When Daddy Comes Home -- Division of Labor

Flickr photo by DanBrady
I'm hardly a domestic goddess, but I definitely lean pretty strongly toward the Palmolive and Lysol wipes when it comes to cleanliness in my home. But trying to maintain a semblance of a clean home when I'm alone with three kids for half the month can be quite a challenge, even for the FlyLady herself.
But I'm married to a military man, or in housecleaning lingo, "Mr. Clean."
Early on in our relationship, I struggled with a very challenging baby, and admittedly I wasn't the best housekeeper. I had spent the last five or so years working 12-plus-hour days at a job I loved, and keeping a clean apartment was nowhere on my list.


And so, when I dropped down to a part-time schedule to spend more time with my daughter, I ended up spending all my spare time with my daughter, which was great for her but not so great for the house. I didn't realize that when I cut my work schedule down, I automatically took on the job as family housekeeper along with primary parent.

Seriously, where was that memo?

I did my best to step up to the dirty plate, and since then, I've become progressively more anal about how my house looks. Now you won't see me cleaning toilets on a daily basis, but at the end of the day, the dishes are clean and the toys are picked up, which I see as a pretty fantastic accomplishment given my current situation.
But when you're married to Mr. Clean, the word "clean" is pretty subjective.
And so up until recently, he'd come home from a trip, drop his bags, and instantly begin scrubbing the floor. Or something similar.

Now don't get me wrong. I completely appreciate the fact that I have a husband who scrubs the floor and picks up a vacuum cleaner, so hold the "Oh please. You're lucky your husband actually lifts a finger."

Yes, yes. This I know.

But I can also appreciate that there can actually be too much of a good thing, even when it comes to cleaning, especially when you just scrubbed the floor that he's scrubbing or vacuumed the floor that he's vacuuming.
And when the first words out of his mouth are, "What happened in here?" in response to four pieces of paper on the floor, it actually hurts.
Little did he know what the room looked like before.

Over the years I've come to ignore the comments. And most of the time, I let him go about the business of redoing my work, but not without sharing a few choice words -- not just because I'm offended, but also because if I didn't do the cleaning, he'd have not-so-nice things to say. And when he wants to spend all his "home time" cleaning, it takes away from the important time he needs to spend with me and the kids.  

So aside from a simple discussion about how not to put his foot in his mouth, we're thinking of investing a house cleaner. Not necessarily to keep our house clean, but to save our marriage.

How do you divide the housecleaning and housekeeping duties with your away spouse?

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