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To want more effort from my H?

(12 Posts)
Mandy21 Fri 05-Aug-11 08:48:02

We've been married 8 years with 3 children under 5. We both have the same (professional) job but I work 3 days, he's full time. On the days that I work, he does the morning nursery / school drop off. I collect, and obviously do drop off / collection on my days off (where I have 1 child at home with me).

He is absolutely brilliant as a father, so hands on, even MY parents think he's sometimes the better parent (he's really creative about coming up with games / being silly etc). So thats not the problem...

Its just that I do EVERYTHING else - in terms of organising our lives. I manage the finances - sort out mortgage (he couldn't tell you how much it was to the nearest £200!), utilities - move money around sometimes if we're getting close to our overdraft etc (so its not just a question of setting up some direct debits), insurances, nursery fees, breakdown cover, budgeting for holidays etc. I do all of the shopping / menu planning / cooking etc (I know most women do this too).

Its the extras that are starting to bug me - I organise all the kids activities, play dates, child care for holidays, days out / visits in the holidays (even for the days he's looking after them) - lay their clothes out each night so they can dress themselves, sort out everything they need for school etc.
I also organise everything we do as a couple or a family - any social nights out and getting the babysitter, plan where we're going on holiday, book that, sort out money / insurance etc etc. Currently doing a bit of decorating and he's fab doing the actual jobs but I've planned it, bought all the supplies etc.

Apart from sorting out the school run for 3 days, he just has work to worry about. I know he's busy and its stressful, but I'm getting a bit resentful that he's not pulling his weight on the stuff that goes on behind the scenes.

Am I expecting too much?

SenoritaViva Fri 05-Aug-11 08:53:20

You are not expecting too much for a little input from him at all. I think many man will take a mile if you give an inch. I'm in a similar position in some ways (but nowhere near as organised as you!)

How about you make a list of things that you do and then consider what your DH might be good at/capable of doing. Talk to him about it.

For instance, wouldn't it be fair that he put the kids clothes out the night before he takes them to nursery. If he doesn't think that is necessary then fine, but then he will have to deal with the chaos the following morning (you will need to relinquish some control if you want him to take over some tasks).

Think about things and how they would impact you as well. For instance if you give him organising your social life/kids play dates will you all just end up doing nothing? In which case I'd keep that one to yourself!

See what your DH says, if you talk reasonably about it then it doesn't need to be an argument. If he says you have 2 days off more than him then agree that you will take on more responsibility but that it shouldn't be 100%.

dreamingbohemian Fri 05-Aug-11 09:18:23

You haven't mentioned cleaning or housework -- does he pull his weight there?

It sounds like you are better at thinking ahead and organising and he is better at spontaneous stuff. Also, he is happy to do stuff, just not good at planning it. Is that right?

I can see why it would be annoying, but it could also be the basis for a good partnership: you organise, he does. You do the background work and then sit back while he implements it. For example, can he cook? It might be less annoying to do the menu planning and shopping if then he takes over and does the actual cooking and washing up. Or maybe you get everything ready for the kids the night before, but he does the actual supervising of getting them ready in the morning.

If you told him you wanted him to do more, what would he say?

Laquitar Fri 05-Aug-11 10:03:18

Good points from dreaming

Mandy do you 'allow' him to do things? By 'allow' i don't mean permission but if you are very organised person maybe there is not room for him? I did that with some of the things (shopping/budgeting, cleaning, childrens activities/parties) and i do know that it is me who couldn't let it go, he is not lazy he does a lot.

If you do want to let some of your responsibilities then sit down and make a plan. I guess with 3 dcs you have to anyway. Be careful about one person being the 'planner' and the other person being the 'doer', it can get tiring for both. If he is going to decorate let him do it all, dont buy the brushes or paint for him, thats half the fun. If you do all the planning it can end up feeling like you are bossing him (i'm not saying that you are)

Ephiny Fri 05-Aug-11 10:12:07

You say he does the morning school drop-off on the days you work. That's good - but why not go a step further and let him take care of all the getting ready that goes along with it. So he makes their lunches (if applicable), ensures they have the right clothes clean and laid out ready, and everything else they need. And on the holiday days when he's looking after them, just leave it up to him to organise activities and decide what to do, instead of taking over and doing it for him. Or just mention that it's his turn to book the holiday this summer, or to do the supermarket shop this week. Maybe frame those latter things in terms of it not being fair on him that you always get to decide the holiday, choose the meals etc!

