Could someone please tell me how unreasonable I really am? Having trouble finding perspective(75 Posts)
I've namechanged for this.
DH and I have been together for 12.5 years now, married for almost 8. DS has just turned 1.
DH and I have very different personalities. I'm outgoing ,chatty and quite messy. My approach to household tasks tends to be "stick to the essentials" and I grew up in a house full of clutter so I'm not necessarily bothered by it. DH is very shy, (my best friend was convinced for the first year we were together that DH hated him, he didn't, he just didn't know how to talk to him) and can get to be a little obsessive about tidiness (he has been known to come and get me from another room to show me that I had put a glass in the wrong place on the shelf of the cupboard - right cupboard, right shelf but it should have been 5 cm to the left because that's where the other glasses go...). Pretty much throughout our relationship, this has caused arguments, usually when he was particularly stressed about something else, but they've never lasted long.
Just to be very clear, our house is not dirty, I do not live in squalor but the glass in the cupboard is pretty representative. I really do make an effort to try and keep things how he likes them but my brain is just wired differently. I can't seem to remember this level of detail.
When we found out I was pregnant (not planned) we decided 3 things:
- firstly, we were finally going to get our arses in gear and move to a city half way accross the country, like we'd been saying we'd like to for years, with the aim of being settled there by DS's first birthday
- secondly, the easiest way for me to do this would be to put in a transfer request immediately upon returning to work after my maternity leave when the law here means that they have to have a VERY good reason for refusing said request (which they wouldn't have), and
- thirdly, DH would take parental leave at the end of my maternity leave so that we could avoid jumping through the hoops to find child care (which was a nightmare where we used to live) only to change a few months later and so that he could take care of the preparations for the move.
The third thing was his idea but a joint decision. He was paid a token amount for the first 6 months and could take an extra 6 months unpaid. We agreed that my salary was enough for us to live on without dipping into our saving for living expenses (although the moving costs etc came out of savings) and that it was an acceptable trade off that would make the move easier and also avoid him having to work out any notice on his old job as the conditions of parental leave mean that you can quit your job at any time during the leave without notice. It also had an extra advantage for him - he hated his job and hoped to use his leave to think about what he really wanted to do.
So, we had a plan. DS was born, I had my maternity leave and went back to work in September after a few weeks when he was on holiday so the three of us were together. I put in my transfer request on my first day back and signed the transfer papers in early January with an effective date of March 1st.
In the first few weeks after I went back to work, DH really struggled with being at home all day with the baby. There was clearly a huge gap between what he had been expecting and the reality of taking care of a 4 month-old baby all day. He felt that he wasn't able to "get anything done" during the day and was frustrated. I tried to be supportive and to help him accept that when you have a small baby, you have to adapt your expectations and that some days just getting everyone clean, dressed and keeping them fed is an achievement in itself. Gradually, he adapted to his new way of life and we settled into a rythm (although there were times when he would SCREAM down the phone at me if I called to say that I was leaving work after 6pm on the dot).
The month leading up to the move was tense because there were a lot of things to sort out and we didn't have any help (my parents live far away, his parents aren't reliable and we didn't have any friends we felt we could ask). He became increasingly more irritable and would complain bitterly about having to do "everything". I kept my head down, got on with what had to be done and told myself that things would be better once we were settled.
We moved in March and I started my new job immediately. I'm a management consultant so I can't really enforce strict office hours but I have done my best to reduce the time I spend out of the house, working from home whenever possible and cutting my hours down as much as possible. This has caused me some problems in my job but I'm dealing with them.
We've settled into a routine which goes as follows:
I get up at 7am, get DS up and change his night time nappy, give him his breakfast bottle and play with him for a little while. At 7.30, I put him in his playpen while I have my shower and get dressed. If DH is around at this time, he will let DS out of the playpen and keep an eye on him while he plays. If he isn't around, DS stays in the play pen.
Once I'm dressed, I change DS again after his morning poo, get him dressed then wash his bottle and any other washing up left over from the evening before. I also empty the nappy bin and cat litter and take any bin bags out with me as I leave.
I leave the house at 8.30.
During the day, DH takes care of DS, does any shopping that needs to be done (we get a delivery from the local supermarket but he goes to the market for fruit, veg and meat) and when necessary he batch cooks meals to be frozen for DS. He also does any housework he thinks needs to be done and deals with household paperwork.
I leave work at 6pm and am home at 6.45. When I get home, I give DS his bath if he hasn't had one during the day, give him his evening meal and bottle and put him to bed then tidy away his toys. If I see that it needs doing, I'll also push the hoover around.
DH usually prepares the meal but I make sure that I do it at least once during the week.
Before I go to bed, I chek the washing pile and, if needed, programme a machine to run in the early morning. The next day, I'll hang this washing out.
