20 answers

Help! My Kids and Husband Are Slobs!!!

My kids are 7 and 13, and huge slobs. My husband is a slob too. I feel completely disrespected by their ways. I give up. I have tried grounding, bribery, etc. My husband was raised by a do everything for her son type, so she has completely screwed him up...lol! Nobody listens to me on this topic and now I have refused to pick up after them. Joke's on me though, my house is a wreck! They don't care, but my eye is twitching. I get so insane about this. I was always doing everything for them because I could not stand it, but after I caught the kids just tossing candy wrappers on my floor, I snapped. I would clean one room and start the next, but the room I just finished was already getting messed up! I will not clean up after a grown man and a 7 and 13 year old any longer. They should all be able to pick up after themselves. I grew up in a freakishly clean, organized home. My mother, father and 4 sisters all cleaned and did yard work and cooking. But when it comes to my home, I am a failure. I know that the kids look at my husband and follow his "example" so I guess I need to break him first, but how? I have tried, he agrees with me but he still won't pick up after himself or help around the house. I even tried standing over him to pick up but that does not work and I feel like a mother to him when I do that, so, yeah, no good. Short of kicking his sloppy butt back to his mommy, how do I "fix" him and our kids? I love them very much but I cannot live with their sloppy ways anymore, something has to be done.

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So What Happened?™

WOW! Thanks to everyone who voiced their thoughts and ideas. Some of you ladies were a little harsh, but hey, that let's me know that I am not alone in this.
I have tried everything in the past. I mean EVERYTHING...I am nuts about this. There is NO fun, allowances, friends, parties, I have canceled vacations, etc. I have stripped them bare of freedom, but they still did not do any chores.
I informed them of my post here and they were very embarrassed that I aired our dirty laundry, and mad. Oh well! I let them all read your posts and they were shocked at some of the answers given. This was a huge plus because this is coming from people we don't know, not my mouth.
I looked at flylady...OMG! For the first time I feel like my dirty house is not the only one on the planet! I introduced "27 fling boogie" last night and of course the husband told me the Phillies game was coming on and that he was not doing it, but I spoke to him like a pissed off Mom (hated that, but it had to be done) and he complied. They LOVED it! I am not kidding you! They said it was fun! We did it again today, still loving it and it has already made a HUGE difference in our home. We all yell out "27 fling boogie!" and get started. It takes no time at all and everyone was excited that we got almost 1000 items in the trash, (YES A 1000!!!) and nobody was tired, sore, complaining. It was great! They all told me that when I would tell them to clean in the past it was too much of a daunting task to tackle, say, their bedrooms, in one day. It was depressing them and they felt trapped by their own filth. I felt trapped too. I'm an "I want it now" type of girl, and they are clearly not. They love how fast fling boogie is and they feel good that they made a dent, and that the house does not have to be done all at once. We will be doing this every night until the house is clean of "stuff" then the scrubbing comes in. This has been a huge help, thank you all again!

Featured Answers

Gonna be rough with the hubby.

Might try something really drastic, move to a friends house few days and let the dad and kids handle being on their own for a bit. There is no reason why they all not helping around the house, cleaning their rooms.

Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I'm in a similar boat that you are. I am a SAHM and can't keep up with everything. I'm not an exremely organized or neat person, but I refuse to follow everyone around cleaning up their messes. My husband does not lift a finger - "his job is outside the home while my job is inside the home" is his mentality. We are making small strides in turning that around. My kids are 3 and 4 so they are bound to make messes. Though we are far from solving all the issues here are some things that have made a difference in our house:

Every evening after dinner I direct the kids on how to clean up from the day - this goes here, that goes there, put this in the garbage, etc. I imagine even older kids may need very specific directions so they know you mean business. "As soon as you finish dinner you need to pick up the candy wrappers from the living room floor and put them in the garbage. Then you can take out the trash. Then you can watch your movie."

My husband is responsible for emptying any garbage from his dinner plate into the trash and putting his plate and utensils in the sink or dishwasher.

My husband must sort his laundry into the bins outside of the bathroom. I'm starting to teach the kids how to do this as well.

If the kids don't pick up their toys they go in the "closet" for a long time. I can't make myself throw them away because of the money spent on them.

My husband leaves snacks, drinks, etc in the living room. I pile them on the table next to his favorite chair so if he wants to bring out more he has to clear himself a space. I just accept that table will be cluttered.

I don't speak disrespectfully about my husband in front of my children, however, I do speak truthfully with them. When they ask why they have to clean and Daddy doesn't, I tell them that Daddy apparently didn't learn how to clean up after himself, but part of my job as Mom is to teach them how. I tell them that taking care of a house is a team effort and no one person should be responsible for it all.

I tell my kids how much I appreciate them helping me and that when we work together we get the chores done faster so we can have time for fun. I also praise their efforts and don't redo what they have done unless it is absolutely necessary.

