Monday, February 14, 2011

House Cleaning on Valentine's Day

Tanya says she is going to write a blog about how she spent Valentine's Day cleaning house.  Yesterday and today were serious cleaning days.  The regular biweekly once-overs were no longer sufficient so it was all out war on dirt.  How can a house get so dirty with only two people living in it and a damp climate that should keep dust to a minimum?

Day one, my job was cleaning my bathroom upstairs.  Cleaning toilet, sink and mirror was no problem.  No was the white base on the shower.  But the calcium deposits or whatever stick to the shower doors like s--t to a blanket.  I have never been happy with how clean the shower was.  The cleaner we use is NOT Fantastic by any stretch.  I asked Tanya and she came in and grabbed the Johnson brand toilet duck and a rough sponge and presto clean shower doors.  Who knew?  She says you need to wear gloves with it because her hands were sore after.  She started using it in her bathroom for cleaning tub, toilet and sink.

Today was downstairs.  I stayed out of the way while she did the kitchen (I help best there when I don't help), then when she started the living room, I said, "I feel bad I am not helping".  She said "I figure you feel pretty good not helping".  "OK, I feel guilty not helping" and she set me to work with detailed instructions of what and how to do as she needed. Which is how I like it.

Now here is some advice for both wives and husbands on husbands doing household chores. I have harped on this before.  Women love to complain that their husbands don't do their share of work around the house.  If the husbands are not the irredeemably old fashioned European types who expect their wives to wait on them hand and foot, there is some chance of getting them to do much more than they now are IF they get the right signals.  It is the old Mars vs Venus thing again.  Men love to help BUT...

Wives, if you want him to help, ASK and then give specific tasks.  Don't expect him to "see what needs doing and then do it".  Most husbands assume the house is "yours" the same way you may assume the garage and workshop are "his".  Men don't help other men unless they are asked because it is seen as interference. If you need help, they expect you to ask.  If your husband suddenly starts doing the laundry are you going to be thrilled or are you going to take it as a sign that he is dissatisfied with how you are doing it?  If you start cleaning up his garage and workshop without being asked, trust me it will most likely NOT be taken kindly, so understand he is not going to butt into "your" business unasked.

Husbands, ASK your wife if you can help and ask for specifics.  She is not going to ask you to help because for a woman having to ask means you don't love her.  Watch another woman, a long time friend, in your wife's kitchen, helping her put the meal on the table.  She may ask "can I help you" but after that the work related instructions are pretty minimal.  Your wife expects that from you and for most males it is close to impossible, so you have to ask and ask for specifics.

A few other comments for good measure.  Husbands, have you ever offered to cook supper and had your wife stand over you and micromanage the whole thing, criticize you constantly because you aren't doing it how she would do it?  Or have you ever done something around the house only to have your wife do it over again because it wasn't up to "her" standards? And then wonder why you don't "help out" in the house?

If, in the previous paragraph, you can substitute wife for husband and husband for wife and add "but expect you to keep cooking, cleaning, etc. regardless of the criticism", may I suggest either a good lawyer or a Smith and Wesson. 

Now I expect some female is going to weigh in on how things are supposed to be and how "helping" around the house is soooo sexist but I am trying to deal with how things are.


  1. In our house it is opposite. He cleans while I am sleeping! I think it's the "helps better when not helping" thing. But some days, we tag team clean and it's a pretty smooth process.

  2. Good grief! A rule book on how to clean up your act.


  3. I'm some female who is going to weigh in on how the gender specifics are a little too over-generalizing. Wife = housework, Husband = garage and yardwork? That + pearls and a pipe = 1956.

    That said, I think what you describe about asking for help/specifics can apply to a lot of roommate situations (be it spousal or just sharing a living space). I mean, I found I often had the same sort of problems with Mom, Grandma, and even sometimes my roomie Shannon--I wouldn't notice a mess, or if not given specifics, wouldn't do the task up to par.

    I'm also the type of person who when I ask "Can I help you" in a kitchen not my own, I DO need specific instructions for fear I'd be doing it wrong. It's not because I'm defunct as a woman, but rather because people are all different.

  4. The sweetest thing my husband does for me is...let's say I need to leave the house early and I do not take the time to tidy up ..dishes in the sink etc...when I get home he has done everything to the best of his ability...which is pretty good by the way! It just makes me feel appreciated and that he does not take what I do for us for granted...I think that is the key for any Valentine Year...not day.

  5. We could do a straw poll. I wish I had a voting thingy like Violet does on her blog Miserable Bliss.
    Anyhow, of the married people reading my blog, would you consider the lead responsibility of inside the house to be his or hers? Would you consider the lead responsibility in care and maintenance of the vehicles, of the garage and if there is anything resembling a workshop (wood, metal or?) to be his or hers?
    Granted every couple will be different and there will be degrees of each.
    Yardwork is a different ball of wax. People do that for enjoyment or if they both hate it, then out of necessity.

  6. When Mike cooks (and he often does), I clean up. When I cook he cleans up -- or I'll offer to do it (I do it better than he does ...) in exchange for a back rub. Totally worth it.

  7. I think you are bang on! Men and women think differently. If "she" wants help, "she'd" better be pretty specific about what she needs! You should google Mark Gungor. He's does marriage seminars that even men are willing to go to because 1) he's crazy funny and 2) he's right! You'd enjoy him.

  8. he married commenters on here seem to have things worked out to their satisfaction. Those who do not are not likely to comment on this blog, I suspect.
    I notice on Facebook, #1Son cleaned the kitchen, bathroom and folded the laundry for his wife on Valentines day. I think he does that quite often. His mother raised him right. She said he might get married someday so better learn to do his share.
    It has been so long since I had a roommate I wasn't married to, that I can't comment on your ideas, Ky. It would be a good blog entry for you to take a run at, though.

  9. The best shower cleaner is Tilex Fresh Shower, it says on the label "spray and walk away" and it's true.
    Everytime someone showers tell them to spray just a few squirts of this stuff on the still damp surfaces or even into the air if it's an enclosed shower stall and that's it. No more scrubbing or rubber gloves; it will sparkle! If it's green with grime just do this every time and in a couple weeks your shower will be clean. Then keep it up by spraying it every time.
    No, i don't own or work for the Tilex company, it's just one of those rare products that works like it says.

  10. I do not notice messes as much as my husband and do not have as high standards as he does. Being criticized and micromanaged causes everyone to shut down.

    We both enjoy yard work. He enjoys housework more than I do, but I am at home more of the time so I do most of it for now. If circumstances were reversed, so would division of labour.

    Gungor can be funny, but in small doses and taken with a dash of salt.

  11. Telling people what you want or expect them to do is only fair. It's lovely if everyone can read the other's mind but that's a lot of magic to put on someone. There's no substitute for clear speech.

  12. In our house the women is doing everything
    cleaning Sydney

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