Is my DH being crap?(40 Posts)
I'm finding it hard to tell as I think I may have a touch of the baby blues.
Baby is 2 weeks old and born by traumatic ECS. I lost a lot of blood and am supposed to still be recovering while DH is on paternity leave. I'm struggling with breastfeeding which is probably compounding the problem.
DH is great at taking the baby, changing nappies etc. I'm not finding him that great at looking after me though.
I absolutely cannot stand mess and clutter. I can't relax and it makes me feel a bit anxious. I'm sure its to do with having grown up with a neurotic mother who would have screaming fits if there was a mess under my bed etc. anyway DH grew up very differently and let's just say cleaning houses isn't something that's considered an activity you partake in regularly. So we do have different attitudes.
DH considers that he has done loads of cleaning because he has washed up after our meals. However he hasn't wiped a side, done a jot of laundry, vacuumed or wiped the bathroom over. Stuff I consider to be cleaning. He is also really bad at just leaving stuff around. So opens a parcel and then just leaves the packaging where it is etc. We've had loads if flowers that are now dying and need to be thrown away as they are starting to smell. DH has commented but not bothered to get rid of them. I have found myself doing things when I don't feel that I should be. Yesterday I cleaned the kitchen, bathroom and our bedroom for instance. Lots of "you shouldn't be doing that, I can do it" from him but no actual attempts to do anything except watch tv.
He is taking DS for me at night til midnite so I can get a few hours sleep. He is then sleeping in until 8 or 9. He is still asleep now. I'm awake cluster feeding from 6.30 and by the time he finally wakes up I'm starving and very thirsty. He will make me breakfast if I ask but with a "jokey" moan that he doesn't know how to boil an egg or can't stand marmite etc. Yesterday he suggested he take DS while I made the coffee! He finally made it but put it in a room I wasn't in so I didn't get to drink it.
Last night we got fish n chips. I hadn't eaten all day due in part to being busy feeding and also to not having felt great and having had no appetite. Obviously with breastfeeding I have to force myself to eat something. I was feeding and DH put my plate of food down and went off to eat his own food. He had left it right where the cat could get it and of course she did. I had to throw it away and eat a slice of toast instead. He couldn't understand why I was annoyed at him.
The thing is I feel furious at him and just want him to be far, far away from me. He is lying here snoring away while I am feeding our baby and could be for ages yet. I want to punch him in the head and ask him why the hell he thinks paternity leave means he gets to sleep in. I'm not sure if he is actually being a bit of a twat or if this is hormones. Like I said I have a feeling I have the baby blues and have been crying and feeling down the past few days so don't know if I'm being rational or not!
Please be gentle with the replies!
I could have written your post, my dh was pretty much the same as yours..He also started a children book on his maternity leave and also spent many hours putting together our wedding album. In the meantime, the bathroom never got cleaned, the dishes mounted...it was shit..he couldn't even cook and he still can't.
I found it easiest to have days to do jobs - then say to DP, "tomorrow is bathroom cleaning day - could you do it - loo, sink and floor please?" Then remind him on the actual day. If I just asked him to clean the bathroom he would do it when it appeared dirty to him - about 3 weeks after my tolerance level had passed! (I refused to move in with him at first as he kept his place so dirty to my mind)
It works better for him to have set days to have set jobs so if he is "picking up the slack" as I'm out of action - then he knows what needs doing to what deadline IYSWIM.
He was also crap about getting me food when I was stuck under a velcro baby, but I soon found a sling that worked for me so I could do simple things like make and eat toast, or go to the loo, without having baby screaming the whole time.
I didn't have to cope with blood loss though - could you suggest to him that he makes you a picnic box every morning (sandwiches, fruit, biscuits etc) and a bottle of water to have beside your favourite feeding chair so you can help yourself when you want? Would that help?
I'm cuddling the baby all day everyday, he's a Velcro baby!
Book a cleaner - and if he did that with your chips then he goes out and gets you more.
Get a deep clean and then keep it up with 2 hours on a monday and 1 hour on a thursday.
