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Another dinner thread

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
This is very similar to the other WOH/dinner thread, but I didn't want to hijack.

I'm kind of at a stand-still right now with this issue. My husband expects that I make dinner for him when he comes home. It's not a rigid "dinner at this time" or anything like that, but he wants to eat dinner sometime in the evening before 7:30. I understand that, and understand that he gets hungry during the day. However, I SAH and homeschool 2 children and a 4 month old. Additionally, I volunteer for a few hours during the week (food coop- the discounts help with the grocery bill), so this sometimes throws things off a little.

I'm fine making dinner, but it bugs me a little that it's expected- this is supposedly my job to make sure the house is clean and dinner is ready since I'm "home anyway". I've asked him what he would do if he was single (not a threat, just a "what if"), and he quips back that he would have more money and would eat out. He supposedly believes in healthy eating so I don't know how that's congruent. Anyway...even though it irks me a little that he considers it my "job" (I thought my "job" was to take care of and educate the children), I would be willing to make dinner IF he would help me take care of the baby while I making dinner, and IF he could help me out with some dinner ideas when I'm having a hard time thinking of what to make. He adamantly refuses to help with the baby, saying "why don't you wear him?" and claiming that I bought a "worthless" baby carrier (I have an Ellaroo, a moby wrap sling, and a borrowed mei tei) intentionally so that I didn't have to wear the baby. I don't believe I should have to carry a squirmy 16lb person while I'm cooking, it's not even always safe to do so!

It also really bugs me that even if I made dinner every night of the workweek, wearing my squirmy little boy, I would still be expected to take care of said baby DURING dinner, and then usually help in the clean-up. That just seems ridiculous to me. If I make dinner, I should be able to sit down and EAT IT. He should have to take care of the baby. Then, if I do everything he asks me to (cleaning, being patient with the kids, having dinner ready, homeschooling, etc.) I will be way too tired to spend time with him at the end of the day (BTDT before our baby came) and he gets resentful about that!!

So where was I? I'm not sure if I actually have a question, I guess I just needed to vent. This issue is apparently really big to him os I don't know where to go from here as I've found that his expectations are way too high. I just can't meet them, even if I'm ignoring our kids' education.
post #2 of 30
Well there are things you can do to prep food while the kiddies are doing other stuff during the day, but honestly that doesn't mean this is what yuo should be doing. Your DH's expectations sound pretty out of line to me. In his way of thinking everyone's needs are important in your family except for yours. How does he justify that? Not only that but in order to get his needs met (hot dinner before 7:30 without having to be a parent while he waits) he is willing to put the safety of his youngest child on the line. Because obviously (as you know) it is not safe to cook with a babe on you. Plus its a PITA .

Here is what I would do: Make a meal calender a couple of weeks in advance. Get DH's feedback on that calender as you put it together. Point out to him in advance the days that you need to have hands free to make dinner so he better prep himself to occupy the baby. Tell him that on days he absolutely cannot watch the baby you are having salad. Yummy, yummy salad with the leaves washed and hand torn...some of the only activities you can safely do while holding a LO . If he objects to salad tell him there is always a bowl of cereal.

You have my sympathy OP. Your DH sounds clueless.
post #3 of 30
I can't speak to all the issues you brought up, but on a practical note, I would make a weekly menu. Pick your family's fav 7 meals and just have them over and over again. when you get tired of it, write a new menu. you might be surprised how long you can be happy wiht it though.

take 15 minutes in teh morning sometime to do the first half of the prep.

do the other half later in the day.

these have to be quick meals. not necessarily junky, still healthy, but quick and easy.

use your crockpot.

I hs and I have several kids and I know how hard it can be. you need to simplify anything you can and get bare bones simple about life.

do you have a wrap? I have many many times prepped a meal with a baby on my back.

I don't think it is ideal, though, but it can be done.

