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Hi Friends – I am glad you are here for Coffee With Clare – every Thursday!

Dear Clare:

I can’t get my husband to help me do ANYTHING when he gets home from work, and weekends are even worse.  He is a very hardworking painter, and I know he is physically exhausted when he gets home, but we are in an older home with constant maintenance needs and upkeep.  We don’t really have the money to hire handymen.  I work hard, too, but I am definitely not handy and have no maintenance skills at all.  Help! 

Signed – Weary in Washington


Young man sleeping in the sofa, watching tv


Dear Weary:

I always tell the young girls in my life, “If he cooks and cleans, keep him”!  (A little humor here.)  My husband works a physical job too, and I’ve been told that we are “not spring chickens” anymore. 

I would start by communicating directly with him.  Express your concerns and needs, but be direct and specific.  (Be careful not to nag or whine at him … I did this for years – and trust me, the man in your life will learn how to tune you out.) See if he is willing to pitch in at least a couple of times a month with things that are necessary.  And make sure you tell him, “I would be glad to do the maintenance work, I just don’t know how.”

Have you tried maybe designating one Saturday a month to “cleanup and repair day” at the house?  Write it on a calendar and mention it to him several times ahead of time.  Write out a list of all the repairs that need to be done (i.e. leaky bathroom faucet, put up a picture in the master bedroom, etc.), and make sure he knows that you will pitch in to help him work on the list of repairs.  Offer to hand him tools, or clean the bathroom at the same time, so he doesn’t feel like he is the only one working.  (A “to do” list works well with my husband, and other friends have told me this works for them, too.)

If he starts helping out more, be thankful and grateful and be sure to tell him how grateful you are.  But if he doesn’t change, and still stays on the couch all weekend, you have to decide if you can tolerate this behavior or not, only you can decide that.

Last but not least, here is how one of my friends approached a similar problem – she put a call out to friends to see who wanted to participate in a “monthly work weekend”.  One weekend a month, the friends all got together to work at one friend’s home … the next month it was another friend’s home.  With a group of guys working together, a lot gets accomplished in a weekend.  The “host” house supplies the food and beverages for everyone – and not only does an amazing amount of work get accomplished, but everyone has a great time too!

Readers:  I would love to hear your suggestions for “Weary in Washington”, too!




Friends, I want to hear from you!  I invite you to email your questions, problems and “life challenges” directly to me at:



Clare is a 57-year-old fun loving Italian-American self-proclaimed “Jersey Girl” who believes, “Life ain’t easy street. Life is one of those crazy little city streets, complete with potholes that could swallow your car.” With one foot planted in fun and the other planted firmly in her Christian faith, Clare enjoys making people laugh while helping them navigate life’s “crazy little city streets”. Clare has raised two girls (now grown young adults) with her husband, Michial, Clare is ready to take on the challenges of making new friends through her blog, Life Ain’t Easy Street. With an aim to entertain while addressing topics important to women, Clare’s focus on the positive power of good stories, good friends, inspiring women, and strong faith will have you looking forward to reading the next post. Clare is a freelance writer who lives a real life in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

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  • candy says:

    Love the group/friends get together to help out.

  • Great suggestions! This is sage and thoughtful advice.

  • I try to think of all the things my husband DOES do instead of thinking of all the things he doesn’t do! That really helps!

  • Shann Eva says:

    Great suggestions Clare! You always have the best advice. I love these posts too. So much fun!

  • Bette Childress says:

    I love that idea of a group monthly work weekend. Now that we are not “spring chickens” any more either, that is a wonderful idea.

  • Karen says:

    I am really blessed in that my husband does more than half of the housework and cooking, in addition to the maintenance. I really do love your idea of a shared work weekend – it would feel more like a party than work 🙂

    • Clare says:

      That is so, so nice, Karen. Mine too – when we clean on Saturday mornings, I am so grateful that my husband does the “heavy” stuff like the vacuuming and mopping! Yes, love that shared weekend “plan” too!

  • I am going to use this advice! My fiance is wonderful but isn’t super helpful when he gets home from work. You have wonderful advice!

    • Clare says:

      So glad you are going to try this, Missy, and sure hope it works! Stop back in and share with us how it goes – we would love to hear from you again!

  • Pam says:

    If you don’t have the money to hire someone the get together once a month sounds like the best idea! I know women that waited years & years for their husband to do repair work or remodeling that they said they would do & it never happened so don’t wait forever. My one friend eventually hired someone but not everyone can afford that. So if you have friends that are willing to help that is your best bet! I understand being tired on days off. Aren’t we all! I have a hard time getting motivated just to clean out my closet! But hang in there!

    • Clare says:

      Yes, so true… home repairs and maintenance are quite costly so this is a dilemma that a lot of couples are in – they can’t hire the outside help! Oh, I so agree – I hate “cleaning out” things like closets, and pantries….. and goodness don’t let me touch my husband’s garage – that’s his “important” space 🙂 Thanks for sharing –

  • Alonda says:

    A little praise and encouragement goes a long way! So does prayer. I know because I’m there. The more I praise my husband for what he DOES do the more I find him stepping up and doing. Usually when I least expect it too.

    I want him to help me because he loves and desires to, not because he’s obligated.

  • Love the if he cooks and cleans keep him. I actually enjoy cooking and cleaning. Cleaning relaxes me and cooking is theraputic. My partner is a wonderful cook so I don’t mind washing the dishes after he makes dinner. While when we eat together he does make 90% of the meals I do wish he’s do the cleaning when I did cook, I may have to express that in this way. It doesn’t bother me but it would be nice if he got up from the table and started washing dishes one time lol

    • Clare says:

      Ha ha – glad you like that “if he cooks and cleans – keep him” – I’ve been telling my girls that for years!!! Goodness, I am glad you like cleaning and cooking! Wow – I hate doing dishes… and they never seem to just go away! 🙂 I appreciate your sharing!

  • This is also my problem, so I found your advice very good, thank you! You save much frustration by designating a day.

    • Clare says:

      Thanks, Carol! Yes, I think designating a day would be good because everyone is “prepared” for that commitment (hopefully) ahead of time! 🙂

  • What a great idea – the monthly work weekends! I would’ve never thought of that. I find that working together and not nagging are SO important! Here’s a post I wrote while my husband and I are working on decluttering our basement together (which is 99% his stuff)
    Visiting from The Blogging Elite!

    • Clare says:

      I know – I love that idea, too. A dear friend shared that with me. Thanks for sharing your post – we appreciate that! 🙂

  • andi says:

    and also be encouraging for all the great things he does!

  • JenniferDawn says:

    I am very fortunate. I am unable to even do my fair share right now because of my health. My husband works 12 hour days and then comes home to help me however he can.

    • Clare says:

      So sorry you are not feeling well. God bless you – and it is such a blessing to have your husband do all he does! Get better soon!

  • katie says:

    Love this insight, Clare!

    xx katie // a touch of teal

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