Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months
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Different standards of cleanliness hurting our marriage

Does anyone else have a different standard of cleanliness than your spouse? My DH is a neat freak. He?s a meticulous person by nature, plus his mom keeps an impeccable house. I?m not a slob by any stretch, but (again) he made a comment yesterday about the house not being clean enough, and I was about to pop him ? since I feel like I?m busting my butt as it is. I work 60 percent time and he works a ton, so I do most of the housework.

 

Anyone else dealing with this ? or figured out how to live with a neat freak? After our second child was born, we hired a cleaning lady to do the deep cleaning every other week, but it?s the day-to-day stuff that?s killing us. Like I?ll have dinner ready and be on top of the laundry, but often there will be dishes in the sink and toys scattered about when he gets home from work. But everything is picked up/cleaned at naptime and after the kids go to bed.

Re: Different standards of cleanliness hurting our marriage

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    Your husband sounds like my mom. She's unrealistic about what a house should look like if people actually live in it.
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    DH was always kind of sloppy in college before we got married.  His apt. was always kind of messy.  Mine wasn't any better  Now that we're married and have our own house, he has turned into a neat freak.  Clutter drives him nuts.  I'm ok with clutter (but not a huge mess).  We don't have enough storage space in the house, so clutter is just going to happen and he doesn't understand this!  He will shove Erica's toys behind the couch where no one will see in order to reduce the clutter -- but that drives me nuts because then I have a difficult time getting to her toys!  We haven't found a good way of compromising and it's been a real struggle for us and the topic of many arguments.  I guess I don't have advice, but we're going through it too!
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    Yes, I identify 100% with the title of this post, however, my husband is basically a slob and I am about average with my expectations. Neither is a clean freak, but I do about 95% of what gets done. It's tough. This leads in to the second issue which is a more fair split of responsibilities.
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    I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's hurting our marriage, but it does become an issue from time to time. 

    DH is neurotic about everything being in it's place and it drives him crazy when things are out of order.  We have a messy teenager and a toddler, so you can only imagine what our house looks like sometimes.  I tell him that his OCD-ness drives me bonkers and he tells me that my clutter drives him bananas.  The only time it really pisses me off is when he moves something and then I can't find it.  I may have a few piles of things that I need to deal with, but I know exactly where everything is...and it annoys me when he goes touching my stuff. 

    If he has such problems with it, do you give him 'chores' or things to be responsible for?  DH and I both work, so he cleans up Ben's toys at night after he falls asleep and we both chip in and handle dishes and general tidying up. 

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    imagemfield:
    We don't have enough storage space in the house, so clutter is just going to happen and he doesn't understand this!  He will shove Erica's toys behind the couch where no one will see in order to reduce the clutter -- but that drives me nuts because then I have a difficult time getting to her toys!

    My husband built me wooden bins that go behind one side of our sectional, between it and the wall. Higher than the floor, but hidden from view, makes the toys easy to get to. But there are hinged lids that actually make our sectional more functional because we can use them as shelves for drinks or things we'd put on the coffee table, which we got rid of and replaced with a big ottoman to make the room easier for Joseph to play in.

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    This is a big issue for us and I probably could have written your post word for word. My mil doesn't help things at all. She is always preaching to us that we need to keep our house cleaner "for the kids."

    Thank goodness my dh has relaxed a little more lately with all the craziness going on in our lives right now. We barely have time to do the basic laundry and dishes.

    Now when my mil preaches about it, my dh says "when do you expect us to clean and keep our house perfect?" That usually shuts her up.

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    imageseans_grl:
    If he has such problems with it, do you give him 'chores' or things to be responsible for?  

    I would love to give him "chores," but I struggle with how to do that and not sound like a nag. (Suggestions welcome.) Most of the time I'd rather just do it myself than have to ask him to pitch in. I know that's probably not healthy, but that's how I feel. I want him to want to help. Or to at least stop complaining about it if he's not going to pitch in more.

    Then again, sometimes he works 80 hours a week, and I don't feel like it's fair of me to then expect him to do the dishes or whatever. So I'm kind of conflicted here.

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    imageLoriFalce:
    Your husband sounds like my mom. She's unrealistic about what a house should look like if people actually live in it.

