Do housewives ever retire?

Colleen27

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 31, 2007
Once in a great while he’ll wash the dishes, though not very well. 🙄 He usually falls asleep in his recliner as soon as he’s done eating. As far as using paper plates for dinner. After washing all the pots and pans and stuff, 2 more plates doesn’t really matter. I’m usually cooking “Sunday night dinner” types of meals every night so there’s a lot to wash and it’s really not something that would do well on a paper plate anyway. He grew up eating meals like that and he’s a really picky eater. No salads and nothing easy like sandwiches for dinner. We rarely go out and never eat fast food for dinner. A pizza is a treat for me. I myself could care less. I could eat a bowl of cereal for dinner and I’d be fine.

I do freeze leftovers once in a while. He’s not really into casseroles or anything with herbs or spices in it. I find so many recipes that I think look good and then I go down through the list of ingredients and see all the stuff he won’t eat. I can’t even use cream of chicken soup. 🙄 He’s really a pain to cook for and people wonder why I’m tired of it after 40+ years.

Frankly, the fact that you did things his way for 40 years is part of why it is so hard to get him to make even tiny changes now. It doesn't sound like you've ever expected much in the way of compromise.

My husband is a meat-and-potatoes guy. Growing up, they had "sunday dinner" or at the very least solid meat-and-potato meals every night too, because his father was injured on the job when he was very small and threw himself into fishing (as a guide/charter captain) and cooking when he couldn't go back to his career. But we hammered out very early in our relationship that it would be different in our household if he wanted me to be the primary cook. I'm picky about meat and spent my first years out on my own eating mostly vegetarian not for ethical reasons but because I was that grossed out by handling raw meat to prepare that it was easier just not to eat it except at the rare restaurant meal or when I went to my mom's/grandma's for dinner. I did learn to deal with cooking meat, because DH had no interest in going vegetarian, but he met me halfway by learning to eat a wider range of foods and flavors and by understanding that a slab of meat and scoop of potatoes slathered in gravy was never going to be the norm if I was the one doing the grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking. And he did teach me a few of his very favorite recipes; I don't make them every week like his father did, but once in a while a fried pork chop or bacon-covered meatloaf isn't the very worst thing in the world. I can't imagine cooking the way he'd have preferred every night for decades (if nothing else, it would be supremely boring - I don't love to cook to begin with, but trying new recipes is the best part about it!), and I can't imagine how much harder those compromises would be to get to if I'd gone along with his way for years instead of working this stuff out in those early months when we'd just gotten serious and were headed toward living together.

I'm a woman. We aren't mind readers, if you want something to change you need to say something.

Exactly. The excuse that women are too fragile or too volatile to communicate with is just that - an excuse made by men who would rather gripe and cast themselves as victims than navigate the sometimes-difficult process of building a functional relationship. It is easier, in a way, to fume silently and complain to friends than to have the awkward conversation that comes with requesting something be done differently, but in the long run the resentment just builds up until it spills over and taints everything.
 

piccolopat

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
I worked full time for 40 years and had a commute of 3 hours roundtrip a day except for the last 18 months where it went up to 5 hours a day. DH worked full time until he was hurt on the job and went on disability when DD was 3. Before then, we paid his parents to watch DD when we were working. After he was injured, he took on that role with their help. All these years, he did most of the outside work and some of the inside work (laundry, vacuuming, dusting, bathrooms). I've taken on more of that now that I am retired and I do a bunch of the outside work with him as well. I like to hand wash my dishes every night (even though we have a dishwasher) because it is something I can start and finish. I spent too many years working on projects that seemed to go on forever. I also find it therapeutic to pull weeds and help mow our very large lawn. I think that's because I spent 40 years behind a desk and rarely had time for anything outdoors. I did almost all of the cooking and learned a lot of tricks over the years. We were never ones to like fast food but for that last 18 months I made use of the premade meals at the deli by my train station several nights a week. I just ran out of steam after my long day.

