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DH who is mostly brilliant but clueless in other ways(39 Posts)
DH and I have been together 10 years, married for 7. We have a great relationship in almost every way, communicate well and he's a great dad.
The positive things: he works from home and will help out when he can, he loves spending time with the twins, is fine with me having a nap on the weekend if I need it, puts the boys to bed every night, if he's around happily chips in with feeding, nappy changes etc, happily gets up for night feeds / early mornings (we sort of take this on an adhoc basis depending on who wakes up first / who's most knackered).
All sounds great right? I have way more help from him than a lot of mums do and I am massively grateful for that... but it makes me feel completely unreasonable to bring up the things that he does that massively annoy me. To me some of these things are pretty fundamental but I still really struggle to raise them. Here goes:
- he hasn't made a bottle for 10 months. When they were 2.5 months old one was admitted back into hospital and I had to stay with him so husband had the other one at home. He had to do everything for him then including making bottles. Since then, he hasn't made one. We have prescription formula which is a bit of a pain in the arse to make admittedly and he says he doesn't really know what he's doing - wouldn't you want to learn though? I make up all the bottles for the day at night, so he could easily watch / ask questions.
- one is on important medications and he has never once drawn them up. Not once. I have brought this up multiple times to him and said he really needs to learn in case something happens to me. He agrees, watches me do it once and then that's it until the next time I bring it up.
- the same twin needs his blood sugars testing throughout the day. When he was stuck in hospital at two months old he gave this big speech saying if they would just teach him how to test, he would happily test him as often as needed at home. Right. In the 11 months since, he'd probably tested him twice until last week - then I had to go to work on a day he was having an episode and so he had to test him while I was out. He hasn't done it since.
- we've had our washing machine for a year and I swear he doesn't know how to use it.
- he's never taken the twins out on his own, and I've only left him on their own with him when I've had a few work things I can't take them to and medical appointments. I'm going a bit crazy as I never get a break (don't have any family around to help etc)
- he will only do the bare minimum sometimes - e.g. If he is the one to give them breakfast or dinner he won't remember to brush their teeth
- if one of them leaks on their clothes, he will shout for me to find new clothes because he has no idea what will fit them at any one time (nearly died of shock when he found new clothes for one of them while I was in the bathroom recently so maybe that one isn't an issue now!)
They all sound trivial compared to what he does do and generally he's an excellent husband and a hands on dad so I feel like I should let these things go. But some of them are really starting to drive me mad. I've been in a lot of pain this weekend (endometriosis) and he did send me to bed yesterday afternoon for a few hours, but I've had to endure loads of pain making bottles and prepping meds both days because he doesn't know how.
At this stage I can't tell if I'm completely out of order or not. We can talk about anything but feel if I raise this yet again that I'm diminishing everything he does do. And it's not that I'm expecting him to do these things all the time, just be able to do them if the need arises. He does work full time and I work very part time so I'm happy to do all this stuff most of the time, but surely we should both be able to do everything they need when necessary. I can't emphasise enough how brilliant he is with almost everything, but these small issues are starting to really piss me off.
What are your thoughts? Is there any way I can bring this up without undermining everything he actually does do?
Dear god! It's not help or chipping in to pull your weight in life and parenting your own kids. Tell him that he needs to do his share of bottles, testing and laundry. Of course he can learn it just like you did. No one came and taught you. Leave him with his own kids. Don't ask, just announce and then go. STOP feeling like every single bit of parenting is your job. It's not, they are his kids, too.
you are enabling him to be a lazy twat.
sorry, your priorities are right, he is acting very selfish.
You know what I think it is, he has a lot of the nice jobs and you gave all the responsibility - meds, washing & thinking jobs
Tell him straight that he needs to learn and do the bottles and meds as if you were not about who would do them ? It is a safety issue
He is practicing strategic incompetence. He could do it but doesn't want to so pretends it is all so complicated he wouldn't know where to start.
Why don't you start by saying what YOU need - and that might be one weekend day where you don't make up any bottles or administer any meds, or do any washing. I think you are right to think kindly of him, as you obviously both appreciate each other very much. I told my DH that I needed one work day where I could leave home without thinking about school run, breakfast, etc and come home whenever I wanted.
My dh was a bit like this. I told him these were basic concepts , he didn't forget his own medication if he needed it or meals or personal hygiene. not bothering to do it for his children was a red flag for neglect and it made me very unhappy to think my own husband couldn't manage basic care of our children.
But to be honest of my husband shouted at me to find new clothes I would be pretty rude back. I certainly wouldn't get them for him.
Not to make sure excuses for him because this absolutely will not do but is he scared of your child's condition? Has he come to terms with it? I only ask because my own dh, who does at least 50% of everything around here is considerably less competent when our dc are ill. He always has been - whether it's a cold, croup or a hospital admission, he is less than himself. He just goes to pieces and I think that if either of them had had a chronic condition, he would have tried to avoid thinking about it. It might help to approach with questions about why, when he is otherwise helpful, he avoids certain tasks. He needs to think about this makes you feel and, as they get older, how your dc will feel. They deserve to feel equally safe and comfortable with either parent. He needs to practice until it becomes second nature.
I think you should ask him quite specific questions about why he won't engage and acknowledge all he does do - as much as anything so he can't hide behind the 'I do loads around here' defence. The issue is not how much he helps but that there are specific areas of care that he is avoiding and they matter.
