Stay Home Mom - How much housework is expected?

KharmaK - posted on 04/01/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )




How much house work should a stay home mom do? I always feel like Im dealing with my 2 year old or running chores all day for myself and husband. However the house work never gets done. There is usually a weeks worth of dishes in the kitchen piled up. Its difficult to walk through a large house because every room is cluttered. Three bathroom counters can not even be seen with everything on top of them. And I admit that most of the clutter is mine. I just dont have the time it seems.

My husband is frustrated with me because the house is always a wreck. He works all of the time (94-102 hours weekly to meet our bills). Even though he works from home (computer related work) he hasnt had a holiday off in the last five years, his last full day off was probably 1-2 years ago. He probably had a few "half days" off the year before that. While he brings in a 6 digit income, we seem to barely get by and the reason he works non-stop. He hasnt seen or talked to any of his friends for over a year because he thinks it will take away from time when he can work and make more money. We did receive a few foreclosure notices last year so money really is an issue.

Does he have a right to be frustrated with the house being a mess all of the time because Im a stay home mom and he works 15-16 hours daily (7 days a week)? He points this out quite often when I try to get him to help me with the chores, the baby and taking our dogs for potty walks. He may change our son's diaper 1-2 times a day and will get our child up in the morning if he is still up from working all night but thats about it. He does NOTHING more. I have to do ALL of the errands, phone calls, take the trash out and sometimes even cook for him once a day. I also do 90% of the child care. I also know he has made time to leave the house to get his hair cut 3 times last year and went to the doctor 4 times last year. He seemed to be able to make an hour or two on those 7 occasions. Seems like he could do the same at some point to help me around the house or just spend a little more time with his family. Any advice? Does he have a right to be frustrated at a messy house? Is it wrong for me to expect him to help around the house more? If the clutter was not mostly mine but mostly his instead, would that make a difference?


♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/01/2013




Well, yes, and no. Please take this in stride: it's going to be blunt

From what I'm reading, it seems a lot more than a messy house/chore duties/ kid care issue.

If your husband is working 16 hours daily, 7 days a week, just to keep up with your 'expenses', yes, he probably does get frustrated that the house is not uncluttered, or such things like that. BUT... (and it's none of my business) I would have to wonder what the spending habits are in the household, if a 6 figure income is "barely" making the bills.

To be quite honest, when I stayed home with 2 kids under the age of 6, we had plenty of time to take care of household chores, yard and garden work, laundry and any extras. As a matter of fact, my house became absolutely the cleanest one I've ever kept during those years.

My day started at 6 am, coffee with my hubby before he'd go to work. Then, quiet time to catch up on dishes from night before, prior to getting the kids up at 7. Breakfast for the kids, clean up, dressed, and ready for first activity by 8 am. Morning was spent walking/playing with kids, doing learning activities, working in garden, and paying attention to dogs. Would then make my husband lunch, take it to him at work, finish up any errands needed in town, and back home by 2 pm. Kids down for naps, time to dust, general housework, throw in a load of laundry. Kids up between 3 & 4, more activities with them until 5. At 5, pick whatever veggies needed for dinner that night, and start prepping dinner. Hubby home at 6, dinner at 7, kids to bed around 8, do a couple more "puttering chores" and off to bed.

But wow, I'm sensing that you don't want all of that responsibility, especially when you say that you do ALL of the errands, etc, plus you sometimes even cook for him once a does the cooking the rest of the time?

I don't mean to sound bitchy, but honey, your life is peaches and cream compared to mine when my kids were little. We pulled in under 50K annually, and somehow (by proper management) managed to pay all of our bills, have zero debt (still do), and have a loving and fulfilling relationship besides.

I'm getting a very strong sense of someone who has never had to lift a finger in their lives being bitter because all of a sudden the maid got fired, and they have to (GASP) clean up after themselves and take responsibility!

I'm not saying that he shouldn't help with the kids once in awhile, but my view was that: my hubby worked outside of the home to provide for us. He didn't need to be awakened at 2 am for feeding/changing, he didn't need to get up early with the kids on the weekends, etc. I didn't EXPECT him to do anything. Because we have a fulfilling and loving relationship, he chose to be involved in the care of our kids without my nagging. Sounds to me like he DOES take care of some duties in relation to your kid, and he does do more than you realize with your kid. "He will get our child up in the morning if he's still up from working all night but he does NOTHING more"...honey, HE WORKED ALL NIGHT! Did you want him to stay up with the kid so that you could sleep in?

