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To think I do it all, and have a husband without initiative

(23 Posts)
doitall Tue 23-Jun-09 14:10:01

Have been married for 5 years, with two DDs. Both my husband and I are self-employed (me working from home).

I feel like I do EVERYTHING: all the household management, and childcare, basically the organisation of every aspect of our life from opening the bills to arranging life insurance, from overseeing our DDs education to getting their haircut. His contribution is getting the children up in the morning and cooking their dinner occasionally. His idea of childcare is switching on CBeebies.

He's a reasonably intelligent man, not a slob or a bully. But he just takes no initiative in running the household, planning the children's future or the family finances (he hasn't a clue what goes where - it all comes out of my account, with him giving me a direct debit payment each month). When I was pregnant with both children he failed to save any money, which meant I had to live off my savings during my maternity leave. It just seems that everything lands on my plate to sort out.

I'm exhausted. I work nearly full-time to ensure we remain solvent (my cashflow is better than his and he seems incapable of saving for any eventuality), and on top of everything have to manage the entire life of our family.

I'm just a bit sick of it all to be quite frank. And feel really taken for granted. It's starting to make me more and more angry, bitter and resentful - and we're communicating less and less. I feel very taken for granted (I think the last time he took me out anywhere was my birthday 2 years ago).

He didn't have a good role model as a father (he left when he was young) - so I just don't think he knows what a father / husband is supposed to do. And he hates it when I try and broach the subject of money, sorting stuff out etc.

Seriously considering separation / divorce - but the thought of what it could do to my DDs is too terrifying. Oh - and the fact that I'd have to arrange it / pay for it all.

gingernutlover Tue 23-Jun-09 14:12:42

have you told him all this?

doitall Tue 23-Jun-09 14:14:26

Yes. Hundreds of times. Culminated in a massive row this morning. He just doesn't see it. I just don't know how on earth things can ever change.

daftpunk Tue 23-Jun-09 14:16:58

you some women would quite like a dh like that, at least he's letting you get on with would be crazy to consider divorce..imo.

KirstyJC Tue 23-Jun-09 14:17:01

Perhaps show him what you have typed above (maybe leaving out the divorce bit!).

It may be he doesn't realise - and if he's anything like my DH he will keep butting in if you try and talk to him. If it's written down he can't interrupt and you have made it nice and clear above.

WHen I finally talked to my DH he didn't realise I was so pissed off. He has got better in most areas, although he also thinks Cbeebies is childcare....

Good luck! smile

daftpunk Tue 23-Jun-09 14:18:08

a dh who was controlling would be worse wouldn't it?...but agree, a nice compromise would be ideal.

Tommy Tue 23-Jun-09 14:18:34

does it help to know that you're not alone?

I think men are essentailly quite lazy and that if someone else is doing the stuff, then they think there's no need for them to do it.

You need to tell him what you want and what you want him to do maybe not in "we need to sit down and sort this out" way but gradually - arrange a day out for yourself on a Saturday or something and leave a list of what needs doing. Then do it again a couple of weeks later.

I think we assume men know what we want without being told - but they don't

londonartemis Tue 23-Jun-09 14:22:04

I think the fact he didn't have a good role model father is actually very important to what you're talking about.
My husband didn't either, and thinks he does loads in our family because he is comparing himself with what his dad did /didn't do.
A lot of the time I feel I am doing more than a fair share, keeping everything going.
Two things: money - you need to sit him down and go through all the costs and all the income and show him why he needs to spend less/, save more,/ earn more. You need to spell out that it is all only holding together because of what you do, and it is extremely stressful. Most important, he needs to know you are serious.
Second thing: you need to give him a short list of things to do everyday whether, get ds a haircut, get bread and milk and collect drycleaning . Start with small tasks and build up the list. He needs to be left in no doubt that you cannot do everything. I suspect he doesn't really know how short of the mark he is!!
Good luck. I wouldn't like to see you leap to separation straightaway...

Portofino Tue 23-Jun-09 14:24:21

I feel your pain! I have posted a very similar story before. However, someone made the very good point in reply that maybe, just maybe, I am a bit of a control freak, and that I do "everything" because deep down a) I want to "control" how/what/when it is done and b) I don't trust dh to do/do it "properly".

I had a think about this and realised that it was true! My dh shows no initiative, but the thought of the extreme alternative - him organising everything - makes me shudder!

I had a big long argument chat with him though, and identified areas where he could help out a bit more. I think some men need it spelt out to them. You might have a point that he doesn't really understand what his role is....What's his mother like?

With regards to my vain hope that DH might surprise me with tickets to Paris, or a booked babysitter, I think I'll maybe have to settle for a clean kitchen, hoovered house, and the odd dinner coooked....

Itsjustafleshwound Tue 23-Jun-09 14:26:36

Perhaps you need to be a bit more pro-active and involve him more - so often I make assumptions about what DH should do or what I see as being bleeding obvious. Perhaps a bit of relegation of duties and setting out some ground rules and duties you expect him to do.

Don't be taken for granted - missing your birthday is not acceptable. Don't let him get away with the excuse of his poor parenting model ...

If it all gets too much, I think of 3 reasons why I married DH, and it usually makes the red mist subside.

I also know that I sabbotage the help I am offered because he doesn't do it my way or in the time frame I want it in?

stillstanding Tue 23-Jun-09 14:26:40

I think a lot of men just don't think about stuff. Mine certainly doesn't and I often feel that I "do it all". But really I don't. If I am honest and objective I can see that he does pull his weight albeit in different ways to me. But it does feel like I am constantly nagging and that if it isn't on my list of things to do it won't be done ...

