If you have a male DP/DH?

(59 Posts)
dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 09:50:49

Does he pull his weight around the house? And if so, how have you got things to that point?

I ask because DH is supposedly on board with feminism but his actions (or lack thereof) continually fail to measure up to the ideals.

He is not terrible (I don't want to LTB!). He does some cooking, helps with baby and walks the dog for example. Its definitely a help having him around. Its just noticeable that things aren't equal.

DH works part time from home. I am on maternity leave with our first DC. I do the vast majority of the housework as well as some extras like making a batch of jam to save us money on Christmas presents. When he saw me doing this he said "Wow it would never even occur to me to do that"

I thought that was very telling, and maybe the crux of the issue: Things like that do occur to me because I've somehow taken the responsibility onto myself.
By contrast DH doesn't appear to notice really obvious things that need doing, like putting clothes away in drawers.

I feel like I'm fighting a rear guard battle to keep him on board with the practical running of our home. Is this just what heterosexual relationships are like or has anyone here achieved equality in the home?

BelaLugosisShed Mon 19-Nov-12 12:45:22

Mine has always done his fair share, we wouldn't have stayed married for nearly 30 years if he didn't!
I do the majority in the week because I work half the hours he does, at weekends I'd say that he does more than me , he's been off today and when I got in from work he'd done all the weekend's dishes (we'd been out for the whole day yesterday and it was 7pm when we got home) and cleaned the sink, plus made me a cuppa for when I got home.
I don't tidy up before I get into bed, I sit down and get undressed, throwing my clothes onto the floor on DH's side, then he picks them up and puts them in the basket , unless it's dark because I've gone to bed before him, I put his clean undies and socks on the bed because the way he arranges his stuff in his drawers irritates me.

I don't actually think that untidyness is a gender issue, the two messiest people I know are my SIL and my DD, my DD can't keep a room tidy for five seconds, she comes home from University and takes over the house, bags, shoes and folders all over the living room, piles of stuff in her bedroom, when she leaves again I find wet towels on her bed and half a dozen glasses strewn about, yet me and DH are fairly tidy people, she has always been the same.
I honestly don't think you can train people to be tidy, my SIL's house is like something off extreme hoarders, truly awful, yet she and DH were brought up exactly the same.

samandi Mon 19-Nov-12 12:46:26

Does he pull his weight around the house? And if so, how have you got things to that point?

Yes. I didn’t have to “do” anything, it’s always been like this.

Waspie Mon 19-Nov-12 12:57:39

lostconfusedwhatnext you are right, I think it is a very fine line to try and tread. I am fortunate because I have never had to test whether my relationship would withstand the time= money = energy equation which is a very unemotional way of trying to retain equality in the home. I doubt it can be done because the unknown factor of emotion carries a weighting that i can't quantify.

I like to do things for the people I love but it doesn't really extend to housework, apart from cooking. I love to feed people smile Having said that I had a major operation two months ago and was unable to contribute to the chores for several weeks and I felt so terribly guilty that DP was doing everything and not complaining at all. I know that had our positions been reversed I would have done this too but I do feel grateful because I know that not everyone's partner (M or F) would have done the same. This is the resect and love elements of a partnership I guess.

DH does loads round the house and always has.

Mum deliberately brought my up to not end up being a housewife (like her). She didn't get me to help with housework, cooking or cleaning except if I wanted to. She taught me how to build brick walls, climb trees and grow veg intead.

One result of this is I'm quite happy with fairly low standards (though I do more since the DSs came along).

It also means DH and I see each other as equals in all the housey type things. We also both learnt to cook properly at university, so equals there too.

MMMarmite Mon 19-Nov-12 13:30:13

I sat in church yesterday listening to a sermon about unconditional love and forgiveness and stuff and boggled as I always do about the mismatch between a. the very true position that being mean-spirited is not the way to being happy, and in fact giving is honestly better than receiving, and to love is to be happy; and b. men take the piss out of women's time and energy constantly, without even realising it, and if you are not allowed to point this out, no one else is going to, and in the end you will die of exhaustion or melt out of resentment.

Forgiveness is great, but only if the action which requires forgiveness has now stopped. For forgiveness to bring happiness and harmony, the transgressor needs to understand what they did wrong, preferably apologize, and crucially, not do it again. Otherwise there's no incentive for the transgressor to change, and the 'forgiver' inevitably feels resentment.

dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 13:36:15

"Doing things that would just be left if she didn't do them, but she would feel shame where he wouldn't (making something homemade to bring to a bring-food-party; remembering birthdays, sending cards; certain aspects of the kids' appearances etc)"

Yes to this ^^

dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 13:40:11

Wifework looks interesting. There's an extract here

HerriotsofFire Mon 19-Nov-12 13:46:17

It's not just the doing, it's the thinking. And planning. That's the wifework bit, isn't it?

dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 14:02:12

I think so, yes

EllieQ Mon 19-Nov-12 14:07:59

Yes, I do think my DH and I have an equal split of housework (though we don't have children - we're ttc at the moment and I wonder if things will change after having children).

