There are those who know how to fill a dishwasher, and those who don’t care

Jen Hogan: My husband rearranges the dishwasher after I’ve loaded it. Amazingly, I haven’t divorced him yet

There are two types of people in this world. Those who fill the dishwasher without any great planning, chuck in the dishwasher tablet, turn it on and get on with living their best lives. And those who get a twitch in their eye just watching the first type in action.

My husband is the latter. Worse than that though, he rearranges the dishwasher after I’ve loaded it.

Amazingly, I haven’t divorced him yet, though I’m fairly certain it’s reasonable grounds. And it’s not as if I haven’t raised this sociopathic tendency with him, or now mentioned in a national newspaper. Hell indeed hath no fury like a woman whose dirty dishes have been rearranged in her presence. Still, it makes no difference and he hovers, waiting to pounce before I hit the on button. I could, of course, just content myself with having a permanent dishwasher-loader, but the heavy accompanying sighs, which suggest he has been greatly wronged in life, wreck my head.

A recent survey carried out in Britain revealed that couples quarrel about household chores about five times a week. Only five times? I can only presume their partners work away a lot.


Himself absolutely pulls his weight when he’s here. Let there be no doubt of that. We just have different ways of doing things and we see things differently. For example, he sees the end of the banisters as a perfectly acceptable place to hang his coat, whereas I think the brand new coat rack that I assembled and placed under the staircase specifically for this purpose, the one adorned with everyone else’s coat, is where they should go.

Or if I’m cooking, he’ll make helpful comments like “Are you sure you gave that long enough?” And the least said about my reaction to that sort of commentary, the better.

The vacuum cleaner confuses my family. It’s a genetic trait which appears to have been passed from my husband to my children. In fairness, things have improved, they know how to turn it on – they’re just not inclined to. But emptying it, well that’s a whole different ball game. Magically, it appears to empty itself these days. Or so they must all believe as no one ever sees fit to inquire. There was that one time someone other than me emptied it. Unfortunately, along with the rubbish they also threw away the detachable, reusable filter and the container clasp, rendering it a less expensive option in future to just empty the vacuum myself.

He’s obsessive about the bins – recycling, composting, all of it. Me, I’m not going near that smelly brown wheelie bin if my life depended on it. So, he gathers up any food waste on a plate and places it on my kitchen counter ready for the wheelie bin when he’s going out to it. And lo and behold, it’s still there the next morning.

Along, chances are, with a few days old newspaper – not to be thrown out yet because there might be some sports article he wants to pore over again.

We’re well beyond five so by a Monday evening.

It’s like trying to face down a tsunami here, when it comes to household responsibilities. There is no getting on top of the household chores. I’m sure my parents think it’s karma, remembering the chaos I left in my wake as a child.

Many hands make light work, but you wouldn’t believe how much of a mess they can make too. “They must be a great help to you,” I’ve heard on more than one occasion. It’s up there with the “sure they rear each other” urban myth. Yeah they’re great, but children from larger families are no keener or eager to help with household chores than anyone else.

Some of it is my own fault. An inherent sensitivity to urban myths and the likes, meaning I lived in fear of them missing out – so I did more, and expected less.

Some years ago, when I just had the bare five, a French student came to stay with us. She watched as I brought milk and toast into each child every night for their supper and one evening asked “Why do you do these things when they can do it themselves?” “I want to do it,” I replied, convincing myself that was the case. The reality was I didn’t want anyone thinking I didn’t make time to do it because I was grossly outnumbered. And now no one knows how to empty the vacuum.

I heard him at the dishwasher earlier. “Who put the grill in like that?” he grumbled. “Me,” I replied walking into the kitchen. “It’s the wrong way up,” he said pointing to the face-up grill pan.

“The water must have flipped it,” I replied, knowing the jury’s out on who the real sociopath is.