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How Do You Get Your DHs to Do Their Share?

I don't want to say "help" because that makes it sound like taking care of home and baby is my job and he's just helping me.  I need him to do his fair share.  If I don't do it. It doesn't get done.  DH supposedly takes out the trash but he only ever empties the kitchen. Not the diaper pails, bathrooms, upstairs.  He supposedly mows the lawn. Obviously not now but over spring and summer. He lets it get so bad it's embarassing.  He supposedly loads the dishwasher but he does it about half, leaves food in the drain and leaves the rest of the dishes that didn't fit in the dishwasher. Oh and this is after waiting a whole week to load it.  I'm so exhausted. Whatever he's not doing I have to do. It's too much with a little one. I need him to do more than watch TV. I've tried joking with him, crying, being angry, nagging, not nagging, asking nicely, doing the choice thing  like asking if he wants to sweep or mop. Stuff just doesn't get done and i'm at the end of my rope.

Please give me some ideas for getting DH to do work without treating him like a child. Or, is that what I have to do?

 

ETA:  Conversations do not go well with us. He just gets really defensive and ends up turning things around on me.  Like I'll never be happy and I ask for too much and he works full time and soooooorry if he needs to relax when he gets home.  I work FT, too...but I digress.  So since conversations go so badly, WDYT about writing him a letter? Is that high school? I feel like I'd be able to get all my thoughts out without getting off track and having my words twisted but also I wouldn't be able to make sure he understands and doesn't misinterpret. I'm just afraid he's going to interpret this as I don't love him anymore and I"ve just gone all hormonal and this marriage is over.  KWIM?

Re: How Do You Get Your DHs to Do Their Share?

  • What to 'do' about it depends on how serious this is to you.

    Have you even just simply asked him "why do you see me as your maid and not your wife?".  I think that could be  a bit of a reality check for him.  If he realizes that you feel like his maid, it might wake him up.

    Or ask him why, as a grown adult, he doesn't feel he needs to do his part in keeping up w/ the house and child.

    Or why did he have a child w/ you if he isn't willing to step up and help? 

    Are you willing to stop doing anything for HIM?  As in, don't cook for him, don't do his laundry?

    but I have to say... you're married to him and you have a child w/ him.  Why haven't you dealt w/ this previously?  Why didn't you deal w/ it before you got married, or before you had a child w/ him? 

     

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

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  • You need to sit him down, and have a serious, but honest conversation with him.  Joking around about it will get you nowhere; neither will yelling.  Tell him how his unwillingness to contribute is affecting you.  If you need to, create a chore schedule.  Split tasks, rotate if you need to.  But you need to find a way to have him contribute before you lose it.
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  • image EastCoastBride:

    ... you're married to him and you have a child w/ him.  Why haven't you dealt w/ this previously?  Why didn't you deal w/ it before you got married, or before you had a child w/ him? 

     

     And this. Seriously.  If my husband didn't help, there's no way in hell I would have gotten a dog with him and being TTC with him.  Adding more work is not the way to get him to help you around the house.

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  • image EastCoastBride:
    but I have to say... you're married to him and you have a child w/ him.  Why haven't you dealt w/ this previously?  Why didn't you deal w/ it before you got married, or before you had a child w/ him? 

    Ditto. Surely there was evidence of this behavior before the marriage and the baby came along.

  • image mabenner1:
    image EastCoastBride:

    ... you're married to him and you have a child w/ him.  Why haven't you dealt w/ this previously?  Why didn't you deal w/ it before you got married, or before you had a child w/ him? 

     

     And this. Seriously.  If my husband didn't help, there's no way in hell I would have gotten a dog with him and being TTC with him.  Adding more work is not the way to get him to help you around the house.

    This is advice I would certainly give a friend of mine and I can see why you ask this question.  Here's the thing, we got married, bought a house and had a kid in one summer. Before that, we were living in a dive apartment for a couple years.  I did most of the cleaning because he commuted and had to do a lot of repairs to the place (landlord was a scam artist) and it really didn't phase me because one bedroom, one living room with a kitchenette and no baby wasn't nearly as taxing as a 4-bedroom house and a baby.  I am just totally wiped out.

