to say I'm not doing all the organisational stuff anymore?(79 Posts)
I have posted about this before but its finally come to a head now.
Long story short - we are a normal family I think - 3 children under 8, 2 at school, 1 at nursery. I work 3 days (have our 3yr the other 2 days), H works full time. Both do the same job, stressful, deadlines etc. Family life is busy and we're strapped for cash most of the time.
DH is a brilliant father, good husband most of the time, hard working. He is great at doing what I ask, pulls his weight with childcare / household chores / DIY. Doesn't have expensive hobbies or go out with his friends all the time. He is generally great.
Except for anything to do with organisation / planning of our life as a family. He will stretch to liaising with a couple of the other dads re lifts to DS's football matches. He also arranges for the cars to be serviced. Thats it. His salary goes into the joint account and a nominal sum goes into his own personal account to do with what he likes. He has no idea re finances - he couldn't tell you to the nearest £500 what the mortgage is, I manage all the finances, pay bills, budget, search for better deals all the time for utilities / insurance renewals etc. He doesn't plan any weekend activities, holidays, help to sort out things to do with the children in school holidays. I arrange play dates / after school activities / children's parties / presents / our social lives. I feel like I am constantly "thinking" about what needs to be done, whether everything is sorted / planned - just so all of the plates keep spinning, whereas he does what hes asked and can then just get on with his working day with no other demands on his time.
I've said I'm not doing it anymore - I'll give him all the details for bank accounts / payment dates / provisional dates for holidays but he's got to manage it all now. I'll do the day to day stuff - playdates for the children, be the point of contact for childcare etc, but all the "behind the scenes" organisation, he can do if from now on.
Am i expecting too much or do most mums / wives end up doing what I do?
Let me know how you get on! I do all ours (badly) and I hate it, so know exactly where you are coming from. Its a constant juggling act, and I'm very envious of DH who just works and has no other worries. I just know darn well that with his laid back attitude that if I didn't sort the stuff out then the kids would never get a dental appt, we wouldn't go on holiday, dog wouldn't be booked into the kennels, etc, etc. I know that if I left things to DH he just wouldn't bother and it would be even more stressful.
YANBU to be annoyed. I do exactly the same (because if I didn't we would never do anything or go anywhere!) it is a bit frustrating though isn't it? I think have an honest chat with him and give him specific things to do. Ask him to plan a holiday or date night. But don't worry too much, he sounds lovely in every other way.
Most mums and wives end up doing what you're doing?
I stopped doing it. It took some time.....the main reason was I am awful at Maths, whereas dh has a degree in it. Whenever I did anything the sums always failed. Eventually I told him to do it. He still doesn't do much, but at least he does some of it. I still organise playdates etc though.
I'm v interested to see responses to this - I have been in a similar position (not as bad now!) and know lots of other households where this is the default setting.
It IS unfair and pain in the arse. I have defined it as using brain space/thinking time that I could be spending on my job.
One problem is that this situation creeps up on us, I think. I and other female friends took over financial and bill/household organisation after our dps cocking it up, frankly. if your husband/partner consistently screws up bills and budgets, you can either try and get them to change, or do it yourself. Not a great choice.
The argument that you should just stop doing everything and leave them to it is all very well - but with us, that meant bills going unpaid, things not being ordered, finances going up shit creek, and big arguments when it all happened.
I think with responsbility for dc stuff and organisation, sometimes a pattern is set when the mother is on maternity leave, and so becomes responsible for all that stuff. It just ends up staying with her.
That said, I know my dp, who shares childcare/parenting very well, just will not for some reason arrange playtime with other kids, or talk to other parents to arrange stuff. He will rarely plan ahead, look at activities, or look at the weather forecast, even, to see how the next few days might pan out. if left completely to his own devices, he just tends to do exactly the same thing over and over again, never seeking out new places or activities. It is frustrating.
I think you are entirel right to want change, but any similar change I have managed to make has taken a lot of insistence, some arguments - and when it comes to financial matters, monitoring. I need to know he has done the things he is supposed to. Some might say this is infantilising - but from the point when I insisted dp take on some bills and account management, he did screw up a lot and it did need sorting out. You can't expect someone who never reads bank statements and panics badly about money to be on top of monthly outgoings from the joint account on his own. Just sets him up for failure and means you have a mess to clear up yourself. Sadly. I do hope things are different for the next generation.
You're not expecting too much, although I suspect in most families where one parent works PT, that is the person who then absorbs all the household admin regardless of the preschoolers, cooking, cleaning, shopping etc stuff they also do on the non-working days.