I would suggest that you have a long, hard, objective look at the allocation of responsibilities in your household and try to work out if it is fair. If not, you then need to determine what needs to change to make it so.

It sounds like you are principally concerned with finances ... perhaps sit down with him and explain your concerns. I don't think it does any good to repeatedly bang on about how he "must do more" around the house. If he didn't have good role models as a child he might not have a good idea of what that would involve. Also if he hasn't been participating fully in the running of your household it isn't reasonable to expect him to have a good handle on how you can help.

In my opinion the way to turn this around is to work out what you would like him to do - being reasonable of course and bearing in mind his and your strengths/weaknesses! - and then allocating him specific and clear responsibilities, e.g. you are in charge of paying the gas bill.

doitall Tue 23-Jun-09 14:34:09

Your replies are making me feel more positive about something I feel very grim about.

I don't think it's about wanting control though. It's a case of "if I don't do it just won't get done" (i.e. the gas bill would not get opened, let alone paid; and heaven help him if the gas got cut off).

Sometimes I wonder what would happen (heaven forbid) if I got mowed down by a bus. Even inheriting a substantial life insurance policy wouldn't see him being able to sort out a normal day to day existence for the DDs. It's quite terrifying.

lechatnoir Tue 23-Jun-09 14:34:58

No, YNBU but I do think you're making a rod for your own back - I'll bet he does nothing because he knows you do it all (very well) and the odd occasion he has done something, you've either told him he was doing it wrong or tried to educate him in doing it your way. Yes agreed plonking kids in front of TV isn't adequate childcare all the time but not the end of the world occasionally. Why not get him doing a regular activity with the kids - swimming on a Saturday morning for example?

Why don't you have joint finances? You say he failed to save any money which suggests he was spending it on things for his own person gain - fine if you can afford it after the essentials are covered but again a joint account would settle this issue (& have indivdual accounts for spare/spending money if you want some independence)

Why are you doing everything? Why doesn't he have specific tasks relating to the running of the household? Just little things like you sort out home insurance & DH sorts out car ins; you sort out meal planning for the week, DH does the weekly food shop; you clean the kitchen & he cleans the bathroom etc. The point is you need to learn to share responsibility and you also need to let him have some control over the way he undertakes his tasks and if that means letting go of your way and adapting to his way then so be it.


TheHeathenOfSuburbia Tue 23-Jun-09 14:37:37

You are both working FT, is that right? but you have separate finances?

Maybe you could make a list of all the tasks you do, show him how long it is, and ask him which he would be prepared to take on?
I fear initiative isn't really something you can learn (maybe people will disagree with me on that?) so you might have to just, well, manage him.

daftpunk Tue 23-Jun-09 14:40:32

doitall....your dh sounds alot like mine..i have always done everything to do with the finances/education/running the house in general etc.....i look at it as a positive, but i'm a bit of a control freak!...i don't think your dh will change you need to change your attitude to the situation....which isn't too bad.

would sort out your exhaustion....get some early nights.

TheHeathenOfSuburbia Tue 23-Jun-09 14:43:47

Yeah, Lechatnoir talks sense. I suggested letting him pick tasks because, well, for example I have a horror of phoning up companies, so DH takes household tasks that involve phoning people blush. If you ask him to do something that he's really rubbish at, it will go much worse than if he only does things he's quite rubbish at...

Dizzyclarebear Tue 23-Jun-09 14:46:08

If he didn't have a Dad around growing up, he's been raised with a mum who does it all and that's what he thinks is normal. My DH was raised with a Mum who ran round after them and so had to be trained informed that mugs don't magic their way to the dishwasher...

Also, the thing about paying you a set amount each month then you being responsible for paying for everything makes him sound like a lodger.

I'd set up a joint account, you both pay a set amount in each month and then bills come out of that. Make sure he gets a statement each month so he can track what's coming in and out and log in details so he can be involved. Prehaps sell it as 'what if I was hit by a bus tomorrow' measure.

But most importantly, tell him how you feel -but not shouting. It's hard to keep calm when you feel like this, but that's the only way I get DH to actually listen. It's taken 9 years but I have realised that something said quietly with a "I'm very disappointed in you" face on has far more impact than something screamed at him with additional 4 letter words and possibly flying objects, even though that is more fun... grin

doitall Tue 23-Jun-09 14:50:36

We do have a joint account. With nothing in it.

Trying to get him to put stuff into it is like getting blood out of a stone. Bizarre I know that he pays a set direct debit into my account, and all bills etc get paid from there.

I have tried to unpick that (il)logic - but it has never got me very far, with him or the issue.

His argument is that because he has to pay overheads for his business, and his cash flow changes from month to month, he can't put in an additional set amount each month.

Now... how to solve that one...

doitall Tue 23-Jun-09 14:54:55

Dizzyclarebear. Blimey - my argument this morning must have been very loud. Because I did compare him to a lodger. And how did you know about the flying object?

Dizzyclarebear Tue 23-Jun-09 14:56:08

doitall - how much hassle would it be to get him to move the DD to the joint account??? then you pay the bills out of that - seriously it's a 5 min job.

Sorry, he's being childish. You could say the same DD he pays to you pay to the joint account, you will too and the months he's got more he can 'over pay' so that there's a float for the lean months...

Dizzyclarebear Tue 23-Jun-09 14:59:48

Ah, doitall, we obviously should never argue as we're similar in our angry states!

Dizzyclarebear Tue 23-Jun-09 15:01:58

(oh and in my previous message I meant 'DD' as in Direct Debit - I'm not suggesting your hand your first born over to the bank blush)

doitall Tue 23-Jun-09 15:18:25

Thank you for making me smile, and for words of kind advice, on what has been an awful day x

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