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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

What do you do about childcare when friends visit

59 replies

oncemorewithfeeling · 18/09/2011 10:26

OK please let me know what you think. My H's friend is visiting this weekend. Beforehand we had a couple of conversations about activities for the weekend and had agreed that on Saturday night they would go out and that I would do breakfast for our 18month old on Sunday so he can have a lie in (he usually does breakfasts and I do nights). He had also planned to go for a walk and lunch somewhere you cant take a pram (I agreed) and I had mentioned I needed some time to do some work over the weekend.

Now I had assumed that just because we have a visitor does not mean he gets the whole weekend 'off' from parenting. We usually each do a stretch of solo parenting on the weekend so the other can have a break to do whatever they like. I had assumed that this would be the same but I'd try to do a bit more to give him extra time. Anyway its turns out that yesterday I essentially parented alone the whole day minus an hour, I then asked my H to do the bath which he seemed a bit annoyed about. Today I woke him at 9 (we are ususally up at 6) to take over for me and he was really annoyed.

Now he had thought that he'd get the whole weekend off. I am having a friend over soon and he's already agreed to do dinner and bath so we can go out in the evening. But apart from that I had assumed that I would do stretches of childcare over the weekend to give him time off.

Anyway he's annoyed at me and his friend seems to think I am some sort of harridan because I said just cos you hvae a friend over doesnt mean you stop being a parent, you still need to look after DD for a few hours a day. Sure I am trying to give them some time to themselves but I find it too much to parent alone all day. Im quite upset cos I had thought I was being quite generous and supporting (i had noticed that he seemed quite irritated with me whenever I was trying to arrange times for him to take over). I am doing more than my usual but he thinks I am not doing enough. He says that when my friend comes over he will do everything but he's never actually done a full day's solo parenting, besides I will want to do some things with my friend and DD together. So he will hvae some time to himself while we go off for a walk or to child friendly cafe.

OK so obviously we need tp communicate more clearly but..am I unusual in having assumed that he'd still do some childcare this weekend?

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jellybeans208 · 18/09/2011 10:34

I wouldnt have made him personally, but then he wouldnt have made me. My husband is used to looking after our DD on his own for some weekends whilst I do my own thing. He also sometimes takes my friends/relations kids at same time too.

I have done the same for him when he has had weekends with his mates. I would hate it if my husband woke me out of bed if I was with my friends especially if it was only for 2 days

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jellybeans208 · 18/09/2011 10:37

I also think its quite strange he has never done a full days parenting and you struggle to do just one full day. I think this is weird as how on earth do you keep up your social life?

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HoneyPablo · 18/09/2011 10:39

I would have let DH enjoy being with his friend and not expect him to do anything, tbh.
I would have done this gladly and with a smile, knowing that he would do the same for me.
I actually think your set-up is a bit weird.

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oncemorewithfeeling · 18/09/2011 10:44

I thought he could have parts of his time with his friend with our DD. Looks like thats not so usual.

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Yama · 18/09/2011 10:48

Same as HoneyPablo here.

Mind you neither of us is likely to have (or want to have) a friend to stay for the weekend.

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ThePosieParker · 18/09/2011 10:56

You have one child and work and still require time off from your child? I find this rather odd tbh. Why do you need a break? Does your child not sleep.

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HoneyPablo · 18/09/2011 11:01

I find it too much to parent alone all day
What do you find so hard about it? Is it the drudgery or the repitative nature, or is it because you feel resentful that it's you doing it and not your DH?

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ThePosieParker · 18/09/2011 11:04

Are you depressed OP?

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oncemorewithfeeling · 18/09/2011 11:11

I am not sure why I find it so hard. She has developmental delays and so it has been like having a baby for much longer than usual, plus I was off work until fairly recently so I had to do a lot of that myself. It is much easier now that I am back at work.
I dont think I am depressed but I do find it physically tiring. I am still up in the night a few times, I still need to carry her a lot. I need to ahve a nap on the weekend on at least one of the days. Plus I have a deadline next week so I have some work thats weighing on me.
I didnt realise that its strange that I need to have a break so much

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oncemorewithfeeling · 18/09/2011 11:14

Maybe there is something wrong with me??

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joaninha · 18/09/2011 11:17

Why don't you do exactly as he wants and then see if he returns the favour when your friend comes over.

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PlentyOfPubgardens · 18/09/2011 11:17

I don't think it's unusual at all. If I was going to stay for a whole weekend with friends who had a child, I'd expect to be spending some of that time with the child in tow. Similarly, if a friend comes to stay here, it's understood that at least some of the time, the DC will be around with us although it's nice to also have an evening out and leave the DC with DP. I'd have thought that going to stay with a friend and their family would involve spending time with that family.

I think there's an assumption that family is an intrinsic part of a woman's life - so seeing a friend who's a mum will involve seeing her DC as well, whereas for a man, family is something that goes on invisibly in the background and shouldn't be allowed to intrude in a 'man's world' IYSWIM.

He had also planned to go for a walk and lunch somewhere you cant take a pram - why can't he rearrange lunch somewhere he can take a pram?

Does your H's friend have children?

