Housework, Never-Ending

I am fascinated about how much interaction I have had over my long rambling house-work posts. As most of you know, I was working off stress in those, as I try frantically to ready for the arrival of son #2, C. I want Mr. Coffee, M, C, and I to be able to just ENJOY each other in the week ahead.

Since Mr. Coffee is a stay-at-home Dad, but I am the one who was raised to keep house, there is always a bit of a struggle inside me. He is more likely to “do over” behind me than I am to “do over” behind him, and I understand why. But it’s hard – after all, I have decades to confirm that “my” way will keep a house tidy without lots of excess work. And of course, I want certain things that I just don’t have time to tend to, but which I can’t reasonably expect of him.

I used to not mind cleaning bathrooms (since you can get everything wet) and I know Mr. Coffee likes mowing the lawn. Sadly, right now, there is NOTHING I enjoy cleaning, though I do like to cook (though I am not so great at it right now). I suppose I don’t mind feeding the animals; that must count for something.

What sort of house-work struggles do ya’ll have with your partners and spouses?

And aside from that, what chores do you mind the most and least?


18 thoughts on “Housework, Never-Ending

  1. Tracy

    My husband and I have a fairly “traditional” way of doing things. He works, and I stay home, so I am in charge of the house. I always said that if I work, too, we’ll have to divide up the chores, which we did for a brief period. It works for us. But, even so, there are a couple of things that I feel like he should be in charge of. Those would be outside repairs, garbage and bugs! (He seems to think our daughters should get over their “irrational bug phobias” by catching them on their own. I say that any girl can catch a bug when she has to, but one of the advantages to having a man around the house is that he will do it for you! πŸ˜‰ )

    My most hated chore is bathroom cleaning. Followed by laundry and dishes because they NEVER end. (Ironing I don’t do unless I absolutely have to.) The one I mind least is dusting. And my favorite is doing the mirrors and windows in the doors, because I use a lavender scented spray. Cooking I love, so I don’t include it as a chore.

  2. Deborah

    My partner and I have developed a pretty good system for household tasks. We share most tasks pretty equally (depending on work schedules), although we do have some divided tasks as well: he does most of the repair and woodworking (carpentry and refinishing), while I do most of the gardening and more of the painting. In terms of “struggles”:

    I am messier than he is — I’m a piler, he’s a filer, as they say. I am content with a pretty high level of clutter (although I do like things to be clean), while he finds clutter and disorganization very aversive. I try to be a bit neater, and he’s remarkably tolerant of my clutter, but every once in a while he goes on an organizational binge as a response to the chaos.

    I tend to start projects and not finish them promptly, and the unfinished tasks bother my partner more than they bother me. I’m happy to work around the unfinished project, but having many unfinished projects bugs him. So when I start to talk about a new house project, he will generally ask that we finish some of the outstanding tasks before we start another one.

    We both periodically worry that we aren’t doing our fair share of household tasks. In general, I think it is a fair distribution overall; it may be imbalanced one way or another at any one point (due to work schedules), but I think it balances out over the long term. It’s hard to say, though, and we worry and feel guilty sometimes that we aren’t doing enough.

    I dislike cleaning bathrooms (or anything that requires prolonged scrubbing) and weeding the garden (particularly in the height of the mosquito season). I don’t mind laundry or washing dishes (although I don’t like putting dishes away). I generally like painting a room (although it’s a big job and I don’t like the extensive prep and cleanup work as much as the actual painting), I enjoy putting plants or seeds in the garden, and sometimes I like cooking.

    1. I don’t care for chaos, but crafts in progress don’t fall under that heading! : )
      Coming back to this, I am still struck by your worries. You two must be adorable together!

  3. Oh, you have hit on *the* issue in our marriage. P and I are, um, housework challenged. My parents and sister are, well, to put it nicely obsessively neat. They make Mr. Clean look messy. I have a much higher tolerance for dirt and disorder. P has a higher tolerance than that.

    So our house is not going to pass a super cleanliness test. Now, that’s not to say that we would fail a health inspection. We don’t have garbage scattered everywhere or anything like that, but it isn’t neat and it can almost always use a good vacuuming and a good dusting. These things were a low priority before Katie was born. Now, they’re so low on the priority chart it’s amazing that anyone ever does them. Mostly, things get cleaned if my parents are coming over :).

    P does a lot of the cooking, but not all. Heck, I made baked beans today that turned out well. I bake reasonably well, so that’s my thing. P does things like lawn chores because my asthma doesn’t appreciate that, but then again, Ben and I were picking up sticks in the yard today because we could and it helps with the other yard work.

