposed to fly in last night really late, (and dad did, so I was up until 1am today too, and got another whopping 4 hours of sleep, and tonight is a family event until midnight, so I won't get home until 2am...) and I needed to do some tidying up before hand. Specifically, the things that OBVIOUSLY needed to be done were:

1. Vacuum DD's room

2. Make the bed in the guest room and dust

3. Clean off the dining room table

4. Clean the kitchen

5. Sweep the floor

6. Straighten the living room

7. Straighten up outside and sweep

8. Clean the guest bathroom (make sure there are towels,etc)

When I got home... nothing had been done. N O T H I N G

I played b-ball with them for an hour at their request and then went in side and started cleaning. It took me 1.5 hours to get the house from trashed to terrific.

I don't know what got into the two of them, I swear they were possessed. As I'm tearing around the house they:

1. leave their plates on the table without clearing them after dinner

2. DD leaves her stool RIGHT in the walkway so I can trip over it.

3. I'm sweeping, and DH comes over with DD's little broom and starts "helping" me

ETC. In other words, just getting in the way.

This is not usual. I don't know what got into them. But I am seriously PO'd right now.

I don't need comments on how DH should be helping me or that DD is a spoiled brat.

What I really really do need is some support and ideas of how you calmly, considerately, firmly, tell your family the Mama-Slave Wagon has left the station and ain't coming back. Do you have chore charts, honey-do lists?

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I don't have a ton of insight to offer here, unfortunately. I wish I did.

Hopefully some of the other full-time working mamas will be able to offer some concrete, workable suggestions!

UGH. i don't blame you for being ticked off AT ALL!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 2:31PM
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my favorite phrases are "I am not a maid" and "There are six people worth of a mess so six people are going to help clean it up."

I used to have chore charts but found that they just didnt work for day to day life. One day one kid might have a ton of homework and cant worry about dishes. Another day a kid might have had to stay after for an activity and can't do the laundry. And as far as DH goes, he works in the heat all day so it is a toss up on how his body feels to help with anything.

But, when things need to happen for people coming over everyone gets in action. I turn off every tv in the house and turn on the computer with all the music. I give DH one specific thing to do at a time (mostly because if I dont he will wander around doing things that get in the way more than help... for example start installing a shelf that has been waiting a month to be installed and wont do anything to help clean up except be in my way in the kitchen and make a mess of moving things). I assign each kid an area of the house. Meanwhile I move about the entire house doing all of the things I know they wont think of... dust, clean the glass, wash the dishes (mostly because this will take them hours), polish the table, replace the scency thing... etc etc.

Everyone gets an assignment and it all gets moving pretty quickly.

For day to day.. I make a judgement call on who has what going on and who did what the day before to balance it all out.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 2:36PM
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"I give DH one specific thing to do at a time (mostly because if I dont he will wander around doing things that get in the way more than help... for example start installing a shelf that has been waiting a month to be installed and wont do anything to help clean up except be in my way in the kitchen and make a mess of moving things). "

Oh, I KNOW that one! DH is huge for that! It drives me nuts.

Chore charts per se didn't work for us either, for the same reasons Mom of 4 mentioned. BUT, I'm going to try a new approach soon, for a couple of reasons. I'm going to write up a "chore chart" of what needs to be done each week but not assign chores to anyone, rather have whomever did them date and initial that block. It's for several reasons - first, when DH does decide to do something, invariably he'll pick something I've just done - like dust and run the sweeper in the living room, not realizing I did it the day before, while the bathroom is in desperate need of a cleaning. Secondly, I'm going to have estimated amount of time to complete on it - it's one of the reasons, I think, why the same things get done over and over while others are skipped. If one of us has half an hour and that's it, we tend to do the things that we know can be completed in that time - but it's usually the "fifteen-minutes" ones that get done, over and over. And lastly, of course - DH says he does a lot more around the house than I think he does. One of us is wrong. We'll find out....

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 2:58PM
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Silver silver silver lol it's not FAIR!!

I work full time also and I have no organization to my house or my cleaning. I have yet to find the smell that keeps lingering in ds's room so I am NO help. Hey on a positive note-- at least you can vacuum dd's room, I don't think I've seen the floor in mine all week! Lol

Have I mentioned how much I hate summer? The kids are so off schedule and my house stays a wreck between wet towels and bathing suits and flip flops covered in sand Argh! I hate hot weather!!

