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I'm 24 and my wife's 22, we've been together for 2 years and were married just over a month ago. When we met she had a daughter who was 3 months old(father was a dead beat, and strange enough a year into the relationship he did die), so I've raiser her as my own. Also 3 months ago we had a little boy. I love my wife dearly and our 2 kids and I've never been happier these past 2 years. Now I currently work and she stays home with the kids, since our babysitter ate up her entire paycheck we decided it was best she stayed home.
Now my problem is this, my wife is a messy person. I don't mean personal hygiene I mean she doesn't always pick up after herself. I work nights and sleep during the day and its frustrating when I come home to a house and see trash and cups and plates all over or a sink full dirty dishes, baby bottles, sippy cups, or just food that's been scraped into the sink instead of the trash. I've even found dirty diapers just sitting on the floor. Other things like not wiping off a highchair after it gets used or picking up whenever food has been thrown on the floor. Now I know she is busy with both kids but in my opinion I don't think its very difficult or time consuming to rinse a dish out or walk to a trashcan. I'm not a clean freak by any means, but I think this is a heath hazard waiting to happen.
Now whenever I've tried to bring up this issue in the past she gets very defensive about how she has 2 kids to take care of. I know this is a valid excuse, but its only valid up to a point. Plus our kids are the easiest to take care of, neither is hard to please. Our son is a quiet baby only cries when hes hungry and our daughter can entertain herself for hours and when she wants something she can pretty much tell us what it is without much fuss. But the discussion always seems to end up in an argument.
I'm not opposed to helping and I try to clean up what I find when I get home after work, its just a nuisance when its 2am and I just finished a 10hour shift(I'm tired). And its getting old when I feel every weekend is spent cleaning and if there is no time to clean it just gets put off till next weekend which just makes it harder.
We both know counseling would be a huge benefit to our marriage but we just cant afford it. We've looked into a few free family counseling but they are always booked and just tell us to call back next week.
Any advise would be welcome.
Re: Messy spouse
Both my husband and I are messy people. He works fulltime and I work parttime weekends. The house is a total mess all the time. Even if I give up every free moment I have to clean, it would return to a chaotic state in two mins. I have no time to myself, and choose to sit with my kids to watch preschool shows or play with them directly. My hubby hates the mess too, and he is perfectly capable of cleaning more, but he chooses his free time to do his hobbies.
I recommend that if you have a grudge about the messy house, you clean. Your wife was working a full day as a mother, and needs a break.
Re: Messy spouse
I partly agree with sensitive, in that a messy house, in the grand scheme of things, as long as it's not a health hazzard, like fermenting orange juice or something... is not that big a deal.
Sometimes, as sensitive pointed out, we just have to let things like that go, in order to have time to actually live and enjoy life.
But, I am also a stay at home Mom... and although I only have my 2 year old son... (he is like a tazmanian devil, into Everything) and then my daughter after she gets home from school...
My house stays pretty clean. I do all the laundry, I do most of the dishes, with my daughter and hubby sometimes helping , after dinner and such. I do all the vaccuming and sweeping. But, for the most part, my hubby will help me if I ask him to. We share the cooking, because he loves to cook, and he's good at it, so do I, and I'm good at it, so , we kind of switch off there..
But please try to understand... taking care of two kids, it is very likely, that she Truly does not have time to be cleaning the kitchen and such.... I will be honest, the Majority of the cleaning I do, is not during the day, when I"m home alone with my son... it's just not possible, because within two seconds me trying to get anything done, he's climbing a bookcase, or trying to get inside the dryer... even if he is Right there with me... I can't do anything, because I'm having to stop him from exploring, in dangerous areas....unless he's napping, and even then, it has to be something very quiet, or else he'll wake up (he's a light sleeper).
So, I typically do all the laundry, on Sunday after church, give or take... I don't let my hubby touch the laundry, he turns everything grey or pink lol...
