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Had enough of dh's attitude

102 replies

Holly02 · 25/04/2003 11:44

Seems I am a similar position to custardo, going by the 'shed' topic. Just quickly, I am a SAHM (studying part-time) and dh works full-time & travels with his job.

I was cooking dinner tonight and trying to keep ds entertained at the same time while dh watched the news. DS and I were in the study (our home office) and ds picked up a felt pen that was lying on the desk, so I gave him a piece of paper to scribble on. A bit of the pen went on to the desk (vinyl top - not a great quality desk!!) and I thought to myself "I'll clean it off when I get a moment."

Anyway dh saw that some of the felt pen had gone onto the desk and he absolutely flipped out. Said that the study was HIS room (since when? what room do I get?), and that ds should not be in there using any kind of pens (mind you, dh has taken ds in there with him many times). It was actually dh's older son that had left the pens lying around, but I got into so much trouble for it - nevermind that I was trying to cook dinner and look after ds at the same time.

In the 3 years that we've had ds, NOT ONCE has dh come home from work to find any scribbling on the walls, stains on the floors, or toys lying around, as I am so diligent about keeping the place tidy. When dh started raving at me I just lost it, because I run the entire place without much help at all from him. He told me that if I didn't like it (looking after the house & ds and studying), I should go and get a job (pay for a housekeeper AND full-time childcare, I guess). But the thing is, he does practically nothing for ds even when he is at home. I bath him, feed him, dress him, take him out with me, put him to bed, etc etc etc - dh never does any of it, except on the odd occasion when I'm not here, and then he does it under duress. We also have dh's 17 yr old son staying with us most of the time, but that fact seems to have slipped his mind as well.

Anyway - I called him a few choice names (not proud of it) and we stood there screaming at each other while ds watched. I feel sick thinking about it now, because in the past I've sworn that I would not fight with dh in front of ds, and now it's happened again. I just feel that I can't stand dh anymore. Sorry for the rant but I'm so shocked that he lost his block over some pen on the desk. I've cleaned it off now BTW - and you would never know that it was there.

If it wasn't the idea of splitting ds' family up, I don't know that I'd still be here.

OP posts:

kaz33 · 25/04/2003 12:03

That is so not on - it is his DS as well and should take some of the burden of looking after him. After all he is also missing some of the joy of looking after his son - when I went away for the weekend leaving DP with our 19 month old he was apprenhensive but in the end had a fab time. On my return he had learnt a lot but was also more appreciative of all the things that I do.

Drastic action is needed, you need to create some space for yourself. DH will not offer it to you so you need to build it yourself - a regular weekly commitment in the evening, or if not possible arrange some nights out and write them into his diary or a weekend away !!!

By having to do some of the chores - he may find that he wants to do them. Bath time, weekend trip to the park etc... Be tough


Holly02 · 25/04/2003 12:34

You know kaz33, I couldn't believe that he wanted me to take all the responsibility for what ds does. I told dh that if he is going to be paranoid about ds messing up his property, then he should take responsibility for ensuring that ds doesn't go near it - in other words, put things away where ds can't get them and take at least half the responsiblity of making sure that ds isn't doing something he's not supposed to do. That's when dh turned on me and insinuated that I don't do much just because I'm at home with ds - I was so close to throwing something at him by this stage. The number of times I've taken care of ds by myself while he's gone on business trip after business trip, it's just a joke. Don't you hate it when they think that because THEY earn the money, they have the right to dictate over everything and everyone else. Sorry... slightly upset at the moment.

OP posts:

mum2toby · 25/04/2003 12:38

Holly02 - he sounds SOOOO like my Dad it's scary!! I'm always at my Mum to stand up to him, but she just gets upset.

I don't have any advice I'm afraid. I think your dh needs to get out of the dark ages! Keep posting and try not to let it get to you too much.


Meanmum · 25/04/2003 12:41

I'm annoyed for you and I wasn't even there. I agree with Kaz33 about making time for yourself. I find that men (generalising here) don't understand the amount of work it takes to maintain a house to a standard that is comfortable. I know if I left my dh with ds for a week the house would be a wreck when I got home but dh wouldn't actually see that as a problem as he has different priorities.

Does your dh have any issues at his work that he isn't telling you about? It sounds like such a trivial thing he blew up over and I find I blow up over something trivial if I am stressed about something and haven't actually told dh yet what is troubling me. By getting angry over something minor means the real issue generally comes out so maybe dh needs to actually communicate to you whether there are any issues he is dealing with that you aren't aware of. For example, does he have a major project or presentation he is working on that isn't going to plan, are there company politics that he is worried about etc.


kaz33 · 25/04/2003 12:51

Well Holly02 I am lucky (??) in that I work and earn more money than DP so he can't run that argument - though he does try sometimes!