On weekends, I do all of the child care (DH will play with DS but doesn't change any nappies or give him any of his meals unless I specifically ask him to). I cook at least 2 meals over the weekend and also make at least one batch of meals for DS and a batch of teething biscuits. I also hoover up at least once over the weekend, do all the washing up and will do any other houswork if I notice that it needs to be done or if DH asks me to. DH takes at least 2 hours on both days to go out for a drive/walk/bike ride on his own.
This is turning out to be really long so I'll get to the point.
We've been bickering more and more, usually started by him because he has to "do everything". He says that I treat him like a maid and that he is sick of me not pulling my weight. This usually starts over something trivial. This morning, it was because he knocked over a dish that I had left on the counter in the kitchen and he had to get the hoover out. He went on a massive rant about how useless I am, raking up stuff that happened over 10 years ago and blatantly refusing to accept that I do anything. When I tried to point out what I do he called me a pathological liar and just carried on yelling.
I know that being at home with a small child is not easy and I know that he has had trouble adapting. I know that I'm lucky in that a lot of men wouldn't accept to do as much as he does but I'm sick of being made to feel like an anchor, weighing him down.
I've been thinking about leaving for a while now but have been putting it off, telling myself that things will get better when DS starts at crèche (he started this week) and DH can start looking for a new job and get back to some semblance of normality but now I'm starting to realise that might not be enough.
If I'm honest, I think I actually do quite a lot. For me, if a family decides that one parent will go out to work and the other will stay at home, it is normal that the parent staying at home will do more of the household tasks. I feel like I am pulling my weight but he thinks I'm taking him for granted and I think it is only going to get worse when DS starts at crèche full time and DH is at home all day looking for work.
In the mean time, I spend my waking day taking care of DS or at work, with perhaps one hour of down time in the evening. I haven't had a haircut since the week before I went back to work in September because doing so would mean either asking DH to look after DS for an hour over the weekend or taking more time at lunch (I currently take just 10 minutes to buy and wolf down a sandwich so that I can get my work done and leave at 6).
So, I put it to those of you who have had the courage to get through this mini novel, just how unreasonable am I being to DH?
You are'nt, he sounds like an unsufferable twat.
Rather you than me, I genuinely would not put up with him for 1 minute longer, and quite frankly I've got more sense than to have a child with a man who frogmarches me to the kitchen to tell me I've put a glass a few cm away from its rightful place.
As for screaming at you down the phone? Buy a fucking loud whistle.
Basically your life is about doing as your told to keep him happy.
It sounds miserable, and hard work, why do you bother?
Apart from him doing nothing at weekends, I think your routine sounds fine. He is stressed at being alone with a small child all day. That's pretty normal.
I think the important thing is to find a way to communicate with each other rather than try and compare who does what.
You're both busy, you're both knackered, you're both resentful. Comes with the territory I'm afraid. It will get easier as the baby grows.
I too would have left him over the glass and the shelf incident.
He doesn't sound "shy" all all. Just a horror.
What memyselfandaye said.
The glass thing is jaw-dropping? Why the hell didn't you dump him? That's the kind of thing you read about on one of those "red flag" threads on here.
He sounds a nightmare.
He went on a massive rant about how useless I am, raking up stuff that happened over 10 years ago and blatantly refusing to accept that I do anything. When I tried to point out what I do he called me a pathological liar and just carried on yelling.
Do you think a renegotiation of the division of labour in your relationship is actually possible? I don't.
Walking to show you a glass out of place? Controlling wanker quite frankly.
You are right. You are very involved in the household as well as funding it.
He doesn't sound like he's handling his role at all well. Is this because he is obsessive about the house bring perfect? Is it because he's so tired (though he gets time to himself as well, so that seems unlikely). He should perhaps seek some advice about his resentment towards you? Would earning help?
Shouting down the phone has to stop. If he can't handle the responsibility of being sahp it's time to change it all .... he has not really got a grasp on the role and is acting like a stroppy child about it.
You do absolutely shit loads. Your routine does not sound 'fine' to me it sounds horribly unbalanced. You're doing more than him and getting abused into the bargain. He gets lie ins he gets weekends with no work at all he gets lots of free time - what do you get? When is your time?
Could it be guilt making him so abusive, because he knows he's taking advantage at the moment?
He's an abusive twat really, isn't he?
I'd have left him over the glass incident. It's ine of those things that sounds trivial but speaks volumes about how little he respects you.
You are doing much much more than your fair share of housework and childcare alongside ft work. Its not you, it's very definitely him.
too long to read and answer
Oh, the irony. DFOD.
OP - YANBU. Apart from the obsessive tidiness stuff, has your husband always been an arse or is this behaviour (shouting etc) par for the course? He might not be cut out for full time childcare, or he might just be an arse.