    When I ask him to do things he does not refuse. It's worse. He says sure I'll do it and it just never gets done. I'd rather he just told me up front that he has no intention of mopping the floor then I'll know at least instead of thinking it's going to get done. Gah.

  • I do pretty much everything on the inside of the house and my husband does everything on the outside, including washing the cars, changing the oil, mowing the lawn, and even planting flowers (mainly because I kill everything) etc.  When the cars need new tires or some other type of work he takes care of it.  I get the children ready for school in the morning, he (most of the time) gives them a bath at night while I am getting dinner ready.  I have a strict schedule that I stick to with my cleaning routine so I don't really like anyone to mess with that, but if I find that there is something that I need help with, I will just ask him and he does it.  I also will tell him if there is something that I see outside that needs to be done and I will flat out say something like "it's embarrassing the way this was left.  It makes us look like we don't keep up our home." 

    Taking care of a toddler is exhausting and even if you are a stay-at-home mom, it is just as difficult to get things done.  That was my first thought when I read your post, if you are an SAHM does he expect that you will take care of everything? Or, did he grow up thing that housework is women's work?

    You should not have to treat him like a child. If he just takes out the kitchen garbage, you could say "oh, you took out the garbage but only the kitchen.  You forgot to take the bathroom garbage out, too."  Maybe he is hoping that you will just get mad and do it yourself.  He probably doesn't want to sweep or mop.  So, fine, then you do it, but he has to play with the baby and that doesn't mean sitting the baby in front of the television.  That means taking a walk, playing blocks, etc. 

    Sit down with him and tell him what upsets you and what you need from him.  At the same time, he can tell you what upsets him.  Maybe he wants more of your time.  In that case, if he frees you up, the baby goes to bed sooner and mommy and daddy have more time together.  Just remember that saying when momma's happy, everyone's happy.  So true.

     

  • image Rumblefish:
     I am just totally wiped out.
    Have you told him this?  Have you had a real heart to heart?  Not just a "I need you to help", but a "i'm at the end of my rope and I don't know what else to do. I feel like your maid, not your wife." and if there is truth to it "It's beginning to affect how I feel about you and our marriage". 

    And if he does the "O.k., I'll do more", you need to respond with "How do I know those words mean anything more than they did before?".  Push him.  Tell him that the words are meaningless now.  It has to be about action.

    But this goes back to how serious is this to you?  As in, if he really doesn't change, can you truly live like this the rest of your life?  As in, could this be a dealbreaker?  If the answer is "yes", HE needs to know this.  If the answer is "no", then in the end, you have very little power. 

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

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Perhaps try writing down everything that is needed daily, weekly, monthly, etc and then have a discussion with your husband. 

    Prior to getting married my husband lived with his parents and his mother did the majority of the housework.  Husband took care of his room and bathroom.  Nonetheless, he did not have a realistic concept of what needed to be done to upkeep a house. 

    So we ran through all of the different chores and picked what each would keep on their chore list and those that would be shared.  So far it works out pretty well for us.  Sometimes I have to remind him about picking up clutter, but I have to remind myself about that occasionally too. 

  • It might help to develop a visual clue. Adult learners (some say especially men) respond well to what they can see.

    So, sit down as a couple and write down everything that needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly. This is an adult conversation about an adult relationship and family household. Break it into columns so that jobs that take about the same length of time are together. Include things that he may do, like paying online bills, mortgage, and definately detail-out what dumping the trash really means.

    Then tack it on the fridge or wherver convenient and agree to review it in 2 weeks.

    Use two colors for highlighter pens - one color is yours, and one color is his. Each time one of you complete a task, cross it off the list. It becomes REALLY obvious, REALLY quickly if one color is all over the page and another is absent.

    Then talk about it in two weeks. Drag out the list with all the colors and have a conversation.

