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Division of labour

(73 Posts)
Cabbie21 Mon 12-Mar-18 09:31:21

Both now fully retired, I am hoping DH will get round to some of the many little jobs around the house that have been waiting.
We Both retired at the same time but then he took on another job, then another, so has only just fully retired. We both do voluntary work, mine is regular, his is variable as to his commitments.
Instead of getting into DIY jobs, he is actually doing a few, a very few, of “my”jobs. Yet sometimes I delay, for example, loading the dishwasher, to see if he is going to do it, and we end up later with it not having been done.
So I am wondering if we need to sit down and work out some new agreements, now that our circumstances have changed.
Is this something that others of you have done? Did it work? DH does not like talking about things.
One day I did discuss Wednesdays, when I am out doing voluntary work, then out to choir in the evening. I asked him if he would be responsible for preparing the veg and getting the bin ready and put it out for next day. He agreed, but then I come home and he hasn’t done it.
Yet this morning he is right now doing some bits of hand washing of things that can’t go in the dishwasher which has always been “my job”. And I am amazed, yet wondering if he is doing it well enough or if I will have to redo it!!

I don’t know where I stand or how to get this sorted.
Or whether to just carry on as before with me doing most things and just be grateful when he does the odd job. Or should I present him with a list of the DIY jobs I would like him to do?
How have others worked this out?

mcem Mon 12-Mar-18 09:55:38

The first thing you have to do is ditch the idea of having to re-do jobs that he isn't doing well enough .
That opens the door to the scenario where he says he can't do x, y, z nearly as well as you so he'll leave you to it.
He'll find he 'doesn't understand' the oven/washing machine/ iron.
Deal with it now before it becomes a huge source of resentment!

Elenkalubleton Mon 12-Mar-18 10:32:02

We’ve both been retired 12 years,we never had any big rows before he retired.But after we seem to bicker all day long!he suddenly became an expert at recycling, he has got better over the years and will get the vacuum out without being asked.He dosnt do any other cleaning or ironing.But tends the garden,veg patch.You will adjust in time.
we just bob along quite amicely these days both have hobbies seperate ones.Go for days out, nice holidays life’s good.In good health which is the most important.

eazybee Mon 12-Mar-18 10:34:21

He has got used to you being at home whilst he goes to work and can't see why anything should change.
Does he do 'men's jobs' (ignoring howls of protests), that is the traditionally heavier jobs such as putting out the bins, cleaning/repairing the car, mowing the lawn, clearing out fireplaces, decorating, running repairs etc? If he does and he does it regularly, regard it as division of labour.
But if you share that 'outdoor housework', then you need to have a talk and draw up a fairer share of household tasks.
How you implement it I can't advise, as I live by myself and have to do everything anyway or pay someone to do it.

cwasin Mon 12-Mar-18 10:34:51

Mcem is right. Have your pen and paper ready so this task you are going to do together can’t be put off. (If he agrees to talk and then you go rummaging for paper he’ll be gone before you get back.) your heading is ‘Jobs to be done’. Brainstorm until you have a substantial list. Next, between you, decide who is going to do what. This is your chance to say, ‘If you’ll do that I’ll do this.’ Later you can make two lists showing both sets of jobs. As others become apparent, between you, decide which list the job is going on. All I can say is that it worked for me. Best of luck.

Elenkalubleton Mon 12-Mar-18 10:35:52

Forgot to say he will put washing on if I’m out.But it’s always in his own time,but often forgets to peel veg if asked,and always says he forgot.He can’t multitask, and gets really ratty if I pressure him.

Rocknroll5me Mon 12-Mar-18 10:36:52

I agree with mcem don't interfere yet, it is an irritating transition, I'm sure he feels as awkward as you do as you jockey for power, rights and responsibilties. I suppose ideally you would sit and have a chat about it.... and divi up the good bits and power bits and nasty bits. Females often have had domestic power and skills and yet also resent it, its complicated. We are all happier when our boundaries are agreed and seem fair. As an outsider who doesn't have a husband I would advise transparency. Every body thinks they do all the chores.

