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Don't feel DH and I are a parenting "team" - relationship suffering

(66 Posts)
newnameagain Mon 12-May-14 20:42:30

HI All,
I'm currently trying to get my life my sorted out! I'm trying to eat better, drink less etc.. and I've also started counselling to look at how possible issues form my upbringing may contribute to my ongoing bouts of stress/depression.
Anyway, one area that also needs improving is my relationship with DH. Trouble is I'm quite confused about how to go about improving it or even if it is possible, so posting here for some views to gain perspective etc..

Apologies if I dont get all the info out staight off, its all a bit muddled in my head!

so, we've been married 17 years and have dc. To get straight to the point I suppose my "main" issue is that I just don't feel that DH and I are a "team" when it comes to parenting. I never have. DC aren't babies. oldest is 15, but we have younger dc too and youngest is 6. I have always flet like this tbh since DS1 was a baby. Now to be fair DH does do a fair bit. He does about 90% of driving them to and from clubs/activities at evenings/weekends. He will cook when he can (though will have to ask me what to cook etc..) He will sometimes hoover/clean when he feels like it/when house is so bad he cant ignore any longer.He does work full time and often does extra work in an evening. I work 4 days a week. I can be more flexible with my hours so I do all school drop off and pick up 3 days a week. DH does school pick up one day, and one day is after school club. DH will OCCASSIONALLY do DIY type jobs but only after LOTS of asking and it can take MONTHS for them to happen. Mostly I will do stuff like decorating etc.. I do 90% of the cleaning, ALL of the washing (and we have several dc so there is a LOT)

and then the bit that gets me the most is I do ALL of the thinking/planning/organising/mediating/emotional stuff/remebering who is friends with who,who has a test coming up etc.../ALL of the planning,organising and shopping for birthday and Christmas presents etc... DH hasn't got a clue when it comes to this. He never knows what is going on at school, despite having as much access to letters that are sent home as me, never knows when one of them is going on a trip etc..
It just really upsets me so much, I try not to let it but the resentment just bubbles up in me and I spend a lot of time feeling angry with DH.

I've tried talking to him but he just doesn't get it. He will always come back with "but I tidy up/hoover/drive them to clubs" which is true, he does, but it's the responsibility of everything else that is overwhelming me. And then we always end up arguing and somehow I then feel bad, that I am being unfair to him.

I have read "wifework" and a lot of it really resonated with me.
But is this just the way it is and always will be. I've given up any hope of him changing now. Im not going to leave him, he's not an unkind man, but tbh I just feel so constantly let down by him and dissappointed it makes it hard to have any positive elements to our relationship.

So..any views? anyone else relate? How can I stop this eating away at me and try to improve our relationship?

RandomMess Mon 12-May-14 20:47:34

The "task" I delegated to dh in it's entirety is meal planning, shopping and cooking. I did have to bite my tongue and not complain about his choices etc but it has worked. I no longer have to think about it all!

Dh has learnt how tedious the thinking and responsibilty for something is and is now more appreciative of what I do and more involved for other areas.

I don't do his family gifts etc. anymore either, up to him!

cerealqueen Mon 12-May-14 23:11:20

I think you'll find you are not alone, by a long shot. I don't know how to deal with this either. Its exhausting isn't it?

cerealqueen Mon 12-May-14 23:13:21

I don't think DP does any 'parenting'. He does some childcare, but finds it overwhelming. He does some housework, often directed by me. he is a nice man who is good to his kids. That doesn't make him a parent.

takingfive Mon 12-May-14 23:25:52

I could have written your post five years ago except I was working full time and he was part time, and still I did it all. The most life changing thing anyone said to me was when a friend asked me how responsible I felt for my H. I knew it was daft to say 100% even though that's how it felt, so I said 85%. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew I was in trouble. How ridiculous that I felt so responsible for another adult human being. And that feeling of responsibility drove me into the ground in the end.

