Navigating Changing Circumstances While Getting Out Of Debt

DH = Dear Husband

 DH’s busy business

            The reality of DH’s business has changed.  After an extremely busy Christmas season, he relaxed into the anticipated slowdown of January.  Only it didn’t slow down. February is typically a quiet month, and DH considered it his chance to catch up.  In relative terms, this month has been more tame, but when DH checked his numbers midway through February, they were still shockingly high.  Isn’t this what we were hoping for when DH purchased the franchise almost four years ago?  He’s a self-employed, small business, success story.  And we can hardly believe it.
            The thing is, he’s always working.  He really is.  Morning, noon, evening, night, and occasionally past midnight, seven days a week, his natural habitat is his office.  His work only gets interrupted by an intentional act of will.  DH manages to get in some family time, some social life, and some work-outs in a consciously scheduled way.  But what do you think has happened to the housework?

The housework battle

To recap the ongoing saga of our battle with housework, here are the key facts:
        We stopped hiring house cleaners when we started our journey out of debt in June 2012, meaning a savings of $200 per month.
        I was in serious debt with my own personal discretionary fund at the time (See “Discretionary Money:  His and Hers”), so we agreed that I would do the housework and use the monthly $200 to get me above zero.
        I have a significant loathing of house-cleaning, so this was no small deal, and I was glad when it was over.
        DH and I then decided to go 50-50 on the house-cleaning and to save the $200 per month for a flat-screen TV and a sectional sofa.
        Only we’re not splitting the house-cleaning.
        I’ve been doing the lion’s share.
        And I have some strong objections
Anyone who has been married for any length of time knows that when one spouse
becomes particularly busy, the other spouse takes up the slack.  With DH’s constant work, I’m doing the grocery shopping, the driving of our children to their activities, the cooking, the dishes, dog-walking, logistical arrangements to make plans come together . . . And all this on top of my day job.  In other words, I have become particularly busy too. 


            I brought this fact to DH’s attention last week, and he acknowledged it.  “So why don’t we hire cleaners again?”  I asked.  He recoiled at the thought and committed to house-cleaning on Saturday morning.  We would both put in four hours, and get it done.  I agreed and said nothing about my doubts.  As I suspected, Saturday came and went with no house-cleaning.  He had too much work to do.  I did not take up the slack.  And that’s how I plan to play it.  Let the dust bunnies take over.
            According to Dave Ramsey, it takes seven years for the average household to get out of debt.  In any household, there will be changing circumstances in the course of seven years.  We are very fortunate, in this case, that the changed circumstance is so positive:  DH is having more and more success in his business.  But we risk burning out if we don’t play it right.  Something has got to give.  I’d rather it not be our health or our happiness; let it be our housework.

Comments are welcome!

I would love to hear what you have to say. Feel free to share your thoughts, offer advice, disagree, or ask questions. (Disrespectful comments will be deleted.)

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hi I like to sometimes think of a house clean as one of my workouts. So for that day I forgo a jog and do a heavy clean – it feels like a substantial workout! Funky energy inducing music help a lot too! Enjoyed your article. S.S.

  • So, you’ve inspired me to look at my own situation. And I came out with – debt free as of March Break of 2025. Ah well. *tightens her belt*

    • I can hear the “Ugh! It will take so long!” in your comment. It does seem far off, but 2025 will come. I’m surprised at how specific you are in calculating how much time you’ll need to become debt-free. The unpredictable plays a huge role in such journeys – both positively and negatively. Here’s wishing you some unpredictable positives. All the best!

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