    I also recommend hiring a cleaning person. I can imagine finances are tight, but it's worth your time and the saved resentment.

  • Reading your post I realize I am fortunate to not have to deal with this but if I did I'd start by protesting some of my"assumed" chores... Like... his laundry, buying his toiletries and grocery shopping for his items.  I would do all mine and childs laundry but intentionally pick his things out.  I know you have to buy food for the toddler but I'd start excluding all the things he eats/drinks if it isnt something you need for the toddler.  And I would point it out, saying when you start contributing to this family by helping me, I will do the things that help you. 

    If this doesnt work I'd "forget" to pay the cable bill... then maybe he will realize the importance of everyone doing their household job.  And he will certainly have more time to do some work if there is no tv to watch.


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  • Have you told him how disrespected you feel? (Your H's actions show me that he doesn't respect you as his wife.) Have you told him how overwhelmed you feel?

    I also like the idea of a list marked off with a color for you and a color for your H. I really like the idea or doing things only for you and your kid. He can physically do his own laundry, cook his own meals, buy his own toiletries, and clean up after his own mess.Show him how much you do for him by not doing any of it anymore.

    I made it clear to my H when we were dating (and talking about marriage) that I wasn't getting married to be a single mom and maid. Did your H know that beforehand?

  • It was very easy I married an adult
    image
    Time to put on your big girl panties

    I've got your rainbows and ponies right here
    image
  • Shortly after moving in together, my then boyfriend, I learned he did not like being told what to do.  So one day I was leaving town to go shopping with a friend and I left him a honey do list.  I was shocked when I can home and all but the bottom two things were done!  I think I had like seven items on there.  So I asked him what was up and he said he likes lists better then me verbally asking him to do things.  Honestly I have always asked with a nice smile on my face...regardless he always felt like he was being given chores. 

    So, here we are four years later and the list method still works for my DH.  

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  • My husband has always been fabulous at doing "big" chores. Building a deck, digging a new garden that kind of thing. Then he'd do nothing for months at a time.

    He was hopeless at the daily chores that you simply have to get done.

    I did the same o you tried, nagging, reasoning, crying, letter writing etc etc etc.

    In the end I sat down with him and said, "I am simply losing all respect for you as an adult. I have no sexual desire for a man who acts like a child and treats me like his mother."

    Hearing me say those words were a bit of a shock for him but he understood, and from there we had a really full discussion about each of our expectations around chores and came up with a division of labour we could live with.

    It's been tweaked over time, but generally we're both happy. 

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  • image saladandfruitgirl:

    I do pretty much everything on the inside of the house and my husband does everything on the outside, including washing the cars, changing the oil, mowing the lawn, and even planting flowers (mainly because I kill everything) etc.  When the cars need new tires or some other type of work he takes care of it.  I get the children ready for school in the morning, he (most of the time) gives them a bath at night while I am getting dinner ready.  I have a strict schedule that I stick to with my cleaning routine so I don't really like anyone to mess with that, but if I find that there is something that I need help with, I will just ask him and he does it.  I also will tell him if there is something that I see outside that needs to be done and I will flat out say something like "it's embarrassing the way this was left.  It makes us look like we don't keep up our home."  I like this. It's not an accusation (outright) but he gets the idea.

    Taking care of a toddler is exhausting and even if you are a stay-at-home mom, it is just as difficult to get things done.  That was my first thought when I read your post, if you are an SAHM does he expect that you will take care of everything? Or, did he grow up thing that housework is women's work? I work FT outside the home and even commute over an hour each day.  He thinks that since he has a physically exhausting job he should be able to plop down on the couch and relax in front of the TV the rest of the day. Plus, the dirt doesn't bother him so there's no motivation to fix it.

    You should not have to treat him like a child. If he just takes out the kitchen garbage, you could say "oh, you took out the garbage but only the kitchen.  You forgot to take the bathroom garbage out, too."  Maybe he is hoping that you will just get mad and do it yourself.  He probably doesn't want to sweep or mop.  So, fine, then you do it, but he has to play with the baby and that doesn't mean sitting the baby in front of the television.  That means taking a walk, playing blocks, etc.  I think this is the case. I hate to think he's so manipulative but this is the way it looks to me. 