And DH well... I prefer him to just move along, find a corner and DO NOT get up... Especially when I am in a crunch for time....
And my DH follows me around. What can I do? How can I help?
You can't help, you just need to sit! Lol

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 4:27PM
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"We fought for equality and ended up with a bigger piece of the pie, but that comes with a bigger work load as well."
That is one of my major pet peeves. My mother was a stay at home mom, she never knew how good she had it.
The reason I got divorced was because not only was I expected to work 40 hours a week, but cook, clean and take care of the kids, while all my husband did was work. He never lifted a finger around the house.

Anyway, back to your problem. I'm a divorced, single mom now. I work full time and take classes online as well. I have a list of chores for me and my two daughters that we do every week. The 5 year old has to sweep the kitchen. My 12 year old has to vacuum the living and dinning room and empty all the trash bins. Both girls are responsible for keeping their rooms in respectible order, that means nothing left on the floor.

I mop the kitchen and clean the bathrooms. The three of us do our "chores" every Saturday morning after breakfast but BEFORE morning cartoons or anything else. Once they have done them they can watch TV and goof off. That is usually enough incentive to get them done in a timely manner.

I also have basic "standing" rules such as, no toys in the living room, as soon as you get home you hang up your coat and bookbag, if you're playing with something, put it away before you play with something else, and basic pick up after yourself reminders.

I do the laundry for all us, and I usually do most of it on the weekend, but sometimes might do a load during the week. This system has worked pretty good for me.

While I'm sure it's frustrating to have a man who gets in the way while you're trying to clean, what's even more irritating is having one who saw me cleaning up all the time and never lifted a finger to help.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 6:29PM
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I was single since DD was 4 and we only lived two of us, so I had no man to help with anything. DD had chores but often did them poorly or late. And same as with myfampg, vacuuming DD's room was the hardest due to lack of floor space free of her clutter LOL

I don't have any complains about SO (I do but not in regards to housework), he does not need to be told to do things. He is very domesticated, he does things all the time, he also cooks, better than me. But I clean all the time. We kind of split responsibility depends on what one does better than the other, it just happened automatically. But we are both clean freaks so it helps. When we have visitors/guests/kids at home we both do things. So he is not a "typical" man. (JK)

My dad does not help my mom with cleaning and cooking, but he does other stuff like home improvements, gardening etc And my mom gout used to it, and does not complain. But then my grandpa, mom's dad did everything at home and was an excellent cook (my SO reminds me of my grandpa haha in his domesticity). who knows...

My suggestion is to find out what your DH does better than you or same as you at least, tell him that, and then hopefully he can do more of that due to your excessive praise.

As about how to make kids do chores i have no advice, DD did stuff when asked but with no enthusiasm and often it took her too long because she would start reading a book in the middle of it. She is still this way in her own house. It takes her the whole day to clean one room.

Same like Amber I did have some rules that weren't to be broken and DD was pretty good about those: no toys in a living room, no mess in the common areas/kitchen, no leaving dishes anywhere. Those were unspoken rules, no charts. We always lived in smaller places so we had no luxury of living stuff aorund. Her room was not neat and I gave up on that.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 9:02PM
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DD has to clean her room every day before she can go out and play. Or, before school.

Towels don't get to leave the bathroom. Take your clothes in there, bathe, dry off, hang up... dress, leave.

DH works around the yard a LOT. But inside.........????

We actually had it out this weekend. He was taking apart the game table and I asked to borrow the screwdriver. He asked "for what" and came over to see my cabinet that I've been saying needs a longer screw... went and got one, got the drill gun and drilled in a longer screw. And apologized. (I would have done it, but we have a brand-new kitchen I was afraid of splitting the wood, etc.)

Amber: "While I'm sure it's frustrating to have a man who gets in the way while you're trying to clean, what's even more irritating is having one who saw me cleaning up all the time and never lifted a finger to help."

SO TRUE... Although it doesn't happen all the time... this was really the first time he didn't get up and help... but that's exactly it.

PO1: "My suggestion is to find out what your DH does better than you or same as you at least, tell him that, and then hopefully he can do more of that due to your excessive praise."

