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When your working spouse comes home.....

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

When my working spouse comes home....

 

...I'm dying for him to occupy the kid(s) for a while, take them outside to play, and give me a break and some quiet! I want help with the dishes, help bathing the kids and putting them to bed, and want someone (an intelligent, compassionate adult!) to talk to after a day of my mind being on a toddler's level.

 

...He's dying to get away from everyone, exhausted from work and commute, just wants to lie on the couch or bed for a short nap before dinner, after dinner wants to watch TV or play video games or check email or just chill and have some alone time to himself. Doesn't want to be nagged by me.

 

 

Do you have a similar dynamic in your home? How do you reconcile these two conflicting wants/needs at the end of the day? HOW do you get your working spouse who is pooped to still help at home and be supportive? How do you get yourself to not resent your spouse's need for space and really understand and provide it?

 

Thanks!!

post #2 of 43

oh goodness, no advice since i was about to post almost the same thing. i'll be interested what others have to say. it really is frustrating.

post #3 of 43
Looking forward to hearing everyone's responses! We pretty much have the same thing here. I am glad I only have one kid.

My DH comes home. Hugs on DD for a few minutes and escapes to the bathroom for a good hour leaving me to cook dinner. So by the time he gets out dinner is nearly ready. So we eat and put baby to bed.

I don't ask him for help. I don't try to make him pay attention to me. I've pretty much become addicted to facebook and other online forums just to have some company. I try to keep myself overbooked so I don't have time to think about how lonely I am. I am not successful yet.

So I am looking forward to hearing answers.
post #4 of 43
Thread Starter 

Well, at least hearing that other people are in the same situation makes me a feel a little better.....but it is still SO hard

post #5 of 43

hubby and i are going to have a talk when he gets home from work this afternoon. if it goes well i'll let you know lol. he has been working half days lately but still acting the same as when he works full days, and that is what has me mad right now. he's working 5 hours and then taking a nap, while i work roughly 14 (if you don't count bf'ing all night) and don't get a nap. i'm hoping it's something we can just talk through and that things will change. i'd like more support when he works full days, too, but i'd be satisfied for now if i got more support when he works half days. i suppose if the talk goes badly i could just hide the x-box and the tv remote and replace them with a dish scrubbie and one of dd's toys??

post #6 of 43

Yep, we're in the same boat. I hope other mamas chime in with good advice--all I can offer is commiseration! I'm actually feeling really disillusioned right now--is there anyway to get through the childhood years without feeling totally exhausted and burnt out?! I'm realizing we need much more of an outside support network than we currently have. I honestly don't think 2 people are enough for the huge task of raising little ones, especially if one (or both) WOH. Ideally we'd all have villages to help raise our babes---or trust funds to allow us to hire help! We don't have either at this point :(

post #7 of 43

This is  not the dynamic in our home. When DH gets home he usually entertains the kids for a while as I finish (or start) dinner. As much as we are both ready to collapse at 6pm, we both realize that it's the time to gear up for the last push of the day between dinner and bedtime. Downtime for both of us happens after the kids are asleep. It's also the only time he gets to connect with the kids during the week, so if he were to go off to the bedroom for a nap he would miss out on that time with them. He also gets a 30-45 minute commute to relax after his busy day - I luxury I do not get.

post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vancouver Mommy View Post

This is  not the dynamic in our home. When DH gets home he usually entertains the kids for a while as I finish (or start) dinner. As much as we are both ready to collapse at 6pm, we both realize that it's the time to gear up for the last push of the day between dinner and bedtime. Downtime for both of us happens after the kids are asleep. It's also the only time he gets to connect with the kids during the week, so if he were to go off to the bedroom for a nap he would miss out on that time with them. He also gets a 30-45 minute commute to relax after his busy day - I luxury I do not get.