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HoneyPablo · 18/09/2011 11:19

You didn't say in your op that she has developmental delays, needs carrying a lot and is up during the nights.
I think you are perfectly entitled to feel a little overwhelmed by it all. Are you still, perhaps, comimg to terms with the developmental delays?
I do still think that your DH should have some child-free time if his friend is over, as long as he reciprocates when your friend is over.
Does he ever get up in the night with her? When you say in your op that you do nights, is that what you meant, getting up to her in the night?
If he isn't getting up in the night, then he needs to start taking his turn. No wonder you feel exhausted.

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mumwithdice · 18/09/2011 11:21

I see what you're saying oncemorewithfeeling, great username btw. I don't think anyone should get a free pass. And everyone needs a little time to themselves sometimes.

Surely there are some things he could do with his mate that could include your DD. Also, may I recommend a sling? Then the no-pram thing becomes a non-issue.

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joaninha · 18/09/2011 11:22

Why don't you do exactly as he wants and then see if he returns the favour when your friend comes over. Then you'll know if its an issue. Are you happy in your relationship. This kind of tit for tat could be indicative of wider unhappiness?

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Maisiethemorningsidecat · 18/09/2011 11:23

I'd have just done the whole childcare thing myself - just as DH would had I had a friend to stay. I know it can be hard, but sometimes you just need that time off.

I think the crux for me would be - would he do the same for me?

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joaninha · 18/09/2011 11:29

X posts. In view of info on your child's developmental issues and the excellent posts of pubgardens and honeypablo have revised opinion to YANBU!

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ThePosieParker · 18/09/2011 13:02

Are you okay OP? Are you finding it all rather tough? What are the delays?

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AnyFucker · 18/09/2011 13:08

Could you report your thread, love, and ask to have it moved to Relationships or Parenting ?

Although there is a feminist slant to what you are asking, this is really not the whole story is it ?

FWIW, DH and I don't do the "tag team" style of parenting. We do what needs doing according to the priorities at the time. If he had a friend staying for the weekend, I would expect all of us (including dc) to join in the activities, or would happily wave them off and "parent" by myself

And I would espect the same the other way around if I was entertaining friends

Not some rather strange and trying way of still expecting the same "shift pattern" regardless of the changed circumstances

Unless this friend stays over every weekend ? I assume this is a relatively unusual occurrence.

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Cartoonjane · 18/09/2011 13:09

I can see why being alone with an 18 month old all day is tough! I used to find it really hard and so constantly sought out company to make it easier. Time off was essential too.

When it coems to the friend visiting, it's not an easy one. I can see how your DP might want and expect to be able to be with his friend but if that is the case then he should afford the same to you some time. Really I think the best way to deal with this sort of thing is to agree before hand what's going to happen so conflict and unexpected demands at the time are avoided.

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ruddynorah · 18/09/2011 13:14

The only people who come to stay with us over night are family, such as my sister. When she comes she would expect to spend time with the children with us, though in the evening I may well go out just with her.

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joaninha · 18/09/2011 13:22

I agree with AF, maybe move it to Special Needs where people will be able to give you some practical advice about the particular type of developmental delays you child has and how best to cope with it.

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oncemorewithfeeling · 18/09/2011 14:20

OK I have had a think about this and decided the following: the reason I posted here and not on SN is because I found the assumption of him having a childfree weekend when he is at home strange and I thought there was a gender dimension to it.

All I am asking for is a couple of hours here and there to give me a break, not our usual 'shift pattern'. He has spent plenty one to one time with his friend, we had a lovely dinner at home after DD went to bed,then they ahve been to the pub. Today we all went for brunch and now they are off at the movies while I look after DD. So it was just a couple of hours in the morning I needed to get a bit of work done plus a break and him givng her a bath. I guess more women than I expected have weekends devoid of any parenting activities when they are at home. I hadnt expected that and thought it was a man thing. Like I said initially we needed to have communicated better and its not a problem now we have talked it through.

Maybe it is a bit strange I find parenting so hard. I dont think its necessarily about depression or SN. I like to get a break in somewhere on the weekend, even pre-kids. Fine our situation is a little tougher than others but that wasnt really my point. I was asking about the assumption that you get to revert to being pre-kids when friends visit. It woulbnt have occurred to me, but I am not in the majority on that I see.

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WhollyGhost · 18/09/2011 14:36

Don't underestimate the influence that developmental delays can have on your morale. It is tough, and not just in the sense of catering to additional needs.

I am guessing that you and your DH generally lack support from extended family and friends - is there really nobody else you could ask to give you a couple of hours break whe you need it? If so, you are unusually isolated, and that might also be worth addressing.

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SardineQueen · 18/09/2011 14:46

I think I'd be like you - I find looking after the children very hard work and am always looking for a break!

DH is very hands on though so if he had a friend to stay he wouldn't expect to be away from the children all weekend - we would discuss beforehand what things he would want to do with the friend and try and do it so that he had plenty of time with his friend 1-1 and went out in the evening but also did something like took them for a walk with the friend as well so that I got a bit of peace. He wouldn't expect to have the weekend "off" as he is a father and as we both do it he knows what a PITA it can be.

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