24 August 2010

The Navy Household

Here's me today, copying a recent look from myself:

Top: Ann Taylor cotton voile ruffled (worn here before)
Skirt: Zara elastic-waist (worn here and here before)
Shoes: Indigo by Clarks Edamame (worn here, here and here before)

I'm currently a little miffed at the BF. And I'm probably too passive aggressive about it, because I doubt he knows I'm kind of upset with him. What's the reason, you ask?

Something completely ridiculous, of course - household chores. Meaning I do them and he doesn't. We're both adults who've been living together for a few years now and both have full times jobs. However, I think he subconsciously believes that it is my duty to do the chores (partly because he grew up in a traditional southern family where his mom worked full time, raised two kids and did all the home chores and the cooking - and partly because I am a little uptight about keeping the house clean and figure it is easier for me to just pick up the socks than to have to ask someone else to do it).

So what's the best way about things when you've got two people with two different ideas of responsibility and neatness? We've talked about it, but I don't think anything sticks on his side. A tidy home is just not a priority for him. And I do believe I am just as much as fault because I do baby him by doing all the chores and I am a wee bit anal about how the chores should be done.

And rationalization of things aside, here's me whining: if I don't initiate the cleaning, we may very well end up in a sty because there will be dirty glasses all over the place, the floors will be crunchy and sticky to no end, the bed sheets will never ever be washed, and the laundry will be done only when every last sock and pair of boxers are dirty ... and he's got loads of socks and boxers. When the BF lived alone, his kitchen trash can was a 55 gallon rubber bin, his clean clothes lived in a pile on top of his washer while his dirties lived in a pile on the floor in the bathroom, and he wore shoes or slippers all the time because he didn't want to touch the floor. Oh come on!!!!!

Hopefully I'm not alone in this predicament. Do you and your significant other have problems regarding how to run your household? How do you gals work around these issues to find a happy medium?


  1. it's so funny you posted about this - my boyfriend and I have been talking about moving in together next year when his lease ends - but we both have contingencies - his (for me) is that I need to be neater. I'm not a DIRTY person by any means, but I'm the type of person to leave a basket of clean laundry sitting around for a week...or two...until I iron it and hang it up. However, I'm great at keeping a kitchen and bathroom clean. Jeremey is the opposite - everything is put away all the time, but he rarely cleans his kitchen or bathroom. I know when we move in together we'll probably end up with a few arguements like this - I'm interested in seeing how you resolve this!

  2. First, love your outfit. Clean, graphic, cute. So very you :)

    Second, the Great Household Duties Debate. Hmm...My ex and I (oh, no worries, this was not the reason we're EX'd) had a similar disparity in neatness/cleanliness as you and your BF.

    Eventually you work out a rhythm, which will work for both of you. But yeah, we each had to give up a little of our particular brand of analness. It's like everything else in a relationship, you have to give a little, and you may get a lot back in return.

  3. I do not have a significant other, but I have a couple of kids. As a single mom, chores can be overwhelming! My kids seemed to not notice and not be bothered by whatever disgusting mess they were making. And I seemed to always be picking up after them. Non-stop. I would work full time, and then clean all night. A couple years ago, my son (then 5) through some trash right in the middle of the floor. I looked at him with wide eyes and said "Do you think that's where your trash goes?!?!" He sighed, walked over and pickd up the trash... passed by the trash can, and handed it to me. That's when I knew I had to make some changes.

    Now, we have a dry erase markerboard and I list the daily chores on it the night before and write the initials next to whoever is supposed to complete that chore. I have taught them how to do each chore properly and there is no TV, computer, or even playing until chores and homework are done. (For me too! Sometimes, I can't watch TV or knit because I didn't finish my chores yet!) It works like a charm. I have help getting the house clean and my kids now notice a mess MUCH more easily. They also seem to respect me more too. No one just hands me trash anymore!

    I think that if I ever run into this problem with a man, I am just going to put his initials next to chores and enforce the "house rules".

  4. I absolutely adore your outfit! The pattern mixing is PERFECTION!

    And then...the household mess. Yeah, I'm the same way. I can't handle a dirty house, I don't like messes, I don't like dishes in the sink or cups in the living room or clothes on the floor. Can't handle it. Through the years, my husband has gotten much, much better but I'm still the only person to EVER empty the bathroom trash can or vacuum/clean the floors and when I get frustrated and overwhelmed, he complains that I never take the time to just sit and relax.

    Ugh. I wish he'd appreciate my efforts to keep a clean house OR offer to help me with some of it, rather than complain that I don't take the time to relax.

    To be fair, he does cook (sometimes, when he doesn't say we should eat out instead) and he'll help with the dishes or folding the whites, but that's the extent of it. I do the rest of the laundry and the rest of any other household cleaning. He'd never even think to do a load of our daughter's laundry if left to his own devices!

