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Don't feel DH and I are a parenting "team" - relationship suffering

(66 Posts)
newnameagain Mon 12-May-14 20:42:30

HI All,
I'm currently trying to get my life my sorted out! I'm trying to eat better, drink less etc.. and I've also started counselling to look at how possible issues form my upbringing may contribute to my ongoing bouts of stress/depression.
Anyway, one area that also needs improving is my relationship with DH. Trouble is I'm quite confused about how to go about improving it or even if it is possible, so posting here for some views to gain perspective etc..

Apologies if I dont get all the info out staight off, its all a bit muddled in my head!

so, we've been married 17 years and have dc. To get straight to the point I suppose my "main" issue is that I just don't feel that DH and I are a "team" when it comes to parenting. I never have. DC aren't babies. oldest is 15, but we have younger dc too and youngest is 6. I have always flet like this tbh since DS1 was a baby. Now to be fair DH does do a fair bit. He does about 90% of driving them to and from clubs/activities at evenings/weekends. He will cook when he can (though will have to ask me what to cook etc..) He will sometimes hoover/clean when he feels like it/when house is so bad he cant ignore any longer.He does work full time and often does extra work in an evening. I work 4 days a week. I can be more flexible with my hours so I do all school drop off and pick up 3 days a week. DH does school pick up one day, and one day is after school club. DH will OCCASSIONALLY do DIY type jobs but only after LOTS of asking and it can take MONTHS for them to happen. Mostly I will do stuff like decorating etc.. I do 90% of the cleaning, ALL of the washing (and we have several dc so there is a LOT)

and then the bit that gets me the most is I do ALL of the thinking/planning/organising/mediating/emotional stuff/remebering who is friends with who,who has a test coming up etc.../ALL of the planning,organising and shopping for birthday and Christmas presents etc... DH hasn't got a clue when it comes to this. He never knows what is going on at school, despite having as much access to letters that are sent home as me, never knows when one of them is going on a trip etc..
It just really upsets me so much, I try not to let it but the resentment just bubbles up in me and I spend a lot of time feeling angry with DH.

I've tried talking to him but he just doesn't get it. He will always come back with "but I tidy up/hoover/drive them to clubs" which is true, he does, but it's the responsibility of everything else that is overwhelming me. And then we always end up arguing and somehow I then feel bad, that I am being unfair to him.

I have read "wifework" and a lot of it really resonated with me.
But is this just the way it is and always will be. I've given up any hope of him changing now. Im not going to leave him, he's not an unkind man, but tbh I just feel so constantly let down by him and dissappointed it makes it hard to have any positive elements to our relationship.

So..any views? anyone else relate? How can I stop this eating away at me and try to improve our relationship?

newnameagain Wed 14-May-14 18:47:55

thanks all.
It's just so sad though isn't it. I feel so alone sad
will continue to mull the situation over.
He now isn't talking to me and predictably is ill (Flu)(otherwise known as the same cold I had last week) so is opting out even more than usual. Ho Hum hmm

Handywoman Wed 14-May-14 18:51:47

Oh dear, passive aggressive as well as useless eh?


He do have your work cut out, OP.

newnameagain Wed 14-May-14 20:13:11

handywoman it's actually quite exhausting sad I've wondered about possible passive aggressive issues with him before .....

RandomMess Wed 14-May-14 20:21:47

I would give him the option out of two "chores"

So either:
FOOD: planning, shopping, cooking
WASHING: washing, drying, putting away

But then you really do hand over the entire task and suffer the consequences whilst he accepts it is job and you will not rescue him and whilst he goes through the learning curve.

Handywoman Wed 14-May-14 22:39:46

My guess is you aren't going to confront this with him while he's laid low with man flu - mate I've so been where you are. Tip-toeing around him, hoping at some point he'll 'step up' to the task. Please organise some 1:1 counselling and get some clarity in your head about what you want out of your marriage. It is ok to want/need support and feel like someone gives a monkeys about your feelings

kinsorange Wed 14-May-14 22:55:17

Personally, apart from the emotional detachment bit, I dont think your situation sounds so bad at all.


