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To be narked with DH?

(38 Posts)
CailinDana Mon 15-Oct-12 12:51:30

Oh do please get me down off my high horse. A crane may be needed. I am 22 weeks pregnant and pregnancy makes me very angry. I am a Hormonal Monster. Therefore I am open to being told IABU, though I may not show my gratitude, due to aforementioned Monster status.

I've had a cough for about 100 years. Or thereabouts. I am bloody tired from it. Last Thursday I just completely ran out of juice and DH had to stay home to look after DS (I'm a SAHM, DS is nearly 2). I was very grateful to him and it really helped. But, as often happens, he made such a big deal out of it that it was hardly worth it - saying how much work he had to catch up with, how tired he was etc etc. He bunked off work early on Friday, came home and went to bed. Fair enough, he was tired. Then of course he had to catch up on work at the weekend so I ended up looking after DS more than usual, despite the fact that I'm still not well. Annoying, but there you go. Then, this morning I felt a bit ropey and suddenly puked and puked. There's a tummy bug going around so I thought it might be that. Others who have had it have ended up puking/pooing endlessly for days and I was worried I'd end up like that and not be able to look after DS. To which DH replied that he couldn't take time off work as he would "get in trouble."

Now this is what pisses me off. If he feels ill or even just tired, like on Friday, he just comes home and goes to bed, no problem. He has a really really flexible job, no one monitors his timekeeping and he can work from home easily if needs be. If I feel ill, he will just decide on a whim whether to help or not. And now, suddenly, he is restricted in the time he can take off, out of nowhere. So on Friday he could wander home four hours early to go to bed, but when his pregnant wife is puking there's nothing he can do. I know that in plenty of jobs you can't take time off at the drop of a hat, and understand that, but with his job that's not the case so I don't think it's too much to expect him to take the odd day here and there to help me when I'm ill. I know I had a day last week, and need another this week, but that's just coincidence. I can't even remember the last time I needed him to stay home.

He is due to go to a conference next week for three days, so of course it's assumed that I'll be on duty 24/7 for those three days. Normally, not a problem. But now I am sorely tempted to say I can't do it. If he can't look after his son because it's inconvenient to him, then why should I do it? If he can just decide, "Oh well you're sick but I don't have to rearrange anything to do with my work because it doesn't suit me," why should I put myself out for him? I am sick of it always being assumed I'll just be there for DS no matter what, while he comes and goes and just suits himself. I am seriously considering just telling him he has to arrange childcare for HIS child while he's away next week, as I am working (I work from home). I can rearrange my work easily, just as he can, but why should I bother?


P.S I am feeling much better now, so the puking was just random pregnancy bollocks I think. That probably adds to the overall unreasonableness.

sweetfluffybunnies Mon 15-Oct-12 13:00:16

YANBU. Why is it, in these days of supposed equality, that it is still considered to be the mother's responsibility to ensure the child is cared for,even if she works full-time? And very often is is also assumed that she will also manage the household eg plan meals, shop, clean etc.

Will we ever get true equality? Are men really not capable of thinking ahead and putting their children first?

MyLastDuchess Mon 15-Oct-12 13:04:39

I see this in so many of my friends and I want to throttle their partners. They in turn tell me how lucky I am to have my OH. And yes, I am - but all he does is his share of the parenting, we look after each other as necessary, there's lots of give and take. It makes me so sad that if a man just does his share of the work of looking after his own child and pregnant partner (I am also preg), he's considered a saint.

Paiviaso Mon 15-Oct-12 13:09:29

It sounds like he should be helping more than he is, and that he has a slight bit of attitude if he takes time off to watch your son.

You need to sit down together and decide what the plan will be in the future when you "call in sick." You can't watch your son if you are puking and ill in bed. Your DH is either going to have to stay home, or find alternative childcare when this occurs. It is most definitely his problem and he needs to step in and deal with it.

Do you ever get Fridays were you can take a nap, btw? Is the free time you get while at home even?

CailinDana Mon 15-Oct-12 13:18:09

He's good when he's home Paiviaso, and I do sometimes bugger off to bed in the evening when he's home from work. He does a fair bit around the house and is great with DS so I can't complain on that front. I just feel he doesn't realise how much extra strain being pregnant is, and that sometimes I need a bit of extra help without him whinging about it. It seems a times he needs absolutely everything to be "even" - so if I get a day in bed while sick, he takes an afternoon in bed because he's tired. He doesn't get that he's a healthy not-pregnant man and I'm a sick pregnant woman. It does feel at times that if I'm ill, he has to be ill too, so it's all even. Well if he could fecking well be pregnant then I'd be more than happy to make it happen!!

MsVestibule Mon 15-Oct-12 13:25:45

YANBU. I'm a SAHM, my DH knows that if I was ill, he would have to take time off to look after the DCs. In the last six years, it's only happened once and he was in a bit of a grump about, but I suspect he wouldn't dare next time wink.

My friend's DH is dreadful for this type of attitude. One time she was incapable of looking after her 2 young DCs, so I had to go over to her house with my 2 young DCs, just so she could go to bed. I think she would have to actually be hospitalised before he would take any time off.

