Godly Women · Traditionalist Bird

Devaluing Woman’s Work

Lori shares this fake story today with what she calls true facts as to how women are. This is a part of it:

“Sue and Jim have been married for fifteen years. They have four children ages six, eight, ten, and twelve. Sue is a stay-at-home wife. She is a rebellious wife. She doesn’t keep the home clean. She doesn’t fix Jim meals after he gets home from working ten hard hours at work trying to provide a living for his family. She doesn’t do his laundry. She hasn’t given him sex for six years, since the last child was conceived. She uses foul language often and is a very bitter woman towards Jim.”

I am not going to really talk about her post, but in reading it the line I bolded made me think of something. Wow, the poor guy. Having to work 10 hard hours! In the life of a sahm we have to work 24/7 basically. We are always “on” so to speak.  This made me realize that godly women, traditionalists, etc, really devalue woman’s work at home when men are always puffed up to be catered to left and right for their 10 or so hours they put into provide (10 hours that is with break and lunch times and not to mention the commute where you can unwind). While on the other hand if  a woman wants the slightest of break or time for herself or simply the luxury of having a hot meal or a peaceful poop for her 15-24 hours, it is deemed selfish.  He may be working hard to provide but she is also working hard to raise his children? Doesn’t that count for anything?  It implies his 10 hard hours are valuable and hers are not. As if her hours aren’t hard, which further fosters the stereotype that staying at home consists of laying around on the couch all day watching TV.

Men are suppose to be the stronger sex, but I am not so sure if 10 hours really just wipes them out.

If women are really doing something wonderful in staying home, raising children, homeschool, etc. that amount of work needs to be recognized just as women recognize men’s work.

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43 thoughts on “Devaluing Woman’s Work

  1. TCW said:

    “2) When your husband grumbles about something, ask him whose responsibility he thinks it is that they should have taken care of whatever he’s unhappy with. Does he just think the toilets are your job and that when he does it he’s “helping” you? Or is there a clear cut idea of who is responsible for what, along with a rule that everyone cleans up after themselves when they’ve used a space. When he grumbles about his own mess in his man-cave, ask him who he thinks should have picked up his trash.”

    Yeah.

    “4) When TPC talked about your husband granting you some personal time, I don’t think she meant it in a red-pill way, but rather that since you are married, you should both be working together to find ways to make sure that you are both taken care of in terms of personal time and not being overburdened by constantly working. This is part of mutually loving each other and has nothing to with feminism, red-pill garbage or leading/submitting.”

    Right. Neither spouse should be on-call 24/7 (at least not long-term).

    “5) Yes, the reason we made so many suggestions for getting the house in better shape is because once you are out of crisis mode and into routines that put you in maintenance mode, you will find that your husband is grumbling less which will lead to more peace for you and some open spots on the calendar to fit in a once or twice monthly family fun day, perhaps a day a month for keeping in touch with friends and family and maybe a bi-weekly time out for you. Granted it’s not all on you to do everything around the house, but it may be you that has to get the ball rolling on calling family meetings about personal responsibility, determining clear cut responsibilities for each individual and figuring out together what the priorities are for the household. This might also be a good time to talk about the family budget to see if a twice a month housekeeper is feasible.”

    Right.

    If you schedule work, you are also scheduling when work is not going to happen.

    I would also suggest blocking in some time for long-range planning/family clerical work.

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  2. LovingThisBlog

    I was out all day and it’s time for bed for me right now but here’s just a few things that popped out at me.

    1) With three adults in the house, even though two of you are working, it seems that there should be a lot more of the basics getting done than there already are. Swishing a toilet brush around the toilet every 1-3 days takes like 30 seconds. Add in another 30 seconds if you want to wipe down the seat, rim and that little space behind the seat. How long is your husband letting it go until it’s so bad that it exasperates him to have to clean it? You mentioned that he cleans the grease off the stove top when it gets really bad. Why is it not getting a 1-2 minute wipe down every time it’s used so that it doesn’t get to the point that it becomes a project? Dishes and pots should be washed at the end of every meal. (And doing a little washing as you go while cooking goes a long way towards lessening the burden.) Unless your husband is cooking something right at the end of a meal, the pots should be ready to go when he needs to cook something. Are they sitting around for hours after a meal?

    2) When your husband grumbles about something, ask him whose responsibility he thinks it is that they should have taken care of whatever he’s unhappy with. Does he just think the toilets are your job and that when he does it he’s “helping” you? Or is there a clear cut idea of who is responsible for what, along with a rule that everyone cleans up after themselves when they’ve used a space. When he grumbles about his own mess in his man-cave, ask him who he thinks should have picked up his trash.

    3) I agree with Amy. Your family needs routines and goals scheduled.

    4) When TPC talked about your husband granting you some personal time, I don’t think she meant it in a red-pill way, but rather that since you are married, you should both be working together to find ways to make sure that you are both taken care of in terms of personal time and not being overburdened by constantly working. This is part of mutually loving each other and has nothing to with feminism, red-pill garbage or leading/submitting.

    5) Yes, the reason we made so many suggestions for getting the house in better shape is because once you are out of crisis mode and into routines that put you in maintenance mode, you will find that your husband is grumbling less which will lead to more peace for you and some open spots on the calendar to fit in a once or twice monthly family fun day, perhaps a day a month for keeping in touch with friends and family and maybe a bi-weekly time out for you. Granted it’s not all on you to do everything around the house, but it may be you that has to get the ball rolling on calling family meetings about personal responsibility, determining clear cut responsibilities for each individual and figuring out together what the priorities are for the household. This might also be a good time to talk about the family budget to see if a twice a month housekeeper is feasible.

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  3. LTB said:

    “I also realized I never did give some clarifying examples of the kind of things he would do in a huff when he gets frustrated about a mess (used to anyway – to be fair, it’s been a while, so I’m hoping maybe this has stopped):
    – Clean the toilet that he uses the most and that no one else uses much at all
    – Pick up trash and clutter in his man-cave, that he himself put there
    – Wash some dish that he’s about to cook with and grumble that my mom didn’t get to it sooner (even though she is pretty good about keeping the dishes washed)”

    There’s an insight in marriage counseling and child-rearing that people need to aim for a 5:1 ratio of praise to criticism in their relationships. Is the primary problem that your husband grumbles, or that he doesn’t do a lot of praise?

    This isn’t just a New Age turtleneck-wearing sage-burning marriage counselor insight, the ratio (or something very similar), has been discovered to apply to workplace teams, too.

    https://hbr.org/2013/03/the-ideal-praise-to-criticism

    “Which is more effective in improving team performance: using positive feedback to let people know when they’re doing well, or offering constructive comments to help them when they’re off track? New research suggests that this is a trick question. The answer, as one might intuitively expect, is that both are important. But the real question is—in what proportion?”

    “The average ratio for the highest-performing teams was 5.6 (that is, nearly six positive comments for every negative one). The medium-performance teams averaged 1.9 (almost twice as many positive comments than negative ones.) But the average for the low-performing teams, at 0.36 to 1, was almost three negative comments for every positive one.”

    That applies to you, too, of course. And it applies to both you and your husband with regard to the kids and your mom. The more negative your home is, the less productive you will be as a family.

    One of the things that my husband and I changed about three years ago is that I told him that I need a lot more praise and encouragement from him. So at some point, I talked to him about the 5:1 ratio studies.

    I know that in the submissionsphere, women may actually be very sensitive about keeping positive toward their husbands, BUT the truth is that it is a two-way street. Wives need to hear much more praise and encouragement than criticism, just like husbands need to hear much more praise and encouragement than criticism. This is a basic human need.

    “So maybe now you guys can see why I keep saying that I want him to take responsibility for these priorities of his, and calmly take care of them himself, rather than wishing someone else had already done it for him. I guess you guys might previously have visualized him cleaning the living room or the kitchen, but that’s not what I meant.”

    If it were my husband, I’d point out to him that he’d just made a negative remark, and now he owes me 5 positive ones just to break even.

    Or alternately, I might offer a sympathetic remark along the lines of, “Adulting is hard!”

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  4. TPC, when you said:
    “clarity on what he thinks the house should look like during the week and on weekends, and on granting you some personal time each week”
    I realized we are not on the same page at all, about the background of our relationship. While not a feminist, I am by no means a red-pill woman either. My husband makes no attempt to be the primary leader of our household, and refused even when I asked him to. So I don’t need him to grant me anything.
    This is what I mean when I say he just “wishes” that I would do more – he doesn’t come right out and ask me to, much less order me around. I mean, he does ask me to do things like “Can you bring me a glass of water?” but I mean that he doesn’t try to dictate how I allocate my time.

