Relationships

Stay at Home Wife Issues...

So, I'm currently a stay-at-home wife. Not mom- we don't have any kids. Sometimes I feel like if we had kids, this would be better...

 

Anyways. My husband and I got married just four months ago. I'm a teacher, but with moving and getting married, I didn't secure a full-time teaching job for this year. I'm substitute teaching around the area about two days a week, usually. I would love to be in the classroom more often. Fortunately, I don't need a part-time job because his income covers our bills, so I can be available whenever I get called to sub. 

My husband, however, thinks that when I'm home, I should be working on housework all day long. He hates dropping by home and seeing me on the computer or watching TV, even if I'm folding laundry while I'm watching.  I do all the laundry, all the cleaning, dishes, and meal preparing, even on days when I am subbing. We have a tiny home, so it really doesn't take days upon days of time to keep it clean, even with one deep cleaning chore a day.

I feel guilty that I'm not bringing in more income, but I also think that my husband is kind of treating me like an employee. I have trouble enjoying my time at home because I'm worried that I'm not doing enough. I discussed this with him two days ago, and he said that he'd help out more at nights if he knew I was working hard all day. 

Well, I didn't watch TV at all during the day yesterday, and I got a ton of work done (cleaned out the seals on the refrigerator door, for one. Those things get nasty!) When he got home, he didn't even seem to notice anything that I'd done, and once again, I got stuck with cleaning up the dishes after supper.

I love him very much, but I feel like our expectations are so different. I expect help around the house so we can enjoy our time together, but he expects that I plan all the meals and take care of the house. I do that, but he thinks I should be working at it all day. We're blessed to have a lovely home, but eight hours of cleaning a day is a little much, I think.

Sorry about the long post... anybody have any thoughts?

Re: Stay at Home Wife Issues...

  • My first thought is that as long as the house is clean, laundry is done, and meals prepared why does he want to micromanage your time? So it takes you 2 hours per day to clean then you should be able to do what you want during the other hours. If it were me, I'd make sure I had everything done so he couldn't complain and he should be happy enough with that.
  • image BiggieandLittle:

    Well, I didn't watch TV at all during the day yesterday, and I got a ton of work done (cleaned out the seals on the refrigerator door, for one. Those things get nasty!) When he got home, he didn't even seem to notice anything that I'd done, and once again, I got stuck with cleaning up the dishes after supper.

    I love him very much, but I feel like our expectations are so different. I expect help around the house so we can enjoy our time together, but he expects that I plan all the meals and take care of the house. I do that, but he thinks I should be working at it all day. We're blessed to have a lovely home, but eight hours of cleaning a day is a little much, I think.

    Sorry about the long post... anybody have any thoughts?

    Honestly though, if you're not working, why shouldn't you take care of these things so he can relax?  

  • I would sit down with him and talk about expectations. What are your joint goals for the home and distribution of chores? If you agree on expectations for the results, then the how it gets done and how much time it takes really shouldn't be any of his concern, unless he's a micromanager, in which case you have bigger issues on your hands.

    If his real concern is that he feels like he's taking on more than his fair share of bringing in the income, then it's not really about housework. Maybe look at getting a part time job or volunteering or starting a blog or something so he knows you're pulling your weight. 

  • I think he just sounds a little jealous that you have the flexibility of time to yourself during the day.  My DH is a real estate appraiser, and he has lots of flexibility, and he works from home when he's not on the road. He just made this career move this summer - before then he was working in a  very structured 9-5 corporate environment, as I do.  When he first started appraising, it killed me that he got to hang out in the morning with our boys in his pj's, take a shower when he wanted, etc, as I'm rushing out the door every morning at the exact same time. 

    Anyway, my point is - talk to him again.  Let him know you spent the day doing lots of deep cleaning the other day, and you're just not feeling like anything you're doing is being appreciated.  I would also map out some expectations for each other moving forward during this talk.  DH and I did this when I went on maternity leave both times - before the baby came, I sat him down and we discussed what our general expectations of each other were, so we were on the same page, and didn't end up resentful.

