to want to throttle DP over bf, co-sleeping and chores?

(97 Posts)
Betteranon Fri 28-Dec-12 17:53:59

DD is 19mo and she is still bf and co-sleeping. I didn’t start off with any idealistic crusades in mind, before she was born I had not even read any parenting books (either Gina Ford nor attachment parenting gurus), I just did the best I could and this is how things have ended up. I had read the WHO guidelines on bf so I did that, and I ended up co-sleeping as a survival technique (DD was and continues to be a very poor sleeper. I have now read every book on sleep training and the ideas either don’t work or involve CC which I am not happy about, so the default is to go with the flow and co-sleep).

The problem is that I am now very, very tired despite giving up everything I could give up in order to have more time for DD (I used to work, but I gave that up and I am SAHM, I used to spend quite a bit of time with my horses but that’s dwindled to almost nothing). DP works (from home) but he has also had time to go on holiday (during a 3 week business trip abroad he had a week’s quiet time and went on holiday), he sleeps in, watches TV, plays computer games, etc. All I do is look after DD 24/7 (DP does help look after DD in the evenings, but he wants to have family time so mainly we are all three together so I never get any ‘me time’) and gradually DP has left me with all household chores (I now do all shopping, cooking, paying bills, going to the post office, taking DD to docs, sorting out everything to do with the dogs and horses, etc.).

So I was trying to talk to DP today asking him for more help and he came up with this gem: he is frustrated because I don’t appreciate how much easier things have gotten for me compared to when DD was a newborn, and in any case it’s all my fault I have DD all the time because of my parenting style and my choice to bf and co-sleep. He is sure that if I stopped bf and co-sleeping my life would be easier and I would be able to cope without help from him.

I want to kill him…can anyone suggest anything more constructive or shall I just go ahead and do it?

(regular user but name changed as I don't want to out myself)

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 28-Dec-12 18:04:31

He is being selfish.

He can't help you with the bf obviously and it's unfair to expect him to help you during the day when he is working.

But...he should be able to understand that giving you an hour to yourself a couple of days a week/doing something around the house would make the world of difference!

3littlefrogs Fri 28-Dec-12 18:22:45

He sounds a bit insensitive. I think communication is your problem TBH.

If you are BF and co-sleeping because it is your choice and is what you reallty want to do, that is different to doing it in desperation because you haven't managed to wean/sleep train your child. I am not suggesting it isn't a valid choice BTW. But I wonder if you complain about it to him, and in his rather tactless way, he is trying to offer advice?

What do you really want to do?

Parenting is a joint effort and it is really important to decide what you want, how you want to divide up the work load, agree on it and be honest.

He does sound selfish, and I would really resent the computer games, TV, holiday and sleeping in.

How much of the cooking/post office/child care/horses etc can he realistically do, once he accounts for work committments? Maybe you could sit down and work out a reasonable timetable.

It sounds as if you have a huge workload. Maybe it just isn't manageable, even with two of you.

JumpingJackSprat Fri 28-Dec-12 19:25:48

you sound like a martyr. if youve willingly given up all your hobbies to dedicate yourself to dd maybe you need to get some of that time back for yourself and leave dd with her father for a few hours.

SantaFlashesHisBoobsALot Fri 28-Dec-12 19:33:22

I don't think you sound like a martyr, you sound like a good attentive mother who is parenting in a child orientated way. And when it comes to bad sleeping, breastfeeding and co-sleeping are sanity savers.

He however sounds like a selfish arse who doesn't get hat 24/7 with a toddler is like at all. You need to give DD to him and go out. ExP was like this, and gave me similar lectures on how leaving DS to cry ''would be fine'' angry and that I should stop bitching about being so tired if I insisted on responding each time he cried. Grrr...

somewherewest Fri 28-Dec-12 19:58:55

Yes your DP is being selfish, but I can see his point to a degree too. It sounds like you're making some big parenting choices unilaterally, and then expecting DP to offer unquestioning support. Things like co-sleeping are actually his choice too [runs and hides].

ItsIgginningToLookALotLikeXmas Fri 28-Dec-12 20:03:24

"I would be able to cope without help from him" - so, if your dd slept through the night and drank cow's milk, he would not expect to have any input into the work of the house at all? Not in evenings/weekends? So his job is during the day, and yours is 24/7? hmm
Arse.

KenLeeeeeeeInnaSantaHat Fri 28-Dec-12 20:07:31

The problem, IMO, isn't that you do everything with your DD because of your parenting choices but much more that he doesn't do enough and then blames the choices you've made. I wonder if he would have any more input if your DD slept in her own room and was bottlefed? I can't see how he would tbh.

