Looking after two young children

(12 Posts)
An38 Sat 09-Jul-16 05:38:58

This is difficult for me to post and I am sure we will be judged negatively.

I have two boys aged 3.9 and 1.2. My husband has been long term unemployed and I work part time two days a week. I feel completely overwhelmed - this is not how I imagined my life. I always thought I would be a stay at home mother and my husband would have a good job to support us.

There are two main problems we are facing: money and confidence in looking after two kids. I am angry that my husband can't find a job and although he tries I think he should try harder. He says that I should work more than two days a week until he finds a job (I am an engineer and can work 5 if I choose) but I want to be at home looking after the kids, especially when they are so little.

But the paradox is that I find looking after the kids on my home if my husband is not around very difficult - it is a two person job. I definitely would prefer my kids to be in daycare when I work instead of being looked after my husband - he makes mistakes, the other day he put the younger child in a synthetic onesie that caused an allergic reaction (even though the doctor said he should be in cottons for awhile). The other day my youngest put a roll of toilet paper in the toilet when my husband was not looking.

I am angry at my husband, I am starting to get really resentful as to how useless he is and how much direction he needs. I am angry that I have to work. I don't understand how a person cannot find a job. I am resentful of people who question why either of us is unable to look after the kids on their own. My upbringing was in a country where we had maids and family to help in raising children and here we have no such support.

I know something is really wrong here. I don't know where to start to fix it. Where do you think we should start?

BugPlaster Sat 09-Jul-16 05:49:38

Work more for a while on the understanding he will look for work (it IS hard to get work). You have earning potential and your children need you to bring in money.
Leave him to look after them, let him do it, he is an adult. Don't manage his handling of them. If it would make you feel better, chat to him about safety concerns but really, a loo roll in the toilet is not a big deal and the onesie was a mistake (chuck it out).

icklekid Sat 09-Jul-16 05:58:30

Yes I agree with bug at the moment you need to work more (maybe 4 days a week?) And then on the 5th day he spends it job hunting. As for parenting by yourself, it is always going to be easier with 2 of you but you both need to get used to that. Your dh will become less useless the more experience he gets! As for having help that could be a good motivation if he can find a job!

cathpip Sat 09-Jul-16 06:02:04

This may sound harsh and I don't mean it to be but you need to stop pulling your husband on what he does wrong, which dosent sound like a lot, so a toilet roll went down the loo, it happens.....in every house with small children, I'm quite surprised that that is the only thing you have had to fish out of a toilet to be honest!. If baby isn't supposed to be in synthetic baby gros for a while put them away in a box, problem solved. 2 young children is hard work and from your post it sounds like you don't trust him or like him. Does he tell you how to do your job? How about supporting him and working with him rather than resenting him and look at what you do have which is 2 beautiful children a husband and the option of working full time.

RapidlyOscillating Sat 09-Jul-16 06:37:15

I work full time because my husband is better at childcare (he works part time and now they're older, mainly in school hours). He is better precisely because he doesn't worry about loo rolls going down the loo! He also has more energy than me and is generally more fun, unplagued as he is by thoughts of diary planning and household organisation hmm grin . Go to 4 (?long) days, get a cleaner and organise an activity or even a nursery morning on your day off so he can job hunt.

An38 Sat 09-Jul-16 07:59:47

I am scared that if I work more than two days a week my husband will never find a job and then I will be stuck working and never be able to be a full time mum.

It is difficult to trust my husband to look after our kids because our kids are difficult - my older son is a poor eater (and the only way he eats enough is if I chase him with a plate of food and feed him) and the younger one has got a bad rash and sleeps poorly. My husband cannot make the range of food that I can and does not spend enough time talking my older son (who is quiet and like my husband).

thescruffiestgiantintown Sat 09-Jul-16 09:06:08

Is your older son at preschool? Maybe you would feel better about your husband looking after them if you knew that your older boy was getting stimulated at preschool. I wouldn't worry much about eating - surely he won't starve himself?!

I think handing over the responsibility for child rearing to anyone can be tricky. Our children are with me the vast majority of the time and it always irks me when DD is with DH or ILs and they put her on the iPad (for example) because I don't do that. But I also know, rationally, that it's really not that big of a deal and that there are also tremendous benefits to her being looked after by others.

I think you need to look at the big picture. Every family with children needs a) income b) childcare c) housework done (in addition to love, play, etc, but these are the practical basics).

