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To think I'm not "lucky" because DP does an equal share of childcare?

(80 Posts)
SamanthaBrique Sat 11-Jun-16 09:04:00

Isn't that how it should be? Women shouldn't consider themselves "lucky" to have a partner who helps out - shouldn't that be the norm?

I was talking to two friends recently - one has two children, is a SAHM and from day 1 her DH has not lifted a finger to help with the kids or around the house. He "works very hard" during the week so that means he has to spend his weekends relaxing and pursuing his hobbies (rather than spending time with his children) while she never gets a break. She works pretty damn hard too, to raise two children during the week yet is lucky if she gets half an hour in Asda by herself, and if she needs anything she has to ask him for money as they don't have a joint bank account.

Other friend (WOHM 4 days a week) has a DP who works once a fortnight, looks after their DD once a week and she goes to nursery on the other 3 days my friend works. Yet if their DD is ill my friend has to take time off work as her DP refuses to look after her. Likewise at weekends he refuses to do childcare and he doesn't help out around the house either as he's very busy watching TV or playing computer games. He isn't exactly a cocklodger as he's independently well-off, but if my friend ever asks him to do more than his allocated day of childcare he points out that she's the one who wanted a child, not him, so she has to deal with it!

I really don't understand how some men can be like this, and it saddens me that their partners think it normal and that they just have to put up with it.

everdene Sat 11-Jun-16 09:07:16

I don't think you're lucky, I think your friends' DPs both sound like absolute twats, particularly the one who plays computer games instead of looking after the children.

That said, I don't think it is at all uncommon, particularly in previous generations, for men to do very little with their children.

everdene Sat 11-Jun-16 09:07:35

I don't think you're lucky, I think your friends' DPs both sound like absolute twats, particularly the one who plays computer games instead of looking after the children.

That said, I don't think it is at all uncommon, particularly in previous generations, for men to do very little with their children.

Skittlesss Sat 11-Jun-16 09:07:53

Sadly it isn't the norm. A lot of people seem to think the man should come before the rest of the family.

Lightbulbon Sat 11-Jun-16 09:10:10

I'm wondering if I know your second example as I know an identical family.

Loads of men are lazy useless fuckwits and loads of women have such low self esteem they put up with it.

Thankfully I think mn is a real eye opener for women to realise that set up has had its day and it's better for everyone to split and go solo.

SamanthaBrique Sat 11-Jun-16 09:17:57

One of them was talking about how unhelpful her DH is, only for another friend to tell her that's how men's brains work and they can't help being like that angry

Numberoneisgone Sat 11-Jun-16 09:26:10

It is still very much the cultural norm for women to take the dominant role in childrearing. This obviously has a huge impact in terms of socialisation of both boys and girls growing up and looking at what their roles are to be as adults.

The fact that DH and I have to a certain extent broken out of these roles does make me feel 'lucky' because social expectations can bring intense social pressure.

I think the next wave of feminism requires both women and men to make the huge shift to the notion that when a child is born 2 parents with 2 full parenting responsibilities are created. I also would like my own daughters to feel that they can achieve their full potential academically and career wise when they grow up and still have a full family life. My expectation is that this would involve reduced working hours and increased sharing of parenting duties for both parents.

This lack of decent flexible working means that at present most families are making lots of compromises to make their situation work whatever way that is. The examples in the OP are extreme but until we sort out this work life balance issue I don't think the 2 parent working full on and splitting parenting full on is the best answer either. Certainly that is what we do and we are both often walking zombies trying to balance it all.

GettingScaredNow Sat 11-Jun-16 09:28:17

Sadly I think in a way you are lucky. Because you have a Dp who is willing to help out and you don't have to fight for his help.
You shouldn't be labelled as lucky, rather women who have partners who won't help are 'unlucky', but due to the sheer volume of men out there who see all child rearing as the woman's job it has put you (and others who have decent husband/partners) into the 'lucky' category as it is not 'the norm'

Trills Sat 11-Jun-16 09:40:07

It is how it should be, absolutely.

And anyone talking about how "Men can't help it" is merely enabling bad behaviour.

But you are a bit lucky. Luck has some part to play (as well as hard work, making good decisions, etc).

