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to need a break from being a SAHM

(96 Posts)
BlackMaryJanes Tue 09-Apr-13 21:18:15

No idea if IABU or not.

We have 2 DC (1 and 2 years).

DH leaves for work very early in the morning and gets home at 6pm. By the time 6pm rolls around I am often irritable, tired and most of all, touched-out from having two toddlers whinging and climbing all over me all day long. In an ideal world I would hand the kids over to DH and lock myself in the bedroom for an hour to get a breather. But DH argues that this would be unfair as he 'never gets a break either'. I try to explain that at least he gets a change of scene, but he dismisses this.


If you don't think IABU, what is the solution?

happynappies Thu 11-Apr-13 21:44:32

Also, it does do strange things to you when you are 'stuck' with only small children for company day in day out. When dh is home, I find cooking a welcome break from the children, but also view a trip to the dentist as a pleasure... I enjoy going to the doctors (sitting in the waiting room reading a magazine... the pleasure!!), willingly volunteer to dash to the supermarket, and will often drive to the supermarket in the evening just to experience the joy of strolling up and down the aisle without four dc with me. Last week my parents looked after the three older dc so we could go to a funeral and blush I actually enjoyed the break from the dc although tried not to make it too obvious to the other mourners... But driving - that is the best. I find that something that involves not leaving the car e.g. nice long trip to a petrol station? Or nice trip to take stuff to the recycling/tip where dc have to stay strapped in. Joy!! I think there should be drive-thru supermarkets and clothes shops... grin. Maybe I'm just going completely crackers after so long with little people for company!!

NoSquirrels Thu 11-Apr-13 21:37:11

I echo everyone here who has said that it will get easier when the youngest is 2, and also that you are not wrong to find it hard, emotionally and physically. It is.

I posted on one of your last threads to say the same thing.

Your 'problem' is not the children, but your communication issues with your husband. If he really, really won't come to a compromise of letting you have an hour/half-hour/45 minutes to yourself at the end of the day (but not necessarily straight away, you need to give the WOHP a 15 minute 'air lock' period at least to readjust to the home!) then you should be saying:

'Either we pay for childcare for them both for xx hours per week OR we pay for Relate marriage counselling because I am deadly serious that I am at breaking point.'

Then go out.

Your 1yo will be fine with your DH for a day. BF or not, at 1 they won't starve or die of thirst being left for 8-10 hours. There's water, food and cuddles from their father to be had. They will probably make up for the feeds when you come in, but by then you'll be able to enjoy the bonding time. Also, I hesitate to say this as I am in favour of extended BF but if you are really so 'touched out' then you need to start cutting down on the BF. It will (probably) help your sanity.

Best of luck. You do need to address how you feel with a compromise between you, but if you can't come to that together you should go and see an independent third party. Perhaps your DH needs to hear it from someone else, that you are not 'resentful' of motherhood, that you DO deserve a break and that this stage is tough for couples everywhere.

happynappies Thu 11-Apr-13 21:36:15

Hi - I feel for you op, and I feel strangely better for reading all the replies from people who share similar feelings - I thought it was just me that was struggling to cope. I've got four dcs - ages 6,4,2 and 6 months. At the moment I'm on maternity leave, so I've got them all (well, I've got them all with me for these two weeks because its the Easter hols) next week dd will be back at school and I'll be back to the relentless dragging the others along on the school run with me.

Dh comes through the door and manys the time I've been sitting at the bottom of the stairs holding the baby, ready to chuck it at him, or will instantly start ranting about all the things I've had to deal with. There is no question he is tired, I'm tired, its all a disaster!! We tend to battle on - try to get tea for everyone sorted asap, and bath-time affords a little bit of time for dh to get changed out of work clothes at least, and we catch up with each other while chucking children in and out of the bath/shower. We like them all to be in bed by 7pm latest, then we usually don't speak for another hour and a half. He will be checking emails/facebook etc, I will be bf upstairs, and MN... we both just need some space I suppose, then its on with the jobs - loading dishwasher, making packed lunches, ironing, dealing with the laundry, wiping down kitchen, tidying playroom etc. Sometimes we are working until 10pm. The thing I realise is that the competitive tiredness thing is pointless, and exhausting in itself. You are a team - one team member works in a different place, but the team works more efficiently together, so get on with the stuff together as best you can, then when the children are asleep, try to re-charge your batteries for the following day.

