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about dh's 'family' contribution? sorry, long

32 replies

adventuregirl · 08/11/2007 08:44

I really need to know if I am being unreasonable, or if he is. Something needs to be done about it, as I am really fed up at the mo.

so, background info - we've been married 10 years, and have a 1yr old ds. I have changed my mn name. I work part time - 2 days a week - he works full time about 10 miles away.
I don't think ds does enough with us as a family.

In the morning, he spends 30 mins with ds as I get myself ready. Most of the time this is spent with dh in bed and ds playing in the bedroom. No nappy change etc - he leaves that to me after I have got myself ready. He then spends about 20 mins on his pc sorting out his website / photos / email. Then he gets ready for work. Couldnt he do this later on, and spend some 'quality' time with ds?

He consistently comes home from work late - this caused major issues when I had PND as by the time I had been let down by him being late AGAIN, I had had enough. Now I am used to it, but ds is so happy to see dh, I think he is missing out on daddy time.

At the weekend we do take turns at the early mornings. He seems to spend his turn playing computer games with ds playing around him. In the daytime at weekends, he plays computer games or goes on his pc if we are in. If we go out it is better, but the past 2 times we were out he spent the whole time with his brother and left all the care of ds to me, or buggered off with his camera and left most of the care of ds to me. LAst weekend he buggered out for most of the day, doing conservation work, although he had promised me time to do MY own thing. If I complain, he says, I have had ds for x hours today, as if it is a competition.

He also does bugger all round the house. I understand that I only work p/t, but it isn't hard to load the dishwasher when ds is in bed, or to get the washing in. Or even to put his clothes in the washing basket (there are many stories of where they end up if they don't go in the right place!)

I could go on, but the main thing is that this keeps happening. I am really fed up, and feel that I can't rely on him. Sometimes I think that if I was single at least I would EXPECT no one else to help iyswim.
So AIBU, or is he? Please be honest, as I am thinking of showing him this post later on...

OP posts:
kindersurprise · 08/11/2007 08:55

When I started reading I thought you were being a bit unreasonable. I would not expect DH to spend "quality time" with DCs in the morning. I am happy to have enough time to myself to get showered and dressed.

What about coming home late? Is that something he could avoid? My DH often comes home late but he has quite a stressful job, that incidently pays rather well. If he had an easier less well payed job then I would have to work full time so I really cannot complain about that.

Weekends are a bit difficult. I do agree that he should put off his computer and spend the time with his DS. DH does this too sometimes, mainly work though. If he has agreed to take DS to let you have a break, then he should do that.

I understand how you feel, I feel the same sometimes. Now that the DCs are a bit older, it has got better. DH often takes them out for the afternoon to give me some time alone.

Why don't you suggest a day out together this weekend? Take your DS to the zoo or to the park.

adventuregirl · 08/11/2007 08:57

thanks. I don't really mean 'quality' time in the morning, just being with him in some way other that dozing in bed while ds plays in the same room, or instead of sitting on his pc.

OP posts:
laura032004 · 08/11/2007 08:57

I would say that YANBU, but I suspect this scenario is played out in many families.

I know what you mean about the being single bit. DH is away quite a lot, and I find it easier in some ways as I don't have the anger and resentment about him not helping out, I just get on and do it myself. If DH does do things, he doesn't do them to my standards anyway, which just causes more rows.

What annoys you more - the family time, or the help with housework etc? I have started to go upstairs with my DS's to DS1's bedroom (basically a playroom), so that if DH is up there too, he has to play with them, rather than be around whilst they play downstairs. It works a bit better.

RubySlippers · 08/11/2007 08:59

why is he coming home from work late? If it is because he is in the pub every night, then that is different from working late on projects etc

Tortington · 08/11/2007 09:03

you need to sit down and have a civilised discussion about the equal distribution of labour considering your individual circumstances.

maybe if he got up got yur kid ready - changed him, dressed him everymorning - that is his thing. then of an evening he must read your kid a story and stack the dishwasher after tea.

my dh has changed his work hours and is recently working 12 hour days he gets up at 5.30 am and somenights doesn;t get back til 7pm. he is constantly tired and has a long day and consequently the downtime with the family is not a lot.

this means there is a shift is responsabilities for us - in that i suddenlt have to do everything and have a full time job - somethings got to give !

adventuregirl · 08/11/2007 09:06

laura - the family time annoys me more, although me still doing housework in the evening while he sits on the computer is rather annoying too good idea about taking ds upstairs though!
ruby - his core hours are 9.30 - 5.30 but he works 9 - 6 every day. I understand that his job IS stressful, so I don't mind him working late sometimes, but every day is too much. makes me feel like his family is being sidelined. especially when he can make it home for 6pm if he has something he wants to do. This is a whole different issue to the weekends and mornings and housework though...

OP posts:
kindersurprise · 08/11/2007 09:08

And btw, since he is awake then he might as well get up and get your DS dressed.