LMAO. My DH does nearly everything better than me. Cook... clean... repair... drive... etc. When he is on his game...

I hate complaining. He has built me EVERYTHING I asked for at our homes. Everything has been done to my specifications. He is a very hard worker. But this time!!!!!!!

I also do not praise like that. I simply don't work like that. It feels fake to me, especially since he knows he's better :)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 1:08PM
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"I also do not praise like that. I simply don't work like that. It feels fake to me, especially since he knows he's better :)"

You can still find ways to praise him without having to say he did it better than you.
For example, "thanks honey, for doing that for me, that was a big help." Or "thanks for taking care of that without me having to ask you."

The problem I always had with my ex was even when I asked him to do something he wouldn't. I'd ask him to take out the trash, 20 minutes later it was still sitting there. I'd say something to him and he'd blow up at me like how dare I ask him to do something? Meanwhile, I'm busy cooking dinner while trying to help our daughter with her homework.

What exactly was the problem, the fact that DH didn't know what to do to help, or that he saw you trying to clean up and didn't offer to help?

Sometimes you have to spell things out for men. Why didn't you just ask him to do something, like vacuum DD's room and make the beds?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 1:59PM
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"It feels fake to me, especially since he knows he's better :)"

I don't think it is fake to tell people they do something well, I think everyone deserves nice words and acknowledgment. My SO is a good cook and I always mention how delicious is the food he makes. I wouldn't say he cleans better because he does not, that would be fake. I think we can get more help from people with a nice word/praise than with anything else. Does he feel appreciated?

But really if he didn't get up and helped JUST ONCE then I wouldn't pay attention to it. Everyone deserves to be lazy once in awhile. If it beocmes a pattern i would start worrying about it.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 3:28PM
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UGGGG I I have had the same issues. We have the kids for the first 2 weeks of June to start the summer schedule. My DH thinks its all fun and games. I do the cooking (that they dont eat) cleaning all the messes. Oh and the wet towels is awful. Thier bathroom smelt like mildew and they complained to me that I needed to clean. So we had it out I was tired of telling DH to tell them and nothing was getting done. He was not cleaning up after them and I thought he should either make them do it or do it himself. So I quit. After several days they had no towels (I hid a couple for me) no silverware, trash everywhere, and my DH figured out how much I had been doing for him & his kids. They are all pigs and I am not there to clean up for them. Its better now, he makes them hang the towels, throw away the trash, ect. We will see how the next 2wks goes in July.

It is better but it was terrible before he figured it out and started helping and making them help. It was difficult to deal with so I tried to keep busy away from the house. Sometimes I think they get so used to things just being done that they dont realize how much work it takes to keep up a household.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 3:53PM
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It's not fake to say:

"wow, thanks for cooking, it's delicious"


"thanks for fixing the cabinet, I appreciate it"

When PO1 said "see if he'll do more of something DUE TO YOUR EXCESSIVE PRAISE" that made me think of gushing all over him because he sweeps a really good floor.

I'm just not that kinda gal :)

Pitch in, help out. I shouldn't have to say "when you do the dishes, now can you wipe the counters... and great! now that you're done, can you sweep the floor... wow, thank you so much!"

I get what you ladies are saying, and I do praise my husband and thank him.

But I'm not sure you understand the nuance of the situation.

We are both adults. Given the assumption that we both show appreciation and generally do equal measures of work:

When it becomes obvious to one or the other that the second person is not carrying their weight, it is good communication to ask for help, and to state the time frame in which you need for it to be done.

Honey, I need some help cleaning the house tonight because guests are coming tomorrow.

One could, if it's not obvious, say "I need you to clean the bathrooms or whatever"

In our case, it was obvious what needed to be done and if DH got confused he could always say "what next?"

That is, assuming we are dealing with two conscious adults.

It's ok to be lazy, for sure! But when a person asks you to help, you say ok, you see them working, it's within the time frame in which it needs to be done...

I absolutely am not willing to set up the dichotomy where I have to baby my husband into being an adult who can see what needs to be done and do it without being prompted. I have kids for that.

Next day when I wasn't so mad I said the same thing to DH. He was chagrined.

He is a more fastidious housekeeper than I am - I'm not sure what happened that night. But it sure was frustrating!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 6:34PM
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I think I know what you mean. If you need to praise your DH into doing his bit (not saying this is what you ladies were saying, just theoretically) or you ask him to do some chores; they are still YOUR responsibility to start with. Like somehow he is helping YOU out.

