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Great relationship - as long as I don't ask for help with housework

(62 Posts)
WifeofDarth Tue 15-Nov-16 09:59:47

I was a working mum for years, but found that the more I asked for help with running the home the further DH would pull away and the more arguments we'd have. Of course I just stopped asking in the end and did it all myself. The stress of doing both got too much and I dropped out of work at a crunch point.
For the past few years I've been a SAHM, and everything has been great, I manage the household and finances and just get on with it. But recently things have been getting on top of me, for various reasons (including job search to help family finances) I've had less time to do household stuff and DCs all going through needy stages at the moment.
So I asked DH for more help. He usually goes to the gym after work and comes home after the kids are in bed, I've asked him to think of another time to go to the gym so that he can help me with the hw/story/bed marathon, just while I catch up and get back on top of things. And it's all kicked off, big argument.
I get so frustrated by his refusal to see how much is involved in running everything. He says I take all this too seriously, that I should 'live more'.
But I don't see how anyone can 'live' if there's no food in the fridge and I can't direct a child to their PE kit when it's needed.
DC are primary and pre primary.
I know that this issue has been posted umpteen times before, but am hoping that someone can come up with the magic trick to make it better!

thewookieswife Tue 15-Nov-16 10:02:49

Mine realised just how much was needed and that I did when I slipped a disk, needed surgery and literally could do anything for a month ! He's a lot more help now !!

RedMapleLeaf Tue 15-Nov-16 10:09:46

Make what better?

rumred Tue 15-Nov-16 10:11:36

You need to change your mindset. It isn't help you need but an equal respectful relationship. Doing things in the house and for your kids is simply the right thing to do. Otherwise his needs and views are more important and you are the lesser being in the relationship

FetchezLaVache Tue 15-Nov-16 10:17:51

He's trained you to do it all without question, using special negative reinforcement techniques. I'm sorry to say this, but if I have understood correctly and he wouldn't pitch in even when you were both working and there were no children, he's a massive misogynist and he simply sees the shitwork as the wifey's domain.

Drastic action is needed. Take the fucker at his word! Live more. Get out and do stuff you want to do and leave him with the house and kids for a day. He's not going to see how much is involved unless he is required to walk in your shoes for a considerable period.

WifeofDarth Tue 15-Nov-16 10:20:55

Red Enable me to ask for help with managing the home without it all kicking off?
Get some kind of recognition that me putting effort in to having a vaguely organised life is to everyone's benefit, and not because i'm a 'control freak'.

hellsbellsmelons Tue 15-Nov-16 10:22:51

I'd be telling him I'm going to 'live more'
Just for a week.
And he has to do everything you do while you are away and you will discuss it all when you are back.
Job done!!!

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 15-Nov-16 10:25:48

There is no magic trick that can make this better.

What do you get out of this relationship now, what needs of yours are being met here?.

What do you want to teach your children about relationships here and what are they learning from the two of you?.

Would you want your children as adults to have a relationship like yours is?

You are also showing your children that you are the second class citizen in her home. Currently at least, this is acceptable to you on some level. You've put up and shut up to date because he has managed to shut you down. All you are asking for here is an equal relationship but he will never give you that because he does not respect you at all.

Such attitudes are often deeply rooted; it may well be the case that his own father did exactly the same (whilst mum did everything else and wait on them) when your H was younger so has simply learnt from that poor example.

I would seek legal advice so you know where you stand if and when (hopefully when rather than if) you do decide to separate from him. After all knowledge is power and you do not have to act on it straight away.

rumred Tue 15-Nov-16 10:25:54

You're still seeing it as unreasonable that he pulls his weight. That he helps you rather than does the right thing. He kicks off too? What a prize, what a great role model for your children

Myusernameismyusername Tue 15-Nov-16 10:27:11

I dont think there is a magic answer to this
You asked he said no.
So you have to decide what that means now.
You could keep asking
He could keep saying no
You can keep hoping
You could stop doing as much stuff
You could completely refuse to do anything for him

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 15-Nov-16 10:27:36

He could never manage a day with his children without help; it seems like he is hardly there as it is. He is a selfish individual whose actions are also impacting negatively on his children.

FetchezLaVache Tue 15-Nov-16 10:27:37

I think you need to use the new job as leverage - i.e., if I'm struggling with it all now, you MUST see that I won't be able to do all this AND hold down a job. I will only consider going back to work if you will agree to a fair split of the shitwork.

Going to the gym every single night is incredibly self-indulgent. He needs to be prepared to compromise on that.

FloodMud Tue 15-Nov-16 10:30:33

He says I take all this too seriously, that I should 'live more'.

Tell him that this is a deeply childish response. That as a grown-up and as a parent, you both have responsibilities. That it is deeply fucking selfish to go to the gym and leave your wife to do all the shit work, and its deeply unattractive too.

I mean it won't work, but it might be briefly satisfying.

WifeofDarth Tue 15-Nov-16 10:31:41

Fetchez we did have DC then. Before we had DC he was very handy, cooking & washing was no problem.
He has just texted me an article saying we should delegate, get cleaner, get babysitter, go out more.
But we're trying to save money as employment outlook is extremely uncertain, saving for a rainy day and all that.
That's always been his solution - get someone else to do it. But even if we do have the money (which we don't at the moment) it's still me organising it. And I suppose I still want the recognition for that.
I'd like just once for him to say when he comes in 'those kids look like they've been a bit of a handful today, why don't you sit down and I'll get you a cup of tea'. Am I in cloud cuckoo land?
I can't remember the last time he made me a cup of tea.