He is most likely capable of doing everything you want him to do, he's just choosing not to. Sorry sad

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 07:06:26

Thanks for the replies. I'm sure I am not alone, and I'm curious how orders deal with it.You are spot on that dh doesn't do any parenting, only childcare.and yes he would be capable if he tried.he tells me he tried his best to think of things, remember things etc but tbh I don't think he realised just how much effort you have to put in.
But how do I do treating him for it and bring rally angry and it eating up our relationship? Or can I?

Bonsoir Tue 13-May-14 07:20:05

This is really difficult.

My DP was married to someone like the OP's DH. Unusually in my DP's case it was the mother who took no responsibility for parenting the DC. Despite a divorce and her DSs choosing to live with their father she still cannot understand that she didn't parent them. Many people, her DC included, have spent hours explaining what they expected from her.

I'm not sure that you can force someone to parent against their will.

takingfive Tue 13-May-14 08:05:51

Absolutely, no amount of telling made my H realise. I remember buying him a calendar so he could keep track of where the DC needed to be , particularly after school activities etc (all of which I'd arranged). He never used it, continued to complain that he never knew where he was supposed to be and I just ended up writing stuff on there for him which continued his dependence on me. He still tells anyone that will listen that he has no idea why we separated.

I think you have to accept your DH as he is and try very hard to not take on too much. Or you make the very hard choice to leave.

Greenrememberedhills Tue 13-May-14 08:19:06

I can't advise, but I can say that he is able to change.

I used to live like this. It was only when other issues led us to counselling, and he could see beyond a doubt that I was ready to leave, that he began to change.

I would say at the least that you should resist taking responsibility for his stuff, even if it all falls apart. If he can rely on you to be his safety net for the problem areas, he won't change.

Handywoman Tue 13-May-14 09:36:58

Same as takingfive some people are content to be this way but it was a big part of why I lost the love and respect for my STBXH. Now we are separated he does the bare minimum and complains of feeling 'like a childminder' but is strangely unable to reflect on why this might be....... hmm

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 09:57:12

Sorry for all typos in last post. Was on phone, before my first coffee of the day! I have twice in the past totally lost it with him and told him I couldn't go on like this and wanted to split up. He just go really upset and said how hurt he was, and that I was his life etc...and that everything he did was for the family.... He will then try for maybe a week or so and be a bit better, BUT it never lasts.
I have actually stopped taking responsibility for his stuff. Her still misses things like doctor's and dentists appointment, but I don't remind him any more. Recently he has had some trouble at work which meant he did even less than usual at home and expected me to pick up any slack. It really annoys me, as I have a stressful, professional job too, but get no credence for that.
The I feel so totally and utterly let down by him it makes it hard to feel affectionate towards him. Which he then interprets as me not being willing to put any effort into our relationship, but I'm so exhausted with everything else.....even sex has begun to feel like just another thing on my to do list to keep someone else happy sad

Handywoman Tue 13-May-14 13:12:25

I really feel for you, OP. I am not surprised you don't feel affectionate towards him. This is not about him putting the Hoover around every now and again, it is about fundamental issues like respect, responsibility and partnership. These are vital ingredients for a healthy marriage which he just can't see the point of. I would spell thus out to him if I were you but I'm not the best person to advise here since my marriage ended last year when I had simply had enough. He was a miserable, angry, verbally abusive arse. Can't believe I stuck it out 14 years. I have never been happier since having kids than I have been this last year and will be marking one year separated as a very positive achievement!!! Keep posting and good luck.

BeCool Tue 13-May-14 13:30:57

perhaps ask your DH if HE wants to change and be involved with this?

Explain to him about the resentment and anger. Ask him what he thinks should be done about it? Ask him what he can do about it? Get HIM to make a plan to solve his problem.

If he doesn't want to / doesn't feel it is role/responsibility, well at least you will have got him to admit that and you can take matters from there.

BeCool Tue 13-May-14 13:31:54


unrealhousewife Tue 13-May-14 14:38:26

I think the key here is whether he wants you to be content and happy and what he's prepared to do to help you with that. Some women would be happy with this, probably he learned this from his mother and other women around him, but if it makes you unhappy there is a point where you have to think why he is in the relationship? I asked mine recently 'Am I just a means to an end for you? - someone who is there simply to facilitate your life?

