newstepmom2008's picture

How Do I Motivate My Husband?

I'm a newly married and a new step-mother. My husband was VERY thoughtful and considerate before we were married. His place was always very clean and he seemed to be a very active part in his children's lives. Since we said "I do" he seems to have forgotten how to pick up after himself, how to do laundry, how to put trash in the trash can, and how to care for his children. The children are great, I love them very much and we are very close. The problem has become that I don't know how to motivate my husband to not only help me around the house, but also how to step-up and start caring for his children again. I have talked to him about this and I've tried to tell him in a nice way how I feel, but nothing seems to work or to sink in with him. When he was sick I took total care of him and he hasn't seemed to snap out of it. However now I'm sick and being tested for cancer. I need extra help and I'm not getting any help from him. I told him that I needed a lot of extra help from him this weekend since we had two birthday parties in the family and I had to make the cakes for both of them and I had to host one of them. He slept the entire day on Saturday before the first birthday party. That left me with 5 hours of cake decorating, taking care of 3 kids, getting them ready for the party and trying to entertain them and keep them out of cake and icing. (I make very elaborate cakes.) I went in several times asking for him to watch them but he would only help for about 5 minutes and go back to sleep. I'm at the end of my rope. I'm sick, I'm in pain, I'm still working full time, and I'm getting no help outside or inside of the house. Does anyone have any ideas on how to motivate a lazy person?


Harleygal's picture

Is it laziness or

could he be depressed about something? Can you give some history on the ages of his kids, how long he was divorced from the ex and how long have you been married etc...

"OCD sucks"
Habit and routine have an unbelievable power to destroy.
--Henri de Lubac

newstepmom2008's picture

I've asked him about

I've asked him about depression and he swears up and down that he's really happy. He doesn't act depressed either. His kids are 10, 5, and 3. Very very good, well behaved, children. He tends to be more stressed when they are around. They are active but just normal kids. We've only been married a month but lived together for 10 months before getting married. He's been divorced for about 2 years or more. There were a couple other dates and one other girlfriend before me, so I'm not worried about being a rebound. He did not initiate his divorce either. When he was living on his own he had very good habits except for keeping his bathroom clean.

Harleygal's picture

Just curious

Ask him if he feels guilty for his children because of his divorce from the BM.

"OCD sucks"
Habit and routine have an unbelievable power to destroy.
--Henri de Lubac

evilsm's picture

Starvation

And not only food! Eye-wink

Stop doing everything, you have taken on this responsibility and Dh has let you do it all alone. I know it's hard to leave dirty dishes or a dusty living room but that may be the only way to get your message across. I am pretty tough on this point, I work FT and so does DH, we BOTH have to work at home as well. I do my thing and he does his but if he stopped because he was just lazy well, the shit would hit the fan. You may have to wake him up with a not so tidy abode. Evil

~Evil

If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders. ~Abigail Van Buren

If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders. ~Abigail Van Buren

Sita Tara's picture

I agree with HG

Sounds like depression or illness of some sort. How long were you together before getting married? How long was he in a state of normal physical activity that you witnessed before this happened? And did any other life changes, other than your marriage happen around the same time?

"Om Tare Tutare Ture Mama Ayurpunye Jnana Putin Kuru Svaha"
~Sita Tara Mantra

ColorMeGone2's picture

Plucking of the ass hairs?!

Sorry. I know that was in poor taste, but sometimes I can't resist.

Are you telling him you need "help" or are you give him specific instructions? Telling him "DH, please get that load of laundry out of the dryer for me and put the next load in" will generate much better results than asking him to help you with the laundry, for example. I get stressed out and complain to my DH that I need help sometimes. He farts around for what feels like forever before finally doing something that's not even on my list of priorities, then he takes all freaking day to do it, which only increases my stress level. When I complain about the lack of help, he looks poleaxed, like he doesn't have a clue what I'm talking about. And you know what? He really doesn't have a clue.