    I feel your pain. I really do. We were just talking about this at work yesterday; it seems like those of us who consider these things important usually pick up the slack and take care of getting these things done, and the other person gets used to not having to do it. It's not important to them anyway. So we either deal with it, keep bringing it up until they get the point, or...well let's not go with the other option.

  5. OMG it's like you are a fly on the wall at my house! I have been married for 2 years and we have been living together for 3. I too am very particular about how chores are done, even silly things like how to load the dishwasher correctly so everything fits and gets washed properly! Unfortuntely my desire for things to be just so has given my husband the perfect excuse, "I won't bother at all if I don't do it properly".

    I probably have made a rod for my own back but I can't live in a 'sty' as you say, I need order and cleanliness and it means most of the time it is down to me, despite the fact we both work full time! It annoys me and every now and then we fall out about it.

    Good luck working it out! If you can do half each it leaves you both more time to spend together, theoretically!

  6. Yes, Yes and YES!!!!

    Then add two kids to the mix and my home can look like a living nightmare!!!!!
    When I work a stretch of 5-9 days (which happens alot)without a day off, I sometimes look around and want to crumple into a tearful mess.
    Like today for instance.

    My husband is really actually very helpful, but he commutes almost 3 hours a day, so to be fair he is really tired at night and on the weekends...but there are still times I wonder if they really don't mind living in squalor...I mean, as long as they have their video games and cold beer, who cares????

  7. I love how you mixed those patterns!!! My hubby is not too good at chores but he is good at doing the outside stuff and helping me with the kids. I usually take what I can get, when he cleans the kitchen he just puts the dishes in and is done. I have to come back and wipe the table and countertops but I guess at least I did not have to load the dishwasher!

  8. ahh yes. Well, my husband is a semi-slob. I decided a long time ago that I couldn't take the weekly arguments about cleaning so I asked that he just handle the kitchen- taking out garbage, loading and unloading the dishwasher, and I do the rest. I do the kitchen sometimes too, but it makes me feel better knowing that he is responsible for something and it keeps him safe from my constant complaining. Maybe you can designate one teeny tiny chore for him just to ease your mind that one thing is being taken care of and if it goes well, you can sneak in another one- slowly of course :)

    I would love it if things were 50/50, but they aren't and never will be in that department because he just doesn't care. He is baffled that I do it myself and haven't just hired someone, I am actually very close to hiring someone because I'm just really tire of doing it all myself and commuting and working.

    Unfortunately, I don't think there is any way around this, boys don't change. Is there something he does that you don't? Like pay for more bills or commute or treat you really special? Sometimes that's the trade-off :)

  9. Oh yeah, I seem to recall this exact conversation in our household! I try not to spend too much time on the argument but sometimes, it miffs me!

    In fairness, E is in charge of the laundry, cleaning the bathroom and throwing the garbage!

    But hey, you look great!

  10. I must be one of the luckier ones in the group. Chris and I kind of just fell right into our duties. I do most of the kitchen straightening and he does ALL of the laundry in the house. He even folds my victoria secret undies nicely into my drawer. But I do notice I do the floors more than him, but I'm fine with that because I'd rather do it myself. And if I'm cooking, he'll always clean the mess up. If he's cooking, I clean...so it works pretty well. For those times that we need to do a deep cleaning of the house, like if we have guests coming over to stay like this weekend, we'll set out a couple of hours and we each tackle something. One thing that does bug me about him is that he likes to keep receipts and little flyers around which causes a lot of clutter. But once I tell him to look through it, he'll do it right away and won't wait on it cause he know it upsets me.

    I think we girls tend to just do things ourselves but a guy sometimes really need to be told. Once he's told and he still don't do it, then there needs to be a talk. But maybe you can start by slowly asking him to do things? I started to do that more with Chris rather than keeping it in, picking up his stuff and then getting upset inside. Telling him first, he'll listen and if he respects me, he'll do it right away. :)

  11. Oh my do we have trouble, and have been married for years. I try to do the things that make him happier and he tries for me too- but we still don't see eye to eye on what constitutes clean and picked up!
    Love your pattern mixing.
    Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge

  12. I am single so I don't have those household problem YET but I still like reading about them,your writing about it will help me in the future I'm sure! Lovely outfit!! I love that skirt/blouse combo. XOXO, Natalya

  13. This AT top is soooo cute. I love feminine things.

    And onto the chores crisis, I don't currently cohabit with my bf but I can foresee this happening in my future. My bf doesn't currently mind doing chores around my house because I do it with him and I encourage him by saying that after we clean the house we can go out for lunch, movies, etc. I hate messes but inevitably find myself in one because I am not exactly diligent about cleaning...sorry, I digress. I thought I had a point coming...maybe the other ladies will have better suggestions.

