Post # 1
Admittedly, I am still very young and very naïve when it comes to doing housework. I lived in a dorm room my four years at college, and would come home during the summers to live with my mother. I did do chores as a teenager and during the summer, but it was only my own laundry, cleaning my room and occasionally doing the dishes and vacuuming to help my mom out. I’ve never had to take care of an entire house by myself, actually I have not even had to take care of an apartment by myself!
Now I have moved in with my SO. He has his own house (3 bedroom with two baths). I can’t believe how much work there is to do! When I came home on the weekends from college I would help him with the housework, and honestly would spend almost half my time home helping him. Now that ive moved in permanently I feel like I spend all my time cleaning!
He also has a very large front and backyard, with a lot of landscaping to do. Because he has such a very high paying job, and I do not, I always feel this is how I “earn my keep.” However, we both work full time, and i have a commute thats an hour and a half round trip whereas his is less than a half hour…so he technically has more free time.
Admittedly, he is a better cook than I so he does most of the cooking… But I also always do the cleanup portion (even if I happened to cook that night!). I just feel like I spend about 10 hours a week doing housework and the house is still a freaking MESS all the time. I feel like my SO puts about a half hour of work per week into the house… And most of it is cleaning up messes that he makes at the time. He never does routine cleaning like the floors, dusting, cleaning the kitchen… And quite frequently I am taking the trash out and mowing/weedwhacking the lawn as well. I feel like I do 50% of the yardwork and 90% of the housework…
I seriously sometimes just get so sick of cleaning up messes that I didn’t make, and messes that i only made half of (washing the floors, etc). Does anyone else have issues with this? Am I spending way too little time cleaning… Should I change my expectations and just get over the fact that it takes this long to clean a house this size? Sometimes I just feel like I’m being lazy…but other times I watch him play video games when he gets home and I just want to dump a bag of trash that needs to be taken out over his head! Sorry, I’m mostly venting but for real…should I just man up and spend this much time or more cleaning?
Post # 3
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
We have a policy in our house. If one person is working, the other people (there are 3 of us here) must either offer to help with the chore that the person is doing OR must start doing another chore of their own choosing. It avoids anyone feeling resentful.
FWIW, I spend about 20 hours a week cooking, cleaning, yard work, pet care, and other basic household chores. That’s just basic upkeep. If we are working on a project, it’s 25-30 hours. It is my second job, without a doubt. I work full time, and then I come home and do my other job.
Post # 4
That’s a great policy! However, my SO works a 9 to 5 job, whereas I usually work an 11 to 10 or 4 to 10. Therefore, we are never able to clean at the same time… And I know that he’s certainly not cleaning on his “off time,” which makes it hard for me to get motivated to clean when I’m home alone.
Wow, 20 hours a week! Okay, guess I should step it up some…thanks! 🙂
ETA: When we’re both not working, we want to spend time together, not clean…I don’t want to spend my day off watching him mop while I dust 🙁
Post # 5
@kendra389: when Fiance moved in with me, i set up a cleaning schedule. i consider cooking to be his chore for the day if he cooks that day (he does about 4 times a week), so when he’s cooking i’m doing something else – usually dishes and taking out the trash.
Post # 6
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
Please don’t take it that way! I didn’t mean that you needed to step it up. We bought our home knowing that we were taking on a huge workload. It’s 5 bedrooms and 5 acres. It’s a lot to maintain, but we truly love the pride that comes with doing it ourselves. It’s not the right lifestyle for everyone. I think that best thing for you to do is talk with your SO about the division of the workload. Each household/each couple must negotiate what works best for them.
Edit: For example, this weekend Mr. LK got up early, took care of the animals, and then took one of our vehicles to the dealer for service. Meanwhile, I slept until 9am (ahhh… lovely), and then headed immediately out to the garden to get started on weeding. We were both doing something, just different “somethings”.
Post # 7
oh wow, your property/house is much bigger than ours! Now 20 hours makes sense haha…
I do want to talk to him about it…but I feel like because I do not contribute as much financially, I need to do so with housework. He is always very appreciative when I clean the house because I usually do so room-by-room so it’s very obvious…but by the time I’m on the 3rd (of 9) room, the 1st room is a mess 🙁
ETA: we do like to do the gardening together 🙂 so that’s nice…but I usually clean from 8-10 then go to work until 10 PM (get home around 11) and he worked 9-5 then went out for beers with his friends then played video games from 9-10 then went to bed…see my frustration? 🙁
Post # 8
I answered I never spend that much time cleaning – though I have never actually kept track. I think you both really need to come together and discuss housekeeping, it’s clear you feel resentful. Talk about your individual standards, what you consider “basic daily cleaning” (for us this is simply picking up clutter, meal cleanup), “weekly deep cleaning” (vaccumming, dusting, mopping) and “weekend projects” (landscaping, painting, moving furniture around). Talk about where cleaning tasks fit in relation to other things going on in your free time. For example, my SO and I are totally fine with letting the house go if one of us is especially busy with work, or we have fun things going on that keep us out of the house more than normal.
It also sounds like while he’s appreciative of your efforts, he doesn’t really understand what your cleaning standards are – especially if you’re cleaning something while he’s simultaneously making messes in another room.
Personally, I don’t see how much money we make factors into this. We don’t believe in earning our keep. It’s our home, our shared space, we split the tasks to be done. But again, this is something you should talk about together.
I’d say we split housecleaning pretty evenly, simply based on what tasks we prefer doing and this prevents resentment. I would never consider that only half the mess is my mess – it’s all OUR mess and we are each responsible for taking care of what we can. I don’t mind washing and folding all the clothes, he takes care of composting and yard stuff. We tend to go with the flow, sometimes the person who cooked does the cleanup too, sometimes we tackle the kitchen together.
Post # 9
I pretty much do the majority of the housework, mostly because my idea of clean and FI’s idea of clean seem to be totally different. (i.e. If I clean the kitchen, that involves cleaning the floors, counters, microwave, etc. and doing dishes and I’ll clean out the fridge…his idea of cleaning the kitchen is washing dishes–we don’t have a dishwasher–and taking out the trash).
We started having a “cleaning day” that’s usually on Sundays, or sometimes Saturday mornings, where we blast music in the house and spend a few hours cleaning. He’ll do certain rooms while I do the others. If there are certain things I want done in the rooms he’s cleaning, I just ask him to do it. It makes things go by a lot faster.
We do our laundry throughout the week, based on the need for it. If I cook, I clean up, and if he cooks, he cleans up (he makes more of a mess than me when cooking, so this makes it fair! lol) We don’t have to worry about yard work because we are currently in an apartment, but I do tend to the few plants I have out on the porch.
Post # 10
@kendra389: Splitting chores is always a challenge for couples.
First shot out of the gate, I’ll say this – if you both work full time the fact that he earns more doesn’t, In My Humble Opinion, have diddly to do with how much housework he should be doing. If you didn’t work or only worked part time, it would be reasonable and fair for you to assume more or most of the household chores, but if you’re both working full time? No.
Did he do more housework before you moved in or did the house stay fairly messy? If he was messy before, then your issues could be more a matter of differing standards than anything else. If he did the housework but now expects you to do it, or is just happy to let you do it, that’s different.
I think you should have a conversation about housework and related chores – grocery shopping, yard work, house work, car maintenance, all those things – and ask him what he thinks is a fair division of labor and go from there.
Post # 11
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
If he makes good money, he should hire a cleaning service! If you have them come every couple weeks for a few hours, it’s pretty affordable. Then you could worry about the general picking up and not all the deep cleaning.
Post # 12
@kendra389: You should come up with some sort of compromise before you go crazy and freak out on him.
10 hours of cleaning a week when you have a house of that size plus a yard doesn’t sound like a massive amount… but if he isn’t helping then that’s the problem right there.
We live in a small apartment right now and spend a couple of hours cleaning on Sunday morning (dusting, vacuuming, sometimes mop the kitchen floor, clean bathroom.. that sorta stuff). During the week we cook and do the after-dinner clean-up (SO usually does dishes) and that usually takes 30-60 minutes after either of us cook. We also do laundry 2 nights a week. He irons his stuff and some of my clothes that need to be ironed… that probably takes a couple hours per week.
If he’s making messes, that needs to stop. Split the chores based on what tasks you each despise… like I rarely do dishes because it’s my least favorite task… so I clean the bathroom.
Post # 13
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
I think your issue may lie in your mental perception of inequality. When you live together, it’s not “your income” or “my income”, it’s “our income”. In the same way, it’s not “your mess” or “my mess”, it’s “our mess”. It can be difficult to make that mental shift, but it’s worth it because it puts both partners on an equal playing field. Negotiating is SO much easier when you both think of each other as absolute equals. So that may be where you need to start…. with your own thought process. Once you are comfortable with the “our money/our messes/our chores” concept, you can negotiate an acceptable division of labor. Note, I did not say “equal” because one partner may still end up doing a larger volume, depending on what you decide works best for your household and our relationship. And that’s okay as long as you are both satisfied with the arrangement.
Post # 14
We have “our” chores we do weekly (I cook, he helps with dishes), he vacuums, I dust (I hate vacumming, he hates dusting so it works). We each clean our own bathroom and do our own laundry. Then, we spend a few hours per weekend cleaning together. We’re doing major spring cleaning now so the past few weekends that’s all we have been doing! We do yardwork together but that’s really just pulling weeds since our development does the rest.
I definitely do more cleaning than he does since I care about a clean house more than he does, but it doens’t bother me as long as he contributes in some way, tries to keep things clean and generally appreciates what I do. I don’t keep a “scorecard” it only leads to resentment. But, it definitely sounds like he could stand to help out a bit more. It’s much harder and time consuming to keep up a clean house (vs. apartment) and especially when you’re not the only one living there! I can’t imagine what it will be like once we have kids!
You guys could also hire a cleaning service – it’ll help save time and arguments! Just because you don’t make as much $ as him, doesn’t mean you have to do all the work since you both work similar hours. It’d be a different story if you were a stay at home wife, but you’re not!
If he’s anything like my DH, he’s not going to clean alone (at least not at first – my DH has gotten better at this, and I’m coming home or waking up to him cleaning already more and more!) Carve out some time to clean together if you guys won’t do it alone.
Post # 15
His apartment was always kept clean when I first met him 3 years ago, but it was much smaller and of course he was trying to impress. Then it slowly got worse, but I picked up the slack. Then he got the housa and wanted to keep of clean because it was so new. Now that he’s been here for almost 2 years, he is totally slacking off again…
and btw, your “his making more money doesn’t have diddly to do with how much housework he does” made me smile…because I feel like he thinks it does 🙁 like I’m the maid too to make up for my lack of financial contribution
Post # 16
I really like your perception of “our” house and therefore we need to do everything as a unit and as equals. However, he has made comments in the past about us not being equal… He’s not very rude about it, but I just know that’s not his mindset. He will call it “my” house, when I mention “our” bedroom he say “oh you mean my bedroom?” I think until we are actually engaged or married, he will never see us contributing to the household equally… Not as long as I make less than half of what he makes… It’s very hard sometimes, because he really is a very sweet man and he cares about me deeply, but he is very proud of himself and therefore is having a hard time letting me be his “equal”