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He is turning me into a nag and I hate it

(25 Posts)
Bbee1 Thu 23-Jun-11 09:56:35

My dh has a very responsible highly qualified job and is very very clever. Since I had dc 6 mths ago it's like he has switched himself off when he is at home. I am on mat leave soon to go back to work and if i don't remember to do things and then do them (with house, family or dc) they just will not get done. I very rarely ask anything from him but he just seems to think everything is menial and nothing at home matters. I have to ask over and over again if I need something from him and he still "forgets". It's never a big deal to him that he has forgotten to do something and he is always surprised that I am bothered by it. It is driving me crazy and I am getting more and more annoyed by it. I don't know if it is affecting me more because I am at home more but I can hear myself nagging sometimes and I hate it. Please help feel like just walking out

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Thu 23-Jun-11 10:09:15

I feel for you, I really do - It's astonishing how many husbands turn into cave men the second their wives go on maternity leave - maternity leave is for looking after your baby - not for doing all the unpaid domestic chores and you'll be making a rod for your own back if you do that now, he'll expect it even when you return to work.

Do you do stuff for him of a personal nature, errands, laundry, admin, that sort of thing - could you cut down on that.

My ex also tried to place me in the role of "nagging harridan" - notice i said "ex".

Tell your dh if he isn't going to make a contribution to family life then really, you could replace him with tax credits (that's what tax credits are for IMO, to replace useless men)

You also have a responsible and highly demanding job - raising your child.

Bbee1 Thu 23-Jun-11 10:21:34

Yes I do 99 %of the house work all of the laundry etc he thinks he has done me a favour if he runs the Hoover round once in a blue moon. He does work long hours and I think that's part of the problem because I am alone with a baby a lot of the time but I did know that when I met him. It's not really that I am asking him to do housework as such. It's more that he sees the house stuff as unimportant and I have ask repeatedly if I need something doing. For example I asked him to put the bins out last night when he was taking the dog for the last walk he forgot (I had gone to bed when he came in from his walk) so I asked him to do it as he was going out the house this morning. The bins are collected at seven. I came downstairs with dc and the bins were still full I had missed them he had forgotten but must have driven past every other house with their bins out!! I really shouldn't have to remind him of everything should I?. By all accounts he is excellent at his job all his work colleages and clients love him. His staff are always telling me how helpful and thoughtful he is with them!!!!!! On the other side he is a lovely man apart from this trait which seems to be getting worse.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Thu 23-Jun-11 10:26:46

he is starting to view you as another "domestic appliance"

woopsidaisy Thu 23-Jun-11 10:39:07

Bbee1,I feel your pain. This is the kind of behaviour that chips away at a marriage. My DH would always have done the bins and mowed the lawn. Housework wise that was "his jobs". And he did them. But he never did anything else. I gave up work after DS2. So was happy to do the lions share of housework. But it didn't mean he had to do nothing. Kids create alot of mess and work.
It got to the point that I was starting to really resent him-and did feel like "an appliance" who nagged all the time.
We had a major blow out at Christmas. I pointed out-read sobbed-that I was miserable. I wanted to think about going back to work in a year or two,and that then the work would be shared. I also pointed out that a man who had successfully set up and started his own business could not be so stupid that he couldn't work out where the dirty clothes went!
It really hit home,and he has made a real improvement. He makes the bed and opens the curtains in the bedroom every morning. Puts his dirty dishes away,tidies up when the kids are in bed etc.
Small things,but it shows he doesn't treat me like a servant!
And I will say that he is brilliant with the kids. Plays with them every minute he gets.
And to show that I love him right back-I mowed the lawn as a surprise for him the other day! grin
He was delighted!

Oh,and since he has bucked up,the kids are doing so much more too! I'll be redundant soon!

Bbee1 Thu 23-Jun-11 10:51:27

Thanks maybe a major row is what's needed but I know he will just act surprised and won't understand why I am so bothered. I do know it's just little things but they are really starting to irritate me. I think it's because he won't use his initiative and just waits for me to ask then nag when he forgets.

WowOoo Thu 23-Jun-11 10:52:40

He is not turning you into a nag. But, you do need to think about a few things.

Talk to him about this. Write it all down so you know what's really important/essential for him to understand.

Lower your standards slighly?

Tell him what is reasonable for him to do now that you have dc. For eg My dh does his own ironing, will hoover on weekends, must pick up laundry or I ignore it and he has no clean clothes.Ditto for dishes - I used to leave a pile of his stuff to deal with to make the point.

