Active fantasy life does not mean you are cheating

DEAR ABBY: My co-workers and I have been talking, and we disagree on this. Is fantasizing about someone other than your partner cheating? I say no. Full Story
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Rebecca

Lexington, KY

#1 Mar 5, 2008
I agree with Abby about the housework. And while I'd have liked my mother to play with me a little more, that's not the primary role of a parent. Kids need to learn to make their own fun and rely on themselves for entertainment too. That's where creativity comes from. Between going from mommy's entertainment to TV to iPods to DVD players everywhere, they never have to turn on their minds for a minute.
jennifer

Batavia, OH

#2 Mar 5, 2008
I always refer to myself as "The world's worst housekeeper." Unlike the LW I like to clean but find it difficult to do while the children are around, and I have young children.And when my kids nap...so do I!! Now that I'm pregnant I also have very little energy and my husband is not a cleaner. He straightens things but doesn't sweep or clean bathrooms. A friend of mine used to say that it took about 2 hours a day to maintain her house. That's time better spent with the children. She was right because when we went to sell our house and it needed to be very clean for showings, it took me 2 hours every day to keep on top of all the dust and dirt. I also didn't do the same things every day.

My friend's house is a pretty clean house and I found out what their secret is....the husband is the cleaner!!
He spends about 2 to 3 hours on the weekend cleaning. My husband doesn't help clean on the weekend. He works on cars or is called to help someone with their projects pretty much every weekend.

So LW1, I'm with ya sister! Besides Abby my children are the healthiest on the block!!
ferbaby724

Lexington, SC

#3 Mar 5, 2008
I had to weigh on on "Good Mom". I too am a less-than-stellar housekeeper. It goes along with my less-than-spotless kids and husband. I have better things to do with my day than pick up everything they don't put away. My house is clean, but because we don't have enough places to put everything in, it does tend to be a bit cluttered.
My husband is convinced that our house could be as nice as our parents' houses, if I just applied myself. Sure, I can make a house with seven people in it just as nice and tidy as one twice the size with one or two adults living in it. All I have to do is spend every waking moment straightening up and nagging everyone.
non smoker

United States

#4 Mar 5, 2008
I have a baby and boy is it hard to keep things clean. I keep the kitchen and bathrooms clean and do the laundry. On the weekend we clean more since my husband is home and he helps. I think once the children are old enough I see nothing wrong with them also having chores. I feel bad for those ladies who don't think they need to help out around the house. Raising kids is already a full time job and I guess these men also want a full time housekeeper.
iconoclast59

Western Springs, IL

#5 Mar 5, 2008
I found Abby's answer to LW2 incredibly sexist. Contrary to popular belief, the stone tablets that Moses brought down from the mountain did NOT include, "And lo, women shalt do all the housework, all the time." Yet Abby made it clear that she expected LW2, and LW2 alone, to step up to the plate and take care of everything!

If the state of the house bothers hubby so much, then HE can pitch in a little bit. LW2 says she's been married for 10 years; if she had her kids earlier in the marriage, then they should be old enough to take on a few simple household chores as well. True, the bulk of it falls on LW2's shoulders, as it sounds like she's a stay-at-home Mom and thus has the most free time on her hands (despite her protests to the contrary). The point I'm trying to make is, the whole family needs to adopt the attitude that a clean, tidy house is THEIR responsibility, not just wife's/mom's.

LW2 might also visit www.FlyLady.com . Friends who are similarly loathe to do housework (or just terminally disorganized) rave about the helpful tips they find on this web site. And yes, she and her hubby should review their budget to see if it's do-able to hire a housekeeper to come in, say, twice a month.
Not a tidy one

Ankeny, IA

#6 Mar 5, 2008
Can't the husband help with the cleaning? Why do household roles have to follow the same gender lines they have for the last 100 years? My husband is an excellent "de-clutterer", while I'm better at the sanitized, mopping floors, etc. I know so many women who have spotless homes, but miserable kids because the moms constantly nag them about keeping the house clean. These are the same people whose kids have multiple bouts of strep throat and viruses each year. My house isn't going to win any cleanliness awards, but my kids are rarely sick.
chrisk

Arlington, VA

#7 Mar 5, 2008
Unkept houses can be hugely varied. I have to visit a lot of homes for my line of work and typically the people who complain about having messy homes are the ones that aren't so bad.

Anything that can be cleaned up in few minutes by putting toys in a box or clothes in the laundry isn't so bad, or even embarrasing.

However, the people who don't apologize for thier mess either have pristine homes or ones where there are small 2' paths between the piles of laundry/clutter. or where thier bedroom door cannot open all the way and it hits piles of clutter that only allow a small path in and out of the bed.

