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Thread: Sharing the work between spouses.

  1. #1
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Sharing the work between spouses.

    I thought I'd better stop whining on my other post and whine under a different title. hahaha

    Just curious if you all are happy with the sharing of work with your spouse, that comes with owning a house and property?

    I suppose we're all better at one thing than another, but sometimes, it seems to get lopsided.

    I quit working outside the home a long time ago, when I had kids. Then when they were out of the house, I had some health issues. DH had a job that seemed to provide enough money, so I wasn't forced to find a job. I appreciated that.
    For a long time, I pretty much raised the kids myself, while he struggled with a new business. He was a much bigger help when they got older.

    I AM extremely grateful that I don't have to work at a job, but at what point should everything at home fall on me?
    Even though both DH and I don't like interacting with service people, etc., I always did it. DH could live with with lots of things not working, or falling apart.

    Should the person not holding down an outside job be responsible for everything else? DH does take care of the lawn and weeding......which is no small feat, considering how much property we have, but shouldn't the house matter too?
    Yes, I could take care of it all, and call all the necessary service people........but shouldn't some of these things be shared? It would almost even be better if DH said "I know I should deal with such and such, but......" and give me a good reason, but he doesn't even talk about the problems. It would be different, too, if he would take part in calling the right people to fix things, but he insists on fixing them himself (when I force him to notice them)........and then he doesn't get to it.

    I don't want to minimize that he's the bread-winner. I just wish he had more interest in the "infrastructure" here than he does.

    So......are things fairly "fair" in your house, in terms of who does what? And do some of you feel that you have to be the "boss" who constantly has to direct others?

  2. #2
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Are things "fairly" divided here? Not really. dH does more, does things i have no clue how to do.

    dH is a working fool, and he can cook, garden, can, and do other domestic chores like a fiend if he wants to. Neither of us are clean freaks, but I am more concerned about overall cleanliness of our space than he is so I do daily cleaning downstairs, the upstairs is seldom cleaned. He insists on keeping the old, filthy carpet there so thats on him to keep it cleaned. i will vacuum it occasionally.

    He keeps cars serviced, lawns at various properties mowed, and all household systems working. He also does all bill paying and higher level financial manage,ent althought I am not very happy with the "higher level" adtions and we will be making some chamges along those lines.

    I do 90% of pet care because I am the one who decides when we get another pet.

  3. #3
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I will say that It is remarkable how my spouse can also ignore stuff that doesnt work if he doesnt want to see it. We have a roof that has leaked for years. I suspect the only time it will be fixed is when he is dead or no longer the owner of this house.

    He also doesnt take my word for it when something dowsnt work and granted, sometimes i am wrong! But not always.

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    I am thinking about your post, Cathy, and trying to formulate an answer, but it will take a little time. IL, I am curious, are the other properties you own rental properties? So is taking care of them working for income?

    Cathy, my husband is definitely the same way with his tractor and hauling stuff around--he will do that for hours, and I can't quite figure out what the end result is supposed to be. But he will definitely overlook any problems in the house.

  5. #5
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    My frustration is that I work and the housework is pretty much left to me, because he a) doesn't notice and b) when he does, he doesn't care. When I don't work, I don't really mind doing the clean-up because it's better than the alternative.

    examples: I absolutely forbid him to wash my clothes because he puts everything in together and my black yoga pants come out with white towel lint. That's one example. Another--he wasn't feeling well the other day and spent the night sweating profusely in the bed. The next day I complained as I was going to bed that I forgot to put the clean sheets in the dryer. He said, "What?? You washed the sheets AGAIN?" (I had just washed them a few days prior). I said, "Yeah, they were covered in sweat!" He said, "But it dries!" . So, yes, Cathy, sometimes you have to lead them along a little.

    But he's a great cook and he does the lawn mowing and runs errands. Plus he's great mechanically, and good at hiring repairmen.

    I were entering into a situation with a newly-retired spouse, I would ask them to at least clean up after themselves.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  6. #6
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I'd love to have a "wife" to do all the things I don't want to do--and they are legion.

    I've gotten way worse about dealing with repair people, and this place shows it. But I'm going to have to get off the dime eventually, or die here--and I long to move.

  7. #7
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Our agreement has been that whoever is home full time takes over the bulk of domestic responsibilities. Sometimes its been me, sometimes him. Currently, he's retired and I work at home, so I have more hours in the day now than when I was commuting a few hours a day. I do food shopping/outside errands and most of the cooking- he pretty much does the rest. When I was commuting, he also did most of the cooking during the week - although I had to do the planning, tell him what to make and often times how.

    It took greater than 20 years however before I could consider him a real partner in this regard. I seethed with anger (occasionally erupting LOL) that I was carrying the major part of the load even though we were both working full time. He just didn't see it for one, and it wasn't important to him either. He would come home from work and retreat to his computer or the TV while I made dinner and then cleaned up. I kept waiting for him to realize it was inequitable. Never happened until he was laid off for a few years and then started to realize how much was involved in running a household.

