To think dh isn't participating enough in our family?

(53 Posts)
ALittleBitOfMagic Sun 08-Dec-13 10:08:03

I don't just mean housework and practical stuff but that is a big part of it too . Mostly I mean spending time with us and doing "dad" and "husband" stuff . Here are a few examples .

We have chosen to bring out dcs up with religion so I take them to church every Sunday . He's usually at work . He is off today and has a chance to come to church with his family . He has chosen to stay in bed .

1yo ds is going through a "let's get up during the night and play" phase . Putting him in his pram gets him back to sleep but I'm trying to get him to go back to sleep in his cot so have been persevering all night with him . Last week I was up all night and had to get up at 6.45am to go and do a 9 hour shift (dh was off the next day). Two nights later dh said he was going to put him in his pram because he had work the next day . I said no .

That next day I came home at 6pm and dh had done the bare minimum (if even that) in the house , I had make ds his dinner (to be fair dh went out and got us a take away)

He works 56 hours a week and I work 21 (but half the time I do more due to training commitments) he thinks because he works so much that's his job done .

He does do the school run every morning but never gets up to help me with the dcs I do them both then he gets up sees to himself then takes dd to school . The only time he gets up before half 8 is when I am at work (this is around 8 school days a month)

So anyway I am now rushing around getting three of us ready for church and he is lying in his bed . Am I being unfair on him ? I always end up thinking I am so I just put up with it even though I am not happy sad

WooWooOwl Sun 08-Dec-13 10:57:39

I think this is a really common problem in marriages when one partner works outside the home significantly more than the other. 56 hours a week is a lot of work, and presumably the money he earns is for the family, so I don't think it's fair to him to say he doesn't contribute to family life. You need his wage!

DH and I have a make friend who is recently divorced, he is a lovely guy who adored his wife and loves his children immensely, but he says his wife felt the same as you are describing. He genuinely doesn't understand why she can't see how much he loved her and how much he contributed because in his mind, he was working hard to give his family nice things and pay off the mortgage so that they had security. In his mind, that should send the message loud and clear that his family means the world to him, but in her mind, the fact that he was working all the time and was then exhausted on his days off meant that he wasn't interested in spending time with them. It's really sad, because the problem was really about communication and them not understanding the different ways in which they show their love for one another.

Maybe you both need a reminder of how much the other does for the family and to take some time to appreciate that in each other. Even if each of you is doing things differently to how the other would do it, the contribution is still valuable and worth holding on to.

Fairenuff Sun 08-Dec-13 11:01:55

I think you both need to talk about your expectations of each other. It sounds like these are problems which can be resolved.

He was tired and I think it would be ok for him to miss church so that he can join in wholeheartedly with the putting up of the Christmas tree. But, in return, he should accept that sometimes you are tired and would like a lie in whilst he takes the children to church.

There is precious little more necessary in life than sleep. Without it, we cannot cope and everything becomes overwhelming. Either you both agree a system for sleep training your son and you both stick to it, or you let him sleep in the pram for now and get your much needed rest.

Once you have agreed these compromises, write them down so that if one of you breaks the 'agreement' there is no confusion or arguing. Also, it would be a good idea to work out how much free time (if any) you both have so that you can each get some down time.

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 08-Dec-13 11:03:40

I'd say drop the church if it's him insisting on you taking them but not going with you as well.

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 08-Dec-13 11:04:05

But then I'm an atheist.

OddFodd Sun 08-Dec-13 11:06:20

I can't believe people are saying this is ok. He stayed up until 6am despite the fact that he was working until 10pm. So he wasn't that tired. Just sounds like a convenient excuse to get out of participating in family life.

I wonder how many hours the OP works considering she does all the childcare and all the household stuff as well as working. Oh but he takes the children to school in the morning hmm

PresidentServalan Sun 08-Dec-13 11:06:54

YABU - he works long hours and does the school run - it's not like he is sat on his arse at home every day doing nothing.