    Sit down with him and tell him what upsets you and what you need from him.  At the same time, he can tell you what upsets him.  Maybe he wants more of your time.  In that case, if he frees you up, the baby goes to bed sooner and mommy and daddy have more time together.  Just remember that saying when momma's happy, everyone's happy.  So true.

    Very true and we're all miserable right now.

  • image doglove:

    image EastCoastBride:
    but I have to say... you're married to him and you have a child w/ him.  Why haven't you dealt w/ this previously?  Why didn't you deal w/ it before you got married, or before you had a child w/ him? 

    Ditto. Surely there was evidence of this behavior before the marriage and the baby came along.

  • image doglove:

    image EastCoastBride:
    but I have to say... you're married to him and you have a child w/ him.  Why haven't you dealt w/ this previously?  Why didn't you deal w/ it before you got married, or before you had a child w/ him? 

    Ditto. Surely there was evidence of this behavior before the marriage and the baby came along.

  • image EastCoastBride:

    image Rumblefish:
     I am just totally wiped out.
    Have you told him this?  Have you had a real heart to heart?  Not just a "I need you to help", but a "i'm at the end of my rope and I don't know what else to do. I feel like your maid, not your wife." and if there is truth to it "It's beginning to affect how I feel about you and our marriage".   I've said this practically word for word. He accuses me of trying to change him and says I'll never be happy and obviously he loves me more than I love him.

    And if he does the "O.k., I'll do more", you need to respond with "How do I know those words mean anything more than they did before?".  Push him.  Tell him that the words are meaningless now.  It has to be about action.I'm writing this down!!! This is exactly my complaint that he's all talk.

    But this goes back to how serious is this to you?  As in, if he really doesn't change, can you truly live like this the rest of your life?  As in, could this be a dealbreaker?  If the answer is "yes", HE needs to know this.  If the answer is "no", then in the end, you have very little power. 

    Good point. Yes, over time this would be a deal breaker. It's affecting my ability to be happy. Just when I'm about to have another sit down with him, he does something like wash the dishes or get the car inspected and I think "Now isn't the time" partly because I want to encourage good things and partly because I'll get the "nothing is ever good enough for you" arguement again.

  • image BellaPteris:

    Perhaps try writing down everything that is needed daily, weekly, monthly, etc and then have a discussion with your husband. 

    Prior to getting married my husband lived with his parents and his mother did the majority of the housework.  Husband took care of his room and bathroom.  Nonetheless, he did not have a realistic concept of what needed to be done to upkeep a house. 

    So we ran through all of the different chores and picked what each would keep on their chore list and those that would be shared.  So far it works out pretty well for us.  Sometimes I have to remind him about picking up clutter, but I have to remind myself about that occasionally too. 

    I did this when we were in our apartment.  I had a whiteboard and I thought that if I checked off all the things I did it would be a visual for him and motivate him to keep up with me. No dice.  I'll try again, though because this idea seems so valid.

  • image livingitup:

    It might help to develop a visual clue. Adult learners (some say especially men) respond well to what they can see.

    So, sit down as a couple and write down everything that needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly. This is an adult conversation about an adult relationship and family household. Break it into columns so that jobs that take about the same length of time are together. Include things that he may do, like paying online bills, mortgage, and definately detail-out what dumping the trash really means.

    Then tack it on the fridge or wherver convenient and agree to review it in 2 weeks.

    Use two colors for highlighter pens - one color is yours, and one color is his. Each time one of you complete a task, cross it off the list. It becomes REALLY obvious, REALLY quickly if one color is all over the page and another is absent.

    Then talk about it in two weeks. Drag out the list with all the colors and have a conversation.

    I also recommend hiring a cleaning person. I can imagine finances are tight, but it's worth your time and the saved resentment.