    Good luck!

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  • I'm torn on this one. I do believe that whoever is home should do most of the housework. In our family, whoever is home first starts dinner. So sometimes it is DH, sometimes it is me, because we both work. Certain times of the year, DH has a weird schedule and has days off during the week instead of weekends. He does housework when he is off and I do it on weekends. If one of us didn't work, I would expect that person, be it me or him, to do most of the housework.

     That being said, I have two problems with your post. First, it seems like you are saying that the house is clean and he gets mad if you do something fun during the day. That is not cool, you should be allowed to have some time to watch tv or whatever. I don't get what he is complaining about, unless he has a "higher" standard of clean than you do. Second, I don't believe that just because you stay home you should do 100% of the housework. There isn't any reason why he can't help out with some stuff sometimes.

  • image BiggieandLittle:

    My husband, however, thinks that when I'm home, I should be working on housework all day long. He hates dropping by home and seeing me on the computer or watching TV, even if I'm folding laundry while I'm watching.

    This is where I get hung up.  He expects you to literally be doing HOUSEWORK all day long?  That's not realistic.  For one, I'd hope the house doesn't need THAT much work, and second, however much work it does take - it's up to you when it gets done throughout the week.

    That being said - while maybe it's unfair to expect you to do EVERY last thing, at the same time, if my DH stayed at home (w/o any kids), yes, actually, I would expect about 95% of everything to be done.  Back to what I said above- taking care of our house is not a 40 hour a week job, so he'd absolutely have time to relax and do his own thing while ALSO doing pretty much everything else so that when I get home - that will be our together time.

    That's where, though, I do feel the other spouse should chip in - help out w/ dinner, put the dishes away, SOMETHING.  Just to show that you don't expect everything to be done.  Help out to some degree.  (Especially because when/if you do go back to work, he'll be in for a world of hurt if he's still on this "everyhting will be done for me" kick and doesn't feel he needs to help out).

     Clearly yo uall need to talk more and set realistic expectations.  You are NOT his employee and actually you don't "have" to do everything, especially 8 hours a day every day in fear he'll "catch" you not doing something.  I really couldn't live like that.

    You are PARTNERS.  He's making the $$, you're taking care of the house.  Do you criticize how he does his job?  Nitpick what he does/how much he does and when? No?  Then he needs to not criticize how you do yours.

     

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • Eh.  Right or wrong, I'd be pissed and resentful if I was busting my butt working a full-time job, and came home to regularly find my SAH spouse watching TV or playing on the computer. 

    Good that you're doing the majority of the housework.  IMO, that's pretty much your job, since you're not bringing in a real income.  I don't think it's fair to expect him to gush with excitement over clean seals on the fridge - are you falling over yourself each week thanking him for getting a paycheck that allows you to keep a roof over your head and afford the TV that you're watching and internet that you're using?

    Since the school year just started, it's going to be awhile before you're able to land a FT teaching job (I assume).  I don't know........I think if I were you, I'd find a PT job, and continue subbing when I could. 

     

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  • image Maybride2:

    Eh.  Right or wrong, I'd be pissed and resentful if I was busting my butt working a full-time job, and came home to regularly find my SAH spouse watching TV or playing on the computer. 

    Good that you're doing the majority of the housework.  IMO, that's pretty much your job, since you're not bringing in a real income.  I don't think it's fair to expect him to gush with excitement over clean seals on the fridge - are you falling over yourself each week thanking him for getting a paycheck that allows you to keep a roof over your head and afford the TV that you're watching and internet that you're using?

    Since the school year just started, it's going to be awhile before you're able to land a FT teaching job (I assume).  I don't know........I think if I were you, I'd find a PT job, and continue subbing when I could. 

     

    This. Exactly.  

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  • Hello,

    As a substitute teacher I get how hard it can be to be home all day especially when it seems as though what you do doesn't get noticed because really who notices clean refrigerator seals, even though it is a pain in the butt to do!

