Should I expect more?(28 Posts)
Sorry if this is long, I'll try not to waffle.
We have a 2 year old, and are expecting our second baby end of summer. Our DD was breastfed so I did all the nighttimes. I expressed milk in hope of him taking a bottle so DH could do a few feeds every now and again, but he never put in the time or effort, and she wouldn't take a bottle from me so in the she never took one. She didn't wean fully until 20 months, which I am proud of, but it definitely took its toll on me. She used to refuse cows milk and didn't eat a great deal so relied on me. Eventually I weaned her and things got a bit easier. I had hoped that DP would start to help out at bed times since there was no longer the 'I don't have boobs so I can't settle her' excuse. But it doesn't happen, he has tried twice and because it was a struggle he won't bother. This is the biggest issue, I'm worried about how I'm going to cope when our new baby arrives.
DP works at home 8-6(often during the evening on his own projects) so I get no time. It's presumed that I cook dinner every night, which I don't mind. I love cooking, but it's losing it's enjoyment because I have a toddler hanging off my leg because DP is often busy working instead of playing with her. DP will only do housework if things get into a state, and will often be a bit of a martyr. I then do bath and bedtime, which recently takes until 9 to get DD to sleep so by the time I come downstairs I'm knackered. I'll then have to come and load the dishwasher since DH will either be sitting watching TV, or working on a project.
I'm so grateful that he works so hard for us, I'm a SAHM so it's lovely being able to care for DD full time but I feel like I'm losing myself.
My plan was to work from home just to earn a little bit of money. Either sewing (which I have a degree in of sorts) or another passion is photography. However DD is very clingy so I can't do anything like this around her, and since my evenings start so late I'm too tired to study or sew! I have asked several times if I could attend a photography course one evening a week for a couple of months which DP was happy about, but he never made an active effort to get DD to bed or take control of her routine so I knew she would be unhappy, so I obviously couldn't enjoy it. DP is supportive on the surface, but when it comes down to doing his share of childcare to enable me to make a career it just doesn't happen.
I suffer from depression so I do struggle. A lot. It's especially bad in pregnancy for me, so some days I struggle to do much around the house. I'm ashamed with how untidy it is, but with my toddler, and how exhausted depression is leaving me I just can't seem to change it. I feel that if I could get some me time in the evenings then I could start tha next day with a better outlook and would have more motivation, but right now I'm miserable. I need more of a routine, I've asked DP if he could just watch DD for 10 minutes in the morning so I can hop in the shower and get myself ready (DD makes things like this a nightmare, she will cry and scream if I leave her or throw everything within reach it I let her stay whilst I shower) but he comes down in the morning, has a coffee and a cigarette, uses the bathroom and gets straight to work. His life hasn't had to change at all since having a baby.
At weekends he will do his own projects whilst I take car of DD, or if we go out then he will come because of course that's the fun bit of parenting! I have spoken to him about this, many a time. He has seen me break down in tears, more often than I'd like to admit but he will sometimes just walk away. He doesn't know how to cope with emotions, and does show signs of being on the autistic spectrum. I don't even know what I'm asking anymore, am I being unreasonable? Am I lucky with being supported by him? Should I expect more help? We do love each other, very much but communication and showing emotion from his part is making things very difficult. Does anyone have any advice? I just need a way of sorting things out before our next baby arrives otherwise wise I'm worried about how I'll cope. I'm sorry I definitely rambled, my mind is a muddle.
No great advice. Does he have. Does he want any time on his own with his daughter? Saturday morning to begin with?
If I'm honest I think an evening course is optimistic. Especially with another on the way. So stop thinking about it and look at what is realistic.
He works until 6.presumably you then eat together? So he then takes toddler up to bath and get ready for bed and you then take over again to settle to sleep. Gradually he does more of the settling aiming to be settling toddler to sleep before baby arrives.
But he and she will find this easier if they are used to spending time together just the two of them. A morning before exhaustion (of both dad and toddler) sets in is best.
Self employed people often do not set boundaries for the work life balance. He needs to. But you are more likely to get him to if you don't start with the hard work of setling to sleep. Start with the fun stuff (sat am swimming or in the park or baking) and then get him doing the real work. Which I know sounds shit. And there will be indignant 'why should I? ' which, sure you can be unhappy and rant or rail. Or you can make changes.