DH doesn't have a clue about what goes on the vast majority of the time - I went back to work after quite a long break recently, though and am slowly delegating things his way. He's not unwilling, just oblivious.
It's exactly the same in our house, I deal with all the household finances, look for best insurance/utility deals etc. DP only sees to the car insurance, MOT etc...although I usually still have to remind him to book car in for it's yearly service.
I also do all the food shopping, pay for holidays, buy family birthday & Christmas presents, buy DD things she needs and ensure she goes to & is picked up from clubs etc.
However, I only work part-time and really don't mind, in fact, I prefer to be in control of the finances....but maybe thats cos I'm a bit of a control freak .
That sounds like quite a 'clean' split and similar to what we have ie DH does bills and holidays, I do playdates and parties. We'll each do "delegated" tasks within those headings eg DH has just booked a party for DS2, I make calls re the joint credit card if needed but at least the responsibilities and "head space" are clear.
Same here, except I also work full time.
I just don't think DH has the mental capability to hold it all. Even though he had the 'more important' job (more senior)
Although whomever said it probably stems from after it's leave when we naturally tend to pick up extra home stuff (because newborns are soooo easy and leave us soooo much time to do it don't they )
It's a catch 22 situation between the exhaustion of mentally coping with it all, or having to remember to remind him to do it over and over and over (ad infinitum)
and when I am pms riddled like tonight and he suddenly 'remembers' his work Xmas party leaving me moving furniture and organising the spare room for family, Organising the weekends activities, whilst doing RR with our very stubborn 2 year old he gets very pithy responses to his 'gonna be late ' texts
What helped for me was this. I was prescribed paroxetine for anxiety, and just stopped caring about a lot of stuff. Eventually dp had to step in as I kept forgetting/became less control freakery about it... Not recommending it mind.........
He now books holidays, and organises some finance stuff. I check for cheaper deals, organise parties etc. It can be shared, but you have to take a stand!
Could you not spilt the jobs up a bit mroe evenly? I think going from not a lot to almost everything would be a recipe for disaster frankly. Could you delegate some tasks to him? Or tackle the financial/planning jobs together once a month?
Thank you for all your replies. I think its a combination of the posts - being a tad obsessive as a new mum and wanting to do everything for the children, then my control freak tendancies kicked in too. I agree that its probably too much to go from doing nothing to doing everything, so I think there will be some monitoring in the background. I think its just the lack of appreciation that cheeses me off, that he doesn't recognise the effort I put in. So I think I'm going to stand firm, or else nothing will change. Maybe it'll end in a more equal split over time. Thanks again!
YANBU, your household sounds just like ours, and I get so fed up with it.
I've gone as far as sitting DH down and writing all the finances out, but he has not got a clue.
If I don't doit, it won't get done, and it bloody annoys me He is a fantastic father and husband, and if I ask him to do something he will do it, no problem, but if I just left it all to him, we'd be homeless inside of six weeks no doubt
Same here - I do all that stuff. Even suggesting a night out - we wouldn't go out unless I organise it!
We are hoping to be able to afford an extension and new kitchen next year but am dreading it as I know it will be left to me to do all the ringing round, getting quotes, choosing materials, all the bloody decision making in fact. We had a new bathroom fitted this year and I basically planned and organised and shopped for it all. I found a suite i liked in a shop and he moaned when I said he should come and look at it before we ordered it! Honestly.......
Sounds like a fair split. If you organise all the children's stuff and he keeps tabs on all the house stuff - that's fair. (Well, it's how we do it in our home, and I find it very relaxing never to have to think about the mortgage/car tax etc. I presume from the panic in DH's eyes when faced with having to find a babysitter for surprise nights out, that he never gives a thought normally to school dinner money, piano exams, sleepovers, birthday presents/parties etc.
I take care of all of our finances, is it annoying? Yes.
If I left it to DP we would be an arrears with every bill and most probably homeless. He is a fantastic man but money matters aren't his thing, he prefers the "the cashpoint is still giving me money so it must be fine" rule. He would quite happily pay 20% more for electric because it saves him shopping around.
I read somewhere once that: "One of the greatest gifts you can ever give your child is financial independence."
The author explained that many (adult) children inherit debt from their parents when they pass away. There is no money for funeral costs so they pay it themselves rather than from parents estate etc.
That's what turned it around for me, I would rather take care of it all, plan carefully and budget successfully so that my DD won't have to worry that we didn't take care of our finances properly
at 6 months all she worries about is that the supply of boob will stop
I think that secretly they know we are more capable than them of doing a good job and trust us to get on with it. But it is bloody taxing on the brain to be on charge of this stuff all the time.