Lucky that your life and upbringing up til the point you met him allowed you to recognise someone who would take an equal share.

Lucky that your beliefs and personality allowed you to reject the kind of men who would not act like a grownup and take responsibility.

If you entirely exclude luck, you are saying that any woman who ends up with a man who does not do his full share (or worse), is "not unlucky". It must be their own fault. Because apparently luck has nothing to do with it.

SamanthaBrique Sat 11-Jun-16 11:34:07

Actually I grew up in a home where my parents had a very traditional setup. To this day my dad can't even make a cup of tea! It would've been very easy for me to see it as the norm but I didn't. But that's just me. I'm not victim-blaming but I do think it depressing how many men take the piss.

Pearlman Sat 11-Jun-16 11:46:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

m0therofdragons Sat 11-Jun-16 11:54:06

I'm always told I'm lucky and I want to scream "not at all, I just didn't marry a twat". Sadly men are expected to be crap.

ElspethFlashman Sat 11-Jun-16 11:57:07

We have a 50/50 childcare set up but we are HIGHLY unusual.

We just have personalities that want to dig in and are both hardwired to be "helpful".

However there is also a circumstantial element. Shortly after our first was born I was ill and had to give up breastfeeding and DH had to take over the baby. He was shit less. Prior to that I had done 90% cos the baby was clamped to my tit 24/7. It wasn't fun but he got through it. He now says that was the time he bonded. It was also the time he just pushed right through "the fear". When I was well, he had gained the confidence to have a child entirely on his own for hours and he knew what to do.

Whereas a friend of mine has a DH who doesn't get home till 7.30pm and she BF till the child was 3. Basically between those two things he barely saw his child. She now complains he's a weekend Disney Dad who simply evaporates from the kitchen when there's a meltdown. I don't entirely know if it's anyone's fault though. He just hasn't had the time to learn how to be a parent rather than say, an Uncle type.

StinkyMcgrinky Sat 11-Jun-16 11:57:25

I get this a lot as me and DH try and split things 50/50, I'm currently heavily pregnant with SPD so DH probably does more than me at present in terms of the house work and playing with DS out for an hour while I collapse in a heap on the sofa. We also get A LOT of raised eyebrows when I mention that me and DH are taking shared parental leave for DS2 ("But don't YOU want to be at home with your children?!" "Oh but babies need their mums!" hmm)

One of the mums i know has a DH who is very much as some PP have described, works during the week and then spends the weekend at football or out with friends to 'unwind'. She was really struggling at one stage and I suggested it might be nice for her DH to take out their DC just for an hour or so during one of the weekend mornings so she could have some time to relax and have a meal/shower in peace and DH could have time with their son. The response I got was a very snappy "We're not all as lucky as you Stinky! Not everyone has a husband like StinkyDH!"

I am very grateful for my DH and do appreciate that he seems to be an anomaly. I don't know if I was more annoyed or just sad for her sad

branofthemist Sat 11-Jun-16 12:32:28

My mil once told me I was lucky that dh did half the childcare and house work, before I got chance to say anything dh piped up with 'with that thinking I am lucky she goes to work and pays half the bills, does half the child care and half the house work'

Then pointed out that a relationship is a partnership and he wasn't a dick.

It's quite strange she thinks like this, as fil worked nights and still did both school runs (slept while kids were at school), made the dinner and did most of the house work, while mil did very little. In fact she did so little dh thinks she shouldn't have really had kids as she didn't bother with him and sister much at all.

While I don't feel lucky, I do appreciate every dh does. And he appreciates everything I do.

Noodledoodledoo Sat 11-Jun-16 12:34:28

I get the 'you got lucky with that one' comments all the time. I am also apparently really good to 'let him go to golf' most weekends!

I remember one time saying in passing that I got DH to check the changing bag before we went out and the group of mums I was with all looked shocked he would know what should be in it!

He has done bath time pretty much every night since we started a 'bedtime routine' at about 12 weeks ish.

When I go out I don't have to leave a list of instructions, I might just say something along the lines of 'shes not to keen on x,y,z in terms of food currently' but that's because I do lunch and tea on the days I don't work, and do pick up from nursery where they tell me what she has eaten so I know the latest likes and dislikes, not because he doesn't feed her - he always does breakfast!

