please help - need advice especially from Nons.

I have been irritated for years over the fact that DH does no housework at all.  Absolutely NONE.  I had chalked it up to the fact that he is in Academia and has lots of work to do outside of just teaching.  Also, since the kids, I haven't had a 'real' job and have made a paltry amount of money each of the last 6 years.  But I'm getting angrier and angrier as my schedule fills up with jobs and I am STILL doing everything.

We sat down and made a schedule, like he'd suggested, because i'm lousy at time management.  But it's not working out at all, because the times that i've set aside on weekends to get my work done, he will not 'babysit' the kids.  There's always some reason why he can't ("I've got work to do!") but.... he is always instead, playing with his iPad.  I have pointed this out on numerous occasions, we have 'learning conversations' where he agrees (reluctantly and grumpily) that he'll clean the kitchen on the ONE night a week I'm not there to do it... but then... it doesn't happen.  I still have to beg/nag/remind.  The few times during the week that I'd set aside to prepare for classes, are now filled with classes.  I have to rely on him to give me time to work, because the only time I'm able to is when he is home and he doesn't want me to hire a babysitter because that would be ridiculous when we're both home.

Now, folks here's the thing:  he is NOT ADHD.  *I* am the one with the 'problem.' He is FULLY CAPABLE of cleaning up after himself and the kids but for some reason will not do it.  When I left town for a few days while DD#1 was about a year old, all of our friends joked that he would be so grateful when I returned.  Instead, when I came home the house was tidy and dinner was simmering on the stove.  So.... he CAN do it.  But WON'T.  He has often told me he feels 'disrespected' if I leave a dresser drawer or cabinet door open...  and I am NOT CONSCIOUSLY DOING IT AND HE KNOWS THAT.... so..... how much respect is he showing me when he won't lift a finger?

I have several non-ADHD friends who complain about their husbands' lack of participation in household chores.  This is what they say: "Oh, I just HATE how he does laundry!  He will fold everything, but only put HIS stuff away and leave my stuff and the kids stuff folded on the bed!" Or, "He just won't eat leftovers!  He insists on cooking a whole different meal every night and then we have all this extra food in the fridge that just goes bad!"  or, "When he takes the kids out, he doesn't re-stock the diaper bag as soon as he gets home!"  One friend was shocked that every morning I get up and get DD#1 ready for school, even though DH is the one who drops her off on his way (4 blocks farther) to work.  DH gets up and spends 45 minutes in the bathroom (with the iPad of course).  He is angry if I don't have her ready and her lunch packed on time.  My friend explained to me that in her relationship, whoever takes their daughter to school is the one who gets up and gets her ready and packs lunch the night before so that the other one can SLEEP IN.  They have routines in place, like, who will cook what night and who will clean what.  there is nothing like that here because I do everything.  One friend asked, "So... what would happen if you just didn't do it?"  well, that's easy.  the mess would just pile up.... Even after having what I'd hoped was a successful talk last week, I still came home to a mess last night.  After I'd gone to bed, he did a half assed job cleaning up but only after this conversation:

me:  "Um... ok, so.... remember that you said it would be ok if you cleaned up on Fridays?"

DH:  "No... YOU can clean it up!"

me: "Ok... that's really not funny."

This morning when I got up (at 6am with DD#2 - he never gets up with the kids....) The plates had been washed and the pots/pans were clean but he'd left them on the (dirty) stove.  there were cups on the table still half full of drinks, and the mess of toys/craft stuff he'd gotten out for the kids was left untouched, beads all over the floor just waiting to be stepped on.  Books, clothes, toys all over the floor & couch/coffee table...

DD#1 had a bday party to go to and I was hosting a play date for DD#2, so instead of doing the work I need to get done for my classes next week (as per what we agreed on with our schedule) I had to frantically clean.  also, we were out of everything because of the hurricane and I had to go pick up something to feed these people.  DH (playing with the iPad, of course) asked where I was going.  I said I had to run out to get some food for the play date.  He said, annoyed, "Ummmm.... well, I gotta leave in like, 25 minutes, so do you want to take DD#2 with you?"  I just said, "No.  No, I don't.  I'll be back in 15-20 minutes."  He acted like he was doing me a big favor by going to the bday party, but in reality, he just brought DD#1 to the party and then went out for beer with the bday girl's dad. 

He spends an average of 4 hours per weekday and 8 hours on Saturdays/sundays on the couch with the iPad watching videos, facebooking, reading articles... whatever.  While i am constantly in motion, picking up messes or cooking or cleaning....  It is so infuriating.  These numbers are NOT 'ADHD exaggeration' estimates.  I actually TIMED him and kept a log for 2 weeks.

I was wondering if there was some ratio I don't understand... some dollar amount that I need to earn for him to actually start pitching in.  According to my Non ADD friends, this is not the case.  Even stay-at-home-mom friends of mine trade off housework with their spouses who work full time.  They all think he is self-centered and misogynist.  He DID grow up in a household where his mother did all the housework/cooking, but he always denies it when I ask him if he was influenced by that.  When I ask WHY he does nothing, he still always says, "I don't know."


I really can't go on like this.  I'm so angry these days my hands shake.



