DH makes me feel like a spare part at times with my own children(17 Posts)
I LOVE my DH and our two boys. However having a 3 and 6 year old is very hard work and the 3 year is going through a particularly very strong willed, challenging phase. I work FT, I earn majority of our household income. DH works part time, around the nursery and school and does most of the school drop off's, pick up's etc. He normally gets dinner ready, but I am usually home by about 5pm each evening so it's not as if I'm not around. The problem is DH has developed a tendency of 'taking over' with the children. I could be mid-washing their teeth and he'll come in and just sort of shoo me off, I can be trying to manage something with our 3 yr old and he'll come in and just take over, he'll explain really simple things to me like what stories they like or clothes they want to wear, he comes in and corrects me - for example will change their clothes, or pour them a different drink etc. I think the explaining thing upsets me the most - it is like he assumes I don't know. I sometimes feel like a spare part in the family and he is making out I don't know my own children. He'll criticise me for working long hours (I more than often have to pick up work in the evenings after children are in bed) but he likes the advantages my wages bring and wants me to go for promotion. I don't know if part of this is that he feels the need to defend what is a relatively new role of the more stay at home parent (I was until about 18mths ago), or he feels he is being helpful. It's not done in a nasty or aggressive way at all, he's not like that. They've developed a real 'boys' thing, playing 'boys' games', building 'boys' things, he loves them dearly I know that and I know he loves me, but I do feel excluded. If I try and talk to him about it he gets defensive and says its my issue - which I really don't feel like it is - but I didn't know if this was a common feeling among the working parent versus part time/ stay at home parent? It's mothers day tomorrow and I just feel rubbish - like I'm a rubbish mother - and as long as I go off and earn enough money everyone will be fine.
DP works long hours and I have the kids 99% of the time. I don't interrupt his time with the kids but I know it hurts him when they say "mummy doesn't do it like that" or "mummy does it better". I try to explain that it's just because they're used to our routine and way of doing things, and he's not getting it wrong.
YANBU perhaps discuss (again) and say 2 evenings per week and one day/half day most weekends you want Mum & boys time whilst he has a break and "leisure" time...
If he interferes call him out on it? "That's your way, this is mine, they're my DC too I can manage fine"
It sounds like he's deliberately undermining you. Is he feeling inadequate because he isn't the breadwinner and 'punishing' you as a way of asserting what little authority he does have?
I think he's being mean taking over when you are doing stuff. My dh doesn't do things exactly as I do but I think it's good for children to see that different parents do things differently. I don't always like what my dh dresses them in, he really struggles with our daughter! Unless they look terrible or are dressed unsuitably I just bite my tongue.
In your situation I think I would be asking for a re think of the working patterns as you feel pushed out. Maybe you could work a bit less and him a bit more? You could suggest this and explain why and see if it makes him re think his behaviour a bit?
AHedgehog if it is that I don't think it would be a purposeful, conscious thing, but I do he has found the transition tough. He comes from a very patriarchal family, and so receives a lot of comments from my mil about being the 'mummy' etc.
I think most parents who work FT whilst their partner does most of the childcare feel like this at times. I have certainly (unintentionally) made dh feel like my apprentice when it comes to our kids. All you can do is talk about it and see if you can reach a compromise. In our case I had to back off and let him do it his way most of the time (and accept he had a different way of doing things) and in his case, he had to sometimes be willing to listen to advice (eg letting ds2 have a late bedtime always leads to disaster).
It's time to go postal. A proper row.
This happened to me after I had my second child. I was breastfeeding 24/7 and DH basically had to do 80% of our sons care. He got him up in the morning, dressed him, fed him, took him out for walks, then did the reverse in the evenings. Meanwhile I was feeding feeding feeding and felt like a total spare part.
He started taking over completely and yes, correcting me etc.
It built up and I exploded one evening. I went ballistic. I told him that I was the child's mother and I had a right to parent them and how dare he act like I was unnecessary? How dare he undermine me?
In his defence he said that it was simply cos he couldn't do what I was doing, so he was trying to take the load off. But he had been too overzealous, and I think he enjoyed being an "expert" on our son a bit too much.
But after that blowout he did alter his tone and was more respectful and more aware of my feelings.
I think sometimes you need to get mad to be taken seriously. Perhaps you haven't gotten mad enough yet.
He says it's your issue. It isn't, it's a parenting style issue that you both need to solve. If you're doing teeth brushing then you're doing it - he is undermining you/making you look inept in the eyes of your DSs by leaping in. Ditto all other examples you give. Don't say anything in front of the boys, but soon after (i.e. don't bottle it up - tackle it whilst fresh in both your minds) take the opportunity to say to DH: this recent example is what I mean. I don't understand why you felt you had to take over. How do you normally brush their teeth? Was there a problem with how I was doing it? I was quite happy to do it. If I was struggling - for time or with tantrums - then I would ask you for help, otherwise please let me get on with it. If you think I could do something better then please can we discuss it now rather than you just take over.
It will benefit your sons and your DH for you to share parenting as much as possible when you're both at home. A good example for your boys and gives DH a break. It's horrid to feel reduced to the earner whilst they just go off and have fun together. Don't let this fester. Hope you have a lovely time tomorrow.
Thanks Elspeth thus far my tendency has been to withdraw from the situation, feel rubbish about myself and then sulk - then try to bring it up with him when he asks what's wrong. This is neither a mature or helpful way to go about it and I do need a different plan!
I'm a SAHM and I really try not too interfere with DH while he is with DD. However, sometimes it's just automatic and I don't even notice. DH always says something so I can be aware and catch myself, this really helps keep it under control so no one feels undermined. So I would try talking to him. I doubt he is doing it on purpose, unless there are other factors.
Just have a conversation with him. He is just trying to be the best he can be at what he probably sees as his job. He wants the best for the kids and hasn't factored in how it affects you. Just talk to him, sounds like he is a good dad and will probably take what you say on board, no rows needed yet.
FYI change the roles around and its probably the situation most working Dads find themselves in, so your not alone.
I think you need to tell him, calmly and quietly, that what he is doing is undermining you in front of your children. It is mean, it is uncalled for, and he is trying to show you up. Tell him how it makes you feel. Tell him what message it's sending to the children: that mummy can't do it right, but daddy can.
You need to nip this now.
I think this is common the other way round - that fathers can feel quite excluded. He may not mean to do it or be aware of it.
I think you should talk to him again, and also stand your ground on the job as it were - if he shoos you off when you're teeth brushing - just say 'no we're brushing teeth' etc.
YANBU. I'm the equivalent of your DH (I work part time and do majority of the childcare) I make sure my DH has plenty of alone time with the DC. When he gets home I tend to catch up on housework so he can have bonding time.
When my first was a baby I had a tendency to take over a little bit - partly because I had a pair of boobs but also because having had more practise I knew I could do - nappy changes, clothes changes, baths etc. quicker. My Dh did tell me it was making him feel a bit useless and I backed off - pretty soon he was as quick at me at all the baby stuff. I'm so glad he told me and I reacted as I did.
YANBU. Put your foot down - tell him he's been with the children for x hours and now it's your turn to spend some time with him. He can go put his feet up/pack the dishwasher/fetch the washing/whatever.
I have boys and enjoy doing 'boys' things just as much as they do.
I've found that focusing on talking about our feelings about the situation avoids the finger pointing/defensive response. Then we move on and talk about what we need to improve the situation. Make sure that it's not one sided and you each get the chance to talk about your feelings and needs.
Ah OP. Welcome to the world that 90% of men live in
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