Household responsibilities

United States
December 2, 2010 6:58am CST
I have been married for nearly 21 years and this is still a subject I wrestle with on a regular basis: How should the housework and home responsibilities be divided fairly? During my married years, it feels like I have shouldered most of the work around the home. I cook, clean, do laundry (my older kids do their own), do all the yardwork, take care of all the pets, pay the bills and manage my four kids various schedules. Most of the time I do this work without a second thought. It is what I have chosen to do with my life. I also have a part-time job that is outside the home. In the early years of our marriage, we shared most of the household work. When I started having kids, and didn't work for pay anymore, I took on most of the work at home. Now that my kids are a little older and more independent, I have a part-time job, and still do nearly all the work required to run a home and family. My husband works at least 40 hours a week at his job (often more) and that is about all he does. He comes home, eats, makes another pile of clothes for me to wash, and that is about it. I think he needs time to unwind and do his hobbies of woodworking, reading and playing his computer game, but why can't he do some of the little things around the house that my dad and brother always do, like checking the smoke alarm batteries, helping decorate for Christmas, walking the dog, picking up dog crap from the yard. Little things that don't require much thought, but would mean the world to me. I ask him to do these little things and he acts like I am asking him to hack off his arm and give it to me. I don't like asking because I don't think I should have to and when I do, I feel like I am his mother---yuck!!! I know things can never be "fair" and I don't mind doing the things I have to do, but I never get a break. My husband gets vacation time from his job, but I feel like I never get even a small break. On the rare occasion that I am out of the house for pleasure, I come home to dirty dishes, an unemptied dishwasher, and a house that is in disarray--even more work than when I left the hour before! It is exhausting. Am I being unreasonable in asking him to help out a little? I don't think he is setting a good example for our girls by sitting back and expecting me to do everything.
2 people like this
4 responses
@2004cqui (2823)
• United States
2 Dec 10
Welcome chickenscratch! I've been married to the same man for over 27 years. Each of us have gone through the employed/unemployed stages in our marriage. But no matter how little time we had we always tried to help each other out. Flexibility and change are the corner stones of a happy relationship. You need to put your foot down. You must be happy to remain in a relationship. You are not asking too much!
• United States
3 Dec 10
How I wish I could be in a truly happy relationship. It is rocky right now due to financial troubles that I unfortunately blame him for. I guess I am so tired having to ask for help and getting nothing back that I have just given up. I know it's not good, and I know I have caused the problem myself. I'm the only one who can fix it--if I only had the energy to do so.
• India
3 Dec 10
How beautifully you’ve put all that I go thru everyday…physically and mentally. My hubby is exactly like yours and I thought only Indian males were that lazy at housework! To top it, I have a full time day job as we need the money urgently but what hubby dear never seems to understand that we need to take care of my health too… just because I can manage housework, cooking, cleaning, office and son (including his studies) doesn’t mean that I don’t need any help… I desperately need so but just like you hubby… mine to seems to think that the moment he steps in from work, I should be like the dutiful wife, waiting on him!!! Like you, I too don’t want to nag on something which is so obvious and on occasions when I’ve raised the point, we’ve ended up fighting…
@sid556 (31018)
• United States
2 Dec 10
Hi Chickenscratch, Welcome to mylot! You are not being unreasonable at all. One problem is that you have been doing this for so long that your husband seems to be taking all that you do for granted. Ok so you stopped working in order to stay home with the kids. Ask any daycare worker....that alone is a full time job! Of course, since you are home, you would automatically take on some of the household chores that would otherwise not get done during the day if you had chosen to work outside the home. Still, at the end of the day, you should be able to take a break. You both should end your work days when he walks through the door. At that point...you are a team and a family. On weekends and after work hours, the chores should be shared as well as care of the kids. My mom always stayed home with us kids too. When my dad got home, he put in time with us kids as well as helped her with dishes, picking up the house, yardwork, etc etc. My brothers and I also had different chores to do each night. You should not be stuck doing all the work in that household. Between the kids and hubby they should all be doing their share. I think you should sit him down and have a serious talk with him about this and how much it has been bothering you.
@gracielle (346)
• Philippines
2 Dec 10
My husband & I we're together for 4 years now & honestly this is also happening to me but I stand my ground & get mad at him for doing so. I was exhausted all day taking care of our son, cleaning the house, cooking then all he does are sleeping, watching tv or playing video games but that was before. Now I'm happy that things change, I don't do laundries anymore, he brings all our dirty clothes, blankets in the laundry shop..he cooks now, & he helps me clean the house. To make the story short, you have to talk to him seriously on this matter, let him know that you are having problems on doing all household chores by yourself. Make him realize that you are his wife not his servant.. Hope things change in your house.. Have a great day! (^_^)