  14. The pattern mixing in your outfit is right up my alley!! You really look terrific:)

  15. Lisa! This post made me laugh (not at you of coure). I am the MESSY one in the marriage. My husband complains all the time why I can't "put something away when I'm done with it", and I wonder why there's a moutain of crap on our dining room table.. LOL I'm definitely messy, but I'm not dirty. I think there's a huge difference between the two. I live in organized chaos and that's why my hubby let me have the spare room to do with as I wish. It's my closet and most of the time it looks like to "vomitted" all over the place, but I always find what I'm looking for. :) However, I do contribute to other things around the house:
    1. Cooking - I cook everyday, but I also enjoy it. I pretend I have my own cooking show when I'm in the kitchen.
    2. Laundry - It gets done twice a week. :)
    3. Cleaning the bathroom - I can't stand a DIRTY bathroom. Gross.

    Everything else, like doing the dishes, putting away the dishes, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, taking out the trash, dusting, etc is done by the hubby.. I guess I'm not as "domesticated" as I like to think I am. ;)

    Sorry I didn't bring too much insight on your situation, but I hope you and the BF find a happy medium.

    Ooooo and you're lookin' FABULOUS as always.

    xx Love & Aloha

  16. I love your pattern mixing...you're becoming quite the expert!

    Chores are such a pain...but I think addressing the issue and taking baby steps may help so that you don't become too resentful. Good luck :)

  17. I love the graphics & pattern mixing in this outfit!!

    And I feel your pain about the cleaning/chores. I am a SAHM of a 1 1/2 year old and I do everything -cooking, cleaning, laundry, organizing, etc. My compromise is that he works, I don't, so this is my "work."

    My hubby grew up in a dirty household and didn't learn to do any chores (his mom did his laundry even through college), so I will be sure to teach my son. My hubby's asked me to tell him to do things since he just doesn't think to, but when I try to teach or tell him to do something, he just doesn't do a good enough job for me and I end up re-doing it anyway.

  18. I'm not sure whether or not to be glad that so many of you ladies know what I'm feeling about the chores thing?!

    I've asked the BF to help out a bunch, but I'm not sure if he honestly just doesn't know how to do things (like please sort the clothes and check the pant pockets before doing the laundry) or if he knows I'll just freak out and do things if he can't. Ugh, unfortunately for me, I think my BF is a combination of messy AND plain ole dirty!

    Ady - though I think my BF would kick my butt if I wrote our chores on a board, I like your idea of designating some time each day or week to getting a chore done. Maybe he'll be more helpful if he sees it is something we can participate in together?!

    Melissa (and the rest of your moms out there) - I don't know how you gals do it. I just have one dirty BF to contend with. You wonder women have hubbies and kids to coordinate! But sometimes I think the kids listen better than the adults do!

    Louise - you and I are totally the same when it comes to our SOs and cleaning!

    Eleanor - my BF's sis has three little ones and though I hate to admit it, whenever I go over to their home, it looks like a Toys R Us has exploded in their house! Those guys went on vacation recently and have to drive two minivans - one just to haul all the kid stuff!

    Spiffy - my BF's one consistent chore is to clean the floors, but he does have get reminded to do it. And whenever I talk to him about our responsibilities, he brings up wanting to get a cleaning lady too! My BF would rather give someone else money than spend 10 minutes vacuuming once a week himself! I don't know, maybe I should change my thinking to avoid future disgruntlement.

    Aw Cindi, you are lucky! And I kind of don't like the whole idea of having to tell someone to do something - but I guess there's no way around it, because we're certainly not mind readers!

    Lemondrop Marie - I know what you mean! I know my BF means well, and so do I, but sometimes it just comes off the wrong way.

    Sharon - Sounds like you and the hubs have a nice compromise going. Plus there's nothing wrong with organized chaos - it's dirty I can't stand!

    Tina - My BF sounds just like your hubby. His mom did everything for the fam - and still does whenever he goes to visit!

  19. Very cute outfit.

    Household chores are not a pleasant topic for most men. What I have learnt from my 6 years of marriage is to do whatever I can or drive myself crazy 24/7. Men do have a different perspective of what is dirty or acceptable.

  20. Oh boy...BF and I are moving in together officially next week, and I'm a little curious about how this is all going to work out. Good luck to you, and if you figure out how to bend BF to your every whim, do let me know!

  21. I'm going to be in that situation when I get married. My boyfriend doesn't clean unless it's required of him...his mom always cleaned up after him growing up, so he doesn't ever think to do it. I'm sure you are NOT alone in this! I imagine it's something women deal with every day unfortunately.

  22. I really want that skirt!

    Mr. M and I have unwritten chore assignments. he does one part of the house and I do the other. he's a good cleaner. believe it or not, his dad is the big cleaner at his parents' house!!! we both fill and empty the dishwasher when it's needed. but every once in a while one of us ends up reminding the other that the coffee table needs to be dusted or that floors need a swiffering.