OP, now that your DH is retired, it's time to really talk to him, not only about sharing more of the work in and outside the house but also his expectations for meals. I usually have dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less and with few pans. How? I use my microwave to steam fresh or frozen vegetables and then season them afterwards. I buy premade mashed potatoes and mac & cheese at the market as well as 90 second rice. Frozen french fries are easy in the toaster oven. Most meat is sauteed in a bit of olive oil and garlic/spice blends or grilled. Bottled pasta sauce is a blessing even if I doctor it up a little and add frozen meatballs. I almost always cook enough for a second meal. There's no reason your daily "Sunday dinner" has to take hours and many pots. Start slow and don't tell him when you are taking shortcuts. He might not even notice but if he says something is different just tell him you are trying something new.

As for the grandkids, now's the time to have your kids face up to their responsibility. Give them enough notice to find quality daycare. If you want, offer to be the back up when the kids are sick or when daycare is closed and they have to work. Let them know that now that DH is retired, you are too.

Enjoy your retirement!
 

QueenIsabella

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2016
Agree with a lot this post (though the whack-a-doodle may be a bit harsh).

But the OP is already only doing 2-3 days/week (per her first post). The more involved childcare was three years ago.
I only said "whack-a-doodle" because, early on in the thread, I recommended counseling. I said it wasn't because I thought she was whack-a-doodle, but because I thought she could use a neutral voice to help her with her situation. Now, it's become clear that she ENJOYS taking on all this extra work and complaining, but isn't willing to try to fix or change anything. That, to me, is nuts. The OP could be the nicest person in the world, and I sincerely hope she's able to find herself and help make a life that's more balanced and pleasing.

On a side note--really? Mrodgers is divorced and bitter? Who knew!
 

scrapquitler

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Like I said. He’s a picky eater. That’s what he eats, so that’s what I cook. I don’t really have other choices. I don’t see him taking over the cooking. It would be a disaster. We really can’t afford to go out all the time either, so that’s the way it is. I’m just burned out after doing it for over 40 years which I would think anybody would be.
How about instead of making something like sandwiches, make those Sunday dinner type meals, but when you do them, cook extra and freeze or package the extra for another day so that on that 'other day' you only have to thaw and reheat. Less effort for you on the daily basis, and he still gets to eat what he prefers. You could effectively cut your big meal cooking to half or one third of what it is now.
 

VandVsmama

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 28, 2011
My husband who retired in May after working 40+ years at the same job mentioned to me today that I’m retired now too. What? I’m still doing the same crap I’ve been doing for decades. Cleaning the house, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking practically every night, cleaning the kitchen, washing all the dishes by hand, errands, paying the bills. Not to mention babysitting grandchildren 50 hours a week up until they were finally all in school full time 3 years ago. I still watch them 2-3 days a week in the summer. Plus I worked full time myself for several years. I told him I don’t get to retire until I’m dead.

Haven't read the 10 pages of replies. Since your DH is now at home all the time, he can pick up some of the slack on the household stuff. For example:
  • he can wash some dishes
  • he can run some errands
  • make him do his own laundry. Only do yours from now on.
  • assign him various house cleaning chores. Give him a schedule even if you have to.
But I'm not the sort of person who buys into the whole "the housewife does it all and serves the husband" thing.
 

princesscinderella

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 27, 2011
I think you should get a part time job, it will get you out of the house and have some interaction with others while making a bit of money to stash away so you can afford a cleaning person when you decide to no longer work and “retire”. This will force your husband to fend for himself a bit at the house. Maybe at a grocery store where at the end of your shift you can bring home an already cooked rotisserie chicken which is super versatile to make into so many meals. I wish you strength to change, as it’s hard to change habits even if we know we have to or need to.
I broke my right wrist a few years ago and it ended up being an eye opener for my husband when it first happened and I was in too much pain to do tasks around the house with one good arm. He was so proud of the chicken Parmesan he cooked for us, except he forgot to make a side dish, so all we had was chicken and he realized how hard it is to cook a fancy dinner every night. He loved making Saturday and Sunday morning breakfast and still does it to this day all because I broke my wrist. Communicate your needs and wants and be an advocate for yourself to make choices that make you happy not just everyone around you.
 

