Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Hubby and his response to change in dynamics at home (or lack of it)(33 Posts)
To start with, I would say hubby & I do equal around the house, on his days off if i am working he looks after the kids, he does more than his fair share of nursery drop off / pick ups etc. We generally work well. We both have our faults (he is messy, I am crap cook - lucky for us I am tidy, he is a good cook.)
But when there is a change in dynamics in our household, in my eyes, he doesn't step up plus it takes him ages to get with the programme.
When DC1 was born, we really struggled to adjust to being parents. I had a awful labour, and was quite down for awhile after. But eventually I got my shit together. However hubby was still in ‘his world’ eg last minute announcement he was off to the gym / out for drinks with no real thought of who has DC1. where as if I went out I had to remind him several times that he needed to be home as I was going out. He eventually got it, after many chats.
Then when I went back to work, he struggled to do his share of house / childcare. Again it took him awhile to get on board, whereas I felt I had no option but to just get on with it.
Roll on 2.5 years later & we have got into a good pattern of shared diaries / lists/ childcare rostas etc & on the whole we are doing well. We both contribute to the running of the house, & we generally get the same leisure time.
However I am expecting again & have found him to be totally not in tune with the current change in status quo again. I have gone down with a cold with a temperature & feeling generally shit. He is on nights. He can't sleep when we are in so we went out to see some family yesterday I started to become unwell & my sister packed me off to bed & looked after DC1 (love my sister). when we came home I told hubby I was sick & he had to take over looking after DC1 as I was having a bath & off to bed. Fine he did it no problem, because I told him what I needed.
During the evening my temperature was getting higher, I started to become worried & wasn't sure what I could take / not take. Hubby was like “I don't know” & went off to work. I felt he could have rung the out of hours doctor or checked NHS website. In the end I did it & went back to sleep.
He comes in this morning & heads to bed. He could have offered to give DC1 his breakfast or ring a family member to see if they could help today. As it happened I have DC1 breakfast, tidied up the kitchen from his dinner last night & rang my mum around 9 and asked if she could have my little one for a few hours. It didn't occur to him to clear up after dinner.
When he was sick a few weeks ago I came home early from work to make sure there was 2 of us for dinner bath & bed as well doing the cooking. He slept for all he needed etc etc. I even asked his sister for help so he could have some daytime to himself.
But when I need his help & can't explicitly say what I need, he can't seem to see it.
We have just had a row about it as his view I need to tell him, my point is it would be nice if he offered.
All this makes me worry about DC2 arrival. I feel if I am not on form organising help etc I am going to struggle. I start to feel resentment towards him from DC1 arrival & when I returned to work.
I feel as my husband, he should be able to see this shit, but at least offer above his usual.
It sort of sounds like you and the child(ren) are fairly low in his concerns and priorities. He only steps up when you insist on it, which sounds like a constant struggle until he can't actually escape from it.
How is he on other aspects of the relationship?
I think this is a case where you need to accept that your husband needs instruction, or decide that it's a dealbreaker for you and leave, if it's a big enough issue for you.
This is who he is. He is willing to put in the work, and he is not a slacker on the family front, which is good news. He just is not - and will not magically become - the kind of person who thinks ahead about what's needed. Annoying, yes, but probably not changeable.
Can you be the wife who give detailed instructions to her husband? Or do you truly need a partner who does the mental planning work as well?
Only you can decide. But in a partnership with this man, you will have to continue doing the thinking and issuing detailed plans.
Mmmm I can see why you're worried, but honestly? I'd just tell him what you need.
I find the guessing game really wearing and in our house everyone gets in better if we're just clear about what we'd like/need.
Congrats on pregnancy though!
This seems to be the classic difference between me and women in my opinion
Men need it spelling out explicitly- just come out and tell him what you expect him to be doing, I know it takes the romance out of it but it would stop you being disappointed!
Great to be honest lweji. I am not I agree with your comments, but maybe I am naive.
Empathy is something he lacks which fecks me off greatly.
The thing is sometimes I don't know what it is I need!! Especially when DC1 was born, I was a mess. Felt incredibly lonely & down. It was only a couple of months later I realised nobody asked me how I was. Everyone was so caught up with bubba.
Like last night, I didn't know what I could take medication wise & I tbh was really drained. It would have been nice for him to do a bit of looking after me for a change.
When DC2 arrives, I am probably going to be a tired hormonal mess & could with him stepping up.
Does he ever ask what you want or need?
Is he like that with his family and friends?
