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AIBU to focus on what he doesn't do rather than what he does do?

(56 Posts)
Joolsy Wed 27-Jan-16 15:06:24

My OH is not particularly 'hands on' with out LOs (12 and 6). He never really plays with them, might play the odd game here & there, does a bit of reading with DD2 and reads her a bedtime story sometimes. He does chat with them alot though and is interested in what they've been doing at school etc. This gets my goat however as it's usually down to me to think of things to do with them, think of places to go etc, although he will come along too. He tends to sit around on the sofa rather than engage with them, or if he does, it's on his terms. However, he is very hard working, very generous (pays all the bills plus most other stuff) and I trust him 100%. Should I focus on what he does well and stop giving him a hard time about what he doesn't do? I can't actually remember either of my parents playing with me much but I always felt loved

Katenka Wed 27-Jan-16 15:13:47

That's a difficult one.

I have never been one for fretting down and playing with the kids.

How is the relationship between him and the kids.

Personally if dh had a dig at me for not playing with the kids enough I would be pretty pissed off.

Looking at whole picture I am a good parent and have a great relationship with my kids. So not playing doesn't bother me.

scandichick Wed 27-Jan-16 15:14:26

But why should you have to do all the stuff he doesn't bother to? I think it's less to do with your children (although might be worth thinking about what you want them to learn about gender roles...) and more about why you have to pick up his slack. They're his children too, no?

As usual on these threads I'd recommend the book Wifework, it's very good putting words to why the set-up you describe isn't fair to you.

For what it's worth, I saw my parents share the planning etc. They also involved us kids. I do think it made us feel important and loved, to know we were clearly the most important thing to both our parents.

HermioneJeanGranger Wed 27-Jan-16 15:18:50

Not all parents are the "get down on the floor and play" types. My dad was, but my mum really wasn't. She would read with me, cook with me and occasionally play Monopoly, but she hated playing sports or interactive/imaginative games. My dad, on the other hand, taught me how to play football, how to ride a bike, how to roller-skate. He was the one that did imaginative play.

I have a good relationship with both parents and recognised they just both liked different things. It sounds like your DP has a good relationship with the DC - he talks to them and listens to them, reads them stories - they're all good things, please don't focus on what he doesn't do. I'm sure there are things you really don't like doing - so long as you don't do all the shit work (i.e he never does anything he hates), I don't see the problem.

TendonQueen Wed 27-Jan-16 15:23:54

If you're each playing to your strengths and are happy with that, fine. If you're having by default to pick up stuff he doesn't bother to do, and he gets to do what he wants when he wants, not so fine. Working hard and paying the bills is all well and good but it doesn't excuse from every other parental responsibility.

If you asked him to take them out at the weekend and suggested somewhere to go, would he be happy to do that, or would he only want to go if you came too?

Joolsy Wed 27-Jan-16 15:27:45

He'd only want to go if I came too! Though if I'm working in the holidays he will take a day off and take them out somewhere. He does ALL the DIY, gardening etc, I do most of the housework but I only work part time. I just wish he'd stop seeing weekends as 'his' time where he can lounge around, he is still a dad though sometimes I feel he doesn't put much effort into being one.

BarbarianMum Wed 27-Jan-16 15:34:26

If he works hard in the week and does all the DIY and gardening at weekends and is a reasonably involved father then I think some down time at weekends is reasonable. Equally, if you feel he only gets the good jobs and you get all the shitwork then you may need to trade a bit.

I think by 6 and 12 you don't need to be that "hands on" with kids.

squizita Wed 27-Jan-16 15:34:57

*But why should you have to do all the stuff he doesn't bother to?8

This. It's about the default/choice dynamic not the playing.

I know how you feel and my DH DOES get down and play. But I do all the boring stuff and learning stuff and so on. I'd like more of a balance, but we've fallen into the 'dad parents 100% as he prefers, mum fills in the gaps regrdless of her style' default. angry

Katenka Wed 27-Jan-16 15:36:57

Totally agree with barbarian

It's really about the whole picture.

I don't think some down time is too much to ask. You say you work pt. are you constantly doing something either housework or kids.

Honestly I have a 4 year old and an 11 year old. I would expect them to spend at least some of the weekend entertaining themselves.

StarlingMurmuration Wed 27-Jan-16 15:48:35

Back in the 80s when I was that age, I played with my brother, my friends and my pets. I played imaginative games on my own, on the living room floor, or in my bedroom. I played out. I read a LOT. But I didn't play with my parents at all. I'd help my mum with the shopping on Saturdays (while my dad did overtime) and then maybe go to the library in the afternoon, and do homework on Sundays. We went away one week a year, and maybe at Easter or a couple of days in the summer, we'd go out to a stately home or similar, but really, we were left to our own devices. I think this was pretty normal among my peers. Did he have this kind of childhood? Maybe it just doesn't occur to him to plan things for them to do all the time.

redexpat Wed 27-Jan-16 16:06:58

I think you need a discussion about how you want your family life to be like, and how the 2 of you can contribute to the process.

shutupandshop Wed 27-Jan-16 16:10:32

I think your being a bit unfair. He sounds like he has a good relationship with the dcs and you. He works ft, he needs downtime too! So do dcs.

RatherBeRiding Wed 27-Jan-16 16:13:02

So would you rather do some of the DIY and gardening while he amuses the kids? I presume he has to do this at weekends as he works FT? Do you do your share of the housework during the week when he is at work and the kids are at school?