A pet hate of mine as DH does not do this, despite being asked hundreds of times. He comes downstairs and gives the DCs breakfast, then I have the shouting match getting them upstairs and dressed for going to kindergarten. They ditter so long and I end up shouting. Not a good start to the day for any of us.

I like Custardo's idea

Anna8888 · 08/11/2007 09:08

adventuregirl - it's really very hard to judge from a post on MN whether you and your DH are making equivalent contributions to your joint life. Your feeling, however, is that you are currently contributing more than he is and you would like him to contribute more.

Have you tried writing down (for your eyes only) a very detailed list of what you do and what he does? And then taking a very long hard look at it and trying to assess whether you share the work and responsibilities of your joint lives fairly?

For what it's worth, I think your DH should definitely be tidying up after himself (leaving his clothes on the floor is totally unacceptable) and sharing care of your DS at the weekends and on the days you work, but you should probably let up a bit on the days you don't go to work.

kindersurprise · 08/11/2007 09:13

Sorry, this is not what you want to hear, but getting home at 6pm is not late for me. My DH is rarely home before 7pm and starts work at 8am. Often he is just in time to put the kids to bed at 8pm.

He is working a bit less at the moment, he used to put the kids to bed then go upstairs to his office and work till 11pm. Till I put my foot down and said that he was not allowed to work in the evenigns. He often works at least a couple of hours at the weekends. In fact, it is very rare that he does not work at all over a weekend. Only happened twice in the past year I think.

Am I being too understanding?

adventuregirl · 08/11/2007 09:17

you misunderstood me - he works 9 - 6. so he leaves at 8.30 (which is great) and gets home around 6.45 / 7.

OP posts:
adventuregirl · 08/11/2007 09:19

and the work is a separate issue - the issue is 'is he doing enough in the family' by spending his time at weekends / mornings in the way I described.
I know that other people's dhs work much worse hours, but what do they do with their dcs at the weekend?

OP posts:
kindersurprise · 08/11/2007 09:20

ok, sorry. That is a long day. I was just a bit jealous at the thought of your DH being home so early I think. Sorry!

adventuregirl · 08/11/2007 09:23

I have a friend whose dh gets back at 4.30pm!!!!
mind you , he still doesnt particularly help out!

OP posts:
stleger · 08/11/2007 09:31

My dh has been away for 3 weeks and has also been away over the last 3 bank holidays. Some people work longer hours than others, every family has to build its own routine.

kindersurprise · 08/11/2007 09:37

So, what do you do at weekends? Do you go somewhere together or stay at home? Does he do any of the less attractive childcare duties (changing nappies etc)

Sometimes it is nice that my DH takes the kids out at the weekend but I often spend the time doing housework. It would be nice if he would do the housework so that I could have the fun time with the DCs

HonoriaGlossop · 08/11/2007 09:40

I definitely think you are not being unreasonable. I have expected my DH to be an equal parent from day one, and yes that has also been when I've only been working 2 days, like you.

When ds was a baby, right to school age, I expected that the time when DS was awake and with DH or I, was time with ds, actively playing with him or being with him or doing the necessary for him eg cooking/preparing meals. The PC is not on at all; we're WITH ds rather than having him munging around while DH plays on the PC. As he's got older, he's now five, we've relaxed a little on this as he's happy to play alone some of the time and it's also good that he sees us get on with our own things. But at one year old, I expected DH to be WITH our child and actively looking after him and playing with him.

I also expected that DH would finish work on time and be home as soon as he physically could. He did his hours, then he's home because that is part of his life's responsibility too; he knows that I think BEING there is as important as earning money to provide.

I also expected fully that if DH was caring for DS that he would do ALL the caring, change nappies, dress him etc.

I also had the outlook that I was home to care for ds, not be a housework slave, so I have fought hard to make sure DH remembers to clear up after himself; and anything that needs doing in the evening we do it together. Luckily DH has always said that if he stayed home he would find it hard enough keeping up with a child let alone keeping the house tidy, so he's never once 'expected' that; god help him if he did!

To me this is part of what has helped to give ds and dh a truly special bond which I really love to see. Yes it's been a struggle sometimes as dh has needed things spelled out at times but he's for most part got on with it and shouldered his responsibilities.

So take heart, you are not being unreasonable; But as Anna says you need to talk. And a list is a really good idea. You need to both agree on what the expectations are so that everyone is clear, and you can get this resentment gone! Good luck.

dejags · 08/11/2007 09:40

You aren't being unreasonable.

Having said that - your post could mirror the situation in millions of homes around the world.

Life with a small child/ren results in the awakening of the competitive beast in previously content husbands and wives.

Marriage and parenthood invariably become a pissing contest in the early years (strains of I have had the kids for 2hrs22 minutes vs I have had them for 2hrs23 minutes ring in my ears).

In my experience, the only way to fix it, if you feel that you are getting the rough end of the stick is to remove yourself entirely. Pack a day bag and bugger off for the day next weekend. Leave DS to DH all day, you'll come back feeling better and your DH will be less inclined to take you for granted for at least a few days .