THOSE are the messy houses, and once you're that far, i guess you don't see any reason to apologize. A sanitary house is a must, but also teaching your kids responsibility through cleaning is plenty handy.
Tina Kingberg

Clearwater, FL

#8 Mar 5, 2008
1. If clean is so important to Good Mom's husband, why doesn't he do his share? duh! She's very proactive in raising the kids. That's her job so if she's expected to do house work apart from the child care, then he should also participate in the clean up apart form his "regular' employment.
Maybe Good really could use some help on keeping things clean. Maybe she never learned. There are books on the subject. She should check the library. One thing I did when we got a fairly large house was to break it down by day. I made a schedule for cleaning based on what ever else I had regularly scheduled for my kid. for example, if Wed. was "class mom" day, I only did minimal chores like giving the bathrooms a quick going over. On days I had nothing else planned I'd do a more thourough cleaning but I never tried to do the whole house in one go. I'd do downstairs on Fri. so if we had company, it'd be clean and then do the bedroom area (upstairs) maybe on Tues. with just light touchups in between. Whatever day was bedroom day, that's when the linens got changed but they go laundered the next day or maybe 2 days later.
You get the idea.
And Amy, does it really matter if the clothes are folded to be put in the drawer?
Tina Kingberg

Clearwater, FL

#9 Mar 5, 2008
oops, got my columns confused, sorry. I meant ABBY.
yeah yeah

Saint Clair Shores, MI

#10 Mar 5, 2008
ding ding ding!

Those were my thoughts exactly! Why can't they split the housework? And put the kids to work too (assuming they aren't toddlers).

My sister has a big happy full house of children, and all the kids help with housework... I think it helps them understand responsibility. Her kids are amazing, respectful, and sweet (4 boys!).
Not a tidy one wrote:
Can't the husband help with the cleaning? Why do household roles have to follow the same gender lines they have for the last 100 years? My husband is an excellent "de-clutterer", while I'm better at the sanitized, mopping floors, etc. I know so many women who have spotless homes, but miserable kids because the moms constantly nag them about keeping the house clean. These are the same people whose kids have multiple bouts of strep throat and viruses each year. My house isn't going to win any cleanliness awards, but my kids are rarely sick.
yeah yeah

Saint Clair Shores, MI

#11 Mar 5, 2008
By the way, who doesn't fantasize? I would make up scenario's with my boyfriend, if he's gonna dream, I want to be in them...
Carol Anne

Seattle, WA

#12 Mar 5, 2008
Are fantasies "cheating"? I say "yes," if you're daydreaming about real people that you know.
crr

United States

#13 Mar 5, 2008
iconoclast59 wrote:
...might also visit www.FlyLady.com . Friends who are similarly loathe to do housework (or just terminally disorganized) rave about the helpful tips they find on this web site. And yes, she and her hubby should review their budget to see if it's do-able to hire a housekeeper to come in, say, twice a month.
I LOVE FlyLady. It has really changed my life for the better. My favorite tip is what she calls the "The Weekly Home Blessing hour" Here's how that works -- no detailed cleaning required; vacuum the middle of the floors only!

FlyLady sets her timer for 10 minutes to work on each of 7 tasks:
Vacuum
Dust
Mop
Polish Mirrors and Doors
Purge magazines
Change Sheets
Empty all trash

This takes approximately one hour; some tasks take less than 10 minutes.

"Don't obsess, set your timer for 10 minutes for each task, then QUIT!" ~ Kelly

It is amazing how much this makes a difference!! I actually do this multiple times a week (except for the sheet-changing) and I find that I am eager to spend more than 10 minutes in some areas. But it is an excellent jumping off point for those of us who are overwhelmed.
steph

United States

#14 Mar 5, 2008
Not a tidy one wrote:
Can't the husband help with the cleaning? Why do household roles have to follow the same gender lines they have for the last 100 years? My husband is an excellent "de-clutterer", while I'm better at the sanitized, mopping floors, etc. I know so many women who have spotless homes, but miserable kids because the moms constantly nag them about keeping the house clean.
Thank you on both counts!

My husband and I have no children yet, but we both work full-time jobs and my husband goes to school part-time as well. By the time I've worked all day and come home, the last thing I feel like doing after working out and making myself or both of us something for dinner is cleaning, and my weekends are those days that I don't have to do anything!!! Fortunately, he doesn't think he's "above" doing housework, though, and if he did I'd be there to set him straight! ;)

Also, he grew up in one of "those" houses. His mother freaked if anyone came into the house without taking their shoes off, and even yelled at him if he went in the kitchen because she wanted to keep it pristine. No wonder he's been thin his entire life!! Her house might be spotless, but so is an insane asylum, and I certainly wouldn't want to live there.
steph

United States

#15 Mar 5, 2008
Carol Anne wrote:
Are fantasies "cheating"? I say "yes," if you're daydreaming about real people that you know.
I agree 100%. I wouldn't want my husband thinking about someone he knows while we're making love, and I'm completely confident that he would be very upset if I were thinking about someone I know.
jjrg7

