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What is normal for your family?

(106 Posts)
PleaseHelpHimToUnderstand79 Fri 25-Jul-14 10:58:37

Hello all,

I would really appreciate your advice/input. My husband and I are really struggling in our relationship at the moment. We have been together for almost 16 years and have 2 children and it hasn't been an easy ride to be honest.

If you don't mind sharing, could you please tell me how your partners are involved in day to day chores, childcare etc?

Without waffling on, the (condensed!) reason why I am asking is because this seems to be a massive bone of contention between us.

As a bit of background, I had a good career until several years ago when I developed ME and just this Monday I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. My husband works Mon-Fri and gets home by 7pm.

I feel terrible guilt about my illnesses and push myself to do a lot more than I probably should. I keep quiet most of the time about the extent of how exhausted and in pain I am in day to day, I understand how hard it can be on the whole family so I try to minimise that as much as possible.

I am at home with my children (who are 7 and 3) and I do everything day to day, the school runs, the cleaning, washing, general housework, oldest's homework, their dinner, and all the usual. Come 4pm I am exhausted but push through because what's the alternative? When my husband gets home, he takes over. Bathes the children every other night, takes them to bed and cooks dinner/washes up. Then walks the dog (which for years was my job, until I asked him to take over as I was struggling with doing that on top of everything else).

I am very grateful for what my husband does. He knows this. However, for the last year or so, we have been arguing a lot - we are both tired and stressed. My husband seems to have a lot of anger towards me and this is when it comes out. He says he resents doing all the bedtimes etc all the time and nobody elses partner does what he does, whatever argument we have always turns into this issue. I am very grateful for what he does and have told him this several times, but it doesn't seem to make any difference to him.

He also gets the children up with him in the morning when he gets up for work and gives them breakfast before he goes. Again, I am appreciative of this.

But he refuses to believe that other dads do any of this. Family life is hard work. I try to take the burden of everything else by doing it myself but it never seems enough, I'm not quite sure if he gets it that other families also have the same struggles (without the added complication of these bloody illnesses).

God, sorry, I really have waffled. But it's at the point where I feel like he really resents me and our life and I just don't know what to think anymore. Could you please tell me what is normal for your family and how stuff is divided?

Thanks if you made it this far!

MymbleBaratheonBendsTheKnee Fri 25-Jul-14 11:09:20

My DH does all the bath and bedtimes too and does DS1s homework with him. I am home in the daytime so do all school runs, washing, shopping and meal planning and most of the cooking. I work two nights a week so DH cooks those nights and does packed lunches then too. He does a weekly clean on Sunday although I do bits too during the week.

I don't think fathers doing bath and bed is that unusual. Perhaps suggest he does everything else with the children on, say, Sundays and you just do their bath and bed then?

FatalCabbage Fri 25-Jul-14 11:10:19

He does more than my DH during the week, but mine works longer hours (can be 70+ per week).

I'm not sure how to put this nicely ... I am thinking of a couple where she has a chronic illness similar to Crohn's, and he doesn't really believe in it. Do you think your husband is fully on board with your diagnoses? People can be very dismissive of ME/CFS and certainly don't understand how dangerous digestive disorders can be. If you have only just got the Crohn's dx I imagine you've been at your worst and are only now starting to cope.

In short, I expect your husband does do more than many. But that doesn't mean he does too much - it wouldn't even prove he does enough. Plenty of women work full time and still do 99% of the housework, laundry, bedtimes, etc.

MymbleBaratheonBendsTheKnee Fri 25-Jul-14 11:11:42

Just saw your DH does bedtime every other day. Which is fine! And if he doesn't want to cook every night maybe batch cooking is a potential solution.

Mumof3xox Fri 25-Jul-14 11:13:07

I work three days a week my dp works 7 but some days he can work 3 hours and others 12

Childcare is shared
Cooking is shared
I do all of the cooking, cleaning, day to day jobs

I do resent him for this sometimes tbh

RiverTam Fri 25-Jul-14 11:16:23

we have a more even split but DH is home earlier, and I work part time. He sued to always do DD's bedtime but now we take it in turns. I do all the laundry, he does all DIY/general fixing of things/garden. I wash up when I'm at home, and kind of clean as I go, otherwise it's split.

It sounds like you are both worn down with things. I think he is a bit in the wrong, but equally doing bedtime every night after a full day's work, inside or out of the home, is tiring. But I don't think it's unusual, for many fathers it's the only time they get with their DC in the week.