    I normally work most days during the week, it's my second year subbing and I know a few people now, but I still do most of the work since my husband has a full time teaching position and puts in a lot of time after school due to his subject area, however, he still is in charge of putting all the dishes in the dishwasher and will help out around the house if I ask him to. We had a lot of conversations about it due to my guilt over not feeling like I contribute especially when there is nothing around the house that needs to be done other than making dinner and that seemed to help us a lot. He understood where I was coming from with the I don't contribute feeling and he got to understand how I felt when I was doing everything around the house. It's not a 40 hour a week job and he never had the issues with me just hanging out, but there were expectations that if I'm home I cook and if things need to get cleaned I clean, but if there's nothing to do and we're just having leftovers he helps out and we split it up. This works well for us because it helps us know how to divvy up the chores because I'll have a full time position at some point, as I'm sure will you and then there needs to be better division of chores.

    I'd say really sit down and talk to your husband about the micromanaging attitude and share your feelings as well, because subbing is a hard thing to do and often times is more draining than a regular job on the days we work because kids always test subs. It's easier and less stressful when it's an environment you know and subbing is never that. Just talk it out and clear up expectations because obviously they're different and you both need to be aware of the others feelings and figure out a plan that works for both of you.

    Good luck on the job hunt! And also try business cards for subbing it'll help to get your name out there and you'll be busier! I just bought business card paper at staples and printed them at home.  

  • You said that you feel like an employee who has to account for your time. My mom did this to my Dad when she first stayed at home with me to answer the question, what do you do all day?!?

    Get a spiral notebook and write out an entire weeks worth of your day. Every time you do anything note the time and then what you are doing, even on the days you sub. Next time he comes in trying to micro manage give him the notebook. I have the one my mom did for my dad, it's a great read. 1:10pm- picked your dirty socks off the floor that you left on your side of the bed, put in hamper. Needless to say my Dad STFU real fast.

    Your H may just not understand what all you do, show him. 

  • I work 20-30 hours a week, my H works at least 50. We have no children. I do all the housework, bill paying, taking the dog to the vet etc... and I have absolutely no problem with it. What else would I do? I also spend 1 day a week with my sister while H is at work and he has no problem with what I do with my time. He likes having a clean house, dinner made, and most things taken care of. After getting up at 5 am all week, he does not want to deal with the household. I used to work 12 hour shifts Fri, Sat, and Sun and it was exhausting. I totally understand how he feels.

    That being said, he puts his dirty clothes in the hamper (most the time) and doesn't make huge messes and leave them for me to clean up. He will also help if I ask him to. When I was working 12 hour shifts and going to school he helped around the house with the chores. My point is we respect each others contributions whatever they may be at the time. 

    Maybe you could start with telling him how much you appreciate his hard work and not giving you a hard time for not working full time right now. Talk about what will happen when you get a full time job. What chores is he going to do? Talking about it may give you a good feel for how willing he is to help.

    As far as him not wanting you to watch tv or be on the computer, this is really odd. Is he controlling in other ways? It sounds very parental. I would work this into your talk about expectations. 

    Good luck! 

  • I went through about the same thing exactly.  I just got hired yesterday and I was working a few days a week before that.  I noticed my husband started expecting me to do a lot of these things.  I finally sat down with him and told him how I was feeling.  I told him I never saw myself as the house wife but a teacher and that we would make our home together.  I think you need to sit down and tell him all these feelings and how it's making you feel.   As long as the you are helping do your part he needs to do some too.

  • What I take away from your post is that I feel like he's kind of nickel-and-diming you to make sure you're spending just as much time working as he is and have only as much "fun" time as he does.  And on your side, I feel like you're wanting to have a full-time job in your career, did not get one for this school year despite trying, and unexpectedly having more free time than you planned or wanted to have. Fair?