So, my recommendation is this:

1) Get family and individual counseling. You need to start fixing before there's nothing to fix, and you are griping about child support and visitation.

2) Get yourself into a routine where you are doing the same things at the same times every day.

3) Work on cleaning up your house. If the clutter/mess is mostly yours, then it IS your responsibility to take care of it. If he's working 16 hours a day to keep your large roof over your head, the least you can do is take care of what's under that roof.

4) If you don't like taking care of a large house, then get a smaller one. That will reduce your mortgage payments as well, better helping you "get by". (Which, if you received "a few" foreclosure notices, it sounds like it's time to downsize and live within your means...)

5) Schedule some family time. You don't have to spend money. Tell your husband that you want to take a family outing to the park, and simply enjoy life.

I also recommend that you perhaps look into financial counseling. If he's pulling down over $100,000 annually, there's no reason to be barely "getting by". If you'd like, I can give you some great tricks and tips for living within your means. My hubby and I own our home (a small, modest one which we could afford to assume a contract for title on). We purchase all of our vehicles outright, no leasing, no financing. We don't buy unless we can afford something. If we can't afford it, we either don't need it, or will save up for it.

KharmaK - posted on 04/02/2013




I can't really make an hourly schedule based around my husband's schedule because he works odd hours that always change. For example, last week he worked 45 hours straight, slept for 10 hours, and then worked 48 hours straight with no sleep. Even last night he worked until 4:30 am and got up 5 hours later for a doctor appointment. So once he finally goes to sleep there is no telling what time he is going to wake up. I would prefer a schedule but depending on his deadlines and the amount of work that needs to be done there is no telling what time he is going to be awake or asleep. He also has a back injury and is on oxycodone and morphine for pain relief. He always has lots of pain from sitting in front of a computer that long without a break so he just works until he cant go any longer (regardless of time) and then goes directly to bed. So its impossible to make a schedule around his schedule.

As for myself, by the time I wake up, feed and play with our son, run any errands (like going to the grocery store) and make any phone calls that need to be made the day is over. My husband doesnt help with any of that because he is either working or sleeping. There have even been times where he was too tired to stay up to put our son to bed together.

I personally do not have time to do any "extra" cleaning. I clean when I can. It doesnt seem fair that he is frustrated about a messy house when I have things to do as well. Its not like I am out on the town and hanging out with friends or anything like that. What I do with my time is contributing to our family. There are just not enough hours in the day to pick up the house properly which I admit is messy. I already wash his clothes, cook once a day for him usually, run the errands and am raising our 2 year old child. The only thing I have refused to do now is take the dogs on potty breaks or clean up after them.

In response to Shawnn (whose response I appreciate), My husband never cooks. He just microwaves something to eat throughout the day until dinner time. If I dont have time to cook dinner for us he has no problem microwaving dinner for himself too. But I generally have dinner prepared.


