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To ask to know when something is bothering her?

(110 Posts)
user1493024090 Mon 24-Apr-17 12:07:52

Ever since our DD was born, it feels like my marriage has been getting shaky. It's reached the point where we now repeat the same argument every week: She claims I'm lazy and not helping out enough, I tell her if there's something she wants me to do, all she has to do is tell me - I've never refused before.

And here is the TLDR version:
I work one of those FT jobs where evenings and weekends don't mean I'm not working. I do work a lot from home, though, which means I get up most mornings to take care of DD for a couple of hours while DW gets ready. She, on the other hand, quit her job so she can be a stay-at-home mum (with my blessing). I usually finish work at 6pm, around her bedtime, so most working days I don't get to do much aside from shooting smiles at DD, and the occasional break.

DW is arguing that after DD goes to bed (or on days she stays at her grandmother's), she still has to do housework, and that I don't participate at all. On the other hand, whenever I offer to help with something, my offer is almost always rejected: I'm not allowed to touch the laundry (not that I messed something up in the past, I was never allowed), I'm not allowed to put DD to bed (because it will supposedly mess up her routine), and even when it's things I'm "allowed" to do, I'm still faced with rejections when I offer.

Naturally, I just stopped offering to help - instead, I told her, if she wanted help, I'm more than willing to do anything she asks of me. Apparently, this is unacceptable.

When DD needs her nappy changed, I should do it - even if she's the one who smelled it, and does it herself before I even notice. When the bottles are in the sink, clean them - even though I hardly spend time near the sink to see them, and she pops by to make tea every couple hours (another thing I don't do well-enough, apparently). It's not that I don't agree I should help with these things, but when she notices something needs doing and I don't, she just does it herself and gets angry at me the next morning. All I ask is that she tells me, instead of just getting angry about it.

DD plays nicely by herself (and completely ignores me while she does), and I don't spend most of the weekend sitting with her. That's not to say I don't play with her at all, just obviously not as much as DW would like.

I know I'm not a saint here, and that it IS possible for me to periodically leave whatever it is I'm doing and check if the sink is full, but I don't think it's very difficult to point it out to me, either. One of us is obviously being unreasonable, so we're out to seek advice from the internet.

NancyDonahue Mon 24-Apr-17 12:14:43

Similar set up in our house. Although the dc's are older. We have our own set jobs in the evening. I cook, wash up and get dd sorted. He does the bins, sorts garden, gets any washing off the line and tidies the living areas. It works well.

NancyDonahue Mon 24-Apr-17 12:16:27

And yes, she should tell you if something needs doing, and vice versa. Niggling and feeling resentful is a waste of time. Get the jobs done and enjoy your evenings

SantanicoPandemonium Mon 24-Apr-17 12:18:25

You'd expect to tell a teenager to do the dishes or tidy up, not a grown adult. If I had to tell an adult that when there's dishes in the sink, they should be washed I'd be getting pretty pissed off.

Take some initiative and do what needs to be done, don't wait for your dw to have to tell you.

AssassinatedBeauty Mon 24-Apr-17 12:19:49

You're a competent adult, right? Why do you need another adult to point out what needs doing and give you constant individual requests to do x/y/z? It sounds like you have no idea what needs to get done around the house and have no idea what your DW does regularly. Instead of waiting to be told, or offering to "help", why don't you try and take notice of what needs doing and just get on and do it before your DW has to do it.

Just because your DD can play by herself doesn't mean you shouldn't also play with her. That's a very poor excuse for not interacting with her.

MovingtoParadise Mon 24-Apr-17 12:20:38

How about you preempt it and ask a general 'what chores could we do this evening' when you get in?

user1493024090 Mon 24-Apr-17 12:23:02

To clarify, it's not that I don't do things when I see them - she simply sees it first, being in the kitchen more often than myself.