Trifleorbust Tue 15-Nov-16 10:33:39

It is not okay for him to opt out of the after-work part of raising his family, going to the gym every night whilst you wrangle the kids. Just no. You need to sit him down again.

RedMapleLeaf Tue 15-Nov-16 10:36:49

Red Enable me to ask for help with managing the home without it all kicking off?
Get some kind of recognition that me putting effort in to having a vaguely organised life is to everyone's benefit, and not because i'm a 'control freak'.

Why is it a case of him helping you out?

Do you think his lack of recognition of you is because you're missing a magic thing you should have thought of?

PinkiePiesCupcakes Tue 15-Nov-16 10:38:03

Here's a simple solution, I've seen it mentioned and its what we've done at Pinkie Towers.

A rota of work.
Lost jobs that need doing, put a time allocation next to it, eg:
Hoover giving room: 10minutes
Clean bathroom: 20minutes
Cook evening meal: 45minutes
So on and so forth until all house chores are listed.

Do the same for cild care stuff, eg:
School prep (dressing etc) 1hour
School run: 20 minutes
Dc1 bath: 20minutes
DC1 bed time routine: 30 minutes

So on and so forth until all child care time is listed.

Then, sit down with OH and ask him what he thinks is a fair split.
So he works 40 hours, so you take on 40 hours worth of things from the lists, say 20hours house chores, 20hours child care.
Whatever's left should be equally split between you. Ask him for his input, see what he thinks is fair.

Here's the thing. You don't need to stick to this, its an exercise in his reactions and to have his input nd not 'nag him' If he becomes angry, dismissive, uncooperative etc. You kept calm and ask him what he sees as fair. Eventually he'll either realise he's being a prick and decide to help more or you'll know he never will and can tell him to fuck off so you can find someone fairer and more grown up to deal with.

Tbf, me and the gf have it split absolutely fairly and it works brilliantly.

Myusernameismyusername Tue 15-Nov-16 10:38:07

He is saying to you he doesn't understand why you worry about this, afterall, he never does worry

Racerback Tue 15-Nov-16 10:38:34

There is nothing you can do to transform this selfish misogynist into a different type of man. Nothing.

If there were a 'magic trick' women could perform to solve this problem, these boards would be a deserted wasteland.

This man doesn't respect you, and he doesn't care if you know it. What you do with that fact is up to you - but you can't change it.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 15-Nov-16 10:40:32


Re your comment:-

"He has just texted me an article saying we should delegate, get cleaner, get babysitter, go out more."

That is no use either because as you have already stated, he'd leave that to you to sort out. Again its abdicating all responsibility to you; he fundamentally sees work as his responsibility which stops as soon as he gets home (between work and the gym how often does he really see his children anyway?. What does he do on the weekends?).

What is the point of this man, what does he bring to the table?.

FetchezLaVache Tue 15-Nov-16 10:41:42

Re tea - he needs to be making you tea.

Just to give perspective, I work from home and DP is an HGV driver. He's out of the house ridiculously early (like 4.25) and on busy days might not get back until 7.30. He often has to unload a couple of tonnes of sacks by hand across a shitty farmyard. Meanwhile, I'm sitting on my arse in front of my computer in my nice centrally heated house. If I'm still working when he gets in, he always - but always - offers to make me a cup of tea. And he does more cleaning than I do.

MagikarpetRide Tue 15-Nov-16 10:46:44

My DH and I are having big problems currently because he likes to opt out of parenting.

He's not being as much of a dick at the moment as, thanks to a night this weekend where he was majorly sleep deprived, he finally acknowledged how hard parenting must be for me when I'm exhausted through illness. That a little thoughtfulness goes a long way.

Not sure how to make your DH realise though nor-- how long my DH will stop being a dick--

flowers op

Naicehamshop Tue 15-Nov-16 10:49:43

No. Just no. Sit him down and tell him that if he is not prepared to be involved with work in the home and childcare, then you are not prepared to continue with this relationship any longer. He is being totally unreasonable.

WifeofDarth Tue 15-Nov-16 10:57:32

MyUserName he didn't say no. He said that I was being inefficient, and that I should go out and let him do it tonight as he would do a better job of it.
That provoked an emotional reaction from me, so big row.
I think it's a distraction technique - if he belittles me and my efforts he knows I'll be overwhelmed with anger so end of discussion.
Hmm. Must learn how to deal better with those comments.

He has taken charge of the DC for a couple of saturdays lately to allow me to investigate my work opportunities, and on both of those days he has fed them by taking them to a restaurant.

Trifle He doesn't go to the gym every night, 2 or 3 times per week. But if you add that to the work drinks, or the days that he walks through the door and has to do something urgently on his laptop (like his expenses!!) the result is the same. I reckon he reads to one child about once a week (on a weekday), other than that I do it all.

He also wants me to go out more, to the gym etc, and doesn't understand why I don't head out when he comes in. I think one of the reasons I'm feeling under water at the moment is that my extra responsibilities have meant that I haven't been able to do any exercise for a while, and although I'd like to get back in to it I don't want it to be between 6 and 8pm, as I'd like the DC to have both of us to get them to bed for a change, and not do the 'tag team' (i.e. one parent in the other out the door).

Pinkie I did try a Sunday evening diary session, where we could talk each other and kids through the week coming - but he said that was too formal. I've tried the making lists thing - he just avoids/won't engage.

Sorry I'm rambling. Your comments have been really helpful. Need to take DD out now but will have a think and come back later

FloodMud Tue 15-Nov-16 11:17:51

that I should go out and let him do it tonight as he would do a better job of it.

Of course it's easy to do something once. He knows this as well, which is why he's offered. It's doing it day in day out that gets you.

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