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To think DP should have a little more input?

(37 Posts)
mmmerangue Sun 09-Oct-11 09:13:13

My partner works a full time, outdoors, manual job and cooks (9 meals out of 10, anyway).

I am on Mat. leave, to raise our baby, and I clean.

DS (7m+) is the proverbial 'good baby', relaxed, happy, etc! I love our little man with all my heart, but every once in a while I would like for DH to at least offer his services... And give me a break!

DP plays with DS and gives him cuddles & bedtime kisses etc. He is not a completely absent father! But, the minute a whinge or a cry comes along, he hands him back. He only deals with grumpy child when I need (I mean need) to shower, go to the shop, or (in 7 1/2 months, have 3 times) demand a couple of hours in bed in the morning.

He only changes him if I request it (perhaps once every other weekend).

He has never bathed him.

He has taken him 4 or 5 times for a walk (either back in record time, or takes him to his parents, where he will leave them to do the majority of baby-entertaining while he checks out his brothers new Xbox games... I have called him to check baby before and been told 'I don't know, he's downstairs with my mum'.)

DS will only sleep with a BF... so for DP to put him to bed just wouldn't happen, especially if he knows I am just in the next room with a perfectly good boob. When really tired he will go to sleep for other people but only once quite recently has it lasted more than half an hour and that was for my mother. At 8 weeks he slept through the night but now with teething wakes 3-4 times a night again (so I deal with all of that, while DP sleeps on).

Once a week, now that he is on 3 'meals' a day, DS goes to M-I-L's for a day (usually about 11am-5pm depending on sleep & feed times). While he is out I do all the big chores that are hard to get done in the rest of the week like cleaning the bathroom... And then get a few hours peace. Yesterday, I (and DS) went to help my parents with an event and while DP was home alone he did precisely NO chores until I came home and reminded him what stick he gave me when I tried the same on my "day off". We then both did then together, him reminding me along the way how quick and easy they are... Ehem. No comment!!

I have tried not to make a fuss because he does work really hard, from an early start, comes home knackered and usually wet/dirty/both. But i am expecting to go back to work in a month or two, and DS will be coming with me (I work for my dad, saving childcare costs...) at least half of the time. I don't think I can physically do my job as well as all the baby-care and cleaning. I don't know if I am being unreasonable (I know I am not perfect, with endless patience and a shiny halo in mothering terms..) and should buck up and do my 'half'.

On the other hand if I'm not being unreasonable; I don't know how to bring it up with DP, in the past he has been sympathetic and promised to do more (I've tried twice, he still will not OFFER help only do what I ask of him...) but i don't know how an ultimatum situation "I cannot do all this and work!" will go down... In my mind I see myself after a few weeks of working; a shivering, crying, anorexic wreck and him with a baby at arms length going 'well it was your idea to go back to work!!'... it wont be that bad... I hope...

Once recently while bemoaning my day, (which are monotonous and long; if not as hard as some new mums) DP actually said "You know no-one believes you don't you?" So I have pretty much stopped airing my opinions on DS's activity, he is really a good baby on the whole...

So, essay over... AIBU?

sleeplessinderbyshire Sun 09-Oct-11 09:17:20

YANBU however my DH us very similar and I have had to admit defeat. we row about it a lot but nothing changes so I am coming to the conclusion that the Y chromosome just means they really really don't get it at all. Feel free to rant away (god knows I need to - up twice in night with dd then I got up with her at 730 and he is still asleep upstairs, I'm working this afternoon, yes WORKING and he has the gall to tell me he's worried he'll be bored being forced to look after DD)

Of course not, and you know it. When your DP isn't at work, you should be sharing all duties.

We have a toddler and a 6 month old. DH does what he can to make sure I get a bit of a break at the weekends, and does his share of the clearing up, laundry, any housework that arises etc.

sleepless - it is not the Y chromosome, it is just your husband being useless and failing to step up to the responsibility of being a father. I wouldn't stand for it.

ILoatheMickeyMouseClubhouse Sun 09-Oct-11 09:24:14

I think his comment about no one believing you says volumes about him and he sounds very childish and selfish. Actually no, he sounds quite controlling and bullying towards you too.

ILoatheMickeyMouseClubhouse Sun 09-Oct-11 09:25:14

Also I would suggest you stop doing anything for him. Don't cook for him or do his washing.

BertieBotts Sun 09-Oct-11 09:26:38

"You know no-one believes you, don't you?" shock

No. YANBU. Does he think that just because he cooks and plays with DS (hmmm what a coincidence, all the fun jobs!) that that's his share of the house stuff done? Yes, you're at home more than him, but that doesn't mean you get to do 95% while he swans in with the other 5 thinking that's fair.

troisgarcons Sun 09-Oct-11 09:28:25

Let me get this right.

Your DP works in a manual job all day, come home and does the cooking, whilst you send the baby to your MIL for 6 hours a day so you can "clean"? This is under the pretens of 'raising your child' ?