    “You sound like you are in semi-emergency mode for a lot of stuff and only by asking for very clear objectives from him are you going to have a good shot at getting out of that rut.”
    Well, it’s true that I feel like I’m in semi-emergency mode a lot, but I’m not sure how it would help to get clear objectives from him, since he only focuses on what’s not getting done (when he’s in one of these moods, anyway), without looking at the things I am spending my time on already, so he would just try to add more to the list, without understanding that there’s nothing I can take off of my current list to make room for the new stuff.

    I also realized I never did give some clarifying examples of the kind of things he would do in a huff when he gets frustrated about a mess (used to anyway – to be fair, it’s been a while, so I’m hoping maybe this has stopped):
    – Clean the toilet that he uses the most and that no one else uses much at all
    – Pick up trash and clutter in his man-cave, that he himself put there
    – Wash some dish that he’s about to cook with and grumble that my mom didn’t get to it sooner (even though she is pretty good about keeping the dishes washed)

    So maybe now you guys can see why I keep saying that I want him to take responsibility for these priorities of his, and calmly take care of them himself, rather than wishing someone else had already done it for him. I guess you guys might previously have visualized him cleaning the living room or the kitchen, but that’s not what I meant.

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  5. “My concern is to have peace, that’s my goal. The house being messy is not primarily what’s taking away my peace. My husband’s attitude is what takes away my peace, when it seems like he’s upset with me and I’m not sure whether it’s justified.”

    I think it’s time to print up a list of options, call a spousal summit for when the kids aren’t underfoot, show him the list, and ask him to help you create a modest home decluttering/reorganization plan. By “modest” I mean that it shouldn’t require more than 15-20 minutes extra on top of your current routine on work nights, and it shouldn’t involve more than an hour of new work on Saturdays (an hour of reorganization work is A LOT). Also, ideally, if you do 15 minutes of reorganization work, he should do 15 minutes of reorganization work. Book time slots to work with him, and if he is willing to work, you’re willing to work, too (assuming no scheduling conflicts). If he can’t find the time, make another appointment with him. Short but often is better than long and rarely (aside from big, messy jobs that have to be done all at once).

    Keep the improvement plan modest, and there’s a greater chance of sticking with it. Also, no bad attitudes allowed (this is not supposed to be the Bataan Death March), and revise the decluttering/reorganization plan periodically as your work progresses. If everybody keeps a good attitude, this can actually be a nice spousal time. In fact, it can even be a nice activity with kids–if it doesn’t go on to the point of dehydration and low blood sugar.

    Remember these questions for when your husband is being negative about the house:

    “What do you think we should do?”
    “How are we going to do that?”
    “When should we try to get some work done? I’m free right now”

    If he’s genuinely too busy right now but he’s going to be freer in the summer, keep things from getting worse, but make a plan to get back to it when he’s freer. And then do it and keep doing it.

    As FlyLady says, ” “You are not behind! I don’t want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are. O.K.?”

    Also, you should book cleaners (maybe for 2-3 weeks from now?) and start prepping for that. Once you have cleaners coming regularly, things are going to be much more under control, but I realize it may take time to get ready for that. Bear in mind that the holiday season is coming soon, so it may be difficult to get anybody good if you wait too long to book.

    I suspect your husband would really appreciate a clean house for the holidays. It will also photograph nicer.

    “However, worrying more about those things is not going to add to my peace, it just adds to my long to-do list of things I feel nervous and inadequate about because I’m not doing well enough in those areas.”

    Nobody is asking you to worry more. In fact, I’ve gotten a lot from compartmentalizing.

    –I don’t need to worry about the house being grimy today, because the cleaners are coming in three days.
    –I don’t need to worry about household stuff today, because Saturday AM is our big household maintenance day. Husband and I will talk Friday night and do household projects Saturday AM and the rest of the week, I won’t think about it. I might write down an idea in my calendar for Saturday, but then I shove the issue right out of my head.

    “– Spend quality time with the kids and/or my husband, doing fun things together (we don’t get nearly enough of this as it is)”

    Schedule it.

    “– Connect with friends and family that *don’t* live with me (hardly ever do this at all)”

    That’s a very good idea.

    I would suggest the following:

    –When both you and your husband are available to work, work with him
    –When he isn’t available, connect with friends and family.

    “– Do I even get to entertain the possibility of “me time”? I mean, I don’t watch TV or movies unless I’m watching them with the family as part of our “doing fun things together”, and I scarcely spend any of my time on anything unproductive, just to relax or have fun by myself.”

    “Me time” is important, but again, since it’s important, schedule it.

    “So I dislike that my husband, who doesn’t have to manage his time nearly as carefully as I do, seems to wish I could squeeze even more productivity into my schedule, or change the order of my priorities to please him – change them to what, though? I don’t know which of the things I’m doing now, that he would want me to drop in order to raise the priority on housecleaning (or training the kids – and him? – to do it).”

    Ask him, and ask him to join you when you do work. Also, you might benefit from doing something like having pizza or carry out on big family project days, so that you won’t have to both work hard on the house and then have normal chores.

    “To be clear, it’s not like cleaning has zero priority for me and I never do it – whenever I see something that bothers me, I either take care of it right then, or I get to it when I can – that is, when the priority level becomes even higher than all the other things I need to do even more urgently. All I ask is that my husband do the same – take care of things when he first sees them as something he would like to get done, or as soon as possible after that, instead of (apparently – from my perspective this is what it looks like to me) waiting to see if I will take care of it for him, and if I don’t get to it (without him saying anything to me, mind you), then finally, huffily doing it himself when he can’t stand it anymore.”

    You guys desperately need more of a schedule. “When I see it” isn’t a cleaning schedule, just like “don’t spend money” isn’t a budget or a personal finance plan.

    “So, how can I *add* to my peace concerning my husband’s attitude? Should I:
    A. Accept that he’s right to be upset about the house and re-prioritize my activities to try to please him?
    or
    B. Set my priorities in the order of importance that I myself perceive, and consider him responsible for his own priorities?”

    I feel like those two aren’t the only choices.

    “The comments you guys have been making about the importance of a cleanish, comfortable house are an example of something that makes me question myself in this way, because I presented my problem as a concern with my husband’s attitude (how he always seems to want more, no matter how much I already give), and after it was revealed that one of his complaints was with “the state of the house”, suddenly *that* became the problem to resolve – lending validity to his desire for me to make sure that that’s one of the things I take care of. Was that what you guys meant for me to take away from this?”

    More or less.

    It seems like your approach (which is natural in crisis) is to run around putting out fires, and I’d suggest trying to move to be less crisis-driven, because having more of a routine will reduce your stress level.

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  6. LTB, if your concern is maintaining harmony and accord, then you have to ask if your husband is doing “barely adequate” towards that, or if he’s doing “good enough” effort towards that.

    From what you’ve posted, your feelings and your work efforts around the house are in accord (you feel that you’re doing a lot and you are in fact doing a lot). So we can look at your part as you are already doing good enough effort.

    You will probably have to have an expectation setting talk with your husband. If the recurring issue is that he keeps waiting until he’s cross to clear up something around the house, that’s something that he can adjust his own state of mind about.

    Reading your latest comment, the expectation setting should be clarity on what he thinks the house should look like during the week and on weekends, and on granting you some personal time each week. The exact amount obviously would have to be hashed out between the two of you, as would whether it comes in a lump or is several times a week or daily.

    You sound like you are in semi-emergency mode for a lot of stuff and only by asking for very clear objectives from him are you going to have a good shot at getting out of that rut.

    At the end of the day, you both need real downtime that is your own to get all the rest under control and work towards peace and harmony and only one of you is getting it right now at best, and expectation setting is really a major part of that, if you can work that out.

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  7. I think I should clarify some things… My concern is to have peace, that’s my goal. The house being messy is not primarily what’s taking away my peace. My husband’s attitude is what takes away my peace, when it seems like he’s upset with me and I’m not sure whether it’s justified. (I can’t feel at peace with him upset until I’ve decided whether I need to change something in the future in response.)

