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dh feels I'm not pulling my weight... is he bu?

(159 Posts)
brownpaperbag2 Sun 03-May-15 18:21:43

DH has a high powered stressful job and commutes for about 1 hour 15 mins each way into the City every day. He catches the train just gone 6am and comes home about 7.30pm. He is feeling really pissed off with family life at the moment and is getting very grumpy and picking lots of fights with me. I can't seem to do anything right but I also can't really see what I am doing wrong either.

I iron his shirt each day, drive him to the station and pick him up again. I work 3 hours a day, term time only, in a school - low wage. We have 3 children (8, 10 and 12) and have 2 dogs. I try to keep the house clean and tidy and have a home cooked meal each evening. However, with 3 children and 2 dogs it is an uphill never-ending battle to ensure the house is show home perfect for when he comes home.

My eldest child is hitting puberty and the rows at home are just terrible. They are so wearing and it is getting everyone down.

I used to have a career job but have not worked in it for 9 years so if I went back to full time working I would earn barely enough to cover childcare and my commuting costs - in fact I would likely be out of pocket.

The cost of running a family home, 2 cars, 3 children is a lot. Each of my children have grown out of their clothes and need new ones, and shoes.

The constant spending is really upsetting my husband and he says I am not pulling my weight for the amount of money he is bringing in and I am spending.

I just don't know if he is being reasonable or not. Life for me isn't all roses. Of course it could be a lot worse and I have it far easier than many. But dealing with a hormonal boy and keeping on top of everything is not easy either.

In terms of my career, I 'fell on my sword' for the family. We couldn't both have career jobs as it was constant battles over who was going to take the time off when a child was ill or needed someone there at school etc. I gave up my career after maternity leave with our 3rd child. I have supported the family in order for him to focus on his career and not worry about things that happen in the family. However, I don't actually enjoy being a stay at home mum. I enjoy getting away from drudgery and using my brain (I have a BA, diploma, Masters).

We are not unusual but I guess a very 1950s model family.

Life is getting him down, but I have no idea how to speak with him to show him that this is just reality of a family and actually I am doing my bit but just in a different way. He can't put a £ on my value to the family unit like he can with his wages.

It is really upsetting me.

DragonWithAGirlTattoo Sun 03-May-15 18:24:51

Just a thought on one of your points

Why do you have 2 cars?
If he commutes by train and you take him to the station then one car would do? That would help with a bit of your finances

Trumpity Sun 03-May-15 18:25:28

I'm going to follow this because although my children are 4 and 1 (and no dogs!) the rest sounds very familiar.

AuntieDee Sun 03-May-15 18:25:40

You can put a value on it - tot up how much he would have to spend on childcare, someone to cook and clean, dog walker and taxis to and from the station if he was a lone parent. It will make him wince...

nowwearefour Sun 03-May-15 18:25:58

What do you think you might bu about? Can't see anything on your side, lots on your Dhs side. But I might be missing something. Spending money on your children?

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sun 03-May-15 18:26:00

He is BU. If money is a concern I would offer to go back to FT work for a while. Then spell out what he needs to do to facilitate that - pick ups, housework, homework support etc

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 03-May-15 18:27:15

Is this a new complaint or has he always been like this? I ask because the sudden grumpiness and anger with the situation can be a sign that something else is going on (affair?).

Your home doesn't have to be a show-home, your children don't have to be perfectly behaved. You're not the bloody staff. You're his partner, who has facilitated his career.

shewept Sun 03-May-15 18:31:08

Well he sounds very unreasonable.

How old are the kids?

You need to sit down and work out incoming money and outgoing money and see if this balances. If it doesn't something needs to give. If you can't earn more both of you have to cut back.

I am not suggesting he is right, but if money is tight and he is responsible for all money coming it. It can get very stressful when there isn't enough. Which maybe why he is acting unreasonable.

Unless he is always a idiot, in which case he is just a dickhead.

redskybynight Sun 03-May-15 18:33:00

I don't think you are BU as such as your family setup has clearly evolved from decisions you jointly made in the past, but I can see how he might resent that he is bearing the burden of supporting the family financially whilst you have a lot more relaxed and leisure time.

