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How can I get my point across to DH?(19 Posts)
I feel like I’m not being heard.
We have 6 month old DC so are both adjusting to being parents, sleep deprived etc. He is absolutely great and does his share of caring for DC, housework as well as working. However I feel like every time I try to talk about the fact that I’m tired or had a particularly bad day with DC the answer is ‘yeah me too’. He never just says ‘oh dear, that must be tough’. It always feels like a competition. I’m more tired than you, I slept less than you, I took DC to do the shopping yesterday...and so on.
I’m not really asking him to do more in general. Sometimes I just want a sympathetic ear. Sometimes I’d like him to recognise how relentless it is watching DC all day and waking through the night. I’d like to take a few hours for myself without having to guilt him into it.
I’ve never been very good at asking for help, tending to bottle things up and carry on regardless of my emotional state so I don’t know how to talk to him so he understands what I am asking for.
Try using joint phrases to get the conversation started. Something like "it's hard work this baby bringing up stuff isn't interested?" Or ask him how he's finding it all, try and begin by making it about both of you rather than one of you.
The classic MN suggestion is to leave him with baby for a weekend, and come back to see if both are still alive...
Do you get any time off from baby?
Competitive tiredness is a pain in the arse. Just stop him next time he does the " me too" . Get it nipped in the bud now or it will go on for years < voice of experience>
You could tell him that when you mention that you are tired and he responds as he does it makes you feel like your feelings are being invalidated.
In a separate conversation bring up the thing about feeling you have to guilt him into giving you down time but in a similar ‘when x happens I feel y’ way.
Me and my husband tried to not talk about being tired as it got boring constantly feeling we were competing over who was the most tired.
Have you seen the YouTube video 'It's Not About The Nail'? Some people (men in particular?) don't seem to be able to grasp that sometimes you want just a bit of understanding and sympathy, not to be given perspective on why it's not so bad or given ideas on how to fix the problem. Hope you can get through to him.
I would either say directly "I wasn't challenging you to a Yorkshiremen competition! I'm just looking for some sympathy and a hug."
Or go all Yorkshiremen sketch and make up even more outrageous comments to each other.
DH and I are prone to falling into competitive tiredness type conversations and the escalation technique works well for us. One starts getting silly, the main offender realises and we both end up somewhere like "Well I had to drive the children to the moon and then sit on a spike while eating overcooked cabbage for 18 hours." We laugh like idiots, DC roll their eyes at us, we have a little hug or a squeeze of hands (to avoid horrifying the DC at PDA).
Offer to make something easier for him in return for him doing the same for you next time he tries to out tired you.
Oh hun it must be so hard being You, working all week as well as helping me with baby. Why don't you sleep all night in the spare room on Friday night to really catch up and then I'll do it on Saturday as we are both in the same boat and maybe need to tagteam it for a while
You could say I need to be able to say im tired or ive had a bad day, im not sying you dont have the same issue or problems, but when you say yeah me too it feels like youre not taking me seriously. I just need you to acknowledge my feelings.
Thankyou all. I was worried you would all say he’s doing loads, what more do you want? You have given me lots of ways to approach it. Feeling more positive that I can get through to him now.
Philodox I have had the odd hour ‘off’ here and there but as most of my friends have recently had babies too there isn’t much opportunity to meet socially as just adults! I know he is absolutely capable of looking after DC and spends most of the weekend doing that, just that I’m also there, so neither of us really gets ‘alone time’. I think we each need to take some time at the weekend to do whatever while the other does the childcare.
Jason118 joint language is what I need thanks! I have been trying to get him to see how I feel but I can see how that’s contributing to the back and forth.
Redexpat that is exactly what I didn’t know how to say. Thankyou. I will use those exact words
Runtabbit DH is a Yorkshireman! I wonder if that is the root of the problem
haha, I think men often think that their actions are based on the notion of avoiding guilt, so every time you say something about what you do, they see it as a criticism and their instinct is to respond with what they do to convince themselves they have no reason to feel guilty.
My OH is exactly the same. He is wonderful in many ways, but also very self-centered, so everything evolves around what he does and feels and is naturally very defensive. Our discussions can also seem like a competitive ping pong game.
All this is very normal though when both parties are going through the same emotions. You'll be both tired, probably equally and so both focus inwardly rather than toward the other. What helps is to focus on the positives rather than the negatives.
My ex would do this, drive me up the wall. If I said I was unhappy about X or Y he would always say he was too.
Or if I asked him, for instance, to wash up before he left for work as it was horrid to come upstairs em to smelly dishes, rather than saying ‘ok not a problem, he’d say ‘but I hoovered in wednesday. Everything was always a competition.
We never did solve it, but it sometimes helped that when he did say ‘me too’, I’d simply say ‘ it’s not a competition, I just wanted some sympathy’
Good luck OP tiredness is a nightmare with a new baby
Thanks again for your advice everyone. I spoke to DH last night when we were both more relaxed and I think he understood what I need. He said that he just tries to help by fixing whatever the problem is and I said I don’t always need that. We’ve agreed to give each other some alone time at weekends so we both have a break from the baby.
Sounds so simple but I really didn’t know how to get through to him!
You sound very much like me, except we have twins who are now 13 months. I really struggle to ask for help.
What I find helpful now is letting him handle the boys during a complete meltdown and then casually reminding him that this is my life now. When he is getting all judgy because I'm pissed off about having two babies spit food all over me, I tell him to take over and then smile sweetly when he loses his shit in half the time.
Your DH doesn't know tired, and he won't until he spends a few days in your shoes. Personally I'm trying to engineer this somehow so that he really does get it!
Argh, it drives me mental, my DH does this at times as well. When I just need him to listen and sympathise, he tries to work out some massive complicated plan to "solve" the "problem" or tells me about something that's happened to him.
A few times now, I've just had to sit him down - at a neutral time, when I remember, and not in the thick of it - and tell him listen love, when I come to you crying, please for fucks sake try to remember that what I need from you is "oh pat that's just awful oh I hate it so, yes it's rotten I know I'm sorry" and not some master plan. He's gotten much better at it over the years.
It's interesting and frustrating because we are so similar, but in many ways such fundamentally different creatures. Drives me up a wall.
Haha, that should have said "oh pet" not "oh pat"! Why is that so funny to me? I don't even know a Pat!
Your situation sounds a lot like mine and it's very frustrating!
I do everything round the house & with the baby all day everyday as breastfeeding, he cooks, but I'll say oh I'm really tired etc or if I get annoyed he is just being plain lazy again when I have cleaned the house to spotless he'll say "I've had a long day and I'm really stressed" but he hasn't spent 1 full day alone with dd to understand what's it's like
Drives me mad! I'm considering the "I'm going out for the day, here look after the baby" and letting him deal with it
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