OH not supporting me as much as I needs him to

(27 Posts)
Crocodilehunter Fri 22-Feb-13 04:32:16

I'm fairly new to MN but I am soooo frustrated I need somewhere to vent.
My OH is seriously getting on my nerves.

We have a 14 wo DS who is lovely, clingy & hard work sometimes but lovely.

He is exclusively BF at the min so I can understand that my OH can't do much to help there at the min but...

We are trying to introduce the bottle to DS so i can eventually get breaks on the night feeds and go out for extended periods of time! it is very hit and miss at the min as to whether he'll take the bottle or not, I try to express enough so DS has a small bottle to practice with every evening. So all I ask from my OH is that he sterilises the equipment every night in order to help me do this. I have asked countless times but he always 'forgets' meaning that I struggle to find time to sterilise, express and ultimately we don't end up having the milk there for DS to practice with!

I was hoping to get DS used to bottles so we could go out together as a couple and our mutual friends are having a big get together this sat so it would have been nice to be able to go OH is still going as I have our oh so fun bedtime routine to stick to meaning we wouldn't have much of an evening if he did stay in with us (not that he's offered more gone along the lines of saying 'I'd feel like a dick head and unfair to you if I went out' while simultaneously making a point of mentioning that all his friends are asking and mithering him to go out )

I don't feel like he is doing enough to support me when he gets home from work, he gets home at 6PM, I'm getting a bedtime routine sorted for DS where we go to bed at 8PM as we were having bad nights when I stayed downstairs any later! OH could honestly sit down and watch tv while I'm fried in a rush getting everything done and his excuse 'I've just got in from work' he has all his own time from about 8:30 onwards as I ask him to do the washing up when DS & I have gone upstairs to bed.

TBH I always struggle to keep to the bed time routine because I can't get everything done on time from when OH gets home & Our supposed bed time

I try to get dinner cooked and served within the 2 hrs we get (which we normally have to eat separately because DS screams the house down otherwise) I will take DS while OH has his dinner keep baby calm & entertained so he can enjoy it, OH will finish,dither about in the kitchen for 10 mins (like we have all the time in the world) then sit his poor arse on the couch and watch TV, rather that take DS from me and keep him busy, I have to get up give his royal highness the baby and have my dinner but he'll not try to entertain DS and will just try to watch TV meaning that he screams the house down so I can't even enjoy my dinner in peace.

As soon as I hand DS over to OH if DS doesn't behave in a way that suits OH ie lay there nicely while he watches TV he'll sigh & huff repeatedly (as if I haven't done this all day without having a minute to myself) and say that DS doesn't settle for him WTF?

I also ask OH to get different components of tomorrow's dinner out of the freezer to defrost so I could possibly prepare them in the day the next day If I get a minute but he always forgets this too meaning that I have to sort everything last minute!

DS bath time needs to be done (I do it because OH says he doesn't feel confident doing it) I try being supportive helping him but it doesn't make a difference, he will sometimes help undress & dress DS but pratts about meaning that the bed time routine is fluffed up!

I've recently had to ask OH to stop taking a shower in this gap of time that we have in the evening because I need this time for help doing things but he can't seem to understand that and keeps going on that he hates having showers later on as it wakes him up for the night (I haven't once seen him awake whilst doing my night shift in fact he sleeps like a log as soon as his head hits the pillow usually when I'm still feeding DS)

If I ask OH to bring something upstairs with him when he comes up to bed ie nappies for the night shift, breast pads as I leak in the night, he ALWAYS 'forgets' I feel like he doesn't listen to me and puts my needs last!

I struggle to get the laundry done, dried & put away so we end up with huge mounds of dirty washing & clean clothes that need to be put away I don't always get time in the day to do this but OH moans,moans and moans that there is so much cluttering the house up but doesn't directly say that he thinks its my responsibility but I can tell this is what he thinks!

Tonight I was utterly fried after a sleepless night last night and a bit of a hard day with DS I completely forgot to get DS changed for bed in time for 8PM but I just wish OH could take over and be responsible enough to either remind me to do it or just take DS off me and do it his fekking self.