Same here. My dh jumps right into the thick of it most nights. He takes them out to the park in nice weather, plays board games, lego, leads the scouting groups, takes them to dads' community events, etc. He is more of the "fun parent" and i'm more of the cooking/cleaning/organizing parent but that's fine with me! If it helps, he did come more into his own as a father as the years went by and he does still nap on the weekends while i never do ( so y'all don't get the idea that everything is perfect winky.gif), but on weeknights we are definitely a team!

 

I would talk and explain how you ladies feel. Men are not exactly perceptive and most have no idea what we go through in a day. Spelling out the obvious might make a big difference! Ultimately it's their own choice of what kind of dad and husband they want to be though.

 

post #9 of 43

My kids are 16, 14 and 8 and I am pregnant. At this stage in our life, dh comes home and kisses all the kids(even the belly), pets all the dogs, and sits and the kids tell him their stories and get help with homework and all that. When this baby is here it'll be like before and he'll come home and take care of the baby so I can shower or whatever LOL I remember the days of waiting on him to get home so he could occupy the little ones!!

post #10 of 43

I would highly recommend to those of you whose dh's aren't so helpful...on his day off, go out and leave the kids with him for a whole day! Leave a messy house. Expect the house to be cleaned and the kids ready for bed(or in bed, depending on when you come home). There's no excuse for dads to be so unhelpful. I know and understand that we all want time to ourselves, and working's not exactly fun, either, but as adults, we do what must be done.

post #11 of 43

Same dynamic here.  And I understand DH's point.  He has a very physical job and is pooped at the end of the day, legitimately (as am I of course.)

 

I can approach this problem in a lot of ways.  When I am tired and grumpy (often!), I see it "my" way: he and I are both hard at work all day long.  When he comes home I continue to be the primary caregiver of the kids, and continue all of my other work: cooking/cleaning etc.  No rest, even at night, as I keep cleaning after bedtime, then change and breastfeed the babe when he awakes crying.  Sigh.

 

The way I try to approach it, though, is to be considerate.  The times when I am most considerate and compassionate about how he is feeling (tired, stressed) are usually the times when we all end up having a much nicer evening.  He comes home and may relax by himself a while (lucky him!), or may play with the kiddos.  We have a nice meal together and a less stressful bedtime.  And he may help out with whatever he sees that there is to be done.  Or he may not.

 

It's not fair.  I'm kind of over it.  I think my DH, like many less enlightened men, just doesn't get it.  It is an honest mistake.  But trying to get across to him the fatigue and difficulty of the endless SAHM job just comes across as nagnagnag or complaincomplaincomplain.  He wants to be a good DH.  But he lacks the mindset of a mother: that things just need to be done, no matter how tired or stressed you are.  We have a 5 1/2 year old (and a 1 year old), so this isn't new.  But he still has this sense of entitlement, even expectation, that he should get to relax if he's tired, have a quiet house to read or watch a movie on the weekend, etc etc.  It's pretty funny actually.

 

So it goes around here.  Thankfully he is a loving and good guy who wants, to some degree, to be helpful and all.  But I've found that I need to let him find ways to do that on his own.  It's just not worth my energy to be bitter about it, or to try to help him be helpful.  That, alas, = nag.

 

Not fair, like a lot of things in life, but how it is.  He does work very very hard for us and does not get paid nor recognized sufficiently for all he does.  And he bears that.  He is great with the kids when he chooses to be (wouldn't that be nice!), which is a lot.  Sometimes he'll act like he's doing me a big favor when he hangs out with the kids for a while.  The sad part is that he is, as it is helpful to me.  But it's not like he should get some sort of "credit", for heaven's sake.  I would sure like some "credit" for the 24 hours of every day that I'm on duty, haha!

 

Oh well.  Things are so intense when the kids are so small.  We are getting through this.  For some it might work to be more pushy (like fleeing the house on a Saturday and leaving all the kids and messes).  That would not work for us.  We both have our roles.  They are not perfectly equal.  There are frustrations and rewards on both ends, and plenty that each of us do not understand about the others' experience, and can not.  My role exhausts me and frustrates me every day, and also brings great joy.  It's hard to explain, but DH just doesn't get it...to him it makes sense that he does his job and I do mine.  