I am 100% convinced that men don't see what we see when we walk through a house. They don't see the dirty laundry on the floor in front of the hamper. They don't see the dirty dishes in the sink. They don't see stray bits of whatever on the carpet. And they sure as hell don't see dry clothes in a clothes dryer or wet clothes in a washing machine. Don't even get me started on their inability to see a dishwasher that needs to be unloaded.

I think two things. I think he has no hope of meeting your expectations if you don't tell him in no uncertain terms what, exactly, they are. Tell him what you need done, when you need it done and how you want it done. Second thing is that I think our spouses don't see us as STEPmothers. I think they see us as "the mom" in our homes/families and just assume a lot of things. To combat that, you just have to shift the responsibility back to him.

Oh, and plucking his ass hairs will get him off the couch pronto! Eye-wink

♥ ANNE 8102 ♥

newstepmom2008's picture

Thank you. I am taking your

Thank you. I am taking your advice; I actually emailed him at work today and told him that we need to sit down and talk about all of the various responsibilities that come along with a marriage. I also told him that this had to happen tonight after dinner. I also talked to a dear friend of mine who has had a successful marriage for 10 years. She said the same thing, "telling him you need help just won't cut it." She suggested a chore list to divide responsibilities. If this doesn't work I am going to go for your final suggestion LOL.

On a side note:
There seems to be some thought that he is ill. He was sick for a while, but they fixed the problem. He has been back to the doctor and has a clean bill of health. Even though we talked at length before we got married that since I work approximately 12 hour days I expect help with all the chores that go along with owning a home. I think that maybe he thought I would be like his first wife who was a stay at home mom and take care of all the chores and kids etc. I think the problem is that reality is setting in and he realizes that I absolutely meant every word I said. I'm not a stay at home mom, I work a lot of hours and I expect to have time to relax too. It's not right for him to be able to relax when he gets home and for me to have to work all night with mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, and doing the laundry. I was so sick recently that my mother had to help me and he didn’t even offer to help her. I was mortified that I had to ask my mother for help.
I also recently threw all the responsibility of his ex-wife back on him. That lady is completely mental. And I mean that literally. One minute she’s nice to me and the next minute she’s screaming and yelling. Then flip a light switch and she’s trying to get him back. With all the health problems I have right now, I told him that he had to be the one to communicate with her that I just couldn’t keep riding that rollercoaster, and while I didn’t say it the bottom line is, she’s not my ex.

stepwitch's picture

I think he's spoiled and you did it !!

I personally know how much strength it takes to give total care when a person is ill. OK, he's not ill anymore; therefore: Pull his pants down tell him to bend over, insert a firecracker and light !!

If he won't take care of you when you need it he deserves the pain and discomfort, but that's my opinion. I wish I could take this all away from you, because if you are being tested for CA, I can only imagine what you must be going thru.

Here for you.

Stepwitch
Thank you Disney for portraying a positive image on all stepmothers!!!!

Stepwitch
Thank you Disney for portraying a positive image on all stepmothers!!!!

sarahbernheart's picture

chore list

I have a FH and an 19 y/o and I got tired of asking for help so I made a chore list, it has helped so much I kick myself for not doing it sooner.
WELCOME!!
"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one."

"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one."

Sita Tara's picture

YES YES YES If it's not written down, it doesn't exist...

For MEN.

We can see every single strand of cat hair, piece of dirt, dust bunny, but men and kids (well I have two kids out of four, the 11 yr old and the TWO year old, who can see it and are rarely self motivated to do something about it.)

The rest of the family are NOT. I have to write it down for DH, and then he will check it off.

I have to write it down for the kids and they will do the same, then I will have to double check it was done well (not necessarily my standards but close at least) and they then get a revised list.

I hate lists myself. I only really use them for groceries so I don't over buy at the store.

But men, kids, are simple creatures. I could put a completely folded load of laundry on the landing to go upstairs and it will sit there til I take it up. I have to put it in the middle of the first step, in DH's way so he cannot step without tripping on it... and then STILL ask him as he's heading upstairs to bed, for him to carry it up. I have done that enough and commented enough that now if he sees it (big if there) but if he does, he will ask, "Would you like me to carry this up?"