He just never seems to take the responsibility to do anything off his own back which means I have to tell him to do everything time and time agin!

He's also constantly asking me to do things I.e go out and buy this for the house, find this for me, sew this button for me, do this in the garden for me. Every day he asks me to do at least one thing that puts me out as I struggle to find time to eat let alone do anything else!

OH just doesn't seem to realise that his responsibilities end at 8pm until he's in work the next day where as I am constantly 'on duty' and he doesn't appreciate this or work hard enough to make my responsibilities easier on me.

He constantly says he feels like what he does is never good enough for me because I pick him up on these matters but its gotten to a point where I feel like I'm constantly picking at him and I'm wondering if its me in the wrong.

He does do odd bits around the house but it doesn't feel like enough to support me!

Just don't know what to do, am I being too harsh on OH?

honeytea Fri 22-Feb-13 21:37:12

I think you need to spell out to your DP what you want/need him to do. There is loads your DP can do with a ebf baby, ds is 9 weeks and he is ebf, dp works from 7-4 he's home around 4.30. When he gets home he changes ds's nappy (ds has a routine of pooing around 4.30 just in time for pappa!) He then holds ds or cooks dinner. DP showers with ds at 9 then we all 3 go to bed. DS sleeps 10-7 with one wake up at 3ish so we are fairly lucky with his sleep. DP gets up with ds at the weekend so I can have a lie in.

My dp didn't have much of an idea about what to do with a baby but I showed him how to massage ds and what songs ds liked when he was awake and alert and the songs ds liked when he was sleepy. I think things that come naturally to many mums need to be explained to some dads.

I try really hard to involve dp in ds's life even though he is at work all week, I send him photos in the day and I tell him how much we are both looking forward to seeing him.

We make huge pots of food and freeze it, things like stew and curry and risotto are great, you can make them at the weekend with your dp or your dp can make them in the evenings and cook as if you have a family of 15. SOmetimes DS has a really sleepy day and I make a fresh dinner but we know there is an easy option if it all has got a bit much.

Asking you to sew a button on is awful, why can't he do in his leasure hours when you and ds are in bed?

k2togm1 Fri 22-Feb-13 21:34:15

Brilliant advice shoppingtrolley!!grin

DIYandEatCake Fri 22-Feb-13 13:21:12

Everyone's given good advice about the evenings. All I will add is to make sure you have time together as a couple to enjoy being together - when you're stressed and tired it's easy to just go through the motions and snap and grump and not talk properly. When dd was tiny sometimes we'd go for a walk round the block when dp got home, a bit of time out for both of us, and somehow easier to talk while walking... or maybe that's just us. Having friends over (at weekends maybe?) is good too as it reminds you of life pre baby...we used to have friends over or even go out in the evenings as dd didn't settle til quite late. Basically find time somewhere to laugh and enjoy each other's company, it really helped the resentment fade away for us and helped us to talk. Things will get better and as others have said you will get your evenings back. Keep a list of easy, healthy dinners - we ate a lot of stir fries with packets of stir fry veg and sauce, pasta with sauce etc.

teacher123 Fri 22-Feb-13 12:57:30

In the nicest possible way, what on earth are you trying to cook for dinner that is causing so much stress?! Bangers and mash, spag Bol, chilli, fajitas, macaroni cheese, jacket potatoes etc are all things that are pretty low maintenance to cook aren't they? And kids tea (frozen pizza and waffles) isn't going to kill anyone once a week for a few weeks. It gets much easier to keep on top of things as they get bigger, but I personally would rather have DS in bed at 7 and eat my dinner with both hands and have one night waking, than have a later bedtime but have to do dinner with him still awake etc. hope things settle down soon x

Cheeka Fri 22-Feb-13 12:16:23

Dear OP, I could have written your post when my DS was only weeks old! I can only offer you what worked for me and some sympathy...On the positive side, my DH has got a lot better now, this is because he has got used/evolved with my DS (though DS is now 25 months!). I too exclusively breast fed which meant that I had to do the lion share of caring for DS.