    With that said, I am taking your points under consideration, in which you seem to be encouraging me to make cleanliness a higher priority, especially training the kids to be clean, and in truth, those were already things I was aiming to improve upon. However, worrying more about those things is not going to add to my peace, it just adds to my long to-do list of things I feel nervous and inadequate about because I’m not doing well enough in those areas. Some other things competing for this level of attention (what to do next after I’ve done the obviously indispensable activities such as the ones listed under TCW’s categories) are:
    – Spend quality time with the kids and/or my husband, doing fun things together (we don’t get nearly enough of this as it is)
    – Connect with friends and family that *don’t* live with me (hardly ever do this at all)
    – Do I even get to entertain the possibility of “me time”? I mean, I don’t watch TV or movies unless I’m watching them with the family as part of our “doing fun things together”, and I scarcely spend any of my time on anything unproductive, just to relax or have fun by myself.

    So I dislike that my husband, who doesn’t have to manage his time nearly as carefully as I do, seems to wish I could squeeze even more productivity into my schedule, or change the order of my priorities to please him – change them to what, though? I don’t know which of the things I’m doing now, that he would want me to drop in order to raise the priority on housecleaning (or training the kids – and him? – to do it).

    To be clear, it’s not like cleaning has zero priority for me and I never do it – whenever I see something that bothers me, I either take care of it right then, or I get to it when I can – that is, when the priority level becomes even higher than all the other things I need to do even more urgently. All I ask is that my husband do the same – take care of things when he first sees them as something he would like to get done, or as soon as possible after that, instead of (apparently – from my perspective this is what it looks like to me) waiting to see if I will take care of it for him, and if I don’t get to it (without him saying anything to me, mind you), then finally, huffily doing it himself when he can’t stand it anymore.

    So, how can I *add* to my peace concerning my husband’s attitude? Should I:
    A. Accept that he’s right to be upset about the house and re-prioritize my activities to try to please him?
    or
    B. Set my priorities in the order of importance that I myself perceive, and consider him responsible for his own priorities?

    I generally choose option “B”, but sometimes something will disturb my peace by making me question the validity of my choice. The comments you guys have been making about the importance of a cleanish, comfortable house are an example of something that makes me question myself in this way, because I presented my problem as a concern with my husband’s attitude (how he always seems to want more, no matter how much I already give), and after it was revealed that one of his complaints was with “the state of the house”, suddenly *that* became the problem to resolve – lending validity to his desire for me to make sure that that’s one of the things I take care of. Was that what you guys meant for me to take away from this?

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  8. Just for completeness, I should mention that there is a substantial financial incentive for our big kids to work for us. I know a lot of people disapprove of paying kids for chores, but this has worked for us. In our case, our oldest is saving for a $$$ senior trip to Europe and we’ve got her on a savings program where she has to save just under $80 a month every month. She has been saving for about 2 years now and she has 2.5 years to go. She has some minor income sources outside the family, but we are her primary employer.

    We divide chores into freebies and paid jobs. The paid jobs are usually optional. The freebies are usually obligatory.

    Freebies:

    –pick up after self
    –clear bedroom floor
    –put away clothes
    –cooking (they like it)
    –unload dishwasher
    –help with Baby Girl while parents at home
    –help Daddy with project

    Paid jobs:

    –solo babysitting while mom and dad are out ($8 an hour)
    –clean room to mom standards ($1)
    –clean living room ($1)
    –clean Baby Girl’s playroom ($1-2 if really bad)
    –yard help (varies)
    –vacuum and clean out minivan ($2-3)
    –teach music to younger sibling ($2 for 15 minute lesson, $1 for 5 minute lesson for Baby Girl)

    As you can see, the kids have the potential to really clean us out. (I would encourage anybody who can get away with it to set the rates lower/try to get away with more freebies.) However, a) we are not paying for senior trips and b) we don’t buy the kids a lot of stuff. They usually have to buy their own stuff (aside from necessities or educational items or Christmas or birthday). We find that the big kids’ consumer appetites have been largely tamed by the fact that think in terms of how much labor will buy a particular item.

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  9. Two Cent Woman said:

    ““About housekeeping. It’s a necessary part of life for everyone to have to clean their home unless you want to live in squalor. If you can afford to pay someone to do it, that’s great. If not, it must be done.”

    And, unless you’re really, really rich and have live-in help, you’re still going to wind up doing a lot of spot cleaning in between cleaner visits. Plus, they’re not going to do everything, even when they’re there. They’ve got 60-90 minutes to clean the house from top to bottom–which is not going to include windows, the crud at the bottom of toy boxes, dusty curtains or soiled seat covers. Also, as LovingThisBlog noted, they can’t do decluttering for you–you have to make those choices. Professional cleaning is very helpful (and I’d give up a lot of other things first), but it’s just a start.

    “It’s actually the mentally ill or those with very low IQ who, oftentimes, fail to see the necessity of it or don’t have the capacity to create that order in a sustainable way.”

    Yeah, my mom is a semi-hoarder, so I have seen more of this than I want to. At some point, you reach the tipping point where it’s so terrible that people just give up hope, and things just spiral out of control.

    Also, giving kids the ability to create order is an important gift. Middle Kid barely needed any help there (he was a normal child into the 3s, and then somewhere around 4/5 he started transforming into a kid whose room is always neat). But I don’t know if that would have happened without some prodding. Big Girl (age 15) took much longer to get with the program. But at some point (12? 13?) her stuff stopped exploding across the room when she got home (seriously, her shoes would be 10 feet apart). She says that she’s even had kids at school tell her she seems so organized. Big Girl has made tremendous progress in learning to keep her space under control. Her management of Baby Girl’s playroom is (just by itself) a major accomplishment.

    Another note: I do not insist that the big kids have their rooms clean every night, but I do insist that the floors be clear of random debris. (I haven’t really started working on Baby Girl.)

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  10. LovingThisBlog

    “Wow… Thanks for all the housecleaning tips and other advice… I can’t resist asking though, because I’m very sensitive to the double-standard… Would you have responded in the same way if I had presented as a work-at-home-dad, lamenting that my wife wishes I would do even more housework when things are already imbalanced in her favor?”

    Amy’s right. I’m also of the everybody pitch in camp….according to their time limitations relative to how many out of the house work hours or activities each individual is engaged in. It’s a division of labor but each family has to decide what that division looks like according to their family dynamics and needs.

    I had a post on my blog about division of labor a couple months back. I shared a comment I made on another site when a women said she didn’t want to get married because it made you a glorified sex-slave, house-cleaner. I just share here what I said about house cleaning although I talked about the sex part in my post too.

    “About housekeeping. It’s a necessary part of life for everyone to have to clean their home unless you want to live in squalor. If you can afford to pay someone to do it, that’s great. If not, it must be done. It’s actually a mark of intelligence, IMO, when a person can see the good in it and creates that order in their environment for the purpose of sustaining hygiene, providing nourishment, and organizing space that makes room for creativity, study, intellectual pursuits and leisure. It’s actually the mentally ill or those with very low IQ who, oftentimes, fail to see the necessity of it or don’t have the capacity to create that order in a sustainable way. Are you saying that housework isn’t something worthy of an individual’s time or intelligence? Are you saying that’s it’s work that’s beneath anyone over a certain level of IQ and only the unintelligent should be relegated to it? I hope not.

    Yes, it has always fallen to the woman to do the greater share but that was because she was there most of the time and had more time to devote to it. It was a division of labor. In a good marriage, each spouse should appreciate the contribution of the other and recognize it’s value. Was the huband’s contribution more valuable than the wife’s? If having a clean and orderly living environment is important and must be done, it has it’s own value and not a small one either. There are two questions here. Should it be ONLY the wife’s responsibility? and Should it be the wife’s ONLY contribution? No. Not if it’s looked at as a necessary and valuable labor that MUST be done. It’s up to each individual couple to decide how to divide it. If they both work outside the home, then they divide up chores according to who is better at certain ones or has a stronger opinion on how certain ones must be done. If there are any left over after that, perhaps they rotate those. Or they can hire out for any neither wants or has the time to do if they can afford it. If someone works part-time outside the house, then they will do a larger share than the other because they have the time, not because they are a man or woman. If one works and one stays home, then obviously the stay-at-home, will do the most, while the one who works full-time, will pitch in a little in the evenings and weekends as needed.”