In your case, the fact that he appears to be able to take time off for himself but not for you would make me more than a bit cross.

CailinDana Mon 15-Oct-12 13:29:30

That's the problem MsVestibule. I know it's a pain taking time off because you have to catch up later, but if he's able to just wander home on Friday afternoon and go to bed, then surely he's not under that much pressure? And of course coming home on Friday meant that I had to pick up the slack on Saturday while he caught up on work. I am properly hacked off now - I thought I would be roundly told to buck up and stop being so unreasonable!

greenrabbits Mon 15-Oct-12 13:31:53

YANBU. And he's legally entitled to time off for dependents and can't get "in trouble" for it.

CailinDana Mon 15-Oct-12 13:32:57

The "in trouble" thing is total and utter bollocks green. It was just an excuse. He doesn't want to take time off because it's inconvenient, simple as.

niceguy2 Mon 15-Oct-12 14:17:26

Why is it, in these days of supposed equality, that it is still considered to be the mother's responsibility to ensure the child is cared for,even if she works full-time?

In this case OP is a SAHM and her DH works. Therefore I don't think it's relevant here and an incorrect generalisation which is a distraction to OPs problem.

I have a flexible job. In fact I work from home most days. It pisses me right off when my fiancee assumes I can do xyz just because my job is flexible and I am at home. Sometimes I can...other times I cannot. Somehow her 'mad days' in the office are unquestionably so mad that she doesn't have time for coffee etc. But on my 'mad days' I am still supposed to find time to put the washing on, do the dishes, hang the washing out and pick the kids up from school!

The very definition of a flexible job is that the flexibility goes both ways. During the quiet times my boss doesn't make me sit around and pretend to be working but he also doesn't expect me to refuse to work if it's late/weekend/whatever. If I work the weekend then the flexibility is restored by me taking a couple of days off during a quiet time.

Take this week. I've had to go to another country, leaving my fiancee at home with all three kids. She also works and is trying to revise for her exams. Ideal timing? No. But just because my job is flexible, it doesn't mean I can say "Can we delay the go-live for 300 people because my OH says it's inconvenient."

Now...that's not to say that OP's DH shouldn't take advantage of the flexibility and help his wife out. But unfortunately only he can control his workload so only he can ultimately decide if/when he can take advantage of that flexibility.

For example sometimes I'd love to cook dinner as I should. But when your boss books a conference call at 5.30pm then you have to attend. Because if you don't show willing then next time he might get arsey when I want to clock off early to pick the kids up from school. And I know it pisses my OH off when I do it. But then when she's finished her day and is at home, she's not working anymore. I still am, albeit sat in the study.

bigkidsdidit Mon 15-Oct-12 14:24:26

YANBU based on the fact that I vaguely remember Cailin your DH has the same job as me

and it is the most flexible job in the whole world (unless he was lecturing that day)?

Coming home four hours early to go to sleep in the afternoon after one day of looking after a toddler is taking the piss IMO!

CailinDana Mon 15-Oct-12 14:27:39

I get what you're saying niceguy but that's a different situation than what I'm talking about. DH doesn't have a boss, as such, he sets his own schedule and very rarely has anything that is time critical. I don't expect him to ditch an important scheduled event so he can put a wash on, I expect him to stay at home when I'm not capable of looking after DS because I'm ill. If he were ill, he would just stay at home, no problem, in fact as I said he came home early on Friday because he was tired, despite still having work to do, which then ate into our weekend. So he assumed that I would be fine to keep working (ie look after DS) while he went off to bed on Friday, and work extra at the weekend while he caught up on what he should have been doing on Friday, but when I'm ill, suddenly work is all-important and he can't possibly take time off. Bollocks to that I say, what's good for him is good for me.

The main issue I think is that he doesn't even think about what's going to happen to DS during the week - I'm automatically there no matter what so it's not even on his radar. That's fair enough to a certain extent, I'm a SAHM (though I do work from home part time) so that's my department most of the time. But I do think that if it comes to it and I'm just not available, for whatever reason, then he has to deal with it. He can't just say "not my problem" and jog on.

CailinDana Mon 15-Oct-12 14:28:37

He doesn't lecture at all bigkids - he's a postdoc fellow!

Numberlock Mon 15-Oct-12 14:30:32

There's a big difference between leaving early on a Friday and taking time off on a Monday, well there certainly is where I work.

I agree with niceguy and I also have some flexibility in how I work. Because I do a lot of travelling and spend a lot of time away from home, I make sure I have the flexibility at other times. So today I will finish at half three to take my son to the dentist but from tomorrow night at 7pm I will be away from home until Friday evening.

That particular trip can't be moved due to client meetings.

And, as niceguy says, the time I stop being flexible for the company will be the time they (quite rightly) start questioning me being able to leave early at other times.

So OP - yes I understand it's crappy when you've got morning sickness and a toddler to entertain but you've said he pulls his weight at home so I think you can cut him some slack in this instance. I'm glad you're feeling better.

