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AIBU or is DH?

(22 Posts)
FlatFacedArmy Mon 10-Dec-12 08:42:47

DH has gone off to work this morning in a strop. Last night at 11pm he announced he was going to the den to play computer games. My face fell and I said, please can you take (9 week old) DS with you as he will need a midnight feed before he settles for the night. DS has settled into a pattern of last feed at 11.30pm, next at 4.45 and then about 8. As it is, I have been doing the late night feed, the middle of the night feed, and the 7-8am feed while DH is getting dressed and going to work. He takes an overnight feeding shift during the weekend but I do the week nights. DH wouldn't and mostly doesn't wake up anyway. DS is formula fed, and I'd like DH to take a feed at ONE end of the night - I don't mind which - and I'll happily do the middle of the night feed and the other one.

DH thinks this is highly unreasonable because: I'm home with the baby "and can nap all day" and he feels he takes DS "off my hands to give me a break" as soon as he gets in from work (this is usually while I'm serving up dinner). Therefore the hour from 11.00-12.00 at night is his and his alone to play computer games and wind down from work. He is gone from the house for 10 hours a day, 07.20-17.20 usually. "Taking DS to give me a break" involves parking the pram beside the computer and playing games while he feeds/cuddles DS. He does all the changing when he is home too, always has since DS was EBF at the beginning. But he thinks I can't wait to have the baby off my hands and that i want to do as little as possible, after only going to the gym/baby group/NCT coffee mornings all week.

I think he is BU because he doesn't seem to understand that a couple of naps strung together is not the same as a full night's sleep. That even when we go to bed and get up at the same time, I am still operating on an hour's less sleep from feeding/burping/settling DS in the night, and I wake a couple of times to check on him anyway. That at 9 weeks postpartum, my body and my energy levels are still recovering from pregnancy and childbirth, and DS was BF for the first 7 weeks which was horrendous due to a painful medical condition. I look fine and feel fine most of the time now but I cannot be pushed too hard or I get awful backache and start bleeding again (found this out the hard way). I believe I am still more tired than he is because i feel my body is still operating at about 70%. DH tells me that I'm a parent now and this is par for the course, and I just have to step up and manage. He somehow misses the glaring hypocrisy that he expects to keep his own private me-time schedule despite also being a parent now too. He went in on his paternity leave to his usual weekly football game and off to a stag do in the middle of it and he thinks I resent him for it because I reacted with surprise when he said he was going - I was just shocked that he expects his life to carry on exactly as before tbh.

Yes, if I was single I'd have to do it all on my own, and I'd cope. Millions of women do. But I'm not alone. And I'm really happy being sole carer for DS for 50 hours a week. He's an easy baby to be honest, so it is easier for me to get to baby groups and i can take him with me for half an hour at the gym. But he is still a small infant, needing the same level of care and attention all infants need, and it is a huge responsibility. When I am solely responsible for DS I am on alert all the time.

So in our particular circumstances I think it's not unreasonable to go to bed an hour or so earlier and have DH look after him so I can rest soundly knowing DS is taken care of, OR I could move DS's and my bedtime earlier and DH can stay up and have his private time as long as he gets up earlier to do the morning feed/burp/settle and I can lie in a bit.


CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Mon 10-Dec-12 08:52:24

I'm not going to answer AIBU because if you make this a competition you'll only create antagonism and resentment. Fundamentally, you're meant to be a team and you have to work together to raise your child as best you can. The early days are difficult, everyone's tired and everyone needs to keep a sense of humour, be kind to each other, show appreciation and go the extra mile with support when necessary. This is not the time for selfishness.

I'd suggest you communicate when you're both feeling calmer and less stressed. Work something out as adults. Listen to each other. Agree a new way forward. Good luck

dreamingbohemian Mon 10-Dec-12 09:03:45

Good lord woman, no YANBU

It seems glaringly obvious that your DH should do the last feed at 11.30 -- he is awake anyway -- that way you can go to bed early and get a good chunk of sleep before getting up in the night.

If your DS is like mine, a formula feed takes, what, 15 minutes? Your DH can still have his hour of winding down AND give the baby a quick feed and settle him. Then he can still toddle off for 7 hours sleep or so. That's not a bad schedule at all for having a newborn.

Anyway, if he's home at 5.20, he should have several hours in the evening to himself, why is it only 11-12 that is his 'me time'?

Please do stick up for yourself on this, I made the mistake of doing all the feeds and ended up with severe sleep deprivation and almost having a breakdown.

Are you getting proper medical care as well? Taking your vitamins, eating enough? He is especially BU as you are not well.

mrskeithrichards Mon 10-Dec-12 09:04:37

I agree, stop with the competitive tiredness/effort thing before it consumes you both.

Take it easy, your only 9 weeks after giving birth you don't have to be at the gym, groups etc every day.

He needs to get to grip with the gaming thing. He's an adult and can save it for when ds is in bed.

LoopsInHoops Mon 10-Dec-12 09:07:54

Competitive tiredness is the worst thing with a tiny baby, but it does get better.