I have had this discussion many times with my FDH; it is not MY job to keep house clean or 'be in charge of cleaning' by delegating the tasks. It is OUR house, OUR responsibility.

We have had our fair share of discussion/arguments over the years about this issue, and I can now say that after 6 years things are 100% better. FDH gets it, and we share the housework equally. There's certain things I don't mind doing (vacuuming/shopping/changing the beds) and there's things FDH doesn't mind like washing clothes and cleaning the bathroom (YES!). All other tasks we just take turns. We also share the cooking, both 3 nights a week, the 7th is a night off.

I actually find the feelings of guilt the hardest to deal with :-) Do any of you have that as well? Even though I am working more hours then FDH (he does 40, I do 45 hrs a week) I still get the guilts when I can sit down and he needs to cook. But, I don't give in to it anymore, I'm sure it will go away one day hahaha! Also, I know by now that when I do give in to it and start doing everything myself again, I get worn out and cranky and start resenting FDH for leaving it all on my plate. So now I stay strong, I don't give in to guilts, they are misplaced emotions and I WILL enjoy getting a break! Just like FDH does when I cook, that is fair.

And yes, I did clean the wall on occasion after SD13, but this is going to be her chore from now on I think :-)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 8:18PM
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Hi Yabber. Yes I feel a little guilt when I sit and Dh is cooking/cleaning/bathing DS. I dont want him to be thinking, she is so lazy... She isn't doing anything. I honestly dont think he will think that but it's how I feel. And really in my very honest and most loving opinion, I just prefer the way I do everything compared to well... Dh.
My therapist told me to just let go a few nights a week, half done is easier to fix than not done at all. Some things he is NOT allowed to do like mine and dd's laundry. A lot of our things hang dry and he just won't know wha to hang and what can go in the dryer. He does dishes very well but he doesn't wipe the counters down and I don't get that..??
He vacuums fine and I don't go behind him to fix it, I just make a point to do it the next day... That way it gets done (eventually).
Dd likes to dust and wash windows and mirrors so she helps me with those things. It's not perfect but she is learning and it's better than nothing. One thing Dh does really well is the bathroom... What?? Yes the bathroom. When we were dating and I went to his apartment for the first time I was very impressed by the bathroom... So the next time I had to check to see if it was Just as clean still lol I went right home and told my mom 'I found mr. Perfect!!' of course clean bathrooms come with something and his bad habit is leaving his sprite cans in his office. It's his office so I don't say anything but he could have 12 cans 1/2 empty at one time.... Lol

I won't praise to get him to do more. I agree silver. I know what you are saying. We have discussed this many times. He always tells me, tell me what to do... And I say I'm not your mom, and I'm not about to lead you around and tell you what you should already know to do. Look around, see what needs to be done and just DO IT!!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 12:22AM
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I think adults that live together should just do things that need to be done rather than directing each other and assigning chores. I understand kids need directions because they just don't know, but grown people? I think it is OK when people divide responsibilities and do their parts or do things together or ask for help when task is difficult, but I would not be assigning chores to a grown man. Not my style. There are things that we do together as a bonding experience or there are things that while he does this I do that. Honestly if I needed to assign tasks to a man in his 50s, I would rather take a foster child.

Maybe DH was resentful over house guests and didn't want to do anything. We constantly have house guests out of town, primarily SO's family. We have one coming this weekend again. It is a lot of work, especially if there is a group of them. It is fun but it is a lot of work for us. Sometimes it gets to people...

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 5:28AM
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I feel guilty too. But I'm getting over it :)That's exactly how I feel Myfam... look around!!

DH may have been resentful over houseguests. Most often it's my family. But the house needs to be cleaned up regardless of who is coming to stay. And being pissy isn't going to get them to stop coming ;)

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 12:50PM
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"He always tells me, tell me what to do"

Wow, I wish I had that problem. My ex could sit in a pile of crap and watch TV no problem. He wouldn't do any housework even when asked.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 3:17PM
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We figured out that if we clean as we go every day (parts of the house or certain things) then we don't have to do major cleanings that often. And it is much less stressful. I just walked in from work (left the house 12 hours ago) and honestly I can have unexpected guests right now, it is clean and ready. I used to put everything off until the weekend and it just crated unnecessary stress and it is not what I want to do on the weekends.