Try to do what you can do. If you can't do it, then fine. Everyone has limitations. Perhaps your resourcefulness as well as your gung ho attitude will attract your dh's curiousity and he will see that when you need help he can pitch in with an attitude that is equally as amiable.

hope this helps.
post #4 of 30
I recently started using a meal planner. I use saymmm.com and I have to say- it ROCKS! I sent dp the link along with our username and password and he can go in and add meals if he wants something specific. I started with just planning a week in advance. Then I did 2 weeks. Right now I have all of October planned (somewhat). I do not plan weekends (unless there's something I really want). DP is home most weekends so we usually work together to decide what sounds good on those days. There is usually at least 1 weekday that is dp's job to make dinner. I either make those super easy meals (and I'll do most of the prep- sometimes they are slow cooker meals that I throw together in the morning or sometimes they are something I prepare and all dp has to do is throw it in the oven) or they are grilling meals (he grills, I don't). If I know I'm going to be busy the next day then dp and I will work together the night before (after ds is in bed) to prep dinner for the next day.

Unfortunately none of that can change your dh's attitude though and that, I think, is where the real problem lies. It is not reasonable to expect you to do everything. It's just not. Heck, even on days where I don't work, don't have school and ds is in school all day- my dp would NEVER come home, complain if there wasn't dinner ready and then refuse to do the dishes. No way. He usually does the dishes or we work together to do them, but unless he's ill he doesn't refuse to do them or tell me that it's my "job". If he did I'd be telling him I need a raise
post #5 of 30
I sort of do see supper as my job. I mean, we need to eat, all these kids need to eat, and I'm home, so there you go.

A weekly menu helps me a lot. My dh plays with my bigger boys (2 and 4) while I finish cooking, and my baby is pretty content to hang out and watch. Cooking takes a lot longer than it did pre-baby, though.

To add to all this, I like cooking (which really helps), and my dh never (!) complains if the bathrooms aren't clean or he has to rummage for clean socks in a laundry basket. Those things are much lower priority than my two biggies-taking care of the kids and good, healthy food.
post #6 of 30
I think 7:30 is too late for dinner.

Use a crockpot, stir-fry and do prep during the day as pp's suggested. I take out meat for dinner at breakfast... then there's no last minute panic.

And yes, I'm a stay at home mom... family dinner is one of my duties. We only eat out twice a week.. on weekends.

That said, your dh should pitch in after the meal and do the dishes, sweep, wash children or tend to pets. Everyone who lives in house can contribute to its care.
post #7 of 30
the way you described it is exactly what goes on in our house. dh expects dinner, expects me to make it and although he will try to entertain our ds1, its usually while he (dh) is laying on the couch watching tv. i generally have ds2 worn on me.

the thing is though, although its hard, this is how we both grew up, so im used to it, since i helped my mom do the same thing. doesnt make it right, but it is what it is.

i do expect him to help out in other ways though, so we are making baby steps to changing our ways.
post #8 of 30
This has been and can still be an issue at my house too. Why do men expect us women to do all that? Even women with full time jobs have the same issue at times...cooking dinner while the dude sits in front of the tv.

This works for me sometimes. I make a list of every single thing I've done that day. every.thing. And then if the guy won't help then I stop doing things for him. I wash my own clothes, etc. Basically I treat him like a roommate. Eventually he starts doing it for himself.

About dinner..cook together. This works for us. I will not cook breakfast because dh gets up earlier than the rest of us. I will make lunch for him since he comes home for it and has a limited time to eat it. Dinner is done together. We are both in the kitchen making something, or if we're overwhelmed by the day...oh well have a pp&j.

Nothing bugs me more than men who can't feed themselves!!
post #9 of 30
I guess I just see it differently.

Supper ready is my dh's number 1 request. He would tell you that the best part about being married is having someone else cook supper (probably equal to the sex ). It's THAT important to him. Plus, he's not one of those guys that says that "everything is important" to him and overwhelms him. No, supper is at the top of the list.

So, when I cook for him, I see it as totally telling him that I love him and care for him. And, he accepts it that way, too. He is thankful and sweet and kind and loving. And, he tells me so. A lot.

So, I put supper at the top of my priority list when I'm organizing my day. I hav preschoolers, so very little school. I arrange our errands/out of the house activities/stuff to happen in the AM so that I'm free in the afternoon (to cook, but our family works better this way, too).