General stuff to help YOU and him now that you have another person to deal with. That's your priority now!

Sometimes I have to say to DH 'Hello, are you still at work? Switch into home mode now!' He's also absorbed by his job and works v long hours.

Good luck. Bought dh flowers to congratulate him on a work thing. He then went and did the dusting and hoovering while I was in work! I love h

WowOoo Thu 23-Jun-11 10:54:36

Was going to say......love how he's getting better at doing stuff without being asked. But it's taken YEARS of gentle persuasion!

VeraGood Thu 23-Jun-11 10:56:42

1. dont use the word nag

2. you are reminding him to do things

3. if he doesnt do them LET them not be done or get him to someone else to do them and pay them

You have to nip this in the bud. Your H is, you say, a clever man, so what you have to understand is that this is not about him being forgetful or absent-minded. THis is about him demonstrating to you that he is the Man and you are the domestic servant. It is unfortunately very common for men to start behaving like this when the first baby arrives - all of a sudden their wives are HousewivesNMothers which includes doing everything round the house while the man's life doesn't change.
Point out to him that you are not his servant, that you are his partner and the mother of his child and that if he doesn't start treating you fairly WRT the domestic work ie doing his share then you will be reconsidering whether or not you want to stay married to him.

ChaoticAngelinLimbo Thu 23-Jun-11 11:27:25

Sit him down and ask him why does he disrespect you so much. When he says he doesn't point out that a man who loves, values and respects his wife does not treat her like a skivvy which is what he is doing.

WherecanIhide Thu 23-Jun-11 12:35:23

You should read Wifework by Susan Maushart.

Bbee1 Thu 23-Jun-11 12:53:38

Thanks for all your replies. Will speak to him tonight. It can't carry on I am getting more and more resentful. Just wish he would see his home life as equally important as his work.

garlicnutter Thu 23-Jun-11 13:53:02

He's very intelligent? Depending on which kind of intelligence he has, here's another possible angle on what's been well said above.

When people get married or have a baby, it's very common for an internal process to kick in, which could be described as the "inner patriarchal model". We've all - men and women - internalised a mass of cultural norms that we have been led to believe represents the natural order of things. Man goes 'hunting', woman tends hearth & home, blah blah. These behavioural models are extremely powerful. But they're not logical. There's not even any hard evidence to support the claim of 'natural order'.

It is, if you think about it, slightly pathetic to allow yourself to be directed by a load of old shite your granny told you, what it says in children's books, films that are just fictions played by actors and by comments made in the pub. It's perfectly possible to throw off these 'rules' and determine your own life - and not too hard, either.

-> A raw summary of "The Shadow King" by Sidra Stone: a quick read of the reviews and "Look Inside" will probably suffice.

slug Thu 23-Jun-11 14:17:15

Years ago when I taught in FE, we had an OFSTED inspection coming up. We had a ldifficult and very persistent problem with students failing to turn off their mobile phones in class. Not wanting for this to happen when an inspector was in the room I used it as an opportunity to do a little maths with my students.

We worked out:
How many classes they had a week (16)
How many times they were told by the teachers to turn off their mobile phones at the beginning of each class (1)
How many times, on average, a phone went off in a class and another student was asked/told to turn it off (3)
How many times a student on average was told to turn off their mobile phone when it rang before they actually did as they were asked, rather than just turn it to silent or reject the call. (2)
How many weeks of the academic year had passed (18)

So if you do the sum, 16 x 1 x 3 x 2 x 18 you come out with the number 1728. The question was then how is it possible that you can be told something 1728 times and still not "remember" to do it. Either they are very, very stupid (which we knew they weren't) or they somehow thought that this particular rule didn't apply to them personally. Why was that?????

Perhaps something similar may work on your DH?

ShoutyHamster Thu 23-Jun-11 14:40:04

Sit him down and tell him that it seems that you both have different ideas of what partnership and parenthood and SHARING A LIFE mean. That's fine, you can't force him to be something he's not. But tell him that, sadly, if he wants to live a life where he just tends to his own needs and what he sees as important, you will have to do the same, otherwise things won't be fair - as is the case now. Inform him that unless something benefits you and your job (which is - remind him! - looking after the baby, NOT being a domestic servant) then it won't get done. For example, you will no longer handle his washing or ironing. You will cook meals for when they are convenient for you. Things within the home (which is your default workplace right now) will be arranged to benefit YOU just as things at his workplace take no account of your needs. In other words, things will be reorganised so that both adults are equally facilitated.