And you are moaning he never takesthe baby from you?

Seems you have a pretty good deal going there!

mmmerangue Sun 09-Oct-11 09:29:42

It was said as more of a joke, ILoathe, As a couple we have quite a jokey relationship in that sense; but it really did hurt... i don't know about 'controlling' thats something I would have to consider quite deeply.

I also realise I haven't mentioned that he has friends around who he sees regularly and my friends are mostly from Uni and far away, generally I hang out with his parents and sisters (can't moan to them, can I...) or playgroup mums who are not my friends, as in people with similar interests and lifestyles, but just other people who have children...

So you guys are my sounding wall for all of this before I talk to him about it!

mmmerangue Sun 09-Oct-11 09:31:28

Trois, thats on one day only. the rest of the time I do everything alongside the general raising a child stuff... but, thanks, an alternative opinion...

Idasonions Sun 09-Oct-11 09:34:12

My dh was exactly the same when dc were babies. Once they were talking and older he turned into father of the year and I don't get a look in.
I think some men just struggle with the non verbal communication required for small children !

ILoatheMickeyMouseClubhouse Sun 09-Oct-11 09:38:36

I for one find it infuriating that some men seem to have the option of opting out of fatherhood during the baby years. Women don't get that option, we have to get on with looking after the baby no matter what, whilst some men feel it's okay to pick and choose the parts of parenthood they want to do, or to say that they feel unable to deal with a baby. It sucks and is no excuse.

ShroudOfHamsters Sun 09-Oct-11 09:40:53

Well, for a start, he just needs to become more involved in the everyday stuff FOR YOUR DS'S SAKE.

Whta would happen if you went under a bus tomorrow? What would he do? Give his son to his mother to raise?

Point out to him that you are unhappy with his lack of practical input into raising his own child. That in his short life his son has never had the experience of his daddy giving him a bath, of spending proper time with him.

Point out that in a year's time, it's likely at this rate that his own son will be more comfortable and at ease with his granny caring for him. His dad won't really be on his radar at this rate...

Doesn't he want to be a capable dad, who knows what to do if his son cries, who can soothe and reassure him? Isn't he ashamed that your mum can get his child to sleep and he probably wouldn't have a chance because his son isn't used to being with his dad except for a quick play?

NinkyNonker Sun 09-Oct-11 09:42:06

Y chromosome, pfft.

troisgarcons Sun 09-Oct-11 09:49:30

Im all for everyone pulling their weight - but in reality - you are at home, you have the role of homemaker at the moment. I find it unreasonable that your husband has to cook when he comes in! (I'll be flamed for that no doubt) but honestly do you think this is 'fair' ? he does work really hard, from an early start, comes home knackered and usually wet/dirty/both.

It is not time consuming nor difficult to shove a couple of chicken breasts in the oven a long with a jacket potato etc and have a meal ready.

Frankly - I'd be poking your husband in the shower then handing the baby over for bath time and doing the cooking myself. Selfish on my part because by that time of the evening I'd be wanting a baby-break!

BFing is a choice and you choose to still settle the baby with a feed for bed. It is difficult for your DP to do that.

You send the baby to your MIL for a break then you complain when he does the same thing - handing baby to MIL - when in reality she is probably at the door ready to grab the baby! You get your break, why cant he have a couple of hours chill time with his brother?

I cannot do all this and work!" No you cant! When you go back to work, then things change, rapidly. You havent said what hours you are working but chores have to equitably split if you are both working similar hours. If you are only working a half day, then largely the role of home maker will still fall to you by virtue that you have more 'free' hours'.

Im no clean freak (other than kitchen and loo) nor am I slovenly slob, but for the life of me, I can't see how you have so much housework and worrying about running a house is taking up all your time? No one needs to dust everyday. Bathrooms dont need a major overhaul every day. Bed linen doesnt need changing every week (except in summer) ..... I wonder, do you feel you have to do certain chores whether they need it or not?

BertieBotts Sun 09-Oct-11 09:51:34

Irrelevant how much help the OP gets at home. How does her DH think he is going to build a relationship with his child if he spends the bare minimum of time interacting with him?

Did you do the bulk of stuff before you had DC, and is he expecting you to carry on doing all of it when you go back to work, or will he think it's fairer to split it more equally then? Because if you split it equally before, you do more now, and then you're planning to split it equally when you go back to work, that seems rather backwards. His workload has decreased while you are on ML, but yours has stayed the same (albeit different work). Who is recovering from birth here, who is coping with the broken nights? Not him! So why does he get a rest when you don't? (If I'm wrong about this then please disregard that part!)

I think if you can't split all jobs because you have to keep reminding him to do them, a better approach is to divide up jobs or rooms. If he does the cooking, perhaps the kitchen could be his domain. So all kitchen-related chores - washing up, wiping down surfaces, the cooker, cleaning the oven, taking the binbag out, mopping the floor, keeping on track of food levels, throwing out mouldy food and at least writing the shopping list, if not ordering it online or doing the shopping (easier without a screaming child I find) AND the one-off things like cleaning out the fridge, defrosting the freezer, etc.