Too busy to read it but time enough to post a snarky comment citydoc
Leaving will possibly mean he gets majority care of your son while you work and pay child support.
If you don't want that then things need to change with getting childcare and your dh going back to work.
Very helpful comment citydoc. I can't help wondering why you bothered.
OP I can't find anything unreasonable in what you say apart from you still being with this controlling shouty twat. I'd have never made it past the glass incident - but you did for some reason. That was your first mistake. Don't make your next big mistake staying with this petulant man-child for another single minute longer than you have to.
There is no point to you staying together unless you make each other happy now it will in the future.
That isn't going to happen, he isn't a joyful life affirming guy who adores you and deals with his irritations and day to day stresses with competence. Me and dh are chalk and cheese - both irritating but there is love and respect at the bottom of the tank so we do ok.
You could have a lovely supportive funny man... Or no one jeez either would be better!!!
The glass incident? The screaming down the phone at you? The refusal to look after his child for one hour at the weekend to let you go and get yourself a haircut? The ranting and calling you useless?
This cannot possibly be justified by him being stressed at having to look after his child all day. OP, can you not see just how entirely unacceptable this is? And if he continues his nonsense, what awful behaviour he will be modelling to your son in a few years? This sounds truly awful.
YANBU - he sounds controlling and emotionally abusive.
As DS gets older he will also be subjected to the "regime" - is that idea scary enough to make you do something about it?
Interesting that you say you're lucky because some men wouldn't do as much. It might be worth you taking time to think about that statement a bit more, taking all the things he doesn't do into account. To an outsider, you don't seem lucky at all.
I think you've done quite a few stressful things (baby, big house move) in a short space of time which has impacted on you both, especially as they were unplanned (the move seems to have been a distant dream). You (both) do seem to be 'point scoring' though, which is always a sign of trouble.
It's OK for the current 'plan' (which you'd mapped out before the baby arrived I think) not to be as suitable as you thought, it happens. How you work out one that suits all three of you is up to you all. You both sound very resentful of the other one though!
OP, you do absolutely loads in terms of childcare and household tasks. If your routine is as you describe, your DH certainly doesn't do 'absolutely everything'. When I was a SAHM, it would have been unthinkable to me to expect DH to do all the stuff you do before you even go to work. And I certainly didn't get 2 hours to myself at the weekend. Your DH may feel hard done by, but he really is taking the piss. Perhaps he just thought it to be like a holiday - well, he thought wrong!
Depending on if you actually want to try to fix things (don't know if too much water under the bridge for you?)
Could you make a list of what you actually do in evenings and weekends and maybe he could make a list too and see if you could compromise on jobs (he might also realise how much you do!)
I would think seeing a couples counsellor together would also be really important.
I am a SAHM and your midweek pattern sounds quite similar to ours.
At the weekend though it's 50/50 with the kids (I still do washing and cooking) but DH does DIY other house stuff. I think it's really important that he gets down time away from kids and work so he plays the occasional game or golf or goes to the football or rugby. Likewise I catch up with friends for lunch without the kids, get my hair cut, etc etc. We then have family time too.
Your DH is totally taking the piss. However you are going to be screwed when if you leave him now as he is the "primary carer" so would more than likely get residence of you child. Could you live with only seeing him every other weekend? YourDH needs to get back to work and then You can see about splitting and having 50/50 care of your child. You are going to have to play a long game here if you want out.
When I was a SAHM, it would have been unthinkable to me to expect DH to do all the stuff you do before you even go to work.
Why? It's not that much.
My dh did similar before he left for work and he did the bedtime routine in the evenings too. It was the only time he had with the dc during the working week.
I think that during the week, your routine is fairly balanced. The problem to focus on is (1) Him doing nothing at weekends and (2) how you communicate with each other.
If you want to sort this out, those are the things to address. If not, start making plans to separate.
Could he be struggling with either ocd and/or depression? Both of these can cripple your ability to function on a daily basis.There are obviously unresolved issues in the past that haven't been communicated and worked through at the time, which have manifested in unexpected ways now, triggered by his current stress levels. If you are a naturally organised and immaculate person then the turmoil that a baby puts you into can completely derail you. Not excusing his behaviour by any means, but it sounds like he needs professional help of some sort, and you both need help in communicating effectively in ways that the other person can hear what's being said without feeling like they're under attack.
I have seen the film Sleeping with the enemy. I would have run for the hills after the glass incident!
I could not live up to his specific expectations and couldn't live with the stress of not knowing what I was going to do wrong next.
Agree with pp, try getting him back out into the real world and back to work and see if that reduces his stress levels.
Is he only like this at home, with you? If he is, sorry, but I think that could be abusive. Behave you considered that?
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