And to beauty, I do play with her, every morning for an hour before work, and yesterday we must have spent a good 3-4 hours straight. Sometimes she plays by herself.

haveacupoftea Mon 24-Apr-17 12:27:02

I'm not surprised she doesn't want to give you a list of jobs to do. She isn't your mother, she's your wife. Who wants to have to nag their husband to do things around the house or spend time with their child? You even do it with your daughter - she doesn't interact with you, so you don't interact with her. She's a young child! YOU have to build that bond, the onus is not on her! If she is ignoring you don't you think there's a problem?

Open your eyes and take a look about you. Don't rely on your wife to tell you what jobs to do. Use your initiative. Spend a bit more time with your daughter and she'll soon look forward to you doing bath and bed. Take charge of the situation instead of sitting around waiting to be managed by your wife.

AssassinatedBeauty Mon 24-Apr-17 12:27:40

So there are currently no household tasks you do at all? Do you cook? Clean anything? Tidy?

You mentioned the fact you didn't interact with your DD as much as your DW wants. Obviously you don't think it's a problem, so you need to have a calm conversation with your DW and discuss whether you're being reasonable or not.

user1493024090 Mon 24-Apr-17 12:28:41

@haveacupoftea My daughter loves playing with me, and she cries whenever she sees me leave the house. We have a bond, but sometimes she plays by herself.

haveacupoftea Mon 24-Apr-17 12:30:41

Well then just tell your wife you are doing bedtime from now on while she has a rest, I'm sure she won't put up that much of a fight and if she does she is BU.

user1493024090 Mon 24-Apr-17 12:31:45

@haveacupoftea I've offered that before; and I'll offer it again. So far she's refused it, but seeing as she's reading this thread maybe she'll be willing.

CrohnicallyPregnant Mon 24-Apr-17 12:35:00

How about, when dw is putting DD to bed, you go and look for jobs to do? Here's a few hints- toys to tidy away, pots in the sink, wet laundry to hang up?

If you really can't find anything to do then at least stick the kettle on! (As an aside, why does dw spend more time in the kitchen than you?)

I have to say, this is one of the things that annoys me about my husband. He'll quite happily do any jobs I tell him to, but the thinking wears me out. And as for making drinks, sometimes I wonder how he doesn't die of thirst when he's home alone because it always seems to be me that makes the drinks!

haveacupoftea Mon 24-Apr-17 12:36:44

Don't offer, just tell her. She's your daughter too you have every right to do bedtime as your wife does.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Mon 24-Apr-17 12:39:38

You must feel like you can't win though if the tasks you do undertake are inspected by your wife and always criticised!
Aside from interacting with your dd or taking her out, the main bulk of the housework should be done by your wife as she is not working. It's easily possible for her to get everything done if there's just 3 of you living there, and Dd is looked after at least one day a week by her gran.

In the grand scale of things, you're arguing about petty things; a bit of washing up, who makes the best tea confused.
Just divide up some chores and allocate some to yourself. E.g., you'll change the bed at the weekend, cut the lawn, whatever.

I wonder if your dw is unhappy being a sahm and is taking her frustrations out on you? Perhaps she would prefer to look into some childcare and take on a part time job?

user1493024090 Mon 24-Apr-17 12:39:43

@CrohnicallyPregnant I'm not allowed to touch the laundry. DW rarely cooks, so there are no pots - only bottles in the sink sometimes. As for the toys, that's a whole other story - suffice to say that despite begging for the past year, there isn't a place TO put them away in. We have toys on the armchair, in boxes all around the living room, and on the floor. Today I filled up an entire garbage bag with toys, because she finally told me she has no intention of getting rid of them like she said she would, and I haven't even made a dent.

Somerville Mon 24-Apr-17 12:45:24

Why should an adult need to be told what to do in their home??

Every day there are bottles to wash and nappies to change and a load of laundry to fold and put away, and a whole plethora of different things. It should never be a surprise to you that these thing need doing! If your DD is in a routine then she will likely finish her bottle at a similar time each day, and dirty her nappy at similar times too. Take you breaks at those times and go and change her/wash up.

Ask your wife to help you draw up a chore rota. Make sure to do half.