I don't work 4 days a week like you OP and it's exhausting enough for me. Even if it's not practical help you need, you need to know that there is someone on your side.

I have learned to expect nothing from him and get on with taking care of everything. He has effectively made himself redundant (apart from breadwinning) but it feels very lonely when you finally see the reality for what it is.

BeCool Tue 13-May-14 16:29:26

Surprisingly, as a SP now it is much easier to organise everything and I don't mind all. It isn't a burden. But when I was with XP doing it all I too felt angry about it.

It is somehow much less hassle now - there is a very draining aspect about doing stuff alone in a partnership that isn't there when you are just managing yourself and the DC.

BeCool Tue 13-May-14 16:30:50

I think my point is that it's not just that he is opting out of his obligations, but somehow it adds to your load too.

Georgethesecond Tue 13-May-14 16:47:28

You have to work out what you can drop. You have already done his personal appointments, doctor, dentist and so on - well done. Maybe next you can drop presents and cards for his side of the family - put them on the calendar, maybe even remind him (no more than once - if he doesn't do it, he doesn't do it). How about making one meal at the weekend his responsibility, then if he doesn't organise shopping and cooking he can order, fetch and pay for the takeaway. Fir the school stuff, write it all on the calendar in the kitchen. He may still not know, but he won't have it ask you and he will have no excuse for not knowing. And you won't have to tell him, just keep saying "it's on the calendar".

He does sound quite busy - full time job, lots of kids, lots of taxiing?

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 17:40:44

handywoman yes I think I do feel a total lack of respect from him. As if we (me and kids) aren't worth too much effort (emotionally/intellectually) ever.
becool I can understand exactly what you mean. If I was on my own I would still have to do it all, but the disappointment/sadness/loneliness/anger/resentment wouldn't be there!
unreal a lot of the time I do have that mindset - just get on with it, dont expect dh to remember/plan/contribute etc but it is soo lonly sometimes sad
george I don't do presents etc for his family - he doesn't think too either! I'm not sure what else I can drop without the dc suffering though.
You are right, to be fair, he is very busy. and as he always points out to me when we argue over this it's not as if he's out at the pub every night enjoying himself. Maybe I just need to let it go - maybe I am being unfair. But , I am busy too. If I'm not driving kids about to clubs etc I'm here putting little ones to bed, doing reading, sorting uniform etc. But still I HAVE to think of things/plan/organise etc. I have no choice
Oh, and I set up a google calendar which he can access on his phone and I put EVERYTHING on it, but still he doesnt know what is happening when. Used to have one in the kitchen - was the same problem then.

anyway have just had a big argument again with him. He asked me was I going back to work tonight - (Im not) and looked puzzled when I said no. Had obviously forgotten I was taking DS to a scout meeting (which is on the calendar and I reminded him last night. )
He asked me why I was annoyed and I told him really honestly how sad and exhausted I was by his never really knowing what was happening and he just had a go - told me he was trying his best, and he was sorry if that didn't make me happy but he couldn't do any more than that. Then made some comment about me going and "moaning to millions of people about him" which makes me think he has discovered this thread (has read threads I have written before and then challenged me about it) Anywa, so be it, if he wants to read what Ive written thats his look out I'm not saying anything he hasnt already heard and I really need to talk this through becuase it is making SO unhappy sad

I just dont see how we can move forward. In reality he will never be any different will he, not after this long. He says he loves me but tbh I just don't believe him. I do accept that I need to try harder in the relationship, but it is hard when I feel so hurt, let down and lonely all the time sad sad

Caucasus Tue 13-May-14 17:49:18

I think he probably honestly doesn't realise how hard you work - I imagine in his head he probably imagines he does 50%. Could you afford a cleaner, or some help like that?

If you work 4 days a week that's practically full time. If this was a film you'd go away for the week, and left with everything to do he'd realise how much there was!

