Does Your Family Step Up To The Plate?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DDD, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I am not deathly ill. I can walk and talk and move BUT my arm and my hand are bothering me. Wouldn't you imagine that husband and the boys would do the dishes and the laundry????????


    I am NOT going to do it. Period. I feel better today and I am going to make ME number one.

    How to heck can you NOT notice that your kitchen is dirty and clothes are stacking up when you are 17, 20 and 75??????? Grrr..... DDD
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I'm sorry they are not pitching in. My kids wouldn't but husband definitely would. Sounds like it is time for a strike! Hugs.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ohh, so sorry, to be sick and then have to worry about that. Frankly, I was so sick last week that the dishes could have grown enough mold to get up and walk away and I couldn't have cared less. They eventually got done ... not the way I wanted but at least nothing was broken.
    Get well soon!
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Mine didn't until after I had a heart attack.

    easy child did do laundry, but that was because I couldn't do it. He didn't believe me...thought I was just being lazy...but decided he wanted to have clean clothes to wear and I told him if he could do his own he could do others. He would occasionally pick up around the house but not until it looked like it had exploded on itself and he BAM'd about it the whole time. Again, thinking I was lazy.

    Once I had validation (sad, that it took that), my kids are much more willing to help out. easy child more than difficult child, but difficult child is getting better. I asked difficult child to cut some cheese for me tonight because my hand was swollen and I couldn't do it and she did so without any complaint.

    Even after the heart attack and even though I was still ill, it wasn't until my doctor said I was temporarily disabled that the BAM'ing about it stopped. Knowing my body and my limitations wasn't good enough. He had to hear it from the doctor.

    Even my mom had that attitude. That if I just kept on top of things it wouldn't get so overwhelming, blah, blah, blah. Totally not getting that some days I could barely move.

    So, yeah, I feel your pain. Even now, the sink will be overflowing with dishes before the kids think about emptying and reloading the dishwasher. Or I start to do it and the kids feel guilty and take over.

    To answer your question, yes they stepped up to the plate. But not until something catastrophic happened.

    (((((hugs))))) Leave it be. Eventually the will get tired of the mess or will need a clean plate or clean underwear.
  5. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    well, um.lets see. My husband became first "mentally ill" and could no longer work at his VERY lucrative job, almost immediately after our first child turned 18 months and 2nd was born. SO I jumped in and with no special job skills and at minimum wage, I kept us afloat alone. AT that time, he did NOT learn how to change a diaper, give a bottle, wash a dish or run a load of laundry- "womens work" and "if I could learn to do those things, I would instead be back at work" and "I was advised by psychiatrist not to do anything stressful" OK, then he got physically ill, and there I was mowing lawn, takeing care of all the child stuff, house stuff, yardwork, car care, financials etc........while he did then continue to decline physically. DId extended family pitch in? Nope, but they piped up- "leave him" OK well, can me and kids look to any of you for any help- say occasional babysitting, a dollar or 2 here or here, maybe we can stay in your basement for a month or anything? nope. SO extended family did not step up to plate, either.

    Fast forward, me, doing ALL the EVERYTHING< as if I was a single mom, PLUS taking physical care of husband.and WHAM! Lupus and Rheumatic illness hit hard and fast and lay me out cold.......NO use of hands, feet, arms, legs, and even affected my ability to swallow. Oldest child mostly psychotic, and living in her own world, middle child overwhelmed trying simply to survive, and youngest child really still far too little to be any kind of real help.
    Did husband help? nope. He was still lost in catatonia much of the time, and had a hard enough time walking, etc, and just trying to breathe himself. Oldest difficult child? well, she did eventually stop running out of the hohouse some, and hung around more, but.....aside from maybe if I begged her to- she might bring me a glass of water once every 2-3 days...........she was not much help. easy child was not here to help- busy with school, volunteer activities, and her job.........
    Extended family held fast to their opinion, "dump the husband" altho continued to refuse to commit to ANY help of ANY kind....... family seemed to not understand my pleas for help- maybe becuz they simply could not accept I really was struck down....they could not believe.........The Veterans group I was part of, the same one that would go and help others, (I had been president of actually) also seemed to not "get it" and simply dropped out of sight, despite my begging for help------------
    Um.the respite and homemakers the county sent, walked in, said well, there is a mother, a father, and 3 kids there, - they need to pitch in and figure it out.and they would not stay depsite DHS sending them.

