Steph & Dom solve your problems with sex, love and life: why doesn’t he gain weight now that we are at home?
TVs Steph and Dom Parker, 52 and 54, draw on their 21-year marriage to solve your relationship problems. . .
Q I am 44 and live with my husband and our nine year old son. I know everyone is going through this, but I have to be honest – I’m completely fed up with my husband.
We both work full-time, so most of the time our son is taken by the nanny from school and we have a cleaner to do the chores.
TVs Steph and Dom Parker, 52 and 54, draw on their 21-year marriage to solve your relationship problems. An anonymous reader asked how she could motivate her husband
Now all laundry, cleaning and childcare needs to be done by someone. And it is me! It drives me crazy. I constantly whine.
Last week I caught him in the garden with a beer when he was going to work, and I hit the roof.
Moreover, we both worry about our work and we work longer than ever.
I am emotionally exhausted and at the end of my chain. If I lose my job, we can’t handle one salary. How can I make sure he helps me?
STEP SAYS: I’m sorry to hear your problems, but while I have compassion, I feel that this is not the time to start making mistakes in your husband’s domestic skills.
We all have to do things we don’t want to do – and the happiest among us now have to do the things we paid others to do for us!
It is not his fault that the world and your life has changed
For all of this, you could get great satisfaction from your successful career and enjoyment from your family, safe in the knowledge that arrangements had been made to ensure everyone was well taken care of.
But now that support system has crashed, there is no au pair, cleaning lady or gardener.
You have to ask yourself whether what you’re really upset about is actually your husband, or the situation we’re in.
It is not his fault that the world and your life has changed. I’m sure he’s just as upset, but he might show it in a different way.
If he spends all hours in front of his computer, it may be because he thinks this is the only way to stay healthy and keep the family’s head above water.
My suggestion is to try to stop feeling so hard, it makes no sense and doesn’t encourage anyone to jump up and share the tasks.
The rules for domesticity have changed. So I recommend you do what we did, divide the chores based on your strengths.
Thanks to Masterchef, Dom is now an excellent cook, so he’s in charge of everything food-related, from shopping to endless emptying of the damn dishwasher.
Dom suggests that the reader no longer feels sorry for himself and tackles the problem by sharing chores with her husband (file image)
I do bathrooms (and threaten anyone who doesn’t make it to the shower screen after use).
List what needs to be done to keep the wheels of family life spinning, decide who does what, and then just do it.
Freeing yourself from your grudge brings you together. I strongly recommend that you stop doing everything and blame him. Think how you can help each other – and quickly.
Now, of course, if you provide him with a detailed list of what needs to be done, and he refuses to support his weight, then you have a problem.
My suggestion is to try not to be so hard anymore
At that point, you should stop everything to help him – no washing, no cooking, and no picking up. If he drops a towel on the floor, he stays there. A dish on the counter? Grim, but it remains. He gets the message soon enough.
However, I hope it doesn’t come to that – fingers crossed, he’s just a bit shocked like all of us.
You love him, so your job is to help him find his way. Good luck!
Dom says: Well, if it’s any consolation, I’m sure you’re not alone. This can very well happen in households across the country.
I am disappointed that your husband has decided to take the old-fashioned route in this brave new world. But these are difficult times for all of us and we are all doing our best. We have to figure it all out as we go.
It is important to try to give each other a little slack. I have absolutely no doubt that you feel – rightly so! – overloaded, and I see you might brighten it up a bit.
At first glance, his behavior seems quite outrageous. However, I think there may be a mitigating factor.
The reality is that while many people are just as busy working from home as they are in the office – or even more so than for colleagues – there are plenty of others who work from home but don’t actually work.
Not that we are shirking, you see, but not much work comes in.
And while this may seem like a happy squeak, in reality it’s far from a comfortable position to sit in – there’s a lot of stress and anxiety. This can explain your husband’s sneaky beer in the garden.
If he was slacking while slaving you, be ashamed of him. But could you think that he jerked at himself for a few moments because he’s under a lot of pressure and is worried about what might happen next if the work remains so quiet?
If so, you might be able to let him go with that, but not if he’s not doing his part right!
Have a conversation and divide the household work equally. I think we all discover how much of it there is!
I take care of groceries, preparation, cooking and most of the dishes and Steph is responsible for all washing and ironing.
Have a conversation and divide the household work equally
As for the rest – now we split it. And I must say that my admiration for our beautiful cleaner has gone through the roof. I have to lie down after pushing the Hoover around!
So make an appointment with your husband – then show him you mean it.
And one last piece of advice. Most men are slum in their hearts. So he probably doesn’t care if you refuse to change the sheets for a few more weeks, and now that we’re all home, we probably have enough ironed shirts to last a year. But food? That is important three times a day!
So if you choose the chores you want to do yourself, choose wisely. Cooking is the only thing that really counts …