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to expect more?

(35 Posts)
Curlyweasel Thu 28-Aug-14 15:07:09

Sorry in advance for the rant..

So, I'm back at work full time after 12 weeks' maternity leave. We had to make the decision for DP to become a SAHD (I earn more and childcare costs would have wiped out pretty much all of his salary - plus he worked shifts, so he wouldn't have seen much of the DC or me from one week to the next). It was both a financial and quality of life decision that we both made.

During my maternity leave, I managed to get up early so as to get the baby and myself ready to take DD to school every day (was breastfeeding on demand at the time too, so not much sleep). I also managed (just) to keep on top of the housework and washing, plus attend appointments, organise out of school/after school activities for DD etc.

When we talked about DP being a SAHD, I did stress how busy he was going to be and that he shouldn't underestimate how much needs to be done and how organised he needed to be. He told me not to worry and that he had it in hand. Plus, school holidays were coming up, so it would be an ideal time as he'd have a gentle introduction to the job...

Since coming back to work, I haven't once returned to a clean house. I have to ask him to do things (which makes me mad because why do I need to ask him to hoover up?) and he gets all defensive if I do something myself (e.g. putting a wash on, or cleaning the kitchen floor). He tells me that it's so time consuming looking after a baby, that sometimes he just can't get any jobs around the house done - despite his best intentions.

In addition to this, I'm also feeling bad for DD and feel crap leaving for work every morning knowing that he won't have come up with anything interesting for her to do during the holidays.

It's all bad timing I guess with me returning to work at the start of the summer break, but really - am I being unreasonable to expect DP to get more done with the amount of time he has on his hands? Am I being too demanding? Should I just back off and let him enjoy this time he'll never get back and bond with the baby (his first)?

I am a bit of a neat freak and will admit a teeny bit controlling, but if he's this fucking lazy dis-organised about things now, how the hell is he going to cope next week when DD's back at school?

So. Do I need to give him a break or a slap?

confusedandemployed Thu 28-Aug-14 15:18:33

My DP was a SAHD for a year, although he's gone back to work now - although DD was 6mo when I went back to work, so a bit older.

I would get up with DD every morning, get her dressed, give her breakfast and walk the dogs (usually with DD). I would give him a shout at 7.30am and he would take over then and I'd go to work.

Then, when I came in from work I would be expected to take over with DD til bedtime at 6.30pm. We would share the bedtime routine, with me doing Mon-Thu and him doing Fri-Sun. The other person would cook.

With regards to chores around the house - TBH we didn't do a lot. We have a weekly cleaner who keeps on top of the worst of it and we would manage the washing between us (most of it getting done at weekends). Tidying up after DD goes to bed takes seconds, thanks to a nice big faux leather toy box in the living room.

I remember feeling quite resentful that my working days were 6am - 7pm while his were 7.30am - 5.30pm. However, it was the only time I got to spend with DD, so I didn't really want to change that either.

Even now, when DD is 18mo, I find it hard to get much done when she's around and usually do kitchen tidying / putting washing out etc when she's down for her nap. So I do think YAB a bit U to expect him to keep a pristine house. However, I do understand how frustrating it is. Don't underestimate how much of what you're feeling is guilt as well. I'd think about lowering your standards, getting a cleaner and giving the both of you a break thanks

canweseethebunnies Thu 28-Aug-14 15:23:16

Yes, I think YABU. Cut him some slack. He's new to the job. Some of us are crap at being SAHPs!

When you clean the floor or put on a wash do you do it in a stroppy, passive aggressive way? If so, I can see why he gets defensive.

Give him a bit more time to adjust. Accept that he won't do it the way that you do and see how it goes for a bit.

canweseethebunnies Thu 28-Aug-14 15:27:51

Just saw that this baby is his first, and he's also looking after your dd. definitely cut him some slack. You've got several years more experience than him at parenting and juggling it all.

ashtrayheart Thu 28-Aug-14 15:31:06

What would people be saying to a sahm whose partner complained about not returning to a clean house I wonder. My dp is a sahd but has more time to do things as dd2 is at school and dd3 preschool 15hrs pw - if he had a baby at home all the time I wouldn't expect all the housework done too.

CuttingOutTheCrap Thu 28-Aug-14 15:31:55

Short answer, give him a break. It's a big adjustment and by the sounds of things he's (rightly) prioritising caring for the baby over the housework

Curlyweasel Thu 28-Aug-14 15:31:57

Hmm - don't think I'm stroppy/PA... When he does get defensive about it I always point out that he was expected to do some chores when he got home too.

I couldn't have a cleaner - would have to clean the house before she came! Think confused might be right - I probably just need to aim low and avoid disappointment sad

Weirdbeard Thu 28-Aug-14 15:35:44

Maybe he's just not a good planner, and he doesn't want to admit weakness. Have you tried sitting down with him and saying "OK, I know you are struggling to get everything done, but it needs doing, right? So how about we work out a plan"? After all, it's a joint problem.

Unless you think he just can't be bothered. YANBU in that case. Otherwise, yeah, just try and find a way of getting it done. Some people just aren't good at organising all the stuff that comes naturally to others.