Fairenuff Sun 08-Dec-13 11:09:11

I don't think OP meant he stayed up til 6am, I think he slept on the sofa until 6am and then went up to bed.

I suspect this was so that he wouldn't be disturbed by the baby but it's not clear if he should have been helping with this.

happytalk13 Sun 08-Dec-13 11:12:07

When do you get to have a lie in OP?

OddFodd Sun 08-Dec-13 11:16:30

Sometimes it feels like I'm reading a different thread to other people on MN.

Did people miss the bit in the OP where she said:
"Last week I was up all night and had to get up at 6.45am to go and do a 9 hour shift (dh was off the next day)."

Or the bit where she says that he takes their DD to school in the morning but doesn't get up to help get the children ready. The OP does all that.

He is lying in bed to save energy to put the tree up. It's not even like church is early - it doesn't start until 11am!

Yes he works long hours but if the OP is doing everything else, I bet she's doing a lot more hours in reality.

In my experience a lot of men work long hours in a cunning trick to get out of going home and doing all the boring bits of caring for their children and doing boring housework.

WooWooOwl Sun 08-Dec-13 11:19:24

He didn't stay up until 6am, he was asleep on the sofa!

My DH falls asleep on the sofa sometimes, and I have to wake him up to come to bed as the OP says she did. I stay with him until he's awake enough to get up, otherwise inevitably he'll fall back to sleep as OPs DH did.

I take that as a sign that he's fucking knackered, not that he doesn't want to participate in family life!

happytalk13 Sun 08-Dec-13 11:20:53

^ this.

OP work out how many hours you guys are home at the same time in the week and then share those chores evenly between you - and share leisure time fairly too.

DeckTheHallsWithBoughsOfHorry Sun 08-Dec-13 11:51:57

This thread (and the responses) is really sad.

OP does all the childcare unless she is physically absent - he treats her as default parent and only gets involved when she is not there. Given their respective working hours, that means she does something like seven times as much childcare as him.

Then he does no housework at all regardless of her absence. For him, childcare is a total job; for her it's time at home that could be spent ironing his pants keeping house.

His lie-in is sacrosanct; hers is non-existent.

As for the pram/cot thing - she's trying to break a bad habit so that the child's sleep will improve overall, so everyone's sleep will improve overall. Consistency is crucial.

Church is a red herring except that it's another example of his having his cake and eating it.

Yet most pps are saying OP IBU?! Is this some kind of weird parallel universe?

ALittleBitOfMagic Sun 08-Dec-13 12:11:41

It's not that he does no child care or no housework but I definitely feel like when he does , he's doing it out of obligation rather than because he wants to help me out or be with me and the dcs . I feel like he just does what he has to for an easy life (at home I know he works really hard at work and we do need his wage coming in . It 100% is family money and I truly am grateful for that)

DeckTheHallsWithBoughsOfHorry Sun 08-Dec-13 12:16:37

What would happen if you put in as much effort as he does, ie the bare minimum?

DeckTheHallsWithBoughsOfHorry Sun 08-Dec-13 12:16:51

(also, I know I'm projecting sad )

ALittleBitOfMagic Sun 08-Dec-13 12:23:20

Also I feel I've got a bit caught up in the housework child care aspect and to be honest it's not even really about that . It's about us having a happy family life and spending time together .

He doesn't get to do things like bath ds or do DDs homework with her . But when he's in I still do those things . Unless I actually ask him to do it he will just let me do it . If I couldn't bath ds because I worked when I got the opportunity to do it I would jump at it !! It's not like I want a break from it , I want him to take pleasure in doing it and pride himself as a good parent . Am I making any sense here I feel like I am completely rambling away nonsense !!grin

DeckTheHallsWithBoughsOfHorry Sun 08-Dec-13 12:28:32

Yes, that's what I was trying to get at when I said he sees you as the default parent. It's an easy trap to fall into when one parent is truly "on duty" a lot more than the other.

Do you think he is choosing not to, or does it just not occur to him?