If you financial situation permits, can you pay for a cleaner and possibly a nanny or something like that - it sounds like you do need a rest in the day and you shouldn't be forcing yourself on if you are in pain. Is your 3 year old in any kind of daycare - maybe free 15 hours pre-school so you can rest, or at least get stuff done without a toddler hanging of your leg?

Tbh your husband is probably feeling pretty exhausted too - he's working long hours and not getting much down time, by the sound of it. That isn't anybody's fault, but it is probably all feeling rather relentless to him.

One thing that might help is if you could shove some stuff in the slowcooker in the morning - that way he doesn't have to cook after getting in from work - just serve up.

MymbleBaratheonBendsTheKnee Fri 25-Jul-14 11:18:36

Have to say as well he may well do more than most men but that doesn't mean doing much less than you would be acceptable. More men need to do more!

PleaseHelpHimToUnderstand79 Fri 25-Jul-14 11:21:45

Thank you so much for your replies!

Just to clarify, he does the bedtimes every night and the children have a bath every other night. Sorry, I wasn't very clear. I do also do the odd bedtime as well but the vast majority is done by my husband.

In regards to the cooking, unless it's something quick, I will do the prep during the day (making a rice salad/pasta sauce/marinating chicken etc) although he does do the hard work at the end.

I don't really help myself with my illnesses, I do tend to downplay them and put a face on as I don't want to drag everyone else down. But I think it has been working against me, as although at times I have spoken about how it affects me, by acting as though I am fine maybe sends mixed messages? I don't know. ..

Preciousbane Fri 25-Jul-14 11:22:45

I think because you have a health condition that it changes everything. I have hip and back problems so have periods of struggling to walk around and pain makes me tired. Before this I did most things, I'm at home now. DH really did take over doing stuff when I was feeling terrible, he also works long hours. Before he went off to work this morning he emptied the bins and unpacked the dishwasher.

I know someone with lupus, her DH doesn't really believe she is ill and is an arse about it due to this she has developed depression. Feeling bad about yourself and stressed makes all illness worse and I'm convinced can induce a flare up when you have a chronic condition. So the arguing I'm sure will make you feel far worse etc and a vicious cycle ensues.

I know MN often says get a cleaner but this is what I did when my health problems meant I could barely put one foot in front of the other. I think your DH does a decent amount but as your ill it will never be enough so I think this is the only solution. Plus can I ask what your standards are, mine used to be show home but something had to give.

If your a change sheets every week woman do it every two, if you iron stuff just leave most of it. Stuff like that just had to change at mine.

PleaseHelpHimToUnderstand79 Fri 25-Jul-14 11:23:43

Sorry, missed more replies!

I agree, he is tired. It is relentless. I do tha

gymboywalton Fri 25-Jul-14 11:25:46

well my children are older so things are slightly differentbut right now dh gets up first most mornings, makes me a brew and makes the kids packed lunches.
he then goes to work-this can mean working in his local office or travelling a long way.
we take turns to cook-i do it most often in the week -he washes dishes, cleans the kitchen...

he just does what needs doing

just because he works doesn't mean he is not a part of the family..

PleaseHelpHimToUnderstand79 Fri 25-Jul-14 11:27:10

Sorry!

I do thank him for what he does. But I don't think it's fair to get angry at me and throw it in my face every argument we have. In our previous homes, I also worked full time and did all the housework and cooking where he did not very much. I never once threw it in his face.

PleaseHelpHimToUnderstand79 Fri 25-Jul-14 11:27:58

Thanks by the way for all your points of view. I really do appreciate it.

gymboywalton Fri 25-Jul-14 11:28:16

i also noticed that you are cooking for the ids and then he is cooking for you-is that right?

that needs to stop-you make one meal that everyone eats. if you can't eat together, then you warm up later.

Dirtybadger Fri 25-Jul-14 11:29:28

Well I don't have children so can't say specifically what anyone does, but what you've described doesn't sound particularly taxing for your husband. I suppose as he isn't in until 7 he may sometimes feel like he doesn't get any down time. I assume these things pretty much take him until it's time for him to sleep?

Practical solutions if it is generally too much for the both of you might be useful, but you simply doing more of his share isn't really a solution. He could cook batches so that they just need to be warmed a few days a week. Could you afford a dog walker? Maybe not even every day. That way the dog gets out and about and if the dog walker could only do earlier in the day the dog would maybe just need a little bit of playtime in the garden or a quick sniff around the block rather than a long walk.