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  11. LovingThisBlog said:

    “Wow… Thanks for all the housecleaning tips and other advice… I can’t resist asking though, because I’m very sensitive to the double-standard… Would you have responded in the same way if I had presented as a work-at-home-dad, lamenting that my wife wishes I would do even more housework when things are already imbalanced in her favor?”

    I have no idea.

    I think both Two Cent Woman and I probably both have a strong everybody-pitch-in bias, especially with your kids being the age they are.

    I don’t know if you’ve seen me mention this, but I highly recommend the book “How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids.” The author is a WAHM, and I suspect you’ll find a number of points of contact with her.

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  12. Wow… Thanks for all the housecleaning tips and other advice… I can’t resist asking though, because I’m very sensitive to the double-standard… Would you have responded in the same way if I had presented as a work-at-home-dad, lamenting that my wife wishes I would do even more housework when things are already imbalanced in her favor?

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  13. TCW said:

    “The kids beds I’m not a stickler on. On non-school days, I’ll have them make them as a condition for privileges but on school days, I’ll just shut the door. Then when I catch one of them using my nice, made-up bed to read or watch tv, I kick them out and tell them to make their own bed if they want a comfy place to hang out. And that’s exactly what they say when I tell them to get out. “But moooommm….your bed is sooo comfy.””

    That’s hilarious!

    I do more or less the same–make my bed every morning, but don’t police the kids on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I think AmyP’s advice was good as well. I hope we don’t scare you off with all of it.

    Anyway, one more thing.

    Make your bed every day because you deserve to have a nice place to land at the end of the day. It only takes a few minutes, makes a huge difference in how the room looks and feels and I bet you end up shuffling sheets and blankets at night anyway to get comfortable. It will be nice to slip into a nicely made bed at the end of the day.

    The kids beds I’m not a stickler on. On non-school days, I’ll have them make them as a condition for privileges but on school days, I’ll just shut the door. Then when I catch one of them using my nice, made-up bed to read or watch tv, I kick them out and tell them to make their own bed if they want a comfy place to hang out. And that’s exactly what they say when I tell them to get out. “But moooommm….your bed is sooo comfy.”

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  15. I agree with everything TCW said.

    LovingThisBlog really is on the cusp of being able to make the trains run on time, if each person in the household does 10% more than they are currently doing.

    It should not take hours to prep a room for vacuuming. I totally understand what that looks like (when my oldest were small prepping for cleaners or company was a huge ordeal), but it does indicate that the home has gone beyond “comfortable” to the stage described in housekeeping books as CHAOS (“Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome”).

    There is some truth to the idea that one can’t let the house hold family fun hostage, because if we wait to have fun until it’s perfect, we’re never going to have any fun. However, at the same time, a bad house can kill fun, too. For example:

    –for a lot of kids, a messy playroom or bedroom isn’t fun to play in
    –having a terrible house will make one avoid having company over, which can really hurt one’s social life.

    I would say that my house is not always company ready, but it’s often 5+ minutes away from being ready to do casual mom entertaining. That’s a reasonable goal.

    I would also say that kids get bored sometimes because they forget what they have. Whereas when I do a big reorganization on a kid’s room (this is a big deal–typically it requires 3 or 4 1-hour sessions to do the entire thing), kids rediscover many forgotten treasure and find things that they want to play with.

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  16. LovingThisBlog-

    The perception I’m getting from what you wrote is that everyone (perhaps not yourself) in your household needs to do a better job of just picking up after themselves as they move from one activity to another. It sounds like everyone just leaves behind their mess and it’s too much for one individual who is working close to full-time to keep up with it all.

    Maybe you could start by picking one small area to work on with everyone at a time and I would even tell them you see this as a big problem that needs to change. Be positive about it by promoting that you all will feel better if you have some breathing room from all the stuff laying about and that each person should be mindful of how their mess left behind will affect the next person who wants to use that space.

    No one should be excused from dinner unless they have each taken their plates, cups and utensils to the sink or counter, and scraping them first either into the trash or the disposal. The 4 yr-old should be able to master this. Then require each person to help put away leftovers, condiments, drink containers etc. This simple process should take no longer than 5 minutes and shouldn’t be too much to ask.

    If you see a child pull out some toys and then move onto another activity, make them put it away first before doing something else. All the adults in the house should be on board with noticing this and keeping on top of the kids about it.

    I know this kind of training SEEMS like too much and it’s just easier to do it yourself, but it’s not. If it truly was easier, there wouldn’t be so much anxiety over the overwhelmingness of it. If you take the time to train them now in cleaning up after themselves and making some rules about pitching in at dinner, picking up laundry and their rooms, and their toys, in time you will find that you have more time to get to the organizing that only you can do.

    You mentioned about prioritizing and although it seems intuitive to put certain things above organizing and training kids, in the long run it creates more problems. Order first means that you will have more peace when you do your research, at dinner time or when the family is just hanging out. Training kids and frankly, everyone in the household, to just pick up after themselves and holding each other accountable, means less tension in all the relationships. If the house is well organized, temporary messes will not seem as overwhelming. You don’t feel a panic attack when the kids pull out the craft bin.

    I would prioritize training and that will mean the adults in the house being in the habit of keeping the kids on top of picking up after themselves. Eventually, it will be a habit and it won’t take so much of your time in supervision. This will help keep the everyday mess from evolving into chaos.

    Then, you can work on deeper organizing and decluttering, even if you only do it 15 min a day.

    Honestly, if it’s all on you, you’ll never get there. It’s too much for one person to do it all if they’re working close to full time BUT it’s not too much for everyone to have to clean up their own messes. We are talking spending 5 min or less picking up after themselves after each activity before moving on.

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  17. Another idea for LovingThisBlog is to be strict about household zoning. Like, kids don’t get to drag piles of bedroom toy stuff into the living room. The living room contains living room stuff. We (mostly) abide by this rule, and it makes the living room easier to deal with.

    We have a formal dining room that we have turned into a playroom for Baby Girl (it’s between the living room and the kitchen). The kitchen is fortunately big enough that we just have a big table in there. The playroom has somewhat laxer rules than the living room, but it gets picked up at least several times a week.

    It might be helpful if you chose one or two areas to be kept much tidier than the rest of the house. I would choose the living room, but that might not work for you. It might be psychologically good for your husband, to have one clean space.

    Also, maybe your husbands should officially be Bathroom Guy, as that’s a room that doesn’t need a lot of prepping for cleaning.

    With regard to bathrooms, when the big kids were 10 and 7 and I was pregnant and on physical restrictions, I set up the big kids with this item in their bathroom (they each had a bathroom at the time):

    https://www.amazon.com/Clorox-Toiletwand-Disposable-Cleaning-Starter/dp/B00R7B6MVQ/ref=sr_1_5?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1508516142&sr=1-5&keywords=clorox+toilet+wand+set

    Your littlest is probably too young for this for a year or two, and kids need the DO NOT FLUSH THE REFILLS talk, but it enabled my kids to take some responsibility for their bathrooms when I wasn’t physically up to it and we suddenly had three bathrooms to keep track of.

    Come to think of it, Baby Girl LOVES Swiffer. You could, for example, sweep your kitchen and then set your youngest up with a Swiffer to mop the floor or turn her loose in a dusty tile hallway or entry (if you have something like that).

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  18. LovingThisBlog said:

    “My husband works full-time (summers off) and does occasional side work.”

    Summer or post-Christmas might be a good time to do heavier decluttering work, then.

    “Two girls (8 and 4…well, almost 9 and 5, haha)”

    That’s a very nice age. My middle child really got into taking care of his room from 4 on (but he’s a real neatnik). Our youngest (just turned 5), has suddenly gotten very tidy about putting away her Play Doh.

    My youngest is almost exactly the same age as your youngest (just turned 5), and I find that it’s suddenly much easier to make progress on my and organizational work. I’ve started to be able to do stuff I haven’t done in years (but of course I’m not working and she is in school 3 days a week).

    Saturday morning might be a nice family house work time if you don’t have to work then. Even just 1.5-2 hours work (especially if everybody pitches in) could really move the needle if you do it every Saturday. Just cleaning/housework.

    You also might want to give yourself a break until your youngest is in school full-time, if she isn’t in school full-time yet.

    “He also vacuums more than I do, but that is only possible after I’ve spent hours putting away the things that were on the floor(s), so that almost never happens either.”

    If it’s kid stuff, I think the kids need to be involved in taking care of it. For example, before the kids sit down to watch cartoons, tell them to put away 20 items.

