Gransnet forums


Pre-retirement advice needed!

(72 Posts)
MagicWand Fri 17-Mar-17 00:53:17

I feel I've got to vent somewhere tonight! DH is in the 8th month of 'semi' retirement and hasn't had to work at all this week but has been doing some of his little jobs in the garden. I've worked my usual 30hr week which involves about an hour and a half's commute by car each day. Today is my shorter day meaning I leave work at 3.30 so, having done a very quick shop in my 30min lunch break, I set off on my weekly visit to see my mum who's in a home 50 miles away; she has dementia and today was not a good day! On my way home I got caught in horrendous crawling traffic queues which turned my normal 1hr journey home into 3hrs.
I got in at 9.15 to find DH feet up watching some black & white western. I'd been home less than 10mins when he suggested perhaps I should go and cook the omelettes that he had suggested we have for supper tonight. I rather exploded I'm afraid.
When he first suggested he retire a bit early, he wasn't that keen on the idea of cooking but he did at least think he'd give it a go for a couple of nights a week. However, 8 months in he seems to have conveniently forgotten this. We're talking about my retiring later this year and he seems to think it will be back to like when the DCs were babies; he went out to work and I did all cooking, cleaning, stay-at-home mum stuff. He does do the washing (but not the 'laundry' if you know what I mean!) but that's about it on the housework front. I'd hasten to add that he isn't lazy, very much the opposite, but is too busy with his projects to even think to do the ordinary day to day stuff.
I did think that we would both be able to benefit from his early retirement as we would both have more time, but it doesn't seem to have worked out that way. Has anyone got any suggestions? I've got plans for my retirement and want to spend it with him, not running round after him!

morethan2 Fri 17-Mar-17 04:52:40

I'm due to retire this time next week and my husband can hardly wait. He's of the same mind as yours. He also thinks that dinner will be on the table, slippers will be warmed, house will be pristine and I will be waiting for him at the door in my negligee. wink I'm afraid he's got a bit of a disappointment coming but then he's used to disappointment. I'm sure normal household duties will be easier for both of us and the house may well be cleaner...well a bit cleaner anyway. I haven't got any advice or suggestions myself apart from making it clear what you expect. I will watch this thread with baited breath and follow any good advice that comes your way. Ps Dave and the men's t.v channel have a lot to answer for. Like yours my husband has spent many hours watching 1950/60 cowboy films, the shed and other shite men's stuff on daytime T.V.

jusnoneed Fri 17-Mar-17 07:55:30

Mine retired nearly 5 years ago, he will very occasionally wash a few dishes (only if he has "cooked" something though - boiled egg about the most complicated) and I think he has pushed the vac around twice. It gets my back up when I walk in from work to see nothing has been done. Talking to others most blokes seem to be of the same mind as ours. Most afternoons are spent watching films or sport, but not on main telly as I hate that on in the day.
But after a day like yours I'm afraid I would of just sat down and said as he hadn't bothered to cook anything he obviously wasn't hungry!

Christinefrance Fri 17-Mar-17 08:01:22

Can understand how annoyed you felt magicwand , the transition is a difficult one and I think you have to be upfront about your expectations. Talk to each other about tasks needing to be done, be realistic and play to your own strengths. Things change and as time goes on you may find yourselves naturally falling into a routine. Don't stress the small stuff, you both have different priorities and sometimes you have to bite your tongue. We worked through this and it's going well now, good luck smile

MawBroon Fri 17-Mar-17 08:09:50

DH started his enforced retirement through ill health, but initially he WAS going to be more involved in the garden and could at least look after himself if I was out or away.
Double whammy, his health has deteriorated to the point where he can barely carry a glass of water through to another room and muggins has morphed into a skivvy.
C'est la vie! I sometimes fume inwardly when plates are left on the side, next to the dishwasher (which I have emptied ready for action) or empty pill packets cannot quite reach the recycling another 8 paces into the utility room hmm
Put your foot down NOW, draw up a who does what, leave him the shopping list, tell him what you would like prepared, remind him of what a hoover is for and tell him his grass cutting puts Monty Don in the shade. Anything!! Or you will be relaying the patio with him under it grin