Kim19 Mon 12-Mar-18 10:37:18

From one whose husband was far more into the domestic arts than me, it seems that Wednesdays will be your introduction to a fairer balanced home life. I would do a simple "Well, I'm out all day so I'll leave you to see to whatever's needed. 'Bye". The result will either pleasantly surprise or disappoint you. Adapt accordingly but don't either praise or criticise. Good luck.

NemosMum Mon 12-Mar-18 10:38:15

You need to sit down and talk to him. Put an end to the idea of 'my jobs' versus 'his jobs', which sounds like a bit of occasional fixing of something which is broken. In my view, a fit adult person (and I'm assuming that is the case) should take a proportionate share of routine tasks in the household, and if that's 2 of you, it's a 50% share. If you eat, you cook and wash up; if you wear clothes, you wash, dry and iron them; if you use the loo, you clean it; if you walk on floors, you vac/wash them etc. etc. Draw up a rota to start with until he gets the hang of it. There is no reason that you should act as the unpaid maid. He may not have been taught by his parents, but he can learn. Good luck!

Blinko Mon 12-Mar-18 10:45:28

Earlier threads on this kind of thing have come to the conclusion that non confrontational discussion, then a list, if necessary weekly, of jobs you want him to do. You could at the same time, draw up a list of jobs you do, to show that you're 'doing your bit'.

Bet your list will be longer than his.....grin

Good luck flowers

marpau Mon 12-Mar-18 10:49:39

We both have lots of separate interests however we have to days a week where we are at home together. I started by saying we needed to have a mad half hour on one of this days and list what needs done and divide this between us. It often takes longer than half an hour but he now does not sit down until I do. Seems to work for us.

ninathenana Mon 12-Mar-18 11:06:26

I must be married to a saint.
We are both retired now but have always shared jobs in and around the house. H has always done the garden as it's his passion. We do decorating together and he looks after my car.
We have never discussed it, we have just fallen into a routine of "who sees it does it" He will cook, clean oven, wash floors, clean windows load and unload DW, and wash up other items. He will prep veg if I'm not home but it's painful to watch if I'm there, so I don't ask. smile
To sit down and list 'your' and 'my' jobs seems alien to me. I guess it's a case of what works for you, good luck.

ReadyMeals Mon 12-Mar-18 11:08:40

Cabbie21 if he's taking over some of "your" jobs doesn't that leave you with time to tackle those other jobs you were leaving for him to do? What's the definition of "your" jobs and "his" jobs, in a shared home?

ReadyMeals Mon 12-Mar-18 11:16:39

PS Women can do DIY, I know cos I have always done most of ours!

cornergran Mon 12-Mar-18 11:24:31

The problem here Nina is that Mr C often doesn’t ‘see’. grin. We do have a sort of a system that works. I tend to do minor things as I ‘see’ them. Then we have a half day blitz when we each do the jobs we dislike the least. I am delighted to say Mr C is happy cleaning the bathroom, windows, washes floors, hoovers and cleans the oven (when it is deemed to need doing). He also deals with most of the rubbish. I tend to do the kitchen, clean mirrors and dust. We usually finish at the same time, if not we tackle something that still needs doing together. I manage the laundry and most of the cooking, we share the ironing. The garden is a combined effort as is decorating. Mr C is in charge of car cleaning. Not sure how we got there but we did with the aid of lists initially, now it just happens. Hope you can work towards something you are both happy with cabbie. Try to look at it as a transition rather than a war.

ajanela Mon 12-Mar-18 11:27:36

My husband took on shopping and cooking as he thought he was better at it than me, which he was, but gradually he got fed up with it. But he is still very much involved in it.

DIY jobs, in the end we decided I should give him a list and he would have a time limit to get them done, like 2 months. I was not allowed to 'nag' again until the time was up. He did most of them.

Yes they do become experts on things.

If he has agreed to do things, maybe leave a reminder, as let's face it we have all forgotten to do something we promised as we got distracted.