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 17:55:53

caucasus I sometimes fantasise about that! Me just going away for maybe a week or fortnight and then coming back to find him amazed and humbled and making comments such as "How do you it all all the time" "you are amazing" "I'm so sorry, I never realised, I'm so going to get my act together"...LOL
Unfortunately we cant afford a cleaner. I did consider it about 18 months ago but then DH was forced to accept a pay cut and downscaled jobs a bit so no chance now.

I feel so stuck sad

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 17:57:09

and in reality although dh works full time he gets a lot more holidays than me too. so I would say our workloads are comparable.

Handywoman Tue 13-May-14 18:12:03

OMG he has seen this thread. Your true feelings are laid bare on here. If he can't see where your coming from then that leaves you with a big decision.

I would agree with that organizing everything like this is a helluva lot easier without the freeloader. So much easier to just get on with life without the resentment and burden.

Poor you, OP sad

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 18:25:07

*handywoman" I suspect he may have shock sad, from the comments he made. not sure how, I have namechanged and tried not to give too much away, but he doesn't really like me posting on MN and has "tracked down" threads I have written in the past before.shock
I don't want to hurt him, and it isn't my intention to "moan" about him to strangers , but I just feel so bad sad
(also I have literally no friends and no one else at all I can talk about this with other than my new counseller)!
and in fairness I have told him exactly everything on this thread many times before, even down to my feelings around sex in light of his lack of respect/affection/thoughtfulness etc and he still doesn't get it sad

unrealhousewife Tue 13-May-14 18:29:05

Ideally if you are both working as good as full time you should have a lot more help in the house. If he refuses to help out, get a cleaner and bring in other services to help alternatively stop work for a while or work part time.

NewNameForSpring Tue 13-May-14 18:36:33

I hope he has seen this thread.

What people have recommended in the past is writing a list of all the things which have to be done. Put them into two columns with your names at the top. List your responsibilities.

This can be a powerful visual image for the less helpful partner to see their contribution and how it compares to the other.

Of course, that is another thing for you to do. grin.

I hope you can sit down, perhaps with the above list, and have a proper chat about it soon. He needs to know how strongly you feel about this.

cerealqueen Tue 13-May-14 18:53:11

I agree with the list, I intend to do this when I get back to work as otherwise I'll be doing it all. I think you just have to leave them to find their own way of doing things as well, as long as they don't do it so badly that you have to re-do it. sad.

However, I do find that DP just doesn't listen to me. I've lost count of the times he asks when will Dd2 go into her own bed/be potty trained/go to nursery etc. We have an older DD so he should know this stuff. I grit my teeth and tell him and he'd ask the same thing again a few months later. So now I suggest he research it as if he has to take time to find something out it may stick in his head! He then thinks I am being sarcastic and why can't I just tell him!

Same with meals - he asks the same stuff - what do they have for breakfast, even though he is here at weekends, often does breakfast, he can't be arsed thinking, its easier to ask me. I could cry.

OP, could you go out for a day, where are you based? I'd meet you if you were local!

unrealhousewife Tue 13-May-14 18:56:12

There was a thread a while ago with examples of stoopid stuff men say, eg standing by the dishwasher 'are these dishes clean?' or 'are these clothes dry?'. The trick is to respond with "I don't know". Simple. I use that phrase a lot, also "It's on the calendar" or "where did you see it last?".

Caucasus Tue 13-May-14 19:00:01

newnameagain, having an anonymous rant on a forum is nothing you should be ashamed of.

cerealqueen Tue 13-May-14 20:41:26

Oh, another one I have used when exasperated is, 'I don't know, why don't you ask one of their parents?'.

Somebody on here, on a similar thread said she asked her DP what he contribution he made to parenting and to family life - that might be worth a shot too. You both write a list then and discuss it.

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 20:56:33

Thanks all for the suggestions grin

The problem with a list is that it isn't so much the "doing" as the "thinking" that is the problem, and as you say with a list I'm still doing the thinking.
I like the idea of responding with "check the calendar" but he would definitely take offence at that and accuse me of being sarcastic and end in a big argument.hmm
Also really like the "ask one their parent's line" but would definitely lead to dh taking offence!