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    When I was at home raiding and educating the kids, i had to be "the boss" I hated it. I couldn't do everything, so I had to delegate. Also, it's good for kids to learn to do stuff. My schedule was always very full and complex, do if someone was coming to do a thing and I had to be home, I had to schedule it. I did all the errands and any housework and cooking I couldn't get the kids to do.

    Dh worked long hours he paid the bills (also as in he submitted payment) and kept track of the budget; kept my car, appliances, the electric, the plumbing, the house, and the lawn in good order; taught the kids piano from ages 5-7 (at 8 they got a "real" teacher), and "helped" when asked. When the kids were really little he also did all of the vacuuming. He was the church choir director for years and he insisted each kid join the choir as they got old enough, so there was a time when choir practice was my break. He did boyscouts with ds with minimal involvement from me (he camped and accepted troop leadership roles, I shopped and sewed on badges.) when we moved to the farm he also picked up bush hogging and snow plowing.

    A lot of the time he spent with the kids was teaching them to do "his" stuff - electric work, plumbing, auto repair, lawn mowing, drywall, painting, and light construction both because he wanted them to have the skills and because he wanted to delegate the jobs.

    he attended zero girls scout anything. I'm not sure he even remembers that the girls were scouts through grade 4. All three kids swam competitively for most of their childhoods - with meets that lasted all weekend and sometimes required overnight travel. You write the event numbers on your kid at each meet. He attended so few meets, that recently when we went to see a college meet he said "her next event is 31." And I said "it can't be." And he asked "why not? I said "girls events are even numbered." And he said "really?" He picked them up from practice after work sometimes, when practice was late and he wanted dinner ready.

    we were heavily involved in 4h for 15 years. He helped with one woodworking project and attended one poultry auction and one alpaca show. (One event per kid). The youngest had one of her best friends and chief 4H rivals over last weekend and the young man saw my dh for the first time. He looked a little shocked, like "your mom is married, this is your dad?" shocked.

    now the kids are gone and dh is the boss. I do most of the non-kid things I always did and some things I didn't do, and I work part time. Dh keeps track of what needs to be done and keeps me informed "can you vacuum the living room today?"," I'll cook dinner tonight if the kitchen is clean.", "you need to be home all day on the tenth for a delivery","I'm out of clean socks." He seems happy because all the things he really cares about get done. I am happy because I just do what he asks and what I want and don't worry about it.

    everybody has their own system. You have to work it out with him (we had a rough time after the kids left when I felt put apon because I was trying to do all the things I thought were "my job" and he didn't appreciate all of them and got upset about stuff that wasn't done) but we had a conversation and fixed that - today I am making cookies. He thinks the house is clean enough. I think the house is clean enough. But he doesn't like to be out of cookies. On the flip side - my car will never be washed again. Neither of us cares.

  9. #9
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Dh has always been a curious person. Why did I marry him? We won't go into that. But he's always been a curious person. In fact, even his sister and mother have said that even when little, he was the "Absent-minded professor". He is very intelligent, but has no common sense. I've heard this is common in really smart people. I've learned, even though it might take him a long time, he can fix things IF HE WANTS TO. But he never really wants to. I don't know if some men are like primitive men and only live to hunt (work), and come back to the cave and veg out.??

    What's weird is I always wanted a man who would be in charge (even though I was always very independent).......but I married someone is soooooooo passive. I suppose some of his behavior wouldn't bother me as much if he would just admit to having it. I'm always wrong, according to him. And things have to get to the boiling point and me getting really mad, for him to change a little. He'll be mad too, then a couple days later he'll try harder to do things, but it doesn't last long.
    He complains that I'm always changing the rules of the game........but in reality, I'm flexible and am able to reassess a situation and prioritize.

    I guess I'm at the point of feeling like something might be wrong with his brain. I'm not sure how you know if someone is developing Alzheimers or if they are just curious people?
    He says things wrong, has gotten pretty bad at communicating. I'm pretty good at communicating, but if I can't understand what he's trying to say, it's my deficiency (according to him.)
    Okay.......I'm getting off the topic. But for those of you who have this problem (of having to think of everything).........doesn't it really get old, and it starts causing you to be angry all the time?

  10. #10
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    This is my 3rd marriage and we lived together for 5 years before marrying. I knew all his faults. He doesn't clean because he would not if he lived alone. That is the way he was raised. I used to do his laundry but about 2 years ago I said enough-do it yourself. He grocery shops and does the fix it things and outside work. I have to nag him at times. I do everything else including bill paying and making the cars are serviced. However, I only cook if I want to. If not each man for themselves. I keep around plenty of easy stuff for when I don;t feel like cooking and we eat out 2x's/week. The pets are 100% mine because he did not want any unless I am gone and then he will gladly step in. My 2nd husband did a lot more then me but was so obsessive that it was very annoying and he was verbally abusive so I will take a slob that treats me well over that anytime.

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