    Yes! Exactly! Not only do people live in it, but in my house we have two little wild men who are masters of destruction. After we had the kids, I adjusted my expectations for cleanliness, but I don't think he ever did.

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    DH was super messy when I moved in with him.  SUPER messy.  So messy that when I cleaned his place and his mom saw it, she nearly cried and thanked me, lol.  He has gotten better, and I'm no neat freak, but I try.  I have piles of "organized" messes. 

    If your DH is so insistent about having a tidy house and you both work, he needs to pitch in too.  It's his house as well.

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    You're husband needs to accept that there is a different "standard" of cleanliness (neatness, really) after you have kids.  Messes are a part of it.  It sounds like he's the one who needs to change, not you.
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    I can understand, too. I'm the one that struggles. DH appreciates a clean house, but when he lived alone it was a horror show. Black sludge in the bathroom, etc. So he can't (and doesn't) ever criticize, but when it IS clean he is sooo much happier to be home.

    Anyway, for anyone struggling with the toy thing I just wanted to throw our solution out there that works pretty well. We have 6 of the "strapping floor bins" from Land of Nod. We stash them around the house and it's really easy to throw toys into. And normally they can just stay in whatever room, but if company is coming over, these are really lightweight and easy to pick up and take to DS's room, where they line the wall and are out of the way.

    I like those wooden shelves where the tubs are angled, and if we ever have a house with a play room that would work. But he does 95% of his playing in the living room, but I don't want a permanent piece of toy storage furniture in there. 

     

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    yes, it's one of the few things we argue about. our house is small and there's too much stuff. plus, dd is like a tornado, i can't clean anything without her latched on my leg and screeching, and all evening after she goes to bed i help h do homework. unless i want to listen to her scream, i don't get too much cleaned during the day.

    it only takes her half a minute to destroy what i spend 20 doing. i hate it.

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    imagejenifairies:

    it only takes her half a minute to destroy what i spend 20 doing. i hate it.

    Oh, I soooo hear ya!

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    I'm a very good housekeeper, much better than H's mother.  He still manages to have unrealistic expectations for the house, until he goes anywhere else.  He'll go to anyone else's house and come home and give me lots of compliments on how clean AND tidy (these are two different things) I keep our home.  But then after a few weeks of not seeing how most people's houses are he'll start making comments again.  So I have to send him somewhere.
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    imageskittles_123:

    ...She is always preaching to us that we need to keep our house cleaner "for the kids."

    Now when my mil preaches about it, my dh says "when do you expect us to clean and keep our house perfect?" That usually shuts her up.

    One of my mom's biggest regrets is that she stressed over having a spotless house at all times.  She says she should have played with us more and worried over the state of the house less.  

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    As far as giving DH "chores" I say things like "Do you want to sweep or fold the laundry" or "Do you want to clean the bathroom or do the floors".  Then I don't feel like I'm telling him to do something - he chooses one and I do the other.  Kind of like how I talk to my younger students :)
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    my Dh is like yours...

    are house is cleaner then any of our friends, yet he will tell you its a pit or a pigsteye.

    He ruined fathers day because he wanted to clean all day.

    He is making up a chore chart for us to spend our friday/saturday drafting chores, he gets really excited about this and I have no choice but to go along with it.

    First extra 2K we get where we dont know what to do with it in a few yrs down the line, we are hiring a housecleaner.

    But of course she wont be good enough, well then he can just clean up behind her instead of me. :P

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    what makes it even worse, is everyone is like Oh I WISHED my DH cleaned, so of course makes me look like a bad person for complaining...

     

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    I think the only cure for this is for you to go on vacation for a week.  He needs to try and hold himself up to the same level that you have and realize that it's not possible.  The only thing that is going to make him change is experience. 
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    I always remember what Erma Bermbeck (sp?) wrote in her column when she was diagnosed with cancer. She wished she'd spent less time in her life cleaning her house and trying to be perfect and more time just enjoying her family.

    My dh says I have the cleanliness of a frat boy... he does 90% of the cleaning in our house. Some things he doesn't do the way I'd like them done, but I don't say anything because I'm happy he does them. I think that might be a gender based double standard, that I try not to complain because I'm afraid if I do he'll stop doing so much around the house.

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