Rigby46 Fri 17-Mar-17 08:12:40

I can't understand how anyone allows this sort of situation to develop and be maintained. If husbands won't do their fair share, why on earth does any wife do more than her fair share? Over our life together DH and myself have had different scenarios re working patterns and our contribution to running the house has always been adjusted to reflect that. We are now both retired from full time work but I do blocks of work which may be anything from one - three weeks at a time. During that period. I'm out of the house for twelve hours (7-7).DH does everything - plans all the meals, cooks, washes, irons, cleans. Any emergency dgc duty. May- July DH will be working full time and so I do everything. If our periods of work coincide or if neither of us is working, we share out the tasks. i can't imagine living the lives described above - just pull yourselves together and refuse to put up with it.

PamelaJ1 Fri 17-Mar-17 08:44:01

Mine has his last day at work tomorrow. I am expecting him to take over quite a few tasks to make my life easier. He cooks ,cleans and gardens now so am fairly confident that he will rise to the tasks!
I work from home so, poor chap, he doesn't stand a chance, I will know if he's slacking{wink}

PamelaJ1 Fri 17-Mar-17 08:45:24

I thought that typing wink turned into a smiley! Hope this works

MawBroon Fri 17-Mar-17 08:55:09

Rigby I am sure that post was not meant to be hurtful. How does a person let a situation develop? Try living with a life limiting illness. Try seeing a formerly fit man age 30 years in 10 before your eyes. Try helping him to walk the few yards to the car or carrying a book and an iPad into a Planned Care Unit for him when he is yet again to have a 3 unit blood transfusion. Try holding the plastic bowl for him when he is sick the third night in a row. Try planning (or rather not planning) for a modest family celebration knowing that Plan B (ambulance for temperature spikes, rigors and suspected sepsis) came into operation last time and the time before.
Then tell people how to organise their retirement.
Oh I had better" pull myself together now and refuse to put up with it." (Is that before or after I drive him to the hospital for today's blood transfusion )and then zoom round with the hoover as DD! SIL. and DGS are comng to see us?

notnecessarilywiser Fri 17-Mar-17 08:56:22

You had a foul day, Magic! As PPs have said, he needs to have your expectations clearly outlined, so when you've calmed down have a chat with him. Your description of yesterday's events from your point of view should be a good starting point. I think a daily to-do list would be a good idea if he genuinely can't see what needs to be done. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to be quite explicit to avoid the scenario where the washing is still in the machine when you get home. Additionally is there a learn-to-cook course locally that he would agree to enrol in? Some of these are exclusively for men which might appeal to him.

Good luck in getting things onto a fairer footing!

Rigby46 Fri 17-Mar-17 09:22:48

MB our posts crossed - I was not talking about situations with a disabled partner. The OP and others did not mention anything that prevented their Husbsnds from playing a proper part in the house and I'm very
sorry that the unfortunate timing hurt you. In a relationship where both partners are fit and healthy I just have zero tolerance for women who just put up with such disrespectful selfish behaviour. My DM was disabled in later life and my DF did everything in the house until he had a stroke. I just saw his behaviour as very loving and what a relationship is all about.

rosesarered Fri 17-Mar-17 09:42:01

MagigWand welcome to the
can well understand why you exploded!
I have a friend with a similar DH to yours, he has so many interests and projects on the go that he does nothing either in the house or the garden.
What can you do? Explain to him what you would like him to do whilst you are at work, for a start.Not in vague general terms, but exactly, hoover, shop, cook etc.
When you retire yourself, you need to share out the household chores, giving him the ones he is most likely to do.

Luckygirl Fri 17-Mar-17 09:46:01

My OH has PD....but he does the laundry, he does cleaning when he sees something that needs doing, he does as much gardening as he can manage (mows the lawn when he is able), and generally shares the chores as best he can.

I do ironing, shopping, cooking. He is a hopeless cook!

He also shares in the care of the little ones when we have them here - enjoys reading to them, and listening to their mad fantasy worlds.

I do think you need to sit down with OH and say that you need a retirement too and you must share out the tasks. I also think you need to join lots of things and just not be there some of the time! And if you are out, tell him what needs doing for tea - even if it is just ready meals. I am sure he can stick one in the oven!