    Although this is a completely awesome idea, I've tried it.  I'm afraid he may have been raised to think the woman does it all. Although, he says that things should be 50/50, he doesn't live it. He'll let me run myself to crying from exhaustion then he'll help out for a day until I feel better and back to the couch he goes. 

    I have been thinking of cutting off the cable and using that money for a cleaning lady. It's ironic that I pay for the cable and he sits on his @ss to watch it while I wear myself out.

  • image Wine Enthusiast:

    Reading your post I realize I am fortunate to not have to deal with this but if I did I'd start by protesting some of my"assumed" chores... Like... his laundry, buying his toiletries and grocery shopping for his items.  I would do all mine and childs laundry but intentionally pick his things out.  I know you have to buy food for the toddler but I'd start excluding all the things he eats/drinks if it isnt something you need for the toddler.  And I would point it out, saying when you start contributing to this family by helping me, I will do the things that help you. 

    If this doesnt work I'd "forget" to pay the cable bill... then maybe he will realize the importance of everyone doing their household job.  And he will certainly have more time to do some work if there is no tv to watch.


    Great ideas! Thank you. I do all the grocery shopping (he does put them away). I usually buy him the foods he likes but maybe I'll stop.  Good idea.

  • image Rumblefish:
    Yes, over time this would be a deal breaker. It's affecting my ability to be happy.
    And does he know this?  If not, tell him! 

    His response that your'e trying to "change" him?  It's a cop out and it's his way to keep doing what he's doing (nothing) and making YOU feel guilty about it.  You want HELP (semantics aside).  You want him to be a more involved father.  You want him to care about his home. 

    For him to make this about "this is who I am" - well, then, he's an immature, lazy, child. 

    Oh, and his crock about how he loves you more?!  Uh, I would actually argue the opposite. if he loved you so much, he would WANT to make sure you're happy, he would WANT to be an equal partner.  His actions actually show me that he loves himself more than he loves you. 

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

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  • image srgw:

    Have you told him how disrespected you feel? (Your H's actions show me that he doesn't respect you as his wife.) Have you told him how overwhelmed you feel?  No but I have thought this over and over. I think you're right. I need to say it to him.

    I also like the idea of a list marked off with a color for you and a color for your H. I really like the idea or doing things only for you and your kid. He can physically do his own laundry, cook his own meals, buy his own toiletries, and clean up after his own mess.Show him how much you do for him by not doing any of it anymore.

    I made it clear to my H when we were dating (and talking about marriage) that I wasn't getting married to be a single mom and maid. Did your H know that beforehand?

    Yes, that's the crazy part. He says all the right words. He says that it's a 50/50 responsibility to maintain a home and raise a family. I was stunned when it just kept getting worse and worse and worse.

  • image jobiann:

    Shortly after moving in together, my then boyfriend, I learned he did not like being told what to do.  So one day I was leaving town to go shopping with a friend and I left him a honey do list.  I was shocked when I can home and all but the bottom two things were done!  I think I had like seven items on there.  So I asked him what was up and he said he likes lists better then me verbally asking him to do things.  Honestly I have always asked with a nice smile on my face...regardless he always felt like he was being given chores. 

    So, here we are four years later and the list method still works for my DH.  

    That surprises me. I'd think a list is more "maternal" than just asking. HOWEVER, I am in no position whatsoever to critique a method and obviously what I've been doing is not working at all. I will certainly give this a try!! Thank you :)

  • image KateLouise:

    My husband has always been fabulous at doing "big" chores. Building a deck, digging a new garden that kind of thing. Then he'd do nothing for months at a time.

    Yes! It's like that took up all his "chore doing" abilities and he's done.  DH is the same way!

    He was hopeless at the daily chores that you simply have to get done. I tried expalining this.  I told him that if the sidewalk doesn't get repaired this summer it's not the end of the world. If the dishes don't get washed, we have an unsanitary situation plus nothing to eat off of. This meant nothing to him. I guess it's not manly to wash dishes. He can't brag to his buddies "Man you should have seen that huge load of dishes I did today!"