And, it's not one sided, either. My dh knows that he tells me "I love you" by doing acts of service. So, he hangs shelves, takes care of car mantaince, vacuums for me, unloads the dishwasher, you name it. He talks to my needs, and I talk to his. It works for us.
post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 
Part of the problem is that he exaggerates how often it is that he doesn't have dinner ready. I made dinner every night last week except one day, and I think I was volunteering late or something like that (so we ate leftovers). I do sometimes make crockpot meals, and I prep when i can. Part of it also is that I do not use any premade ingredients (with the exceptions of home-canned tomatoes, or the occasional spaghetti sauce). Then there's the fact that he's so picky about dinner- chicken and pork don't "sit well" with him, he doesn't like fish, beef is fine (but how many times can a person eat beef in a week?) He's very anti-vegetarian, and I don't eat grains or beans. He also doesn't like squash or most vegetables, or soups with a clear broth. While he rarely complains at the dinner table anymore about what I make, he will sometimes make comments about not wanting something (rarely is it that he makes comments about wanting something, it's usually that he doesn't want a particular food with no suggestions about what to make instead). Most of the food that he does want to eat, the kids don't like. So no matter what I do, someone doesn't like what I've spent all that time cooking. Meanwhile, 90% of the time I would be happy with a cooked, plain meat and some steamed or sauteed vegetables. So much easier to make than lasagna, tacos, chili (which is one of the faster dishes that he likes), etc. Normally, I love to cook (I am a bit of a foodie), but I just don't have the time most days to take care of the house, educate our kids, and cook for him, then have energy after to continue caring for the kids, and then spend time with him after the kids are in bed (sometimes he evens asks for a massage! meanwhile I haven't even showered in 3 days), then wake up 4 times per night for the baby, and then wake up and do it all again (7 days per week- we don't eat out). You guys think this is just part of the job description??

in all fairness, he does sometimes compliment me on a dish, and he brags to people about my cooking.
post #11 of 30
Originally Posted by SaoirseC View Post
I've asked him what he would do if he was single (not a threat, just a "what if"), and he quips back that he would have more money and would eat out.
Well.. what would you do if *you* were single? You'd still have the house to take care of, dinner to make, kids to care for, etc and a job on top of it. But that's one of the wonderful things about having a partner, you don't have to do everything by yourself. I think it's obvious you and your dh need to come to an agreement about what each of your roles are, but attitudes like this make it impossible. You depend on him for things too, I assume. Perhaps you could ask him what is most important for him. For a lot, it's dinner. For some there's a certain thing that they want cleaned up.

My dh is deployed right now, so I don't have him to make dinner for but I still need to make dinner and with planning it's not that difficult. It has always been easier for me to make dinner in the afternoon, so when my dh was able to be home for dinner I prepped dinner as much as I could then and just reheated (or tossed in the oven) at the right time. He hasn't regularly been home until after bed time (when he's home I mean) for a couple of years so the kids and I have started eating at 4 which works out well for us since they go to bed at before 7.

Do you meal plan? I know others have suggested this, but it's really important to me so I thought I'd mention it again. If I don't meal plan, I have a few random dinners and some takeout and a lot of trips to the store for this or that. I don't do a rigid meal plan, I just pick 7 meals (or 14 if I have a super busy week coming up and won't be able to fit in a big grocery trip) and each morning I pick what I want to make and cross it off the list.

I wear the baby when I'm cooking, always have. At this point, since he's so little, I do a lot of things where the prep work is cold and then I just stick it in the oven or on the stove so I'm not standing over a hot stove with a baby on my front. When he's older and I can put him on my back or down for a few minutes I'll do that. I have always worn my babies while I eat too and it's not that difficult, you get used to it. Something that helps, though, is cutting your food before you get to the table.