The rest you may need to delegate from the sofa a little more but these things are easier when you get in the rhythm so once he gets in to a groove with it (with gentle encouragement ;) ) then he might start being more intuitive.
You had a baby two weeks ago. Stop stressing about what will happen once you go back to work and go cuddle it
Well he has done most of the washing (even bothered to read the labels so he knew which temps to use!), cooked breakfast and cleaned up ( in that man way where only about half the crumbs actually move), helped me get rid if the dead flowers and is now vacuuming!
We do need to address housework at some point. I used to do everything and leave him to do the floors. Then we moved and I fell into doing pretty much everything as he was doing a lot of DIY do it evened out. I don't mind doing the bulk of it while I'm off ( once I'm recovered and baby sleeps more regularly) but I don't want to be stuck with it once I go back to work. We have already discussed getting a cleaner at that point but with pets and a baby its not really going to cut it to have the place cleaned once a week. So we will still need to sweep the floor and wipe down the kitchen etc even with a cleaner.
Well, I hope when he asked you gave him a long list!! Then tomorrow morning wake him up, ask him to make breakfast - tell him to stop moaning if he does - and hand him the days list
Take no prisoners getting what you need right now!
When our eldest was born my Dh said to me that he would do anything, so long as I told him what I wanted him to do. That he was a bloke that didn't see what was needed, so just to tell him.
So I did. He did it, we managed.
If you're feeding, make sure you've got a glass of water next to you before you start, then if he forgets to make you a cuppa you've at least got a drink.
Notkeen, most major ops don't produce a baby which needs looked after
and smelt and cuddled and just looked at plus actually no I wouldn't expect anyone to do everything.
notkeenonzumba - I don't think people are suggesting the cleaning should be left because he's a man rather that they've just had a baby and could allow themselves to gaze adoringly at him and sniff his hair rather than clean. That's what I meant anyway.
Op - you're right that you need food and he should be looking after you here. We used to take it in turns to eat our meals hot!
Sorry by looking after me I meant making sure I have food and drink when I can't help myself due to feeding
Btw - meant to say, it worries me a bit that you describe him not pulling his weight around the house, or not being able to, as not 'looking after you.'
Is that really what you mean? I think being able to do basic cooking, cleaning, household organisation (and I do mean basic, not 'show home' levels) are part of being a an adult, and part of being a parent.
I would give yourself 2 strategies here - for now, concentrate on getting well and if giving him a list of things to do (warning - may need some discussion of what is actually required - wipe down surfaces doesn't mean pushing crumbs and food mess onto the floor, and cleaning the bathroom if he really hasn't done it before will actually take some describing - what cleaning product, what sponge or cloth, explain that he will need to move things around to clean under them etc. Sounds silly but sadly I speak from experience). But mainly, just try and do things you enjoy and relax and focus on you and your baby.
Longer term, have a good honest think about what you want in terms of runnung a household, and what you want your dp to do. If not now, then later - what you want him to be ABLE to do. And then talk to him about it.
There are too many mothers around who get into the pattern of doing everything on maternity leave - and this never 'evens up' again. They also have husbands who simply don't understand what is involved in looking after a child and household when they are asked to do it - the woman has become the 'expert' and when her partner spends time alone with his children, it's pretty much like having a teenager babysit them - they need everything doing for them while they 'play with baby.'
And relationships do end because of this. It's worth trying to address (not right now! but at some point in the near future).
When we had our first baby, we both spent most of the time just looking at DS! And feeding him (me). And changing him (DH). I was also ill, and DH did keep me supplied with tea and food, but that was about it. It wasn't until DH went back to work (he only had one week off) and my mum came, that any housework got done. It isn't quite the same as having someone around when you are recovering from any other operation. There's a new baby to be amazed by.
When DD was born, DH was more helpful really, because we did less just staring at her and wondering at having a baby. Poor DD...
I'm sorry but IMO YAB a bit U. You have just had a baby though! WRT to cleaning, I think you need to let the cleaning slide for a while. I too had a neurotic mother that had drilled it into my head that things needed to be spotless and having a baby was no excuse (her actual words!) but no-one died when I unclenched a bit. Like you, having no choice after an EMCS.
