<bg> I used to clean the house for about 1/2 an hour as soon as I got back from work/gym to maintain a living standard I am comfortable in. Lately however, work has been rough, my health is plunging and I have been very tired and possibly a tinge depressed. My wife saw this and offered to take over the cleaning completely to help me lower my stress levels. I was happy that she volunteered to do this for me and for a little while I felt better.
However, the cleaning that she's been doing is not exactly at a level I am comfortable with. I don't think I am asking for too much (no piles of dishes in the sink, no stains on the counters, no piles of crumbs all over the floor, baby toys in the toy chest etc.) So I told her her that I don't really feel comfortable with how clean the house is and I would rather just clean it myself as we obviously have a different definition of clean. She said that she wants to help and will clean it to my standards even if she thinks it's fine the way it is. So I wrote down a list of the stuff I did everyday when I got home, which I thought she knew about anyway, but I wanted to be certain. </bg>
So after another couple of weeks I came home, looked around and saw caked on teryaki stains caked on the counter, a big pile of dirty dishes and toys all over the house. So I just decided to clean it myself. I had to use a window scraper to get the oil off the kitchen counters and did 4 loads of dishes before everything was put away. Then I cleaned the counters and took another hour to find all the toys around the house (under which I found more dishes with week half eaten old food still on them). Then I almost clogged the vacuum with large mounds of bread crumbs that the baby threw all over the floor. It's not my kid by the way, but my nephew, that I am watching for a while. If after this some of you may be thinking my wife is some kind of slob, she is definitely not. She's normally really domestic and a great cook, just that she works hard as well and probably just bit off more than she can chew by volunteering. I think she got overwhelmed. She can't neglect her other duties because art is really her life.
So after I was done with this exercise I went upstairs to find my wife in tears, because she apparently felt she wasn't good enough for me and is a terrible person for failing to keep up. Now, I realize she's working very hard on her art projects and I never said a harsh word to her. I just wanted the house clean so I cleaned it. It wasn't some passive aggressive way to get her to co-operate, especially since she volunteered. Now I am afraid to clean it again, but I don't want to stress her out either. Was it rude of me to take over a duty that she volunteered for because it wasn't up to my standards? Was there a better compromise and more importantly, what am I supposed to do now? Should I just accept the mess?
There is something off about this story, but I can't quite put my finger on it. maybe if I break it down it'll help.
You say you would take 30 minutes out of your day to clean the house to you standards. Because of your various issues, this has become difficult and your wife volunteered to do this for you. So logically we are talking about 30 minutes out of her day, not hours and hours. This begs the question, what exactly is she doing to clean the house that you share? I mean, if you think the kitchen being cleaner is more important, is she spending her time cleaning the bathroom instead?
Did you leave town for a couple of weeks? The way you word your post, it seems that you were gone for some period of time and were surprised to find what sounds like some pretty serious filth. Surely four loads of dishes didn't get dirty overnight?
And when you decided to clean the mess up yourself, instead of helping, your wife chose to stay in her room and cry about how terrible she is, etc instead of helping you? Why didn't she either just do the cleaning or tell you that she couldn't do it after all? And now you wonder if you should stop cleaning house because you are afraid of hurting her feelings?
I guess I'm having a little trouble getting my head around some of this. Did you leave for a couple of weeks and come back to a huge mess, or let it sit until you got to the point where you couldn't stand it any longer? When you are talking about "standards" you've told us what yours are, but not what hers are. You say she's not a slob, she's very domestic, etc., yet you do describe her as being unwilling to do anything at all around the house. Is it a matter of her not being willing, not having time or not knowing how to clean?
I think after I read through it and broke it down I have come to the conclusion that your wife seems to be manipulating you. She wants the credit for volunteering to do it, pity when she doesn't follow through and on top of it makes you feel guilty for doing what she was unwilling to do herself.
I know that I may be very off base, so please forgive me if I am. I'm certainly not trying to insult you or your wife on any level. I'm just trying to understand the dynamic you've described.