Thanks everyone. I think we have sleepwalked into a bad situation. When the boys were born, one was very sick and in nicu for months, then back in. We were honestly just surviving as best we could and just doing what needed to be done as and when without much thought - knowing him as I do, I don't think there was any strategy involved in him avoiding shitty jobs since he's more than happy to do others, it's just fallen this way and I haven't addressed it really. Most of the tasks that I feel stuck with are things that I've done during the day when he's working so it's just fallen into a bit of a routine and then I feel lumbered with it.
I realise that it sounds like he's lazy but that's my difficulty here because he really isn't - he's always either working or enjoying being with the boys, and given that I'm with them all day every day and he finishes work just before he puts them to bed I feel like I want him to spend quality time with them when he's not working, so I've just got on with the shitwork.
I think it's definitely a mental load issue as well - I'm sick of being the one who's mentally juggling all the hospital appointments and schedules and shopping lists. I tried to do something about this - got an app we share for shopping lists and to do lists, got a big wall planner etc but it's still just me really dealing with it all.
I definitely didn't mean he "helps", he's definitely a coparent and a very good one, which is why I struggle to raise these issues that sound so trivial but which are really winding me up!
I haven't addressed it really
why should you? he is the other parent, capable but just not doing his part.
He loves you, right? Think of something you want to do, get his support for it, then say you do feel worried about it because he is not in the groove of everything. Train for a 5k? Go for a weekend away with friends? Evening class?
Talk about what you want for your children in the average day/evening. Not task based stuff, but that you want them to be healthy, happy, developing, practising making friends. Then start unpicking what you do all day to make that happen.
Afraid at the end of it you may feel he's not quite such a great dad as you think now.
I agree that your DH sounds scared of your DC's condition and so is avoiding dealing with it. The clothes thing is a bit different and he needs to just get on with it.
Also, watching someone do something (like make up meds) isn't the best way to learn how to do it. He has to try making them up (with you there to supervise and prompt him if he gets it wrong). be prepared to do this several times until he gets used to it and feels comfortable doing it himself.
I am glad that I'm not being unreasonable though. I will try to raise it when they're in bed.
I think there is an element of him struggling to cope with the illness thing. Recently I applied for DLA for the little twin, and was quite upset when it was turned down as it felt like a slap in the face and the implication was that his condition really isn't an big deal (a stupid reaction given I'm only too aware of what this government is like). DH said "oh well, I'm not surprised - it really doesn't impact our lives that much". I was stunned and absolutely lost my shit with him - of course it doesn't affect your life that much since you take no responsibility for managing it. I think because we were told he would probably grow out of it (which he seems to be doing but still requires meds and management) he's not too worried about it while I worry about it all the time.
I wonder how many men would say their wife 'loves spending time with the kids' when he's trying to convince people that he's married a good 'un?
I agree, I shouldn't have to raise it - I think that's why I'm annoyed. I mean, how can you have two babies and not know how to make a bloody bottle? It's almost funny, except it isn't.
Early on he would say things like "if you need help, you only have to ask" and he got quite the bollocking then because I shouldn't have to ask - I know just as much about looking after babies as he does. He did get better at being proactive after that. Like I say though, it's only the last couple of months where I feel like we aren't just existing in a state of survival (twins, one with a health issue, is a baptism of fire!)
I'm not saying that loving spending time with the kids makes him father of the year - I just know that there are many women here who don't even have that so I'm trying to be diplomatic!
I know, it just always bothers me when I see people being grateful for crumbs like that.
I absolutely agree. I feel bad if I've represented him here as someone who only gives me such crumbs as that's not the case at all. He's always been very supportive - there were several years where I couldn't work due to illness, he was the one who convinced me it was okay to stop when I was killing myself trying and failing, he financially supported us, he encouraged me when I became self employed and in most things I am extremely happy with the way he is and things he does. Getting pissed off about bottles and meds seems daft given that there have been times where I've been so exhausted he's done every single wake up ;and there are many) for days on end, etc. It's tricky!
Is your twin type 1 diabetic? If so appeal the DLA thing I know lots of kids get it for type 1
He has the opposite of type 1 diabetes - it's very rare (so this is very outing, but never mind). At the moment he is stable on medication and they are hoping to wean him off it, but you can't relax as he can randomly drop his sugars at any time. Totally unpredictable and therefore really stressful. He's been good for a while and then last week when I got him up he was really low and wouldn't come back up with milk as usual - that of course was the day I had to go to a meeting all day. Massively stressful!
I've only read the op, not the rest, but too me as a child with a life threatening illness too he seems scared. Scared to get it wrong.
Just my very quick opinion but he appears to lack confidence in the medical things like the special formula, medicine etc.
Ok I think I know what it is HI? And if so I know someone, an adult, with it on DLA though she is now a type 1 as had to have pancreas removed. If you haven’t appealed I do think it’s worth a go. Sorry going off topic a bit.
Also have you looked into a dexcom? It alerts to low blood sugars and could poss help before they drop too low and harder to bring out of the low. Doesn’t replace finger pricking but has a screen reading sugar 24/7 no excuse for your DH to not look at a screen.
I think you're right - he does struggle with anxiety and maybe he is just anxious about it, but at the same time he minimises a lot so I'm not sure if that's the case. It's definitely not life threatening - or rather it isn't life threatening unless he wasn't given his meds or tested and managed for days on end.
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