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A classic problem is beyond me right now. Help.

(89 Posts)
Mixxy Tue 21-May-13 09:33:36

I have opted to stay at home with DS who is 12 weeks old. DH and I are having awful arguments over woking. He says he is too tired to do anything when he ges back in. I'm at home with baby who has a medical condition that requires constant attention right now (just lots of physi al therapy-don't let it seem that he is sick). This has to be the oldest, most longstanding problem since womens lib. Help me argue my case without a fight, please.

badinage Tue 21-May-13 11:05:19

Worse still I had an emergency CS at 1 day shy of 42 weeks after a failed 5 day induction-don't ask. But then again, he went straight into work the next 3 days. Barely saw him. All on my own.

and then in the space of a few minutes....

We live in the US where there is no maternity leave, let alone paternty leave. My DH returned to the hospital for the CS at 3.16am, stayed with me until we got the baby back and worked another 36 hiurs straight. He's not a dick.

Ok I'm outta here.

Yet another thread where the OP chronicles her life with her dickwad partner, everyone agrees he's a dick and the OP then goes on the defensive, contradicts herself and says 'No he's great really.' hmm

Fine. It's your life.

AnyFucker Tue 21-May-13 11:05:43

one day you will accept it was useful input < shrug >

Good luck with your two babies.

Darling, him as a stay at home parent? A man who does not know how to cook, clean or even empty the bins?

You are going to come home to a bombsite when you return from work, and it will be YOU who has to be full time worker and full time housewife, while he will faff about with baby.

Or do you really think he will start doing housework?

FairyFi Tue 21-May-13 11:25:09

Mixxy you sound like its been a truly shit deal for you, listening to him telling you what a lazy loafer you are (5 days of induced labour rounded off nicely with a c-section and abandoned home alone with new baby for the first 3 days). What a hugely massively bad father, evidenced by lashing of neglectful father (you already worry he would let the baby be soiled all day, if not constantly monitored)

A person works - ipso facto they do not have to cook meals, do not have to shop, do not have to wash clothes, do have have to clean loo, bathroom kitchen. Noone thinks that do they?

Oh, yes, someone does. he sounds like a highly self-righteous over entitled....

I did all my housework when I was far more than 'full-time' working, but I did it when I was part-time too (once a mum), whereas he STILL did nothing. There are some core values in him that mean he is something other than normal, and that meant he was out....

I don't think its down to you to 'chase' him to do anything, you're not his mother, as you know!

If he's only bothered by the lack of housework, when its entirely your job to do it, and if you don't you're to be called names... hmmmm ...

I don't think you're a mug atall. I think you're with someone that doesn't really show that he wants to be with someone else. All his actions speak of a loner, of someone disconnected and non-contributory.

his ethos is you do it, and if you don't I'll call you names

I could stay at work til 9 every night, but I'd want to me home with my family, I'd want to feel that the ppl I lived with were equals and not servants to dish up my dinner and keep everything naice, that I was part of a team effort.

I think its down to what you are happy with, as I don't think one sex should or shouldn't do anything in particular, but if you are not happy, and you clearly aren't, a quick convo to let him know that you are not happy to be left to do it all then get called names. his response will tell you everything you need to know. If he cares that you are unhappy with the situation and cares that you haven't agreed to single-handedly run the domestic ship, a good partner will listen, and be upset that you feel this way and want to find a better way to split up the jobs around the place, would you agree?

BirdintheWings Tue 21-May-13 11:27:59

Well, he might. I'm a sort of stay-at-home parent when my self-employed work is languishing. I'm crap at remembering to put out bins and clean floors, but I do try.

No one's dead yet. But thank god I don't have newborns and hormones all over the place any more.

FairyFi Tue 21-May-13 11:30:40

name-calling is name-calling, no matter said by partner at home or MNer here, and never constructive. One is not wrong and the other right eous

TeenAndTween Tue 21-May-13 11:35:38

We adopted so I don't know your situation really, but here goes.

We adopted 2 children together, school age and big baby. DH took 2 weeks off then back to work.

It would have been very easy for DH to stand back and let me be the 'expert'. But from the start we alternated care when he was around. e.g. we alternated bedtime duties, so we each put one child to bed each night. It was very hard as little one used to cling on to me and cry for me whenever it was DHs turn (for ~3 years) but we kept at it.

Your DH doesn't work at weekends I presume? Therefore can you leave your DH to do the care for short times at week ends so you can build up your confidence in him? (Go for a walk, pop to see a neighbour etc?)

Can you afford a cleaner just for a short while to help with housework?

When he gets in from work, can you give him say 45 minutes 'downtime' and then go 'off duty' yourself for a short while?

I found the first 3 months was the hardest, and then it started getting easier as we got more confident (but see adoption disclaimer above). I guess you are both extremely tired, and emotional. Is there no family/support you could pull in to help you for a short while?

