I'm a maid, but I don't get paid for it (long)

This is driving me completely nuts. My husband is such a slob!!! I’m seriously considering divorce, but I want to try yet again to make this work, because he’s a good father to our kids, and I do love him (besides this problem of never doing ANYTHING).

This is the problem: He won’t do housework. Before we were married, we discussed this and I said that I always wanted to be a career woman and it was important to me to split the housework 50/50. He agreed and gave me some spiel about how he doesn’t want a woman to sit at home and mother him, blah, blah, blah. That was a lie.

I am making my way through life, doing the things that are important to me. I appreciate that, but it’s the CARRYING of the family’s welfare that is bringing me down. I go to school fulltime, work about 20 hours a week, and I’m a member of the military reserves. Because I used to be on active duty, I get a good chunk of change for my GI BIll, and my monthly monetary contribution is equivalent to my husbands.

So, WHY do I do about 90% of the housework? It’s not just that, I make sure the car is running smoothly, take it in for oil changes, wash it, etc, pay the bills EVERY month, make sure he gets up in time for work, do most of the grocery shopping, all the laundry, among other things.

When we were first married, I tried a standoff with the dishes, it was his turn to do them, so he was going to do them. After about a week, when the whole house stank and WE HAD ANTS!! I broke down and did them. Well, we have kids, and I can’t pull that anymore, they deserve to live better. All my friends know not to just stop by, they have to give me time so I can clean the front room. My 4 year old can’t have friends over much because the bedroom is always a disaster. Because, well, with all my good intentions, I can’t do everything.

We decided to split the chores, he has Sun, Mon, and Tue off from his job, so we split the week, he’d keep the house clean and fix dinner on his days off, I’d do the rest of the week. Seems overly fair, since he has 3 days to my 4. But, he does nothing besides keep the kids fed until Tue night when he does this shitty attempt to clean the front foom and dishes. But, he never does the pots and pans and won’t wipe the counters. In his defense, he does take the kid to the doctor when they need it, since he’s home on Mon and Tue, and he is a good father to them, in that he plays with them alot.

I just had knee surgery last week, and yesterday I finally got fed up enough with the house that I cleaned everything, regardless of how much my knee hurt. When he got off work, not a word was spoken, no thanks, just “whats for dinner?” I did bring this up to him, using those “feeling words”, trying not to attack him (even though I really would like to), and HE GOT DEFENSIVE!!!

What tipped this rant off today was that after cleaning the house yesterday, I asked him to take the trash out because the garbge is pretty far fromt he house, I didn’t want to be carrying the heavy bags with my knee. He didn’t last night, then left for work this morning without taking it out. We also have a 2-year old, so those poopy diapers stink. How freaking hard is it to take the trash out?

He says that he loves me and supports me, but we fight about this all the time. He just refuses to help out. I’m really about to give up, get a divorce, but what stops me is the kids. I’m not trying to be a martyr. I think I have valid complaints, and since he won’t listen, I’m hoping some of you will.

Are you done?

Fix me a sandwich if you’re done, okay?

On a serious note, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. It sucks when one partner is pulling 90 percent of the weight of the household chores, if that’s not the agreement.

Girl, I’d hire a maid. Just a one-day thing the first time. Let him see how much is costs. Maybe he’ll come around after he sees what his alternative is. If he doesn’t, hire a maid twice a month. You can probably get some college kids to do it cheaper than a maid service would.

I do most of the housework at my place, but my husband does the vehicle maintenance. And he’s very good about picking up after himself (better than me by a mile) so I can’t complain.

I think that you have valid complaints. I am not really sure how you can make him listen though.

Can you afford to hire a maid? It won’t fix all the problems but at least you won’t have to worry about dusting and cleaning the floors and bathrooms.

If he isn’t a bad person and you love each other there must be a way to make it work out. Have you considered getting some outside help like counsuling? Maybe Dr. Phil? :slight_smile:

I have nevery considered hiring a maid. That’s really good advice.

But, don’t look forward to seeing us on Dr. Phil. lol

Hell girl, get yourself a maid as soon as possible.

Or try out www.flylady.net. She is a life saver for making it not-so-bad when you have to do it all yourself.

Seldon, I wouldn’t hire a maid. The problem goes deeper than that in my opinion. For starters I would continue to do the laundry with the exception of his of course.

I am in a similar situation but maybe not as severe. One difference is that I’m a guy and I do most of the housework. I’ve tried stand-offs too but my tolerance is much lower so I always lose. It’s an ongoing battle.

In my opinion , not only does this suck for your marriage but undermines your authorty with your kids. Or someday will.

One thing you have going for you is that you’re a female and you hold a very valuable bargaining chip. SEX. That doesn’t work as good for me.

I can’t say that my husband doesn’t do enough of the housework, because we both put things off too much. But he creates so much mess! He pulls food out of the fridge and just leaves it on the counter. He finishes a pack of cigarettes and tosses the empty onto his desk. He comes home from work and leaves his socks on the living room floor. Grrr!

When I start to get upset I try (fail, but try) to think about things that I promised to do and forgot. I have an awful memory, and he’s constantly coming home to find that I didn’t wash the outfit I promised to do or unload the dishwasher like I said I would.

I don’t know if it will work for you, because it does sound like you do an awful lot more than your husband, but you can always try that. Or, maybe ask if there is a reason he doesn’t do much. Maybe he has a bad memory like me, and he just doesn’t want to admit that he forgot? Ask him if a list or you reminding him often will help. If he says no, insist that he come up with an idea.

I’m with Rooves. Hiring a maid won’t fix this problem. And this sounds beyond sitting down and talking about it–you say you’ve tried that, and it hasn’t worked.

