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Giving up 'wife work' how to detach and not feel guilty

(65 Posts)
HaonDo Tue 18-Aug-15 13:19:17

Do you all do the birthday, Christmas, Mothers/Father's Day cards etc for your DP/H side of the family?

For numerous reasons, I've decided I'm no longer going to do it, I just fell into it really, DH never asked me to do it but I just kinda thought it was my job.

His family have never been that nice to me. Told DH his side of the family is his responsibility now, he said he's fine with that.

His mothers bday is coming up, I'm really trying to stop myself from reminding him, buying a card for him to sign, sending flowers etc.

I'll feel awful if he forgets and she thinks I'm bad mannered. She's the type of person who thinks that's all the woman's job ie admonished me for not sending DH's uncle a card for his bday, I've never met the man or knew when his bday was. Apparently I was supposed to find out all my inlaws family's bdays.

Anyway, what do you all do?

mileend2bermondsey Tue 18-Aug-15 13:21:59

I used to do it for previous partners then I gave up. If my DP cannot be arsed to deal with their family then that is not my responsibility. It is not 'wife work' or 'women's work' so YABU for using that term.

Just don't do it anymore

Heels99 Tue 18-Aug-15 13:23:10

No dh buys for his family I buy for mine.

Lottapianos Tue 18-Aug-15 13:23:41

Absolutely not. My DP is a grown adult, not a child who needs things to be done for him. We each take care of all present / card buying and remembering for our own family and friends.

Since you're planning big changes (and good for you!), maybe give him one reminder that his mother's birthday is coming up, and tell him that it's for him to sort it all out. And do not lift a finger apart from that.

Some (not all) women of the older generation seem to think its the job of the woman in the partnership to do all this stuff. Well its not. Keeping track of your in laws' birthdays is not your job. Tough if she's offended by that.

redskybynight Tue 18-Aug-15 13:24:27

DH sorts out cards/presents etc for his side of the family. I do generally organise the DC to make my in-laws homemade cards. He sets himself reminders on his phone to get them bought/sent out.

If he looked like forgetting I would remind him though - same as I hope he'd do that for me!

If someone asked why I hadn't organized something for one of DH's relatives I would have firmly pointed them in his direction!

AnotherTimeMaybe Tue 18-Aug-15 13:24:28

I don't do it at all!!
Don't do it especially if you don't really want to

Heels99 Tue 18-Aug-15 13:24:34

If was admonished I wpuld tell them they were speaking to three wrong person they would get short shrift. Dh did once send presents ver late to his nephew missing the birthday as he forgot and sil was peeved and took it up with dh.

WorldsBiggestGrotbag Tue 18-Aug-15 13:25:32

I've given it up this year too OP. So far DH has forgotten Mother's Day, Father's Day and his mum's birthday. Not my problem! I'm sure his mum thinks it's my fault and my responsibility but I've got more important things to worry about at the moment. he remembers to get to work on time and to get to all his meetings so no reason he can't remember his family's birthdays!

Lottapianos Tue 18-Aug-15 13:25:39

'Wife work' is the term used to describe all the additional admin, planning and buying stuff that falls to the woman in a partnership, just because she's a woman. It's grossly unfair and sexist and OP is determined to start fighting against it. It's stuff that a lot of people expect the woman / wife to do, hence 'wife work'.

Heels99 Tue 18-Aug-15 13:25:41

What I do is I put all birthdays on th calendar and I write on 3 weeks before as well to give time to get organised. Dh has his own phone reminders.

ExploraDora Tue 18-Aug-15 13:26:06

Mileend, the term is from the book 'Wifework' which is about how these jobs unfairly end up being done by women - she's not saying women should do it.

I stopped doing it and they blamed me. DH blames me to them. They get £10 notes handed over when he next sees them after the occasion. I have learned not to care!

RhinestoneCowgirl Tue 18-Aug-15 13:26:39

I never have, and have been with DH for 15+ yrs. Occasionally he will ask me for ideas or for me to pick up something I'm out shopping for my family, but then he's happy to return the favour.

No need feel guilty! Be strong HaonDo smile

SaucyJack Tue 18-Aug-15 13:27:32

I nag DP to do it. He is naturally shite at it, but he's been much more diligent and appreciative of his mum since having a child of his own.

My MIL is quite sweet tho. I wouldn't want to turn up empty-handed for birthdays/Xmas meself because I can see that it means a lot to her to get a card from her DC and GC.

noblegiraffe Tue 18-Aug-15 13:27:33

I never did this, how ridiculous. DH used to forget all the time but him seeing me buying my mum flowers etc has guilted him into doing things properly.

I do remind him when mothers and Father's Day are coming up though because I do the shopping so I see the dates in the shops.

