How much childcare/housework is reasonable to expect a SAH parent to do?

(220 Posts)
addendumm Fri 09-Nov-12 12:47:43

Am getting really annoyed with DH who SAH and looks after DS 4 days a week while I work. He doesnt have a job at the moment.

How much housework is reasonable to get done during the day with a 1 year old who naps for 2 hours?

When the working parent is home how much time should they reasonably be expected to care for the child while the SAH parent has a break?

I would be interested to hear how others divide these responsibilities so I can work out if Im being unreasonable.

what about dividing up chores (this is what we do when DH is on hols or nothing gets done) into 'his' and 'yours' (in a fair way that reflects free time around the house) and work out a bare minimum of what needs doing during the day.

expatinscotland Fri 09-Nov-12 13:36:10

Why is he not working?

AmberSocks Fri 09-Nov-12 13:36:48

Personally i like to put people before things,so for me general caring,cleaning and feeding of the kids comes before housework,i dont go over the top,i keep on top of the laundry and loading and unloading the dishwasher,run the hoover round before bedtimee,its not hard to do those basic things when youve got kids at home,my dh managed it when he looked after my 3 (aged4,3 and 2)when i was having a rest after having number 4.

AmberSocks Fri 09-Nov-12 13:37:15

expatinscotland-would you ask a man why his wife is not working?

PeppermintPasty Fri 09-Nov-12 13:37:15

My dp is SAHD 4 days a week as I work. He does the laundry, washing up, meals for the children, hoovers. So far so good.

However, we have had many an argument to get him to this point and there is a lot of resentment on both sides from time to time-I feel he piddles about too much when our 2 yo is occupied when he could be doing housework, and he thinks I'm a right so and so for coming home and huffing (I confess I do this), if he's had a slack day (almost every sodding day) and hasn't even wiped the side down in the kitchen.

Why he doesn't just see that the bin is full/loo needs a clean/bathroom needs doing etc and just DO IT is beyond me. He's definitely improved though. He's been SAHD for over a year and a half so it's been a bloody long slog.

expatinscotland Fri 09-Nov-12 13:38:54

'expatinscotland-would you ask a man why his wife is not working?'

If the other half were only working 4 days/week and they had one child and she was doing no housework and doing no childcare 3 days/week, yes.

noisytoys Fri 09-Nov-12 13:41:01

I am SAHM and DH works shifts often 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. I do all housework except for bins, he empties them and I clean them and put new bin bags in. We are both happy with the arrangement and there is no resentment on either side

Oh dear, blush do you think he's a secret mumsnetter? My housework definitely suufers as a result grin

coppertop Fri 09-Nov-12 13:42:11

I forgot to answer your original question about how others divide the responsibilities.

I'm a SAHM. Dh works Mon-Fri.

It varies day-to-day how much housework gets done. It's easier now that our 2yr-old doesn't expect to be picked up all the time, but before that it was difficult.

Dh is usually home by about 6.30pm. We both do whatever needs doing (we also have 3 school-age children) and both get a break together when the children are in bed.

I have a couple of hours to myself on Saturday morning while dh is on childcare duties. He has his turn on Sunday mornings. The rest of the weekend we either go out or split the time between housework and relaxing.

I do most of the admin stuff.

If your positions were reversed, do you think your dh would give you 3 full days off, 5 free evenings a week and do all the housework?

Somehow I think not.

katiecubs Fri 09-Nov-12 13:42:17

I think you are getting a raw deal.

I have a very active 2 yr old but do all the housework - cleaning, dishes, washing etc during the week.

When DH is home we split childcare and housework 50/50. He does a lot more cooking than i do as he really enjoys it.

He should def use the nap time (or at least 1 hr of it) to get on with household tasks.

Daddelion Fri 09-Nov-12 13:44:20

Are you really thinking of changing your life on what posters with agendas write?

Don't do it.

MsVestibule Fri 09-Nov-12 13:44:29

Without knowing his demanding your toddler is, it's difficult to say how much he 'should' be doing during the day. However, what does he do between 5 and 8.30? Does he make dinner? As said upthread, what also matters is how much free time you both have. If he gets those 3 hours per day, plus a lot of the 3 days you're not working, then no, that's not fair.

I believe that the SAHP should be "in charge" of running the house, although not necessarily doing it all themselves. For example, I wouldn't expect my DH to notice that the washing needed doing but would ask him to put on a wash, IYSWIM.

expatinscotland Fri 09-Nov-12 13:45:41

'Are you really thinking of changing your life on what posters with agendas write?'