Numberlock Mon 15-Oct-12 14:33:04

The main issue I think is that he doesn't even think about what's going to happen to DS during the week

This is the bit I don't get. Did you not both agree that you would be the SAHM? Is this not part of your 'job description' from Monday to Friday?

Or are there other issues here that are creeping into this particular problem and causing a bit of frustration and resentment?

CailinDana Mon 15-Oct-12 14:37:00

Numberlock - he works for a university not a company and I am serious when I say absolutely no one keeps track of when he's there and when he's not as long as the work is done, and even then he decides what that work is. The professor he works with regularly takes time off to deal with her children, but of course she's a woman, so naturally it's expected. I happened to have a meeting with her recently about my own work and she was late as she had been at the doctor with her son. Her husband works part time but she still takes responsibility for her family despite being in a very responsible job. If anyone is his "boss" it's her, and there's no way on earth she would say a thing about him taking time off to look after children, that would be totally hypocritical on her part.

His previous job was "flexible" but more along the lines of what you're describing, and I would have been much more sympathetic to him not taking time off in that situation, because, as you say, he would have eventually caught flak for it. But that absolutely won't happen in this job - many of his colleagues don't go to the office at all, ever, they could be out scuba diving for all anyone knows, but it's not an issue. He doesn't stay at home because of having a toddler, which is fair enough, but if he needed to he absolutely could.

CailinDana Mon 15-Oct-12 14:38:31

The way I see it Numberlock is that we're both responsible for DS. I fulfil that responsibility during the week but if I just can't do it because I'm ill does DH get to say "oh not my problem?" Really?

bigkidsdidit Mon 15-Oct-12 14:38:40

yup same as me (but I lecture too, which is the only time-critical part of my job ). I'm working now (ahem).

I get exactly what you mean, it's that he can take time off just because he's a bit sleepy but not because you are vomiting profusely, which is thoughtless. Don't know what I would do though.

lottiegarbanzo Mon 15-Oct-12 14:44:27


As I understand it a SAHM does childcare as her job during working (and commuting) hours.

I do not understand the apparently widespread perception that a SAHM is the primary carer 24/7 while her partner is free to do as they wish and viewed as 'helping' if they do anything at home at all.

So, if your DH is going away and needs you to cover his half of the evening/night childcare during that time, he needs to ask you if this is ok, understand that it might not be and say thanks if it is. It's just courtesy.

For days when you are 'off sick' is there any alternative cover you can arrange? It may be that you are ill on a day it's really hard for him to take off. Though, if it's serious and your DCs need to be cared for, he just has to drop everything, that's what parents with sick children do, isn't it?

niceguy2 Mon 15-Oct-12 14:49:43

It's not a job I have any experience in but whilst he can dictate his own schedule, is it really do what he wants, when he wants as you describe? Once he's set his schedule, are people expecting certain outputs at certain times (ie. a deadline)? Is that what your OH may be trying to say when he says he will get in trouble?

It sounds almost like everyone's dream job.

HappyAsEyeAm Mon 15-Oct-12 14:51:32

The OP works from home.

CailinDana Mon 15-Oct-12 14:53:25

Well yes lottie, I mean if I weren't here and DS got sick he would just have to suck it up and look after him, same as millions of other parents around the world. I do definitely enjoy being a SAHM, but I'm buggered if I'm going to be a household fixture that just has to keep on running no matter what while DH gets to carry on being a normal person, taking time off if he's ill, swanning off to conferences (which he admits himself will be more play than work).

Thing is, if I were ill for more than one day we could ask his parents to come down to help out and more than likely they would do it. It couldn't be a same-day thing as they live too far away but usually the most DH would have to stay off work is one day, which isn't horrendous. I can't really ask friends because it's not fair to ask a parent to come into a place where people are sick and risk passing it on to their own children.

CailinDana Mon 15-Oct-12 14:56:47

Niceguy - he has certain deadlines, but they're not absolutely set in stone most of the time, in fact one of the big annoyances of his job is waiting on people who need a fire lit under them to get them moving on things. He has to get grant proposals in on certain dates, but he knows about them way in advance and is usually on top of them well before the deadline. If he was really pushed to the wire he could just do the proposal in the evening at home once DS was in bed. That's how I get a lot of my work done, as working with a toddler around isn't easy!

It is a great job, he'd be the first to say it. He absolutely loves it.

lottiegarbanzo Mon 15-Oct-12 15:00:08

I suppose a way of looking at it is that if your DCs were cared for by a nanny or a childminder and they were sick, there'd be no question that the parents had to make alternative arrangements. He would not be able to take them for granted or simply have 'expectations' in the way he wants to with you. I sort of think you need to draw up some simple T+Cs for your childcare role, through conversation rather than contract though, perhaps.

CailinDana Mon 15-Oct-12 15:04:23

I do think we definitely need to talk about this. We haven't ever really discussed it. DH did go on and on one time about his life insurance and how I would be well taken care of, moneywise, if anything happened to him. Great, I said, I really appreciate it, but what happens if I croak? You do realise that if I fell off the planet you'd be fucked, who would look after DS? He had honestly never even considered it. In his mind, DS is just taken care of. God forbid I would ever become properly ill.

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