In my view its the Venus and Mars thing. If mine has cold he just goes to bed, if I have cold I just carry on at half speed. Once I did go to bed, and my words were, I'm going to bed for an hour. He actually woke me up to tell me the hour was up, and couldn't understand why I was so pissed off with him. He said I should have said, I'm going to bed for 2 hours, or whatever and made myself clear??? WTF.
I'm afraid yours sounds like mine, I have to draw him a picture. Seriously though, I do wonder if age has anything to do with it. Their routine of only caring for themselves cannot be deviated from after the age of 35. A friends husbands idea of babysitting is balancing the child on his knee whilst gaming. For hours.
Its so fustrating!! Especially when they can hold down a reasonable good job & do planning thought shit there. Selfish gits.
The thing is sometimes I don't know what it is I need!!
Then how would he?
Sorry didn't mean to post abruptly. I just think life is tricky enough with young children. It's ok to ask for help. If he has to guess then chances are you'll both feel it's not quite right.
Mmm I do get your point Karate but I suppose my point is, when he was ill I would come home early from work to help with DC1, stepped up at home so he got some respite. He didn't ask me I just did it.
It doesn't work the other way round here unless I ask.
This is all fairly familiar to me. I'm 36 weeks pregnant at the moment with DC3, and DS is only 16mo.
DH said he would do breakfast etc this morning to give me a lie-in which was great, except that I couldn't sleep at all as I could hear DS whinging downstairs every 10 seconds. He has a bad cold and is teething atm.
Then he took DS out for a walk- again, great. I got up at this stage. When they got in from the walk DS was in an absolute state, freezing cold, streaming nose, crying, no shoes on (ok he was in his cosy toes thing but still, he had gone on the swing in the park) tracksuit bottoms that he grew out of about 3 months ago put on back to front... I could go on. I said has he had his Neurofen? "oh no I didn't realise he needed it" came the answer.
Er, so wtf did you think I was banging on about for the last two days when I kept saying ok in an hour he can have his medicine, or, DS needs his medicine every 6 hours
Grr. I know that if I had said- now give DS his medicine after breakfast , then everything would have been fine.
I agree with rice This is who you have as a partner. I am sure he has many really good points, but you've got to be the organiser/sorter and issuer of instructions.
The plus side is that once you have got use to the fact (and it's not a deal breaker for you) life is relatively straightforward. Tiring, and sometimes you'll feel overwhelmed/unsupported but it works for some people.
Question is whether you feel that you can cope, or have sufficient support from friends/family?
I wouldn't be issuing specific instructions, but if feeling ill, then I would be very explicit about him taking over for a while and needing to take care of me too.
Then see how it goes.
Would he be happy if you didn't bother as much with him when he is ill, or just took off without a second thought?
You could ask him that.
If you want/need something, then ask! It's really unfair to get upset and cross with someone for not doing something you wanted when they don't even know you want it.
Yes, I'm an ideal world, we'd all be able to sense what needed doing and just do it, but in reality, most of us need a bit of help.
I don't feel well, any chance you could call and find out if there is anything I can take? Perfectly reasonable request and he likely would have just got on and done it.
If my DP was complaining about me not do not doing something he wanted when I had no idea he wanted it I would be seriously annoyed .
Hope you feel better soon OP
I agree with RiceCrispie, Karate , Lionhearty and others.
Accept that this is who he is. Like he accepts you are a pretty lousy cook, or you accept that he is untidy. If he will do whatever needs doing when you ask, then just ask. Faffing around trying to make him guess is just not going to work for either of you.
This is more like the default parent thing. He floats along unless you tell him otherwise.
What happens if you don't do the extra - would he notice?
This seems to be the classic difference between me and women in my opinion
Nonsense. My dh is a capable man and if he was laid low with a cold or something I would assume that he was fine unless he told me otherwise. I would assume that he could manage his normal activities, including childcare, unless he told me otherwise.
If he asked for help I'd give it. I wouldn't try to read his mind. I don't really see what the problem is OP, just tell him if you want/need something, he sounds like a decent man.
I think for some people being able to tell DH what to do is not a problem, especially if he does it. For others, it can leave you feeling that everything depends on you and what happens if you are not in a position to issue the instructions. I can see that this could leave you anxious and uncared for.
If the friend's husband calls taking care of his on child 'babysitting' nothing he might do or not do would surprise me.
Sorry but you sound a little bit like hard work. He's not psychic - if you need him to do something to help because you have a cold?
Maybe it's just my reading of your OP but it reads a bit like you are operating from the position of believing your way is the only way and if he doesn't magically think the same way at the same time then he is automatically wrong.
TickTack He woke you when the hour was up!!!!!!!
I bet if he was on a night out and said he would be back at midnight and you phoned him at midnight to tell him his time was up he would suddenly be humming a different tune!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.