Your DH may be receptive to a talk about your needs but depressingly, I found that with my DH it went in one ear and out the other after about 3 days. he's a bit of a man child who needed a routine himself, so I kept to strict timings so he knew what was going on. And base this routine AROUND YOU and the baby, don't worry about DH, the way i saw it, if he wasn't going to pitch in then I needed to do all I can to make things easier for myself and for DS. DH could work himself around these timings. But also give him the choice to get involved. e.g. he can do up the poppers of the sleep suit. more psychological than practical!!

My evenings kind of went like this:

6pm-6.45pm bath, dim lights, baby massage, soothing music (e.g. classic FM babies) nappy, sleepsuit
During which time DH came home. I let him get changed and he used to do DS's poppers up and hold baby while I get myself comfy to bf in armchair in dim light.
6.45-7.30pm I settle in armchair to bf DS who then falls asleep on the boob and then I drop into cot.

At this point I knew I had approx 2hrs to prep and eat dinner and have a shower before DS woke up grizzling..

I second the advice to keep meals v simple and get DH cooking the stuff he CAN cook at least a couple of times a week. Maybe he can also shower while baby is on the boob after the bath.

After dinner was eaten and essential chores done,i would go to bed and cosleep with the baby at around 11pm...(with maybe one wake up, and resettle at around 9pm)

About expressing, I would express into those milk bags which are sterilised already. I used to keep my breast pump clean and in the steriliser and just switch on when needed. When you have a moment to practice, just decant into a clean bottle...to be fair, I started to express quite early on and my DS took to a bottle v easily in the early days (when he was around 4 weeks old) but at around 6 months after a break from bottle for about 2-3 weeks he suddenly refused the bottle!!

I was kind of lucky in that my PIL live 45mins drive away and very occasionally, DH used to take DS for an afternoon to visit his parents with a bottle of expressed milk. This meant i had a precious few hours to do a mammoth clean of the house and urgent DIY (yes, my DH is incapable of DIY!). He was willing to take bub away because all he had to do was drive from A to B, I packed the bag for DS and at his parents, his mum used to do all the baby entertaining at the other side!

About his 'forgetfulness' I found that DH responded well to a to do list. He resents the list slightly but it does work, he will do what is on the list. I started off with 2-3 items on the list to ease him into it and not to overwhelm him,
e.g. 1) take frozen mince out of freezer before bed.
2) clear away dirty dishes on table

It's tough and i sympathise. My DH could be quite childish in that if i ask him to do something, he very occasionally refuses to do it just to be awkward. i.e once I was bfing and i was thirsty and i forgot my glass of water. i asked him for a glass and he kept saying 'later, in a minute'!! I was parched, so i begged him again and he still wouldn't go. Luckily (or unluckily for him as he looked like an arse) my sister who was visiting me looked really uncomfortable and she jumped up to get me the water.

Like I said, things do get better as your DS gets older but this has started a new wave of battles, i.e. I'm cooking and ask DH to entertain DS and he ignores him and plays on his iphone. I'm hoping your DH is only going through an adjustment phase...I'll probably be posting on here myself in the next few weeks because i'm expecting TWINS (next month, eeek)and god knows I will definitely need his help with TWO babies....all the advice above works for one baby not two <despair>
Good luck!!

waterrat Fri 22-Feb-13 10:24:28

crocodile - what about sitting down at a calm (unpressured) moment and talking through what you find hard about your day and what you need from him - I think that sometimes rather than putting it to him as 'bonding time' or 'looking after the baby ' time - you could just explain that YOU need the help.

So actually - it really doesn't matter whether or not hte baby likes it, or whether or not he feels that he is as good with the baby - he is doing it so that you get a break. He is your partner and it's his turn to support you.

As someone said - explain to him that you are on duty all day long, just like he is - so just like he wants a break at the end of the day, so do you.