Do your laundry, and the kids’ laundry, but not his, as Rooves recommends. Next time the trash piles up, put it in his car. He leaves stuff lying around? Put it in his car. Or his closet, or his study, or wherever. He won’t wash the dishes? Car. (or wherever.) That’s what I’d do, if things here ever got to the point you describe.

I don’t think using sex (or the lack thereof) as a weapon would be really effective. All it would do is create deeper resentment and further passive aggressive behaviors.

I do think you should hire a maid, just to get a handle on things… and hopefully to help him see the value of the shiny clean house (and the work it takes to make it that way). But it, as others have said, isn’t the cure. Just a short term thing so you can stand it in your house for a day or two.

I also think that striking back, in terms of the standoff, putting the garbage in his car, is also a passive aggressive tactic and probably counterproductive. However, I do understand your frustration, and I believe you have valid gripes. And clearly, trying to talk about it and get your feelings on the table has not been effective either.

For me, this screams: couples therapy. You need some serious professional counseling to help the two of you communicate so that you can come to some sort of compromise that is agreeable to all parties involved.

And, where is Manda Jo? She’d have good advice here.

Put another log on the fire.
Cook me up some bacon and some beans.
And go out to the car and change the tire.
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.
Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe
And then go fetch my slippers.
And boil me up another pot of tea.
Then put another log on the fire babe,
And come & tell me why you’re leaving me.

-Shel Silverstein

Just seemed appropriate, you can thank me later. After you put down the axe…:smiley:

I’d agree that you don’t have to do his laundry, but otherwise, couples therapy would be my advice. This sounds like a bad situation, and like there are Issues That Need to be Addressed, and tactics on your part probably won’t help resolve things. Does he realize that you are actually thinking about leaving him over this?

If I may make a shameless plug, I am a dang good cleaner and will work for minimum wage plus airfare, accomodations, and expenses. :slight_smile:

In addition to hiring a maid and doing only yours and the kids’ laundry, I also recommend buying some disposable plates, cups and flatware for a short time and putting away the rest of the stuff. It’s a lot easier to throw everything away than wash it up.

That’s not going to solve the real issue, but at least your frustration levels should go down.

Isn’t someone on this board getting a divorce over this very issue?

I think this is more a matter of standards than anything else. I’ve run into this a lot in my life.

I don’t think he means to not pull his weight. I think he just has a different standard for what needs attention then you do. For example, I think the dishes need attention when there are enough of them in the sink to make it hard to use the tap. SvenSO believes that dishes need attention whenever there are any dishes in the sink. Meanwhile, I think sheets need washing once a week. SvenSO doesn’t think they need attention until they are fully stained and smelly. We both want to keep a reasonable clean household, but we both have different ideas about what reasonably clean means.

Chances are, he considers everything done above and beyond his standard of clean to be something extra that he doesn’t really have to match. For example, I’m particularly obsessive about having a clean stove. I spend a lot of time cleaning the stove and keeping it up to my standard, because it bugs me otherwise. But time spent cleaning the stove doesn’t really count as chore time. Thats my personal nerosis. I’m the only one that wants it maintained to that standard. So if I want to do it, I can, but I can’t hold it against anyone.

All this leads to people getting defensive and resentful. I suggest you two sit down and decide what “clean” really means for each specific thing. Be willing to compromise on some things- the one that wants things cleaner doesn’t automatically win. Maybe the counters don’t really need to be wiped every single day. The trash might be able to wait till morning when he has his shoes and jacket on. What you guys have to do is find a level of cleanliness that you both can live with and are willing to be responsible for. If your holding him to a standard of cleanliness that is very important to you, but not as important to him, of course he is going to be resentful. The key is to figure out what is really truely important to do, what you are simply doing to satisfy your own personal beliefs about cleanliness, and what you both can let slide.

Well, in the meantime the guy gets all of the amenities of a four star hotel.

The point is taking eachothers feelings into consideration. Maybe the guy doesn’t want to spend every waking moment on house work but if he’s ignoring his wifes feelings then there’s a real issue. If , for instance, a woman comes home from work and cooks a meal then there’s no reason the husband shouldn’t get up, thank her , then load the dishwasher.

I’m sure he shows at work that he’s willing to pull his share.

Thanks for all the responses here. About the laundry thing, I started doing that about a month ago, but I think I felt bad about it more than he did. Oh well, I haven’t given in on that.

To answer some of the other questions, he does know that I’m thinking of leaving him over this. The only problem is that neither of us make enough money to maintain our own living quarters. I think he realizes this, so he knows he doesn’t have to change.

I agree we need couples therapy. So does he. Which is one of the things that I respect about him, that he knows there’s problems in our marriage. The only thing is actually getting there. Our insurance won’t pay for it, and the cost of it could limit our sessions. Do religious leaders provide this? We’re not members of a church, but yes, I do want to give it a go before I call it quits.

Having different ideas about cleanliness IS part of the problem. And I think I do take the road that the one who wants it cleaner is in the right, even though it may not be the correct way to deal with this. Working out what is acceptable for day to day chores probably would help here.

Rooves, welcome to the SDMB (from another newbie). Alot of what you say really hits it on the head of this. Some of the comments you make are exactly what’s going on in my head.

Like I said, I pretty much go through the same stuff. I imagine that i’m not the easiest person to live with though.
Thanks for the welcome! Cool place, big though.

even sven, I think there’s a difference between having a different tolerance level for messes and making your wife continue to do house work after knee surgery.

Seldon, he says he loves and supports you, but he’s not showing it very well, is he?

I don’t think this is going to be solved by a maid. Get thee and he to a therapist. Some therapists may be willing to reduce their rates if you don’t have insurance. And once a week or so may be plenty to get things rolling.

Good luck.