Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Real Problems Require Real Solutions

As some of you may or may not have noticed from the comments on some of my recent blogs my sister is in medical school. As such she has developed sort of a "pill popping" mentality. Most recently she has been trying to get me to take anti-anxiety medicine for my "issues" with our house and it's less than cleanly nature.

Here is my problem with this. The fact that my house is not clean is not in my head. I could see if one little piece of cat hair was causing a mental breakdown where perhaps I might need medication. But that is not the problem of which I am speaking.

And in all actuality, it's not even the cleanliness of the house that is giving me fits. It is more of the manner in which the house gets into that state that I am having problems with. See my husband, he likes to clean NOTHING!! I do the laundry, I do the dishes, I was doing the cleaning before we had the cleaning lady start coming, you get the point.

He is full of excuses. He comes home from work and he's tired so he wants to watch TV. Then he has to go to meetings at night. He gets up in the morning and he's tired so he needs to sit and drink coffee to wake up. On the weekends he is forever volunteering himself for one project or another. This last weekend he volunteered to help his dad mow the pasture and cut down some trees. So, he was gone all weekend.

This morning I wanted him to help me pick up a few things but he was too busy "spending time" with Zack because he had a meeting last night so he didn't really get to see him. In the mean time I don't ever get to see him and so I get more and more frustrated with the status of our household.

Here is our typical day in a nutshell:

I get up at 6:00 I shower and get Jake up at 6:20-6:30
I shuffle around putting laundry away, emptying the dishwasher, getting Zack's bag packed, etc.
Zack gets up, Jake plays with him while I continue to do things around the house
I take Zack to daycare around 7:15
I go to work
I get done with work at 5:00 and head to get Zack
Jake gets home around 5:15 and proceeds to eat something and watch TV
I get home at 5:45 and have to set Zack in with Jake so I can try to find some dinner to feed him
If Jake is home he might feed Zack dinner but most of the time he has meetings so he leaves at 6:20
I finish feeding Zack, give him a bath and by the time we're done with all of that he's tired and cranky and ready for bed
It is only at 7:00-8:00 when I finally get to eat and then possibly throw in a load of laundry or start the dishwasher
Jake gets home from his meetings anywhere between 8:30 & 9:30 and promptly goes to bed because he is tired

Here is what I have tried that is NOT working. I have tried asking him to do things. I have tried making lists. Both of these make me feel like his mother not his wife. He's a grown man, he should be able to look around the house and see what needs done and do it himself. He doesn't.

He has a duffel bag that he brought back from treatment. He got back at the end of August. Until yesterday morning that duffel bag sat on the floor of our bedroom. I have asked him no less than 5 times to empty it out. He has ignored me all of those 5 times. Yesterday it caused a war when I asked him yet again and he told me that he hadn't gotten to it and he would get to it when he felt like it and the cleaning lady could just move it. It is now in the disaster area we call an office.

I have asked him to wait until Zack and I get home to eat. He does not. He is apparently too starving and in too big of a hurry to wait for us. So the other night I asked him to start some food. Something simple like Hamburger Helper or Spaghetti. When I got home he had cooked the hamburger and it was sitting in a strainer. It appeared as if he had half assed it because there were huge chunks of hamburger instead of it being finely chopped. You know the way it needs to be for a nine month old baby with no teeth to be able to eat it!! As for actually preparing anything besides the hamburger. He was tired and he had a headache.

I have tried asking him to run the vacuum on various occasions. Instead of taking the five or ten minutes to do the job right he will choose to turn on the Roomba. The Roomba works fine on the hardwood but it does not get the cat hair out of the rugs. He knows this, I've told him a million times. But apparently it has not sunk in because he continues to do it the "easy" way.

And please, don't give me the lecture about how if I ask him to do something I can't get mad if it isn't done "my" way. I get that. I don't get upset if he runs the Roomba, I'm just glad he does something. However when I specifically say can you run the regular vacuum on the rugs and he ignores me it is a little frustrating.

One of my friends mentioned to me last night that perhaps a lot of this has to do with what they told us in treatment. When you start doing drugs heavily your development stops. So part of his development is stuck at 16 or 17 years old. He certainly does ACT like a teenager some times.

So now that we know this... what the hell do we do about it? Seriously, I'm pulling my hair out here. I'm TIRED of being the only one who knows how to clean up our house. I resent beyond belief the fact that we had to hire a cleaning lady to do what he and I should be perfectly capable of doing if he would pitch in a little bit.

I have also tried the approach of not doing things for him. He appears content to just wallow in his own filth at that point. He would just NEVER vacuum but I can't let that happen because Zack is on the floor and it is all well and good that we have animals but I don't need him to be wearing enough fur to classify him AS an animal when I pick him up!!

So please, ANY suggestions that you have would be much appreciated. Should I continue to make lists? Should I continue to nag in the hopes that he gets it? What have you done at your house that has worked for you??

I really can't stand any more fighting over stupid things like housework but at the same time I can't do it all myself. It drives me over the edge.

**Please do not use the comment section as your own personal space to bash my husband or me. I'm not looking for criticism I'm just looking for suggestions. We're aware that it's broken we want to know how to fix it!!**


Shane and Jessica Olson said...