It sounds like in your ideal world, a) would be your husband's responsibility and b) and c) shared between you and staff. But in the absence of that being possible, you need to look at the ways in which you and your husband can divide these things up so as not to the detriment of your children and marriage. You've said that the status quo isn't working and you've also said that you struggle to look after the boys alone - why not give your husband the chance? He might pleasantly surprise you.

crazybat Sat 09-Jul-16 09:43:36

Does he want to work? It sounds to me that you are going to end up being the main bread winner whatever way this ends.

Either put up and shut up. Or kick him out and leave him and do it on your own.

Can you give him an ultimatum? You clearly want the traditional roles and he's clearly not fitting in with that. It doesn't work for everyone but you have to be on the same page.

I know how you feel about wanting to be with your kids I resent stay at home mums that don't have to work. sad

Good luck smile

Believeitornot Sat 09-Jul-16 09:46:54

I'm sorry but you sound a bit selfish.

Your family needs a better income so why on earth aren't you upping your hours?

Also give your husband a chance. The mistakes are hardly huge transgressions. He will learn now surely.

Have a frank discussion about what you want and come to an agreement.

I had to go back to work 4 days while dh took a massive pay cut. Yes I resented it but he worked hard and got a promotion. Now we are in a place where I can change my job and work fewer hours. It's about a partnership and making sacrifices for each other. Not about trying to get what just one of us wants

Caterina99 Sat 09-Jul-16 15:07:43

how long has your DH been unemployed for? Is your job one you can easily increase your days and then drop again?

I think you should work more and he look after the kids for the moment. Hopefully he'll find work and you can reassess. You need the income and he'll learn quickly to manage with them. If he wants to work then being at home full time with 2 small children will certainly encourage him to look harder (unless that's just me!)

corythatwas Sun 10-Jul-16 11:27:48

You sound very anxious and I am wondering if you are not projecting some of your anxiety on your child-caring.

On the one hand, you blame your husband for making mistakes with the children, on the other hand you don't seem all that confident yourself, but seem to suggest that caring for two children is a two person job. You need to sort out what is realistic here, and then think about how you can make the best of the situation. So the basic premises here are:

*at least one of you does have to earn the family income- which means that either one parent will have to provide daytime care for both children, or you will both have to work and earn enough for childcare (note that childminders tend to be cheaper than nurseries)

*it is no longer realistic in the 21st century to demand to be supported by your husband- this is an age that requires flexible (and non-gendered) solutions

*jobs are hard to come by at the moment so it is probably fair to think that both of you need to try as hard as you can and not give up

*if you feel overwhelmed by the children, then it is hardly fair to blame your husband for feeling the same- the good news is that families can survive a few toilet rolls down the loo as long as they approach the matter with a sense of humour

*toilet rolls down the loo is an absolutely normal part of family life. As are scribbling on the wall with marker pen during the two seconds when you turn your head to deal with an unavoidable emergency. Why do you think Dulux do those telly adverts- it's because people can relate to them. This is not a sign of failure: it is part of being a family.

*you may want to look into why you get so wound up about minor misadventures- are you in good health? could you be depressed? is there something about your move from your childhood world that you haven't quite processed? It is not quite normal to struggle so much with the kind of ordinary poor-eating, low level naughtiness of a 3yo. Find out why this is so hard for you. And then try to address that problem.

*your son's eating. I don't think you will get good results here by chasing him with a plate. Or by getting worked up over it. Ime (large extended family + one fusspot of my own) a very low reaction approach works best. If the main carer gets stressed about it the problem tends to get more entrenched.

*could it be the case that you feel resentful because your childhood expectations are not being met: there are no maids and suddenly you are expected to do the work of a maid? It is hard when our expectations are not met, but human beings are resilient and can deal with a lot of change. Otherwise they would hardly have survived millennia of upheavals and wars and natural disasters. I grew up in a family where all the children enjoyed rude health and happily spent their time on outdoor pursuits: realising that I had given birth to a child with a chronic condition which would make that kind of childhood impossible was a hard pill to swallow. But we got through it. You learn to adapt, and when you can't do what you expected you do something else that is fun instead. We have had an enormous amount of fun, just not in ways I expected.

* are you lonely? do you have friend to support you? a social life? things always seem harder when you are alone.

thescruffiestgiantintown Sun 10-Jul-16 20:39:23

cory your posts are always so wise.

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