    “My mom does most of the “family” cooking, but the kids won’t eat what she makes, so I generally fix all of their meals for them, except when my husband cooks pancakes on weekends.”

    It’s nice that your mom is cooking, but it sounds like she needs to include at least one kid food per meal.

    “At home during the day, I also fix my own meals. My husband will sometimes fix supper, but interestingly, even if he made the whole meal himself, he will sit there and wait for me to plate it up and serve it to him… :\

    That sounds like our house! But on the bright side, my husband thinks it’s a big deal if I serve the food that he cooked.

    “Home repairs
    Husband does it all.”

    That’s nice.

    “Vehicle maintenance and repairs
    Husband does all the maintenance and most of the repairs. Of course, if he can’t fix something himself, he’ll hire a mechanic.”

    That’s good.

    “Chauffeuring Kids
    I get the kids ready and drop them off at school, I pick them up from the bus stop in the afternoon (can’t use the bus in the morning, it comes too intolerably early), and I take them to their doctor appointments and other activities.”

    So, is the 4-year-old in pre-k 5 days a week? That’s nice. It should help your house stay cleaner going forward, especially once you establish a baseline.

    “My husband enjoys shopping, so he buys his own clothes, and whatever he sees that he likes for me or the kids, but the kids don’t always like his selections, so we have to go together anyway and let them pick out things they will actually wear…”

    That’s reasonable. One thing that comes to mind is that you guys need to work harder on getting stuff out of your house, rather than just bringing stuff in. So, when a bag of stuff enters your home, an equal quantity of stuff needs to leave (hand-me-downs to friends, Goodwill, Craigslist, trash).

    “Research
    I wanted to add this category because I feel like it’s something that someone in each family should do, but again, my husband will barely even review what I’ve found, much less go looking for information himself. But on the other hand, I’m not sure if this should count as a legitimate category, since I so enjoy researching nutrition, best practices/principles of childrearing and discipline, ethics and principles of social/emotional/psychological wellbeing, and anything else of consequence, that I almost think it should be considered “what I do in my free time”.”

    Research is actually a totally respectable mom job, and one I haven’t often seen mentioned. But of course, at some point, one has to decide one is done.

    “Anyway, now that I’ve written all that up, I want to be clear that I’m not miserable from doing all this work – I mean, I don’t dislike the activities themselves, I like to be productive, my employer is generously flexible such that I’m able to take care of myself (get enough sleep most of the time and so forth), and I avoid feeling resentful toward my husband for not helping more, by reasoning that he needs more physical rest because his job is more physical, and hey, if I were a single mom, or if he were disabled, I would have to do all of this work and more, and at least he’s contributing some help from his end, so it’s better than if he weren’t around… (I don’t bother fantasizing about having some other husband who would contribute more, because I’ve decided that if anything happens and I lose him, I really don’t want to remarry.)”

    Weeell, to be perfectly honest, I do notice that there’s less work when my husband is away. There are fewer dishes, a lot less laundry, less food to buy, etc. So, on the one hand, our household gets less done, but on the other hand, there really is less work.

    “It’s just those times when he gets frustrated over something that hasn’t gotten done, that make my blood boil (although to be fair, this doesn’t happen that often anymore), because that’s when it seems like he ought to be able to look at all that really-important stuff that I *did* take care of, that he didn’t have to worry about at all, instead of getting upset about whatever didn’t make the cut. But I guess he can’t really appreciate all those details when, as I said, he hasn’t had to worry about them at all…”

    I would say something like, “Sweetie, that is a problem. How are we going to fix it?” or “Honey, that is important. How are you going to help me get that done?”

    “Still, my position is that if he feels more strongly about something than I do, then he should take responsibility for it – that’s why I take responsibility for all those other things, and that’s why I don’t get upset with anyone else if they don’t get done. I’m currently working on trying to figure out how to respectfully persuade him to adopt that attitude… I think it’s actually getting better, but I made my original comments based on this tendency in men/husbands, because I’ve read that it’s prevalent in general, not just in my case.”

    Well, the problem is that as you’ve described it, your family has a clutter bottleneck, where he can’t clean unless you declutter or put stuff away. That shouldn’t be an issue in places like bathrooms (which should not have that much random stuff), but I can see how it would be a big problem elsewhere.

    So, in your shoes, I would do light evening tidying with the kids (maybe right before sitting down for fun?), but save major sessions for Saturday AM (or whatever your joint day off is).

    If your husband is stressing about the house, you can remind him, “We’re doing that Saturday morning” (or whatever). This is something I have had to learn for myself, that you need to find a slot for doing things, and not stress about it on other days. The idea is, we’re doing it on Saturday, so we don’t need to think about it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Sunday.

    But I think you do need cleaning help.

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  19. LovingThisBlog said:

    “Oldest is 8, so I could probably train her on some things if I had time…but she’s so resistant that it doesn’t seem worth the effort right now…I’d rather save my strength for convincing her to do her homework, haha…”

    How about the weekend? I suppose you are working, though.

    30 hours a week is a LOT to be doing and still have nearly all household responsibility (especially if there are kids underfoot part of the time)..

    Do you do a monthly budget? If not, you should (with your husband), and if you don’t, you should start. It’s a good thing to do, but in your particular case, you may be able to tighten up a few categories ($20 here, $20 there) and find $100 a month for housecleaning.

    “I’ve heard they don’t really do organizing, and that’s what we need the most.”

    That’s typically right about housecleaners and organizing, although I once had a set of Portuguese mother-daughter cleaners who were right on the verge (I actually encouraged them to make the plunge into professional organizing). You might be able to find a private housecleaner who has the gift. With my Portuguese ladies, I was often noticing–this isn’t where I put that item, but it makes more sense where they put it.

    Good Housekeeping’s “The Complete Clutter Solution: Organize Your Home for Good” is an excellent zone-by-zone guide, with lots of photographs.

    In practice, the “getting ready for cleaners” the night before can be a very helpful family discipline. My oldest typically picks up her room, Baby Girl’s playroom and the living room. Also, my husband and I do a 5-10-minute walk through the night before cleaners come, with special attention to kitchen papers and debris and our master bedroom. It’s like a very, very light declutter. I find that just having the cleaners coming twice a month keeps me on my toes–it’s like having accountability partners. Also, if you leave stuff out and they put it away, you’ll never find it again, so there’s a big motivation not to leave stuff out.

    You might also find that you get more out of having a babysitter/mother’s helper entertain the kids while you work intensively on decluttering instead of having cleaning help.

    I have to add that FlyLady would tell you that you can’t organize clutter. I strongly suggest getting her book (“Sink Reflections”) and having a look. (I find I can get through almost any book if I stick it in the bathroom and just read a page or two per visit.) It will drive you nuts if you try to implement the whole program, but she has a good attitude, and there are specific practices that I think you will find helpful:

    http://www.flylady.net/d/getting-started/flying-lessons/decluttering-15-minutes/

    “Clutter’s Last Stand” is also inspiring and entertaining (if dated).

    (I have to add that one of my decluttering success stories is giving away almost all my decluttering and housekeeping books.)

    I have a kid decluttering method that I’ve had a lot of success with in the past. Tell your 8-year-old to find 20 things she doesn’t need anymore and to either throw them away or give them away (even the smallest broken crayon or scrap of paper counts). Do that every day or every other day, and her room will be noticeably better within a week. Also, an 8-year-old is big enough to take charge of putting away her clothes.

    Pre-Christmas and pre-kid birthday is a good time to get bigger kids to part with possessions.

    I also have a financial incentive program for the big kids. Is there a horrible playroom used by little kids who are too small to keep it nice? You might be able to get your 8-year-old to do it for $1 (maybe even less if you can get away with it)–of course she’d need help the first couple times. My 15-year-old is in charge of her baby sister’s playroom, and it looks really nice.

    There’s also the non-monetary incentive of, “You get to go to Suzie’s birthday party after your room passes inspection.”

    I also have a “treasure drawer” or “treasure box” for each child. It’s generously-sized, but if the kid can’t fit all of their arts and crafts into the box, they need to thin out their collections.

    “Of course he wishes the house were cleaner, I do too – but the difference is, when I get a chance to clean, I do so calmly, and when he ends up being the one to clean, it’s because he got so sick of it that he finally broke down and did something about it, but with such a resentful attitude that it makes me prefer if he hadn’t done anything.”

