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)

Tailtwister Sat 29-Dec-12 09:01:36

IME the attachment parenting approach does make things harder on the main care giver (usually the mother if she's bf). It's a general direction we also took with both our children, but it does make it harder to carve out time to myself and can sometimes give DH the impression he's 'off the hook' regarding parenting duties. I'm afraid I had to be quite clear with him that he needed to help and exactly what he was to do (on a daily basis). Once I started doing that, things got easier.

At 19 months, you can probably start to move to make a few small changes to make your life easier. Daytime activities are the easiest place to start ime, with your DH taking responsibility at the weekends for a few hours each day so you can get some time to yourself. Also, if he's not willing to help around the house then tell him he needs to get a cleaner. His choice.

I don't think you're a martyr, but I do think the AP approach can be all consuming and if you're not careful you can lose your sense of 'self' a bit. Now might be the time to turn the tide a bit in your direction.

LeBFG Sat 29-Dec-12 09:22:36

I'll second Tailwister's post.

My friend does AP and it is really tough on the father too - he was made to feel excluded really early on, from birth really (not on purpose of course). Now the children are older, he has become the main rule enforcer and I find it sad that such a kind, gentle man who is so committed to his family and really wanted to participate early on, has been 'set-up' in a family where comfort is sought for from mum and fairness is set by dad (but I digress).

It seems OP has chosen AP to survive rather than from deep-rooted convictions and I think the result is an overwhelming devotion to her child - I don't think she is happy in this role. OP, you need to do things you enjoy and find some independence from your child. At 19m, many toddlers are going off to childminders etc. Is this an option for you? You may be surprised how easy DD adapts. I agree your DP doesn't sound very helpful either but perhaps some of this is as a result of feeling excluded from your close tie to DD? I'm a great believer in talking through problems outside the heat of the moment - quality, adult conversations - and negotiating/compromising (even if you feel it's the other one that should do all the leg work). My DH and I have had to do this at times as with two independant and, at times, strong-willed people in one house, we inevitably come into conflict and it can be hard work.

formallyknownasloveydarling Sat 29-Dec-12 09:25:00

Oh god I have just posted about my dp verbally abiding my son and having to leave (on another thread) and I could have written this a few years back. Please nip it in the bud now for all your sakes. If not it will escalate and bring you all down.

Wrigglebum Sat 29-Dec-12 09:35:28

I'm not a dog person but I can imagine that an unexercised dog could become quite frustrated and aggressive, not what you want around a toddler! If he can't or won't walk them maybe it's time to think about whether you want the dogs or should rehome them.

My DH is rather lazy too but is making at least some effort

Betteranon Sat 29-Dec-12 09:55:41

Thank you for all your help, it really, really helps talking things through.

To be fair to my DP this is my version of events and I am sure he would present things differently! Also I have focused on this issue and not given a full picture of our relationship which has many positives, so LTB is a tough one to judge on any thread that present aspect of a set of problems. As far as his relationship with DD goes he does spend time with her and he can cope on his own, he can do diapers, feeds, bath time, etc., so he's not unwilling or incompetent. I was just hurt that he used what was a coping strategy for me as a critique and a way of making me responsible for the tiring aspects of parenting.

I think the tiredness comes from the fact that I have DD all night and then all day long (weekdays) without a break until the evenings, and then weekends DP wants us to spend time as a family (understandable), so again it's all without a break. I will make a conscious effort to take more time off for myself and DP is starting to do the middle part of night duties as of tonight so maybe that will work out well. DD was due to start nursery in autumn but this got pushed back due to the health problems, but we're due to give it a try again now so hopefully that will work out as well.

(I walk the dogs with DD, they are well trained, socialised and exercised, very good with people, children and DD smile)

Sorry, what exactly are you (or your child) getting out of this relationship? Remind me again?

The AP thing is not an excuse. Because you are BF/cosleeping etc, he should be taking up the slack elsewhere - cleaning and so on. When a relationship is 50/50 that doesn't necessarily mean that your both do nights or you both feed the baby. It means that you both do the same amount of work.
My OH often works 50-70 hour weeks and I am a SAHM, so I don't mind cleaning/washing/doing most of the child care, most of the time. But I do expect that when he's got a week off, that house duties are split evenly. It's not a chance for him to slob around the house, making a mess for me to tidy up. He is a grown man, with a child, and therefore has responsibilities.