Curlyweasel Thu 28-Aug-14 15:37:59

Just read your post again confused... What's troubling me is that even the basics aren't being done (dirty breakfast pots in living room, no wash on, no washing up done etc).

phantomnamechanger Thu 28-Aug-14 15:44:10

There were plenty of times when DC were small that my DH would come home to find the place in chaos and washing up/laundry/hovering not done. Luckily he is a star and never once complained! He'd also expect to muck in and help/take over child care - otherwise I would be working longer hours than him. I think YABU and should lay off. It is a HUGE thing for a dad to be a SAHD, because it is less common and in some cases has a bit of a stigma (wrongly) attached to it. Give him time to get used to it, he has a lot to learn.

canweseethebunnies Thu 28-Aug-14 16:03:49

It's very hard to judge whether he is doing the best he can or not. Do you have previous reason to believe that he is actually lazy?

If he's doing his best and you're critical, then that's a bit unfair.

MomOfTwoGirls2 Thu 28-Aug-14 16:09:50

Ah give the poor guy a break. Its a steep learning curve.
But really, if you can afford it, consider a cleaner. You don't need to clean beforehand! Obviously, the tidier the house is, the easier it is to clean. I find it a great incentive for tidying up.

Curlyweasel Thu 28-Aug-14 16:13:20

To be fair, his standards have never been particularly high, which is why I told him not to underestimate things... smile

Phantom - I've not complained to him directly... I'm not insensitive to how difficult it is to be a SAHD (it was my bloody idea!)... just venting asking people's opinions x

PorkPieandPickle Thu 28-Aug-14 16:14:26

Is this his first week at it? Give the man a chance!! I've been at home with dd for 9 months and I still have days where it all goes a bit wrong and I don't get anything much done!

Curlyweasel Thu 28-Aug-14 16:15:39

PPP - I've been back at work since late July.

lightgreenglass Thu 28-Aug-14 16:20:34

Honestly I don't think you are being unreasonable.

DH was off last week as childminder is on holiday and I started back at work after over a year off and I felt the same as you. I have very high standards - it's commented on by lots of people. I couldn't fathom how he couldn't get it all done when I can. But then I realised a) you want stuff done - do it yourself especially if you're the anal one and b) drop your standards and life will be easier for it.

And personally it makes no odds that it is his first.

hoppingmad Thu 28-Aug-14 16:22:29

Yabu, I'm a sahm of 2 year old twins and have 2 older ones at school. Some days I get stuff done, some days I don't. It's nothing to do with being lazy and everything to do with prioritising the dc's. I do what housework I can but I am not a housewife, I'm a sahm and there's a distinct difference in my mind. Dh is more than happy with the arrangement, when he gets home he plays with the twins and I catch up on chores

Anotherchapter Thu 28-Aug-14 16:24:46

YANBU my dp was exactly the same. One day a week I went to work. The rest of the week I did everything.

The one day he had to pull his weight it all went tits up. The house was worse than when I'd left it. One time he said "don't be alarmed at the state if the house" shock

He would then fanny about trying to tidy up when I got in. Apparently he was just having fun with dd OR she was really demanding ... Or he forgot. I always ended up doing most of the shit he didn't do.

I told him I was giving work up my one day of freedom a week and he was being a selfish arsehole. Then I sulked in bed. He got better. grin

Anotherchapter Thu 28-Aug-14 16:26:28

So what do you do all day hopping?

Curlyweasel Thu 28-Aug-14 16:29:02

But he's not prioritising the DCs if he's doing nothing with them is he? We're also talking about 2 children here - one who's 8 (who doesn't really need much looking after) and one who's 4 months old. Don't mean to drip feed, but DD seems to be spending her days playing on her own in her room.

I will go with the majority if you all say IBU, but I do find it hard to get my head round!

RedToothBrush Thu 28-Aug-14 16:31:25

Every time I see a thread with the reverse situation, the man is generally said to be BU as looking after a child is a full time job in its own right and household chores are not always part of that as a result.

It will be interesting to see the direction this thread goes.

Curlyweasel Thu 28-Aug-14 16:32:23

RE: housewife and SAHM (or D) I think the roles are interchangeable aren't they? I don't expect him to iron my work clothes or pick up my dry cleaning or any such nonsense. I sort all bills etc. His "job" is solely to look after the kids and home.

diddl Thu 28-Aug-14 16:32:44

i think that washing up & washing done is the least that should be happening tbh.

Give him a break he's new to it?

Aren't we all when it happens?

But somehow manage to do the basics and probably bfeed and that's after actually giving birth!

coppertop Thu 28-Aug-14 16:42:41

I barely got anything done when mine were 4mths-old. That's the age where it's an endless round of nappies, feeds and teething.

My 8yr-old likes to spend time in her room but still needs someone to keep an eye on her and help her with things.

The summer holidays are very different to term-time. You might not have the same deadlines but it's a lot more work, especially if there's a big age gap.


Anotherchapter Thu 28-Aug-14 16:43:10

Looking after a child is a full time job in itself. - no it's not. I hate when that's trotted out. It's an excuse. You don't sickness or holiday pay. You choose to have children, you parent them. It's not a job!

Working parents have a job, then come home and start parenting.

It's about both partners pulling their weight regardless of gender.

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