I've just asked my dh about this - how could we have a 'break'. He said an evening off would be no use to him because hes so knackered when he comes in from work it would be pointless trying to go out. I said that it wouldn't be an evening off for me, because I'd still have to do my share of the bath-time routine, and then I'd be dashing about trying to do my other 'jobs' either before going out, or when I got back, so its more effort... We have this discussion constantly because even on holiday there is no break - in fact sometimes we have to work harder because we're in an unfamiliar place and don't have the same comforting (?!?!) routine.

For everyone saying that the only way dh will learn how difficult it is is to leave him with the dcs, it doesn't exactly work like that. When I'm not on maternity leave I work one day a week and dh has the dcs. I find that he has a really enjoyable day with them - lots of fun, out to the park or to visit his parents etc, and I come home and will catch up with the laundry/shopping/cleaning etc. Same if I go out over the weekend, he prioritises having fun with the children (which is no bad thing - which is why its good we're a team I suppose) whereas I have to get my 'jobs' done first before we get out to toddler groups etc. If you let dh have them, he may very well do things his own way and not get a full understanding of why you find it so hard, because compared to being at work he might find it quite fun (but the novelty would wear off if he was doing it full-time I'm sure!) - but would it matter if it gave you a break?

Friends of ours have a lie-in each over the weekend, i.e. one parent gets up and does breakfast with the dc while the other lies in bed - would that be a start? We prefer to keep sharing the jobs whilst we are both home, as it makes it easier and quicker. Maybe your dh needs to up his game and get involved as soon as he walks in rather than have a break. No wonder you want a break if you can see him having one - I know when I'm working I'm straight back into it and then some when I walk through the door... hmmm... not sure I'm helping ...

IfYouLeaveMeNow Thu 11-Apr-13 20:09:01


Sorry you are struggling - it really is relentless being a SAHM.

I found the easiest way for me to convince my DP that my day was tough was to have him live it. You could ask him to either take a day off work or do this one weekend day. (I appreciate you are still BF but perhaps something to plan for?)

I wrote a concise list of every chore I did, every day and a timetable. I asked DH to try and cover as many of the jobs as possible as well as take care of our 3 kids (3 under 5yrs). I went out 8am-6.30pm and left him to it.

Honestly, it was so valuable because for the first time he realised the loneliness, the stress and the fact that its hard, physical work. But also, times of the day where you appreciate being with your kids so much. Given that you have been employed before - you can empathise with his situation. But at the moment, he cannot empathise with yours. Until he can see where you are coming from, you will not find common ground on this. Also, carefully remind him at the end of his 'day', he gets to go back to normal tomorrow. You have this 24/7.

It is worthwhile to make him realise that you also appreciate his role and understand that he works hard too.

Sorry for such a long post, best of luck.

wiltingfast Thu 11-Apr-13 20:03:27

Also I used to drive in and out to work but had to stop as costing too much and I find the 40m on the bus a great transitioning time, I can MN(!), read a book, call my folks and I arrive home ready for action instead of tired by the drive and stressed from listening to the bloody bad news.

wiltingfast Thu 11-Apr-13 19:58:41

Well my view is probably coloured by the kind of work I do, v computer focussed, quite intellectually intense but but physically tiring at all. Phone calls, client pressure meetings etc. Can be v pressurised.

At end of day my head is wrung out and when I get in and the kids are a complete change of scene. One minute I was on a phone arguing or read a long boring doc, next I'm at home woofing and throwing them upsidedown on the couch grin. The enregy required is different.

We put them to bed at 830 so there's no immediate pressure on "bedtime routine" and anyway in our house we don't do nightly baths so getting them ready for bed is not too onerous, bit of chasing, some firm chat, some tickles (maybe some tears) and its done. Read a book, bed.

Why don't you go to the library tonight. They have magazinesd too if you don't like reading. Nothing worse than expecting you were going to get away then not. How can he not appreciate you just need a change of scene for a bit after being with them all day?

You need to throw a fairly major strop woman (did that too in my time AND disappeared for the day, when I got back dh said he was half afraid I mightn't come back at all)

givemeaclue Thu 11-Apr-13 18:34:59

When he gets in, go out for an hour

BlingLoving Thu 11-Apr-13 18:34:15

I haven't read this entire thread, but quite a lot. but I have an opinion because I am the working parent and DH is the SAHP. And I have been the SAHP too.

Ultimately, you are both tired. So you need to figure out a way for you both to get a break. I get equally annoyed at people who think SAHP are sitting around all day as I do at those who think that because I can, in theory, choose when to pee, that I am having it easier too. The reality is that either way you have demands being made on you constantly.