Granny3Rose Mon 12-Mar-18 11:29:58

I instigated a discussion about dividing jobs when we both retired. I asked my husband if he'd prefer to decide what jobs he should do on any particular day. He said no because he'd never think about it of his own accord. He's always preferred being told what to do (except for bread-making - I'm really lucky that he loves doing that and keeps us supplied.) I asked if I should decide the jobs each day and give him a list showing his and mine for that day. He said that was OK. So that's what we've been doing for the last few years. I know this wouldn't suit everyone, but each evening I email him the jobs list for next day (we love our computers!). Sometimes I have to prod him a bit, but generally it works fine.

sandelf Mon 12-Mar-18 11:30:50

Set a time when you (BOTH) will do routine domestic stuff. None of it is yours or his. Some sort of apportionment you can both see as fairish is needed. - So that's cleaning, tidying, running repairs, washing sorted out. Then you have supplies, catering and dealing with the washed laundry. - Talk... You don't say if you are willing to spend more time than he is? Or what if any running of the household you and he might enjoy? There's a lot to think of. I clean windows more than necessary, and gardening is pure therapy to me. We all have our foibles. BUT you have to feel the system is fair enough to live with.

Margs Mon 12-Mar-18 11:32:13

Isn't this the phenomena called "Retired Husband Syndrome"?

quizqueen Mon 12-Mar-18 11:33:17

Looks like, initially, you need to say that Wednesday is his day to prepare the evening meal as you are not there to do it ( if you are out all day, he must be getting his own lunch) and then just come home from your voluntary work and sit down with your knife and fork and wait. If he hasn't done anything then it's up to him to solve the problem- go to the chippie or get a take away. Then increase his responsibilities so he's doing 3 cooked meals and some lunches and setting up for breakfast etc.

Just don't do it and sit down waiting for the meal and say, 'What are we having?' and don't pick up the slack otherwise he'll know he can get away with it. Really, these things should have been shared throughout your married life anyway. There would have days when you were both off work so why were you the maid then? I can't think of any 'hand washing' I do; everything goes in the dishwasher straight after each use and it gets switched on when it's full- usually overnight.

Peardrop50 Mon 12-Mar-18 11:35:53

Another saint's wife here. Although my saint has a few warts.
We retired at the same time but went on to let out a little holiday cottage. We do the changeover together, he does bathroom, sitting room and stairs. I do kitchen and bedroom. In the garden he mows, I weed.
In our own home he cooks, I wash up, he launders, I iron. Either will dust, vacuum, etc., depending who sees the need and has the time that day.
We have never had a list of chores or even a discussion, it seems to have evolved.
I do confess to occasionally using feminine wiles, if a heavy job needs to be done and I have asked but nothing happened I will start to do it myself with a few ooh and ouch noises. Invariably he will step in.

anitamp1 Mon 12-Mar-18 11:37:58

Hubby and I also retired fairly recently and I've found routines responsibilities have changed. But it is a bit of a trade off. My husband cuts the lawn, washes the car, goes to the dump. So I do the cooking and sort the washing and ironing. That seems fair. The rest of the routine jobs I try to make sure he does his fair share, but I do have to prompt and remind him. If he doesn't do something immediately he forgets. Think it's a common male trait.

paddyann Mon 12-Mar-18 11:43:57

I am happy for you all to think I'm a dinosaur...we've always done the things we like,so I look after the house,cook,clean.wash .iron shop,buy birthday and christmas cards and gifts etc etc.OH looks after the garden ,the car ,decorates and deals with bills.Its how we've always done it ,its how it will stay .I'm happy .he's happy.He can find time to see friends while I look after GC which suits us both .Why change things that work well just because we're semi retired?

NonnaW Mon 12-Mar-18 11:50:28

Another saint here. DH just does what he sees needs doing. He cooks, makes soup for lunch most days, we fill the dishwasher as we go along, and alternate emptying it in the mornings. I put most of the laundry on but he will do it if he thinks something needs doing. Likewise ironing, he is quite happy to do it. We don’t need lists, I never ask him to do anything, tbh he is better at most domestic things than me (actually most people are blush).

Jimbow15 Mon 12-Mar-18 11:53:37

From a man's perspective I would just live and let live.
I get moaned at on a regular basis fro not doing this or that.
I just don't argue about anything. I know I do a lot of things that are very important plus I pay for everything.
We are both retired. I do a lot of professional volunteer work . I just don't let myself get stressed .
Best Wishes
Joseph Grennell

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