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Rules around the house

Pennywise88's picture

So this is how the story goes. I am a rather clean person, I was brought up that if I used dishes, I cleaned them after. If I made a mess in the kitchen, I cleaned it away. If I left rubbish out I would put it in the bin. 

This carried onto my adult life, and my ex husband was military so he was also very clean and tidy. 

Now everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and my new partner as admitted he is lazy around the house. Bless his heart, he does attempt to do some cleaning, but someone he will start the washing up, get distracted and only do half of it. My partner and his ex wives marriage broke down due to bickering and loaning. So for me, rather then loaning at him, I pretty much crack on and just do it myself. As more then likely he won't do it to my standard anyway. (Sorry OCD kicking in). 

Currently both my partner and I, are in the process of selling our houses. To come together and buy a house together. 

so I moved into his house while mine is occupied. Now when I moved into his house, it was a lad pad and had not been loved. The toilet was literally black. I have moved in, given it some love. 

It's a 3 bed house, and the kids were either sharing bed with him, or sleeping in the middle room that had a double bed in. The house was no way kid friendly. So I sorted the spare rooms out, got bunk beds, toy boxes, decorated and made the home more like a home for us and the kids. 

So the current situation is - this is my partners house. He has been used to living like a lad, and when the kids come; they are beautiful children and well mannered. But they are just like their dad....... messy!!!!!! 

Often I come home, and find one trainer at the door, one on the kitchen side (how I don't know). They leave sweet wrappers on the sofa, cereal bowls on the side with spilt milk on the sides, the milk is always left out, dirty clothes in the most random places (down the back of the sofa). 

My partner hasn't really had nice things at the house, it was all old gifted bits from when he first separated from his ex. Where as my belongings were supposed to be "forever home" bits from my precious marriage. 

At the moment, the kids often make mess, break things (just from playing). But my partner is laid back, and accidents happen. My thought process is, it's not my house, they are not my kids to talk too. So if they want to trash and break the items, it's not my house. I have spoken to my partner and said they do need to start cleaning up after themselves a bit. But I also mentioned this about my partner as well (he needs to get the cleaning gloves on too). 

I have a beautiful oak desk, that the kids were doing a lovely drawing on (with sharpies (don't ask why)) which came though the paper and was all over the oak desk. It was an accident and at least they were doing it at a table not on the sofa. However it did ruin a very expensive desk. Inside I was crying but outside I cleaned it with partner. There has been a few instances where the kids, are kids but do not really have respect for my belongings. Like kicking a football in the living room at the TV. 

Reality is starting to kick in; that soon we could be purchasing our own home. That it will matter if they carry on like this. 

I don't know how to approach this with my partner, as I love excel spreadsheets at work. Do I make it a joke rota for him and I to share the cleaning responsibilities? Do I make a pocket money chart for the kids for cleaning responsibilities? 

We are 2 years in, and I want to address this before we move into OUR home to make sure the boundaries are set? 

HELP! It's all so new to me, I don't want to be moaning and kids are kids. But in our new home, I want to be proud of the house, and my partner openly admitted he was embarrassed of his house, but no one visited so it didn't really matter. Plus the kids situation on top of this. He kids are wonderful, there one fault is there lack of respect for belongings and mess. 

we often buy them new things for birthdays, Christmas etc, and they either break it, or lose it. How do I install some kind of ownership but keeping it light and not bossy???

any suggestions would be very much appreciated! I don't want it to be an issue, so want to approach it in the best way!  

Kes's picture

Always nice to welcome a new UK member.  I think you are absolutely right to have misgivings about cleanliness and tidiness etc and to be hesitating about buying a house together.  You mention OCD - and I don't know if this was in a jokey way (I have OCD) but if you have it then I would seriously reconsider buying a house with this chap, however wonderful he is.   My advice would be to continue the relationship but retain your own place as a bolt hole, maybe rent your place out but don't sell it.  

I am very doubtful whether someone like you could live with this bunch, in a way that doesn't give you seriously high blood pressure.   

Aunt Agatha's picture

This sounds like the wrong relationship for you.  You can't fix people.  All the bunk beds and toy chests won't change the fact they are slobs who don't care.  You will end up being driven bonkers.

stepmominhiding's picture

They are not your you can't lay down any rules.  It's up to DH to lau down the rules and it's up to him to make them follow them. 

tog redux's picture

Don't move in with him. Clean people and messy people don't understand each other and you will just end up either fighting all the time or you doing all the cleaning.  Not everyone feels cleanliness is the most important thing and it's not fair to impose your admittedly very high standards on him if he doesn't feel they are necessary. 