Mixxy Tue 21-May-13 11:38:48

Hmmm. I'm going to show him this thread. I'll let you know what he thinks. He really is not a misogynist. Thanks ladies .

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Tue 21-May-13 11:45:15

Why are you complaining about him, then defending him when people point out that he is doing wrong?

You either care or you don't. Does it bother? If it does then stop letting him get away with it. If he doesn't buck up his ideas then leave him. I know it's easier said than done, but if you keep just doing everything, or caving easily, he will continue to take the piss out of you.

Helltotheno Tue 21-May-13 12:20:54

This a parenting site where feminist values are promoted and the idea of 1950's values wrt to women being the domestic drudge, glorified housekeeper and just there like a piece of furniture for the bloke to complain at are over

This 100%. Just split the chores OP and tell him what he's going to be doing from now on. I really can't believe that you were the higher earner and still doing all his donkey work for him when you had no children, wtf?? Correction, that you were doing all that for him anyway, regardless of your earning status. Is he missing his limbs? Can't understand how you'd have expected anything to change when kids came on the scene.

If you want to 'win it', things need to change rapido.

Are you breastfeeding? And how long does he get off work at once? A whole weekend?

Leave the baby with him for as long as possible, and after that see if he's still saying you have it easy - and whether he's actually managed to change nappies, clean etc. rather than just playing his phone or whatever while the baby cries.

I've never been as tired as when I had tiny children. Although DH did lots round the house, he just didn't understand my life until they were a bit older and he had sole charge for whole hours at a time...

butterflymeadow Tue 21-May-13 12:33:08

To be fair to the OP, helltotheno, she is only in the position that most women find themselves in. There was a study done by Oxford University which showed that the more a woman earned relative to her partner, the more housework she did. She is not alone in this.

Nor is she alone in finding that when a baby comes along, she can no longer cope with doing everything herself and she needs support - and then finding it is not there - and realising, well, actually, it never really was.

Ok I can see that maternity breaks are different but honestly if you haven't been reasonable in your sharing of tasks before baby then you have a big challenge ahead. Fair is equal leisure time and rests regardless of type of labour.

Personally I would expect, from my partner if he didn't do his bit, just to have a talk with him and he would listen and help out. But then we have a partnership. We do equal amounts. Neither of us ever, ever criticise the other's contribution. That is normal. What you have is not. I was once in a similar relationship to yours. I left because you can't change people - especially lazy people who have never pulled their weight!

Maybe I'm not most women but I earn 3-4 times my partner - when I am working. We do equal amounts of childcare and housework and WOH. they are added together. The rest is leisure time for us both. This is fair. And this is what is reasonable. That is what partnership is about.

imaginethat Tue 21-May-13 12:46:33

I know you want to believe it will work out, but it won't, not like this. There are thousands of women like you who have stuck it out out only for the marriage to fold 1, 2 or so yrs down the track. And they are still talking about thise early days around the birth when they felt so hurt and abandoned.

Your lives have changed, you have a baby. Both of you. It is important for all 3 of you that both parents are fully involved. For everyone's wellbeing - baby needs a mum & dad (pass me a vest doesn't cut it), and the more of a team type arrangement between the parents, the better everyone feels. Even him.

A lot of men are a bit nervous about doing things for little babies and hide it in bluster, but the refusal to help around the house is just wank.

The sooner he wakes up to the reality of family life, the more chance you have of staying together, and of actually enjoying this little miracle you have created. And he needs to make up to you the post-birth abandonment. I have no idea how, you can't get the time back, but it would be worth him trying to acknowledge what has happened.

Helltotheno Tue 21-May-13 12:50:10

To be fair to the OP, helltotheno, she is only in the position that most women find themselves in.

So most women do the majority of the drudge before having children, when someone is perfectly capable of doing everything for themselves? I never did.
Although yes I agree that any woman who stays at home after children, even temporarily, for whatever reason.. well it's very difficult not to get stuck in that role of doing absolutely everything, just because you're the main person with the child. What amazes me is so many women can't get themselves out of that mode. Here's a few recommendations OP:

1. When your DH comes home, go out for at least an hour. It doesn't matter what you do during that hour, though I recommend exercise.

2. Don't do your DH's ironing.

3. Only do laundry insofar as you take a load out of the machine to the dryer etc. Once it's dry and put in the hot press, his is his, yours is yours.

4. Don't cook at the weekend, or get the odd takeaway.

5. Only keep the house as clean and tidy as is tolerable for you on a daily basis, no more.

6. Take a sizeable break at the weekend that involves leaving the house.

7. Go away on weekends with your friends the odd time and leave baby to dad.

I did all of those and more. They worked. No baby died. The house was not reported as a health risk. I got a life. DH (who was always self-sufficient before we met but much to my amazement, was sort of edging towards leaving everything to me) shaped up pretty fast.
All good now, but there was a learning curve.

expatinscotland Tue 21-May-13 12:54:14

What AnyFucker and bandage said. He did FA even when not working, that was your first clue.