I understand that everyone is different and I'm not trying to be competitive, but I didn't have any help after I got back from hospital. DP is self employed and had to return to work straight away (to be fair DD was early, if she was on time he may have been able to take a few days off but as it were he had "big money" jobs that he couldn't cancel). I was on my own with a 5 day old baby, and as such I had to cope. If I wanted breakfast I had to make it.
We set up a little system to make things easier. We bought plenty of
cakes healthy snacks and left them dotted around places I was likely to sit and feed, ie the bedside table, on the sofa etc. Also bought 2 big drinks bottles and filled them up with water. That way I always ha something to hand and didn't have to unlatch DD after what felt like an eternity getting her latched on.
Failing that, instead of silently seething why don't you just wake the bugger up and tell him to get you something? IMO being proactive is a lot better than feeling sorry for yourself.
I second the poster than says you should keep moving around too. Obviously don't carry the Hoover about or anything but you shouldn't be entirely stationary either.
When DP came home from work he used to take the dog for a walk with DD in the sling (she was and still is a very high needs baby). I used to clock watch sometimes, waiting for 7pm and planning what I was going to do with my freedom! Sad I know, but it's not forever. Is there any way your DP could take the baby out for an hour or 2 so you can have a bit of time to yourself?
I don't understand why you didn't tell your DP to just move the plate closer to you but I too have been the victim of greedy pets. I find shouting is a great deterrent.
Finally, this passes. You won't be in pain from the CS for much longer. Your baby will start to space out feeds and you'll be able to claw a bit of your sanity back.
then they start teething, rolling and getting frustrated at everything and you wonder how you ever found the newborn stage difficult
Glad to see he has got up in a more helpful mode.
He should be doing much more. You have had abdominal surgery, it is a serious operation. If you overdo it you risk infection and the scar re-opening so please stop with the heavy duty housework.
The only one sleeping in and napping should be you, he is not doing the nights I presume, so is getting unbroken sleep. He doesn't necessarily have to be up by 6.30am, but 7-7.30am would be reasonable considering he only has the baby until midnight.
I have had 2 EMCS, blood loss after the last one was quite extensive so I understand how it can leave you feeling wiped out. All food cooking and cleaning was done by DH (and DM who helped out at times). I did light stuff like the odd bit of washing up and tidying that didn't involve bending down.
Get tough, give him a list of things that should be done, with food being top of the list, but also relax a little, it doesn't matter if the house is not absolutely spotless for a few weeks.
Also buy some cereal bars or something you can have in the morning by your bed while you feed along with a big glass of water so that you don't get so ravenous. Useful for the long nights too.
Ok this is tricky. I am like your husband,I am untidy, not a great cleaner etc,etc,my husband is the tidy one and even now is the one who cleans the toilet,bathroom,kitchen etc....so I feel for your husband,but I also know what is like to be stuck breastfeeding and feeling like nobody else gives a damn how tired I am,and watching my husband asleep in the chair or in bed. To be fair he worked bloody hard,and was knackered too,but it just doesn't feel that way when it is you doing the feeding!
I think you need to relax about the cleaning and clutter. There will be more of that to come once the baby grows up a bit any way! I like a house to look lived in (though even I get to shouting point when the kids bedrooms look like a bomb has exploded in there). Just do what is necessary to keep your lives ticking over at the moment,and worry about the other stuff when you are not so tied to the baby.
I think he is doing the best he can,by the way. Don't make him feel that it is not good enough.Just be specific with requests,then there is no argument.
YANBU - couple of things though -
I think you'll get a slightly more unsympathetic response here because you've described yourself as having a slightly 'neurotic' attitude towards cleaning etc. Yes, it might be sensible to make your life a bit easier if you can by relaxing your standards a bit - but that shouldn't obscure how useless your dp is.
I don't think you need to be grateful btw for him taking the baby and doing baby stuff. It is his baby too - he is not 'helping out' he is being a parent. It's the job. He's on paternity leave.