I think you need to assert yourself more. Stop asking him. Tell him he is cooking tonight. Tell him he is doing bedtime while you do X or Y. Tell him he needs to clean up before he gets stuck into his own 'projects'. He is clearly taking the piss.
And don't babysit him by giving him the lovely Saturday morning 'Disney dad' slot while you all the shit work as suggested by a pp. No offence to anyone else but that isn't a good idea.
Agree with Trifle. Tell him you are going for a soak in the bath so he's on bedtime duty. Or give him a choice- does he want to clear up dishes or do bathtime? Doing nothing isn't an option. You need to assert yourself now, it will get so much harder when the new baby comes.
Time to divide house & food related chores. Looking after DC is work! You need equal leisure time - sounds like you have none and he has lots?
He does like spending time with her, but he has little patience with her and gets frustrated easily. His temper can also be short and he finds it hard to communicate with her. He was just playing with her, and stopped halfway through so he could go out for a cigarette so now I have an unhappy toddler crying because she only wants to play with Daddy.. She knows it's the weekend so will often cling to him but he tends to do his own thing...
To be honest I didn't think that one evening (a two hour lesson) just once a week for a couple of months was too much to ask, especially considering I don't go anywhere else without DD, yet DH can go out as when when he pleases. I had planned to do this course last year before I fell pregnant, and my last chance was in January this year so it's obviously not an option anymore now that DD2 is due, which is a shame. Thank you for your suggestions, I have tried to encourage him to do some bathtimes, he has done one or two and has loved it, and said he would love to do it more, but then doesn't. He has said that once DD is at the age where we can just read her a story and leave her to fall asleep on her own then he will help out, but I don't see this happening any time soon.
Sit down with him and draw up a rota of jobs so you have equal free time. Write down everything you do. If he isn't doing the childcare and housework I suspect he has no idea how much it involves.
Thank you I just saw the other posts. I definitely need to be assertive, I think because he struggles with communication he won't understand me even if I'm being clear as day. I just struggle asking more from him because he does work really hard to support us, but I would too if given half the chance. He definitely has
More leisure time than me, as it stands, I have none!
Urgh he sounds useless. Maybe you need to lay it out to him what an utter disappointment he is as a co-parent and how resentful it is making you feel. How dare he say that once bedtime becomes 'easy' he will help out. Sadly it appears that this is the type of parent he is, lazy, selfish and sees it as optional.
It isn't 'helping out', it's parenting. Hand him the toddler and tell him she needs a bath. You are giving him get-out options by asking him to 'do more' with your child. Just tell him, it's (for example) cooking or bedtime, or cleaning up or entertaining her.
And I don't like the sound of what you said about his short temper. What does he do/say?
Thank you, it's good to get a perspective from other people. I'm definitely becoming resentful, I struggled with depression before this but I'm spending a lot of the time crying now because I really feel like I've lost myself. When we planned to have children equal parenting was always on the cards, but I'm ashamed to say that it now resembles something in the 1950's, except I'm now so miserable I don't even have the energy to do all the housework. I think once little one naps I'll sit him down and make a plan. I know we'll all benefit once things get sorted..
His short temper is just raising his voice. He's the gentlest soul so would never heft a fly but if he gets wound up he will tell DD of. But his wording is usually bizarre. He will explain what DD is doing wrong in such an intricate and long winded way that she's going to have no idea what's going on, it just frustrates her more so it escalates to her screaming back. He really does try to be the best father he knows how to be, and he does mean well. It sounds like I'm justifying him, which I'm not, but I do feel like he doesn't see he's doing anything wrong, which is why I'm struggling with how to communicate all of this with him..
Lists. Break down your routine into half hourly slots and write down what usually needs doing and when. Put 'his' jobs in one colour, yours in another and the ones to be split or rotated in a third colour.
See your GP about your depression for a start. Then make a list of priorities. Sounds as if the house is getting on top of you so is there anyone who could help you do a blitz and insist dp takes dd out or vice versa?
You definitely need more time to yourself and he simply HAS to learn to do more. Could you say do alternate bedtimes? Dd won't like it at first but she will get used to it and they will be glad of it in the end. You may need to go out for an hour to begin with. Don't hover and offer advice though you could bullet point your routine for him.