Penstemmon Fri 17-Mar-17 10:12:12

DH and I are both semi retired! I do less work than he does now.

He also does the washing but not the laundry. I know exactly what you mean! DH is not a cook and never has been. He is not really interested. If he goes to buy food it is hard to imaginre the meals he had in mind from the ingredients. I could enter that TV show where cooks created meals out of odd items!

My advice?

Always have some lovely (pricey) prepared meals in the freezer.
Make a weekly menu and have it up in the kitchen and highlight the 3/4 meals you are preparing!
Plan to go out for lunch with friends at least once a week so he can fend for himself.
Buy your own laundry basket so you do your laundry and he can wash the other stuff!
Make a particualr day housework day and over breakfast tell him what he is doing whilst you are doing something else. e.g.This morning you can clean the bathroom whilst I vacuum.

Do not fall into patterns of behaviour you will regret! Either that or , if you can get a 'lady wot does' to come to do housework twice a month. Good luck!

Mercedes55 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:42:34

I do feel for you, doesn't sound like he can't help, just chooses not to.

My OH took early retirement last year at the age of 64 as he needed both his knees replaced. Before the op on one knee he pretty much did nothing in the house apart from make breakfast in the morning, everything else I did.

Once he'd recovered enough after having one knee done I did tell him it was only fair that he helped me with some of the jobs in the house as now he was mobile and as capable as me at doing things.

I now have him doing breakfast (bowl of cereals with berries), lunch (yoghurt and banana) and dinner, although his idea of cooking dinner is always very simple food, something like a bit of fish and some ready made mash with no vegetables as he doesn't think you need them! I'm pretty sure he does this so that I will take over but for now I just go along with it.

He will load the dishwasher, put it on and empty it and once a week he cleans the kitchen sink! He puts the bins out, cleans out the parrot cage, looks after the chickens in the back garden and does the garden too, so it's not too bad.

Don't think I will ever get him to dust, vacuum, put the laundry on, change the bedding or towels, clean the bathrooms etc., but it's a start wink

Seasidenana Fri 17-Mar-17 10:46:14

My husband of 30 years left me soon after my 50th birthday and I was devastated, it's taken me years to recover. 10 years down the track I'm counting my blessings. He always expected to be waited in hand and foot, and we both worked full time. I won't be running around after anyone when I retire and my days are mine to do as I please. I hope his new wife enjoys her slavery, because that's what it will be for her. I'm on a day off today, I'm going to get my nails done then I'm out tonight. I wonder how she's spending her day !

DotMH1901 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:50:36

Just a thought but are you in a position financially to be able to afford a cleaner to come in once/twice a week to do the laundry and make the beds etc? This was always a problem with my daughter and ex son in law who both worked full time - having clean ironed washing hanging in the wardrobes and freshly made beds and the dishwasher emptied twice a week did make a difference (for a while at least!).

moxeyns Fri 17-Mar-17 11:01:42

When my ex was still around, and expecting me to do a full day's work and 100% of the housework because I worked from home, I set out a table of jobs that needed doing - including the ones he did, like mowing the lawn - alongside a time-to-do figure. After some discussion, we divided them up pretty equally, swapping some jobs we preferred for shorter ones.

Barmyoldbat Fri 17-Mar-17 11:02:09

I don't think sitting down and talking about it is going to do any good, you have aready done that and he seems to have forgotten. Now is the time for action. Just do your washing, your ironing and the bare amount of food shopping. Either have some ready ONE person meals prepared for yourself when you come in or treat yourself to the odd meal out. If he is hungry he will do something about it, if he needs clean clothes, well he will have to do something about it. Make it known that you are not his slave and you expect him to do half of the household chores. He will soon learn

Neversaydie Fri 17-Mar-17 11:04:27

When I (we both) worked ft we had a cleaner/ironer. I am currently streamlining the house to future- proof it for the day when we again employ one. DH would happily pay for one now if I wanted it .
I blitz clean once a month (or 6 weeks...)-i.e.whole house- and just do the strictly necessary in between. The dishwasher is DH domain as is most of the hoovering .He also remakes the bed after I've stripped it . And he puts the bins out . I do all the shopping and cooking , but I always have.We eat quite a few posh ready meals.........He is quite capable of making his own lunch or cooking a steak or whatever if I am out ( I go out a lot) . . I hardly iron . My standards are much higher than DHs and I am quite happy with the status quo. If I werent I'd change it
I also do the garden but it is a hobby not a chore

Teddy123 Fri 17-Mar-17 11:11:18

I remember my mother and her friends discussing their husband's retirement. Well it wasn't a discussion ..... More an angry vent about how little each of these men contributed to their joint lives and the work involved in running a home.