Of course one person can't pick the nice rooms like bedrooms, living room, and leave the other to do the not so nice jobs like the kitchen and bathroom, unless for example one of you doesn't mind cleaning but hates tidying and the other is vice versa. And make sure one person isn't cherry picking all the less pleasant jobs too - make a list of them all and then allocate based on time taken, frequency, level of disgustingness, etc. Again if you do have particular preferences then fair enough, as long as it's fair. He can't say that he hates everything except cooking so the other jobs would be more harrowing for him than you.

Childcare is more difficult but the only way you'll get him to do more is to leave him alone with DS more. I breastfeed as well and the only way anybody else can get away with putting DS to bed is if I'm not in the house at all.

I don't think he sounds controlling, more like he's just not thinking, taking you for granted a bit. Possibly he feels like he's being a "modern man" by doing the cooking and taking DS when you need him to - so perhaps just a little reality check needed grin

GeneHuntsMistress Sun 09-Oct-11 10:04:21

I don't know philosophically speaking what to do, I would be a very rich woman if I did as I would sell it to the western world.

But practically speaking - the money you will be saving in Childcare, GET A CLEANER. Get someon in who will do ironing too and pay her an extra hour to do this, or send your ironing out. Join the ocado delivery pass and book the same weekly slot to have all your shopping delivered.

And knock the BF to sleep thing on the head now while you're still off work, it really will not help you or your DS in the long run, as you have already discovered.....

Good luck. I have found that dealing with the practical has made me rather more stoical about the esoteric over the years......

tryingtoleave Sun 09-Oct-11 10:20:21

I agree with troisgarcons.

Your dh does the cooking, you have five uninterrupted hours to do the cleaning? How much more work is there to do besides just clearing up behind yourself and some laundry.

In our house, and I suspect many others with a person at home, when dh came home he was given baby to bath while I cooked. That gave me a break from ds and him a chance to spend time with ds. It is great that your dh cooks but you might want to alternate.

I don't think you have much to complain about, tbh.

Xenia Sun 09-Oct-11 10:21:03

I will be better when you are back at full time work but even now perhaps go out for 3 or 4 hours on Saturday and Sunday and leave the child with its father as yo uneed a break and then allow him 3 or 4 hours off at the weekends too.

BertieBotts Sun 09-Oct-11 10:23:25

"he does work really hard, from an early start, comes home knackered and usually wet/dirty/both"

Yes, and you have several early starts - at a guess, 1, 3, 6am? So you start off knackered. And I expect you end the day with some carrot or milk or finger paint or puke about your person. But anyway, it's beside the point. You still, as adults, both have an equal responsibility to the housework. If one of you is picking up the slack because the other has a particularly draining job or is ill or having a stressful time or whatever, then fair enough, but just because one person works outside of the home and the other is looking after children in it, does not mean that the one who is home is responsible for all of it and if the other ever does any that this is "helping".

The breastfeeding point is irrelevant too. Plenty of other things he could do. And I have loads of breastfeeding friends whose DPs/DHs are involved in or do bedtime. The difference is, they've been involved from the start, so DCs are as familiar and comfortable with Dad as with Mum.

NinkyNonker Sun 09-Oct-11 10:24:50

Yes, DH does tend to take dd when he gets home and I finish off dinner, I have normally prepped or made it in the afternoon if it is a chilli, or something marinading.

I think your main issue is that he needs to be more involved with your son as against housework. I can't see the housework being a big problem.

mmmerangue Sun 09-Oct-11 10:25:07

Much to think on... confused still but hopefully can work it out!!

How do I knock BF on the head by the way? It is THE mystery of motherhood so far... He won't take a bottle any more and is still contending with his sippycup, half wanting me to hold it half wanting to do it himself and half wanting to shake it all over the floor so to do that at bedtime... I dread to think o.O

NinkyNonker Sun 09-Oct-11 10:27:31

Bf is irrelevant, calling it merely a choice is dismissive. Feeding him to sleep at his age is fine too, they do still wake for feed at that age. There is bo reason he can't change, bath, dress, help resettle etc. I have the opposite prob this weekend (dd 14 mo) as DH is away, come 0430 she wouldn't settle for me! She would have done for DH in minutes, took me 2 hrs...yawn. He needs to be able to do these things.

NinkyNonker Sun 09-Oct-11 10:30:14

Unfortunate cross post, looks like I was being rude to you op! Do you want to stop bf? You don't have to, at 14 mo dd feeds twice, at waking and bedtime and sometimes skips one so it isn't that time consuming. I wanted to get past a year so skip the need for formula full stop but it us easier to carry on now. She'll wean herself soon enough.

BertieBotts Sun 09-Oct-11 10:31:03

I'd ask in the breast/bottlefeeding section for advice on weaning if you want to. But agree he's still little, if you want to feed him to sleep, carry on.

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