I wash my husband's clothes and I fold them. Then they go into a pile until he puts them away.

I can't comment on how to handle your husband because I haven't made huge strides with mine. I haven't been bold enough to go completely "on strike". But with the kids I would make a clear list of rules and chores. I would set up consequences as well. Maybe get them involved in devising a plan so they can feel their input is valued and they can have some ownership of the rules and consequences. You will have to be consistent in following through with consequences.

One other thought...Something a friend of my SIL did to handle the piles of dishes in her sink was to pack hers away (until needed for company)and replace them with one plate, bowl, cup and set of utensils in 4 different colors. Each family member was assigned a color and was responsible for washing their own dishes. They could choose when to wash them but if they wanted to eat and didn't have a clean dish they knew what they had to do.

Good luck to you!

2 moms found this helpful

I feel your pain. I can relate on a certain level. I am the same way--raised in a very orderly, immaculate house. Sometimes I feel like my house NEEDS to be perfect at all times. I've learned to relax my standards a bit since my son was born. But I still like a basically tidy and clean house. I believe that the more you DO, the more others will let you do.
I second the idea of flylady.net. Especially if you are feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start or how to stay on track week to week. It will organize your efforts (and it's FREE!).
I think posting a list of rules/expectations is a good idea. Your kids need to abide by the rules if they want their allowance, special trip to XYZ, video game access--whatever will motivate them.
The 13 yo, at least, should be able to keep his/her room tidy. EVERYONE can use a trash can and everyone can clear their plates from the table, etc. I have my 5 yo empty the cutlery from the dishwasher. He's just now starting to put his dirty clothes in the chute. Sigh.
You really need to talk to your husband seriously about this issue b/c they DO look to him as a role model. Then tell him specifically what to do. I believe men are incapable of looking around & doing what needs to be done. You've gotta tell him, "vacuum that" or "pick up the newspaper & put it in the recycle bin." I don't feel bad about directing my husband b/c he lacks a sense of flow and priority. He needs direction!
You have a responsibility to stop the insanity cycle of the helpless man! teach your boys cleaning, cooking, etc and you will have very happy future in-laws! :)
Hang in there. Check out FlyLady and just start the babysteps. You don't need to catch up--you just need to hop on the schedule where it starts. It's okay if you miss a day or a week. It will help you. Good luck. Hope this helps a little.

1 mom found this helpful

I have the same problem. I have 4 children 19,15,13 and 10 except the only one who helps out is my 10 year old. My house is a wreck also. When they all go to work or school - I feel like a maid and it is soo frustrating. There is only one thing that worked out about shoes lying all over the floor. Especially, under my kitchen island. My husband started coming home from work and kicking his shoes under the island. I vaccumm everyday and my island is the horrible(with having 3 golden retrievers the hair is everywhere and the island is the "catch me all". I started throwing their shoes down the basement steps. One it kept morning a little easier because kids trying to fine the other shoe when the golden picks it up and carries it somewhere. Second they hated running down the basement steps to get their shoes. I figured I can't see them. As far as everything else I need help also- can't seem to master that yet. I have been married for 21 years and my husband is still a slob.

1 mom found this helpful

You can fix this! it will only be difficult because it will be change. Obviously if you had enforced rule from the start, it would be easier (not necessary) but that's no help! Here's what you must do:

PLAN A: Assign chores. Not negotiable. Strong negative consequences for not performing them in addition to no allowance. They're not voluntary, you can't "opt" not to do them and not get paid. That's where the consequences come in. It's healthy for them and better for them to learn organization and neatness and discipline than if they don't. They must do chores, it's the new law.

Give them a head start (to ease your mind about the new "hard line" you're taking.) Get rid of everyone for a day, weekend, whatever it takes. Deep clean your house yourself, or hire help. Set up ways to be organized for them-certain places to put everything, so it is not hard for them to keep clean. Especially since they will have to keep on top of it. Give them the sparkly clean house as a new present, and then introduce the new rules, and struggle through enforcing them. It will be very hard at first. If you get lazy breaking their life long habit, no biggy, you'll have to live with the mess until they move out.

As for hubby, you cannot do anything about him, don't even try. Don't let your kids use him as an excuse, he's the dad. They have to obey you. He doesn't. He must have been a slob before you married him. Embrace it. Let him be the only slob in the house. With a clean kitchen, bathrooms, and their rooms (all within their chores) his clutter in the living room and your room won't be so bad, and maybe when he sees how hard you and the kids are working, he'll improve. But don't count on it.

PLAN B) When the mess is getting really bad, move out for a week or two. Stay with a co-worker or whoever. Let them live in squalor with no one to dig for pots, pans, counter space and clean clothes etc to provide for them. Then come home and implement plan A. Good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful

You both work full time. But it's been 15 years of this ?? You didn't go nuts sooner ? (I'm VERY impressed !)