    That sounds like me and my husband–but with the genders reversed. I am a reformed rage-cleaner and I grew up with an otherwise mild-mannered rage-cleaner mom who would go into frenzies when company was coming over or when it all got to be too much. It’s been a major step forward for me to realize: we keep our home nice not to meet some sort of abstract OCD impossible standard or to please other people, but because we deserve a nice home.

    What’s the main issue in your home? Is it papers, kid stuff, or what?

    Sorry for the novel!

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  20. Here are TCW’s categories with the breakdown of how we split things up:

    Work status
    My husband works full-time (summers off) and does occasional side work.
    I’m a WAHM who works just over 30 hours a week remotely supporting a database.

    Children
    Two girls (8 and 4…well, almost 9 and 5, haha)

    House cleaning
    I do the organizing, when it gets done…which is not often… But I do try to keep up with the actual trash – I throw away my own trash, whatever kids’ trash they don’t throw away themselves, and often my husband’s trash too, but he gets some of it… Sometimes he takes the trash bag out, and sometimes I do (but I deal with all the recycling, since he doesn’t care about that). When it comes to cleaning surfaces, it doesn’t happen often, but it’s usually me, with the exception being the toilets, and the top of our gas stove, because he usually gets tired of seeing them dirty before I do. He also vacuums more than I do, but that is only possible after I’ve spent hours putting away the things that were on the floor(s), so that almost never happens either.

    Bed Making
    We just skip this one, until it’s time to change the sheets. Then we have to do it together because it’s a huge bed.

    Laundry
    He washes his own cloths, and sometimes some of my clothes or the kids’ clothes will find their way in there. (In his defense, I don’t really want him to wash our clothes, because I don’t like how much he mixes colors, never spots, and overloads the machines…)
    My mom (who lives with us now) helps with washing my clothes and the kids’ clothes (and helps with my husband’s clothes to some extent), but I do pull them out/gather them up for her when it’s time, and I do some color-separating at that point.

    Cooking
    My mom does most of the “family” cooking, but the kids won’t eat what she makes, so I generally fix all of their meals for them, except when my husband cooks pancakes on weekends. At home during the day, I also fix my own meals. My husband will sometimes fix supper, but interestingly, even if he made the whole meal himself, he will sit there and wait for me to plate it up and serve it to him… :\ I’ve asked him if this has to do with how his mom passed away when he was a kid, theorizing that it left him with an unsatisfied need to feel love expressed to him in that way, and he agreed that was probably the case… So I continue to do this because it means so much to him.

    Dinner clean-up (I kept this category separate from house cleaning)
    No one else, except sometimes my mom, ever puts away leftovers in the fridge. If I don’t want something to go bad, I have to make sure to take care of this myself.

    Bills/finances
    I take care of this, too. He’s not…administratively inclined.

    Paperwork (School papers, Insurance/Medical forms, car registrations, misc.)
    I do all of it, including the taxes. Well…sometimes he takes care of car registrations. And sometimes he brings in the mail before we sort through it together and I file away the important stuff.

    Home repairs
    Husband does it all.

    Vehicle maintenance and repairs
    Husband does all the maintenance and most of the repairs. Of course, if he can’t fix something himself, he’ll hire a mechanic.

    Chauffeuring Kids
    I get the kids ready and drop them off at school, I pick them up from the bus stop in the afternoon (can’t use the bus in the morning, it comes too intolerably early), and I take them to their doctor appointments and other activities.

    Yard work
    Husband usually mows the lawn; we hire a neighbor boy to do it when he can’t. We don’t have much other yard maintenance, but he does put up and take down the Christmas decorations.

    Shopping
    My mom often does the actual trip to the grocery store, but I have to be responsible for keeping track of what needs to be on the list so as to keep the fridge/pantry stocked. I usually put the groceries away when they get home too, although Mom is starting to learn where things go and help more with that.
    My husband enjoys shopping, so he buys his own clothes, and whatever he sees that he likes for me or the kids, but the kids don’t always like his selections, so we have to go together anyway and let them pick out things they will actually wear…
    He picks up his own medicines from the pharmacy and buys tools and things for repairs.
    We usually do the holiday/gift shopping together.

    Nursing the sick
    I take care of this too, and I would add that if anyone has to get up in the middle of the night to take care of a crying child, it has to be me, because his job involves driving, so it’s downright dangerous if he gets sleepy.

    Feeding/Diapering/Bathing small children and infants.
    Me again…My husband likes to point out that while I was bedridden from each of my two C-sections, he had to deal with those extra-nasty meconium diapers, haha… So I’ll give him credit for that.
    But I took care of almost all of the rest of the diapers, until the girls were potty trained, and I clean up the little one when she has an accident, help them take their baths/showers, get them their food, brush their hair and teeth (or in the case of the older one, remind her to brush hers), help them pick out and put on clothes for school / outings, make sure their lunch and backpacks are ready, help with homework, get them ready for bed, etc. etc. etc. They don’t let anyone else help them with any of these things, because they don’t like how they do it for one reason or another.

    Research
    I wanted to add this category because I feel like it’s something that someone in each family should do, but again, my husband will barely even review what I’ve found, much less go looking for information himself. But on the other hand, I’m not sure if this should count as a legitimate category, since I so enjoy researching nutrition, best practices/principles of childrearing and discipline, ethics and principles of social/emotional/psychological wellbeing, and anything else of consequence, that I almost think it should be considered “what I do in my free time”. Anyway, that’s why I’ve been reading this blog…part of my research on the marriage relationship and how best to manage it, haha. And yes, I feel so compelled to do it, that it has taken a higher priority than cleaning up toys off the living room floor. 😛

    ——————-

    Anyway, now that I’ve written all that up, I want to be clear that I’m not miserable from doing all this work – I mean, I don’t dislike the activities themselves, I like to be productive, my employer is generously flexible such that I’m able to take care of myself (get enough sleep most of the time and so forth), and I avoid feeling resentful toward my husband for not helping more, by reasoning that he needs more physical rest because his job is more physical, and hey, if I were a single mom, or if he were disabled, I would have to do all of this work and more, and at least he’s contributing some help from his end, so it’s better than if he weren’t around… (I don’t bother fantasizing about having some other husband who would contribute more, because I’ve decided that if anything happens and I lose him, I really don’t want to remarry.)
    So the one thing that I find intolerable about all of this, whenever it comes to the forefront of my mind/attention, is the lack of appreciation I perceive on his part. And maybe my perception is wrong – he does occasionally make the claim to fully appreciate me and what I do… It’s just those times when he gets frustrated over something that hasn’t gotten done, that make my blood boil (although to be fair, this doesn’t happen that often anymore), because that’s when it seems like he ought to be able to look at all that really-important stuff that I *did* take care of, that he didn’t have to worry about at all, instead of getting upset about whatever didn’t make the cut. But I guess he can’t really appreciate all those details when, as I said, he hasn’t had to worry about them at all…
    Still, my position is that if he feels more strongly about something than I do, then he should take responsibility for it – that’s why I take responsibility for all those other things, and that’s why I don’t get upset with anyone else if they don’t get done. I’m currently working on trying to figure out how to respectfully persuade him to adopt that attitude… I think it’s actually getting better, but I made my original comments based on this tendency in men/husbands, because I’ve read that it’s prevalent in general, not just in my case.

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  21. LovingThisBlog

    Have you ever heard of Flylady? You probably have. I don’t know too many who haven’t. Anyway, she recommends spending 15 minutes a day decluttering your home. You pick one room and focus on it until it’s decluttered and then move on to another one. You have a bag or basket for trash, one for goodwill/giving away and one for putting things away in another room. You just spend 15 minutes each day working on this (I think she recommends working clockwise around the room).

    You don’t have to follow her whole cleaning/organizing program to get the benefit out of it. I have found that using just that principle of 15 min. decluttering a day to be immensely helpful in getting things under control. You will be surprised at how much you can get done in that short amount of time.

    Maybe start with the room that seems to bug your husband the most to help lessen tensions and then move on to somewhere that’s bugging you the most. Don’t forget to take the goodwill stuff on a somewhat regular basis so the bags don’t pile up.

    Hopefully, your decluttering will inspire hubby to work on some areas of the home that are his like the garage, basement, his side of the closet etc.

    About resistant kids….maybe start with something very small and easy.

