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How much did you DH do when you were on mat leave?

(28 Posts)
Nottalotta Tue 21-Jul-15 22:23:45

Just wondering really. First baby so no idea what to expect. I will have 9 months off followed by 3 months at 3 days per week. Am having C section so will obvs need a lot of help to start with.

Have always found it odd when women say things like 'its maternity leave, not housework leave' And feel i would rather get housework etc done during the week so weekends can be family time. Also, DH currently working 2 jobs, 4am start 6 days a week with 6am start on the 7th day. Works 7 days a week but 'just' a few early morning hours at weekends. So really dont imagine him doing night time stuff once I am recovered. I do imagine him taking over baby care when he gets home in the evenings, leaving me able to cook (i like doing the cooking and see it as beneficial to us both, he gets to do baby care while i get to cook uninterupted)

My friends are horrified at my thoughts......

Christelle2207 Tue 21-Jul-15 22:30:55

What are your friends horrified about? I was frazzled being home all day and definitely handed over baby most evenings so that I could cook i.e. do something other than hold/breastfeed baby (he had formula in the evenings). Housework fell by the wayside tbh as having a baby is intense. I did the night shits other than friday night which DH would do and saturday night which we'd share. Now Im on 2nd mat leave I do all night shifts with baby and DH does all night shifts and gets up early with toddler. And works full time still.

Nottalotta Tue 21-Jul-15 22:39:03

That I'm some sort of mug and should be making DH share the night times flying(i hope to bf) and he should do housework after work etc. I understand having a baby is a lot to 'do' but feel if i don't get stuff done during the day, i would really want him doing utter in the evenings - would rather he did baby stuff.

soundsystem Tue 21-Jul-15 22:42:16

It's whatever works for you really. I'm on the "it's maternity leave not housework leave" team though. In theory I expected DH still to do half if the house work but in reality we had a cleaner. I did all the cooking but only because I, like you, enjoy cooking so that was my relaxing time while DH bathed baby and did bedtime.

I went back to work quite early and DH took a few months additional paternity leave, so we both got to see it from both sides. I'd say working full time is no where near as knackering as looking after/entertaining a baby so I'd have been out put out if I'd also been expected to do housework (beyond general tidying up after ourselves). And when DH was off I much preferred him to spend time with DD than cleaning!

MrsNuckyThompson Tue 21-Jul-15 22:44:41

Don't overthink. Just see what happens.

Basically though just looking after your baby (esp if you are bf'ing) and keeping you both clean, fed and getting some fresh air is going to take up a huge amount of your time. Your 'job' becomes taking care of the baby. Many couples then see it as fair to split the other stuff.

sophie150 Tue 21-Jul-15 22:45:39

I think the consensus on mn is always that you should have the same amount of downtime. In my experience this does mean exactly what you have described which is that I do most of the housework in the week and when my dh comes home from work, I gladly hand over the baby for him to take care of/ have fun with/ get ready for bed/ do a feed whilst I cook (which I too enjoy- in fact I love shutting the kitchen door, putting on iplayer and cooking without having to worry about ds) and do a few more jobs round the house. We both sit down together to eat when the baby is settled.
He will sometimes do a few bits unprompted before work like unstacking the dishwasher or bringing the washing in if it looks like it's going to rain.

At the weekend we share any jobs that need doing like laundry and when we get a chance he will do bits and bobs of diy/ gardening that need doing. But generally we try and avoid that and just spend time as a family.

Whatever you plan for, you will need to adjust according to how well your baby sleeps/ how much they are happy to play on their own. I was lucky and had a good daytime sleeper (albeit in the sling which makes housework a proper workout!) but we have gone through phases of clinginess where I have just had to adjust my expectations and haven't got as much done as I should.

I do worry slightly about going back to work in the sense that we have gone from sharing the load to me doing most of it, but plan to sit down and talk through what needs doing and allocate before I do go back. We've also outsourced a bit and pay someone to do the ironing a couple of times a month and are getting a cleaner so that will help a lot.

Ultimately I hate the cleaning/ endless laundry bit of my current role but accept that it makes sense for me to do it as I am at home and have the time in the day. If my husband at home I would expect him to do the same.

answersonapostcardplease Tue 21-Jul-15 22:48:59

See what happens when baby comes?

DidILeaveTheGasOn Tue 21-Jul-15 22:49:26

It's maternity leave, not housework leave. That train of thought is really supposed to be about supporting you as a mother, so that if you did most of the housework pre children (as a lot of women do) you can give yourself permission to do the job you are actually off to do - take care of your baby, and recover from your pregnancy.

Or, well, I guess, have a gleaming house, but you can have a shiny clean house any time.

(I learned this lesson when I was 'just' removing finger marks from a mirror. My dd rolled off the bed. She was, of course, totally fine. I decided there and then what my focus should be, and it wasn't the house.)

ejclementine Tue 21-Jul-15 22:52:29

Yeah I'd see what feels right at the time. If he's sorking those shifts though I would (if it were my partner) let him sleep so his work doesn't suffer.