ProphetOfDoom Tue 21-May-13 13:12:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

butterflymeadow Tue 21-May-13 13:17:00

Helltotheno, at a population level yes, more women do more housework - according to the study, when women earn 65% of the household income, their housework actually increases rather than decreases, while men who earn 65% of the income their housework decreases. (Society Now, spring 2012) I was so astounded, I kept the article.

Apparently, better educated men do more housework, also if you are not married, your man is likely to do more housework (in other words, once you tie the knot, they slack off). And it gets better - apparently, this division of labour (or lack of it) is women's fault - because 'they have not rid themselves of the idea that they were responsible for work around the house'. (Nothing to do with men being lazy entitled feckers, as someone upthread said)

Anyway, I digress from the point of the thread.

you need to sit and write a list of everything that needs to be done in the house - everything, including the childcare.

your only agreement to start with should be that you have the 8 hours solid childcare and he has the 8 hours solid work.
oh, he gets a lunch break, doesn't he? i wonder when yours is?
is that when the baby naps? good - start there. during your lunch break, don't do any work at all.
watch TV, MN, whatever, but no work.

right, so now you're even.

when he's not outside the home, you are both equally responsible for all household stuff, including childcare.
you are the only one that can BF, so that's your special task.
work out how long it takes you to do that.
in my house, DH makes dinner and washed pots while i'm BFing the baby.

what else needs to be done? laundry, nappy changing, bathing, ironing, cleaning.
anyone can put a load of washing in, and anyone can hang it up to dry. anyone can fold and put away clothes, and anyone can change nappies/diapers.
anyone can make the beds, anyone can clean.

my mum used to clean the bathroom bit by bit in the morning when she's washing herself. so, one day, she'll clean the sink, the next day the toilet, the next day the bath, the next day dust it and wipe surfaces, the next hoover it, etc.
you can both do the same all over the house.
in the morning, whoever gets up first, stick a load of washing on. (or the last to bed put it on a timer)
then whoever goes near it first when it's finished, take it out. and hang it.

all these things are so easy to do just whenever, and whoever takes responsibility for it does it to the best of their abilities (and only as much as the time allocated allows)
but it has to be shared and it has to be equal.

start with the "i'll feed the baby, you feed us two" thing and go from there.
if he's the one to put the washing on, then he also needs to prepare it, sort out darks and coloureds, etc,. then it's your turn to hang it out, so he can put it away once dry or iron his shirts.

and PS - my DH is 15 years older than me, and manages to work at a very physical job for 8 hours, gets home and does most of the housework.
yes, he says he's tired, but he knows it has to be done.

CheeseStrawWars Tue 21-May-13 13:22:39

The Politics of Housework is definitely worth a read, especially if he claims not to be a misogynist. Get him to read it and then rethink his reasons for saying no.

SpringHeeledJack Tue 21-May-13 13:28:58

I was in the same position as you,but with twins

(((((enoooooormous hugs))))

ime it takes an AGE to change the culture, but it does change

you'll manage it a lot quicker than we did since your OH will be the one at home (I'm a SAHM)- I'm sure he'll have a Rude Awakening

adopt the positive,practical strategies that have already been posted

and keep your chirpy tone, do smile

you'll need it

I have an 11 week old and a husband who works long hours and commutes, so I can identify with the feeling of exhaustion that comes from never having a break. We solved it though:

1. I was so sleep deprived and food deprived (combination of builders in the kitchen and a velcro baby that wouldn't nap) that I passed out in front of him one night. I wouldn't recommend this as a tactic, but he became much more helpful after that.
2. We got a cleaner once a week
3. He eats his main meal at lunchtime so in the evening we just have a quick snack
4. I shop on-line
5. Shirts are his problem, and I don't take up the slack when he runs out
6. He gives dd her 9pm feed and settles her for the night. I go to bed then.
7. Weekends we each do a stint of sole baby care so the other can do chores or have a break. We also do stuff together with the baby - walks, shopping, trips out etc so we have some fun
8. I've found a trusted baby sitter (who is qualified)
9. I don't supervise or criticise. If he does things 'wrong' I don't comment, I just leave him to deal with it. He also had a thing about tight nappies causing constipation, but now does them up properly after having to clean up the inevitable poo up to the neck result. To be fair he has turned into a fantastically capable and caring dad without any micromanaging on my part.

TerrysNo2 Tue 21-May-13 14:02:35

IMO its like this:

- while DH is at work, you work looking after the baby
- during your awake hours when you are both at home you split everything 50/50, childcare, household
- during the night if the baby wakes up and DH has work the next day then you deal with the baby (unless you really need support) and then at the weekend you do one night each and each get a lie in.

Simples

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