ArriettyMatilda Tue 18-Aug-15 13:28:37

It is usually up to dp to remember to get cards and presents, but since I'm a sahm if he's forgotten to get a card that needs to be posted I usually pick one up for him. Presents are definitely down to him, but of I saw something I thought his family would like I'd pick it up. Hopefully it won't go further than this, as it should be a joint responsibility.

noblegiraffe Tue 18-Aug-15 13:28:44

Actually, I think DH has got better because if you buy flowers through interflora it sends you an email the same time each year to remind you!

DetectiveLund Tue 18-Aug-15 13:29:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Purplepixiedust Tue 18-Aug-15 13:29:24

I would remind him but let him sort it out. This is about the division of tasks between you and your DH really. My husband had always done gifts for his side of the family but is very very last minute about it (which drives me mad). He does do it though.

It's tricky because presumably she buys you a card/gift when it is your birthday so if no pressie comes from you and your DH, you both look bad.

Birdsgottafly Tue 18-Aug-15 13:29:44

"It is not 'wife work' or 'women's work' so YABU""

I took that as the OP was using the term, used in Feminist Literature, to describe easily what she means.

I'm nearly 50, im constantly trying to advise my adult DDs to get rid of "guilt", women thankfully, are no longer seen as being responsible for everything.

I think it's reasonable to support your DP, if he wants it, to put Birthdays etc in his phone calendar, then leave him to it.

My DH supported me when I went back to work and at other times, so that advise isn't gendered.

If he wants to give up sending cards etc that's his business. If you've got children, then you can decide what they are going to do.

I wish we'd let go of most of the out of date crap, in the time of Social Media, that we still indulge in tbh.

Perpendiculous Tue 18-Aug-15 13:30:59

I'd say we are pretty even at doing our own and helping each other look for gifts for family members. I have encouraged him to be a bit more thoughtful with his gifts and remembering cards in the past, however, his family clearly put no thought into what they get me, and some of them didn't even get our dd a first birthday card, so I'm going to take a step back.

ToriaPumpkin Tue 18-Aug-15 13:32:14

This recently came to a spectacular head in our house. For whatever reason (I suspect the fact my DH is useless at this kind of stuff and I don't want people to think we haven't thought of them) I'd fallen into doing it all. Until I said I wasn't writing out a hundred Christmas cards to all his family and family friends. This upset him a ridiculous amount, especially as he didn't care that I was also not sending to various people on my side that never reciprocate and we don't speak to from one year to the next. It was entirely down to his mother pressuring him to send them to people I'd never even met and him not wanting to do it himself.

Then a few weeks ago it was his parents, brother and an old friend's wedding anniversary all within a fortnight. Cue "Did you send mum and dad an anniversary card?" I told him they're his family, the dates are all on the calendar on the wall and asked was he going to do one for my parents then?

He shut up then. And frankly I don't care if his family think I'm rude. They can take it up with him and he can explain why HE didn't do it.

Poppytalk Tue 18-Aug-15 13:32:45

I stopped reminding my DH of these things too. I am not his mother and it's his responsibility. I don't much care what my MIL thinks of this (she doesn't like me anyway ever since I kept my maiden name on marriage) Learning to detach is not easy but it becomes easier with practice.

Is it only women that feel guilty about this sort of thing? I can't imagine many men worrying about it.

specialsubject Tue 18-Aug-15 13:33:46

neither of you should be doing a lot of this. Mother's Day, Father's day, presents for adults - what a waste.

the odd birthday card for those that want them, ring up relatives, go and see them. The endless exchange of crap just wastes time and wrecks the planet.

G1veMeStrength Tue 18-Aug-15 13:33:50

I don't do it unless

a) It is for someone I like anyway. Some of DH family are lovely and I would send them a card with or without DH.
b) I see a really good special offer/multibuy/opportunity to spend less money than DH would.

If I ask DH to sort out a birthday present for someone on my side of the family he will do. So I think it works out fair.

However when MIL starts asking me about stuff purely because I'm a woman I make a point of saying I have no idea and why doesn't she ask DH about the laundry/childcare/whatever it is.

She rang the other day on behalf of her (male) partner to ask me to ask DH about the best route to get somewhere. DH is not an AA rep, doesn't work for Ordnance Survey or TomTom, doesn't have a geography degree or any other reason why he would know the best way to get from their house to a campsite. Unless it is possible to use a penis as some sort of motorway divining tool?

Much to MIL's horror I 'took the liberty' of answering for him shock - she checked anyway and he confirmed there are no special roads that beat the motorway hmm

ValancyJane Tue 18-Aug-15 13:34:09

Nope, OH sorts out his family's cards and presents for birthdays and mothers/fathers days and I sort out my families - we usually pick and order Christmas pressies together. Occasionally we will buy cards for each other's family (ie whoever goes to the shop first and remembers!).

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