Walk This Way

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 7, 2022
I think you should get a part time job, it will get you out of the house and have some interaction with others while making a bit of money to stash away so you can afford a cleaning person when you decide to no longer work and “retire”. This will force your husband to fend for himself a bit at the house. Maybe at a grocery store where at the end of your shift you can bring home an already cooked rotisserie chicken which is super versatile to make into so many meals. I wish you strength to change, as it’s hard to change habits even if we know we have to or need to.
I broke my right wrist a few years ago and it ended up being an eye opener for my husband when it first happened and I was in too much pain to do tasks around the house with one good arm. He was so proud of the chicken Parmesan he cooked for us, except he forgot to make a side dish, so all we had was chicken and he realized how hard it is to cook a fancy dinner every night. He loved making Saturday and Sunday morning breakfast and still does it to this day all because I broke my wrist. Communicate your needs and wants and be an advocate for yourself to make choices that make you happy not just everyone around you.
I think this is a great idea! A part time job would get OP out of the house and around some new people. It would probably feel wonderful to earn a paycheck and that boost to her self confidence could be a catalyst for change at home.
 

mom2rtk

Invented the term "Characterpalooza"
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Not a fan of the part time job suggestion. It has a high likelihood of just adding more to her plate. She's trying to do less, not more.

That said, she needs to find a way to stop doing some of what she has been doing. I'd probably have a heart to heart conversation, and then just stop doing some things if needed (easier dinners, only doing her own laundry, that sort of thing).
 

kymom99

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 24, 2008
I was going to suggest joining a club. Around here there are groups where you can try playing various card games, quilting, hiking, etc. Many groups don’t cost any money. Get out of the house and get some time for yourself. If you have to cook for your husband, let him do the shopping. Tell him he has to pick up some of the tasks so you can begin to enjoy yourself.

I know how difficult childcare is, even when the kids get a little older. It’s constant making meals, cleaning up, finding ways to amuse the kids. Maybe your kids can invite dad over for dinner once a week. Then you can get a break.
 

Walk This Way

Earning My Ears
Joined
Aug 7, 2022
Not a fan of the part time job suggestion. It has a high likelihood of just adding more to her plate. She's trying to do less, not more.

That said, she needs to find a way to stop doing some of what she has been doing. I'd probably have a heart to heart conversation, and then just stop doing some things if needed (easier dinners, only doing her own laundry, that sort of thing).
Good point!
I saw it as her getting the part time job INSTEAD of doing the house stuff. Kind of like her saying "see ya later" to hubby as she heads out the door and he stays home to tackle the house chores. A turning of the table so to speak. That's probably unrealistic given his lack of awareness.
 

luvnwdwgal

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 7, 2002
Frankly, the fact that you did things his way for 40 years is part of why it is so hard to get him to make even tiny changes now. It doesn't sound like you've ever expected much in the way of compromise.

My husband is a meat-and-potatoes guy. Growing up, they had "sunday dinner" or at the very least solid meat-and-potato meals every night too, because his father was injured on the job when he was very small and threw himself into fishing (as a guide/charter captain) and cooking when he couldn't go back to his career. But we hammered out very early in our relationship that it would be different in our household if he wanted me to be the primary cook. I'm picky about meat and spent my first years out on my own eating mostly vegetarian not for ethical reasons but because I was that grossed out by handling raw meat to prepare that it was easier just not to eat it except at the rare restaurant meal or when I went to my mom's/grandma's for dinner. I did learn to deal with cooking meat, because DH had no interest in going vegetarian, but he met me halfway by learning to eat a wider range of foods and flavors and by understanding that a slab of meat and scoop of potatoes slathered in gravy was never going to be the norm if I was the one doing the grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking. And he did teach me a few of his very favorite recipes; I don't make them every week like his father did, but once in a while a fried pork chop or bacon-covered meatloaf isn't the very worst thing in the world. I can't imagine cooking the way he'd have preferred every night for decades (if nothing else, it would be supremely boring - I don't love to cook to begin with, but trying new recipes is the best part about it!), and I can't imagine how much harder those compromises would be to get to if I'd gone along with his way for years instead of working this stuff out in those early months when we'd just gotten serious and were headed toward living together.



