Author Topic: What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]  (Read 3870 times)

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Reason

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What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]
« on: February 03, 2012, 05:03:43 PM »
<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?

NyaChan

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Re: What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2012, 05:08:53 PM »
Why is only one person taking responsibility for the cleaning?  It sounds like keeping a house clean to your standards is too much for one person to handle.  You said yourself that you were feeling the strain of keeping it up & it is clear that your wife has felt it also.  Why don't you split the list you made your wife so that both of you have a lesser load but the end result is still a clean house?

penelope2017

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Re: What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2012, 05:09:32 PM »
Can you guys afford a cleaning lady once every two weeks? Or possibly dividing up the tasks or rooms? It sounds like keeping on top of all the cleaning is too much for both of you separately.

jmarvellous

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Re: What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2012, 05:14:01 PM »
Share chores. The things she can do and keep up with to your standards, she does; the things you're very particular about, you do.

So maybe:

Wife:
Laundry
Mending
Car washing
Bathroom cleaning

Reason:
Kitchen cleanup
Floor cleaning
Decluttering
Yardwork

Or whatever other things you feel the need to outline and divvy up. Then one person doesn't get overwhelmed, and one person doesn't correct/nitpick on the things that are the other's responsibility.


Judah

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Re: What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2012, 05:31:13 PM »
Can you guys afford a cleaning lady once every two weeks? Or possibly dividing up the tasks or rooms? It sounds like keeping on top of all the cleaning is too much for both of you separately.

This was my husband's solution when I went back to work and it saved my sanity.  I was reluctant at first because, really, how hard is it to keep the house clean?  We just couldn't keep up and still have time for the things we wanted to do.
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WillyNilly

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Re: What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2012, 05:35:12 PM »
Like others I don't understand why this an "all or nothing one person" task. Why not both do some cleaning. One person does the dishes while the other picks up toys. One wipes down the sfaces while the othe vacuums. One takes out the tash while other makes the bed. Etc.

I'm personally not a fan of assigned chores. Yes I usually do the laundry and Df usually takes out trash if he ever even hinted laundry was my job... well it would not be pretty. We just both do a bit of somthing everyday as needed.

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Re: What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2012, 05:43:45 PM »
<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.

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Bibliophile

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Re: What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2012, 05:49:59 PM »
Are you watching your nephew or is your wife?  Because it sounds like she's got a lot to handle right now if she's working and having to help take care of him plus clean. A mess doesn't get that bad in a day - don't wait weeks until you can't take it anymore.  Clean as you go rather than in some super long cleaning binge that looks PA to someone on the outside as it sounds like you just cleaned for hours without any conversation with your wife.  She got her feelings hurt.  She's probably just as stressed as you.  The cleaning binge came across as you think she's failing at something.

I agree with the other posters that you should probably work out a shared cleaning schedule.  DH doesn't load a dishwasher well and it drives me NUTS.  So guess what?  I load & he unloads - we're both happy.  Sometimes he doesn't put a dish exactly where it goes, but it's a small thing & you get over it.  Divide it up so you clean the things that really matter to you - the things that have to be done to your standard - and let her share the ones that don't matter as much or that she enjoys.  DH loves to clean the floor - relishes it in fact - so he gets the lovely job of cleaning 1800 square feet of hardwood floor & I get to clean the kitchen top to bottom.  Share.

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stargazer

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Re: What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2012, 05:55:53 PM »
This is very confusing.  How did such filth end up happening right under your nose and you not notice it?  I mean, if you had to use a window scraper to get oil off counter tops and four loads of dishes, that paints quite a picture right there, not even taking into account all the random toys, dirt, and hidden dishes.  Did you not say anything until you just got fed up?  If so, this is one of the communication issues you really need to work on.   I agree with others that this also shouldn't be something one of you does - it clearly is too much work for either of you and should be split.

Addy

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Re: What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2012, 06:40:15 PM »
If the baby in question is your nephew that you are watching, why don't you clean up the baby mess, such as the toys and bread crumbs tossed on the floor, as soon as the baby leaves. Actually, that last one, I don't see why you wouldn't have cleaned up right away, as it happened. Also, how would dirty dishes be under baby toys? Was it dishes that the baby was eating from?

But to reiterate what other folks have said, this sounds like a two-person job. Maybe if you could handle the baby mess, your wife wouldn't be overwhelmed by the kitchen mess.

AustenFan

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Re: What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2012, 06:47:16 PM »
Is hiring a cleaner to come in once a week to do the basics a possibility? Then you guys would really just need to keep the house tidy on a day to day basis.

Yvaine

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Re: What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2012, 06:57:21 PM »
A half hour sounds like a really short amount of time to do all of the cleaning in a house. Is it possible that she was doing a fair amount of cleaning to begin with, that you maybe didn't realize she was doing, so that the "baseline" cleanliness was higher when you were doing your half-hour blitzes? And now that it's "her job," is it possible that you are not helping at all because you see it as a "rule" or an "agreement" of some sort (I've noticed from your previous posts that you like everything to have concrete rules)? I'm wondering if maybe it was always a two-person job without your necessarily realizing it.

apple

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Re: What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2012, 07:34:23 PM »
I think you and your wife need to sit down and discuss the situation calmly. Taking care of a home is the responsibility of both partners - in fact, all family members. I would look for a way to divide up the responsiblities.

I recommend agreeing on a "base line" of cleanliness that's acceptable to both of you. If someone wants to go above and beyond that, it shouldn't be seen as a judgment on the character of the other partner; it's just a personal preference. That person can do the extra things that make them more comfortable.

Also, I don't believe that 30 minutes a day is enough to take care of all household responsibilities regarding cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc.). That's not realistic.

Good luck to you!

Wordgeek

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Re: What was I supposed to do about a dirty house? [long]
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2012, 07:38:55 PM »
Insofar as this is an etiquette issue, the matter has been sufficiently addressed.