10 Mar
Please Get My Husband to Stop Helping Around the House

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My husband tries to help out with all the household chores, which I guess sounds like a positive, but it drives me bonkers. He uses too much fabric softener when he does the laundry. He can’t seem to tell which clothes go in which of the kids’ closets. He even tries to clean up behind me AS I’m cooking, once throwing away ingredients before I was even through with them. Do I have him stop “helping” or do I check myself into an anal-retentive treatment center?

Signed,

Anal & Anxious

________________________________________

Dear AA,

Your husband sounds like my own helpful spouse who recently saw a basket of clothes in the laundry room and said with great pride, “Honey, I threw in that load of laundry and started the washing machine.”

“That’s so sweet of you – EXCEPT THOSE CLOTHES WERE ALREADY CLEAN. I just needed to fold them,” I responded.

Some help really is the kind of help we all can do without.   It sounds like your husband is about one notch above the helpful toddler who helps his mom “clean” by spraying down and soaking the entire couch with Mrs. Meyer’s Countertop spray.

But there is reason to be hopeful! Because your husband wants to help. And that sure beats the lazy slug of a husband who thinks that doing his part to tidy up the house means throwing his super size potato chip bag in the trash. Or at least hiding it under his recliner.

Don’t despair because your spouse can improve. Give him short simple tasks like vacuuming the living room rug or washing dishes, and over time move on to bigger challenges like grocery shopping. When it comes to laundry, put clear instructions on the machine so he can just follow the steps. Basically, I’m advising that you pretend you are married to a smart chimp and you are training this monkey to clean.

Some tasks will never be possible. For example, I never let my husband put our clothes in the dryer because I don’t want to spend my life wearing shrunken baby doll size tees. But don’t shut him down completely because that will leave you doing ALL the household chores and frankly, that’s a whole lot worse than a guy who uses too much fabric softener.

Good luck to you,

Kelcey, TMH

7 Responses to “Please Get My Husband to Stop Helping Around the House”

03.10.10#1

Comment by Lara.

One of the pieces of advice I got when getting married was “there is more than one right way to do things”.

The advice my husband got was “the first time she asks you to do something around the house, completely f*#@ it up, so she never asks again.”

Sounds like he’s trying. I’m with Kelcey. Work with it.

03.10.10#2

Comment by Lisa Rae @ smacksy.

If I had a shrunken sweater for every time my husband “helps” with laundry… oh wait, I do.

03.10.10#3

Comment by Boliath.

Gah…I can’t bear the “oh silly husband, can’t wash a dish” mentality.

Men are just as capable of cleaning cooking, washing, drying, folding, and putting away as women are.

If your husband puts the clothes in the wrong drawer tell him so, if your drawers aren’t organised and it’s not obvious where stuff goes maybe you need to check that.

If he does it again and again there’s something else going on, either he’s an idiot or else waiting for you to say “oh honey, you’re such a klutz, why don’t you let me do that?”

Too many women are control freaks about this kind of thing, as Lara says above there is more than one right way. I see it with parenting, grown men checking with their partners before they make a bottle, change a nappy, whatever, it’s ridiculous and tends to leave the woman stressed out and overworked. Back off I say, if he does something truly stupid perhaps he needs to learn so show him then step away and let him do it.

My last word is please do not continue this with our sons, get them washing dishes, loading washing machines with pre-sorted clothes, folding fitted sheets etc as soon as you possibly can, females do not have an innate ability to do domestic chores better than men.

End of rant.

Heather Reply:

You mean I (as a woman) am suppose to know how to fold a fitted sheet? Oh crap.

GrandeMocha Reply:

I just wash them & put them back on. I can’t fold fited sheets either.

Boliath Reply:

There’s a trick to it, I found it in my vagina 🙂

03.11.10#4

Comment by Rachel.

He isn’t a toddler, he can do household chores, it just seems like you are very picky about how certain ones get done. I don’t think you need to “teach” him to clean, but I think you need to accept people have different styles. I think this can be solved by divvying up the chores. If you are really particular about the laundry, say you will handle that but you would love it if he washed the floors or vacuumed or did the dishes after dinner or whatever it is that won’t drive you crazy. Then, accept that however he did it, it is done and done well enough.

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