Mandy45's picture

In 28 years of living with kids and pets I've learnt you cant have anything nice. That's even with kids that are house trained. They just dont think or understand the value of things. You can tell them that the vase on the mantelpiece is one of a kind a billion years old and worth thousands. And not to touch it. And they may take this on board but it doesnt mean they wont deliberately or accidentally break it. You can draw up charts and things but I find everyone just humors you for a week or two then it gets forgotton about. If you see kids or dh make a mess you need to jump on it straight away. If you ask them a hour later they forget or claim the mess isnt theres. 

And dh has obviously been dealing with his kids long enough to realise he fighting a losing battle. Along with the fact that men arent always that house proud. That why they marry women. You dont see many men spending hours buying curtains and picking pillows and throw rugs. 

It may sound sexist in this day and age but men are hopeless at house making. A women will always make her nest how she likes it. The man will come in and enjoy the benefits of it all. Along with the off spring. 

If your gonna be fussy the kids are gonna be around they are gonna make a mess no matter what. if you cant live with that. Maybe this isnt the right relationship with for you. 

Rags's picture

I HATE DECORATIVE PILLOWS!  They are always in the way and they reproduce like rabbits.  

I like rugs though.  



Rags's picture

Do not join this trainwreck.  It will drive you nucking futz.  You will be the live in beck and call girl/chore bitch for this man and his children and .... I forecast that  you will be miserable.

If not immediately then increasingly as you bang your head against the rock of this juvenile and his children.

The only chance this has of even coming close to working, IMHO, is for you to make, post and inforce the rules for your home, the standards of behavior and performance that the Skids will be held to and ....since he is far from an adult, the rules your chosen life partner will be held to as well.

This community is filled with people who have made the same mistakes that you are making.  There are other communities filled with the same examples.  All with the best of intentions with hearts swelling with love for what overwhelmingly are failed adults, failed men or women, and failed parents.

You can't fix him or them and your life is too precious to waste on what in all liklihood is a lost cause.

Do yourself a favor and keep your life separate from them.  Completely is best. But as much as possible if you will not end it for your own good.

On the topic of paying kids to do chores. I am not a fan.  Kids should not be paid for doing what they should be doing as a normal part of being in a family.   Neither shold chores be used as punishment.  Though if they don't do them they should experience escalating consequences for choosing not to do them.


missginger's picture

I think you can teach old dogs (and young kids) new tricks. It takes awhile but I have known plenty of men, including my grown older brother that used to live like a slob, to learn how to be neat. As for the kids - what are their ages exactly and how often are they there? I know that my SD16 is messier at her mom's then when she is here. She has seen how I like to keep the house ( I am also OCD and so is my DH) so she knows not to kick her shows off when she come in the door, to hang her coat, make her bed etc. Of course my DH backs me up on all this and taught her this stuff from the get go so that helped. 

I would tell your fiancee that you want him to start working with the kids BEFORE you get the new home so not everything is such a big change at one time. Tell him that they need to learn from example and that it is for his children's benefit that they learn how to be neat by watching and listening to him. (It almost always works if the men think the things they are doing is for their children and not just becuase a woman is nagging them).And make HIM get onthe children. NOT you!

Cover1W's picture

Ok, I am a super clean, neat person too, who married a man who is not so clean.  He likes it clean, he just is a bit lazy and doesn't want to do it (I call him my 14 yo husband sometimes when he starts whining about having to help me clean).

I have OSD16 (who is estranged due to PAS and no longer comes to our home) and YSDstb14.  OSD was messy and didn't abide by ANY rules of cleaning up unless reminded or hounded and even then she likely wouldn't.  YSD does clean up after herself and liked learning how to organize and likes things neat.

So basically I am/was living with two messy people; dishes not done and in bedrooms/living room/all over kitchen, linens/towels not washed, personal stuff all over shared living space, etc.

I started by doing everything and it wore me down.  You cannot sustain it.  So I started small;

*no personal stuff left in living room after 24 hours. I would ask nicely for things to be picked up and after 24 hours, if not, then I think no once cared and I'd decide what to do with it (trash, recycle, donation).  YSD picked up on this quick.  No one else did.  But it's much neater.

* kichen must be cleaned before I cook anything.  I do not cook in a mess and I don't cook if I have to wash other people's things that I need to use.  I had many cheese and cracker nights.  DH still hates how clean I like the kitchen but he's so much better now.  And I don't care it's out of fear. 

* As time went on and OSD got messier, I and DH stripped her room - however DH caved on this after the 2nd time and let her get her stuff back little by little, leaving all the bags in the garage in our I told him that if I smelled her room ever again, I was no longer going to ask for her or his help.  And I didn't.  And I still have no regrets.  After she left for BMs, DH put all her stuff, including trash into boxes for her at a later date. 