I would definitely go to bed at around 9 and insist he puts DS to bed after his late feed. Most couples that I know do this if they can.

dreamingbohemian Mon 10-Dec-12 09:21:18

I agree that competitive tiredness is the worst, but how can the OP's husband even be tired? He stays up til 12 playing games then gets 7 hours sleep it looks like.

Real competitive tiredness is when both parents are sacrificing sleep.

I used to do the last night feed and the middle night feed and wake up DH at 5.30 or 6 am, that's what I would call a competitive tiredness scenario.

DowagersHump Mon 10-Dec-12 09:25:39

Of course he should do the late evening feed - he's up anyway confused

This has got bugger all to do with competitive tiredness

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Mon 10-Dec-12 09:30:08

When my two were babies, DH always did the late night feed so I could get some kip before a night-waking. If baby woke before he left for work he would do that one too, or start it and pass baby over if he had to leave.

It makes perfect sense.

FlatFacedArmy Mon 10-Dec-12 09:38:55

That's it dreaming, he doesn't seem to be tired. There just aren't enough hours in the day to do all he wants to do, and he sees it as him having to take over the things I'm too lazy to do. Like child care.

He's always needed less sleep than me; I just don't think he really understands that I'm running on empty here... Because I look fine. Last night when I asked him, he blew up, called me lazy (because while he's hard at work I spend all my time at the gym/coffee mornings/napping obviously, while bottles, laundry, food shopping and dinners are all done by house elves), took DS to the other bedroom and stormed off saying he would do ALL the night shifts from now on since I wasn't up to pulling my weight on the parenting front, or words to that effect.

Of course, his martyred last stand was not really going to prove my point about exhaustion, since last night was the first night DS slept from 12 to almost 7! I know this because I was awake worrying, got up at 2am and prepped the bottles for the night/early feeds knowing DH hadn't done it, and crept into the bed with DH, because I couldn't sleep away from DS!

mrskeithrichards Mon 10-Dec-12 09:43:43

None of it sounds healthy. How was your relationship pre ds?

aamia Mon 10-Dec-12 09:49:49

If he was going to be awake anyway then yanbu to ask him to do the feed. The rest? Everyone needs so time to themselves, you included. Do you ever leave him with the baby and go out for a break?

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Mon 10-Dec-12 09:56:55

"he blew up,"

Is this aggressive and heavily critical attitude his normal reaction to being asked for help? Has he radically changed personality since your baby arrived or has he always been selfish & unpleasant and the baby has just added a new twist?

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Mon 10-Dec-12 10:06:43

The old I Work Harder Than You Because I'm Salaried argument.


FlatFacedArmy Mon 10-Dec-12 11:17:05

Cogito, it's not a normal reaction but it's not unheard-of either... He's normally good to step in and help me out and I tell everyone I'm blessed to have him - but once in a while he does rant a bit about how he does everything around the house as well as work (he doesn't!) and he thinks I'm lazy and taking the piss. He doesn't like his job/management much but it pays the bills and has fairly decent hours and he can go to the in-house gym whenever he likes, so he tolerates it. He really enjoyed working at his last company until they went under, so he is probably a bit jealous that I spend all my time sitting around "playing with the baby" while he works hard... If there isn't anything for dinner or there are no clean shirts sometimes he does feel dreadfully put upon. So I try to make sure these things are done or give plenty of warning when they aren't going to get done.

He was mostly great when I was pregnant, really supportive and helpful when I was tired all the time and had really crippling SPD which had me trapped indoors... but once or twice when he was fed up he'd let slip that he thought I was milking it. The old "I know you're pregnant BUT I'm tired too and that's no excuse for not doing X Y and Z..." Now we're down to the same old dish with an added helping of "I thought becoming a parent meant you'd take charge of your responsibilities and stop slacking off".

I was asking AIBU because of my friends who've had babies, it seemed normal for one parent to do the nights and one to do the mornings and give each other a break. It's the night sleeps I miss, and naps perforated by an hour or so wakefulness at a time don't really work... I can't sleep much in daylight anyway!

He does take over from me when he comes in at 5.30 or 6pm and tries to give me two hours or so to read or nap or whatever. I'd happily give him his solo time between 9-10pm or a bit earlier, but I need a longer sleep at night, and he's reluctant to do that because if we are giving each other space all night after he's been at work all day, then we don't see each other very much.

I think he just doesn't get it, since what I'm doing all day is not the same as "actual work"... hmm our relationship is mostly great, I just resent being made to feel on occasion like I'm a lazy entitled spoilt little princess sitting at home while he slaves for us, when I KNOW I'm not physically up to his standards of activity.

mrskeithrichards Mon 10-Dec-12 11:19:48

Ya know maybe it's just me but I can't get my head round this mentality of constantly feeling the need for or giving each other time on your own. You're a family now, you need to act like one. Of course a bit of alone time is nice but so is together time, family time, couple time.