    I did the same o you tried, nagging, reasoning, crying, letter writing etc etc etc.

    In the end I sat down with him and said, "I am simply losing all respect for you as an adult. I have no sexual desire for a man who acts like a child and treats me like his mother." I have to say this. It's so true. I'm printing this whole thread out so I don't forget all these great ideas.

    Hearing me say those words were a bit of a shock for him but he understood, and from there we had a really full discussion about each of our expectations around chores and came up with a division of labour we could live with.

    It's been tweaked over time, but generally we're both happy. 

    I'm so glad things are better for you now. That's where I want to be! Thanks!

  • This is such a common problem for so many of us.  YIKES, the fights, the tears, the disappointments, blah, blah, blah...

    Here's my easy answer...cut expenses somewhere & get a cleaning lady, especially if you are working full time & have a baby.  Let him pay for her fees.  At least 1 day/week, you will come home to a clean house, & maybe with a few sessions of having things under control, it won't feel so overwhelming.

    I love my cleaning lady & my babysitters!  Worth so much more than what I spend.

  • My husband pressures me for children a lot.  I do not want to have any children until he actually can do his share of housework/yardwork and we fix the existing recurring marital problems we are having.  My husband's response is always, " If we had a baby, I would be motivated to do my share around the house, and be a better husband". 

     

    Riiiigghhttttt.

     

    Currently, I go on cleaning/cooking strikes.  I know its childish but it seems like its the only thing that works.  I still do my own laundry, cook myself meals, and basically upkeep anything that is for me.  Eventually he runs out of clean clothes...and will actually round up his dirty clothes from all over the house and do his own laundry, and maybe clean the bathroom, wash a few dishes, etc.  Strikes have been the ONLY thing that has worked for me (which I know isnt right so I am sure I am going to get flamed for suggesting it).  Also hiding the Playstation controls seems to help a bit (again, totally flame worthy).

  • image Rumblefish:

    ETA:  Conversations do not go well with us. He just gets really defensive and ends up turning things around on me.  Like I'll never be happy and I ask for too much and he works full time and soooooorry if he needs to relax when he gets home.  I work FT, too...but I digress.  So since conversations go so badly, WDYT about writing him a letter? Is that high school? I feel like I'd be able to get all my thoughts out without getting off track and having my words twisted but also I wouldn't be able to make sure he understands and doesn't misinterpret. I'm just afraid he's going to interpret this as I don't love him anymore and I"ve just gone all hormonal and this marriage is over.  KWIM?

    Indifferent

    No, I don't know what you mean. I guess because I married a man I could actually TALK to.

    Honey, if you can't communicate with him because "conversations do not go well with you," you're going to have bigger problems than a half-a.ssed cleaning job.

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  • image Rumblefish:
    image jobiann:

    Shortly after moving in together, my then boyfriend, I learned he did not like being told what to do.  So one day I was leaving town to go shopping with a friend and I left him a honey do list.  I was shocked when I can home and all but the bottom two things were done!  I think I had like seven items on there.  So I asked him what was up and he said he likes lists better then me verbally asking him to do things.  Honestly I have always asked with a nice smile on my face...regardless he always felt like he was being given chores. 

    So, here we are four years later and the list method still works for my DH.  

    That surprises me. I'd think a list is more "maternal" than just asking. HOWEVER, I am in no position whatsoever to critique a method and obviously what I've been doing is not working at all. I will certainly give this a try!! Thank you :)

    Well what I've learned from girl time is that all our husbands are different.  So obviously what works for one doesn't for all.  We all have to find the "right" method.

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  • make a list of things and have him pick x number of items that he will be responsible for.

    for myself, it was doing this,  and a lot of arguments before it came to a turning point.  the turning point was when I told Dh I didn't want to have anymore kids with him  because it he wanted all the benefits of a nice home and family without doing any of the work. And I was serious about it even though we had previously talked about ttc again. he woke up and smelled the coffee.

     

     

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