what you do is this. You literally leave for 3 days at a time, from time to time. That way he is forced to do everything. You do it when it is a good time for him [the idea is not to punish him, but to encourage him to see quite what running things involves. And he can only do that if he is physically present and not too distracted by other general life]. But wha you also do, is leave him copious notes. It is a bit time consuming before you go for the first time, writing notes. But I will repeat again, you do not want to set him up to fail, you want to set him up to pass!
So notes, such as, check school bag, check calendar, scouts is on wednesday, kids always have pizza on friday, that sort of thing. And when you come back, you praise him. Even if things are a bit messy, or something was overlooked. Remember, the name of the game is for him to pass.
Repeat every few months.
Also, the joy is that you have had a rest.
The kids enjoy it too. It is fun for them.

kinsorange Wed 14-May-14 22:57:44

Oh, and dont complain if they have all eaten more takeaway than usual, or he allowed them to stay up a bit later. Remember, the idea is that he passes. Make no mistake, he will definitely be learning that it is a lot more work than he thought it would be. there will be a downside in that he will have found a couple of jobs that he can actually do better or faster than you, but you cant win them all!

SanityClause Thu 15-May-14 06:05:55

So what you are saying, kinsorange, is the OP should treat her husband like a child.

newnameagain Thu 15-May-14 07:15:34

Thanks all. I Can't really leave for days at a time as dh work hours means he couldn't drop dc at school or collect them, also I've got no where to go and couldn't afford to stay anywhere!
Must say "setting him up to pass, not fail"sounds like what or dog trainer used to tell us, and I've already trained 2 dogs, so don't really want to "train"my husband too!
It's not about training him. It's about him caring enough about us to be bothered to put the effort in really.

Handywoman Thu 15-May-14 07:30:01

Exactamundo. He is an adult, partner, parent. Not a child or a dog!

doziedoozie Thu 15-May-14 07:41:18

Hoping he will take on the organizing and remembering doesn't sound as if it will work so no point stressing over it. And the organizing should get less as DCs get older when, if they can't be bothered to get their kit ready then they stop going to whatever it is. As they get older you will have less (a bit) to do.

But I would ask him which task he wants to do - all clothes washing, drying and putting away. All the food shopping, putting away, cooking, cleaning up afterwards. And make sure whatever it is is a daily job not mowing the lawn or anything which doesn't have to be done. And no helping him out.

Agewise your DCs are at their most time-demanding as far as activities are concerned, once older they can get themselves to and from, perhaps even remember their own dates. Also once the eldest can drive they are usually happy to drive younger ones here and there.

kinsorange Thu 15-May-14 09:40:44

In that case newname, throw him in at the deep end.
If he doesnt work weekends, you hole yourself up in your bedroom for 2 days/go for walks etc. And tell the kids that you are not there too.

To the posters who are saying about training. If he hasnt learnt by now, he needs to learn.

kinsorange Thu 15-May-14 09:42:20

op. You have to want to do it too. It will require certain changes in your behaviour too. And sometimes, that is ultimately the rub for some women. And they may not realise that about themselves at the beginning.

kinsorange Thu 15-May-14 09:45:01

I sure has heck trained mine btw. Anything he was lacking from his childhood, I trained him! Ditto, he had to train me on a few things too. That is what always happens. We do not arrive at marriage or partnership a fully trained package. There are always gaps in our adult life. Best to get them sorted, else it can breed resentment on both sides.
And, from reading mumsnet, we are witness to types of threads like this many times over.

kinsorange Thu 15-May-14 09:47:45

I think that to a certain extent they can be trained to care too. Though this is harder. At the very least what is gained by leaving them to it 100% even for a couple of days is that they know just a little of what a woman does that some of them will not have known and certainly not spotted before.
So next time there is an argument, you will know that they know some of what the woman is doing. It will be a big eye opened for some. And they will no longer be able to plead ignorance.

newnameagain Thu 15-May-14 19:59:59

dozie you are right in that stressing over it wont help. I wish I could just "let it go" but even when I manage for a bit I still end up becoming angry and resentful eventually. Maybe I can work harder on hanging this about myself.
Unfortunately organising doesn't seem to be getting easier as they get older. the 16 and 14 yr old are involved in lots of activities and need ferrying all over the place and dh often forgets when one of them has something on and double books or just forgets...hmm

kins I'm am completely sure I need to make change sin my behaviour too. After all there are 2 of us in this relationship and I am trying hard to look at my own behaviour in the relationship and improve that. I have made some changes already and am going to counselling so hopefully that will help. I don't think it will resolve this issue though...
rather than "training" each other though I would have hoped parenting would have been more about both of us learning together as a team and supporting each other. Maybe I was just very niaive and overly optimistic. sad

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