I truly couldn't understand their anger. I was a relative newly wed thinking "what fun" to have husband home all day. Why are these ladies moaning. Fast forward 45 years and now I understand.

My only suggestion is sit your OH down and each try the 'making a list' of who does what. when it's done, type it up and both sign.
No guarantees this will work because women are from Venus and men are from Mars.

I don't think men in general deliberately ignore their rumbling stomachs or general mess. They simply don't see it.

Must rush ..... Need to do supermarket shop before I collect GS from nursery

Good luck

jenwren Fri 17-Mar-17 11:11:20

Seasidenana exactly. Couldn't agree more.

Nooooooooo just no Magicwand Start the night before and say to him 'what are you cooking tomorrow'

My SIL celebrated her 70th birthday going out to lunch with her sister and cousin. I popped over to witness BIL come in from work(he refuses to retire at 72) and say what's for dinner? I poked my nose and said 'your joking, its her 70th birthday today' SIL said 'its ok and said to him 'Pork chops' and proceeded to cook dinner. I was gobsmacked to see her standing at the kitchen sink peeling potatoes on her special day!!! what a waste of retirement. She also has bouts of depression. Not surprising is it?

Jayanna9040 Fri 17-Mar-17 11:15:17

We never reached retirement age as a couple, but did have to reach agreement on chores when we were both working. Ok, I know this is going to sound a bit weird but...we got three packs of different coloured post-it notes. We wrote down all the chores we could think of, yellow daily, pink weekly, green monthly/occasional. Then we took turns to pick which ones would be our individual responsibilty.
The important thing is to stick to it even if something is not done to your standard or at the time you want. You have to let someone suffer the consequences of not doing their allotted task and show them what happens if you don't do yours.
It sounds awful but there was fun in it too. Honestly. If nothing else it might bring home how much there is to do to keep a house running!

paddyann Fri 17-Mar-17 11:21:32

honestly I dont have any problem with my OH not doing housework ,he gardens and looks after the decorating and finances but everything else is down to me...thats how I like it.I dont want anyone in my kitchen moving things to places I cant find them I enjoy washing dishes by hand ,got rid of the dishwasher years ago,I make the beds my way ,it irritates me if the pillows and duvet arent sitting how I like them and yes I do all the ironing.Always have always will.We live a very 1950's style life and it suits us both.

Lewlew Fri 17-Mar-17 11:28:36

What Penstemmon Fri 17-Mar-17 10:12:12 said!

I married my DH 25 yrs ago this year when he took early retirement. I also was not working then, but ten years on I did re-train and started working out of the home.

He did all the housework, shopping, etc that I set out for him in a typed list form. That was so he made sure to get the right brands we liked and to check for offers.

I have now been working from home for several years and we have a cleaner since my back surgery every week and a half. He still does the in between housework. On Fridays he does the dinner (usually just putting the breaded fish and chips in the oven and doing a salad). He does the washing up after every single meal and has done all our married life.

You might just need to train him up. Give him a list of things that he can do to make your life easier. Maybe he's reluctant if you are particular how things should be done, so spell it out!

All this emphasis on being domesticated has really helped. It's made DH a better and more confident grandparent when we have our DGD for the day or so. He loves feeding her and inventing games and playing with her. Whilst he won't touch a nappy (I think because she's a girl and he only had boys with late wife), he helps in every way with her care. He also looked after me very well when I had my back issues then surgery. We had a lot of heat and eat, but he did make some simple meals like OMELETTES!!

We are a team... you need to get your DH on yours. Perhaps he is low on confidence, so go for it, nothing to lose!

Oh, and if you are going to be late or stuck in traffic, ring him and tell him to order a takeaway and warm the plates!

flowers wine