Not fair on him because he works long hours... How so? By definition, if HE is working long hours, so are you, as he is not there to take over parenting. While you are a SAHM, your hours are always going to be as long as his.

It's not his fault, he just forgets? - Well then if everything connected with home is so insignificant to him, then that will be fine, won't it? When he has no clean ironed shirts, if it's so unimportant anyway, then it won't be an issue, will it? Let's see. smile

If, as I suspect, he starts kicking up a fuss when things aren't done by you to facilitate his working life, point out that he feels fine about failing to do things that facilitate yours. That marriages that LAST do so on mutual respect and generosity. That if he continues to work to a script that sees home as 'small', 'unimportant' 'womens' stuff' - he might just come home one day to find that he no longer has one. That he only gets to be a father with a career because he has a wife stepping into his parenting shoes during the working day. Ask him how important he feels his highly responsible job is and how great he'd feel about it if it was all he had - if he got to go home to an empty flat and a takeaway every night. Make him think, get him to read Wifework (as suggested above) and make it very, very, very clear that he is lucky to have a wife who loves him enough to give him a clear warning.

This is the warning.

plunctplactzum Thu 23-Jun-11 14:47:11

I've been where you are, Op. Things started to improve when I understood that his 'forgetfulness' was a passive agressive thing. It looks like he's doing nothing but he is saying a lot every time he 'forgets' something. (someone already said that on the thread, it's a way to put you 'in your place').
Once I figured that out I guess I started to deal with things differently. DH is intelligent man who can learn/do many things (except the things he doesn't want...)

nomedoit Thu 23-Jun-11 14:55:10

You need a boundary. How about, "Here is a list of the tasks you need to do each week. If you do not do them, I need x amount of cash each week to pay someone to do them instead."

He needs a consequence for not contributing.

Bbee1 Thu 23-Jun-11 14:57:41

I think that's it pluncplattzum I can't understand why such an intelligent man can be so "forgetful" considering the responsibility he has at work (as responsible a job as it's possible to have) and his intelligence, why does he forget simple things, I don't want to think that he might be doing it passive aggressively though because that would make me question the man I thought I was with and our whole relationship. I have been making excuses for him for a long time though thinking he was just absent minded. He needs to switch himself on at home but I don't know how to get him to realise that on his own because he just thinks I'm fussing over stupid things argh!

garlicnutter Thu 23-Jun-11 15:01:10

I am very liking Shouty's logical proposition smile

ShoutyHamster Thu 23-Jun-11 15:09:40

That's exactly it OP. Oldest trick in the book. Label whatever it is that you're hacked off about as 'unimportant' and 'trivial', so the implication is that you're a silly fusser/a nag/don't understand that he has Greater Things to take care of. Puts you on the back foot.

One of the best ways to spike this particular gun is to play him at his own game. So domestic tasks are unimportant, are they? Well then there's his hot dinner gone - totally unimportant. And his clean shirst just before the big meeting? 'Well, darling, like you say to me, it's so easy to forget these simple, not-important domestic things like shirts and bins. Perhaps, like me, you should just get used to doing it yourself, if you think it's important? Then neither of us will feel nagged or criticised smile smile smile

ShoutyHamster Thu 23-Jun-11 15:12:43

shirts not shirst

Although perhaps you could come up with a new invention called the SHIRST which looks like a normal shirt, but has a built-in remote control which you can activate to make his arms move in helpful ways, such as picking up bins, loading dishwashers, taking off socks and putting them into laundry baskets in one poetic fluid motion. Once inside the SHIRST the wearer can only undo the buttons after five useful household tasks have been completed. Viva LE SHIRST

Bbee1 Thu 23-Jun-11 15:15:27

You are great shouty. I am going to follow your logic! Things are going to have to change, I go back to work soon so he is going to have to pull his finger out. Thank you all

Bbee1 Thu 23-Jun-11 15:18:42

I think you should patent the shirst! More than 5 household tasks though and a 3 course meal to be made before it can be taken off!

plunctplactzum Thu 23-Jun-11 16:01:32

don't question 'what sort of man he is' or your relationship. It will make life too complicated smile
Just deal with it matter-of-factly. One thing I did, for example, was 'translate' every 'sorry, I forgot' from him as 'feck it, I didn't do it because I couldn't be bothered'. I would say the translation out loud every time he said 'sorry'. Silly, but I think he eventually understood it.

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