I would say you could quit doing it all together but I have seen what happens when you do that NOTHING get’s done.

So….what if you cleaned the house and busted your ass to keep it cleaner than normal only don’t do anything for him specifically. For example: Don’t do his laundry, don’t wash his dishes, don’t pick up his stuff laying around the house, don’t buy his deodorant, don’t do anything for him. I wonder if he sees you constantly doing stuff around the house if it will make him feel guilty. You could always add a little withholding of recreational activities because you are TOOOOO tired. Normally I don’t think that is healthy but it may prove the point that you are too tired because you have to do EVERYTHING by yourself. I think this is only going to work if you literally bust your butt to keep the house immaculate: clean the office out do obvious things that he will notice. In addition you could not do anything outside the house either. So when he wants to go to dinner you could say I can’t I have laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc to do. The idea is not to ask him for help, don’t say anything about all you do just do it and do it for a couple weeks every night every day etc.

Next thought….Maybe you could get a couple of the guys to come over and clean the house when you know Jake is going to be there. Maybe if Matt and Shane knew what was happening they would help you do this. Maybe on Saturday mornings or one household chore a night they could come over and do. Something small that won’t take up their nights or weekends but enough to make Jake feel uncomfortable that there is another man in his house doing things that he is more than capable of doing.

Okay…I just asked one of my co-workers who is a man. He is very much like Shane as far as does just as much around the house as I do but he said the same think I did. Try not doing anything for him specifically, he even said withhold the extra curricular activities. I never told him my thoughts he said this all blind to what I had written. So maybe between both these ideas you can find something that will work.

todd said...

Jessica beat me to it. I agree you try doing nothing and see what happens. He'll have to do something(I hope!!)

Heather said...

I can try it. At this point I'm willing to try just about ANYTHING. But... I've tried not doing anything for him before and not really had much success. I've tried getting up early and cleaning, staying up late and cleaning he just goes to bed without me or he tells me to come to bed and then gets pissy when I don't.

Heather said...

Someone e-mailed me and mentioned divorce. Is that really the only solution? To leave him, over HOUSEWORK?? It's JUST housework.

Although you deep thinkers might suggest that perhaps it means that he doesn't respect me or he doesn't care about me but I'm not sure that I can jump to that place right now.

Perhaps after a few more months of pulling my hair out... then I may go there!! :-)

lonna said...

I'm a little embarassed to say this, but at my house, I'm the one who doesn't really notice the mess. My husband cleans more than I do. We're both extremely tired and we both want to spend time with our son. I don't know if anything my husband has done has helped. If he doesn't do things, they don't get done. If he nags me, I'm angry and sad on top of nothing getting done. The way I see it spending time with my family means more to me than my house. To him they are intertwined. I do laundry and I cook. But I don't do the other things unless they are really bothering me. Getting a cleaning service has helped a little bit, but we can only afford for them to come once a month. With 2 cats and a preschooler, we really need them to come every 2 weeks.

What has helped, a little, is that during the week my husband will start talking about needing to do things, without saying that I have to do it. Then we talk about how it could be done over the weekend. Then when the weekend comes, it's already in both of our minds that it's time to do whatever big chore we had been talking about. I need time to prepare myself mentally to do some major cleaning. I don't feel that this helped, but just know that you are not alone. My husband feels about me the way you feel about Jake in regards to house work.

Mamalujo said...

Try showing him this post, edited if necessary but keep in the points you make. Do it when you're both fresh, not at the end of the day or after a tough time with Zack. Maybe even make a "date" to do it, so there are as few distractions as possible, and Jake is more focused on you and him. Try not to make it about who does what, but more about how you would be happier if you felt like he helped with these things.

After this, any time you are aware of his efforts to address these concerns, let him know. You don't have to jump his bones, just give him a smile and a thanks.

I disagree with what I see as a passive-aggressive approach of just not doing for him. That will only cause more animosity.

Deanna said...

Nix on the passive-aggressive approach. I tried that, and we both ended up resenting each other. Maybe just a frank conversation, using Jessica's idea, but telling him outright what you are doing. If he is truly in a "teenager" stage, he needs an explicit explanation of what you want/need and what you are going to do to make your point a little clearer to him (make it hit closer to home, so to speak). Obviously, this conversation would best occur during a time when you feel you can keep your emotions in check, and you can just be really matter of fact about it so he doesn't react to your emotions but can really focus on your words. Good luck!!

Anonymous said...

The "divorce" suggestion was a joke people! I later emailed Heather saying I was kidding but I see that part didn't make it to the comment.
I made several suggestions and Heather said..."I NEED something DRASTIC" to which I replied....divorce ha ha.
However I do think it is selfish, disrespectful and lazy but you said I couldn't say those things that I could only make suggestions.
I think that same way when it is my husband and I as well. Not just Jake...although his not wanting to help seems a little more frequent.

Bree said...

I don't know how much you pay for day care and your cleaning person, so this is just an idea. You could think about hiring a nanny instead of sending Zack to daycare. Most nannies do some cleaning, especially if the child is sleeping. It might also be possible for her to have supper ready for you by the time you get home. This would allow you to leave later for work and get home earlier, not to mention if Zack is sick, you wouldn't have to stay home, because there are no other children to infect. Just a thought.