In short though I don't think he's justified in feeling resentful. You are doing your fair share and in difficult circumstances. Perhaps, like another poster suggested, he doesn't fully understand your diagnosis?

Nodoubledippingallowed Fri 25-Jul-14 11:30:25

My husband does all the bath stuff and we put one child each to bed - he does the oldest so there are more stories and more time is needed. I then cook and he does all the tidying up. Every single day he will get up with the kids and will wake me an hour or so later so that he can go to work. Every weekend day he gets up with the kids and I will sleep til 8am. This is because he is avery deep sleeper and I do all the night waking. Our daughter still wakes a lot even though she is 2. At the weekend he take the kids out quite a lot while I tidy and have a break. Domestically i do more than him but I only work part time. We are pretty well balanced and there is no resentment. He runs a lot but Tends to go when the children are asleep. I am really sorry about your situation, you DH must understand that parenting is totally full on and working together makes it easier. He must also understand that. If it were him who had become unwell, you would support him. That's what partners do. X

AliceInGallifrey Fri 25-Jul-14 11:30:38

Me and hubby both work full time at the minute, me doing 60 hours him doing 40.

Currently the set up we have is that hubby does the bulk of the housework as I'm often not home until 10pm, kids are bathed in bed ect for me coming home.

The only thing hubby can't do is cook so I batch cook on my day off and stock the freezer for the week. I sometimes put the washer on and sometimes do some dishes but I literally don't have time to do anything else.

I'm starting higher education soon and am leaving work ( beans on toast to live off for a while!) I will then do the bulk of housework and hubby will continue to do bath and bedtimes so I can knuckle down with coursework.

No, it isn't fair, of course it isn't, but people who are tired and over-stretched and maybe a bit resentful because they think they are doing more than their fair share (whatever the circumstances that mean this has happened) are inclined to get cross at times.

Agree that cutting some slack on things is needed - have you got a good repertoire of really easy meals? Can the children not eat leftovers from dinner the day before, rather than you cooking them one meal and then your dh cooking another later?

PleaseHelpHimToUnderstand79 Fri 25-Jul-14 11:31:07

Precious I'm sorry you have also been unwell. I do have high standards but equally we are all in a flat so I do need to keep on top of things as a little bit of mess is magnified by 100!

Just seen that GymBoy beat me to it!

FatalCabbage Fri 25-Jul-14 11:31:58

Thanking him is possibly a mistake - it implies that he's doing it as a favour to you rather than because it's just how adults cohabit.

What do you think he'd say if you suggested outsourcing cleaning, childcare or laundry?

I agree that you must stop duplicating kitchen jobs. Don't create work that doesn't need doing!

afussyphase Fri 25-Jul-14 11:33:05

DH and I both work full time but with fairly flexible hours. I get the girls up in the morning, do breakfast (because he takes longer getting up and ready). He takes DD1 to school and I take DD2 to workplace nursery (usually) which involves a fair amount of me rushing them and DD1 is occasionally late - very annoying.
We alternate cooking vs playing with them depending what we're making. I usually do bedtime while he does the kitchen. Unfortunately no one cleans terribly often smile but we do bits during the week and more on weekends. I do a bit more childcare, he a bit more cleaning on Saturdays. He does bills and admin, I do school letters, uniforms, organising clothes... It's pretty fair, though we still bicker about it a bit.
I think your DH needs to understand and respect your illness, though. No use comparing to other couples where both are in top form, or to couples where it's totally unfair in favour of the man!
Show him this.

fromparistoberlin73 Fri 25-Jul-14 11:35:05

I dont know what normal is anymore OP

you do sound low and I am sorry you are ill, question:

why do you feel guilty OP? for being ill?

I would advise you get 3 year old off to school, and work a routine where in additon to taks you manage some R&R for you too, and be very intentional about it. Either yoga, a a nap- a calming walk etc

I think the domestics are manageable with 1 at school but FWIW I am in your husbands posotion, and frankly I resent it too, to be blunt you BOTH need some nights off to flip in front of the TV

you need to manage rest during the day, such that you can take over a few evenings TBH

gymboywalton Fri 25-Jul-14 11:35:12

the other thing that really helps our relationship is that we both have low standards and would much rather sit and chat with a beer than do cleaning!

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