It doesn't sound as though all of his weekend is downtime if he is doing DIY/gardening.

Maybe you would feel better if you worked out a pro rata child-care timetable based on your household duties and work-hours.

HumptyDumptyHadaHardTime Wed 27-Jan-16 16:14:37

I think your being a bit unfair. He sounds like he has a good relationship with the dcs and you. He works ft, he needs downtime too! So do dcs.

I agree with this.

Shutthatdoor Wed 27-Jan-16 16:15:49

So would you rather do some of the DIY and gardening while he amuses the kids? I presume he has to do this at weekends as he works FT? Do you do your share of the housework during the week when he is at work and the kids are at school?

It doesn't sound as though all of his weekend is downtime if he is doing DIY/gardening.

My thought exactly

museumum Wed 27-Jan-16 16:26:42

I wonder if some of this is about when you get downtime? do you get downtime too?

My dh and i both give each other some sports time at the weekends - around half of saturday is 'mine' and a big chunk of sunday is 'his' while the rest of saturday and sunday are family time. Unless we have a whole day thing to do.

dh takes ds to the supermarket while i'm at my sport, I take ds to swimming while dh is at his. these are our choices and play to our strengths.

squizita Wed 27-Jan-16 16:28:02

So would you rather do some of the DIY and gardening while he amuses the kids? I presume he has to do this at weekends as he works FT? Do you do your share of the housework during the week when he is at work and the kids are at school?

hmm

Yes, part time mums have it easy.
Their DPs are working sooo hard providing and doing the PRESUMED 'MAN WORK' while little wifey can get on with her house work in the week. Why wouldn't she be doing DIY and gardening in the week too? Women can do those things you know.

The reason this winds me up so much is I (like many women) work full-time. This assumption if you work full time you deserve loads of R&R at the weekend somehow doesn't transfer to women though. It's not to do with working full time or being the breadwinner. It's to do with gender roles and the expectation he should be protected from work at home because he works full time like he did before kids anyway, whereas her life is totally different. It's about status. It's about who always compromises.

No one would ever write "So would you (husband) rather do the gardening while she (wife) amuses the kids suggesting that's unusual ? I presume she has to do this at weekends as she works full time? Do you do your share of the housework during the week when she is at work and the kids at school?"

Therein lies the issue If there's too much work for 2, the man's rest time is always "golden" and mum is selfish. If there are lots of tasks, the man gets to choose and even though anyone with kids knows sometimes quiet gardening or ironing is a bit of a welcome break is praised handsomely, the women picks up everything else with no choice to it and is called a nag otherwise.
It's called 'wife work', 'emotional labour' ...various things.

titchy Wed 27-Jan-16 16:28:33

I think they're past the ages where you need to think of stuff to do with them tbh!

Katenka Wed 27-Jan-16 17:07:05

I don't understand why people get shitty on these threads.

The kids are 12 and 6. They don't need every moment planned.

He wants some down time. Nothing wrong with that. As long as the OP gets some too.

In my house my down time is as important as dhs. Why would you put up with if it wasn't? (aside from abusive situations).

No partner is perfect. If you only focus on what your partner doesn't do and not what the do, do. Then your ill be miserable.

Each house is different and it works differently for different people. I do all the washing in the house and most of the general tidying. Dh does all the cooking and the shopping. Everything else is divided based on who is there.

Some people wouldn't like cooking all the time, but my dh likes it. However if he said he wasn't happy we would swop.

A mans down time is not more important. Ever. But you have to come up with something that works for both people. Both should get some down time.

Surely the OP isn't perfect either?

How would she feel if her dh focused on things she doesn't do, rather than the things she does.

Sazzle41 Wed 27-Jan-16 18:50:17

They are a bit old fo r games OP. Why do people these days assume good parenting has to involve outings//activities? My Dear Dad was very, very similar and my love of films , books, good conversation about life,history and anything interesting (both insatiable learners) is huge part of my good memories. Forget endless outings and have family pizza & movie nights.

StarlingMurmuration Wed 27-Jan-16 18:58:54

YY titchy. I don't think OP should be doing all the childcare at the weekend because she's a woman and he works full time - I think they should both get equal downtime while the children (especially the 12 yr old) entertain themselves.

BathtimeFunkster Wed 27-Jan-16 19:03:56

I think given his kids are 12 and 6 he's quite right to see weekends as downtime for him.

If he's doing DIY and other household jobs, he's not slacking.

Some people aren't that arsed about days out. As my kids get older and their weeks get busier, I find we're mostly just into pottering at the weekend.

Nottodaythankyouorever Wed 27-Jan-16 19:19:12

I think they're past the ages where you need to think of stuff to do with them tbh!

^ this x 100

BarbarianMum Wed 27-Jan-16 19:45:58

OP shouldn't do all childcare, of course not, but childcare can include all the things she lists her dh as doing with the kids. It can also include letting them amuse themselves whilst you garden, do DIY or even sit and relax.

RatherBeRiding Thu 28-Jan-16 12:07:21

Why wouldn't she be doing DIY and gardening in the week too? Women can do those things you know.

Yes thank you squitza I do know that women are capable of doing DIY and gardening. However, OP specifically said that in their particular division of labour her DH does all the gardening and DIY. He works full-time. When is he supposed to do it? Presumably he does it at the weekend or in the evening. Regardless - these are the things that he does. It doesn't sound as though he is slacking particularly in his non-working hours at any rate. Or does "man work" such as DIY and gardening count as his "down time"?

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