Agony Aunt Andrea Moon

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How can I make him pull his weight at home?

Q My husband is just plain lazy. He refuses to do any housework stating he is tired. He does no childcare because he does not want to. Even asking him to drop the children off at school after I have got them up, dressed, washed, fed etc is met with a “No.” We both work full-time, but he will not help me even when I ask nicely and calmly explain why other commitments mean that I cannot drop the kids off. He spends all of his time at home either asleep or on the computer. He has spoken to the doctor about depression and has medication but even with this he does not change. What can I do?

AThis is a very common complaint, although it does sound like he is being particularly uncaring. Have you explained how this is making you feel pressurised and unconsidered? Have you been able to discuss this reasonably without apportioning blame? Sometimes we facilitate others’ bad habits by adapting too well and not wanting to “rock the boat”. Something has got to change. If his depression is affecting him, he needs to talk to a professional. Many people feel awkward about confronting their issues or that they have somehow failed in life. This is not the case, it takes a lot of courage to face up to problems. The difficulty may lie in persuading him to see someone. Depression is an all consuming illness and isolates so many people. Unless you are a sufferer it is hard to understand the numbness and smog suddenly surrounding an otherwise normal, happy person. It needs to be handled with love and understanding. If he is just being lazy, how about pricing up the following in writing and itemise it for him? Daily cleaner, taxi service to and from school, laundry and ironing service (including delivery), takeaway delivery service for ten meals a week for the family (then a weight management club!), ‘breakfast club’ and ‘after school club’, on-call nurse, out of hours tutor, social events planner, personal assistant, counsellor, nanny - the list goes on.....In 2014 a broadsheet newspaper calculated it to be worth £159,137 a year. When he realises the cost of these services, it will hopefully jolt him to action. If not, then you may decide to ease up on some of the non-essentials (obviously the children will need to be your priority and they can’t legally skip school). Don’t replace the toilet roll, leave the pots in the sink, don’t empty the bins, leave the beds unmade. Find hobbies for yourself so that you are unavailable in the evening. It is unacceptable to expect just one person to look after the whole household as well as working full-time, whatever the gender. Hopefully you will be able to resolve this amicably... Don’t replace the toilet roll, leave the pots in the sink, don’t empty the bins, leave the recycling, leave the beds unmade. Find hobbies for yourself so that you are unavailable in the evening.

It is unacceptable to expect just one person to look after the whole household as well as working full-time, whatever the gender. Hopefully you will be able to resolve this amicably and feel more appreciated.