Nottalotta Wed 22-Jul-15 00:39:50

Oh I don't have a gleaming shiny house at any stage. Ill settle for not dirty. But feel that even if i manage 20 minutes housework during the day, its more than when im at work, and all adds up.

Scotinoz Wed 22-Jul-15 04:02:03

I'm on extended mat leave and home with two under two. I generally aim to do all the housework, shopping, cooking errands etc during the week so we have weekends free to do fun stuff. I do the night wakings, youngest is only teeny so still waking for a few feeds a night. Husband works full time but does the children's bath and bed when he gets in (if he's home in time - works late perhaps two nights a week). He also gets up with the toddler in the morning (unless he has to be in early, maybe once a week). He cooks on a Friday night ie goes to the take away shop. Oh, and shares nights on a weekend. We both get one lie in at the weekend.

Some people might not agree with the spilt but it works for us.

m33r Wed 22-Jul-15 04:20:44

Hello notta <waves and remembers the LONG days on the buses with my LB (18 weeks) asleep on me grin>

I think you need to play it by ear depending on your baby but keep talking. My DH frequently tells me he thinks my job is much harder than his and I tell him that he needs to rest as he had a full time job.

At the weekends we take a lie in each and afternoon is family time. If one of us gets a minute while the other is playing a silly game or whatever, cups of tea get made, washing a go in, bathrooms get a wipe etc

Our LB is a terrible sleeper (hence the hour) so I do all nights (DH goes to spare bed at around 1am) but DH gets up 6-8 and let's me get 2 hours. Again we always check in with each other I.e. Are you sure you're not too tired / I can try to get an extra nap today / why don't go to mum's all day on sat and give you the full day off etc

Basically, do what suits you. Keep updating. Donnt bother about what other people say AND most importantly don't get into 'I do more than you' situ or let resentment build.

oh and finally, saying all of this, i. The beginning when milk supply coming in, DH mantra was 'you look after baby; I look after you and the house'

flowers

m33r Wed 22-Jul-15 04:22:39

To clarify - my full time job is the baby since I'm on mat' leave and he has an FT job

m33r Wed 22-Jul-15 04:32:55

Sorry, I wasn't too clear: during the week I try it keep on top of hoovering, dishes, washing etc but if LO has been high maintenance or we've been out all day when FH gets in I say can you either play with baby or empty dishwasher / hang up washing and he chooses his job. When I'm doing bedtime feed DH always asks if I have any jobs for him. Usually I've managed most things but if not DH gets on with it.

RE cooking, we use M&S A LOT! blush

avocadotoast Wed 22-Jul-15 04:54:52

DD is 8 weeks and we're still figuring it out.

I feel like I should do housey stuff because I'm at home all day but in reality it doesn't work like that! Looking after DD is more demanding than I anticipated (not that that's a bad thing) so most days I prioritise getting out of the house over keeping the house tidy. Which means of course there are days the washing up doesn't get done or whatever. I don't care (we've never been the tidiest household anyway wink).

But DH does do his fair share too. He can't help with nights really as I'm breastfeeding but when DD was having a real grizzly evening phase a couple of weeks ago we shared the burden.

contractor6 Wed 22-Jul-15 07:27:56

I am currently doing most whilst waiting for Bab to arrive, but certain things having to get dh to do. I'm like you OP dh has a demanding job so will continue to do majority of housework if can in week so can have family time. Amazed at how many others like cooking on here, I love it but stopped cooking due to ms. Will defo have this as downtime once baby is born smile

SpaghettiMeatballs Wed 22-Jul-15 07:48:18

I did most of the housework on the two lots of mat leave I've had when I was able to.

That was the key bit for me. I was happy to do it so long as he didn't expect me to iyswim? If the DCs were poorly, had had a terrible night etc I expected him to help when he got back from work which he did willingly.

TBH, it was harder second time with a 2 year old and newborn as I often wanted to prioritise a bit of time with DD when DS was napping.

Nottalotta Wed 22-Jul-15 07:56:14

Thanks everyone, seems like I am not alone in the way i think about this.

Hi m33r !! Congratulations on your little one! 2 days til Elcs for me.

I think its a great idea to keep talking, and i think i need to speak to DH and tell him that if i ask him to do something (i rarely do) then its because i need help and to just get on and do it (he's a good one for putting things off)

AboutTimeIChangedMyNameAgain Wed 22-Jul-15 09:11:41

Don't think of it as 'help' or he'll see everything as your job. You're a team once baby arrives and you will both need to muck in with whatever needs doing at the time. Looking after DS was harder than I anticipated as he had reflux so I never got much done when I was by myself. I would batch cook before baby arrives as the last thing you feel like doing with a newborn is cooking.

ch1134 Wed 22-Jul-15 10:33:28

I get a great deal of satisfaction over keeping the house clean and tidy. I also love being at home with the baby and don't feel the need to hand him over. But as I breastfed, it was only ever me who woke up at night, so o got very tired. And dh loves cooking so he always does that.