Did she write that? She was asking because it appears she is not happy with the situation.

addendumm Fri 09-Nov-12 13:45:54

peppermint yes that is the same, he just doesnt seem to notice things that need doing. He is happy to 'help' but that mean doing it at the same time Im doing it! I just want some time to myself. Sometimes I have only 15 minutes to myself before going to bed. It is non-stop work from the moment I wake (when DS wakes at 5.30am, I look after him until I leave for work at 7.30) till night.

coppertop Fri 09-Nov-12 13:46:44

Posters with agendas? confused

MsVestibule Fri 09-Nov-12 13:47:35

justforlaughs mine too! Keep telling myself to restrict it to evenings only, but it's an addiction! Hope Olivia, Justine et al are proud of themselves <dark look>.

RillaBlythe Fri 09-Nov-12 13:49:02

OP you are not unreasonable. My DP thinks I could do more housework so I opened the thread expecting to be defending the sahp, but actually your DP should do more.

I have a one year old & a 4yo at school. Today I have washed up breakfast, tidied the bedrooms (in a pickin up clothes way, nothing more thorough!), made the beds, swept the floor, prepared supper & wiped down kitchen. Yesterday I did the same plus laundry & some dusting. That'd without making an effort at all.

I only do survival housework though - laundry, bathrooms, floors, washing up.

AitchDee Fri 09-Nov-12 13:49:51

I'd expect him to keep the house clean and tidy, keep on top of laundry etc.

The big jobs like cleaning the bathroom could be split between the two of you on the weekends.

I have two 2 year olds at home and do everything when I am there. When my husband is home we do 50/50.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 09-Nov-12 13:50:43

So hang on - he gets 3 hours to himself once you are home while you deal with bedtime etc? Have I read that right?

tiredfeet Fri 09-Nov-12 13:51:25

it depends a bit. what does he get up to with your ds? if they're out and about and busy/ playing together indoors etc then I would cut him some slack on the housework. If ds is plonked in front of telly all day while your dh reads a book I would feel a bit differently.

DH looks after ds one day a week while I'm at work and I don't really expect him to get anything done. but then look what I am doing while ds naps wink. That said, I know that we each spend a lot of time doing activities with ds or playing with him/ reading to him. I think we both prefer to use the nap time as down tim (its normally at best an hour though) and then do chores etc in the evening (think we have a fairly even split)

Abrico Fri 09-Nov-12 13:52:05

We have a points system. Each chore is given a certain number of points (for example laundry 1 point, cleaning bathroom 5 points), I get fewer points per chore than DH to reflect the fact I only work part time. Then we have to cash in our points to get free time for ourselves.
It sounds strict, but it does mean DH does some housework, because otherwise he doesn't get to go out.

squeakytoy Fri 09-Nov-12 13:53:28

Most of our mothers must have been superhuman.. they could all manage to run a house and cope with babies and toddlers, while their husbands were out at work. Very few of them had cars, and a lot less mod cons than we have to rely on today.

I do wonder if daytime tv and the internet is responsible for so many SAHPs being unable to clean and look after their children.. grin .. it certainly stops me from getting as much done as I could realistically.

addendumm Fri 09-Nov-12 13:54:36

Expat Amber He isnt working because we both wanted someone home with DS until he is 3. We moved cities and I found a job first, so I went to work first.

Now I am considering having another baby and going on mat leave and then DH can go back to work, maybe I will get more of a break then.

I do think the role reversal question is interesting coppertop. There is no way the situation would be the same if roles were reversed. Also I have always enjoyed living in a clean home and I do enjoy cleaning to some extent. The problem I have now is that I live in a mess and I have zero free time. If I was at home I would definitely spend DS's naptimes cleaning, even just an hour of it would make a huge difference. I already spend his nap time cleaning on my days off. Thats why I was wondering if it was unreasonable to expect this.

squeakytoy Fri 09-Nov-12 13:54:37

Abrico.. I appreciate it may work for you, that is great... but blimey.. I could not go through my life on a "points system". confused.

Grumpla Fri 09-Nov-12 13:56:17

I work part time (between 18-25 hours a week) and my DH is self employed in a job that involves a lot of travel. Our kids are in nursery 3 days a week (when I get the bulk of my work done). On a day of solo childcare with two (no coinciding nap time at all, ever) the at-home parent that day would normally manage to do a load of washing (at least washed and dried f not sorted) plus the kitchen would not be a total bombsite. Everything else is done in the evenings (we take a job each and do housework for the same amount of time!) / weekends (one of us will take the kids out for a walk whilst the other does some housework.

I think your DP is not unreasonable to use nap time as leisure time (this is what we tended to do when we just had one napping child) but the issue really is how you divvy up the time when neither of you are at work (I categorise looking after your child as work).

Don't get bogged down in whether he should be using that nap time to do housework or not. Ultimately nap time will not last forever - and the issue is not when he does his share of the housework it is whether he does it or not.

Our issue is that when my DH travels away I am stuck with long days of childcare followed by relaxing evenings of frantic housework - lovely - but at least when he is home he mostly pulls his weight.

If your DH wants to use nap time as a chance to relax - and personally I think a day of solo childcare is much more knackering than work! - then that is his choice - but he needs to be doing his share of the chores at another point during the week.

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