I do think some men do the bare minimum, but I also think some women expect the bare minimum.

Not sure whose at fault - it would be different for each couple - I know mums who expect the men to do nothing, I know mums who don't let husbands do anything, or treat them like kids who will do it wrong so they don't bother! I also know a lot of men who do sod all and nothing will get them to change!

Junosmum Sat 11-Jun-16 12:41:57

I think you are lucky.

Lucky that you have the self respect and self worth to know that what your friends 'partners' are doing is wrong and wouldn't put up with it.

I think you are lucky that you have the sense to choose a mate who values your time as much as his own, and his child as much as you do.

I think your friends partners are twats and they are stupid for staying with them and putting up with it.

Junosmum Sat 11-Jun-16 12:46:27

Noodle- I'm the same. I went out yesterday morning (currently on mat leave) and left DS with DH. I got up, got dressed, had breakfast (making DH a brew) and left. No getting DS ready, no instructions, no pre-packing the bag.

I came home. DS and DH had been out, looking at nurserys. DH went off to work, as he left he said 'sorry, I haven't repacked the change bag, it needs some more wipes, a nappy and a muslin in it.

I have to say I was proud of him (he's pretty absent minded at times) but I was proud I'd made a good choice to procreate with someone who views me as his equal.

ElspethFlashman Sat 11-Jun-16 12:46:40

My MIL told me recently that her daughter was going away to a conference for the week and was tired cos she had had to cook a weeks worth of dinners and lay out every days outfits for the kids for the week.

She was just telling me like she was talking about the weather and when I was all shock she was taken aback by my reaction. I said why did she do that? He'd hardly have kept them starving and naked!

She said "we'll not everyone is as lucky as you". I said luck had nothing to do with it, that SIL was grooming her husband to be helpless and useless.

clam Sat 11-Jun-16 12:52:38

Who are all these men people who "work so hard" that they exempt themselves from household/family stuff at the weekends? I've had a job/ career for over 30 years, plus a family, and I can't ever recall having felt the need to utter the words "I work hard all week." So what? Who doesn't?

ohidoliketobe Sat 11-Jun-16 12:53:56

You and your DP sound sensible and your kids will grow up with a good sense of equality.

I don't count myself as "lucky" that, despite coming from a from a very traditional mum doing all cooking, cleaning, childcare and dad did DIY family, my DH does his fair share of household chores, cooking and childcare. No luck involved, I wouldn't have decided to procreate with someone who didn't view those tasks as equal responsibility.

VestalVirgin Sat 11-Jun-16 12:56:00

One of them was talking about how unhelpful her DH is, only for another friend to tell her that's how men's brains work and they can't help being like that

Judging from all I have heard of how men's brains work, I am now convinced they should be locked up in zoos. (Only the ones who believe that their brains work like this, obviously. Those who are miraculously able to behave like reasonable human beings can be treated like reasonable human beings.)

Perhaps you are lucky, perhaps you are clever to have chosen a good partner, or perhaps a bit of both.

However, I don't understand the attitude. I didn't get my driver's license at first try. Perhaps I was too bad a driver, perhaps it was bad luck. What did I do? Bemoan my bad luck and envy those who succeeded? No - I just tried again.

Simpsonsaddict Sat 11-Jun-16 12:58:54

Maybe lucky is the wrong word... I feel lucky to have a husband who works hard so I can be part time and also takes a full part in childcare. But he also feels lucky to have me, and we both feel lucky to have a beautiful daughter and another baby on the way. And I do like to tell and show him that in grateful, I wouldn't want to take him for granted.

I8toys Sat 11-Jun-16 13:03:46

Don't think its lucky. You hopefully pick someone who suits you and what you want. I made it perfectly clear to my dh that I would not do all the housework or all of the childcare. We share things equally and both work. He also enjoys spending time with his children so its not a chore in any way.

I stayed at home for 3 months maternity with both mine and then worked part time 3 days a week until they went to school - so obviously did the majority then but now both full time and share equally.

gingerboy1912 Sat 11-Jun-16 13:09:25

I agree with you op however I've never met a couple in RL who split the house work and child care equally or even close to equally sad

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