But, her saying that she can't get things done during the day... is probably not very far off the mark. It's totally exhausting, to have two tiny human beings tugging at you, and demanding your attention all day long... and it could be, that she doesn't feel like cleaning, after she's been Mommy all day. Just the being with the kids, is a full time job, much less cleaning all day.
If there are just a couple dishes in the sink, and a few things on the floor, then I'd lighten up a bit, and realize, that you have two small children now, and your house, is gonna be dirty a lot of the time...
If it's catastrophic dirtiness... to the point of being unsafe, or so dirty it is not safe for the kids.. then I'd sit her down, and have a chat, and tell her that something has got to be done.
Please try to remember something... the cleaning, is something that is above and beyond being a mom... many men do not realize this... Stay at home Mom's, are busy changing diapers, feeding, playing, chasing, stopping fights, saving crazy toddlers from hurting themselves... cleaning, is something that is above and beyond , extra... if you don't think so, then I suggest you take a week off, send your wife on a nice vacation, or to her parents, so that you have to take care of them all day by yourself, and see how much cleaning you actually have the opportunity to get done...it's not as easy as it might seem to someone who doesn't do it everyday.
And just as you don't want to come home from work, and clean all evening... she also doesn't want to "come home" from work, taking care of two kids all day, and clean all the time either. She's probly exhausted....
Just try to be understanding. And if it is over the top, have a talk with her about it.
Re: Messy spouse
I know a couple who are experiencing this "messy" issue!
I am going to refer to it as "chaos".
He works and she is a firstname.lastname@example.org.
The husband always encourages reasonable organisation and cleanliness. The wife is messy but also encourages reasonable organisation. They have 5 children. They love each other very much, but they have experienced a few serious episodes about the messy issue. There are a few important things I observed about each of them:
- Both sincerely want to be reasonably organised and maintain cleanliness in their home.
- The mess seems to build up only when the individual owns or is in charge of *more than they can manage*. The couple have cut down on and some time purged their/children's belongings only to experience more organisation and less chaos.
- The husband is concerned more about organising space, and the wife is more concerned about organising time. She complains that he is not timely and he complains that she is messy.
- The 2 of them agree on certain "standards/rules" about maintaining a non-chaotic home. Interestingly, the husband (offers to and) helps at home, but the wife refuses to ask for help, explaining that she does not want to burden the husband. The wife breaks the rules repeatedly which lead to the husband getting frustrated.
- The 2 of them used to share a clothes closet and she had her own. Not any more! Now each of them has their own closet; he could not tolerate the chaos she introduced in the closet.
- The chaos seems to follow the individual. The car is a mess after she uses it. He used to clean it regularly, but gave-up after complaining that he could not keep pace with rate-of-mess; it would get more difficult to clean, because she would never stick with the agreed-upon rules. So now he only complains and she cleans the car.
- She seems to have a chilled out care-free temperament. He has a serious temperament.
- He is a minimalist; she seems to want to own more.
- He tends more toward inder-dependence; she toward independence.
I personally feel that the first step toward organisation and tidiness is to own less.
The next step is to understand that chaos in the environment generally is not good for health. It leads to stress/anxiety and eventually can erode a healthy relationship. Kids also have a tendency to normalize chaos and internalize it into their habits; then it becomes difficult to un-teach them.
The third thing is to study one's own esteem. The person who is resistant to change is also the kind who is more likely to be offend by any kind of criticism. Such is a person with unhealthy or imbalanced self-esteem.
The fourth is to realize that any marriage works with the best results when both spouses are inter-dependent rather than dependent or independent.
CRA: I could hook you and your wife up with the couple I am referring to if you wish.
And finally as sisters359 points out (below), sleep deprivation can be the major cause and can erode a healthy relationship. sisters359 explains it very well.