Perhaps you do a deal, you say that if he can take over when he walks in the door he can have time to himself once you and baby are in bed.

Do you use a sling? The best way a partner can help with a BF baby I think is to bput the baby in a sling and go for a walk - even ten mins round the block. or put baby in sling and just walk round the living room.

it gets easier by the way....the first few weeks with breastfeeding/ trying to get dinner are bloody stressful.

it might be worth also making clear to him that this is TEMPORARY! he isn't going to be having to step in the door and take over forever - it can seem so intense at the time, but let him know that you need this help now - but in a few weeks / month or two- he will have that time to himself again.,

once they have a proper bed time (maybe 4 months? cant quite remember...) its amazing how long the evening seems and how calm! my 10 month old is fast asleep by 630/7 - and the evening is an oasis of calm....

NervyWervy Fri 22-Feb-13 10:22:10

Batch cook and freeze portions, then simply warm up the meals midweek -curry, stew, soups etc.
Can DH take a bath with baby instead of his shower?

Purplecatti Fri 22-Feb-13 10:11:52

If he wants something done he can do it himself.
My oh is a bit of a chauvanist at times and tries to give me a list of stuff that needs doing in the mornings. He came home to find I hadn't done them. If he mentioned it I would either bite his head off or collapse in hysterical tears on him.
We have got a good evening thing going now. I will stick the oven on and whilst doing bedtime he will cook. If he didn't we wouldn't eat.

Crocodilehunter Fri 22-Feb-13 10:08:09

Hey guys thank you for reading my v long post. thanks

Totally agree about the evening meal! That's what's taking so much time away from our evenings! Think I'll just have to make meals that are less time consuming and do separate meals on some nights! DS is slowly becoming more independent but he likes being involved so I can see a day where he'll sit in his bouncer and watch us eat together!

I genuinely believe OH is trying but he's finding it hard to come to terms with such a responsibility and because me and DS have such a strong bond I may sometimes find it hard to see why he struggles with him and have the roses tinted spectacles on slightly but think he needs to grow up a bit and accept that for a bond he needs to make a good effort not just when he feels like it!
It does seem that criticising OH isn't helping so need to concentrate on the good and he will hopefully be more inclined to see that I need support in other areas too.

DS bedtime routine has actually really helped he's just recently had a couple of bad nights but he's usually up once for an hour to feed, either that or he sleeps through so I def need to keep the routine for bed basically I'll take him upstairs at 8 but it only works because he's constantly feeding in a quiet environment till about 10 or 11 where he used to have me up all night doing the same thing (before then we were having 32 hour days where DS would get so worked up in the night possibly because he would only catnap so was v tired and that was exhausting for us both)

I always considered a bath to be part of a bed time routine and weirdly never thought to do it at a different time of day! DS does only have Baths once every other day so I suppose it's not really part of HIS bedtime routine or he would be having them every day! So I think I'll try changing the times! We did used to Bathe together when he didn't like bath time OH used to hand him to me and go downstairs telling me to shout him when I'd finished so he could lift him out lol I did ask him to stay to help/watch once but you could tell the couch was calling!

I love taking DS round to the shops, bit of exercise for me and fresh air for him on the walk up. If its raining then sod the fresh air I'll drive thank you very much grin

Some really good tips on here seeing possible solutions is making me feel more positive. I'll give them a go and let you know how I get on! Anyone has any more advice I'm open to suggestions smile

GrandPoohBah Fri 22-Feb-13 09:04:32

Also... If you want the opportunity to go out occasionally, have you considered mix feeding? It's not really talked about for some reason but it can be very helpful. I'm rubbish at expressing (and also, life is too short...) so my 13wo DD is BF the majority of the time, except the last feed before bed when she gets a bottle of formula which DH gives her. We've been out a couple of times and left DD with my mum or sister, and they give her formula - I just HAVE to feed as soon as I get in!

