Feel like I'm 'responsible' for everything in our family life!(80 Posts)
Having a day of feeling really rubbish. I forgot something important to my son because I didn't read a letter from the school properly. I corrected it, rushed into the school sorted it out but it is the second time this has happened. It led to an argument with DH that I feel I'm left to be responsible for sorting everything out. I work full time, am the main wage earner in our house. DH has his own business and the idea is he keeps it small to work around the children and our family life so he can be more flexible. As awful, awful as it is sounds in short we could survive without his income, we could not survive without mine. However I still feel responsible for everything in our family life. He doesn't like computers, doesn't have an email account etc so anything online I deal with, this includes all out bills, all communication from school and nursery about DCs, I sort all the childcare out, I sort out everything for the cleaner, I sort our insurances out, our oil/ gas/ etc, I sort out all the arrangements for our social life, I have pretty much sorted christmas on my own etc. You get the drift. This isn't to say he doesn't do stuff, he does loads in terms of collecting children, stuff round the house etc he is not lazy at all, he is a wonderful husband and wonderful father - but I very much feel left to 'manage' our lives. Work has been very full on recently, I have a lot of responsibility and it is all getting too much. I am constantly anxious about what I've missed and feel like I'm constantly dropping the ball on things (very much like today) - there were 4 things I needed to do for DS1 today and 2 for DS2 - I remembers 5 of the 6 in total but feel totally awful at forgetting the 6th. School must think I'm a horrendous mother! AIBU to think this responsibility for managing our family needs to shared more equally - Dh seems to really underestimate how tiring it is staying on top of everything all the time!
You are using up a lot of brain space on all these matters that should be shared. Read the book Wifework that explains all this perfectly.
It needs to be split equally between you.
And tell him to sign up to a computing course. It is inpossible to traverse daily life without email any more - I know because I have to help an elderly relative with this.
If you two split up he would need an email account and to organise his own life and children... just saying.
It does need to be equal, yanbu at all. I'm the sahp and do all of the 'managing' and it does get overwhelming, yet I don't even work full time. It's just too much for one person to be responsible for all the time. It's impossible to hold all these different yet equally important things in your head at once, like spinning plates.
They are equally your children, Christmas is for all of you, you both benefit from your social life so why are you doing all the brainwork?
(Not to be One Of Those but it always seems to end up the woman's job...)
Thank you - and yes it does seem to end up as the woman's job! DH is a wonderful man but I genuinely think he thinks it is all easy to sort. One of his comments earlier was 'how is it so difficult to stay on top of these things considering all the complicated stuff you deal with day to day at work'.
Came on to say read Wifework too! It really is an eye-opener, no wonder how marvellous the DH.
Yes yes to wife work.
As a starting point could you sit down on a Sunday evening and have a mini meeting about what needs to be done that week and share between you.
But yes - he needs to get on board with it. Just getting him used to a Google calendar would make a maybe difference.
How many hours does he put in to his business?
In our family, I work part time and do everything - childcare/hw/admin. Dh works full time and does nothing else.
Both my situation and yours isn't fair. It should be split. It's the constant having to think for everyone that is so wearing.
I felt exactly the same as you, sat down and had a big chat with dh. That's when I realised something. Even though I felt swamped and was missing things, I never actually let dh do anything as I like things done my way dh couldn't win.
For example I complained he never death with school stuff, so the next evening he started going through the book bag, organising and sorting the letters but he didn't put the letters where are usually put them and only wrote the dates on the calendar
and not in my diary . I must confess watching him do it was more stressful so I decided i had to either stop moaning or let him get on with things as he was more than capable .
'how is it so difficult to stay on top of these things considering all the complicated stuff you deal with day to day at work'
I'm sorry but how did you not scream at that!! That is sugggesting that it was all your fault! What he should be thinking about is, 'why on earth didn't I do some of those things?!'
Either stuff is easy or it is hard. It isn't easy when done by you and becomes hard when done by him. So either it's easy, so he'll have no problem taking on his fair share, or it's hard, and he realises it's not fair for you to do all this hard stuff alone.
The truth is probably that any individual thing from the list is easy, its the juggling and prioritising and remembering them all which is stressful and difficult.
Disclaimer before you take any advice from me, we have always had business meetings in our marriage, where we check everyone is doing ok, that finances and jobs are split equitably. Not fairly or evenly, more that everyone is happy with their lot and that one of us isn't drowning in tasks while the other is twiddling their thumbs.
Yanbu it is draining being the only person taking responsibility for the thinking and organising.
Randy I think you could have a really good point there and probably needs reflecting on by me. Take christmas for example - I just did it. He has been superb in the building of the children's christmas present (it is bloody impressive) but I decided what we should do and how. I think it is a give and take - he needs to pick up some of the responsibility and I need to let some of it go. I grew up in a very matriarchal family, as did he, and sometimes think we are repeating that trend! You could imagine a post in reverse from him - my wife makes all the decisions in our family but I'm left to do most the work! Feeling a bit bad now...