View replies by

Ashley - posted on 06/10/2014




Oh wow! All I see is ungrateful. My husband works also, but he usually gets his 2 days off every week and does not work 17 hours a day except on the occasion, and he would still get upset and feel like I wasnt grateful for him doing his part for our family if he had to come home to a messy house every day. I clean, cook, laundry, shopping, errands, kids, doctors, take care of his mom, taxi driver, and still have time to clean my house. Occasionally, im gone all day and dont have a chance and he will help pick it up before bed but thats not often cuz if I know I will be gone all day I try to have it all done the night before or before i leave in the morning. I even lay his clothes out every day before work and when he gets home and takes a shower.
Yes, as much as your husband works, he has a right to be irritated that he cant even see kitchen or bathroom counters and can barely walk through a huge house, that is mostly your mess. Clean up after yourself.
I dont understand how your barely making it when he makes 6 figures. My husband barely hit 20,000 last year and our house is still paid for, van is paid for, and we still have everything we need and some we want. So my guess is, your spending way out of your means and if you were spending as mu h time cleaning as you were buying things, then your house might a little cleaner and your bank account might be a little fuller. Feel free to correct me of im wrong. Also, with that kind of money, you should be able to hire a cleaning person to come in and deep clean at least once a week and u keep up with picking up after everyone and the daily messes. But since your barely getting by, and you cant keep your house clean cuz u have no time, then maybe its time to downsize. Get a smaller house that wont drain your bank account and will be easier to keep clean. Re-evaluate where the money is going and where it should be going. And re-evaluate what u r doing with ur time and what you should be doing with ur time. Its priororitze. If he is spending that much time away from his family just to make another dollar and your still just getting by then its also time for him to re-ecvaluate and prioritize. Talk to your husband about downsizing and cutting back on work hours to spend more time with family and start living within your means.
You should be grateful your husband gets your baby up if hes still up in the morning. He probably feels thats his time to be with his kid since hes working so much to support you while you cant even keep the house picked up. It doesnt have to be spotless. But that many dishes is ridiculous and not to mention how nasty it is and all the bugs it will bring. Be grateful he changes diapers at all and works so much to give u not only what u need but appearantly what you want also. Some guys dont take care of their kids, or help support them in any way. You have it made. Get off your high horse and be grateful and start showing that you are. A clean house isnt that much to ask for.
Recognise what is wrong and fix it or it will never get better. Maybe if you get your house under control he will want to spend time with his family in it and work less and maybe he will be more willing to help keep it that way. I wouldnt want to hang out with anyone in a house I couldnt walk through and I sure as hell wouldnt expect anyone else, even my own husband or kids to want to hang out in it either especially if its MY mess!
Sorry if i was rude, but im just trying tk be honest. You just need to prioritize your money, time and what is important better. There is no reason to run errands or talk on the phone all day every day. Save the phone for the evening when everything else is done and fit all your errands into one day a week. Then make a list of what cleaning needs done on what day and stick to it! Also, pick a night for family night once a week and stick to I too. You dont have to spend money for that, play games at home or watch movies at home, go for a walk or park. Put your mind to it and do all these things and everyone will be happier. Its not going to change overnight and your not going to get it all done in one day, but make a schedule, stick to it and it will get done. It will take time, hard work, and dedication to get where you need and want to be but it will be worth it. Good luck. If you need tips on any of it, like making a budget or chore chart to get your house in orde let me know. I will be more than happy to help you out.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/02/2013





I really think the best thing for you to do is develop a routine (Yes, you CAN develop a routine, even if hubby works odd hours). There is no reason that errands and grocery shopping should take up your entire day, every single day, for example. And, yes, I understand that you don't have "extra" time to clean, but if you pick one area of the house, get that cleaned (by cleaned, I mean straightened/uncluttered) during one week, and move on to the next area next week, your house will soon stay clean and uncluttered as long as you pick up after yourselves. No, it won't stay spotless, but honestly, I always thought people with spotless houses had mental issues...LOL

It really does seem like a time management thing to me.

If you don't mind my asking, are you a young mom? (20's) or are you a bit older? It sounds like you're a fairly young mom who's still getting in the "swing" of it, which can be daunting. (Especially so if your husband has medical issues. Mine is the same. We've graduated from Oxy and morphine to Fentanyl patches for a crushed disk and crushed nerve)

But, again, your husband has to be able to change a bit as well. I'm sorry, but there is absolutely NO reason for him to sit at his computer working for over 40 hours straight, and to be quite honest, with a back injury, he really can't sit for that long, so I'm thinking there may be some flexibility there (remember, my husband has the same type of injury, so I do know what they can and can't do and for how long). But, either way, working from home must be structured as well.

So, there's a few things you can do on your own to start this out:

Make a family counseling appointment
Make an appointment with a time management consultant
Make a list of all daily responsibilities.
Prioritize those responsibilities
Then make a schedule, and stick to it.
Limit your grocery runs to once a week. Make your shopping trip last. Not only is it less expensive, it's less time consuming in the long run. If you shop each day only for that day, you spend more money than if you shop weekly and plan your meals ahead.

Like I said, no one has that many errands and phone calls that you spend "all day" (exclusive of the time that you wake up, feed, and play with your son) doing nothing but errands/phone calls. I work on a University campus, and even I don't spend all day on the phone, and I deal with student registration, curriculum, scheduling, and faculty.

So, really, your husband needs to attend some counseling and some time and money management classes with you. You both need to develop a structure that you can live with.

I do wish you the best of luck. Structured days are a good thing! They keep you sane!

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