TheHeadlessLadyofCannock Sun 08-Dec-13 12:33:32

'Unless I actually ask him to do it he will just let me do it .'

This sounds like the heart of the issue to me. The DH seems to assume that the OP will just be there to do stuff and sort things out, and is happy for her to do that and for him to only contribute if he is asked or told to.

OK, he works long hours outside the home, but if the OP added up all the hours she does of childcare/house stuff/supporting DH, I wouldn't mind betting that it shakes down to her working just as much as him.

Laquitar Sun 08-Dec-13 12:50:02

Well the school run is what all parents do (unless they pay an au pair or cm to do it).

I agree though that he works long hours. You too, shift work is not easy, plus housework and childcare. You both are tired and both are entitled to some free time. You need to talk about it and be fair to each other.

If his 56hrs pay well it will worth to pay a cleaner for few hrs per week, to do some cleaning and ironing?
The church, it is great when you can do it but if you are tired just skip it?
Basically drop your standars a bit, it is not for ever only when your dcs are small.

BackforGood Sun 08-Dec-13 13:06:04

I agree with Hanky on P1 too.
I also think you have to acknowledge this is a tough time in your lives. We've all been there, got the T-shirt, etc., and it's tough when you are both out at work and have small dc and are not getting enough sleep. Life is rarely ideal / rosey at this stage. Remember you are both doing your best and that it's OK to "do what works" sometimes (eg the sleeping in the pram) if that's what works for you all at the time.
Sounds like ridiculous hours he's working, I can't blame him at all wanting to savour any extra minutes of sleep whenever he can.

rabbitlady Sun 08-Dec-13 13:11:22

he should make more effort.

WooWooOwl Sun 08-Dec-13 13:32:33

As much as OP is the default childcarer, the DH is the default earner.

Both contributions are equally essential to the household and to the children. Just because one is more directly linked involved with the children does not make it more valuable.

I want him to take pleasure in doing it and pride himself as a good parent

This is a feeling I can totally relate to, but ultimately we are two different people with two different, but equally valuable points of view.

My DH announced that he was going to be working this morning, and was then disappointed that he could tell I was a little disappointed. I want him to want to want to be at home when he can, and he wants me to appreciate that he's working extra to provide for us.

Neither of us can be expected to want exactly the same as the other in this fairly minor situation, so we just have to accept that sometimes we see things differently, and that's ok! We both trust that we want the best for our family, we are both working hard to achieve that, and we acknowledge that sometimes its tough. It's easier for us to get perspective because our children are older so we're not in the middle of the physically demanding baby/toddler years full of sleepless nights though!

Cerisier Sun 08-Dec-13 14:19:38

Another vote for dropping the weekly church visit. Perhaps try to go twice a month if it is important to you.

It sounds like you are both shattered and are not communicating properly. Poor sleep patterns and a wakeful baby are really not helping.

You need to sit down with DH and tell him all this and listen to his point of view. Then you should aim to organise your time so your DCs are cared for, the essentials are done to the house and you both have the same amount of down time over a week.

These years with small children are very hard OP, you have my sympathy. It does get easier though.

Cerisier Sun 08-Dec-13 14:28:02

Massive cross posts, I am a slow typer.

One thought- not wanting to do bath time doesn't make you a bad parent. I found a lot of the care of small children pretty mind-numbing and avoided it. I find my DC much more interesting now they are teens.

Fairenuff Sun 08-Dec-13 14:36:42

I think you just need to talk to each other. What does he say when you tell him what you told us?

Does he do his hours over 5 days? If so, he is working 11 hours out of 24. That leaves 13 hours free. Even if he sleeps for 8 hours a night, that still leaves him 5 hours a day. He could devote 3 of them to childcare/housework and still be left with 2 hours a day to himself.

What about you OP? You should be able to have two hours to yourself too. And then, at the weekend (or whatever days you both have off) you can do family stuff together.

This can be worked out if you two just co-operate with each other.

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