LorelaiVictoriaGilmore Wed 22-Jul-15 10:51:05

I'm about to be a first time mum too and feel a bit confused about what my expectations are. DH leaves the house at 8am and isn't back until 9ish (on a good night) most nights so I don't really think I'm expecting him to do very much of anything during the week. We have a weekly cleaner, so keeping the house clean isn't so much of an issue but there's general tidying, laundry, cooking... I suppose I'm hoping that I can keep on top of that during the week so that we can have family time on weekends or, if DH takes the baby for a while, I can sleep! I guess that leaves DH not doing very much of anything around the house... But he has such a demanding career (it's the same as mine, so I know how hard it is!) and if he makes mistakes or doesn't do a good job because he's tired we're all going to suffer financially... So it's really in my interests to keep him on track, isn't it? Or does that all sound a bit 1950s?!

Ladyconstance Wed 22-Jul-15 11:07:05

It's likely that when baby arrives, baby will need you mainly, and you will need help for yourself (e.g. bringing you drink & food when BFing) & essential household stuff. And I mean essential e.g. buying nappies, washing dishes and buying food. That's where I felt DH supported me the most. He, on the other hand, had expected to be doing more with the baby!! So he felt quite helpless - who knew?! I don't think it's helpful to over-prepare who does what because that could build up lots of expectations on your part. When baby arrives & things work themselves out differently to what you expected, you absolutely do not want to be wasting your energy fighting constant disappointment. It is also a way of spiralling into depression.
Maybe you could agree with DH what are the absolute essentials for keeping your household going immediately after the baby arrives. Forget washing windows/ ironing duvet covers - be ruthless! As long as the most important bits get done by you or DH, anything else is a bonus if baby sleeps and if you/DH feel up to it. Other than the essentials, save all your time for getting to know your beautiful baby and enjoying those precious days & weeks as a new family. You'll never have that time back, so ignore almost everything else as much as you can till you're ready to gradually get into a routine.

Newlywed123 Wed 22-Jul-15 11:10:28

My Partner was fantastic, works 13 hour days, came home and took baby of me. I cleared up after both me and baby during the day and he usually cleared up after tea. Laundry was horrific at first, both were to exhausted but we luckily had good family support. We loved a simple chippy tea once a week blush

Every couple with a newborn has there own routine when baby arrives. I personally didn't like my partner coming home doing everything. So if it was messy we had a quick clean on Saturday mornings smile

Gillian1980 Wed 22-Jul-15 11:22:03

We've another 2 weeks until the baby arrives but we have a general plan which we hope will work - though we know it will need to be flexible.

We've always both worked full time and shared the housework etc. we tend to do specific chores - I do all the cooking, shopping and laundry, we share dishes and he does the more physical stuff such as vacuuming, cleaning bathroom etc.

I see it that for the first few weeks after the elcs he will need to do the vast amount as I'll be recovering and hopefully breastfeeding. He'll be on paternity and is expecting to be doing everything in this time.

When he goes back to work we have agreed that my full time role is being a mum and that won't allow me time to do everything just because I'm at home.

I aim to do cooking as I enjoy it and can do it when he's home to look after DD, also I aim to do laundry and dishes - it's just loading and unloading machines.

He'll be more involved in shopping now that he's passed his driving test and he'll still do the physical housework, plus whatever I don't manage.

I'm sure there'll be times when it won't work or when we fall out over it but I think the main thing is to both show one appreciation for what we HAVE done rather than moan about what HASN'T been done and not take each other for granted.

EllieQ Wed 22-Jul-15 12:35:11

DH and I have always split housework equally (shared cooking/ washing up and split other jobs in a similar way to PPs). I'm on maternity leave now (DD is three months) and so far we are still splitting the housework in a similar way. When I'm at home during the week I keep on top of day-to-day stuff (laundry, washing up, a bit of cleaning) where I can, but my priority is looking after her. At weekends one of us can be on baby duty while the other does dusting/ hoovering etc. This isn't every weekend, just when the house looks bad!

It was shocking to find out how relentless looking after a baby is, especially in the first few weeks when it's an ongoing cycle of feed/ wind/ nappy change/ sleep. I didn't have the energy to do much when she was asleep! Now she's older and sleeps well, but needs more interaction during the day, though she is quite content to lie in her Moses basket or on the playmat while I get small jobs done. I always get out of the house everyday to a baby group or just to get a bit of shopping. I'm FF, but if you BF then the feeds take much longer - a friend who is BF has feeds of up to about an hour.

One of the things I've read about a lot on MN is women who took on most/ all housework when they went on maternity leave, but ended up still doing most/all housework (and childcare) after they had gone back to work. This is probably where the 'maternity leave not housework leave' comment is from. I want to avoid this!

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