I leeave early so I try to get DH coffee and do DS' milk before I go. this gives me a few minutes with DS and let's DH wake up a bit before he has to be on duty. I can do this as I will then sit on the train for 30 minutes.

In the evenings, twice a week I come home and am on duty. I do bath and bed time etc. The other nights, if I do get home in time to say hello to ds, I still dont' do bath and bedtime. Tonight, I am running late (and should nto be MNing) so probably won't see him at all.

We are lucky in that we can afford for DS to go to a childminder for two half days a week. This gives DH a break. This means he is more inclined to let me have a decent lie in on the weekend or will encourage me tog et out by myself as he knows I also need a little downtime.

Yuor DH needs to understand how tired you are and you need to do the same for him. And you both need to take turns to really step it up.

JulieCarp Thu 11-Apr-13 18:32:35

Do you think hes doing it to be helpful OP or to stop you having some time to yourself ?

JulieCarp Thu 11-Apr-13 18:28:23

Wow I dont know what to say sad
He needs a serious wake up call in the form of either he bucks his ideas up and realises what he is doing ( and what he is not) or I would be filiing for divorce . He would then be providing for his Dc and bloody well looking after them every other weekend.
Im so sorry, you cant carry on like this ,he is treating you so badly.
Whats the betting he comes home and if you complain "he has saved you a job and you are ungrateful blah blah"

redskyatnight Thu 11-Apr-13 18:16:57

Does DH know the shopping was to give you a break from the DC? Because otherwise it's quite likely he thinks he is being helpful.

BlackMaryJanes Thu 11-Apr-13 18:09:07

I'm pissed off with DH. I told him that I would go and do the grocery shopping once he got home from work (it's a way to get me away from the kids for an hour and do something 'productive'). The bastard has just texted me saying he's currently doing the grocery shopping on the way home. He's determined to see me break down isn't he????????

eltsihT Thu 11-Apr-13 17:58:11

I haven't read the whole thread, but a good bit of it so here is my 2p.

I have 1ds (2yo) and one due in 4 weeks, so will be in your position soon.

My hubby sees our son for about 30 minutes a day when he gets up at 6.30. Son is mostly in bed when hubby gets home 7pm. After a long day I am knackered and often quite grumpy/at the end of my tether with ds.

Hubby also works away from home a lot, so I am often on my own for upto 2weeks at a time which is very hard.

The way we work it, hubby accepts he doesn't see enough of son, and I threw a super temper tantrum at him when ds was about 6 months old. He takes 1 day off every other month and is a stay at home dad, while I go out and do, well anything, read a book in a coffee shop, got to the dentist, get my hair done etc BUT I am out and essentially my phone is off. Once a month at weekends hubby takes son out for a morning/afternoon so I can have some time to myself. He also once a year lets me go away for a weekend, which means I can go away and stay with friends, and actually enjoy a night out.

I agree with pp you need to get some time to yourself, and your dp needs to realise how exhausting it is looking after kids all day. although I don't have anything like enough time to myself, I have a reasonable about that works with our lifestyle, and fits in with hubby's job!

EasilyBored Thu 11-Apr-13 17:34:11

Don't know if it's just because I like my job, and the hour commute each way where the biggest decision I get to make is whether I should waste three pounds on a coffee, but my working days are a piece of piss compared to my stay at home days!

I think the only way to make him understand that you are both struggling with tiredness is to have him do a couple of stay at home days on his own.

Much sympathy from me though. Toddlers are lovely but just relentless.

BlackMaryJanes Thu 11-Apr-13 17:22:13

I've just been to the GP who doubled my antidepressants. She said she comes to work for a break. lol

BlackMaryJanes Thu 11-Apr-13 14:56:41

I'm sure he is tired too but it is a different kind of tiredness

Can you elaborate?

wiltingfast Thu 11-Apr-13 14:05:56

Try and stop the competitive tiredness between you- it's hard I know (been still there meself) but it only breeds contempt.

I think this is the crux of it. But it would take both of us to stop the competitive tiredness, and I don't know whether DH can do this. He is utterly convinced that his life is much, much harder than mine.

The only way to cure him of this silly silly notion is to leave him alone with the kids. You need to go into town on urgent errands THIS Saturday and be gone all day. He is their Dad. He should be able to mind them and if he can't it is time he learned.

* i disappeared each saturday too

I'm starting to come around to the idea. Problem is, I'm still BFing.