This is why men thrive on marriage - they gain a wife who does all this stuff.
curlyhaired assassin similar situation - we've just applied for planning permission for an extension, I was the one who dealt with the builder / architect / checked the drawings, made suggestions. He did manage to make it home for the final meeting though. I know he could do it if he put his mind to it, it would just cost more and take longer
because even though I want him to do I still think I could do it better
paintyourbox that is really interesting - our families are poles apart when it comes to finances and I think this is probably the root of the problem. My FIL died recently leaving his affairs in some disorder with no money for a funeral (so my DH and his brother had to pay for it). My parents (who have been so frugal and careful throughout their lives so they are in a position to treat their grandchildren etc) thought this was terrible. I think my need to have finances properly managed is in-built, whereas it isn't in my DH's genes.
Well, my dh is a financial advisor so he does organise DDs, the household bills, pays things etc - though I am the one who organises new house and car insurance, bizarrely - but the rest - social, playdates, present buying, holiday booking, booking tesco clubcard vouchers, etc - he leaves to me. No idea why.
Even things like taking breakfast stuff/lunch stuff out of the freezer in time to defrost - he doesn't do that. I have to ask him to do things all the time.
Maybe it's because I like to have things done and be organised and he's happy to leave stuff to the last moment, so I just do it. It's easier. Pain in the arse really, and why should we be the ones to do it all and have to worry and think about things????????
I agree that an all-or-nothing approach is a little harsh - can't the jobs be shared out more evenly so that you each play to your strengths? Having said that, I do all the finance stuff in our house and really don't find it that taxing - most insurance is a once a year job (so for two cars and the house/contents it's probably only a matter of hours per year) as are tax and MOTs, shopping around for utilities isn't worth doing more than once every six months or so, less if you're tied in with your current supplier and everything else is on standing order so I just need to glance at the bill once a month to check that everything looks about as I expect it to. I suppose I could be a little more rigorous, but not at the expense of my sanity, and everything works out well enough that I'm in no hurry to change it! Perhaps I'm not worried enough and there's something lurking around the corner ready to bite me on the behind...!
I don't know if I feel relieved to find I'm not the only one - or depressed that it appears common to dump your wife with the lot! I love DH to bits - he is the kindest, most loving man in the world and would do anything for anyone. But he is laid back to the point of being horizontal. And so I do every single tiny thing (or at least it feels like that). And I am hopelessly disorganised and untidy, so it is a massive strain trying to be responsible for everything. I get so frustrated that, for instance, DH puts the bins out. BUT....they go out on a Thur am (picked up about 7.00am) so on a Wed evening I have to say 'could you put the bins out please? It's the black one this week'. And he will, without fail, say 'I'll do it in the morning', because he can't be bothered to get up and do it then. And because his memory is so poor before I go to bed I have to put a HUGE sign sellotaped to the inside of the front door which says, 'BINS! (BLACK) because otherwise he will forget. And then I'm left with a full black bin, and the bin men won't be back for another fortnight, and what the hell do I do with the rubbish for the next two weeks? It just strikes me as ridiculous and stressful that I have this kind of performance every week over the one job he does.
I absolutely empathise with everyone saying how stressful it is to organise EVERY single thing. Curly your post had me nodding in agreement - it would be exactly the same in our house. For our DSs 18th we went away with the whole family (GPs, DSis, DB, families - 27 in total) to Centre Parks for a long weekend. But I was the one who organised it, booked it, rang round family for all the details, chased them for money, bought DSs presents, wrapped them, bought the food to take, booked the activities, organised the meals, packed for all the DCs AND DH, (having sorted out the clothes they would need, washed and ironed them). I baked a cake to take, bought the booze and sorted out the dog with boarding kennels (having had to take it to the vet first as it's jabs needed bringing up to date). And when we got home I had all the unpacking and washing of dirty clothes, etc to do. DH said when we got back, 'That was a great weekend, wasn't it?' and I though, 'Well yes. It was. But it was fucking exhausting for me to sort out' and you begin to wonder if it's worth it. Maybe I'm just feeling knackered from Christmas and New Year but I find any kind of holiday period doesn't ever give ME any peace and quiet, but on the contrary takes a lot of organising whilst DH does bugger all.
YANBU to feel frustrated, but maybe a bit unrealistic to expect him to pick up where you left off. I second the idea of having an honest chat and allocate a few things. Here I do everything regarding DCs because he wouldn't know where to start and he does everything official/financial becuase we live in
1950 Chile. He also has to make all arrangements with his family because of a long list of events I don't need to list here.
So, in short, sit down and talk about it sensibly and see if a compromise that works for both can be reached.
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