I agree that a shift in communication would help. Ask him to try seeing all the household chores as a team effort, and that includes caring for your DD. There are certain things that only you can do (ie bf'ing and cosleeping) but he could pitch in with other things and the rest gets shared out fairly, so you both end up with the same amount of "time off" so to speak.

If he refuses, hand DD over to him and bugger off for a day or two R&R wink

Saltytomato Fri 28-Dec-12 20:37:49

I can totally empathise. My DS is only 7 months old (dont know if i could last as long as you have) and I asked my DH to grab me a nappy today and he didn't know where I kept them. ARGH. He is also on holiday at the moment which means he gets to sleep in and play video games all day whilst I continue to do the might feeds and when I ask him to do anything (dry our son after his bath/ feed him during the day etc) I am met with "Ok, if you go into the office for me next week" which I obviously can't do.

Just letting you know you are not alone! sad

yousmell Fri 28-Dec-12 20:39:07

I co-slept and BF for ages but DP has always supported me by having the kids for an hour or so when he gets in (so I can pop of to a gym class) and also spending half an hour cleaning/packing lunch boxes etc. We also have a weekly cleaner to take some pressure off.

He knows your DD's routine. Tell him as you are walking out the door that you are off out (to run an errand or go for a walk) and will be back at X time, then just leave in a rush without discussion. He will cope.

yousmell Fri 28-Dec-12 20:43:47

At 19 months your toddler will be able to have yogurt or a cup of breast milk needing something milky and your DH should really know how to settle her. He is her father after all. The fact that your toddler is BF and co-sleeping shouldn't be a problem bonding wise. Has he bonded with toddler? Is he frightened of being the responsible adult?

NellyBluth Fri 28-Dec-12 20:47:56

Your DP is being an arse, taking a week's holiday for himself and not helping out with housework etc is incredibly selfish.

However I do also agree with somewherewest that it really may seem to him that you have made a very big parenting decision by yourself, and I can certainly understand why he might feel as if he has been pushed out of 'parenting', so to speak. That's certainly how my DP finally explained things to me when we had some issues about childcare etc., I had just been making so many decisions by myself.

Could you perhaps talk to him about what he would like to do? 19m is a long time for you to have been sharing a bed with your DD. Co-sleeping really suits some families, but it sounds like it might not be suiting yours any more?

Betteranon Fri 28-Dec-12 20:50:06

The problem is that we have different versions of what needs to be done.

For example, we have 3 dogs which were acquired while we were together and one was entirely his choice (he chose the breed, the puppy, etc.) so getting them was a family decision. I do all the dog walking, DP thinks it's only fair because it's my choice to say that the dogs need walking. According to DP the dogs could just live in the house with toilet trips to the (small) garden and no walks, so since I am the one that thinks they need walking I should do the walking. He also thinks that by walking them I get them excited and they then need more walking. When he is in charge (pre DD I used to go away for work for the odd weekend) apparently the dogs are happy to stay in the house so it's my personality that generates the need in the dogs.

I think that is total bollocks from beginning to end but I can't make headway with this kind of reasoning in a discussion.

Now I think he is repeating the pattern. DD is quite a demanding child. As a baby she spent days when she needed to be held or she cried. I did what I could to respond to her (held her, stayed with her all day, etc.), my reaction to DD is not a choice but rather a response to how she is, the same way that walking the dogs is a response to their needs.

I think I may have to just take off every so often and let him cope his own way!

StrawberryMojito Fri 28-Dec-12 20:50:22

As someone who also breastfed for longer than I had intended and co slept out of necessary rather than choice, I would recommend you reconsider your parenting options if you are not completely happy with them. My DS started sleeping much better once I gave up co sleeping and then bf ing. Around the same time, I went back to work and reclaimed a bit of me. Your husband maybe right in that respect. However, I think being a SAHM is just as hard work as the average job and he needs to pull his finger out regardless.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 28-Dec-12 20:58:43

What? He wants dogs but doesn't want to walk them?

That, right there, sounds like a really odd way of thinking.

StrawberryMojito Fri 28-Dec-12 20:59:07

Having read your most recent post I wanted to add, I am not a dog lover but of course they need walking. Your husband is an idiot to get a dog if he didn't want to walk it.

Re your child, my DS was the same in re needing to be held ALL of the time when younger, I didn't create the behaviour, I responded to it. However, now he is older (14 months) I know that he can cope with more even if he is not always happy with it, I don't treat him like a newborn anymore.

But yes, I think your husband needs a reminder of what it is like to be the full time carer of a demanding baby.

Betteranon Fri 28-Dec-12 21:05:30

Regarding the decisions we decided together to give bf a go, didn't really set a time limit to it, I admit that I have kept going because it worked and it does settle her a lot so it's an easier solution than dealing with the crying some other way. Of course now she bfs a lot less than before and does half a day without bf even around me - if I was away I think she would do the whole day.