I suppose I just want to feel like me and dh are parenting together. Not that I am parenting and dh will "help" out as much as possible as long as I tell him what to do/when etc...

For example, apart from ds 1's first ever Christmas present when he was 6 months old (he's just turned 16) DH has shown NO interest in any Christmas or birthday presents for dc. I have planned/saved/shopped for them all.I know its just a small thing, but is the accumulation of everything like that that makes me feel very alone.

I think dh probably does genuinely believe that he is doing his fair share. But I just cant seem to get him to grasp what it is that upsets me. sad
I think it affects the dc as well. His lack of emotional connection. I know dd1 in particular struggles in her relationship with him and has told me before she doesn't think he loves her sad which is totally not true, but I can see how she would think that. and that is sad. It is one thing for me to feel that he doesn't love me, but worse when it affects the dc sad sad

RandomMess Tue 13-May-14 21:17:30

This is why I chose it to be the food & food shopping that I delegated. It's one of the few things where the consequences are immediate and affect everyone equally. It's a pretty basic task to ensure your brood are fed.

It does mean stepping back and letting the consequences happen and letting them take the flack for it.

unrealhousewife Tue 13-May-14 21:28:22

My god that's terrible - not even Christmas or birthday presents for the children? What's that about? Why? Even my beligerent old fashioned traditionalist of a partner takes great pride in ensuring they have the best presents we can afford. And he cares, in a blundering way sometimes, about how they feel. Emotional detachment is a big problem in any family relationship - I think he needs to take a long look at himself.

unrealhousewife Tue 13-May-14 21:32:00

And mine was quietly taken aback when I started answering his questions with non-answers - check the calendar, I don't know, where did you last see it, what would you like to do this weekend - but he's got used to it now and has stopped asking stupid questions. I also ignore him when he calls me from one room in another to make him walk round to me and talk to me in person. I also make him look at me when I'm talking to him 'because I need to wave my arms about'.

DaVinciNight Tue 13-May-14 21:42:21

I had that too with DH. The only way I found that is working was to give some responsibility for things and then leave him to it.
So I started by giving him the ironing to do and then left it to him. He had no other choice than to do it if he wanted a shirt and did the rest at the same time.
Then I increased the 'responsibilities' being very careful of never commenting on what he was doing (even if thought it was bad) or taking over/helping him by doing it once in a while (I know if I do it once then it's becoming my responsibility again).
I have a calendar with all the activities/school play/days out with school etc... so I ask him on a regular basis if he has out X on the calendar once he has read the letter from school. I also ask him he is has seen it yet...
in short, I act as if he was a responsible adult, fully involve in his dcs parenting and I am b**y careful that he feels like it.

It worked for us. It took time don't get me work but it did work.

there was also no other choice tbh. OP I felt annoyed, angry at his lack of involvement. I also felt taken for granted. And like he was 'better' than me and didn't need to lower himself down to all that.
So it had to change. That or I was leaving.

DaVinciNight Tue 13-May-14 21:44:11

Oh yes I do the 'check the calendar', usually along the lines of 'Oh I can't remember, have a look at the calendar'. I have developed some sudden memory loss at some point.

DaVinciNight Tue 13-May-14 21:46:34

I think one of the issue is that we, as women, have been conditioned to take over all the house/children related tasks. So as soon as the father doesn't do something, we take over. We also tend to check if it's being done and act as if our partner can't be doing it right/think about it.

The reality is more that they might not do it right the first time but they will the second time when they have had the message loud and clear that THEY are responsible and NO ONE is going to step in for them.

DaVinciNight Tue 13-May-14 21:48:58

new have you told your DH about what your dd has said? What does he think about the fact she thinks he doesn't love him?

Tbh this is a very different issue than his involvement with parenting the dcs. Is he emotionally detached to all his dcs, you, other people?