    I was totally incapacitated for nearly 2 years, and still heavily incapacitated for approx 2 more years..........and ...........ummmmmmmmm..most of the work simply stayed undone, -------and since I have been back on my feet? It has been a major, horrible, difficult struggle to unbury us from it all. It has been sad, depressing, disgusting to unbelieveable degree......a LOT of hard work..........a lot of ruined heirlooms.........several dumpsters, lots of not so nice language (out of MY mouth) mixed in with lots of tears............

    I am still not caught up- I may never be caught up--------I probably won't ever be caught up.

    BUT somewhere along the way I did somehow manage to get some message thru to my kids after all. No it is not a message about how to keep a home nice and is a far different kind of message. Eventually my kids did realize I could die, dad could die..........we were very close.......and I also learned something. Thru it all, I changed a LOT. Yes, I did once have a very immaculate, (actually to the point of sterile, and non cozy, really) home, BUT......boy did we hit the other extreme! UG! BUT...when all is said and done.......and after my sons eye injury and when I finally stopped being at deaths door etc.........and when I more fully began to understand the long term ramifications of severe serious mental illness? My kids learned that even more important than backed p laundry.more important than no dirty dishes--------is how we treat other people. More important is - can we sit and hold someones hand when they are in pain? Can we help them find comfort? Is anyone gonna die if the dishes are dirty?

    I also learned something else. Nope, my husband truly really absolutely does not care, not in a mean or malicious way, but inside himself- he truly is not affected AT ALL if the house is clean or dirty, if the food is nice, fresh, homemade etc.......or if his clothes are clean or ironed. He literally truly simply does not care, not at all.
    My kids do have more preferences for meals than my husband, but only marginally more. and it does not bother my kids for the floor to be dirty or most of their clothes to be dirty. It only ever bothered ME. and since it did not bother them... they had no ambition, no motivation to do anything at all about it. they simply did not care. Oh I tried, but when you are truly bedbound, completely unable to move, there is not a lot you can do to make anyone do anything, and after you HAVE been THAT helpless, when you DO regain abilities you often find yourself SO grateful to get abilities back, the mess simply loses it's importance.
    Oh I do not mean it does not bother me, becuz it does, a lot...BUT while I was beginning to get up and walking etc again, I did finally really look at my husband and kids.and I found that while they might be slobs? they are very kind generous people anyway. Far more than I ever realized. My kids would do almost anything for anyone, they just seem to lose track of what hey are doing as far as cleaning up.
    difficult child helps homeless persons, helps arange transporation for the needy.not thru any organization, but on her own. easy child is there in the organizations, volunteering for everything. My little guy, when you take him out of our house, he is the first to volunteer for anything, where ever he is, first to help make plans, first to arrange and set up, first to be The Volunteer or the one to go first and he is always the last to leave cuz he is right there cleaning up. Yeesh,. that boy, when we go out to eat, even, there he is trying to bus our table, lest he leave behind "a mess" they just do not see it at home.
    And my goofy husband? well............he is useless, helpless and hopeless, BUT spite of that, LOL- he encourages me to follow MY dreams and sits with me over coffee for HOURS while I chatter on and on and on...........which may not sound like much, but hey, when I begin to chatter? I can go for HOURS upon HOURS.
    My children just seem to not care so much for their OWN comfort at home, LOL.
    If any of it WAS a priority for them? I KNOW they know HOW to do these things--------if they cared, they would do it.

    SO- after being down flat on my back - for better part of almost 4 years total.........nope- they did not step up to the plate.........I guess they knew I would do it when I got to it, when I could?
    Now yes, I suppose I could have demanded a divorce from husband and maybe even my spite of their slobbish ways........I love them. And I love their company. LOL. I guess I could not beat, in some ways I kind of joined them. And ironically now that I no longer upset myself trying to get them to do things- NOW they are starting to pitch in. Yeesh. LOL.

    Hope you feel better soon, and hope you get things going the way you want them to be going. I gave up, decided thay all live here, it is not just "my" house, it is theirs, too, and we now have kind of met in the middle. sort of.
  6. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I suggest paper plates, plastic cups, letting them wear dirty clothes, and a housecleaner that comes in once every other week.

    Take care of you.

  7. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I agree. Strike.