He sounds like a selfish dick but I think you need to grow a backbone with both him and you child. Him because he seems to be inherently selfish and lazy and with your child because parenting is not just about keeping your child happy. It is about patenting in a way in which you are happy and content and not tired. For me a tired parent cannot parent to the best of their ability and so this impacts on your relationship with your partner and ultimately your child.

Controlled crying isn't great, seeing your child cry and wanting to sooth them and not doing so isn't great but the change in them and you when you start getting unbroken deep sleep is unbelievable.

So you need to get a cleaner, do Internet shopping when the baby is asleep, give him the baby for a couple of hours a day. This could be achieved, the time for yourself when the baby goes to bed if you did't co-sleep. And start thinking about your needs because a happy well rested mother is a much better mother than a frazzled resentful one and that I think is much better for a baby in the long run than all the co-sleeping in the world.

Snazzyfeelingfestive Sat 29-Dec-12 10:44:16

Agree with advice so far. Who owns the house? If him and bills are in his name I would hand the job of bill paying straight back to him. Tell him he can get up earlier and do it instead of sleeping in the lazy git

DolomitesDonkey Sat 29-Dec-12 10:53:52

You have made yourself a martyr and you're not happy - how silly!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 29-Dec-12 11:00:25

Dolomites, have you read the posts where the DP thinks that dogs don't need walking, houses don't need cleaning and food doesn't need cooking?

ItsIgginningToLookALotLikeXmas Sat 29-Dec-12 11:09:31

<Hands silliness stick back to Dolomites>

Onezerozero Sat 29-Dec-12 11:35:03

I am lazy when it comes to housework but not when it comes to caring for pets and children.
Your DH is getting away with being a prick because he knows you will do everything.
Attachment parenting is not the issue.

How dare he say he is happy to mistreat his dogs? Dogs need walks! How dare he say he is happy to mistreat his child? Children don't stay healthy if they eat takeaways very day and they need the home to be clean!
Would he really let them live so miserably? Really? How can you continue to love someone who thinks like that? sad
He is only thinking of himself.

Onezerozero Sat 29-Dec-12 11:40:06

And sallytomato, your DH sounds like an even worse prick. sad

DolomitesDonkey Sat 29-Dec-12 12:07:52

Nope, didn't need to read them. Read her first post where she says she gave up her life (and hobbies and horses and exercise and and and and) to become an AP martyr - and now she's not happy. Well tada!

DolomitesDonkey Sat 29-Dec-12 12:27:04

Fwiw, I don't have a whole lot of sympathy. The daughter is 19 months old, she's a SAHM and still can't find the time to push the hoover around? hmm

I have two under 2.6, work full-time, run 2 businesses aside of that, rode my horse 3 x a week (until she was PTS in August), go to the gym, cook, clean, iron and still manage to push a hoover around.

Honestly, wtf is she doing all day - a view I'm sure is shared with her husband.

rubyslippers Sat 29-Dec-12 12:32:49

i wouldn't feel inclined to clean or hoover if i hadn't slept for 19 months and had a DP who was fundamentally co-opting out of parenting, cleaning and caring for his house

The AP is a smoke screen - it's an easy way out for the partner

MILLYMOLLYMANDYMAX Sat 29-Dec-12 12:40:38

DolomitesDonkey who looks after your children when you are working, at the gym and riding your horse. As one who was a SAHM and now runs own business I can honestly say going to work is like a day at a holiday camp compared with looking after toddlers.

LeBFG Sat 29-Dec-12 12:57:46

Don't agree that AP is not an issue here. I've no idea if DH's behaviour has come about/got worse since the birth of DD, but I reckon that at least some of the reason he is a bit dissociated from his family is because he feels excluded from it. He must have seen his wife go through some wild changes since the birth - dropping job, hobbies etc. I recognise this in me and others, but this usually starts to get better after 6 months and by a year most sleeping and feeding issues have been ironed out, baby is mobile, less dependent etc. There is a natural distancing that happens in most mum/baby pairs and in the main this starts well before 18mo (ime). If you married a man who then jacked in his job and gave up his hobbies how would you react? OP's DP probably does need to grow up a bit but for heaven's sake, I know so many men like this, it's hardly crime of the century. Plus, imo, lazy husbands are often enabled in some way by their wives. I'm sure if OP stopped cooking and shopping for a week, he would soon get sick of eating out and the hole left in his pocket at the end of it.