    Here’s a link to a post I did on my very, very neglected housekeeping blog about age appropriate chores for children. There are lists of chores and what children should be able to do by a certain age but the point is made that what really matters is working with each individual child to master these skills even if it takes them a few years beyond what the chart says. You could pick just one chore (even from the age 2-3 bracket) and work on getting him or her to master it before moving on. Even if you have to keep at it for 3-6 mos. My oldest was always and still is very resistant to doing chores but we just keep slowly plugging away until she gets it.

    You may not even want to tackle the kid thing until you’ve got the decluttering under control but you can tuck that away as something to start on 6-12 months from now if you’re too pressed for time to do both.

    https://allthingshomemaking.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/age-appropriate-chores-for-children/

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  22. TCW said:

    “I had them at 29, 31 and 39 (Just turned 39 three days before she was born.)”

    Mine were a smidge later–27, 29 and 37.

    When we lived in DC, I once called to sign up for some sort of hospital class before Middle Kid was born. The nurse on the phone asked my age and when I said 29, she said, “Oh, a young mommy!”

    Not really, but whatever.

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  23. AmyP “That’s funny. My three (girl, boy, girl) are 15, 12.5 and just turned 5–so virtually identical spacing.”

    That IS funny. I had them at 29, 31 and 39 (Just turned 39 three days before she was born.)

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  24. TCW asked me:
    “Hmm….any chance of cutting back on your hours so you have more time at home?”
    I’ve talked to my supervisors (the current one and the previous one) about how I’ve only been able to get in a little over 30 hours a week lately, and that we should probably make it official, but they both said to just do the best I can and that they would prefer to leave things as-is (40-hours being the supposed goal, but they understand if I really only manage to put in a little over 30).

    “Are there children to delegate some tasks to?
    Oldest is 8, so I could probably train her on some things if I had time…but she’s so resistant that it doesn’t seem worth the effort right now…I’d rather save my strength for convincing her to do her homework, haha…

    “Is a housekeeping service feasible?”
    I’ve heard they don’t really do organizing, and that’s what we need the most. They couldn’t reach the surfaces to clean them, unless I stayed on top of putting things away after the kids/hubby pulled them out (or if I stayed on top of enforcing a rule that they have to do it), and I don’t have time for that, either. My mom is already helping with the dishwashing and cooking, but she finds the idea of trying to help organize the clutter just…overwhelming… I’m the only one who seems capable of tackling it (on the rare weekend when I have some downtime and I’m not just desperate to use it for rest).

    And Amy P asked:
    “Are you worried about the house because it’s unhygienic/unsafe/or uncomfortable, or because it doesn’t live up to the standards of other people?”
    Well, it *is* uncomfortable, but personally I can tolerate it because I have other priorities that I focus on because I consider them to be an even higher priority, and that enables me to ignore the clutter until I have a chance to do something about it (i.e., until it becomes a higher priority than the other things I need to do). The only person whose standards are causing me to feel bad, is my husband… Of course he wishes the house were cleaner, I do too – but the difference is, when I get a chance to clean, I do so calmly, and when he ends up being the one to clean, it’s because he got so sick of it that he finally broke down and did something about it, but with such a resentful attitude that it makes me prefer if he hadn’t done anything.

    I’ll fill in the template TCW shared, with the categories of work and how it’s split up, in a separate comment (might not finish it until tomorrow though).

    Like

  25. Two-Cent Woman said:

    “Three girls (17, 15, 8)”

    That’s funny. My three (girl, boy, girl) are 15, 12.5 and just turned 5–so virtually identical spacing.

    Like

  26. Since we’re talking about “women’s work” and husbands helping out, I thought it might be interesting to share how we split the work in our particular families. You can just copy my categories or make your own.

    Work status

    My husband works full-time and does occasional side work in his field.
    I’m a SAHM who works part time providing after school care for two children 4 days/wk.

    Children
    Three girls (17, 15, 8)

    House cleaning

    I do all the cleaning (general and deep cleaning).
    Husband will sweep kitchen/dining room floors or run the vac in the living room maybe 4-5 times a year.

    Bed Making
    I do this during the week since he gets up first.
    Husband will do it on weekends since I get up first.

    Laundry

    I do the majority of the laundry. One of our daughters will wash 2-3 loads a week.
    Husband will maybe wash 2-3 loads a year.

    Cooking
    I do the majority of the cooking. In the summer, my two teens girls each had a day a week to cook dinner and are usually the dessert makers a few times a month.
    My husband will usually make eggs and toast on Sunday mornings and probably cooks dinner 2-3 x’s a yr.

    Dinner clean-up (I kept this category separate from house cleaning)
    I do this myself during the week. My girls help on the weekends or non-school nights.
    Husband helps 3-4 times a month.

    Bills/finances
    I do all of it other than husband re-enrolling our health-care options once a year online after I’ve studied them and told him what changes to make.

    Paperwork (School papers, Insurance/Medical forms, car registrations, misc.)
    I do all of it except the taxes.

    Home repairs
    Husband does it all.

    Vehicle maintenance and repairs
    I generally keep my car clean inside and out and husband does his truck.
    Husband does all the maintenance and probably 90% of repairs. Rarely, he will have a mechanic fix something.

    Chauffeuring Kids
    I do the majority of this. School drop offs and pick-ups. Activities/Dr. Appointments
    Husband will drop off and pick up from school about 5-6 times a yr and 5-6 times a month, he will do activities. He might do 1-2 Dr. Appt’s a yr.

    Yard work
    Husband does 99% of it. Mowing/Weeding/Planting a small garden plot/Leaf Raking/Snow Shoveling
    I help plant the spring plants and probably rake leaves once or twice and shovel snow once or twice.

    Shopping
    I do all the grocery/pharmacy/clothing/holiday/birthday/home furnishing & decor shopping.
    Husband shops for anything needed for home and car repairs, most of his own clothes, and will sometimes pick something up at the grocery store or a prescription.

    Nursing the sick
    This generally falls to me but he will do some care taking too when he’s home.

    Feeding/Diapering/Bathing small children and infants.
    I don’t have any of these anymore but when my husband was home evenings or weekends he was pretty good about splitting this 50/50 unless he was working on a home project.

    Like

  27. LovingThisBlog said:

    “I recently reviewed some fresh lists with him of what I take care of and what he takes care of, after something he said belied his attitude toward the subject, but its too soon to tell whether it helped, because he’s learned not to complain openly about it at least, haha… But as I mentioned, sometimes something will slip that implies he’s feeling resentful about the state of the house, and that’s when I realize he either believes that I should be doing more, or else he himself secretly feels guilty for not doing more, and ends up expressing it in a way that makes *me* feel bad about it instead of/in addition to him feeling bad about it… I can’t tell for sure which is the case… :”

    I think something I would say to that (because it’s something I needed to hear) is, “Are you worried about the house because it’s unhygienic/unsafe/or uncomfortable, or because it doesn’t live up to the standards of other people?”

    One of the things I’ve learned between getting married and the last few years is:

    –We don’t keep a nice house for other people. If my MIL or FIL thinks our house isn’t clean or tidy enough, that’s too darn bad.
    –We keep a nice house because it’s nice for us to have a home that is comfortable and pleasant.
    –So the goal is not to maximize effort or tidiness, but to maximize comfort.

    Monthly housecleaning is a bargain (although twice a month is better). The bang-for-buck is incredible in terms of improving living conditions and decreasing stress.

    Like

  28. Hah! “Have you ever thought of sitting down and making a list of every household duty and going over it with your husband so you can each figure out how to divide things based on each other’s strengths and weaknesses or preferences for doing this or that type of chore?”
    Yes, I actually did that very thing about a year or two ago! He didn’t really accept responsibility for anything new that he wasn’t already doing, but I initially believed that the exercise would at least help him appreciate the imbalance in his favor… But if it did, the effect seems to have worn off by now… 😦
    I recently reviewed some fresh lists with him of what I take care of and what he takes care of, after something he said belied his attitude toward the subject, but its too soon to tell whether it helped, because he’s learned not to complain openly about it at least, haha… But as I mentioned, sometimes something will slip that implies he’s feeling resentful about the state of the house, and that’s when I realize he either believes that I should be doing more, or else he himself secretly feels guilty for not doing more, and ends up expressing it in a way that makes *me* feel bad about it instead of/in addition to him feeling bad about it… I can’t tell for sure which is the case… :\

    Like

  29. Two-Cent Woman said:

    “Sometimes we women tend to take on household stuff quite naturally so that the men don’t really think much of it. They assume we must want to do it or prefer it, then it becomes ours by default. This is one instance where lack of communication can cause misunderstanding.”