Your youngest is 1. I don't want to start a bf discussion war here but I guess he/she (? sorry!) will survive the day with a beaker/bottle and will really enjoy the bf when you get home.

Litetally as he gets in i will go out for a run! I will be gone about 45mins and whilst i am out he will start on dinner (sometimes i do the prep for dinner before he gets in) so when i get will be almost ready.

Does he resent you for this? (having already done a long day himself).

This isn't me (who goes for a run that is!) but why should he resent it? Are you somehow supposed to put in slave labour hours while he gets to relax on his laptop and watch the news? Surely anyone with ordinary empathy might appreciate that you need a complete break for a bit?Otherwise you don't finish until kids are in bed! He has had his lunch and journey home and time with adults etc etc. I'm sure he is tired too but it is a different kind of tiredness (I work ft I KNOW this although I do appreciate different jobs/people suffer different levels of stress)

And anyway, honestly, it is only by getting to know his children and becoming confident with them (and they in him) that he will start to enjoy it.

And you are NOT a shit parent you are just TIRED. And it is good you do not intervene because he needs to develop his own confidence.

I strongly strongly recommend you go out this Saturday and maybe again the Saturday after that. Then maybe have your sit down chat with him. It doesn't seem to me he is particualrly open to your issues at the moment.

JulieCarp Wed 10-Apr-13 18:17:45

I think I would sit down and discuss the way things currently are but from the point of the behaviour "point scoring" "sly digs".
This is probably the most stressful part of marriage when the DC are tiny .Its relentless and its easy to start taking it out on each other.

I would start with "we are both tired and taking it out on each other - lets make some changes" rather than "You dont consider me " etc .Its bound to put him on the defensive.

Back to the relentless bit - sometimes the more you give the more others will take. Make clear what your needs are as a person. Im now the other end and making time for myself was essential. I woke up one day 2 years in and wondered where "I" had gone . I took back time for myself and it made life much easier and enjoyable.

tomverlaine Wed 10-Apr-13 15:32:24

Emsmaman - what does your DH do in between is he at work? I should add that I work 5 days a week- on 3 days i take DS to nursery (630am train back around 7)and still do all the bedtime routine- DP does work a couple of hours in two of those evenings not during the day - so his SAHD dad day is his worse day by miles and he has plenty of opportunity to rest. But i don't want to get competatitive on who is the biggest sucker/has laziest other half as its not a victory i would value!

BlackMaryJanes Wed 10-Apr-13 14:57:54

Thanks givemeaclue yes, it's a positive.

I'm just sick of all the point-scoring, sly digs and competitive tiredness.

givemeaclue Wed 10-Apr-13 12:48:29

I don't think blaming eachother for the situation is helping, you are both tired at end of day but the positive from your post is that you work as a team to get bedtime over.

Mrneedy Wed 10-Apr-13 12:45:56

Get them into a lovely nursery for an afternoon a week?
Mothers help for a couple of hours?
Someone to take them to the park?

It's not right, you are working/on call 24hrs a day.
He goes to work for what 8/9 hours?
SAHM still fit 8/9 hours when DS goes to school
I'm sure he wants to chill when he gets home, but don't we all??

givemeaclue Wed 10-Apr-13 12:38:04

I would feel same.

Coud you afford a local teenager type to come after school for a couple evening per week? I used to do this and it really helped, an extra pair hands, someone to play with/feed them etc. Someone else for them to climb on.

pinkdelight Wed 10-Apr-13 12:33:13

"I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel."

No wonder - you've been in the midst of the madness for a long time, given the ages of your DC. But honestly, I promise, as soon as the youngest reaches two years, you'll see the light and both start to get your lives back. till then, it's going to be competitiveness tiredness cos you're both tired and unreasonable and apart from paying someone else to help, even if it's just an hour in the creche whilst you go to the gym, then it's fair to assume you're both doing your best to get by right now. Try some of the things suggested - giving each other a half-hour here n there etc - but just hang on in there and I promise you it will get better. Just wait n see. And I also promise you you're not a bad mum and your kids don't resent you at all. Again that's just the heightened emotions of those very early years. You're a great mum. They'll be fine. Don't be so hard on yourself, or your DH. This will all be a blur in no time.

yellowhousewithareddoor Wed 10-Apr-13 12:33:00

I think a sitter would be heavenly. But surely expensive? Perhaps sanity saving though. I'm certainly feeling close to the edge.

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