Google Dollops of Diane: My Husband Thinks Our House Is Dirty

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Husband Thinks Our House Is Dirty

For the past few weekends my husband seemed a bit “off.” He was more annoyed by things, more frustrated, more not liking life so much (in my opinion). So last weekend I asked him what was bothering him and his answer really surprised me. It turns out it wasn’t just the annoyance of children (which I had chalked it up to) but instead he said that he felt like he had to spend the weekends cleaning and that the house was dirty. At first I kind of wanted to punch him in the face. As a stay at home mom/housewife I felt like his comment was a huge slap in the face to me but you know what? He was right.

I do spend my days sweeping, vacuuming, cleaning up toys, doing laundry and all that “fun” stuff. However, I’m not scrubbing the floors, or the walls, or cleaning out the fridge on a regular basis. This is precisely the dirt that he was referring to. I honestly just don’t like doing that stuff. My mother on the other hand loved to clean. A lot of my memories of her when she was in good health were of her cleaning. I just didn’t inherit that gene. 

Plus, it’s tough with the kids. Who has time to really clean when you have three small children to look after? But I think I’ve been using them as an excuse. The truth is do I have the time. There are moments of down time when I could be washing the floor boards but I choose not to. I choose to be on Facebook. I choose to write blog posts. I choose to watch General Hospital. Now does that make me a bad housewife? Eh, the jury is still out.

I do think those things makes me a better mother though. I need that down time to refuel, to recharge, and to have contact with someone who wants to discuss things other than crafts, dinosaurs, and Elmo. But my husband’s comment struck close to home (too close to home). I had been slacking. 

So this past week I started tackling the rooms on by one. I cleaned and scrubbed parts of the kitchen that I’m not sure have been touched in the past five years. I’m talking about scrubbing the top of the refrigerator, using all those fancy attachments of the vacuum to clean the space above your cabinets but below the ceiling, and I got every last bit of crayon/pen off the front of the cabinets. It felt good – damn good. 

The house is definitely still a work in progress and I have lots left to do but I’m getting there. In order to avoid the “D” word from being used again to describe the house I’ve also decided to assign myself chores for each day. I know, I know, what am I 10 years old and need chores? But yeah, I think I do. I am a planner and do better with a set schedule. So I’m going to have a day for mopping, a day for bathroom cleaning, a day for changing sheets, etc. So if after all of this my husband still thinks that the house is dirty I’m going to hand over the mop to him (after I punch him in the face).

These were my only friends last week


  1. Chris will love this post. In fact, how can we make sure he doesn't see it? I have the 10 count of Mr. Clean and his Magic Erasers. I guess I should get up off my butt and start multi-purpose cleaning...

    Hope he's impressed! Good Housekeeping is calling.

  2. You are a totaly awesome housewife! Sometimes I dont think people who work outside the home know what its like to be the one home with three kids, cooking and cleaning. Somethings gotta give sometimes- and if its a bit of dust in the corner or your sanity I say go for the dust and watch some GH! <3

  3. I say punch him in the face and call a cleaning person. Moms need their downtime too.

  4. Diane, you are anything but a slacker. I really enjoyed your post. My Mom is also a lover of cleaning. She always had something to clean, and she actually cleaned it. I understand how the comment struck close to home. I love your plan, and I hope it feels really amazing when everything is sparkly, dust free, and pressed/folded, etc.

  5. I'm not a 'cleaner' either. But I've felt like I need to step it up as well. I don't have a newborn anymore. :) So I've started to tackle more of the house...It's about I loved your post...I'm with you.

  6. Well, here are my thoughts on the matter. If your husband was so put off by the "dirt", why didn't het just clean it himself? I'm sure he's busy working full time, ybut guaranteed that with 3 kids, you're ten times busier EVERY DAY. He has a huge set of balls to call you out on it instead of just taking care of it himself. If it were my husband, I WOULD have punched him in the face, made him sleep on the couch for a week and take me out to dinner for insulting me like that. Just sayin'.

  7. Thank you to everyone for the support!

    Loopy and Masshole, Tim is thanking his lucky stars that he's not married to you two ladies!

  8. Best thing about being married to a firefighter who visits some of the biggest dumps in Chicago? He NEVER thinks our house is dirty. It's awesome. Let me know if you want Joe to arrange some "ride time" for your husband where he can tag along. He'll see things quite differently, guaranteed.

  9. My husband has complained about the exact same thing. And you're right, at first it's like, "OK, douche face, then YOU clean it!", but I had to step back and really look at things from his point of view. I do take naps WITH the kids everyday and blog in the mornings when maybe i should be cleaning up. I'm thinking that I need a chore schedule too. Maybe when I have to cross it off the earn "blogging priveleges", things will actually get done. We shall see. This was a great post. :)

  10. I've been a stay at home dad for 3-4 years. Now my wife is staying home and doing it all.

    First of all, in my opinion, women are better at managing the ebb and flow of the home and children.

    The reason men snap about a clean house is because we look at home as a place of rest. When it is messy, it is easier to get irritated.

    How would a stay at home mom feel if their husband didn't feel like going to work this week?

  11. Oh my husband has said the SAME thing. And you're right - it hurt at first. I mean, I'm with the kids all day. How'd you like it if I did NONE of the cleaning I actually have time for....maybe then you'd appreciate me?!

    But then, like you, I realized I wasn't being fair. He wasn't saying I was being lazy. The house WAS a mess, and nobody was happy about it. We came up with a slightly different solution - we hired help. :-p I'm a piano teacher, and he works full time. I figured, as long as I was spending 6-8 hours a week working...if I could use some of that money to pay somebody ELSE to clean for 3 hours a week, that was three hours a week more for me to spend time with my kids and actually TAKE them to the park when they ask, instead of feeling guilty that the vacuuming hasn't happened that week.

    Good luck!! (I also assigned my two littles some "chores." The 6 year old got her very own little dust-buster vacuum from Amazon, and she is in charge of vacuuming the kitchen. The 3 year old is in charge of wiping the table after meals. Not that they always DO those things, but I want them to learn early that life in my house isn't a free ride. I'm essentially a lazy person at heart, and I want all the help I can get from them. ;-))

  12. I can definitely relate. I loved this post. I know that as stay at home moms sometimes we get it in our head that we are busy 24/7. When in reality, sometimes we truly aren't putting our best foot forward when it comes to the stuff we honestly just don't want to do. i use my son as an excuse a lot when it comes to household chores that don't seem to get done. I feel ashamed saying that. It's true though. Kudos to you for giving yourself chores! I think I may need to sit down and write out a few for myself!

  13. Update: I'm not doing as well sticking to my schedule as I should. Ahhh, cleaning. Why are you such a difficult task?!

  14. future husband came home one day an started washing the dishes and I could tell he was I asked and he blew up! I shouldn't have to come home an wash dishes it should already be done and why didn't you vacuum the living room floor and the hallway and theres nothing for me to eat!..Now this outburst sent me into tears because what he didn't know was our 7 month old daughter had a complete breakdown around 10am and did not want me to put her down for NOTHING! Finally around noon she fell asleep. I started washing the dishes an then the phone rang 3 times back to back. Customers calling about invite orders that I had yet to complete, then the business of calling the venue for our wedding to let them know we were waiting until next April, calling the hotels to cancel reservations and room blocks oh yeah an the baby woke up with a leaking poop diaper that got all over her, the chair, the blanket and anything else she decided to crawl across the chair an touch...I cleaned that up and by that time it was almost 4:30 time for my oldest to walk thru the door and my future men realize that is not our intention to not clean, we just get off track with the million other things going on in our lives!


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