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..or is he? (parenting/work battle)

(28 Posts)
user1467117367 Tue 28-Jun-16 14:00:33

DH and I both freelance at a variety of jobs (3 each), meaning we juggle childcare (1 DC) between us, with help from my parents. We're not on the breadline, but money month to month can be tight as income is unpredictable.

Most of the childcare falls to me, as DH has one job which takes up a significant part of his time during the week (my work can be more flexible). It's also partly an instinctive thing: I do all of the emotional/mental work associated with her life (nursery stuff, playdates and parties, humouring and actually engaging with hours of 4 y/o chatter, which DH tends to switch off from after a few minutes, etc.). I'm fine with this, and enjoy spending time with her. But of course, it can get tiring - especially as I'm an introvert, and I struggle with anxiety.

Last week DH had been working longer hours at one job for several days in row, at the end of which he was understandably exhausted. I was also tried - had had some lovely days out with DC, but was also ready for a break from child duty. I asked DH to do something for DC, which he didn't want to as he was ready to settle down with a beer. Things escalated a bit, leading him to say "If you honestly think a day with DC is more exhausting than a day doing what I've just done, you're out of your mind."

I took issue with this, but opted to leave it and not get involved in an argument. The work he'd done involved a lot of writing and sitting at a desk, high concentration, yes, but also a lunch break and the chance to be single-minded and focused on a task that is, in itself, quite rewarding. I hate getting into competitions about who's more tired and whether 'real work' or parenting is harder.

Atmosphere the last few days has been tense. Last night, I asked if everything was ok - which it obv wasn't - which led to him complaining that I 'guilt-trip' him by 'sitting at home seething with resentment' when he goes out to these gigs. I corrected him, saying that's not the case at all - but that I was bothered by the suggestion that I don't need a break from the parenting work, and by the fact that a simple suggestion the he help with DC in the evening should turn me into some awful relentless/bossy nag.

My other complaint was that he makes such heavy weather over his work - all of which are highly skilled jobs that he's trained to do, that he's chosen to do, and that are respected and rewarding. He's always tired, there have always been challenges or difficult people to work with, etc. etc. In a way I was gently trying to tell him to man up - be grateful for the work and quit coming home in martyr mode. Then I made the mistake of citing my dad - who has worked in a number of high-powered, risky and intense jobs - who never complains, ever...and a friend who teaches a class of 30 kids in a deprived elementary school while battling with MS - also, who never complains.

I wanted him to shift his focus, shift his mood, and be a bit nicer to me, basically. His response was to storm upstairs, slam the office door, and immediately send in his resignation to the employer from the last job. He went out after that, only came home very late, but texted me to tell me he'd done this as 'the job clearly wasn't working for us.'

I'm furious. I never wanted him to quit, we can't afford to lose the income, and I can't help but feel that he's done this to punish me. Should I have done anything differently? What do I do now? Or is he BU?

Nanny0gg Tue 28-Jun-16 14:07:04

Is he always this childish?

Who leaves a job because of a row at home?

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 28-Jun-16 14:13:19

Of course HIBU. Childish, silly and impulsive.

He also seems to have the common misconception. That childcare is a breeze and walk in the park for you, but too hard for him to do after he comes in. It's either hard work in which case you need a break, or it isn't. In which case, he can do it with a beer in hand and a smile on his face.

user1467117367 Tue 28-Jun-16 14:14:03

That's what I'm feeling.

We have one of these big arguments once every few months, it seems. He does have a temper, and he can lose it quite dramatically (shouting, stomping about, door slamming) but this is the first time he's actually acted in the heat of the moment. Often he's later quite contrite as he knows that his rages are disproportionate and that they effectively lose him any valid point that he's tried to make. I can't see how he won't regret this later, and that would be fine - if a part of me wasn't feeling somehow responsible!

blondieblonde Tue 28-Jun-16 14:16:57

He is.

But never mind. It sounds like this might genuinely be good and that you were all working too many jobs.

ChicRock Tue 28-Jun-16 14:18:02

If he's really resigned from his job because of s row with you then he's a twat.

But I suspect he hasn't and he's a liar.

Hillfarmer Tue 28-Jun-16 14:18:21

You are not responsible for his childish behaviour. He chooses it. He is of course trying to hold you responsible for his behaviour. Don't let him blame you for him being a prick.

blondieblonde Tue 28-Jun-16 14:20:22

A few times my husband has done things like this (rash decisions), but only when under intense pressure (as he experienced it - like you say, I've always thought of examples of people coping a lot better/more).

It's a bit weak. Try to avoid him, don't ask him to do things for DD as he'll only huff and bicker. When he comes out of the mood then talk to him.

blushrush Tue 28-Jun-16 14:21:11

Wow! What a man-baby!

Try not to feel guilty. You voiced how you were feeling to your partner, as any self-respecting adult should do, and he flew off the handle and threw a tantrum.