    My fridge list is working. I took stuff down and posted a large-print list of things that need to be done. Oil change in car, brakes on car, oil change in truck, pony to farrier, etc. When I leave to work and husband is home (or even if I'm leaving for errands and he's sitting at home in front of the tv) I'll say "don't sit and do p*$$e$ me off" and he'l usually do something while I'm gone, tho not nearly what I could accomplish in the same amount of time. Its not perfect, but its helping.
  8. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    Many years ago when me and husband were in intense therapy- 1-1 for each of us, marriage counseling, and day treatment for both of us, while we were trying to get our dtr evaluated (all this was required before they would see dtr) I would complain my husband did not help around the house or with the kids etc. Every single one of the therapists, tdocs, psychiatrists etc all said the same thing. "who is it bothering that these things are not being done?" Um, "me" they all said well then it seems it is "you" with the "problem"- it is NOT a problem to your husband or kids, if it were a problem for them, they would do something about it. Becuz it is a problem to "you" you can either do these things yourself, or not do them. and you can choose to let it bother you- or not. Whoo boy did that make me mad! Then they said I cannot "make another person do anything" I can only control how I respond or react.....I can only control "me" And yes, I could threaten, but, I needed to be careful what I used as a threat becuz there was a good liklihood that they still might not do what I wanted them to do.
    The same tdocs, psychiatrists, therapists etc also said.....remember- our house is also husband's house, childrens house, and they also need to feel as if it is home to them, too.
    Ug, I hated that. Turns out my husband hated things SO clean, LOL, yeesh! If only I had realized that 25 years ago!!!!!- like BEFORE we got married? Yeesh.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    There are things that my family steps up for and stuff they dont. I had to practically throw a hissy fit telling them that they were literally killing me and if they didnt help, nothing was going to get done.

    Im not physically able to do what needs to be done around the house. I will attempt to wash dishes a few times a week...maybe. Sometimes I cook easy meals. I will fold laundry if it is brought to me while I sit down.

    My kids moaned that I was lazy and husband thought if I only tried to do some of the other more intellectual things that I could still do it. They had to learn just wanting me to do something wasnt going to make it happen. If I could do it, I would do it...heck...if I could do all that I would be working full time.

    They are getting better. Everyone now knows how to cook and clean but it is always on their time table. I think they are starting to feel badly that I take so much medication and still feel awful.
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Someone voluntarily lift a finger around here??? Are you kidding???

    Triple D I was run over by that truck, severely injured left arm, shattered right shoulder, and fractured skull. Not one person lifted a finger. Ages were (14, 17, and 56 at the time). And they'd have the nerve to ask if I'd do laundry, oh and what was for supper cuz they were starving.

    I know it's awful to let things go when you're used to it being clean. But hey, if you're not up to it, don't do it. I also recommend plastic cups, plastic silverware, paper plates, and a weekly maid.

    Be kind to yourself.

  11. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    The only plate my immediate and extended family step up to is a dinner plate (and only if there's food on it!).

    My favorite was being 9 mos. pregnant with 2 toddlers, mowing the lawn and having the neighbors husbands stand around telling me that my husband should be doing that!

    Thanks for the help guys! I belayed all my expectations that other people step-up to help for the good of mankind.

    If I lived nearby, I'd throw in a couple of loads and do the kitchen.

    Feel better!

  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the responses. For some sick reason, lol, it makes me feel better.

    I am not used to limitations and I HATE to beg or harrass for help. My expectations are mine. Guess I need to take ownership and adapt.

    My husband used to be really helpful (almost 50/50) with kitchen and laundry
    but...alas...he isn't 40 anymore either. Last month, by the way, I found a maid
    who comes every other Wednesday and does the floors and the bathrooms. That has been a huge help! DDD
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    DDD, feel better! Glad you found a part time maid. I've found that maids are as much a psychological help as cleaning help, just knowing you have one day "off."
    Dreamer, very interesting points ... but I think there is a line there. It is also YOUR house and you are allowed certain expectations. Food cannot be left out to gather bugs, vomit and other bodily fluids must be cleaned up. I understand the therapist's point, but it's still a house where everyone lives. I suggest family meetings to create open dialogue and an even playing field. I also have no qualms about going on strike with-making dinner, doing laundry, etc., if no one else is holding up their end of the deal. You need some leverage.
  14. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    DDD, I sure hope you're feeling better real soon. Not so you can do things for everyone, but just so you feel better.

    I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to how my house gets clean, what it should look like when I consider it clean and when it should be clean, when laundry should be done, how it should be folded, etc. What I have learned over the years is:

    1) Lower my expectations and allow others to schedule according to their own time. Take deep breaths.
    2) Ask nicely, and make a list of what needs to be done and stick it on the snack food cabinet in the kitchen. Hard to miss.
    3) Take the bucket with all the bathroom cleansers in it and place it on the bathroom counter and walk out. Just be patient. When the toilet starts getting algae on it, someone will notice.
    4) Stay in my room so I can't see just how ugly things have gotten. Denial.
    5) Steal money from H's secret hiding spot and hire a cleaning company to come in and get things at least somewhat back to normal when I'm feeling better so it's not overwhelming. Hit him where it hurts.

