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How can I help stressed SAHD.(7 Posts)
Would really apprecite any suggestions or at least receptive ears!!
I am a full time WOHM. My DH is a full time SAHD. We have two DC, a 3 year old and a 2 year old. My DH is very stressed at the momoent and I don't know where to go next to help him. The DC are in pre-school, the 3 year old 4 mornings a week, the 2 year old 2 mornings. They are both great, but typical toddlers - lots of fighting, screaming and have both been a nightmare to potty train (or are still in the process of it!).
We are also having a lot of building work done which he is bearing the brunt of dealing with (letting builders, electricians in etc). He has also suffered from depression in the past, and I'm sure that he needs to go back to the doctors, but says he doesn't have time.... I'm sure one of the signs of his depression is that he is refusing to consider any options - I've suggested additional childcare (2 days nursery), me trying to cut my hours at work, but he rejects these - usually for a multitude of reasons, affordability, doesn't want them in childcare etc.... I'm getting frustrated as he seems so unhappy yet doesn't want to take any steps to change it. And my main worry, which is tugging at me, is leaving the kids each day and any impact it has on them. I know he loves them enormously and wouldn't deliberately hurt them of course, but it can't be good for them to see him stressed and bad tempered.
Any suggestions about dealing with a spouse who is depressed - a couple of times in the past years he has gone to the doctors, got ADs, taken them for a few months and then come off...and then the cycle starts agan.
you have my sympathies, I also am a wohm with sahp
I think being a SAHP is hard for any gender, as it can be isolating
but for a man I think it can be harder as they dont necessarily have the same friendshops as (some!) women have
added to that dealing with frenetic toddlers, builders
plus men really can find the whole "what do you do" convo hard, as other men can be less than supportive
you cutting hours, and increasing childcare time wont acheive anything, it sounds like he does have at least 2 morning to breathe and from his responses more time is not what he needs
I really get you have 2 major issues
He wont face up to his issues
you are worried about your DC
I think you need to talk, and talk proper. Its not easy, but persist gently and get to the big issue you both share, which is the love for your children
me and DP seem to sometimes be in a permanent "who is the most tired" and "who works the hardest" dalogue, its SHIT!!!!
but try and talk, what does he want? what are his dreams? what is a vision that could make him happy?
My DP really wants to stay at home, just wants more money and a bigger house, which I really get!!!! so do I!
Thanks for responding and its good to hear from someone in the same boat - I am the only person in my group of friends doing this!
God yes, we are also in the same "who has it hardest" cycle...and we do need to talk, you are so right, and probably in an environment away from home when we are not surrounded by things to do/listening for kids etc.
Part of me thinks it's just a case of riding out the storm - the builders will be finished in a couple of weeks, the eldest DC will be at school next year etc...but it just seems so hard now.
He was the one who chose to stay at home, as he wanted a career change (he will train when they are at school), and I was the higher earner so it made sense for me to keep on working. Been hard for us both though...
Speaking as a SAHM, here are my thoughts.
I agree with your DH that putting them in extra childcare doesn't necessarily help. He might find he spends those extra hours hanging around feeling guilty about all the household chores he could / should be getting on with. The money might be better spent on things like:
- getting a cleaner (if you haven't got one already)
- paying for fun stuff for him to do with the DCs (days out etc)
- paying for the 2 of you to go out together in the evenings so you both feel happier generally
Agree with fromparistoberlin that men can find being a SAHP harder because of the friendships issue. Does your local NCT branch or surestart have any groups aimed specifically at Dads?
A key thing for me is to feel that my "job" is recognised and valued by my DH. The issue for your DH may be that he doesn't really want to change the status quo but he feels the need to moan a bit to let you know how hard his job is. Maybe he wouldn't need to do that if you demonstrated clearly that you do understand that? As you've written this post this probably isn't a problem, but it may be worth reminding yourself.
I also do a small amount of work (just a few hours a month) and, while that might seem to be adding to your DH's stress levels, I find it helps me to use my brain and do something completely different. If that's not possible for him, is there anything he could do in preparation for his re-training before the DCs start school? Maybe he needs to feel he has a purpose outside being a SAHP?
Thank you tumbletumble Yes, I don't think he feels appreciated - and it's a bloody good point to make sure that I make sure that he is aware of how much I appreciate all he does for us. I try and do my best, but worth bearing in mind.
There are dad's groups, but he hasn't been to them - there's a few dads he chats to at toddler groups, but he definitely doesn't have the same social groups that a lot of women in the same situation have.
One of the things he misses is that sense of accomplishment. Anything he does which isn't focused on the kids, is generally on the house - DIY, decorating etc...so again, a really good thought about looking to do something outside. Lots to chat about!
Does he need to stay at home? Can he get a job instead? From what you write he doesn't sound particularly suited to being a SAHD. If you're not really up for it can be depressing...esp I'd suggest for a man for reasons you've already mentioned...
re. anti-depressants (SSRI-type), a few months (like 6) is fine for a first depressive episode, but if the depression returns, usually at least 12 months on anti-ds is needed. When he comes off meds, has he done it very gradually? He might be getting 'rebound' depression as a result of coming off them too quickly. I think he needs to see his gp again. Has he considered some sort of talk therapy?
Depression and small children just doesn't mix. The children will pick up on it (emotional distance) and become even more needy, which can be unbearable when depressed.
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