As I have been at home and work I know what it is like from both sides of the equation. After a long day at work, you come home tired and aren't interested in the minuatie of domestic life. I get wound up with my nanny when she starts telling me in great detail what they have been up to - ie: what DS had for supper. What I really want is time to sit down, unwind and then get involved.

Is it possible to talk to him and explain that you know it is tough when he gets home from work and he can have half an hour to himself but then maybe he could give DS a bath ( because DS loves it when he does ??).

Try flattery, tell him how good he is with DS - I have this theory that often dads don't get involved with there kids because they don't know how to and are scared of making a mess of it. Instead of making a big fuss when he doesn't do something, praise him when he does do something.

This might be all totally inappropriate - I am lucky in that I am blessed with a partner who is brilliant with our son and adores him, but even he has needed some gentle pushing to get him to take on more responsbility.


WideWebWitch · 25/04/2003 13:08

Holly02, I'm cross on your behalf. In your position I think I'd go out for 2 full days and nights and just let him see exactly what you do while he's at work. I'd also make sure there was NO food in the house or clean clothes (for dh, not ds) and just let him get the idea. Sorry, not constructive but an idea anyway. He's got a nerve IMO.


Skara · 25/04/2003 13:19

Holly02, your dh sounds sadly like an awful lot of others out there. (Mine included). Mine used to be a paragon, his theory being that I was at home to be with the children, not to look after the house but over the last 6 months that's changed and I'm now in the same position as you and having to do everything and it is so hard. I agree with Wickedwaterwitch about ignoring his I think you should book a hairdressers appointment for tomorrow lunchtime and escape, leaving your dh to deal with everything! Don't worry about screaming at him in front of ds, everyone does it at one time or another. Know what you mean about staying for the sake of ds though - if I had a career I could walk into I'd probably walk away.


Clarinet60 · 25/04/2003 15:13

Holly02, poor you, what a swine.
I think the men out there must be having some sort of return-to-the-1950's moment, they must be inhaling it from the wind, as mine has only narrowly avoided a good slapping this week.
I don't know what the answer is. In my case, booking time off doesn't work, as I've tried it and he does one of two things: 1 - he doesn't turn up to look after them until a couple of hours after my appointment, 2- he delegates the job to his aged, doddery old father, who isn't fit to look after a baby.
My only choice is to book in more childcare, but as I work part time, I feel guilty about leaving them with someone else even more. I discussed this with DH this morning and his answer was, 'I can earn more than £40 per day,' in other words, he'd rather the childminder looked after them than spend more time with them himself. I really am beginning to wonder why I stay.


doormat · 25/04/2003 16:02

Holly02 and girls. I know how you feel hence my nickname. Dp is off this week and all I seem to be doing is clean,clean,clean oh and look after kids in between(5 of them)Well this morning he would not get out of bed and I did my usual scrubbing,washing etc.Noon came and I thought "sod it". I calmy walked into bedroom and told him to bloody get up as I am going back to bed for hours.(I need sleep too)I wasnt tired but really cheesed off with the same old rigmarole day in day out.
I slept for 3 hours and he had to cope. I think he knew I was in a kick off mood.It does get to you doing the same crap everyday.


grommit · 25/04/2003 16:30

Doormat - that is unbelievable - if my dh tried to sleep all morning he would never wake up to see the rest of the day Why is is that some/most men just do not take responsibility for household chores/childcare??? Agghhhh. Last week I was having a go at dh who insists that he does share household chores - I asked him if he had EVER cleaned the downstairs loo, cleaned windows, cleaned kitchen floor, oven etc. etc. - NO - and we have been in this house for over a year!!!


spacemonkey · 25/04/2003 16:37

My dp is the same, we only moved in together last year and before that he used to keep his own house reasonably clean and tidy, but now we live together he seems to have forgotten how to do housework! He works longer hours than me so I don't mind bearing more of the burden than him, but he literally does almost nothing. If I ask him to help, he does, and willingly - I think a lot of men are simply blind to dirt/mess. It only really riles me when I'm cleaning after the kids are in bed or at the weekend while he sits on his arse and he doesn't seem to notice. Grrr!


doormat · 25/04/2003 16:40

Grommit, i think we would all love to meet a man who does all those dirty little jobs. but I don't know of any.What makes me laugh is when dp cooks tea or hoovers he makes out to his dear mummy how he contributes to the housework. HA If that was all that was needed to be done I would be the happiest woman alive.They get you all worked up.Aaarg


kaz33 · 25/04/2003 16:48

I used to live with two older gay men and I was always getting in trouble for not doing my share of housework - I just didn't see the dirt that they saw so never got to the stage when I did anything. Not much help really, but men who clean do exist - just never met any hetrosexual ones...