Or do you think he just wouldn't do these things?

Would you be able to sit down and have a chat, not in an accusatory way, but just saying 'we seem to have fallen into these patterns, it's getting me down a bit, what can we do about it?'. If he's a decent man and a good husband, he shouldn't want you to be unhappy. On the other hand if you don't say anything he might be a bit oblivious to it all, and assume you're content to take care of everything?

Mandy21 Fri 05-Aug-11 11:54:28

Thank you for your replies. I do think its probably a question of a) he doesn't really know what I do behind the scenes because I've always done it and b) he thinks I'm better at all the organisational stuff so he just leaves me to it.

He does do the whole thing re getting ready / children / nursery run on my work days - I leave the house before anyone is awake - so perhaps I'm doing him an injustice.

And he does help around the house - I feel like I'm obliged to do more than my share because I have 2 days off, but he will help clear up after dinner etc, tidy the bathroom after bathtime etc.

I think the main reason for feeling a little bit cheesed off about it is that we've had a couple of child free days whilst the children stay at their grandparents - I'd arranged for us to do a couple of sports/ activities that we enjoyed pre-children, invited friends round for dinner one night, booked a restaurant for another night etc and he's done nothing.

Definitely time for a chat I think to see what he says!

squeakytoy Fri 05-Aug-11 11:57:55

Does he want to do all the things you are arranging, or is he just doing them because you have organised it. Maybe he just wants to chill out a bit and do nothing.

LisasCat Fri 05-Aug-11 12:03:44

Your setup sounds identical to ours, right down to my DP being the better parent when it comes to being creative and inventing fun things to do with DD. To be honest, I positively discourage him from interfering in the running of the house, because he never does it quite the way I want it done (thinks there's only one setting on the washing machine and everything can go in together; puts the DCs clothes away in any old drawer, ignoring my meticulous system; etc). But the way I balance it out is that, when I want to crack on with some housework, or even just sit down and work out the finances in peace and quiet for a bit, he's in charge of the DCs (and even then I have to bite my tongue a lot if he chooses to parent them differently to how I would...control freak, much?).

Perhaps subconsciously you prefer the control as well, and just need to clarify that while you're doing those things, he's in charge of the children, so you don't feel like he's doing nothing.

bananasplitz Fri 05-Aug-11 12:07:31

to be honest though, if everything is done, why would i think oh i should do that? its done, its in hand, end of story. Now, if OH said I dont have time to sort out the gas bill can you do it, thats fine I then know its my job

you have taken everything on yourself and as far as he concerned he doesnt need to worry about that as its organised. Just talk to him for heavens sake. Say can you sort out where you would like to go for holiday and see what the prices are. He isnt a mind reader. Talk. Talk. Talk

bananasplitz Fri 05-Aug-11 12:09:24

also maybe you are a bit controlling. If he was to sort out the holiday for example, would you go over it all checking it out, just in case it wasnt good enough/he made a mistake/that wasnt your choice

sometimes OHs cant win when the other one is so full on, organised and a bit of a micromanager

eurochick Fri 05-Aug-11 12:18:07

That sound pretty familiar. We don't have kids (yet) but I have the feeling that I have the think for both of us. He will do things that I say need doing, but he would never think of doing them himself. He does plenty around the house (particularly cooking) but I do get sick sometimes of having to think for two. We both work full time but my job demands the longer hours and yet I do all the banking, pay all the household bills, sort out insurances, etc. I'd just like to be able to switch off once in a while.

dreamingbohemian Fri 05-Aug-11 12:41:06

For your child-free days -- I think the same would happen with me and DH. I would want to be sure we made the most of them, would plan all the socialising, while DH would be happy to just see what he feels like doing, make last-minute plans, not be bothered if we couldn't do anything in particular.

I think it's good to talk about this in terms of understanding each other's expectations -- what you both want from those days.

I don't think it's quite fair to expect him to make a lot of plans if he wouldn't be bothered if you didn't do anything really.

It's not a sign that he doesn't care (I assume?) just that his expectations are different.

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