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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. Our house is never clean. I've learned to live with it after 17 plus years of marriage. I'm not the slacker husband who does nothing, in my opinion, in fact i would say i'm a majority stakeholder in the chores.
My question though is how to deal with one specific thing that bugs me, and communication hasn't worked on this.
my wife loves to create the "clean spot". she will diligently clean for hours in one corner of the toy room, putting everything away neatly and cleaning so that we end up with a clean square. the rest of the house is trashed, but we have a clean spot to enjoy.
i've learned i have to be happy about this; i have to congratulate her on the clean spot when in my mind i'm staring at a sink full of dishes, kitchen table that never gets cleaned, and counter tops that are so full they've actually never been used as counters.
we have a lot of kids. i think our house needs power cleaning on the macro scale, and that the micro cleaning has to wait.
HELP. how do i say this without getting into another argument?
 

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I do the "clean spot" thing. I find cleaning everything in one go is too overwhelming. Not only that, but after going OCD on one area, the sense of accomplishment is satisfied, unfortunately...

You have a lot of kids... The house may not be clean for years to come. How else does your wife spend her time? Does she work? Read to the kids? Do laundry? Fix supper?

Cleaning may not be her strength but I'm sure she more than makes up for it in other ways. :)
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If you have a lot of kids, surely some of them are getting old enough to help out. Why not talk to your wife, calmly, and tell her that it's bothering you and ask if she could involve the kids in helping get it clean?

Avoiding an argument is probably more about how you phrase the question. If she feels attacked or put down, she's going to react defensively.

"Honey, I know you do a lot with the kids and I appreciate how much you do, but....."
 

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I disagree with the "but" part of the phrase, it kind of has a dismissing quality to it that will also make her feel defensive. I think you can appeal to her better if you state what it is that you want/need and brainstorm together about making that happen.

Oh, and having the kids help is a great idea. :)
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we have a lot of kids.
You lost me at this sentence. LOL

If I were you I'd take charge and put some of those kids on cleaning duty since your wife isn't going to do it. My guess is the kids are still young but they can do more than you give them credit for.

There is a thing called 'chore charts'. I'm sure you've heard of it.
 

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Hire a cleaning lady/team. It will help you stop arguing about the mess and catch up on the overwhelming task.

Then, declutter and make sure each thing has a home by organizing. Get her on board with this by posing it as a joint project and not the result of some shortcoming of hers or yours.

I had a lot of clutter in closets and unused rooms. When stbxh complained about it, it made me defensive. When we tackled it together and then redecorated, it became less about blame and more about cooperation; it was even enjoyable.
 

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I'd encourage you to express it as a positive and to put the kids to work. You can say you have an idea that will achieve pay off a lot more than it will cost in effort. If each person in the household spends just minutes per day on completing some chores, you'll be accomplishing a lot:

- instilling a good work ethic in your children
- enjoying a cleaner home
- relieving some pressure from your wife
- creating a de-stress environment for you

Even the youngest children can help. They can put toys away, push a broom around (don't criticize when it accomplishes nothing but praise them for their helpfulness and willing attitudes instead). Kids from 5-8 years can wipe glass surfaces, countertops, and tables, as well as take out trash. Kids older than 9 can wash dishes, vaccuum, and clean bathrooms.

You've grown accustomed to a clean spot in your home. You could assign a clean spot for each kid to create, too. They won't do the job perfectly, but if you expect progress rather than perfection, it will benefit everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok all replies are fair enough. The kids working thing has been an epic fail....sports and schoolwork pretty much take out the older ones....and as mentioned, I don't have time after work to mentor little ones. As for my spouse....isn't it mixed up for me being the one willing to trade romance for housecleaning???
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How about just being honest with her. Tell her you hate living in a dirty house and its getting you down. Work out a plan to get the house cleaned up and uncluttered. There's very few excuses for living in a dirty house esp when you have children living there. I'm not a clean freak but my house is clean and relatively tidy always. It's too much to do all at once so it can be broken down into priorities. Bathroom and kitchen should be done regularly the. The rest can be done on scheduled days.

Much better to be honest with her now and risk hurting her feelings than holding this in for years and becoming more and more resentful. She's a big girl. She'll get over it!
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Ok all replies are fair enough. The kids working thing has been an epic fail....sports and schoolwork pretty much take out the older ones....and as mentioned, I don't have time after work to mentor little ones. As for my spouse....isn't it mixed up for me being the one willing to trade romance for housecleaning???
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I understand about the kids. Schoolwork came 1st. They had a few chores but their main "job" was school. That's how it worked in my home & somehow they got the "neat freak gene" from me as young adults now.