Would DH like to take a less pressured job with less money maybe? I can see this isn't possible under your current set up so would mean you taking on more paid work - are you looking for this? If money is a concern have you both sat down and looked at your family budget?

PHANTOMnamechanger Sun 03-May-15 18:34:12

do you think he might be depressed? or deeply unhappy in his job and feeling trapped because of the responsibility of being main breadwinner? maybe his job is under threat and he has not told you?

try to talk to him calmly and tell him how you feel and how much you contribute to the family other than money, ask him what worrying him, talk things through together with a plan on how you can economise.

does he thank you for his meals? is he affectionate? do you try to make weekends family time and have some fun together?

Aermingers Sun 03-May-15 18:34:15

Normally when I see these kind of threads I tend to point out that when there are threads where men are told that they're not pulling their weight they are crucified while women who say the same are not given the same treatment.

So I'm not someone naturally sympathetic to that situation but your post is different and I really feel you.

Why do you have to perform according to how much he is earning? You are working, looking after 3 kids and a home. It doesn't sound like you are slacking off, just not coming up to his standards.

Could you find work closer to home so that travel and childcare are minimised? He seems to be treating you like an employee rather than a wife he loves.

Spending money on your children is a joint expense, not you being extravagant.

Is he supporting you with your son's behaviour or ignoring it? Reading your post made me feel really uncomfortable, he doesn't seem to appreciate you at all and seems to enjoy using finances to make you feel beholden to him.

I would be looking at my options for full time work in your situation. You are well qualified, would retraining as a teacher be an option? Then you could work locally and minimise travel and childcare costs.

brownpaperbag2 Sun 03-May-15 18:35:20

We have 2 cars - nothing posh. 1st car is the family car - a large Kia. 2nd car is a very small T reg with over 100k on the clock.

We need 2 cars for the weekends as each child needs to be in different places - football, rugby, tennis, parties etc. We only use 1 car during the week.

I've been looking into FT work. I would bring home about £20-25k (I used to earn over £40k with a company car and that was 9 years ago!). But the childcare is too much, as it costs more than my wage. Because I am married to a high earner we get no help with tax credits etc. My wage needs to cover the childcare and commuting costs. Parking is £10 a day at the cheapest car parks in our local town.

Also, child care is only for up to age 11. What do I do about the eldest child? I can't leave him till 6 or 6.30 each day.

A lot of this is about wanting the house to be show home perfect. I actually do live in a tidy home and I clean and mop and hoover a lot but the children and dogs make a mess. I'm always washing and sorting clothes out etc.

However, I think the biggy is our eldest son. He is a nightmare. Back chatting, hitting his siblings, massive temper tantrums. It is so draining. My husband hates begin at home as my son and I are at each others' throats all the time.

DH says that I need to remember that ds1 is hormonal. However, whenever DH spends time with DS1, he also looses it, probably quicker than I do. I have to spend a lot more time with our son too.

Aermingers Sun 03-May-15 18:38:05

We'll surely he should be trying to mediate? If you work locally the you would only have to have the two youngest in childcare? Take the bus instead of driving. Much cheaper.

brusselsproutwarning Sun 03-May-15 18:39:46

Agree with pp write out exactly what you do all day and how much all that would cost if you had to pay someone.

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 03-May-15 18:39:49

You both have to rewrite the script with DS1 then. Parenting course? Some do full days on the weekends for working parents. Read up, How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk is great. Get on the same page and start changing things.

He is taking his anger and frustration out on you, which isn't OK.

notquiteruralbliss Sun 03-May-15 18:40:36

In your position, I would make plans to go back to work FT and him choose whether to pick up the slack or buy in services. That way, he would realise the value of the things you have been doing for the family over the past 8 years and you could start to rebuild your career.

Finola1step Sun 03-May-15 18:41:06

I do similar hours and commute to your dh. But my dh works too and fits hos work around family life.

So imagine this OP. After I get home from work (having done the commute and walked back from the station) I tidy and clean the kitchen. Grab a quick bite while DH supervises bath time. I then take over upstairs so that dh can crack on with his own work. I then get the house straight for the following day. Finish off bits of my own work before going to bed.

My point in telling you id purely to illustrate that lots of people work long hours like you dh but the muck into family life upon returning home.