The co-sleeping we also originally decided together as we thought there was no point in both of us being up so he might as well sleep. Neither of us thought it would last this long and I'd happily wean her out of it but nothing I have tried seems to work so far (I have posted on this, gotten some good advice, tried out suggestions from books, but we're always back to square one. Things have not been helped by DD having to be in hospital this autumn which did stess her a lot and she took some steps back in terms of self-confidence and independence).

His argument was not so much that he can't take DD because I bf and co-sleep, he copes fine with her on the odd ocassions when he's given me a break, it's more that I am making a rod for my own back with the bf and co-sleeping and that if I gave those up I would be more rested, more able to take care of DD and less likely to therefore ask him for help with chores. A bit like the dogs I am inventing a need and fulfilling the need is tiring me out (according to DP).

He tends to have the same reasoning about loads of things: e.g. we need to clean the house, no that is my need so I should do it if I want to because he doesn't mind a dirty house; we need to shop/cook, no that is my need because he is happy with take away every day of the week, etc.

Joannezipan Fri 28-Dec-12 21:05:43

You can't expect him to be you and do what you do in the way you do it, but you can expect him to do his fair share. Dump DD with him and go out. No excuses, tell him to man up

Betteranon Fri 28-Dec-12 21:09:26

Fundamentally we disagree on this parenting issue:

I think attachment parenting was my reaction to what DD needs. I didn't know about attachment parenting in advance, had no intention of practicing it, just did what I think made DD feel better and this is how we have ended up being. I think it was her needs that provoked this way of parenting in me.

DP thinks attachment parenting is my choice that has made DD attached to me and more difficult as a result. That I made her too attached to me and are now finding it difficult to cope.

BertieBotts Fri 28-Dec-12 21:10:34

shock He is a total idiot, or at least, he's pretending to be because he's a lazy bastard hmm I suspect the latter. Everyone knows dogs need walking, FFS!

Funny, that, because up until the dog part I was going to say it sounds as though he's using the co-sleeping and breastfeeding thing as an excuse. He says that he thinks you could cope alone if you stopped these things is, really, beside the point. You shouldn't have to cope alone and he ought to be taking half the burden whether that burden is a large one or a small, easy one. It's not the point that you "could cope alone" FFS! That's made me really angry, who the hell does he think he is? With the dog thing added, that's just beyond belief TBH. I'm really tempted to just shout "Leave the cocklodging bastard", TBH.

BertieBotts Fri 28-Dec-12 21:14:40

So if he had his way, you'd be living in a filthy house, with bored, neglected dogs (and probably a bored, neglected child too, no need to take her to playgroups, buy her new clothes, take her to activities or anything), constantly skint because of the takeaways and video games or whatever other hobbies he dreams up... sounds utterly grim TBH. Do you think he'd really want to live like that too? If not he's totally taking you for a ride.

givemeaclue Fri 28-Dec-12 21:14:40

He doesn't do enough.

You've given up work, hobbies etc (why???). And are exhausted. Unfortunately you are painting yourself as a martyr to parenting and I can see wi. If is frustrated.The attachment parenting is not working he is right. There is a compromise here, gently start to moven away f approach. If should start doing more and helping more. Meet in the middle.

BertieBotts Fri 28-Dec-12 21:15:05

The attachment parenting is so, SO not the issue here.

drizzlecake Fri 28-Dec-12 21:15:42

But...he should be able to understand that giving you an hour to yourself a couple of days a week/doing something around the house would make the world of difference

He should -but he won't. Imo men assume things are as you want unless you state simply and clearly what you want to change.

Don't wait for him to notice how tired you are/ how much housework there is/ what you want to change, he can't mind read. You have to tell him.

And I"m not sure that trying to evenly share things out works too well because babies take 24/7 care and he is working from home so can claim to be busy when he is on the internet/skiving.

Tell him what you want him to do then leave him to do it.

Betteranon Fri 28-Dec-12 21:18:09

We have been together for a long time, I still love him a lot and he loves me but we have completely different characters and our relationship has always been one of ups and downs, hard work, compromise and massive efforts to understand each other.

He is lazy, I know he is lazy, I just can't seem to find an effective way to deal with it. His mum made him do household duties for pocket money, expected him to get a job in the summers, taught him to cook, clean, etc...and as a result he doesn't want to do any of these things as an adult! I try to compromise, I drop all the chores I think don't really need doing and he says that he does a lot more chores than he would chose to do all by himself, it's just that with DD there is a lot less room for maneuvre. There is so much more to do it's tough to get it done.

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