It is incredibly hard, being 'on duty' the whole time - I had to explain to DH that although his job is more stressful than mine at the moment, his only lasts about 9 hours a day - whereas I'm on call about 22 in every 24 hours.

Also, I second the advice about baths and clothes - bathing together is easy and fun, with your DH helping, or do it in the morning. And baby can wear a sleep suit overnight - they don't need to be in outfit then pj's!

motherinferior Fri 22-Feb-13 08:59:35

Plenty of men do come in, cook the supper and bath the baby and generally behave like responsible parents.

motherinferior Fri 22-Feb-13 08:54:58

Tell him to cook his own dinner. And yours. And bath his own son. And sew his own sodding buttons on.

I cannot believe how spectacularly crap he is being.

Bonsoir Fri 22-Feb-13 08:52:24

I agree - taking your baby for a walk around the shops every day to buy food is a nice thing to do. I did it so much that when DD started all day school (at 3.10) I used to feel quite tearful and lonely when I went to the market as I missed her company! We always used to go at around 4pm and the shopkeepers and stall holders gave her fruit, slices of Parma ham etc for her tea!

teacher123 Fri 22-Feb-13 08:49:34

Also do easy dinners for a bit that require no pre-prep. Ready meals, prepared veg, whatever it is that makes life easy for yourself. I NEVER remember to get stuff out the freezer, ever. I shop little and often and it gives us something to do with the day (getting out everyday with a baby is essential in my book!) you sound very stressed. I hope things improve soon x

BoffinMum Fri 22-Feb-13 08:49:11

Disposable bottles and ready meals are the way forwards, and see if someone can come in to give you a break now and then.

Then tackle DH, who is being mildly crap.

teacher123 Fri 22-Feb-13 08:47:08

DS is 10mo and I've only cooked dinner a handful of times since he was born. DH does pretty much all the cooking if his shift pattern means he's at home. If he's out, I eat leftovers or something with potato waffles ;-). I am a bit of a routine fiend also but that only works if he frees up the time. Can you shift things earlier and have dinner after he's gone to bed? At that age I'd 'settle' DS upstairs, come downstairs, eat dinner, go back upstairs to bed! Have a snack at about 5pm to keep you going.

Bonsoir Fri 22-Feb-13 08:10:13

You are trying to cram far too much into the early evening.

You should bathe your DS in the morning - he won't be so tired then, so it will all be a lot easier. And expecting a 14 week old breastfed baby to stick to an evening routine is a bit ambitious, IMO. Why don't you chill a bit, and try to eat dinner later so that you aren't rushing so much?

ivanapoo Fri 22-Feb-13 08:03:30

I was about to post but shoppingtrolley says pretty much everything I was going to!

WaitingForMe Fri 22-Feb-13 08:01:10

My DS is the same age and while DH has been pretty good (not a first time dad) things improved massively when I pointed out that DS adores him. Until then he'd not appreciated how DS turns his head as soon as he hears his voice and he was the recipient of DSs first smile. Once I taught him to look out for positive feedback he managed a lot better.

However, I have limited time for men and their feelings of inadequacy/failure because their partners cope too well. It's a luxury women don't get!

shoppingtrolley Fri 22-Feb-13 07:29:42

Hello -- I have had to work out some of these same issues, and I've got several bits of advice.

1. Don't bother with the expressing/bottle thing. Most men don't completely understand how to help with BF (and why should they). In my experience the bottle-expressing-sharing feeds thing was a nightmare and not worth it. You're so worried in general that you won't sleep through his feedings anyway. Instead, you should tell your DH that to help with BF he can bring you lots of drinks of water and cook you lots of nutritious food.

2. Make him feel needed rather than useless. If he thinks you think he's rubbish, he'll opt out and retreat (as he's now doing). As I said, allocate him the tasks of bringing you drinks and cooking dinner. Say that he's fetching water and nutrients for the baby and that it is a great help. You will soon find he brings you other things (magazine, chocolate) and, if he picks up on the cooking role, that he starts taking control of the kitchen including defrosting things and etc.