He will regret his decision, but in the end, it was his decision.

user1467117367 Tue 28-Jun-16 14:22:24

Blondie, yes - I can see that there may be a silver lining here, and that by removing this one regular gig we lessen the chance of a similar argument further down the line. But it was a job he'd worked hard to get, it was a feather in his cap, and it was money. And resigning is a big deal - you don't do something like that in a temper.

ChicRock, I'm 99% sure he has. He texted me about an hour after he went out saying that after calm, rational thought he'd reached a decision and written to his employer.

Now do I just move on and not talk about it (he's out all day), or do I let myself get angry?

ThereIsIron Tue 28-Jun-16 14:24:26

Tiredness never trumps the need to parent. He can sleep in 14 years when she's gone.

OracleofDelphi Tue 28-Jun-16 14:25:09

Ohhh surely he is lying to guilt trip you? If not then Im a bit shock that a grown man would quit a profitable job that they enjoy, because his wife said her dad coped better with the stress? If he has then he will have to deal with the outcome.... However I suspect in a few days they will have "refused" his notice.....

I would just refuse to engage with this.... You certainly didnt ask him to quit and pointing out that he might like to spend time with his child, is not the same as asking someone to quit their job.... !

PotteringAlong Tue 28-Jun-16 14:25:45

Resigning was ridiculous, but so was suggesting that looking after one 4 year old (who you say is at nursery so not even looking after them 24/7) was harder.

user1467117367 Tue 28-Jun-16 14:26:46

Hillfarmer, that is always my point: he controls his behaviour, not me. And now he's taken a decision that will affect our whole family, which I absolutely did not support.

Blush and Blondie - yes. It's the moodish thing that drives me crazy. His dad's the same, so it's obv not going to change. On the other hand, I do get that he's tired...but not everyone behaves this way when they're tired, surely?

LaurieFairyCake Tue 28-Jun-16 14:28:28

Whether he has or hasn't resigned you have to call his bluff and go 'good, right these are the days your doing childcare since you're not working'

I think hes being a right tit

user1467117367 Tue 28-Jun-16 14:28:28

PotteringAlong, she's not at nursery now - home full-time (nursery ended a few weeks ago). Only just turned 4, so starts school in Sept. I never said it was harder work, either - just objected to the suggestion that HIS work was objectively harder.

user1467117367 Tue 28-Jun-16 14:29:27

Delphi, you're probably right about refusing to engage.

PotteringAlong Tue 28-Jun-16 14:30:40

I think it is objectively harder. If I only had my 4 year old and not the other younger children to worry about life would be a doddle.

blondieblonde Tue 28-Jun-16 14:33:24

Don't engage.

MrsTerryPratchett Tue 28-Jun-16 14:33:38

Again, I say, if it's so easy, why isn't it easy for him? Children seem to magically be a breeze for their mothers but suuuccchhh hard work for their poor fathers after a day at work.

BestZebbie Tue 28-Jun-16 14:51:23

I don't think it would have even crossed his mind to resign if he hadn't already been secretly seriously considering it.
Perhaps all your argument did was change it from 'a pipedream/consoling fantasy/thing to discuss with you when the current rush is finished with and there is time to breathe' to 'a thing that I will do right now because I can't take any more of anything for even one second and I am just done'.
If that were the case though, he is still wrong to be impulsive and not involve you in his thought process/feelings much earlier or in assessing the actual impact on the family/planning an exit strategy with financial budget etc.

Babycham1979 Tue 28-Jun-16 15:51:38

Are you sure he hated it and that maybe you gave him the opportunity to resign and 'save face'.

If the current set-up is so difficult, and you both think the other has it easy, why not swap? You do the two freelance jobs, and he works part-time and looks after your DD. You might both be surprised about the pressures involved!

RunRabbitRunRabbit Tue 28-Jun-16 16:08:15

Move on and not talk about it or get angry? Neither.

"Thanks love, I appreciate you releasing all those hours to take care of your DD. She'll appreciate your time far more than the money."

Then make sure he takes care of her in those hours. Definitely not sitting with a beer instead.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Tue 28-Jun-16 16:11:04

Oops, posted too soon.

What I was trying to say was that you should take him at face value. You asked him to help out with DC, there was a discussion about his work taking too much time which makes him too tired to be a hands on parent, so he decided to quit one of the jobs.

Perfectly reasonable in the cold light of day.

Sounds like he was actually having a big man-tantrum but hey, why not take him at his word? Which was volunteering for more childcare. Result.

Hillfarmer Tue 28-Jun-16 17:35:34

Hey RunRabbit I think you've nearly coined a new word - a mantrum!

Possible Dictionary Definitions please, but here goes. I think it could denote 'a strop by a man, who reacts disproportionately, by sulking or shouting, to being informed that something they have done (or not done) has upset the other party. It's main purpose is to 'out-upset' the other party so that the original reasonable complaint is completely eclipsed and they end up feeling they need to apologise to the one having the mantrum'.

Will that do? Any offers?

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