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 22:07:25

re the christmas/birthday presents, it's not that he doesn't want dc to have them. Just he would NEVER think to plan/buy anything for them. Over the years I have tried and tried to get him interested in chatting about what we should get them but he has been so uninterested and basically said "fine" to whatever I suggested ansd so rarely come up with ideas basically Ive given up even asking him and just do it all myself. It is dd2s bday at the weekend. I have her presents all sorted - I can guarantee he will not have a clue either what she wanted or what she's getting. tbh it wouldnt surprise me if he had even forgotten it was her bday on Sunday until he asks something like "what are we doing at the weekend"...

re dd1 - yes I have told dh many times how dd1 feels. I have practically begged him to show her more love. but he just says things like "of course I love her" (which I do believe he does) or maybe goes all out with giving her attention for maybe a few days then it is all back to normal...and repeat! sad

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 22:15:44

any yes, I suppose he is quite an emotionally detached person generally. But I do believe genuinely does care - just maybe struggles to show it?

Trollsworth Tue 13-May-14 22:18:36

I have known a few men like this, and to be honest the only thing that helps is to drop the reins.

"Is my striped shirt clean?"

<<baffle look>> [ shrug] "I have no idea"

"What's for dinner?"

<<vacant gaze>> "ummmmm dunno. Nobody's made any yet. What are you going to make?"

"When do they grow out of X/sleep in their own room/potty train?"

<<indignant tut>> "How am I supposed to remember that if you can't? You're her father!"

newnameagain Tue 13-May-14 22:27:55

I can to some extent I suppose drop the reins. The food idea I could hand over.
But some things I just cant. For example dd3 was on a school trip overnight yesterday and back at 4.30 today. Tuesday is usually after school club and my long day at work and dc go to after school club till around 5 when dh gets them. Now I re-arranged my work days/hours this week to finish early to get dd today (even though technically DH is meant to be in charge of collecting on a Tues) as if left to dh he honestly would not have even realised there was an issue until he turned up at after school club to find one child missing. (incidentally I also sorted all stuff dd needed for said trip, attended the meeting before and packed everything. DH forgot she wasn't even in the house last night!) hmm

Greenrememberedhills Tue 13-May-14 22:56:06

I would be really unhappy that he had the time to Internet stalk me, but not remember the kids schedule.

Handywoman Tue 13-May-14 22:59:25

Spot on, Greenrememberedhills, spot... on...

unrealhousewife Tue 13-May-14 23:02:35

Trollsworth has it down to a tee. It is actually quite hilarious when you first do this. It completely throws them, you can hear the penny trickling down slowly and then dropping.

The thing about showing love OP - he can do that by sharing with them- skills or time, or just conversations. He has to know that this is important and essential for children and really this is probably the most worrying thing in your posts. He sounds almost as though he doesn't want to accept that he has children at all - that they are some kind of package that you deal with and not he.

You are effectively a single parent and might as well live apart - does he understand this - that if you left you and the children wouldn't really miss him? And that someone else out there might actually appreciate you and them more than he does?

mummytobe14 Tue 13-May-14 23:05:35

just leave him and be done with it. sounds like it has reached its course...

DaVinciNight Wed 14-May-14 10:40:38

The thing is you are actually enabling him to behave like this by changing your hours etc... because you don't trust him.

In my house, a situation like this would have lead to a discussion along these lines:
Me: remember that on Tuesday dc3 is coming back x time. You will need to pick her at y place. I will be at work until 7.00pm. Will you be ok picking her up?
DH: Humm hum I am not sure...
Me: well I can't leave before. You will need to organize for someone else to pick dc3 up.
And I leave it at that.
In the process he has 1- being reminded that there is a change of schedule and he needs to think about it and 2- that it's his responsibility not mine as he is doing the picking ups on Tuesdays (something I had to tell him regularly to start with).

But by changing your hours, going to pick up your dc etc... you have shown that 1- he doesn't need to make any effort, 2- it's not his responsibility and 3- someone will pick up the pieces anyway

DaVinciNight Wed 14-May-14 10:44:23

Re your dd. sadsad

Not sure what to suggest. It feels like they actually don't really matter to him does it? sad

ForeskinHyena Wed 14-May-14 15:57:50

I know you don't want to LTB, but as others have found, if you become a single parent it's actually no harder in a lot of ways. You still do it all, but without that weight of expectation on him and the constant disappointment for you when he lets you down.