We tend to split things by area - so I do laundry (including changing sheets, towels etc) and DH does ironing. I'm responsible for cleaning the kitchen, he does the bathroom. I do most of the tidying, and all dusting, and he probably does more hoovering than me (70:30 perhaps?).

He does DIY, gardening (only have a back yard with a few pots), and takes the rubbish/ recycling out. I do the spring-cleaning type jobs.

I tend to organise the cleaning more, just because I am tidier and have higher standards than him eg: saying could you do x while I do y.

You say your DH works part-time while you're on mat leave - does he ever take over some of the childcare so you can have free time, or does it all fall to you?

EllieQ Mon 19-Nov-12 14:10:05

Also, I don't do presents/ cards for his family, though I may give him a gentle reminder!

LeBFG Mon 19-Nov-12 14:26:45

I think it's much easier to have a gender neutral attitude to household chores before kids...or after they leave home (some of the most balanced relationships are the old folks I know, oddly).

I remember DH was totally self-sufficient before I moved in - then we both worked FT so shared everything.

Now we live in a part of the world where this life is honestly no longer possible. WHy?

1. Money = power.

Because there are many more jobs for males, the jobs for men are better paid. We've struggled with this one. The best solution is for me to SAH whilst he goes out to work. Early on, he had more power in the relationship - he'd dictate certain things. THis broke once I got a job and he could realise the contribution I made to our lives. I'm now a SAHM but were are much more contented with things now the power wedge has been driven out of our relationship. I think a lot of couples experience this tbh.

2. Household jobs split down gender lines.

Because men are outside doing chores, the women are doing the stuff inside. Many households (incl ours) are heated with wood: fetching trees, chainsawing up big bits, lumping them around, splitting logs etc is so physical that it's only the men that so this. There are lots of other examples of this (killing pigs, mending tractors and cars, weighing and moving grain). THis leads to the perpetuation of 'woman's place in the home'. Women are frequently blamed if the house isn't spick and span. I find this expectation around me very disturbing and sometimes hard to deal with. This also leads to a more profound division of the sexes - conversations are either women or men centered - men talk about wood (for example) and women compare recipes. At parties, it is not unusual to see whole tables with one gender or the other.

Finally (not related to where I live)

3. Childcare will always favour women.

Because women are just hormonally wired up better for this. I do really believe this. Though I do think the biology is used far, far too often to justify the absence of men from childcare and that really annoys me as they bring so many positives to children's lives. Men are really underrated!!!

With specific stuff in your OP: if you are making jam, why? Is this the affordable Christmas gift (not being rude, it's just it's likely - we're in this situation). If so, he should help or find another gift of a similar value. Or, do you feel people expect you to give home-made gifts? If so - why? You don't have to if you don't want to! And you (and your DH) could point that out to crabby relatives - you're going to do what you like, you don't necessarily want to faff about making home-made gifts for people.

I'm not sure I'm really able to contribute helpfully due to not having children, and that being such a huge issue here, so do ignore from here on if so. But, yes, my DH is male, and he is much better than he was. I had to get the power of MN Feminists behind me, though! I talked things through a lot on here and showed him what people were saying, and it did help me work out how to say whether I thought things were fair or not (and it helped me reassess too, it wasn't just him).

It's very much work in progress but we are getting there. For me it helped to be able to explain to him that people judge me on things they wouldn't think to judge him on - so if the house isn't clean, or we don't send out christmas gifts, or whatever - that's seen as my fault. So he needs to know that, and he needs to accept he has to pitch in with, say, cleaning up the house before people come around, because even if he doesn't feel bad about the state it's in, he caused half the mess and I get judged for all of it.

It also helped to realize that we're entitled to live in an environment we like. If he has preferences, so do I: if mine are that the carpet is hoovered, so be it. This helped me because before, I was accepting that he liked a particular brand of this, or the light on at such-and-such a time, and I was accepting it with no issue - but he wouldn't think to accept that I hate living in a house where the floor is covered in crumbs. Now we're both a bit better (not perfect!) at seeing my prerefences and his as equal.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 14:44:28

i think the problem is that you have decided to change your tune about house work. If you were both comfortable messy it's not really fair for you to now decide this is our new level and this is where you (your husband) needs to be with the tidyness. My dh was borderline ocd very clean when I met him. I did my best when we moved in together but he had to realize we aren't on the same level. So suck it up. We've moved in to a middle ground now. Also just because someone is working from home doesn't mean they should be doing housework etc while they are at home. Remember they are still working and contributing the same as you. Housework needs to be shared reasonably when he is not working but yes, you may do the lion's share because you are on maternity leave.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 14:45:53

*oh and sorry but the jam thing isn't relevant unless yoru dh is expecting you to be in charge of finding all gifts for relatives (yours and his). If he is make him realise that's not your job.