I think you should make a list of chores for every Sat. a.m. Nothing else gets done, no fun, etc., until the chores are done. with the kids -- you can pay them, which will make them EARN their allowance, and learn that money is worth something, life isn't free. If they don't work, no big deal, they don't get money.

Everyone should choose their own chores, but put the price values on them first. that way the kids will pick the ones they earn more money on.

I think once they learn that to have fun, they have to help with the work, then you can celebrate by doing something fun. You have to be willing to tell them they CAN'T go out and play, your husband can't watch football, or whatever, until a certain number of chores are done. I would plan an hour of picking up.

When they learn they have to help pick up, they'll figure out that it's easier to pick up if they don't toss the trash around the house. when the trash goes into the trash can the first time, it's easier to earn your money on Sat.

You will, of course, need to talk to your husband about this and get his support. He should love you enough to give you an hour of his time every week to help clean. And when he gets good at it, he won't notice if the number of chores increase, so once a week you have assistance cleaning.

1 mom found this helpful

Wow it sounds like my house!!! My kids will open capri sun drinks and leave the straw wrapper on the floor, or the fruit roll up wrapper on the steps. My oldest is 14 and she will leave a plate and cup of milk on the living room end table and walk to the kitchen to get another drink without taking her stuff from before.

I have posted chores and when we r home they do get done for the most part. If they r not done, she does not get a ride to her friends house etc... My 7 yr old puts away her own clothes and empties her dinner plate into the trash. She will also windex the dinner table and tables in living room. You need to put your foot down with your kids. When they leave something somewhere you make them come right back in to pick it up, regardless whether they get an attitude about it or not. Make them clean their rooms before they go out and if it is not done then they don't go anywhere. No rides to friends houses etc... If they have phones, take them away. If they have computer priveleges, take them away!

As far as your husband, well i would no longer do his wash, clean his dishes etc... I would tell him that if he wants YOU to continue to do these things for him then HE needs to start helping out around the house by at least taking HIS own clothes to the laundry room, emptying his plate into the trash etc.... You need to tell him that if these things r not done and you find his clothes on the floor (same with the kids) YOU WILL THROW IT IN THE TRASH!!! I have trown away toys that were left on the floor in the trash. If that is how they care about their stuff then they obviously don't need or want it that bad!!!

Stick to your guns!!! Make it work! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Gonna be rough with the hubby.

Might try something really drastic, move to a friends house few days and let the dad and kids handle being on their own for a bit. There is no reason why they all not helping around the house, cleaning their rooms.

Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Let me start out by saying that you're right, it shouldn't be this way. There are tons of other mamas in this situation with you, so you aren't alone. BUT they key to changing it lies within YOU-- not them.

I'll add my flylady.net endorsement. It isn't a magic bullet, but FLY stands for Finally Loving Yourself... and that is what she works on (along with getting the house cleaned up). You do get a lot of email from it, but a lot of times someone will write in and share how they got their husband or kids to help... she is always saying "our kids are watching and learning" and reminding you that you do shape their attitudes about housecleaning, etc. My little one is too small for housefairy, but when he learns to walk, he's getting a feather duster, lol.

I think you really need to work on "fixing" your self before you try to "fix" the hubby and kids. Understand what you are willing to do, cheerfully and as a blessing to your self and your family, and what you are not willing to do, and then learn to live cheerfully with what doesn't get done. Try to see that your husband not helping around the house is not the defining characteristic of your marriage. Not that you have to go all Stepford, but embrace the fact that there are somethings you can control (your attitude, your tone of voice) and somethings you can't (his attitude, his upbringing). Once you master that, things will change. Also, men love to fix problems, but hate nagging. If you can present certain things to him as your problems you need help with (I'm having a rough week, and I'm so stressed out, do you think you could help me lift this heavy thing, clean up the kitchen Wednesday night, what ever it is). That definitely works around here.

The kids will respond to a combination of following a good example (a cheerful good example, not a martyr good example), rewards, and consequences. I'd set up a sticker chart (ok, maybe something like that for the 13 yo, but not stickers) for agreed-upon, age-appropriate chores. Each of your boys is old enough to put laundry in the correct hampers or baskets or whatever you do, and your 13 year old is old enough to wash and put away his own laundry. If they do it for some pre-determined length of time, they get a reward (stay up 30 mintues later Friday night, pick out a movie from Netflix, whatever). If they don't, then you'll get to the laundry when you get a chance, and if they don't have something clean to wear to school, then that is the consequence.

This isn't going to change all at once, but it will change. You will change. Things will get better, I promise! :-) Give yourself credit for all you do, and don't let anyone (even yourself) take that away from you.

1 mom found this helpful

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