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Ask Eliza – “Our House Is a Total Mess, What Does My Wife Do All Day?”

Ask Eliza - wife not doing housework

Ask Eliza – Our House Is a Total Mess, What Does My Wife Do All Day?

Dear Eliza,

I understand that this might come across as being offensive, but I am struggling with this. I work 50 to 60 hours a week at a good job to provide for my wife and baby son. But then I come home from work and the house is a mess. It looks like my wife has not done a single thing all day long.

Our deal was that I would earn a decent income and she would stay at home raising our child. I love my wife to bits, she’s a wonderful mother and before we had children she always kept the house looking neat and clean, even with a full time job. 

I’m starting to get really upset with her because she really isn’t doing anything round the house. She doesn’t clean, she barely does laundry, all of our drawers are empty because she doesn’t put our clothes away. We almost never have food in the house as she only does the shopping after I ask her to.

Basically, I’m really not understanding what she does all day. I know that taking care of a baby is a lot of work. But when I look after our baby I manage to find time to clean, vacuum, pay bills, do laundry, etc. I carry our son around while I do all of these things. 

I feel like I’m a single father with a full-time babysitter. I’ve tried talking to her about it but I get screamed at. She says that raising a baby is like two full time jobs. 

I really don’t get what my wife is doing with all her free time. Any suggestions?

{Colin, Port Macquarie, NSW*}

Oh Colin. Dude. Sit down, we need to have a little talk.

Firstly, your wife sounds like she is doing it tough. It’s very lonely being stuck at home all day with no one but a small baby for company. I once burst into tears because I realised that I spent all day chatting to a baby and a dog and neither of them had a damn clue what I was saying.

This is a massive transition for her, going from working full time with adults to caring for an infant. There is a lot of pressure to get it right — to have a beautiful, clean home and happy, well-looked after family. She is clearly prioritising right now, and your son is much more important than whether or not the washing is put away.

When you’re pregnant, your body does everything to ensure that the baby is top priority. The woman’s body is just the host, it’s all about the baby. It’s very similar afterwards too — as long as the baby is well cared for, everything else be damned, the laundry included. She knows this, and is probably feeling like a failure for not meeting your expectations. It’s not her fault, and you need to stop shaming her for it.

You make no mention of how many times you get up in the night to feed your child. Sleep deprivation is one of the hardest parts of being a new parent. If she’s absolutely exhausted (and it certainly sounds like it) then she will be spending her “free time” (as you so delightfully put it) either staring at the walls, catching the last twenty minutes of Dr Phil, or sleeping. Because every other second of her time is being taken up actively caring for a tiny human that needs her attention.

I want you to know that it won’t always be like this. She hasn’t just given up and will never again vacuum the house or get the groceries. She is exhausted, bored, lonely, possibly depressed, frustrated and captivatingly in love with your child all at the same time.

The least you could do is be a little more understanding of what she goes through instead of swanning around with a sleeping baby strapped to your front while you do everything you judge her for not doing.

And, I hate to say this, but it will get worse before it gets better. Wait until your son is running around, tipping shit over and leaving biscuity handprints everywhere. He won’t sleep for as long either, so there’s less downtime in between the chaos. Strap yourself in, Colin, you’re in for a hell of a ride. You might even have another baby by then! Fun times.

Be kind to your wife. And stop bitching about having to do some chores when you get home from work. You live there too.

If you or someone you know is suffering from postnatal depression, contact PANDA Post and Antenatal Depression Australia

What do you think? Do you have an opinion to share with Colin? We’d love to hear it!

If you have a question for Eliza, send it to her at [email protected]


*edited slightly for clarity

Ask Eliza

Ask Eliza

Wise beyond her years, Eliza is THE lady to ask if you are in need of some advice for your relationship issues. She is sassy, opinionated, and ever-so smart, and has all the answers you’ll ever need. Want Eliza to answer your relationship problem? No questions are too sexy or tricky for Eliza to help! Send her an email at [email protected]

One comment

  1. Oh, Colin – whatever… you know what struck me – “SHE always kept the house neat and clean, even with a full time job.” Uh, yeah…sounds like you’ve never pulled your weight. And as Eliza says: “It’s your house, too.” —and your baby, and your family. Connect with them in a meaningful way. It sounds like your wife NEEDS it, and your child — well, it’d just be cool if he/she understood what being a partner really means.

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