It would be very interesting and revealing for your dh to actually outline what he thinks should happen. I know a fair few men (usually mid 40's up) who think that because they bring home the bacon, that all the home stuff should be sorted before they walk through the door. Everything. That home should be run like the office with tasks being delegated and completed in a timely fashion. Anything but is then cause for performance management review. Sounds like your performance is under review OP.

brusselsproutwarning Sun 03-May-15 18:41:06

X posted smile

WildFlowersAttractBees Sun 03-May-15 18:41:36

Are you me and I am actually so tired I name changed, posted and just changed my job and younger dc's ages? confused

measles64 Sun 03-May-15 18:41:42

However, I think the biggy is our eldest son. He is a nightmare. Back chatting, hitting his siblings, massive temper tantrums. It is so draining. My husband hates begin at home as my son and I are at each others' throats all the time.

I think you have a bigger problem with your son than your hubby, this imo. needs addressing immediately. My son is 13 and hormonal as my other two have been, there was never any hitting or massive temper tantrums.

Justusemyname Sun 03-May-15 18:43:00

Time for an honest talk. He's being unreasonable that is obvious unless you're kitting the kids out in Prada.... Kids grow a lot. The need decent shoes. Dogs make a mess. I'd be looking at doing less for him. I don't work, we have three kids, seven pets, I do two afternoons volunteering and never once has Dh complained about the state ofnthen house or having to muck in when he gets home. That's because he is a decent bloke, a very hands on dad and not a twat.

DoJo Sun 03-May-15 18:45:08

What do I do about the eldest child? I can't leave him till 6 or 6.30 each day.

Is this because of his temperament? Because plenty of children are left to entertain themselves for a couple of hours after school each day and actually relish the independence. But if you feel that you cannot do this because of his unpredictable behaviour, then you need to address that before you can make any real plans as otherwise you will end up even more resentful of being a SAHM to a teenager who cannot be trusted in the house by themselves.

brownpaperbag2 Sun 03-May-15 18:46:29

Redskybynight, you are quite right. Our situation has evolved as we had to make decisions that were right for our family for that point in time and for the following couple of years.

However, now that the children are older and at school I do have much more free time. Every morning I have free time. I walk the dogs, clean the house, pop into town to get the things we need etc. This by anyone's standard is a great life.

My husband looks at that and is getting very aggrieved that he is working hard in a stressful environment and yet his 'partner' is not. Therefore, I am not pulling my weight.

But when I look into full time work, the figures just don't stack up.

DH can't take a less stressful job. His career is great and he is doing well at work. He likes his job much more than he has in years. He just doesn't like the fact I don't have the level of stress he does.

Ironically though, this pressure he is putting me under is making me anxious and upset. I feel like I am walking on egg shells.

Every day I walk our dogs for at least an hour. This weekend I have done it again. However, he wanted a roast dinner so I stayed in and cooked a roast today. DS1 walked 1 dog but not 2 as they are too strong for him. After cooking and then cleaning up the kitchen, DH very pointedly told me that I hadn't walked the 2nd dog. I asked if he would do it as I was now going to do the washing and sorting out the clothes. He was so pissed off. He is out of the house now, but I am not looking forward to him coming back.

PicaK Sun 03-May-15 18:46:38

Surely your dh is a big red herring here - it's your ds that's the problem. In the same way as dh could be depressed - what is going on in ds's life for him to act like this? It sounds more than normal teenage stuff. Do you need to get some family counselling or even camhs involvement?
Fwiw how much time do you two get on your own? Is it enough?
He needs pulling up sharpish on the "what you cost angle" but I'd take it as a cry for help - you need to decipher what it's really about.
Just in case it is an affair photocopy all financial stuff when he's at work on Tues.

ImperialBlether Sun 03-May-15 18:48:01

I wouldn't advise working longer hours and having childcare while your eldest is like this.

It's unfair of your husband to blame you for arguing with your son when he does the same. In fact I'd say it's his responsibility to take on the problem with your son and see what's going on there, if your son is hostile towards you.

I can understand the stress of feeling you're the only breadwinner, but I would feel stressed (if I were you) at the thought of losing my skills.

Could your son and your husband join a gym? It would be a way of relieving stress for both of them and get them out of the house and you might find the atmosphere eases.

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