My XH never got involved with Xmas or birthdays either. Now we sometimes share the prezzies anyway, but he will also buy a few things specifically from him for their birthdays and he has to buy and write his own cards, he is responsible for birthdays on his side of the family (I send them a card but only he buys a present/sends money) and I do my family (he doesn't bother sending them a card though!)

He now has to do his own shopping planning and cooking, has to make sure he has stuff in for the DCs' dinner and packed lunches on his days (only once a week, but it's still a night off for me!) and he has to do his own washing, ironing etc.

I appreciate that he probably can't see what all the fuss is about, as he's only taking care of one person most of the time whereas I have the 3 DCs most of the time (+ new man who drifts in and out of domestic helpfulness!). But he often moans about not having any spare time (despite 2 days off a week!) so at least I know he is feeling some of the burden of running a home.

I'm also much more ruthless now at just leaving clothes on the floor instead of rounding them all up for the wash and getting the DCs to help with sorting washing etc. rather than doing it all regardless.

So anyway, rambling a bit, but it just shows that these men are actually capable of doing it all, they just choose not to because someone else will pick up the slack for them.

JaneParker Wed 14-May-14 16:03:43

The key is always transfer of jobs. My children's father did 100% of the ashing and putting it away for a few years. I never once thought of washing. Did not know how the machine worked. Just pass 100% of the jnobs and thinking about them and planning them to him.

Eg he could do all the food shopping and cooking and all the buying of food and cooking it. You could do all the washing. Just divide it up fairly.

In our case he had had his own house and knew about cleaning and cooking and things better than I did when we married and I am a feminist as is he so we had no inequality issues and it may have helped that I earned 10x what he did I suppose too - money being power etc.

newnameagain Wed 14-May-14 18:47:55

thanks all.
It's just so sad though isn't it. I feel so alone sad
will continue to mull the situation over.
He now isn't talking to me and predictably is ill (Flu)(otherwise known as the same cold I had last week) so is opting out even more than usual. Ho Hum hmm

Handywoman Wed 14-May-14 18:51:47

Oh dear, passive aggressive as well as useless eh?


He do have your work cut out, OP.

newnameagain Wed 14-May-14 20:13:11

handywoman it's actually quite exhausting sad I've wondered about possible passive aggressive issues with him before .....

RandomMess Wed 14-May-14 20:21:47

I would give him the option out of two "chores"

So either:
FOOD: planning, shopping, cooking
WASHING: washing, drying, putting away

But then you really do hand over the entire task and suffer the consequences whilst he accepts it is job and you will not rescue him and whilst he goes through the learning curve.

Handywoman Wed 14-May-14 22:39:46

My guess is you aren't going to confront this with him while he's laid low with man flu - mate I've so been where you are. Tip-toeing around him, hoping at some point he'll 'step up' to the task. Please organise some 1:1 counselling and get some clarity in your head about what you want out of your marriage. It is ok to want/need support and feel like someone gives a monkeys about your feelings

kinsorange Wed 14-May-14 22:55:17

Personally, apart from the emotional detachment bit, I dont think your situation sounds so bad at all.


what you do is this. You literally leave for 3 days at a time, from time to time. That way he is forced to do everything. You do it when it is a good time for him [the idea is not to punish him, but to encourage him to see quite what running things involves. And he can only do that if he is physically present and not too distracted by other general life]. But wha you also do, is leave him copious notes. It is a bit time consuming before you go for the first time, writing notes. But I will repeat again, you do not want to set him up to fail, you want to set him up to pass!
So notes, such as, check school bag, check calendar, scouts is on wednesday, kids always have pizza on friday, that sort of thing. And when you come back, you praise him. Even if things are a bit messy, or something was overlooked. Remember, the name of the game is for him to pass.
Repeat every few months.
Also, the joy is that you have had a rest.
The kids enjoy it too. It is fun for them.

kinsorange Wed 14-May-14 22:57:44

Oh, and dont complain if they have all eaten more takeaway than usual, or he allowed them to stay up a bit later. Remember, the idea is that he passes. Make no mistake, he will definitely be learning that it is a lot more work than he thought it would be. there will be a downside in that he will have found a couple of jobs that he can actually do better or faster than you, but you cant win them all!