    This reads less to me as an issue about who does what specific tasks around the house, and more as one about flexibility as a couple.  The part where you didn't get a full-time teaching job for this school year is just one of the things that won't go the way you all had hoped for or predicted throughout married life.  But, the thing to do now is to be confident- together- on what the new plan is until those circumstances change.  Does he agree that your time is best spent staying available for substitute teaching jobs when they arise, or does he think you should be taking part-time work or looking into private school/ tutoring/ etc. while you're keeping applications current for next school year? (I'm a teacher too, and in a similar position I also kept my week available for substituting- but maybe it's worth talking again about why you think this is the best move for your career right now if it turns out you aren't on the same page).

    And as far as how you spend your days when you're not working- I think that's worth framing in terms of what you each expect of the other when one has unexpected free time.  Because life is long, and there could easily be a time when you're pulling long hours as a FT teacher and he gets a new schedule where he's working four day weeks instead of five, or his schedule varies each week.  So... what would either of you expect of the other if you walk in after a long day of work and the other has been home that day?  

  • I am a teacher; my DH works in an office.  We've been dealing with this for 15 years.  I recommend you get started hashing this out, because even when you get a FT job, you'll still have the summers to contend with.

    Summer can be hard on everyone in a teacher's family.  It's hard on the person who has to get up and go to work every day, knowing that the other spouse (and kids in our case) are going to the pool and having fun.  It's hard on the person who is at home, because it sets up a weird dynamic where you feel like you constantly have to bustle around and try to please the other person to make up for the fact that you have time off.  

    We've had our share of conflict over this same issue.  At this point DH basically trusts that I'm pulling my weight during the summer when I have more time, but he also knows that it's a break for me and the kids, and that he's going to have to roll with us having more free time than he does during those 8 weeks.

    One thing I do is work hard not to shove our free time in his face.  I know it's hard on him to walk in the door after a long commute and find us deeply ensconced in a video game.  So I sometimes divide our chores into two sessions: morning and afternoon with our break in the middle.  That way we're usually busy doing something productive when he walks in.  

  • image Maybride2:

    Good that you're doing the majority of the housework.  IMO, that's pretty much your job, since you're not bringing in a real income.  I don't think it's fair to expect him to gush with excitement over clean seals on the fridge - are you falling over yourself each week thanking him for getting a paycheck that allows you to keep a roof over your head and afford the TV that you're watching and internet that you're using?

     

    I completely agree with this.. Im a SAH wife myself... and yes some days it is frustrating that my H doesnt unload the dishwasher, clean up every mess he makes, or offers to help with dinner. Even on those days I dont  complain about it to him.. why? Because he is the one who goes to work every day, works about 10 hrs a day and provides for us. I dont think its that big of a deal that I do all the housework, especially since he has not asked me to work or makes a big deal about him working and providing for us. 

    I suggest you talk to him and let him know house cleaning does not take all day because you stay on top of it. I would also let him know how unhappy you are becoming with the situation 

  • No one addressed how boring it is to be home all day, without the structure and socialization that most jobs provide.  I think housework is rather mindless, albeit necessary, but certainly not stimulating!!   Well, maybe cooking a new, challenging recipe can be interesting, but not cleaning and laundry!!  Wow, one of those 1950's cheesy housewife laundry TV commercials just popped into my head!  

    Who would want to be married to a Stepford wife, who actually enjoyed doing housework all day?  I just retired from 29 years as a social worker, after falling off a ladder while painting our bedroom, fractured both wrists, and had to have surgery on my right wrist.  I'm still doing OT after six months and am not able to do all the housework and laundry.  My husband works full time as a teacher in another state and gets up at 4 a.m.  Yet, he has never complained about doing anything!  We got married last July and I guess I made a very wise choice in marrying this gem of a guy!  I should add that my left wrist healed wrong and I may never be able to do everything I did before my accident, which included waxing my car, stripping furniture, etc.  I do have a good government pension, however.  

    There should be a lot more to a marriage then division of labor and who earns what.  What about friendship, compatibility, a spiritual connection,  and romance....chemistry, for God's sake.  Some of the previous posts sounded like roommates complaining about each other.

     

     

     

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