We have to do major grocery shopping though for house guests this weekend. Once again...

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 6:04PM
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I dont praise but I do say thank you to everyone. Sure it is all of our responsibility but I asked them to do something and they did it so it is only polite to say hey thanks.
I do assign tasks to Dh but not because he is childlike or cant figure it out or whatever. It is because his brain works differently than mine. He looks around and thinks oh the dryer is dirty from lint and ss dirty boots being thrown on top and proceeds to make it pristine. I look around and think no one is going to see the dryer but they are going to see the mountain of magazines and papers on the table. We need to get that cleaned up first.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 6:30PM
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I see your point momof4.. That's how I think it is with us too. Just Neber understood what it was. Dh will do all the dishes .. But doesn't clean up the messy stove, wipe it down.. Or wipe down the countertops and says, well they look clean .. But I can run my Hand across it and it feels gritty.
Same with the dryer thing. He always is cleaning out the lint and makin comments that it's full 'again' and he will wipe down the 'dust' from on top but won't wipe the kitchen counters Which people will see.

Po1 -- I think you have a good idea on how to keep a house from becoming a big weekend chore, unfortunately I have two young kids at home and there isnt a lot of week night time to do any of those things. I'm sure when they are grown I'll get to rearrange my schedule to keep my house a little more tidy. My parents house is spotless now that no one lives there and my mom is no longer working a full time job. I do laundry every night to keep it down and my kitchen is clean every night before I go to bed. We also vacuum every night in the living room and dining area. DS is potty training so the bathroom gets a good cleaning about every other day. But other stuff doesn't get done until the weekend when I can get up super early and let every one else sleep in so that I can clean. One day my kids will be grown and it will be much easier to keep track of and I could have guests come over at any time without having to straighten up. Also when my kids are grown I will have two guests rooms that are neat and free of toys to offer to my guests...

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 11:43PM
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AHAHAHAHAHA Myfam. My DH does the same with the vacuum cleaner "the lint trap is full 'again'" LMAO. Meanwhile the stove NEVER gets touched. Too funny.

PO1, my house is rarely trashed but on occasion, especially around holidays or other big events... things really get neglected. It's end of school year, I had surgery, we had an emergency out of town event, DD has performances and EOY activities and on top of that we had a big family event and out of town guests.

Straightening every day is a great idea. I don't always have the time or the inclination. I work full time and have a DD with a lot of extracurricular activities (and I'm actively involved in every one of them which means additional paperwork, etc for me to do as a result)and we're in the middle of home renovations. Plus, I love to garden and we just put in a bunch of new plants.

My sink area will collect plant clipping starts and seeds that are drying out... my front door collects baskets of pine cones and trowels, my laundry piles up and my couch cushions turn into a fort.

Someday when I have no kids in the house and all of my renovations are done I will have spotless guest rooms but I imagine my kitchen floor will still need cleaning before they arrive. I do track mud in from the garden...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 11:50AM
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Silver, I have to clean my kitchen floor constantly. We track in so much since that's where the garage is. And someone always spills something -- it's never ending...

Po1-- I think your plan is fabulous and I hope to one day get back to a routine of being able to get a little done each day to cut back on how much has to get done on the weekends. When I was a SAHM and just had dd, I did all my laundry on Thursday's. Weekends were our only time as a family when exDH was home... I had all day to take care of errands or to do housework, I even did all the yard work too... But now the weekends are just the only time I have. Minimizing what all needs to be done on the weekends is a fabulous idea. I wish I had the energy. Having one child makes it so much easier to keep it clean and housework down but a potty training toddler makes for lots of laundry. And again, I'm just exhausted at night.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 10:10PM
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I can't imagine potty training again.

I just have so many things I'm running to do and often I just don't have the energy or the inclination. I try to keep the house fairly clean at all times, but sometimes my life collapses on me, if you know what I mean.

Like right now. Worked from 6a to 3p, took DD shopping and to her Hebrew school, got home at 7p, threw leftovers in the microwave, ate, she cleaned off the table and we're going to have a small dessert before bed.

I'm doing this instead of cleaning. I need some down time.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 11:20PM
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