RubySlippers · 08/11/2007 09:44

Hmm - the coming home later each night would start to grate a little bit, especially if he, as you say, has time to do other stuff that he wants

FWIW, me and my DH both work fulltime, but DH is away a lot so inevitably i end up doing a lot more - but it is circumstances and on the weekend we have a fair (ish) distribution of chores

DH will often take DS out on a Sunday morning so i can have an hour out, and nappy changes are done by both of us - the drudge work has to be split equally - you can't just do the good stuff

i think most men respond to lists/instructions - don't fall into a trap of you doing it because it is quicker/easier

adventuregirl · 08/11/2007 09:47

thanks ladies for making me feel a bit better about myself - that IANBU!

honoria - how did you get your dh to agree to no computer etc while ds is awake? we had a chat about this before ds was born (bil plays computer games all day and ignores kids - dh saw this and said he didnt want to do that), but that has all gone out of the window now.

dejags - great idea about going out for the day. I have a friend i havent seen for ages, and she is 1 1/2 hours away, so I will book a date with her!

OP posts:
adventuregirl · 08/11/2007 09:48

dejags - "strains of I have had the kids for 2hrs22 minutes vs I have had them for 2hrs23 minutes ring in my ears". how true!

dh kept a list once of how long he had ds - I found it, and it had something like 6.45 - 9.00, and 10.15 - 10.22 on it. it was the late afternoon by then. either he forgot to do it, or he didn't have ds all afternoon - I wonder which

OP posts:
artichokes · 08/11/2007 10:00

YANBU. I feel very strongly that DH and I have equal parenting responsibilties when we are not at work. DH works full time, I work 3 days. Obviously on the two days I am home I do thechildcare but in the mornings/evenings/weekends we share the childcare and chores. We both decided to start a family and therefore we both decided to embrace the life that entails. We try not to fall into the trap of "I did this, you do that" and instead to view family time as something to look forward to. It sounds corny but a positive attitude really helps. At the weekends we try to do most things as a three as it is more fun for all of us.

maisykins · 08/11/2007 10:30

I think it does get better as the children get older - my DH was never that interested in the baby stage - and I think that is true of a lot of men - not all I hasten to add. But now DS is older they can do things together, talk etc is much better.

What I did find at weekends was it was best to get out for the day or at least the afternoon - zoos, parks, national trust places, aquariums, farms the list goes on and on. My dh wasnt on the pc but it drove me mad to have the TV on contantly and not good for the children - football or news etc.

It's a big adjustment after 10 years and harder for the men who still go to work full time and arent caught up in the childcare thing - they just dont get it. Looking back I can see I was totally absorbed in it (still am really).
My DH did need specific instructions with regards to what to do with DS - i.e. if you get him up, you must change his nappy and give him a drink. This is where we keep the nappies. This is where we keep the milk. This is his mouth where the milk goes in (only kidding but you get the point).
Leaving his clothes on the floor is not acceptable - if my dh did this I would mention it and say I would not wash/pick anything of his up unless put in the wash basket.

Good idea to visit your friend though - sometimes they need to be left to get on with it on their own.

macdoodle · 08/11/2007 11:58

Sadly this is one of the reasons for my marriage break up..I got more and more resentful and basically just ignored him ...his solution to have an affair really helped ;)
Though now we have worked throught the affair we are still seperated because we just ended up back to his old ways...and I prefer not to have him their to continually disappoint me...the only way to get him to take any responsibilty/care is to leave him in total charge and bugger off for day/weekend/night out....please try and talk to him and sort it out before the resentment destroys your relationship ....

HonoriaGlossop · 08/11/2007 12:17

adventuregirl, I just made it clear to DH that I wasn't going to accept it. I told him that I thought it was a waste of life and that it was crap parenting and I was not having it.

What happened with us was that when ds was newborn, Dh would go on the PC in between 'tasks' which was fine as ds was either feeding or sleeping! When ds started to have his wakeful times and need more interaction a few weeks/months in, I just had the conversation above with dh! I also reminded him that he has time in the evenings when ds is asleep to puruse his own stuff. Have to say as well, DH doesn't play computer 'games' as such he is on the PC for role playing game stuff and e-mails etc. I really can't stand computer games. At least what dh does is mildly creative!

As I say now that ds is five, there are times when DH leaps on the PC to do stuff because ds is happy doing his own thing sometimes. So it's not forever, it's only when they're tiny and take alot of input really.

i think it's important to set out your stall. Tell him what you will and won't accept.

I do agree though that in the early years kids ARE so draining that it does feel a chore to be with them at times (all the time?) so I think many many people do get into the counting hours thing. It is natural really. It won't always be like that!

hunkermunker · 08/11/2007 12:24

He keeps a LIST of how long he's had your DS to the minute?!

That's the most shocking thing on this thread!

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