Sorry, I'm sure this is disjointed, I've been trying to type my response for about 4 hours.
post #12 of 30
I cook dinner every night, but I absolutely expect dh to mind the kids while I cook, and then either mind the kids or clean up after dinner, and while I relax in the tub. (I take a bath alone with no interruptions every night and that's all there is to it. It keeps me sane.) What would be the problem if it were my dh would be the expectation that I cook AND mind kids at the same time. Not practical at all.
post #13 of 30
Thread Starter 
MBhf- what would I do if I was single? I would go to work and come home to make dinner for myself. That's my point, single adults manage to eat even though they're at work all day. I don't see how it's so unreasonable to ask him to watch the baby while I make dinner. additionally, my babe is not content to be worn while i eat, or sit period. it's like you're doing the same thing he does- acting if the kids were my 'thing' instead of ours. it takes two to make a baby, and because i'm at home with them all day doesn't mean that i should be the sole person caring for them in the evening and weekends too.

mamazee--I don't have any time to myself, and as I've said, he's not cool with watching the baby while I cook.
post #14 of 30
FWIW I think your husband is being totally unreasonable. What is he doing while you are cooking dinner and juggling the baby? Does he leave all the childcare to you or is he very involved except for this one time of day? This would be a big problem in my household.

This is what it looks like at our house. Feel free to chare this with your husband if you think the reality check will help at all.

I prefer to cook on the the days my husband works as well but the difference here is that he walks in the door, kisses us, changes his clothes (sometimes has a quick shower) and takes the baby. We do tend to eat a lot of salad-type meals so, even though I don't start cooking 'til he gets home, it still doesn't take too long to have dinner ready. I know that makes it easier. And, if he's really hungry when he gets home, he has a banana or something to tide him over.

We are pretty fortunate at the moment that J will sit happily in her highchair for most of our meals but, if she needs a cuddle, he will do that too. He says that I eat plenty of meals when he's not at home where I have no choice but to hold her so the least he can do is let me eat in peace whenever he can. When I've finished eating I take her so he can eat but we both stay at/near the table so it's still companionable.
post #15 of 30
Originally Posted by SaoirseC View Post
MBhf- what would I do if I was single? I would go to work and come home to make dinner for myself. That's my point, single adults manage to eat even though they're at work all day. I don't see how it's so unreasonable to ask him to watch the baby while I make dinner. additionally, my babe is not content to be worn while i eat, or sit period. it's like you're doing the same thing he does- acting if the kids were my 'thing' instead of ours. it takes two to make a baby, and because i'm at home with them all day doesn't mean that i should be the sole person caring for them in the evening and weekends too.
Hmm. I think you're misunderstanding me. You and your husband are married, you are supposed to be partners in life, you have children so if you were single you would still have to care for them. My point is that you both depend on each other for certain things, and I think you need to have a discussion with him so you can agree on what you both need from each other. I don't think it's unreasonable for your dh to care for the baby while you make dinner, I am just saying that it is possible and I was trying to tell you what has helped me.

I am my childrens primary care giver, especially when they are infants. So I guess in my family the children are my "thing" and I am with them all day while my dh is not so I am more in tune with their needs and their routine. When my dh is home he happily helps if he sees that I need it or I ask and of course he loves to spend time with our children. But yes, even when he is home I am mommy and if they need something I am generally the one help them, especially when they are infants. So, yes, I have spent many dinners bouncing and swaying in front of my dinner. I'm Mommy, I do what I need to do. My babies have not generally been happy with their dad holding them for most of the first year, with the exception of my daughter who has preferred my dh from the start.
post #16 of 30
Daddy's are not babysitters. They are parents. And I think it's completely reasonable that they be expected to act like one. If a grown adult wants to eat then they ought to be able to feed themselves. Sure cooking for each other or with each other is a loving caring act, but if there is an overwhelming amount of other responsibilities, then the one who wants dinner ought to recognize it and act accordingly.

If my dh wanted dinner at a certain time and wanted to eat only certain foods, (and worse, complained that it wasn't happening)there would be issues in our relationship big time. I chose to be a stay at home/homeschooling mommy for my children's sake, not because I wanted to live like an opressed/repressed 50s style homemaker.

I think the OPs partner is being too demanding.
post #17 of 30
Plop that baby in his lap and cook dinner. If DH doesn't like it, then tell him to cook.