SanityClause Thu 15-May-14 06:05:55

So what you are saying, kinsorange, is the OP should treat her husband like a child.

newnameagain Thu 15-May-14 07:15:34

Thanks all. I Can't really leave for days at a time as dh work hours means he couldn't drop dc at school or collect them, also I've got no where to go and couldn't afford to stay anywhere!
Must say "setting him up to pass, not fail"sounds like what or dog trainer used to tell us, and I've already trained 2 dogs, so don't really want to "train"my husband too!
It's not about training him. It's about him caring enough about us to be bothered to put the effort in really.

Handywoman Thu 15-May-14 07:30:01

Exactamundo. He is an adult, partner, parent. Not a child or a dog!

doziedoozie Thu 15-May-14 07:41:18

Hoping he will take on the organizing and remembering doesn't sound as if it will work so no point stressing over it. And the organizing should get less as DCs get older when, if they can't be bothered to get their kit ready then they stop going to whatever it is. As they get older you will have less (a bit) to do.

But I would ask him which task he wants to do - all clothes washing, drying and putting away. All the food shopping, putting away, cooking, cleaning up afterwards. And make sure whatever it is is a daily job not mowing the lawn or anything which doesn't have to be done. And no helping him out.

Agewise your DCs are at their most time-demanding as far as activities are concerned, once older they can get themselves to and from, perhaps even remember their own dates. Also once the eldest can drive they are usually happy to drive younger ones here and there.

kinsorange Thu 15-May-14 09:40:44

In that case newname, throw him in at the deep end.
If he doesnt work weekends, you hole yourself up in your bedroom for 2 days/go for walks etc. And tell the kids that you are not there too.

To the posters who are saying about training. If he hasnt learnt by now, he needs to learn.

kinsorange Thu 15-May-14 09:42:20

op. You have to want to do it too. It will require certain changes in your behaviour too. And sometimes, that is ultimately the rub for some women. And they may not realise that about themselves at the beginning.

kinsorange Thu 15-May-14 09:45:01

I sure has heck trained mine btw. Anything he was lacking from his childhood, I trained him! Ditto, he had to train me on a few things too. That is what always happens. We do not arrive at marriage or partnership a fully trained package. There are always gaps in our adult life. Best to get them sorted, else it can breed resentment on both sides.
And, from reading mumsnet, we are witness to types of threads like this many times over.

kinsorange Thu 15-May-14 09:47:45

I think that to a certain extent they can be trained to care too. Though this is harder. At the very least what is gained by leaving them to it 100% even for a couple of days is that they know just a little of what a woman does that some of them will not have known and certainly not spotted before.
So next time there is an argument, you will know that they know some of what the woman is doing. It will be a big eye opened for some. And they will no longer be able to plead ignorance.

newnameagain Thu 15-May-14 19:59:59

dozie you are right in that stressing over it wont help. I wish I could just "let it go" but even when I manage for a bit I still end up becoming angry and resentful eventually. Maybe I can work harder on hanging this about myself.
Unfortunately organising doesn't seem to be getting easier as they get older. the 16 and 14 yr old are involved in lots of activities and need ferrying all over the place and dh often forgets when one of them has something on and double books or just forgets...hmm

kins I'm am completely sure I need to make change sin my behaviour too. After all there are 2 of us in this relationship and I am trying hard to look at my own behaviour in the relationship and improve that. I have made some changes already and am going to counselling so hopefully that will help. I don't think it will resolve this issue though...
rather than "training" each other though I would have hoped parenting would have been more about both of us learning together as a team and supporting each other. Maybe I was just very niaive and overly optimistic. sad

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