What does trade romance for housecleaning mean? She has no time to clean the house because you are screwing all the time?
 

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Ok all replies are fair enough. The kids working thing has been an epic fail....sports and schoolwork pretty much take out the older ones....and as mentioned, I don't have time after work to mentor little ones. As for my spouse....isn't it mixed up for me being the one willing to trade romance for housecleaning???
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Kids need chores, too. Not just sports. Make cleaning a team sport, with everyone having their roles on the team. Schedule the cleaning sport time just as soccer games and whatnot are scheduled. And stick to it - every Saturday morning (or afternoon or Sunday or whenever), your team cleans the house before going anywhere or doing anything else. Period.

You can do it if you really want to.
 

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Stop congratulating her on cleaning one stupid corner. That's ridiculous.
I thought this too. He said his wife cleans 'for hours' on that one corner and he praises her for it. In 'hours' I could clean my entire house to something presentable.

Oh and saying the older kids are too busy is an excuse. Cut out their activities. Who pays for all that? Dude you're the man of the house so act like one. It's not too much to expect a decent house to come home to. Lived in not spotless.
 

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My guess is she's a perfectionist. Her attitude is either it's cleaned perfectly or not at all. Hence the whole clean square thing.

No way would I spend HOURS on one square if I can't see my counter tops. That's just insane.
 

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F$&k sports. Sports are a privilege they have to earn. ( Except swimming) They are a part of the family and make a mess also. They have to be taught to contribute to the family. If you can't teach them to clean up after themselves and contribute to the household, you are raising some poor future spouses.

One trick with the littler ones is the let them know any toy that gets left out goes in the trash. Then do it, walk around with a trash bag putting the toys in it. (Don't really throw them away) make them do chores to earn them back. If they don't have a garage sale.
 

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No chores, no sports!!! It's just how it is..... I don't see a future employer telling them they can have a two week paid vacation when they aren't doing their job! No.....they get fired!! Stop rewarding them for doing nothing!

If the house is in shambles and no one (you, wife, or kids) want to take care of it....then call a sanitation department; have them deliver one of their large 'roll-off' dumpsters and tell everyone in the house, if it doesn't have a place, then it goes in the dumpster. You do this once (maybe twice) and they see you mean business, I guarantee your 'mess' problem will be solved.

H and I did this with our oldest. We gave him 3 days to clean his room. Then we moved in with empty boxes and started loading. If it wasn't something he needed (clothes, shoes, school books, etc.) it went in the garbage. This happened ONCE!!
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
No chores, no sports!!! It's just how it is..... I don't see a future employer telling them they can have a two week paid vacation when they aren't doing their job! No.....they get fired!! Stop rewarding them for doing nothing!

If the house is in shambles and no one (you, wife, or kids) want to take care of it....then call a sanitation department; have them deliver one of their large 'roll-off' dumpsters and tell everyone in the house, if it doesn't have a place, then it goes in the dumpster. You do this once (maybe twice) and they see you mean business, I guarantee your 'mess' problem will be solved.

H and I did this with our oldest. We gave him 3 days to clean his room. Then we moved in with empty boxes and started loading. If it wasn't something he needed (clothes, shoes, school books, etc.) it went in the garbage. This happened ONCE!!
Ha. I've been here...that's why my attic is full of cardboard boxes of completely random junk. I appreciate the replies. I was under the impression that our society no longer accepted the man who comes home from work and then asks where dinner is and why the house is a mess. I wish I could blame the creator of farmville...
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thing is, there's things you can do to make it FEEL clean even if it isn't perfect - doing the dishes is one, cleaning the counter tops is another

if you do a little bit often then it's far easier to maintain. I threaten the child with taking a black bin bag to her room and that usually does the trick

I filled seven out of there once. You have to be ruthless
 

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How about drawing up a weekly roster and getting the whole family involved? For example:-

Cooking: A
Set Table: B
Clear Table: C
Wash Dishes / Load Dishwasher and Clean Work Tops: D
Put Dishes Away: E

Make Beds: A, B C, D and E
Hoover: A
Dust: B, and C
Clean Bathrooms: D and E

Rotate on a weekly basis and make sure everyone sticks to their allotted chores.

If chores are broken down into do-able chunks, it should be easier to get things done, and even small children can be taught to set a table or use a duster.
 
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