    Years ago, when my husband and I were newlyweds, I thought that I needed to do the bills and keep the checkbook because that was how it was done in my extended family. As it turned out, I found it very stressful. My husband on the other hand, does not. Fortunately, that job gravitated over to his pile pretty fast.

    There are a lot of things where “how mom and dad did it” or “how everybody does it” may not work for particular individuals.

    Like

  30. Two-Cent Woman said:

    ” It’s quite uncharitable if either spouse sees the other over-burdened and says “Not my job.””

    Yeah.

    Like

  31. LovingThisBlog “Sigh…if only those women knew that even bringing home a paycheck doesn’t guarantee catering and appreciation… Those of us who do, are still considered primarily responsible “by default” for all the traditional women’s work, and men so often think if they “help” at all, they’re being generous…”

    I can imagine the difficulty of working and still being responsible for the household as well. Have you ever thought of sitting down and making a list of every household duty and going over it with your husband so you can each figure out how to divide things based on each other’s strengths and weaknesses or preferences for doing this or that type of chore? Sometimes we women tend to take on household stuff quite naturally so that the men don’t really think much of it. They assume we must want to do it or prefer it, then it becomes ours by default. This is one instance where lack of communication can cause misunderstanding.

    Like

  32. “Both husbands and wives need to appreciate each other’s contributions to the “division of labor” and love each other enough to pitch in to help the other when they are struggling under their particular load, IMO. It’s quite uncharitable if either spouse sees the other over-burdened and says “Not my job.”

    YES, no employer likes an employee who says “that’s not in my job description”. Rigid role following is the same as being an employee who says that. They just kick back and watch someone do something because its not in their defined masculine or feminine duties. Employers want a team player and so do husbands and wives. In fact, you can probably even get fired if you have a “not in my job description” attitude.

    Like

  33. LovingThisBlog

    It’s true. There is a great underappreciation from both feminists and traditionalists for what is/was traditionally “women’s work.” I remember seeing some email joke floating around years ago about a husband who came home to his wife every night and asked “What did you do all day?” She got tired of the question, so one day she didn’t do “what she does all day” so the breakfast dishes were still sitting out with dried on cereal, crumbs were strewn about the floors and milk spilled from the kids helping themselves when they were hungry, laundry was overflowing the hamper, the hose was flooding the yard from the kids playing with it, the kids toys were everywhere and they were filthy and still in their pj’s too, there was no dinner waiting, the beds were unmade, there was toothpaste spit in the bathroom sink, the answering machine was blinking with 12 calls never answered, and so on. Her husband looked at her in disbelief when he got home and asked “What happened?” She said, “Now you know what I’ve been doing all day.”

    Both husbands and wives need to appreciate each other’s contributions to the “division of labor” and love each other enough to pitch in to help the other when they are struggling under their particular load, IMO. It’s quite uncharitable if either spouse sees the other over-burdened and says “Not my job.”

    Like

  34. Sigh…if only those women knew that even bringing home a paycheck doesn’t guarantee catering and appreciation… Those of us who do, are still considered primarily responsible “by default” for all the traditional women’s work, and men so often think if they “help” at all, they’re being generous… The portion their wives do, still isn’t appreciated at all by some husbands…

    You know, I was just thinking earlier today about how one of my biggest beefs with the feminist movement is how they encouraged women to find their value and self-esteem in the idea that “anything you can do, I can do better” (focusing on how women can be good at things men have traditionally done), instead of valuing the domestic things women are generally better at or better-suited for, at an equal level with paid work and other traditional male pursuits… But now I see that – you’re right – traditionalists undervalue domestic work, too! Even as they act like it’s the most important thing in the world for women to stay home and do those things, they simultaneously talk like it’s really just the least wives can do in exchange for what their *husbands* are doing for *them* (never mind that they were discouraged from doing that for themselves and told that they needed to stay home and take care of those super-important domestic duties)…

    Like

  35. “If men get catered too all the time for bringing home a paycheck it sure makes women want to go out and and work so they can get the same sort of appreciation.”

    AMEN to that. Couldn’t have said it better.

    Like

  36. Stone said:

    “Right, traditionalists complain about how society doesn’t value moms anymore, especially the stay at home mom. Yet they do a lot to keep that view going strong by not acknowledging that woman’s work in the home deserves a break and nice gestures too. If men get catered too all the time for bringing home a paycheck it sure makes women want to go out and and work so they can get the same sort of appreciation.”

    Riiiight.

    I’ve certainly seen this in my own extended family.

    Like

  37. “bringing home a paycheck counts as hard work, but managing children and a household does not.”

    Right, traditionalists complain about how society doesn’t value moms anymore, especially the stay at home mom. Yet they do a lot to keep that view going strong by not acknowledging that woman’s work in the home deserves a break and nice gestures too. If men get catered too all the time for bringing home a paycheck it sure makes women want to go out and and work so they can get the same sort of appreciation.

    Like

  38. As I’m sure you’ve seen, Lori posted this post today, written by Ken: https://thetransformedwife.com/one-long-temper-tantrum/

    A few things:
    -Like Amy said, the Alexanders make no effort whatsoever to listen to/understand the wife’s point of view. Nope, if the home is a mess, and there’s no hot meal on the table when the husband arrives home, the wife is rebellious. It doesn’t matter that she may be tired or depressed. It doesn’t matter that she was up at 3 am breastfeeding, while her husband snored away. It doesn’t matter that she works just as many hours as her husband, if not more, caring for the children and managing the household. Nope, she’s automatically labeled “selfish.” And apparently, when she resents her husband’s entitled and judgmental attitude (“I deserve a clean house and a hot meal, why don’t I have a clean house and a hot meal?!”), then she’s throwing a tantrum.
    -Which leads me to the second point. The husband is the real tantrum-thrower here. On Lori’s blog, all I see is endless whining about women who “don’t meet their husband’s needs.” Forget about self-sacrificial love for one’s wife, as the Bible actually commands. It’s all about the husband and his “needs.” Because, as Stone said, bringing home a paycheck counts as hard work, but managing children and a household does not.
    -Lastly, a commenter said this:

    “Sounds like Jezebel needs to be binded!! That’s so sad!! Love our church cause our Pastor is on this hard core!! When I act up – hormones- my husband don’t play he calls it out and tells me I better respect… I think some guys are just TOO nice… time to clean the house of all open doors/windows… shut off all cable, cell phones, internet… take the tvs out… go back to the basics … don’t provide privileges for spoiled brats…”

    To which Lori replied, “I agree!”

    Which just goes to show you, Lori thinks it’s ok for husbands to treat their wives like spoiled children. Again, not a biblical idea in the slightest, and it reveals Lori’s deep lack of respect for women and their role as “keepers at home.” To her, marriage is little more than a relationship between father and daughter.

    Like

  39. Once again, see the claim that if your husband cheated on you, you must have been a bad wife. No evidence to back this claim up, of course. Just the assumption that no man would ever be unfaithful to a good wife.

    Like

  40. I feel like there’s got to be a lot more going on here.

    Some thoughts:

    –Is this lady homeschooling? If so, it starts making more sense why housekeeping is spiraling out of control with kids all being school-age.
    –Does her husband insist on a larger family? If so and there is some sort of disagreement about family planning, that would explain why their kids are 12, 10, 8, 6, and she hasn’t had sex with him since conceiving the youngest.
    –If he is working 10 hour days, it’s likely that he is rolling home well-past kid dinner time–perhaps 7ish or 8ish.
    –Also, kid afternoon and evening activities are often murder on family dinner time, even if each child only has one thing per school day evening.
    –Is there some sort of ongoing major disagreement? Like, doe he insist on homeschooling while she would like to quit, or she wants to quit having kids, does she want to quit being an SAHM, etc? A lot of behavior described here (like skipping his laundry) sounds like she has gone on strike.
    –Is there some sort of serious economic issue?
    –Notice that nobody has any interest in what this lady is mad about. As far as Lori and the woman’s husband are concerned, she’s just mad for no reason. Wouldn’t it be informative to hear what her grievances are?
    –If the kids are gone all during the school day and there’s absolutely no reason for her not to have a sparkly home and dinner on the table–perhaps she’s got some sort of mental health issues or deficiency? Has she had a physical recently and maybe done a depression screening? How’s her Vitamin D?

    Like

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