HopAndSkip Sat 29-Dec-12 12:57:59

The attachment parenting is not the issue. Your daughter clearly needs this for now as like you've said nothing else works.

How about suggesting something little to start with- eg him doing tea a 1-3 days a week (depending on his lazyness level!) then gradually ask him to do slightly more once he's got used to that, as asking a lot at once straight off might make it an instant no.

Also is DD happy enough with DP to go to the shops with him etc? or go out without you? You could plan a few hours for daughter-dad time once a week or something.

I always find it strange how some men in a relationship think they don't have to spend any quality time with their DC, and yet if they weren't with the mum and were doing this they wouldn't even be considered a proper dad to the child. (not saying your DP necessarily doesn't spend any time with her, but i thought he does sound reluctant to from OP)

OxfordBags Sat 29-Dec-12 13:00:18

Strangely rude comments from someone who started a thread just the other day about how you have no room in your life for rude people, DolomitesDonkey hmm

Have also read some vicious stuff from you before that automatically lays into anyone going down a more 'gentle parenting' route, as well as some hateful anti-bfing crap. You say you didn't read the whole OP... well no, you clearly saw a few key words that triggered off your agenda and here you are, wading in with irrelevant insults that manage to big yourself up at the same time.

The issue is NOT how the OP fills her time, but how unsupportive and lazy her OH is. He'd be that bad if she lived exactly as you do. Personally, I am not at all impressed by the list of things you rattle off as proof of your infinite superiority in all matters maternal. Where do your children actually feature in this glossy lifestyle of yours? I am always confused and dismayed at people who act like life must go on totally as prechildren and the poor kids just have to scratch at the crumbs of attention and affection left over when the parent can stop thinking about themselves for a while. I'm more impressed by the OP choosing to happily temporarily sacrifice a small amount of her life to truly devote herself to parenting her child the way that works best for that child.

Also, your approach would actively worsen the problem, as he wants to offload more and more, so taking on more and more would just burden her even further, not spur him into action.

shockedtohell Sat 29-Dec-12 15:00:12

Hi Betteranon

I'm sorry to hear your going through this! It's was scary reading your original post as I swear this could / can be me writing it!

I totally understand what your going through and went through it myself! I'm still BF and partly CO sleeping :-( my DS is 16 months and I've got to the point where I want to stop.

My DS sounds like your DD and it wasn't easy! We tried alot to get him to sleep alone nothing worked! He won't take formula or milk so it's t

shockedtohell Sat 29-Dec-12 15:05:53

Hi Betteranon

I'm sorry to hear your going through this! It's was scary reading your original post as I swear this could / can be me writing it!

I totally understand what your going through and went through it myself! I'm still BF and partly CO sleeping :-( my DS is 16 months and I've got to the point where I want to stop.

My DS sounds like your DD and it wasn't easy! We tried alot to get him to sleep alone nothing worked! He won't take formula or milk so it's tough!

I've found the older he got the easier it was to get him to sheep in his own so that me and DH could have 3 hours to ourselves at night this took months to achieve and it's been a blessing! If you want any help your more then welcome to PM me!

As for the being alone I can't stress enough how much you need this! Just tell him your off out! Have the milk ready and just leave! You need to leave got your own sake! Yes it's great family time but you need your time! Your a mom, a partner and YOU!

Please arrange a coffee or a drink with a friend! Go out even if it only an hour it helps trust me! If your DP gets upset or annoyed just say that in order to have a happy mom / partner I need this and DD needs bonding time with dad!

I told my DH I need ME time once a week and he was understanding!

Please if you need to chat PM I'm here and know how you feel!

Ps I have 3 dogs too and 1 cat so know just how hard it is!

xx

okaynowitstheseason Sat 29-Dec-12 15:07:50

Martyr.

chandellina Sat 29-Dec-12 15:23:05

I am in the martyr camp. You could take time away from the home but are choosing not to. It also sounds like you are enabling his laziness. It's not about houses not needing cleaning or dogs not needing walking, but about both agreeing what really does need doing and how often. You need to help each other feel better, and step out of the unsatisfying roles being played out.

Bobyan Sat 29-Dec-12 15:28:36

To a certain degree you have allowed this situation to develop and you do sound like a martyr.
Get a dog walker and a cleaner. If he doesn't like it, get rid of the dogs. If he doesn't like that get rid of him.
Or carry on moaning whilst allowing him to behave like a second child...

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