I would personally also work on getting bedtime back to a normal point. She should be down by about 7.30 at the latest which automatically freed up time. And for a while use some ready meals and the bare minimum of pots etc. Again, clear up on alternate evenings.
He does sound selfish but you've allowed it to happen so you do have to instigate change. Tell him calmly what you have decided to do in preparation for the new baby and refuse to budge. He might surprise you with how capable he can be. Lazy men are really unattractive and he should know that.
It sounds tough for you just now and I'm sorry you're really struggling with depression which makes everything so much worse.
First thing your H needs to start spending time one on one with your DD. You need it and she needs it. You can't do everything especially once the new baby arrives plus you're going to have a pretty unhappy DD who is suddenly going to have to share you. A new sibling can be a tough adjustment but if she's used to spending time with your H anyway then it can be easier.
You could just go out 1 or 2 evenings a week. Go for a swim or gentle walk now the weather's getting better. Let him get on with it. They'll likely find a routine that works. And one morning on the weekend is yours. When the baby comes along you'll need to readjust but grab this time now while you can.
When I night weaned dd at 18 months I left the house and let dh settle her. It took nights for it to feel normal and since then we do alternate nights.
He works long hours and as the sago the bulk of household stuff should fall to the sahp - however you definitely need more time to yourself.
I have recently started telling g dh I'm having a morning get off once every weekend (he usually had a whole weekend day tongimself) and I go out or he takes dd out so that I can relax at home. It's made a huge difference to my wellbeing.
Posting again due to typos
When I night weaned dd at 18 months I left the house and let dh settle her. It took 3 nights for it to feel normal and since then we do alternate nights.
Your dh works long hours and as the sahp the bulk of household stuff should fall to the sahp - however you definitely need more time to yourself.
I have recently started telling dh I'm having a morning off once every weekend (he usually has a whole weekend day to himself) and I go out or he takes dd out so that I can relax at home. It's made a huge difference to my wellbeing.
Yes you should expect more- and you're right this needs sorting before the baby comes along. 2 is a totally different ball game and you absolutely need both parents pulling equal weight.
I'd suggest getting him to do alternate bedtimes like someone else suggested - do this straight away. When the new baby comes your dh will have to do more bedtimes anyway. We split bedtimes - I put the baby to bed and dh puts the toddler to bed.
He also needs to do more round the House for sure. And you def need to get some you time in - it will be much harder WhEn you have a baby attached to you! Do it now!
We have a 2 year old and another due imminently. DH is routinely out 3 nights a fortnight but other than that we alternate bedtimes with the other one cooking dinner. I expect that when I have the baby he will take primary responsibility for the 2 year old. It probably helps that I work 4 days a week so we haven't got into the routine that all the children/house stuff is my responsibility.
We share an online calendar so anyone who gets in first can book a night out. I wouldn't be asking DH to "help", I will tell him I'm going out.
I think you need to go out and leave him to it. If he's doing bedtime and it's tricky, if you're there he'll just give up. If you're not, he'll just need to get on with it.
Also on the "personal projects" - if he's doing things for himself every evening and every weekend that's ridiculous. You just can't do that when you have children. What about you getting some time for you?!!
As others have said, he is just going to have to do his fair share. I found this book helpful, explaining why long winded explanations won't work with tiny tots www.amazon.co.uk/Social-Toddler-Promoting-Positive-Behaviour/dp/1903275385?tag=mumsnetforum-21
If you want him to do his bit though, you will need him to find his own way of doing things and not worry if he's not doing things like you would.
Just a couple of things that jumped out at me from your posts. You say that you "encourage" him to do more bathtimes with your lo. Stop encouraging him and tell him that from now on you'll alternate. If you give him the chance to opt-out then he will. Of course he says he'll do it more when it's easier, but how is that fair on you now?
Also you say that he can go out whenever he wants...newsflash...so can you!! If there's something you want to do in the evenings then do it! There's no reason that you need his permission, he is the father of your child and he is capable of looking after her single handedly, he would just rather take the easy option and have you do it. My oh and I use an online calendar so that we don't double book ourselves, but if it's not on the calendar then it doesn't exist.
As you've already realised, you need to make changes before your new baby arrives. Don't bury your head in the sand and hope it'll change by itself, I learnt through bitter experience with my ex that it will only get worse.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.