This is an age-old problem sweetie. Your DH has it sweet. He has his job and he thinks the whole home realm is your job. Ugh. I think you've inadvertently enabled his laziness by not dealing with this sooner and by feeling insecure about your own self and your ADHD and your not having a high paying job to 'contribute',

the truth is- you need to get mad and maybe go on a trip by yourself for 3-4 days so he gets a sense of how much you do... Frankly- he sounds like an ass. I am sorry but he does. You disrespect him by leaving a drawer open? What an ass. 

Anyway- sorry to be blunt. I am in the hospital- just had my baby girl 2 days ago!!! Working on no sleep!

i hope this gets better. You don't deserve to be his slave while he gets to do whatever the hell he wants since he's an 'academic' ha! My husband works 11 hour days and works on the weekend- and he's in high-finance- so his days are high-stress- but he is still expected to pitch in at home- and he does way less than me- but as you said, he does do stuff!

good luck, honey!


So happy all is well, and welcome SmileyBabyGirl!!!!

hope you can get some sleep!

Ellameno, your husband sounds like my first husband

I have wondered, from time to time, as you describe your husband, if he has ADHD as well. The hyperfocus on the I-pad makes me wonder.

My first husband placed so much importance on his earning as opposed to my housekeeping, etc. He did nothing. When my DD #1 was an infant, he made me sit up all night, in another part of the apartment, holding her so her crying wouldn't wake him up, because he had to actually get up and go to work in the morning. He made me get a night job when she was still an infant, and when she made a mess in her diaper, he'd just leave her in the bathtub until I came home.

Now, here's the weird part...He insisted on me not working because he didn't want his children to be "raised by strangers" because he had been in daycare as a child and not liked it. But he was constantly angry because I didn't bring in any money. I worked from home (doing surveys on the telephone), but he didn't think of that as work. Even when I worked full-time, he did nothing. He said I didn't make as much money as he did (true!) so I had to do all housework and childcare to make my contribution equal.

I don't think this is because of your ADHD. The only effect your ADHD has is that it probably takes you longer and takes more effort for you to do the housework. I think your husband is a jerk. Is there any chance of getting some sort of unbiased voice in all of this? A counselor, a trusted friend who knows you both, or someone like that? I just isn't fair that you are on duty 168 hours a week and all he has to do is work!


He's definitely NON ADHD

He has no symptoms other than the (I believe 'environmental') iPad ADD affect.

He has never lost his keys. He has never, in fact, lost anything since i've known him (20+ years) He doesn't need a calendar to remember appointments.  He doesn't need a shopping list when he goes shopping.  He can remember everything he went there for, doesn't buy anything that isn't needed, doesn't get distracted by anything and can get it all done in less than one hour.... the same trip can take me 2 hours and I'll forget several things and pick up stuff we didn't need...  His school and career path have been a steady incline all his life.  Never struggled with school, always excelled at everything he's ever done.  He can keep track of every dime we have.  he obviously GETS his work done otherwise he'd have been fired - I just never see him working.  Or, I see him work for 15 minutes, then play for 20... over and over.... 

your first husband, Sueann, really takes the cake... leaving an infant in a bathtub with a dirty diaper? wow.  Though my DH is not far off:  last night DD had a bit of an accident and had soiled her underwear.  If I had not been in the basement dealing with the garbage and recycling, i'm sure DH would have ignored her calling for help, but since I wasn't there he was in the bathroom with her when I came back in.  She came running out asking me for clean underwear.  I got her sorted out and started dinner.  I went into our bathroom to take my evening dose and saw that DH had simply thrown her soiled underpants in the sink - leaving them for me to deal with.  He was lying on the bed (he has a private office at work, and a private office at home, but he prefers to hole up in our bedroom with his books/papers & beloved iPad).  He saw me standing there looking into the sink.  He says, "Oh, yeah. DD had an accident, so those need to be cleaned."  I said, "So you just left them here for me to deal with?  Really?  You really want the person who is cooking your food right now handling feces?  You can either wash them out & throw them into the washing machine or just throw them in the garbage if you're unwilling to deal with it."

My question is HOW do I stop the 'enabling' if that's what i'm doing?  Do I just stop doing certain things?  Do I sit him down AGAIN and try to talk to him and make him see that his expectations are unrealistic?  We seem to have the same conversation over and over and over again.  He'll make a half-hearted attempt at maybe one or two chores or 'favors' for me and then it goes back to the status quo.  It's unhealthy for me to be this angry all the time, so what happens is I just lower my expectations so that i'm not infuriated 24/7.

The other day when he was making dinner (something he'd seen online that he wanted to try) he had my daughter helping him prepare stuff.  He made a big show of saying, "OK, now we're going to wash this bowl because when you clean as you go then there isn't a mess when you're finished and it's no big deal to clean the kitchen after dinner...."  Ok.. first of all, he's always saying this to me, as if I dont' know how to cook or clean... and second.... he left a HUGE mess anyway, so the 'clean as you go' thing was not demonstrated at all, and the worst?  My daughter turns to me and says gleefully, "LOOK MOMMY!  DADDY'S CLEANING THIS BOWL FOR YOU!  HE'S HELPING YOU OUT!!"  Like I am a servant and the benevolent King has deigned to let me rest for a moment.

Well, i've got to stop typing or i'll get upset all over again.  besides... it's time to start dinner.  wheeeee!