  23. You look so crisp and pretty! Sorry about the cleaning angst - I am the clutter police and my dh is more of a deep cleaner...err, not that he actually does the deep cleaning, he just notices when it needs to be done before I do and let's me know (for example, I'm clearing the counters and putting away toys before our houseguests arrive and he's mentioning that the windowsills could stand to be wiped down) (yeah, he's helpful like that). We have the indoor/outdoor agreement around here - I clean the inside of the house and he does the yard/trash/car work stuff.

  24. Lisa,

    My boyfriend and I discussed this. We've raised 2 boys together and were once married.

    1. Communication: You must tell him how you feel. Especially if it's hurting the relationship. Find out if he is willing to work this out.

    2. Deligate responsibility:
    -Your personal belongings are your own responsibility.
    - Everything else is a combined effort.
    - Divide and work alone, or make it a combined effort and work together.
    - Make a clearly defined household schedule together.

    Reward yourselves for a job well done. Ie. Dinner out.

    4. You will have to change your way of thinking. A little less perfection. Don't complain or correct his work. When you delegate chores you may want to choose certain chores that you know will bother you if not done correctly. Likewise, don't give him chores that are difficult for him.

    5. Eventually he will see the benefits to the relationship. Show your appreciation. At some point he will help just because he loves you and wants you to be happy.

    I know there is a lot here. It's trial and error. You will find a way to make it work over time if you want to be together.

    A good realationship book would help too. The question is will he be open to this. All I can say is, if he loves you he will be willing to make an effort.

    Love, Laura

  25. Hey girl! I know how sometimes it can be difficult when you feel like you're doing everyting around the house. I didn't get to read everyone's comments, so i'm terribly sorry if this has been said already. BUT here's what I do...
    I pick 2 things that need to be done really badly and let my husband know that about it. Then I say, "hey, is there any chance you could do one while i do the other?" and you let him choose which task he wants to undertake. Usually he picks whichever one he thinks is easiest, but it's still one less thing I have to do AND he doesn't feel like I'm nagging him about not helping out. Sometimes men just need a little push and half the time they have no idea we even need/want help unless we say so. For goodness sakes, there could be pizza sticking to my cieling and my husband wouldn't know I wanted it cleaned unless I asked!!! hahaha! ;)

  26. i love how the top and skirt go perfectly well together!

    <3, Mimi

  27. oh lisa. you're singin' my song. we don't live together, but when i'm drowning in work and it's obvious, all i'm asking for is a hand. oy

    fist pumps for cleaners!!


  28. I love this blouse on you just as much as I did the last time you wore it. I'm sorry I can't be of more help on the cleaning issue. My BF lives with his parents to save money. But I know we'll need to work this out once we tie the knot. I'm OCD and he...can live with some clutter.

  29. Thanks for your feedback, ladies. Maybe we should just round up the offensive men and have them live with each other in a grown-up frat house? You think after a few weeks of them living in filth and some of them getting asphyxsiated from the dirty sock stench while searching through the trash to look for their Playstation remotes that they'd get the point? Probably not ...

    Nelah - I'm with ya! My BF is totally accepting of living with his clothes scattered all over the place and dirty dishes in the living room. And I get itchy cleaning fingers just typing that!

    Jamie/KristiMcMurry/Alterations Needed - You gals are at a perfect stage to set some household rules with the SO prior to living together. I never did that with my BF so we on/off squabble about this stuff, and unfortunately I've mostly resigned myself to doing the work.

    Pamela - we're going to need to put your hubby with Cindi's fiance and Sharon's hubby up on some Hubby Helper pedestal!

    Laura - Thanks for the advice! You're right, the BF and I don't really sit down and ever talk about it, there are typically short "conversations" in the midst of something being done, so that'll need to be resolved. I'm not sure about leaving the BF to take care of his own stuff though - I think that he feels like he's being neat when he piles his dirties on the chair in the bedroom instead of scattering it in the winds!

    Aimee - I agree with you, and I think Ady mentioned it too. It sounds like group chores and designating small periods of time to do stuff "together" may be the key. Or at least a non-confrontational way of getting help!

  30. I've been married for two years and I have some of the same dilemmas with chores. However, I find that when I especially emphasize the things he DOES do, he is more likely to do some of the things I want/ask him to do later. And you have to ask and not feel guilty about it, because if you don't ask they won't "remember" and it won't get done. It gets aggravating always having to ask, but you just have to and not resent them for it. And if they don't do it your way don't fix it, just compliment them and praise them. I believe positive reinforcement helps more than anything else, but nothing ever completely solves the issues. You just have to remember that you are in a relationship with a human being! I'm surely not perfect either, so it's only fair. :)


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