DEAR HARRIETTE: When I was growing up, I never had to do chores. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. I was a good student and I convinced my parents that I had to do homework rather than wash dishes or make my bed. Now I realize that I didn’t learn basic skills. As an adult, I have always had a housekeeper, but now I am married and my husband hates the idea of a housekeeper. He thinks we should clean our house ourselves. I don’t know the first thing about cleaning, nor do I want to do it. How should I handle this? -- Need Cleaning Help, Raleigh, North Carolina
DEAR NEED CLEANING HELP: I wonder if there is a way for there to be a hybrid situation here. You definitely should learn how to do household basics. It is not too late for you to brush up on these skills. Your participation will encourage your husband. You can recommend that you also have housekeeping support of some kind on a regular basis to ensure that everything remains clean and tidy.
You may need to work on your husband to get him to feel comfortable about someone coming into the household who is not a family member. Your husband is not unusual in not wanting this extra person to be there. In order to get him to be comfortable about this, you need to choose someone who comes with strong recommendations and who is respectful of your privacy. Your active participation in cleaning your home should also soften your husband to agreeing to your request, since it shows that you are willing to agree to his.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)