I do think that the SAHP should do the lion's share of the cooking and housekeeping/chores. I was a SAHM for many years and did that. But, that does not excuse the WOHP from pitching in. I never neglected my needs, though. I showered when needed and ate when needed. If that meant that someone had to cry for a few minutes, that was how it was. (and NO, I never neglected my children) Mom's needs are important too

What pisses me off is when the WOHP thinks that the paycheck should be their ONLY contribution. Or ones who are really resentful of the SAHP and want to somehow "punish" her, and say that she is the one who WANTED to SAH.
post #18 of 30
I definately think he is out of line here. Yes, he goes out, deals with people, brings home a paycheck, but he has responsibilites to his family outside of money. Money isn't everything.

Have you sat down with him at some neutral point and calmly discussed it with him? Have a list of what you want to discuss ready and if need be, ask him to not interrupt until you are done. Or have you tried leaving for a day? Claim one Saturday (or whatever day he has off) as a "Mommy needs a day off" day and just leave. Leave at 9 or 10 am and come home at 6 pm. Give him a good taste of what your day normally encompasses and then ask him why he doesn't have dinner made. Or maybe something less passive agressive if that would set him off. Arguing isn't going to help, of course. He might learn his lesson plus you'll get a day off. See friends, go to a movie, have a massage. You deserve those things. You do work hard and you should be recognized for it.
post #19 of 30
Meal time is a toughie at our house too, but in a bit of a different way. *I'm* the one who has had to really let go of having dinner ready when my hubby gets home. I reallllly want it to happen but most times it doesn't happen and I need him to at least entertain my 4yo for a few to do a full execution of dinner and get it on the table. I always had my babe in a carrier on my back until he got flexible and strong enough to be able to reach out and grab stuff at about a year old. Our kitchen is teeny so the first time he managed to grab a knife off the counter behind me while I stirred a pot on the stove I called the whole back wearing thing OFF. So, telling OP to just throw the kid on her back isn't overly helpfull imo

I would like to echo mbhf a bit, her attitude is spot on I think. I find for a lot of things I tend to get really resentful and you know what?? IT DOESN'T HELP. I find I have to let stuff go sometimes to get through a tough spot and I almost never regret doing so. It's sooooo easy to get caught in that awful cycle where the wohp sucks and the sahp is worn out and deserves more. I mean, it's a given we're a tad bit worn out, right? We have littles and littles aren't easy! But this phase passes and sometimes we just have to get through it, with grace if possible. I'm just getting from your post that the dinner thing is where this whole thing strikes YOU. If you have a bigger picture of power struggles or a generally crappy partner I missed it. Is he a generally good guy who is stoked on his family? If so, concentrate on that and work forward from there.

For some more thoughts on creative immediate solutions perhaps you bounce the babe and take care of dinnerish stuff while everyone eats and then after dinner have a nice quiet meal by yourself? Technically you're all together for the meal but then you get a few moments of solitude to eat

Or... totally crock pot stuff or throw things in a cast iron in the oven on low all.day.long (yum!). Buy whole cut up chickens and throw them in the crock with a can of sauce, then serve with a salad. Dinner can get REALLY EASY! Maybe relax on your standards for a few months until that babe can be off you.

Just trying to think of more to offer than "that stinks, he's a real turd!"

Oh!! And you know what I just thought of when I re-read your post... he's hungry when he gets home right? What about some cold cuts and sliced cheese or a bowl of nuts out for him while/before you start/continue with dinner? That stuff could take zero effort if it's a huge plate you make once a week and just uncover and put it out when he comes through the door. Just thinking perhaps his blood sugar is low and that doesn't help with his patience with the kids or something!
post #20 of 30
i generally find a few days of canned soup and cereal usually cure my dh of any snarkiness about dinner planning/making/cleaning up. i just don't make anything. when i get hungry, i put a bagel in the toaster. when he starts wondering where dinner is, i say i didn't make anything. i say," i'm really tired, i don't feel like cooking. if you want a full meal, you can make it, or there is cereal in the cupboard." maybe it sounds resentful and petty, but for heavens sake, we all get worn out once in a while... and really, it works. i get a break from cooking for a while, there aren't any dishes to wash, no one gets malnourished from a couple days of snacking, and the non-cooking partner gets a reality check.
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