Re: Messy spouse
If your wife has a baby, she is probably very sleep-deprived and maybe even suffering some post-partum depression. I'm fairly certain that a lot of the break down in my marriage began with the birth of our first child, because my husband simply could not understand the horrible sleep-deprivation I suffered. It was probably more than usual, b/c our son was 8 weeks early and I had to have 2 surgeries, etc., but there is simply nothing as awful as sleep-deprivation for messing with one's mental health. Anything you say or do if she is in this state will be pointless.
Do what you can and remember, if you are too tired to do it, she probably is, too, and likely even more tired. Can you recruit help from family or your church? Honestly, if we all asked for more help, things would be better. I have friends from Nigeria and various women (relatives) come and help the new mom for 3 months after the birth of each baby--sisters, aunts, moms, cousins, whatever. Our culture doesn't support that usually, but a church could be a great place to start. I had our church people help out once or twice with son #2, and wish I'd done it more. If you don't belong to a church, find one and ask for help anyway. There is a good chance someone will respond. a couple of people coming in for an hour once a week can make a huge difference.
Good luck, i'm sure others will have better suggestions. i know that the dirtiness and disorder of our house has been an issue between my husband and me. I used to tell myself it wasn't worth fighting over, but the truth is, feeling so disorganized and chaotic triggers my anxiety, and then I have to devote energy to that. Not a good thing.
Re: Messy spouse
I think, she has two small kids to look after. You should give her a break. Stay at home mom doesnt mean she is lying down on a chaise lounge eating chocolates all day! it's very tough and sometimes nerve wrecking. My husband would always have the usual "so what do you DO all day?" when he came back from work. It's really irritating. If you really love her, is it worth it in the end to fight about trivial things?
Re: Messy spouse
It is frustrating to come home to a messy house. Its good that you try to help clean but honestly I don't think having your 2 children home with her all day is enough reason not to put an effort in keeping the house clean.cmon putting food in the trash and dirty diapers in a diaper pail that takes maximum of 2 minutes. Its time management and getting a regular routine down! I work as a preschool teacher and I have 20 children in my class with one assistant how do you think our classroom looks like? Clean! Just because we developed a routine of cleaning immediately after making a mess. You need to lay down some rules to keep the house clean for your childrens sake and yours as well. Its really not that hard just help her develop the right cleaning habbit. I promise you it will not only benefit you but it would make her day go easier as well.
Re: Messy spouse
It's a symptom. We had the same thing. I consistently helped where I could, and would spend Saturdays eliminating 'piles'. I wanted to achieve a baseline, and work on maintenance, rather than catastrophic recovery every few weeks. Didn't matter. It got to the point where I truly believe she just didn't 'see it', and certainly didn't care.
What was our bedroom is now full of cases of paperwork - I couldn't possibly tell you what the paperwork is - but I believe most of it is insignificant.
Several times when I've been at the house with the kids, I would still clean up. Invariably I would dispose of something that she insisted was important. So now, I don't touch the 'piles'.
I despised living in pig-sty. It simply became yet another example indicating to me that she didn't value our partnership. Right or wrong, that's the way I took it.
What I found bizarre is that she was a neat-freak in our pre-children life.
Re: Messy spouse
sorry no excuse for a messy house. i have always been organised and clean and my house is imaculate. i dont do clutter and i work 10 hour shifts and im a mother of two and i have the dog to clean up after and my horse and im stil ontop of everything.
we have just got back from a 3 week cruise and the washing and ironing were all done within 2 days.
Re: Messy spouse
With 2 little kids, your not going to have it easy trying to keep your place clean.
I don't care what you do as kids are messy.
The best you can do is to avoid clutter and do laundry and grocery shopping on set days...
and always be sure to keep up with the trash. Other than that, kids are just messy.
Would also help too, if you put off getting any pets until your kids are much older... as that just adds more work.
Re: Messy spouse
I believe a key point here is that a situation will not change as long as it is believed to be ok by atleast 1 of the 2 parties.
This particular situation of messiness is a tough one, since one person is practically being forced to live the life-style of the messy person! If, however, the messy person does recognize that they are on the wrong, then there is hope.
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