Question: when you're up with your DD in the morning, do you wash up her bottle and all the breakfast things, change her and dress her, tidy up anything she or you get out, and engage with her rather than turning on TV or arising aroun on your phone? That's an absolute minimum of what you should be doing.

Playing a full part in running a home is not difficult. Boring, yes. In the way of more fun things, yes. But not difficult.

arbrighton Mon 24-Apr-17 12:47:25

Sort a solution to tidy the toys then. Why 'beg' for a year? (which will have felt like being nagged.... Get rid of the no longer age appropriate ones.

Take some bloody initiative.

user1493024090 Mon 24-Apr-17 12:51:38

@Somerville The issue here is just what you said: Planning out the work. I don't know what she does and when, and so by the time I check what needs doing, she's done it already.

Every morning I change her, dress her, move the coffee table to clear out space for her to play, give her some toys, and sit down with her. I do this for an hour or two and then I go to my computer to work.

@arbrighton Because she's grown emotionally attached to many of them, and I didn't want to throw out ones she liked. I kept telling her I'll do it, and she always talked me out of it. Today she finally admitted her real intentions (why lie to me in the first place?).

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Mon 24-Apr-17 12:55:28

I think it's relevant that things were fine between before your dd, so what's changed? Your wife has agreed to stop working and take on the job of a stay at home parent. To me, that means doing the bulk of the childcare and the housework, while you work full time.
I'm not sure why she is now to so controlling, banning you from undertaking certain chores and preventing you from putting your child to bed, and criticising you.

Is this the full story, or is your wife deeply unhappy? anxious or depressed? It is difficult to go from working full time in a fulfilling job, interacting with adults, to staying at home with a baby.

AssassinatedBeauty Mon 24-Apr-17 12:59:56

If you're at home with a baby then that's what you're doing during the day, any housework that gets done etc is a bonus. Certainly when both adults are home and not working then tasks should be split fairly.

user1493024090 Mon 24-Apr-17 13:03:06

She's been playing the PND card on and off when it suited her. At first I didn't accept it, then I did, and now she claims I've forced her to book a GP about it, even though she's fine.

Things were fine before the birth. I was never allowed to do laundry, but I cleaned the house. Since her 'nesting' phase during pregnancy, the house has been in such a state that I honestly don't see the point of cleaning it; every other day I'd discover a new toy, or a new plant, or most recently a new playmat (we already have one) - it's just sitting there in the box, she didn't even take it out. Also, my work's gotten a lot more complicated over the past year, and she doesn't consider the implications of it.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Mon 24-Apr-17 13:13:54

God playing the PND card is a harsh accusation. It's difficult for mums to admit they're struggling as it can feel like they've "failed" at being a mum. The built up ideal of having a baby is very different to the reality.

The fact that your dw has booked a gp appointment, after some resistance, tells me that she might be wrestling with depression. Neglecting housework, difficulty sleeping, loss of self esteem and libido, irritability and difficulty concentrating can all be symptoms.

user1493024090 Mon 24-Apr-17 13:15:05

Sorry, forgot to tag @ILostItInTheEarlyNineties in previous reply.

@AssassinatedBeauty I do agree with you, but not helping during the week means I don't know what the routine is and what needs doing when. I don't think it's unreasonable of me to ask, when she's the one who made it in the first place?

ThePants999 Mon 24-Apr-17 13:18:32

Looks like I'm in a minority here, but I'll agree with you OP - I suffer the same thing, and it's maddening. She spots before I do a task that needs doing, she does it, and she gets annoyed at me for not doing it, even though I'd absolutely have done it - either if she asked, or even just if she just left it longer. Like if she's the first person into the kitchen after the dishwasher finishes, she'll empty it, and then nag me for not doing it, even though I do it as soon as I notice, and would be happy to do it if she noticed and asked me.

This is a real man answer, but all I can suggest is that you find a system whereby certain tasks are exclusively yours, and she'll leave them for you, not do them and complain about it!

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