If you had a situation where you did pretty much everything around the house and your dp did nothing pre-baby, that won't change now and tbh will probably get worse. Babies bring with them more work (laundry in particular ime) and it's also harder to get it done, cos it all gets more 'stop start' - you can't just discard baby and whizz through it all in a couple of hours, if that is what you are used to. So.... if it is difficult while he is in paternity leave, then when he goes back to work or, looking ahead, when you do to whatever extent - are you going to be happy with him doing so little and you doing everything?
If he takes your child for dad time, will you be preparing all child's meals, washing up afterwards, washing and putting away child's clothes and tidying up toys etc once they have finished? If he is really that bad at cooking and can't boil you an egg for breakfast, how will he do toddler meals (notoriously messy!) when you dc is older?
I think you need to be as kind to yourself right now as you can while you recover. If you can get a cleaner in, by all means do. But for the sake of the long term, it might be an idea to agree the domestic job share between you and your dp, to make sure he has some skills you can rely in later. Or you could just watch him refuse to do anything at all once he has gone back to work. A situation that tends to continue.
My husband sounds just like yours. I too was tired, hormonal and struggling with breast feeding. I had a bit of a tricky birth with a large episiotomy scar and lots of bruising so nothing as bad as you, but still enough to make it uncomfortable to do anything for the first couple of weeks.
He was and is brilliant with my little girl and was OK at things like washing the pots, vacuuming up dog hair, but that was kind of the limit. It wouldn't occur to him to throw flowers out until they were dead stalks and had been sitting there for a month.
We have some friends and the husband's attitude was that this was the only time he was going to have off work so he didn't want to waste it and wanted to make the most of cuddling the baby. His wife pointed out (in no uncertain terms) that she wasn't going to get much time to cuddle the baby when he was at work, as she'd be doing all the housework too. After that they came to an agreement to split the good cuddling times with the boring housework and it worked fine.
If you have always done the lion share of housework, it's probably not going to occur to him everything that needs doing. I think you need to accept that you're going to have to let some things slide and then make a list of all the essentials. If you just tell him in a calm way that you've really been struggling so you want to just spend the next couple of days doing nothing but concentrating on feeding the baby and recuperating so you'll need him to be your personal slave for a few days. Make a joke out of it so that he doesn't feel nagged (a technique I try to use, with mainly positive results, with my husband) and see how it goes for a couple of days. Or better still, see if there's someone else who could suggest a few more things that he can do for you.
He is a bit crap, but it will be fine. Your tiredness, your hormones and the overwhelming emotion of having a new person in your life to love will be making everything seem worse than it actually is.
Did you not know that about MN? Ask and you shall receive
congratulations soontobemama so sorry you are having a crap time.
One of the best ways to get a point across is to write it. Pleaseshow hiom your op it says it all and it wont hurt him to read what others think.
I find it interesting that the OP has been told to let things slide a bit, or to leave things for now. If a man posted on here that he was recovering from a serious operation and his wife was at home all day but was just laying in, leaving stuff everywhere and doing no housework or laundry, I'm certain the general consensus would be that as she's home all day she should be doing everything around the house. Yet because it's about a man not pulling his weight then the thread is full of 'Awww bless him he's not used to housework' type replies.
I am up and about. It's just that the baby cluster feeds in the morning. I could interrupt a feed to go and make coffee but the baby would get distressed. DH would just be jiggling him around trying to stop him crying til I get back.
Anyway either one of you knows him and has text him and told him to get his act together, or he feels guilty. He has just got up and put some washing on and asked for a list of what needs to be done today!
You don't need this stress at the moment so the easiest thing to do is to hire a cleaner to come in temporarily until you are healed. The cost might spur him into action, my dh is like this he would rsther do something himself than pay someone to do it.
I was too anxious about hpusework etc when I had my dd & I didn't spend enough time resting, cuddling & taking photos. I really regret this now as she is my last baby. Enjoy ypur baby, these new born times don't come back again. Also, break the cycle and don't pass on your mothers cleaning neurosis to your child.
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