YES! Eureka! Halleluiah! Amen.

"Om Tare Tutare Ture Mama Ayurpunye Jnana Putin Kuru Svaha"
~Sita Tara Mantra

newstepmom2008's picture

The Wonderful Chore List

My mother decided to tell my aunt about my frustration regarding chores. Turns out that my aunt, who LOVES lists, had made a beyond detailed chore list for herself. She emailed it to me and I am in the process of modifying it to fit our house. It is being implemented this weekend! YAY!!!!!!!!!! I even have an agreement from dear hubby to follow and help with it.

I have to laugh, he was trying to help me clean the 1/2 bath and heard a frustrated growl coming from the bathroom. Apparently he put scrubbing bubbles on the mirror LOL. I told him that Windex was for the mirror and the foam cleaner was for the sink. I silently grinned. And realized that he truly didn't have a clue about how to clean things properly. It just really surprises me because his mother is a HUGE neat freak! Her home is so neat that I'm afraid to sit or go to the bathroom. Maybe this is why he is suddenly becoming slack.

BTW, just to make sure that he's not suffering from some type of depression, I went with him to his doctor apt. and the doctor is setting him up with a psychiatrist to rule out any depression or bi-polar tendencies. Thank you all for that suggestion.

Angel's picture

Stop

doing everything-----or you are going to get sick. This will take a toll, not only on you emotionally, but physically. NO ONE appreciates, realizes, or cares about this stuff like you do.

Oh hun, if you had eyes that were 20 years older you could CLEARLY see how this is going to harm you. Take care of yourself FIRST.

now4teens's picture

It could be a combination of things all listed above

Your DH could be:

*depressed;
*used to you doing everything around the house;
*a little bit spoiled;
*confused as to WHAT he needs to do for you; and my personal favorite
*'clutter-blind' (as Anne described)

You need to seriuosly talk to him and find out what HE thinks is the major reason for the change from before you got married. While I understand he may be sick once again, your health needs to be taken into consideration as well.

Why is it that the woman's health issues can usually conveniently be brushed aside and she has to valiantly press forward as if nothing is wrong????

"If you have never been hated by a child, you have never been a parent."
-Bette Davis

"Of course things worked out nicely for Carol Brady...she had a live-in maid and Mike's first wife was DEAD!"

Harleygal's picture

It could also be this

When my DH moved in he was somewhat confused what his role was in my household. He moved into my home after we married. You see, I was used to doing most everything in my household including laundry, cooking, gardening (except mowing), cleaning etc... In his ex-household DH did everything. For a long time he could not get his bearings in my home. He didn't know what to do or what he was supposed to do. He kept telling me he was uncomfortable but could not really explain why. He was without routine. Once we set that list of who does what, it got a lot better. Sometimes I'll ask DH if I can mow just to mess with him. Then I'll act like I'm going to. He won't let me because it would mess up his routine and I won't do it like he does. I don't let him touch my floor cleaning. I'm the only one that can do that right. At least in my mind.

Just a thought.

"OCD sucks"
Habit and routine have an unbelievable power to destroy.
--Henri de Lubac

Harleygal's picture

One other thing

That just came out recently that my DH admitted to. When he moved into my home, he didn't feel like he had anything. We had nothing together as a couple in his mind. The house was mine, not his. This is how he felt anyway. It's not how I felt. For some men, it's important to be able to show their friends and family what they physically have as far as tangibles. I don't know why that is, but it is. We're ironing through this issue as well.

"OCD sucks"
Habit and routine have an unbelievable power to destroy.
--Henri de Lubac

Sita Tara's picture

My DH doesn't have that excuse!

I moved into the house that crazy BM bought.

I then had to totally re-do it (the previous owner (pre DH/BM) had HORRIBLE taste, wallpaper everywhere that clashed from one wall to the next and brightly colored contrasting sponge painting in EVERY other room!!!!!)

I think once again that his standards just don't come anywhere near mine.

"Om Tare Tutare Ture Mama Ayurpunye Jnana Putin Kuru Svaha"
~Sita Tara Mantra