    I have done all of the above and now all I have to do is ask and *usually* H hops to it. difficult child, who is hardly ever home, I don't even ask to help. She's responsible for her room and clothing. I'd rather me or H do the rest of the chores than ask her. It's just not worth it.

    I can't do the tub anymore - too much on my back. It's H's job for the most part. I ONCE IN A WHILE ask difficult child to do it because she does it the way I like it done.

    I am in charge of the floors - no one could ever measure up to the way I like those done. Once in a while I ask difficult child to pass the vacuum when I don't have time during the week.

    Good luck~
  15. ShakespeareMamaX

    ShakespeareMamaX New Member

    I'm sorry you're sick. :( I do have to blame this on "non-manly wuss syndrome", though. A man will ignore a problem a woman has in order to be in denial in hopes it'll go away. But let a maaaaan get sick... And you have a 3 year old all over, again.
  16. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I'm sorry that your arm is giving you so much trouble. I think it is not unfair or unjustified to expect a little pitching in. But I wouldn't expect it to be done to your satisfaction! I don't think it is unreasonable for you to expect some help.

    I agree, take care of you and let the big boys take care of themselves a little. Glad you found a maid. I'm sure she is a great help.

    Take care,
  17. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Yeah, they step up the dinner plate!!! Then walk away and leave it all for me.
    If I am working and do not cook, they eat out. husband does do laundry. I re-do many items since they are usually just tossed in a basket and end up looking worse than when it started. husband does put dishes in dishwasher, nobody...nobody washes off the
    counter or stove after they cook. Everytime I walk into the kitchen I wash off the counter. You'Learning Disability (LD) think after seeing me do this many times a day they would get the hint. I wash the floor often due to two dogs. The only think I do not do is garbage. I do not take out the garbage to the can or to the road. I have three males living at home that can pickup a bag and bring it out.
    so many things just breaking and if I do not handle it we go without. such as, we lost power in one of our bedrooms/computer room now. All the outlets work, but the wall switch and outlets attached do not. Thus, no light. I put a lamp in the room. husband thinks we are all good now!!! I don't think so if not for the lamp we would be in the dark in that room. Which is where difficult child does homework on computer.
    I even take care of the car's, lawn, well as cleaning and bills.
    If you find what works to get them to help let me know.
  18. MrsMcNear46

    MrsMcNear46 New Member

    I must be the lucky one in the bunch. Both girls have always pitched in and got things done when I couldn't. They cleaned, did laundry and even the shopping and cooking when it was needed. Most of the time without grumbling. I've always told them that sometime in their lives they may not be capable of doing for themselves and giving back is always better than getting. Seemed to stick.
  19. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    DDD, it's magic elf syndrome.

    I'm very lucky that husband pitches in and does lots around the house. The children are another story altogether, though. When Step-D moved back home to look after difficult child for a few months last summer, I would come home from work every day to a house that looked like a bomb had gone off. Every dish in the house would be filthy, piles of stuff were stacked on every flat surface, trails of laundry up and down the halls, unmade beds, toys and other nonsense all over the back yard. It was a disaster.

    I sat Step-D down and asked her why. Before losing my temper, I wanted to try to understand why she and difficult child were having so much trouble keeping ahead of the mess. Turns out she didn't know how to clean or tidy. She's seen me and her dad do it a million times, but she's not the type of person who learns by observing, nor is she the type who figures out what needs to be done by looking around. She needed to be simple steps.

    So I told her my expectations:
    - I expect the house to be cleaned up before I come home from work. Here's how I do things
    - Deal with the one thing before you start another. If you've been cooking and eating, clean up the food and dishes before you leave the kitchen. It's part of the meal
    - If you're playing in the yard, put the yard toys away in the bin before you come inside.
    - If you're playing a board game, put all of the pieces back in the box, and put the box back in the cupboard before you leave the room.
    - etc.

    I posted a list on the fridge, and things got way better. Not perfect, but something I could live with. I don't know if everyone is born resourceful. Some have to learn it.

    DDD, hope your arm feels better soon and glad to hear that you have some help. Hope that your family pitches in.

    All the best,
  20. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    My husband is very supportive when I'm ill and falling behind around the house. He's always there to say "Don't worry, you'll catch up when you are feeling better.":tongue: