I could have written this myself about my fiancee. Also, a wonderful guy who is good to me and always tries to do the right thing and make others around him happy. But, he and his two teenage kids are like little tornadoes that create mess everywhere they go. I walk around all day closing drawers and turning off lights. Food wrappers and clothing wind up everywhere. Trash in the kitchen sink (why not just throw it out?), hoodie draped over the Kitchen Aid mixer (wth – the coat hooks are like 5 feet away), clothing piled up on the bedroom floor about 3 feet from the laundry basket.
I like things clean, but I’m not even a clean freak. I can tolerate a degree of mess as long as it’s contained somewhat. But, he’s on the extreme messy end of the spectrum. And, I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to marry him. Exhibit A. When we first started dating, I noticed that there was a card on the floor in the upstairs hallway (along with assorted other stuff – a hairbrush, hangers, clothes, etc.). I was curious about the card, but didn’t say anything. After three months of dating, that card was still there. I finally asked him about it. He was surprised – he had never even noticed this piece of stationary lying on the floor outside his bedroom door. It turned out to be a birthday card his daughter had written to her grandpa about six months earler and never given him. That was a stunner for me. That card had probably been there for six months and no one had ever noticed. You have to be pretty accustomed to basically littering your home with all your stuff to not even notice a card on the floor outside your bedroom for six months.
We had our biggest fight about it last night – hence me seeking advice/validation/consolation on the internet. 🙂 For him, a clean environment isn’t something he cares that much about and he would rather relax than clean. I can’t relax until I have a basically clean environment – not spotless, but tidy at least.
I know I’m not going to change him. And, if I try, I might get him to put in more effort for a while, but it won’t last and he’ll resent me. So, I have to decide if this is something that I can live with forever. And, for me, the bottom line is that I am happier with him than I was without him. And, if that means that I have to do the lion’s share of the cleaning, then that’s what I’ll do. And, I’ll have to walk into this marriage being okay with that or I’ll wind up resenting him.
But, I think there are some things that we can try:
1) having a scheduled family cleaning time where we all clean on the weekends for 1.5 hours – everyone at the same time working on a different room. I think this would be a lot less stressful for him because he could put in a burst of cleaning time and not feel like that’s something he has to be thinking about all the time.
2) we’ve just started having a house cleaner come in every other week to do the bathrooms, clean the kitchen, floors, etc. If we can ever afford it, I’m going to make this once/week.
3) decluttering – I’ve found that he’s much more open to the idea of decluttering than he is to regular housecleaning. And the decluttering makes the house cleaning so much easier. He’s done a lot of decluttering already – as have I – and I think if we can continue to work on this, it will help.
And with the kids, I’m going to be firmer. I will continue to ask them to pick up their shoes, bags, food wrappers, juice boxes, etc. And, I’m going to work with the fiancee on consequences for them. EG, juice boxes repeatedly left laying around means no juice boxes for 6 months.