Chottie Mon 19-Nov-12 14:48:01

My DH does more housework than me. He says he relaxes by cleaning and he likes things to look neat and tidy and clean.

xlatia Mon 19-Nov-12 14:55:08

My DP does a bit, but less than I do. That's partly down to the fact that I notice more (he just doesn't seem to mind certain things) and also he forgets to do things I asked him to do and then end up doing myself. I'm sure he doesn't do it on purpose, he's just a big scatterbrain (and so am I).
On the other hand, he takes care of stuff I LOATHE, like dealing with all the paper work and DYI stuff, so I reckon it evens out somehow.
Whenever I get totally fed up, I just talk to him (reasonably, if I still manage by that point) and ask him to do more and if he actually manages I heap praise on him. Much the same as with my toddler grin but it seems to work.

KirstyJC Mon 19-Nov-12 15:00:17

DH does different things to me in the house, but still contributes a reasonable amount - half the chores or close enough. When he first moved in with me, he was a student so had loads of time to do household chores. (In between Playstation of course). He did some cooking, some washing, some hoovering and has always cleaned the toilet and put the bins out (2 jobs I hate).

Then we both worked FT so shared things mostly evenly. I tended to do more washing becasue a) I got home before him so put a load on then and b) he actually reads the labels on clothes and puts them on the correct (long) wash, whereas I chuck everything on a quick wash at 30!

Then came Maternity Leave, with me being at home until I started a FT university course when DS1 was 11 months. On Maternity Leave, the house was a tip - he once made a comment about how come it was so messy when I was home all day.........he never did it again. I think it was new father stress as he is more houseproud that me. Last time I was on Maternity Leave with DS3 he even commented on how I shouldn't do so much around the house, saying I was supposed to be looking after baby not doing housework!

He regularly asks if I want him to do more as he feels he's not sharing things equally and he wants to. I only work PT now so don't mind doing the bedding wash/hoovering during the day, but he often still cooks and does things at the weekend.

But he was like that at the start, I didn't make him that way.

dashoflime Mon 19-Nov-12 19:45:06

LDR: Yes the Jam is cheapy presents! I'm actually pretty proud of it: Chillie Jam Yum yum. Really enjoyed making it too: BUT did not enjoy cleaning dirty kitchen before I could do so!

HalloweenNameChange Yes, this is what's happened. However, I think its reasonable to keep house to a better standard now there are DC to think of. Apart from anything else looking after baby is much easier if everything is where it should be, there are clean clothes available etc...
Agree, when he is doing his paid work he should be able to concentrate on just that. Its the other days I'm talking about.

I am fairly hopeful of sorting this out. The bare structure is in place for equality, if this makes sense, as (when I go back to work) we will both work part time. So going into the future, childcare can be split evenly.

This is my ideal arrangement but obviously it will only work if we're both on the same page with what needs to be done. I don't want to find myself trying to fit a weeks housework into my allocated days at home. I think I need to deal with the difference in attitude/commitment now before it becomes entrenched.

Absolutely agree with LDR about judgement. I think this may explain why I have upped my game now and DH not. I'm aware of an expectation on me which he just isn't subject to.

Hopefully respectful dialogue will resolve it. thanks for all your suggestions.

alexpolismum Mon 19-Nov-12 21:06:36

My MIL is obsessed with tidiness, not a pin is out of place in her house. If you get up from sitting on the settee she will immediately plump the cushion and smooth over the seat. And this is how the house was as DH was growing up.

He thinks things ought to be tidy. I, on the other hand, am very messy. I don't notice clutter and until I saw MIL doing it it would never have occurred to me that anyone might want to constantly smoothe sofa cushions!

So we have reached a compromise. I have agreed not to have too much clutter around the place and he has started to put his feet up on the settee and relax, without it looking perfect.

Now we have 3 children and the clutter is out of control. DH hoovers now and then (I never hoover, I just never think of it) and cleans the bathroom. I clean the kitchen. We both cook. He makes bread, homemade pizza (including the dough), bean dishes, spaghetti bolognese, egg fried rice and whenever he wants anything particularly Greek on the menu. I make everything else and bake cakes. He also likes making salads, much better than me, as my idea of making a salad used to be chopping a few tomatoes, a bit of cucumber and throwing some lettuce in.

I think we have got a good balance.I don't think either of us does much more than the other. Some days I might do more, on other days he does. It all works out. I do read more with the children than he does, but this is quite deliberate, as I am trying to boost their English language skills as much as possible, and dh speaks to them in his own language, Greek.