3. Let him watch you and learn. YOU sit down in front of the TV with baby to feed and talk to baby: 'Hey you fussy little thing, what's wrong? Are you bored in front of the TV, perhaps I need to jiggle you on my knee while I watch -- is that better? Happy baby!' DH will watch you soothe the baby and copy.

4. Drop all the changing/every day bathing. Just bathe every few days at an opportune moment and keep same babygrow on for bed. I only know one woman who has actually managed to get her husband to do the bathing routine etc. like it says in all the baby books and he is very unusual. Instead try this:

Some evenings you get into the bath and make it a good temp for baby. Then, as you've said DH is happy dressing/undressing baby but not bathing him, get him to undress DS and pass him to you for shared bathtime fun. When it's over, pass the baby out and stay in the bath. When DH has got baby all dressed and snuggly, tell him to go and teach your son how to make you a Gin and Tonic.

Good luck!! Remember to think about the long game. DH can do every single 1am trip to drive DS home from his teenage friends' houses.

FreakoidOrganisoid Fri 22-Feb-13 06:24:27

I feel stressed just reading your post op. Takes me right back to when mine were babies sad

I can give you some tips to help you cope better, but sadly they won't help your relationship with your partner, nor his with the baby, which is I suspect what you really want.

I agree with lolalotta, it sounds like you're currently trying to cope with two children and not just the one tiny baby!! You poor thing brew

Look, tell OH that if he's not going to be helping you out with the baby like you were hoping he would, then he is going to have to take care of himself, cook his own meals, clean up after himself etc. Nothing unreasonable, not a mile-long list of chores, just literally sorting his own stuff out.

I am currently 37+3 with my first and this is making me think that DH and I probably need a very honest conversation about our expectations of what's to come!!

lolalotta Fri 22-Feb-13 06:09:16

I always bathed baby in the morning, and I still do now and she is 3! I also try and prepare dinner by lunchtime too, something like a pasta bake that just need shoving in the oven and forgetting about! I found little things like this used to help me, tiny baby's are sooooo shattering and by evening I was a wreck! Try and not do too much for your OH, concentrate on baby for now and let him look after himself! Good luck!

Eskino Fri 22-Feb-13 05:15:44

Hi, you're superwoman aren't you! You are trying to show yourself (and your OH) how capable you are by trying to do everything. But its unsustainable and its not doing you any favours.

One thing that jumps out is the evening meal thing. You need to stop that now. Eat yourself, even if its something light (not a full cooked meal) earlier on say 5-ish that you could maybe have prepared while baby is quiet, then you could be bathing baby (if OH is insistently whining that he "can't do it") when OH gets in from work. Explain to him beforehand that this (or something like it that suits you) will be the new routine and that he should get out something from the freezer in the morning or night before that he will be cooking himself that evening.

You obviously can't rely on him to sterilise the bottles (and would you believe him if he said he'd done it now?) so you're going to have to if you want to get ds to take a bottle. Do you have a steam steriliser? Most stay sterile for 24 hrs if you keep the lid on so I stick it in the microwave on my way to bed.

I know its a bit of time management rather than the "leave the bastard" type comment but It might make him feel like he has a connection with what's going on at home if he has some valuable input.

I think sometimes our loving DPs and OHs think we switch ourselves off and put ourselves in a box when they walk out the door and magic a clean house and happy baby out of thin air like Mary Chuffing Poppins!

MarjorieAntrobus Fri 22-Feb-13 05:09:34

Oh, OP, you sound frantic. It seems like you are desperately trying to gain control over your evenings and nights.

Can your OH cook dinner instead of you? Can you bathe DS in the mornings? Or only every other day? Can you keep DS in the same type of clothes day and night? If in babygros then there's no need to change him for bed.

Can you save some of the domestic chores (like laundry) for the weekend and do them together?

I guess he doesn't understand at all what your day is like, and you have lost sight of what his day is like.

I am going to say this, and I mean it really nicely, but might it be worth talking to your HV/GP about how you find things at the moment?

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