* I hired a cleaning person to come every other month.  DH pays a larger portion of this cost.

* I hire yard help if DH lets the yard go.

* I do not take out trash since I do a lot of other things. 

* I do not touch the SDs bathroom.

To this day the SDs have never had chores, have never taken out the trash or recycle, never vacuumed shared space, etc.  And DH has 50/50, so thier time here is/was not insignificant, esp. during holidays and summers.  Numerous things have been broken by all three...I learned to put my valuable dishes away in storage.  DH will pay more for a couch (this year?).  I do not repair or pay for things broken by any of them if items were broken by lack of awareness, neglect or simply them being out of control.  If you really care for some things - put them away.  Even furniture!  Or cover them up.

I live in a house less clean than I'd like, but it's do-able. I've been more forgiving unless it's something health related.  So you have to be aware you'll have to give in on some things.  It's taken me years of talking with DH to get him to understand while I make concessions, he has to as well.  Make sure you start simple and increase from there - and have a sit down discussion with your DH so he is aware of this and can also provide input.

Siemprematahari's picture

I can't live with slobs and if you can't either I don't see no other solution but to live separately or leave the relationship entirely. He's not going to change and become tidy and clean all of a sudden and neither are his kids. If it's to a point where you can live that way and can't accept know what needs to be done.

sandye21's picture

Clove is right.  Nothing left out after 24 hours or it goes.  No dinner unless the kitchen is clean.  They don't want to cooperate, DH can clean up afrer them or you can hire help and they pay for it - that means skids too.  You have to stand firm or it will bury you.

I married Oscar Madison.  Making the bed was too much of a challenge for him.  If I asked him to do something he would wait until "he was ready" to do it.  I finally got tired of it, pulled a major fit and did not let up.  He realized that if he just did the job it was just easier.  In the spring, summer and fall he supplies food from his garden so I don't ask so much from him.  In the winter he does extra chores in the house such as the vacuuming, does repairs, and cooks a good percentage of the time.  It is a trade-off.


Thisisnotus's picture

I have major resentment toward my dh because he doesn’t care if the house is a disaster....while it drives me crazy. He also does not ever help me clean...and his kids do not clean a single thing either.

put your foot down now or it will never change.

i throw skids stuff in the trash and play dumb when they can’t find it.....

For example....Christmas was what like 20 days ago? All their shit was still laying where it was on Christmas so in the trash it went 

Merry's picture

I also live with a lazy slob who is surely ADD. If it's HIS project, he's all in. But general household cleaning? Nope. I hire a cleaning service, but there are still dishes and trash and laundry and clutter.

Over the weekend we were both in the kitchen. I just asked him--do you want to load the dishwasher or take out the trash? Uhmmm, he says. So I repeat and look at his quizically. "DH, I don't care which I do and both need to be done. You pick. Dishes or trash." He couldn't get out of making a choice, so he picked one and I did the other. I'm not above shaming him into pulling his weight.

In the past I've had fits about his lack of help, but it's gotten better over time.

Cover1W's picture

I think we've discussed before we're married to the same person.

And yes, after the 3rd  or 4th time of reminding him to move something or DO something I might get mad - he hates that - but I tell him I cannot be his reminder ad infinitum...

And my DH has also gotten better, it's taken a lot of work and he backslides sometimes when he's super busy with worik but it IS better.

TriciaRay's picture

Honestly, I take such things easily. And I see only 2 ways - or you are making all together: together sweep-up and keep the house clean or you pay for someone who will make cleaning instead of you. It is normal that he has other habits and outlook on life, it is his right. We all are adult people and we must be able to negotiate and compromise. Frankly speaking, we had the same problem. I was always busy and tired, all the home duties laid on my shoulders. I was very upset and I had no help from my husband. In the end, we had a conversation and I explained that I can’t suffer it anymore. So, were resolved our problem with help It was a perfect solution, they come and transform our house beyond recognition. An excellent result for affordable money.

nappisan's picture

any dirty dishes left laying around ,,, dump them on the kids beds .  even if the bowl has half eaten cereal and milk in it ,, dump it on thier bed.  you will be suprised how quickly they realise not to leave dirty dishes and rubbish laying around if it gets dumped on thier beds.  You must follow through everytime and grit your teeth but they will eventually get the message.  It worked on my son who is now 18 and wouldnt dare leave a coffee cup in the sink unwashed!      I also used to fine him money from his allowance for any bit of rubbish i found laying around ,, that worked quickly too!.    The dishes may pile up on the beds for a bit , but commit to it and they will eventually learn .  this also works with DH too!  dirty clothes left laying around ,, pile in a garbage bag and dump them on their bed ,, they dont like to wear dirty clothes after a while and learn to put in the washing basket in the appropriate place