Hopingforhapppiness Mon 10-Dec-12 11:45:07

Poor you, OP, you sound utterly exhausted. It won't do you or your baby any good if you get past the point of being able to function. Your OH is being either very selfish or just not "getting it". I am sure if you had a job, the GP would be giving you a sick note and time off to rest, but as it is you are on 24/7 duty for housework and babycare. You really need to get your OH to see the situation clearly and realise that of the two of you, he is having the easier time. I worked when my baby was 9 weeks and def saw a day at work as a "day off" - I could have a coffee in peace, find time to shower, go for a short walk at lunch time etc. It's so much harder being home. Please, please get him to take this seriously. Of course he should do the night feed. Sigh, I don't know that one every changes someone though. If he won't change, can you get in some hired help? That might make your OH sit up and take notice....

dreamingbohemian Mon 10-Dec-12 12:27:49

Oh I so relate -- the first week my DH took over night feeds, was the first week DS slept all night! It's a conspiracy! smile

You are so, so NBU. Your DH is being an ass.

He is awake at 11.30 ANYWAY. I can't get my head round why he wants you to stay awake and lose sleep when he is already awake.

I think what you really need to impress upon his majesty is that this is all temporary. You are not asking him to give up 'me time' forever, but for these few months (hopefully) that sleep is such a big issue, you are asking him to do this one thing. You are NOT well and need sleep to recover.

If he thinks you have it so great, suggest that you go back to work and let him stay home with DS. I have a feeling he'd never do it.

It sounds like what you need is a whole weekend away to sleep and leave him to it. Is that possible? Could you go to your parents for example?

I so feel for you. Ignore his stupid tantrums and get some sleep first and foremost, then you can do some serious thinking when you are feeling better.

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Mon 10-Dec-12 13:55:24

Coming back to this and see DH takes over for an hour or two when he gets in. So he 's not totally unhelpful. How about if you reduce your escape time by half an hour early evening in exchange for him doing the late night 11:30 feed as he's up anyway - seems churlish of him not to. Suggest this as a 'quid pro quo' - not begging for extra favours.

If he's hung up on the notion of you being at home equals playing with baby, presumably he won't mind his non office hours being 100% childcare - after all it wouldn't be you being selfish, it's fun. How about a weekend away Christmas shopping snoozing while he copes?

24/7 babyminding (warning: toddlers are harder work even if they feed less frquently) messes with your head even when 100% fit, something's got to give.

lostconfusedwhatnext Mon 10-Dec-12 16:08:28

What do people mean exactly by "stop competitive tiredness"? Sorry, but this is a competition and the OP didn't start it, or make it one. They are competing for the same bit of time for a break, because he won't accede it to her without a fight. She asked for it to sleep in, and he replied to the effect of competing for it for playing computer games. If he is deciding to "compete" in this way how can the OP unilaterally stop the "competition"? By resigning / conceding?

I hate that phrase. I hate it so fucking much because it comes straight from the stable of path-of-least-resistance stuff which is about making marriages work by accepting second place.

I wish someone irl would give this man a talking to. It sounds to me that he doesn't give the OP enough credibility, hasn't had enough direct experience of things like pregnancy exhaustion, spd, relentless broken sleep with a small baby, to know it can destroy you. The media makes out that it's all easy and it bloody isn't. If he doesn't respect the OP enough to take her word for the situation, then someone else needs to sit him down and sort him out.
If he still behaves like this after that, he is a cunt

lostconfusedwhatnext Tue 11-Dec-12 12:17:40

How are you today Flatfaced? any developments? Hope you are feeling a bit better. These are the darkest days, you know - one way or another it really will improve.

On another note: damn, nobody is standing up for the "competitive tiredness is a. bad and b. YOUR fault and you can stop it UNILATERALLY" meme. It comes up so often on here I thought someone would help me to understand why it has such traction.

dreamingbohemian Tue 11-Dec-12 13:49:53

Lost, I totally agree with you about the OP's husband. I wish you could be the one to give him a talking to! smile

I think sometimes it's good to raise the competitive tiredness point, I wish I had heard this in the newborn days as I think it's something DH and I did which was really unhelpful and corrosive. Basically DS was a terrible sleeper, I was not well, DH was working long hours, and we were both shattered. I think we did okay in terms of mutual sacrifice, but we got into a lot of stupid little arguments over who was more tired whenever something came up that one of us had to deal with.

I think maybe if we'd heard of competitive tiredness back then, maybe we could have stepped back and said, instead of fighting: okay, we're both exhausted, let's just figure out what we're going to do. So in that sense it can be a useful concept.

But as I said, I don't see why anyone is bringing up competitive tiredness on this thread. You have a man whose life does not seem to have changed very much at all and a woman who is on her knees. It's so unequal, it's ridiculous.

givemeaclue Tue 11-Dec-12 14:09:04

You need to work together as a team or resentment will grow. Did you discuss vii, before you had kids?

He is up anyway so should do the late feed. You can then go to bed early. Suggest you leave him to look after baby on his own at weekend for a day , if isn't really experienced in being alone lall day with baby

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