Exactly. The excuse that women are too fragile or too volatile to communicate with is just that - an excuse made by men who would rather gripe and cast themselves as victims than navigate the sometimes-difficult process of building a functional relationship. It is easier, in a way, to fume silently and complain to friends than to have the awkward conversation that comes with requesting something be done differently, but in the long run the resentment just builds up until it spills over and taints everything.
We never lived together. My mother never taught me how to cook and I had never cooked a meal until we got married when I was 19. I had no clue.
 

luvnwdwgal

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 7, 2002
I think you should get a part time job, it will get you out of the house and have some interaction with others while making a bit of money to stash away so you can afford a cleaning person when you decide to no longer work and “retire”. This will force your husband to fend for himself a bit at the house. Maybe at a grocery store where at the end of your shift you can bring home an already cooked rotisserie chicken which is super versatile to make into so many meals. I wish you strength to change, as it’s hard to change habits even if we know we have to or need to.
I broke my right wrist a few years ago and it ended up being an eye opener for my husband when it first happened and I was in too much pain to do tasks around the house with one good arm. He was so proud of the chicken Parmesan he cooked for us, except he forgot to make a side dish, so all we had was chicken and he realized how hard it is to cook a fancy dinner every night. He loved making Saturday and Sunday morning breakfast and still does it to this day all because I broke my wrist. Communicate your needs and wants and be an advocate for yourself to make choices that make you happy not just everyone around you.
Sometimes a part time job sounds tempting. I’ve had several in the past. Unfortunately several years ago I started suffering panic attacks and even though I am on meds I don’t think I can do it anymore.
 

SirDuff

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 19, 2014
I only said "whack-a-doodle" because, early on in the thread, I recommended counseling. I said it wasn't because I thought she was whack-a-doodle, but because I thought she could use a neutral voice to help her with her situation. Now, it's become clear that she ENJOYS taking on all this extra work and complaining, but isn't willing to try to fix or change anything. That, to me, is nuts. The OP could be the nicest person in the world, and I sincerely hope she's able to find herself and help make a life that's more balanced and pleasing.

On a side note--really? Mrodgers is divorced and bitter? Who knew!

Some people live their lives so that they can be martyrs. Some people live their lives so that they can be bitter.
 

PollyannaMom

I was a click-clack champ!!
Joined
May 16, 2006
Two conversations:

w/hubby -
"I've been thinking a lot about you saying WE'RE retired now, but I've come to realized that my job hasn't actually ended. All the household chores still need to be done, so in order for me to join in the benefits of retirement, I need you to start doing some of the things you didn't have time for (or were too tired to do) when you were working." And then talk about which ones he would feel most comfortable starting with. (I would recommend dishes if he doesn't offer ideas. Now that he's not coming home tired from work, there's no reason for him to fall asleep right after dinner.)

w/kids - "I'm getting older and childcare on top of all my other chores is getting to be a lot for me. I think it's time for you to either explore daycare options or chip in to hire me some cleaning help so I can devote the energy I do have to the kids in order to continue with the current arrangements. Please talk it over amongst yourselves and get back to me by _____." (I expect once-a-week cleaning help would be a lot more affordable than daycare for three kids, so maybe they can swing that.)
 
Last edited:

tcufrog

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
OP...
Did your kids discuss with you how long you could and would watch the kids full time before they had 3 kids? They really should have if they couldn't afford daycare for 3.
 








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