HalloweenNameChange Mon 19-Nov-12 21:20:32

Is it worth making a rota OP? So your dh knows what needs to be done and when? This way if it is written out you can discuss frequency and make sure you are both on same page/

BertieBotts Mon 19-Nov-12 22:38:14

I think it's hard when so many people still come from a standpoint of believing that housework comes more naturally to women than it does men, or feeling that the housework is the woman's responsibility regardless of working status and refer to their husbands as "helping" with childcare, house responsibilities etc. It's not just a slip of the tongue, it's a semantics issue which outlines how many people still see it, I think.

Even if you have a situation (as some have described on this thread) where one partner works out of the home and the other stays home and to balance things out takes on more of the housework, I still think this is the case - there are responsibilities of all adults in the household, and cleaning, cooking, meal planning, childcare, bringing in a wage are all things that need to happen. If people are dividing these up in a way which results in equal labour and/or equal leisure time then this obviously works well for them. It's when the tasks/responsibilities get divided up unfairly, based on outdated fashions or just assumptions that it's a problem. If everyone's aware that the responsibilities are equal it's fine for adults to agree "Well - you take on my share of the wage earning for now, and I'll take on your share of the housework and cover the childcare while you're out of the house".

The coming more naturally to women one is damaging too I think, and I apologise for quoting a poster on this thread, please do not think I am getting at you personally, it's a general pattern I've seen and of course I don't know the balance or personality types in your relationship at all - but it's this concept of "Well, he tries". Like it's so much harder in the first place? I object to the gender thing in the first place because I am a woman and I am utterly terrible at all things housework related, organisational or which involve thinking/planning ahead. But really, you know, these are life skills which every adult needs to learn and you don't get very far just by trying, unfortunately. I agree that it's better for someone to make an effort rather than do nothing, but I also think that if that person is making an effort but they are still resting heavily on the efforts of other adults in the household, then something is wrong. And I say that, being guilty of it myself blush but since DP has been living away it's opened my eyes to it a lot, especially when he came to visit and specifically didn't do anything and I realised I'd been waiting for him to come and do it all for me, it made me feel like shit, I hadn't realised how much I'd taken him for granted and that was sad - and he wasn't that happy with it either. Anyway he suggested I employ a cleaner grin but it's made me feel more motivated to get myself sorted and better at the everyday stuff before we move in together again.

Sorry for the essay blush

ByTheSea Mon 19-Nov-12 22:41:58

DH does at least as much around the house as I do, probably more. We have a cleaner as we both work FT. I do most, but not all, cooking and most, but not all, shopping. He does all laundry, ironing, gardening, bins. Depending on who has been working more in our past, childcare has always been pretty equally shared. Unfortunately, I do all the driving as he hates it.

rogersmellyonthetelly Tue 20-Nov-12 08:59:35

I started as I meant to continue, when we moved in together we both worked similar hours and we therefore shared the housework equally. I didn't have to argue or fight for it thankfully, but I wouldn't have stayed with a man who didn't pull his weight in all areas, that's earning, cleaning, supporting, looking after our kids etc. He does come out with some stupid sexist comments sometimes, but on the whole, his actions speak louder than words! Most of his comments are down to his upbringing and the fact that he hasn't really thought about it too deeply, and once he does he sees the light.
These days I do do more of the housework, I don't work outside the home, and I'm pregnant at the moment, so I won't be for a while, he has a job, and I'm quite happy to do it as my contribution to the household, but if I do have a busy day and I haven't done the tidying by the time he gets home, he comes home and mucks in quite happily. He still does all the washing, I do the cleaning, day to day tidying, ironing etc, but if he makes a mess doing something, he bloody well clears it up! And I don't pick up after him!

dashoflime Wed 21-Nov-12 11:44:53

Right, I have spoken to DP about this and have written up a list of things that need doing by SOMEONE everyday.

It is saved on the PC desktop where he will see it and I will be asking him for suggestions things to add/take away etc..

Here it is:

Lime Family Housekeeping

Daily Tasks

1.Wash Dishes
2.Put on one wash load (and fold and put away previous laundry if needed)
3.Straighten Living Room
4.Hoover Living Room
5.Walk Dog
6.Cook Dinner
7.15 minutes tidy or clean one other area (use fly lady for inspiration)

Weekly Tasks

1.Food Shopping

Of the things here: DH reliably does hoovering, dog walking and food shopping. The rest is usually me and that's on top of breastfeeding. Its no bloody wonder I don't have time to myself!! angry

This must change! The idea of him working part time was meant to be to allow me to pursue my own work and interests and share childcare half and half. Not for him to be a cocklodger.

There will be words.

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