Raleigh, NC

#16 Mar 5, 2008
My husband and I use to fight over housework. i wanted to do it right away on Saturdays and get it out of the way for the rest of the weekend, and he always put it off. Hire a housekeeper, you will both be very happy. Cleaning is overrated especaillay when there are other things you'd rather be doing. I haven't cleaned my house in 15 years now and I have never looked back.
Dienne

Chicago, IL

#17 Mar 5, 2008
Rebecca wrote:
I agree with Abby about the housework. And while I'd have liked my mother to play with me a little more, that's not the primary role of a parent. Kids need to learn to make their own fun and rely on themselves for entertainment too. That's where creativity comes from. Between going from mommy's entertainment to TV to iPods to DVD players everywhere, they never have to turn on their minds for a minute.
I would disagree - taking care of the kids is the primary role of a parent (mostly the mother as things tend to work out, but fathers too). Spending lots of quality interactive time playing with children has been shown to improve brain functioning and produce more mentally, socially and emotionally healthy children. I do agree that children should also learn to spend time on their own, but there's plenty of time for that while mom cooks or takes a shower or something. Investing the necessary time to fully clean and de-clutter a house is too much time to expect a young child to entertain him/herself on a regular basis.

I'm glad to hear so many people rally in favor of moderately cluttered houses. It's about all I can do to keep the dishes washed, the toilet disinfected and the floors mopped at least well enough that the department of public health doesn't come calling. If I had to have a spotless house, I would get to sleep about 2 hours a night. My sixteen month old daughter re-clutters the place about as fast as I can clean up after her. We're working on teaching her to put her toys and books where they go, but it's not a lesson that's learned overnight.

I'm also glad to hear people calling for the husband to pitch in. I'm sure he looks at it as, since he goes to work everyday, everything else is her problem. But I would challenge him to stay home for a week while she goes out and works and see how much he gets cleaned in between running after the kids, doing the shopping, cooking meals, etc., etc.
someone

United States

#18 Mar 5, 2008
steph wrote:
<quoted text>
His mother freaked if anyone came into the house without taking their shoes off, and even yelled at him if he went in the kitchen because she wanted to keep it pristine. No wonder he's been thin his entire life!! Her house might be spotless, but so is an insane asylum, and I certainly wouldn't want to live there.
steph.....I think you need to submit yourself for a spanking for even going near the "shoes off in the house" subject.

bad steph!

bad!

:)
Aderryn

Rochester, NY

#19 Mar 5, 2008
Oy Abby...If her husband is so bothered by having a messy house, there is also something that HE can do about it....HELP CLEAN!!! I am sorry, but it is NOT a woman's job to clean the bathroom and kitchen to safeguard the health of her children and husband. I would guess that the husband is JUST as capable of spraying some cleaning spray and wiping down the counters, bathtub, etc, and cleaning the toilet. Talk about a chauvinistic reply.

I'm another Good Mom in Rochester, NY who has a clean but sometimes untidy house. We ALL work together to clean but sometimes we have clutter.....so WHAT?? I have a good friend in Rochester NY who has an immaculate house...to the expense of spending time with her kids. There is a balance to be had, and if one parent wants things immaculate, let that parent make it so.
Rational

United States

#20 Mar 5, 2008
Okay, Im going to be the person who pees in the punch bowl of good feelings about messy housed going on here this morning. Sorry.:(

I read LW2 and nowhere in it does it say the guy doesnt do his part. Lets not jump to conclusions that he is some lazy guy who expects to come home to a pristine home, complete with slippers and pipe when he walks through the door. I am guessing that as it stands (very important term here, as it stands, not all the time, and probably will change as the kids hit school) he is the primary and sole bread winner while she tends to the children and house. Its part of her job. I am sure he has chores too, he doesnt hand her a rake and say "do your half" of the outside chores, or pull the lawnmower up and say I did the front yard you do the back. I do think he should help around the house though, absolutely. I do.

See, I have a similar situation. My girlfriend lives with me and she is an absolute SLOB! To the point where she is perfectly fine with clothes thrown all over the room, in piles on the floor, bills, glasses, books, other crud ont he floor or wherever, dirty stinky dishes in the sink etc. If I don't stay on her the place never gets clean. And I am only asking for half. I do my part, I clean! I do the bathrooms, the basement, the vacuuming, mopping the floors, I also cook etc.

My mother raised us in a clean home, she was able to do it. And on the weekends as we got older all of us got our butts out of bed and cleaned and did chores on saturday Dad included. It is a good thing to teach children to clean and have good habits. Sure, I didn't like it when I was a kid but its a good thing. I can't stand when you walk in a home and you can smell garbage, or upstairs you can smell the dank of dirty laundry all over the place. Can things not be perfect everyday? Sure, but overall its not that hard to pick up your clothes or wash a dish after its used.

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