Am so fed up doing 'wifework'. This year I even bought MiL's cards for mother's day, birthday, got birthday gift, wrapped it, bought their Xmas presents and packaged and told DH to go to post office after sitting him down to write their cards. It's exhausting. Don't know how he thinks my side of the family's stuff gets down (there are more of us) or anything for our child. I really think they don't really 'get' it. Drives me bonkers. And yes, it's exhausting mentally as well as horrid when you do drop one of the juggling balls. I feel guilty then realise 'wtf?' why do I feel guilty for dropping one ball when all the rest are still in the air. We do often have 'discussions' about when do I get the opportunity to slack off, especially when ill, etc. Some will say it's all about training the DH, but I think so much of it is the upbringing. DH's parents are a lot older than mine and the generational difference is stark. Women didn't work and looked after everything else. Still that way at in-laws. My son already knows a lot more about how to run a house than DH and I intend to continue with that.
Oh how is it so hard to do all the Wifework? Um - because you're tired from dealing with all the complicated stuff from work maybe? If it's so easy, why doesn't he do it?
As others have said, it takes a lot of head space to deal with all those tiny little simple things. All those hundreds of various tiny little simple things.
Unless he has any special needs and is unable to use a computer, I would suggest that he learns. It's a pretty important skill nowadays.
Sounds as if he's taking the piss & you let him.
OK, in this case you misread something that you were dealing with, so that's not exactly his problem.
The problem is that he's not doing his share.
For 2017 I bought a family calendar, we each have a line, I'll willingly write on it, Dh has to check it, add to it and follow it. He's the SAHP I work. If you don't let him do it, he'll never learn.
I've left the cooking, laundry and making shopping lists to Dh and I do gridn my teeth but have to give up the control, he's getting better with time.
One of his comments earlier was 'how is it so difficult to stay on top of these things considering all the complicated stuff you deal with day to day at work'.
I don't know how he dares have the cheek to say that considering he can't even be arsed to learnt to use a computer, never mind not even having experienced having to do any of the admin/management side of your lives.
I hear you. My DH does LOADS day to day. Which makes me feel like a total cow when I lose my shit and complain that I am the only person who does any thinking or planning and it's utterly exhausting.
Yes he'll be running about prepping food for next day etc but when he's done he switches off. I never switch off.
If it wasn't for me, yes DS would be fed and washed but he would have no clothes, no toys, no books, no friends, no activities to go to. We would never go on days out or on holiday. I read the parenting books and forums. I think about work and childcare. Everything. Literally everything.
Off to read Wifework.
Christmas in worse as well. He's done NONE of the planning.
I can completely identify with your post, as we have a similar set up (not by choice, though).
My dh is pretty hands on, and me being away with work quite frequently has helped with this, but I definitely do more of the wifework.
I do most of the present buying for parties, replying to invitations, buying shoes, clothes, uniforms, managing finances etc.
He would do stuff if I asked but that's not the point.
I often say to him that I am a manager at work, and as such responsible for delegating tasks and seeing that other people do their work. I do not want to be a manager at home, we're supposed to be a team and it's not my job to work out what needs to be done and delegate to him.
He sees my point but it's still a work in progress.
I also have very low standards re housework etc so it's not a case of not wanting to let go control or wanting things done a certain way.
A weekly sit down is a good idea and one which we have not managed to put into practice.
Why wasn't he reading the stuff from the school? It didn't require a computer . He collects the children. Why isn't his automatic reaction to check their bags and deal with the school stuff?
This isn't about you 'letting go' of stuff. Or making all the decisions. He consciously makes a decision every day that he is not going to deal with the school stuff. This is about him not taking responsibility.
And as for the comment about how come you can't keep on top of things? How you didn't not walk out and tell him to do it his-fucking-self, I do not know.
That again indicates he has no intention of stepping up and believes it to be your responsibility. You are doing the work because you know it won't get done otherwise.
A serious chat is needed. You will end up resenting and hating him. Why would he want someone he supposedly loves to be so stressed and knackered, when he can do something about it?
sleepy, yes I am the one doing the planning, reading parenting books, trying to figure out solutions to issues the kids have, researching car seats and finding the best value etc
I feel your pain Doddle - exactly the same for me. I would imagine that school and other people think you are wonderful - as you are working full time and run around sorting things out - it doesn't go unnoticed. I however always feel like I am on a treadmill though - not doing a good job at work, not being a good full-time mother - I try and stretch myself into 2 or 3 people, but not enough hours in the week.
I Would say it's exactly because I deal with loads of complicated stuff at work that I can't keep on top of things at home! Tell him "my brain is full, so stuff leaks out" that's how it feels sometimes isn't it?
My advice would be to get yourself off parent mail and back on to paper letters home , then it's his job to go through book bags etc and take control of all child related admin . Right back atcha! See how he gets on with it.
Join the discussion
Please login first.