    From P’s perspective, I work from home and I take care of the kids, so those are my main things. He works a crazy job, but has longer weekends and he uses those to take care of things too. I guess we should figure out a way to get the general maintanence stuff done, but for now, we’re more focused on getting me to where I can function without hurting so much at the end of the day.

    1. It’s nice that you an P have similar standards. Returning to this post, that struck a chord with me. I think “similar standards of cleanliness” is an important marriage value that is under-valued!

  4. rjjs8878

    Our biggest problem with housework is that it has a low priority. Since K travels a lot we tend to do other things on the weekends that he is home. When he is home for a long stretch the housework gets done on a regular basis. We usually divide up the tasks, with the exception of cleaning the wood blinds and washing the windows, as I’m the one who usually takes care of these. The yard work is usually evenly divided but K runs the chipper/shredder because I hate that thing.

  5. I am struck my how peaceful all of these domestic arrangements appear to be. I honestly think (much as I am loathe to admit it), Tracy’s arrangement (with me staying home) would probably work best for me.

    Though I love Deb’s struggles with HER partner – each of them worried they aren’t doing enough! No wonder they have held on to each other for so long!

    1. Deborah

      Though I love Deb’s struggles with HER partner – each of them worried they aren’t doing enough! No wonder they have held on to each other for so long.

      I know — aren’t these the problems you want to have? πŸ™‚ But it is also worth noting that we don’t have children (and therefore have less household work overall) and that, like others have noted, we are often slackers in the housework department. However, I do think that it is really helpful that we are both so committed to a fair contribution to the household — it keeps us from getting resentful.

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  7. Housework has been a bit of struggle for us. I resented my husband because he didn’t do more around the house. But then when he did, I got annoyed because it was ‘sloppy’ (that’s putting it nicely.) I wanted him to do more of the housework, but do it right. Now, I’ve turned over some stuff to him and I keep my mouth shut (mostly). The last big chore of contention was laundry. Several months ago, he took over all laundry except mine, so at least I know my clothes won’t get destroyed πŸ™‚

    1. Funny.

      My Mr. Coffee used to run around “fixing” what I did, which made me crazy. Certainly, as a stay-at-home Dad, he was in his domain, but I grew up keeping house. When he was growing up, his one and only chore was mowing the lawn. The way he “fixed” my doing the laundry was to run into the kitchen to turn off the sensor dry and turn on the timed dry. Uh…dude. Shrinking my clothes isn’t an improvement!

      I loved your laundry post; it was a great example of how the “little things” are the BIG things in a marriage…and how letting go of being right (even if things are done really really badly) can be best for everyone.

      I used to think men did things they didn’t want to do BADLY so they wouldn’t be asked again. It may be true for some. But peace often DOES come down to letting go of one’s notions about the “right way” to keep house.

  8. We’re somewhat equitable about housework. I cook, she cleans up (believe me, I got the better deal, although she gets the better meal … she does have a dishwasher, so I’m not Simon Legree here :). I don’t mind laundry. I don’t mind vacuuming. We don’t need to worry about outside stuff, so not an issue. I do the “man” stuff … repairs and construction and tote that barge … she does the girly stuff like cluttering up the house with a bunch of crap. I don’t let her iron for me … if it needs ironing, rarely but … I can do it myself. Bathrooms are definitely her purview … I can always go bark a tree. πŸ™‚

    Also, like you, JT, I try to keep my mouth shut. You do the job, if I don’t like the result I should have done it myself. LRHG truly sucks at painting … I hate when she paints. I do a better job, but if she gets frustrated waiting on me, she takes charge, and … I get to bite my tongue. Discretion is the better part of … being able to sleep in your own bed without fear? πŸ˜‰

    We work it out. Maybe not perfect, but it works for us and we don’t sweat the detais.

  9. My husband is working and I stay at home mom. My husband will help me when he is at home, so that there is no problem about the housework, though still it is a never ending job for me πŸ™‚ But it means good. Sometime It’s ok to keep our self busy, but still we need sometime to take a rest and take time for our selves πŸ™‚

    The chore that I don’t really like to do is ironing the clothes πŸ˜€

    Please visit my blog and I would be more than happy if you are willing to share your thought there πŸ™‚


    1. Oh ironing – I think it is 100% avoidable! Wash, dry, hang-up. Done!

      I read your instant noodle post – it was fun. I’ll be back again soon. Thanks so much foryour comment.

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