Clarinet60 · 25/04/2003 17:42

Perhaps the answer is to live with gay men, that way we get an equal partnership as far as house-stuff is concerned, they get to be dads and the heterosexual cavemen get to live in the nag-free hovels they seem to want.


SimonHoward · 25/04/2003 18:35


You asked to meet a man that does those dirty little tasks well it is good to meet you.

I do admit to not doing them as often as I used to due to working so much, but I cook, I clean, I wash, I bathe, I iron and I also sew (cringe).


Clarinet60 · 25/04/2003 18:54

Do you also do clones of yourself, simon? If so, put me down for a couple.


Clarinet60 · 25/04/2003 18:55

My grandad used to cook, bake and sew. I never saw him clean, but he was really good at all the other stuff and didn't think any less of himself for it. Growing up in a house like that has made me even more bitterly disappointed with my present lot.


grommit · 25/04/2003 19:10

SimonHoward - you even clean the toilet??? What's your number..


doormat · 25/04/2003 19:13

SimonHoward, pleased to meet you.
You are truly a housewifes dream.


Utka · 25/04/2003 19:51

It's awful that people don't value the SAHM or SAHD bit. I think it's because the tasks we do are so repetitive, and seemingly inconsequential. I mean, they'd notice if the loo wasn't clean, eventually, but it would probably take some time. IMO, lots of partners don't appreciate what it takes to multi-task like we SAH parents have to (trying not to be sexist here!). It's not helped by the fact that your children rarely say thanks for being a great parent. If you're the kind of person who needs feedback (and don't we all), not getting anything except criticism for the odd thing you've forgotten to do, is soul destroying!

I agree though with the earlier posting about it possibly indicating something more serious that's concerning your dh. It sounds like a really childish reaction to the situation - "it's my space, and I want it kept my way" etc. It is probably beyond what you feel capable of at the moment to respond to his childish needs (when you've got another child to deal with already!), but this may be what he's asking for.

Have you come across transactional analysis before? I'm not sure of the details, but it basically analyses relationships in terms of whether we are in child, adult or parent mode. Some of my relationship problems are when my dh and I are both in 'child' mode, and need the other to be either 'parent' or 'adult' for a moment. I think there are some good books on TA (as it's often known) - with very helpful suggestions for managing this kind of situation.

On another note though, I do think you should carve out some time for you, however small. I think the person who advised you to flatter your partner's parenting skills is absolutely right - this should get him on board so that you can get some time alone. Tempting as it may be to simply walk out and leave him to it (even for a few hours), this would be only responding to his childish response with one of your own! (it might be satisfying though!!)

My dh is great with our dd, despite a fairly punishing work schedule, but I do notice that if he's not been around for a while, he sort of forgets how to relate to her. In particular, he forgets how small children just like spending time with their parents - it doesn't need to be some fancy outing. Yours may need reminding of this!

Hope you manage to sort something out.


Tortington · 25/04/2003 23:44

god like you will lsten to my advice! i dont care am stickin my oar in

tell him hes pathetic to kick of over something so inconsequntial and to save his energy for something truly serious.

and talk to him seriously about getting a job - a childminder and a cleaner, how it will affect you financially and your son emotionally. if he doesnt give a shit may be we should share a flat - am not adverse to cleaning toilets.


mmm · 26/04/2003 07:44

men !! aaah !!


mmm · 26/04/2003 07:45

I mean ugh !!


Lara2 · 26/04/2003 15:54

My friend has a great phrase for men's tantrums: Throwing their toys out of the pram! Sums it up perfectly!!!


Jimjams · 26/04/2003 16:52

I used to work every Saturday. One major plus was that dh had a good understanding of what it was like to be SAH. I used to leave him with a list of jobs as well- load the dishwasher, put on washing- nothing too taxing.

Now I don't work every Saturday but I do have occasional study days on a Saturday when he is left to it. It improves out replationship no end- he stops taking everything for granted.

I would book up a few Staurdays/suitable days out. Once every 6-8 weeks or so. Go out for the whole day and leave him to it. He'll soon remember to appreciate you.

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