 

I think I'm writing in circles here.  Wishing you peace, mama...and wisdom about how to handle your own situation.  It sounds like you need to communicate your own frustrations.  Just take care to do so in a way that will not bring on defensiveness and anger. 

 

Best wishes...

 

PS: Love the poster above "men are not exactly perceptive".  That's for sure!

post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vancouver Mommy View Post

This is  not the dynamic in our home. When DH gets home he usually entertains the kids for a while as I finish (or start) dinner. As much as we are both ready to collapse at 6pm, we both realize that it's the time to gear up for the last push of the day between dinner and bedtime. Downtime for both of us happens after the kids are asleep. It's also the only time he gets to connect with the kids during the week, so if he were to go off to the bedroom for a nap he would miss out on that time with them. He also gets a 30-45 minute commute to relax after his busy day - I luxury I do not get.



This is us. I can't say it was always like this though. It took work and maturity on both our parts to realize we were both tired but there were still things that needed to be done.  My DH tends to take the kids while i cook too. This way he gets his reconnecting time with them. I don't really expect much in the way of house work from him. He does yard work, works over 40 hours a week and is in charge of the cars. He does cook (or buy take out lol) at least once a week for us so I get a night off. I scoot out of the house a night a week and often on the weekends I will either go out by myself or just take one of the kids.  We also have been making a point to hire a babysitter! It's really helped a lot! When you have littles I honestly don't think anyone really gets to "plop" until they are sleeping. lol. 

post #13 of 43

Don't hate me, but on the days your husbands work... are you stopping by to help him get things done?  Do you show up for a few hours and do his job? 

 

I get frustrated when I get home after working 12 hours and DH thinks I need to help with all sorts of stuff.  I do things, just not the things he thinks I should be doing.  I shower the kids, I set out their clothes, I talk to them about their day and we sit down for dinner together.  It's the age old who does more and who is more deserving.  Neither one.  Both do enough.  I can't be superwoman he can't be superman. 

 

Granted I work 15 days a month, and the days I don't work I spend helping with chores and taking care of the kids.  He does too but he also takes a lot of time for himself.  HE TAKES TIME FOR HIMSELF.  As in he made the decision that he will take time for himself no questions asked.  If you ladies demanded time for yourselves on days it's actually fair for everyone you'd probably feel a whole lot better about the situation.  But what do I know. 

 

post #14 of 43

I think the point is more...both parents work til 4pm...the working parent comes home and does nothing while the stay at home parent continues working til all the kids are in bed, then finishes cleaning up. That's what seems to be the issue with most of these moms who are complaining about it. I'd have a day out every other weekend, like clockwork. Leave by lunch, come home after bedtime, every other Saturday. That was good for me. I do feel that dh needed to get out and go fishing or hiking or whatever with his friends but he didn't seem to want to often. I did try to encourage it!

 

I have known lots of families where the mom stays home with toddlers and babies, then when the dad gets home from work he sits and watches TV til dinner and then bedtime, doesn't help with the kids, and the mom NEVER stops cleaning and taking care of the kids. It was always very sad to see, it felt so strained. I've usually been fine with doing the housework/cooking part myself, but raising the kids should be a shared job, even if one parent goes to work. Parenting is an all-the-time job, it shouldn't be a one-person job, especially when both parents are with the kids.

post #15 of 43

And no- I don't show up and help dh on his job, just as he doesn't come home and help me (except in emergencies! and hopefully he'll have to come home soon and catch this baby! and I have brought him lunch at work a few times lol)- but after work we *parent* together. I do tend to get most of the housework done during work hours, though, so we have most of the evening together. I may clean up after dinner, or he'll mow the lawn or whatever. It's not so easy if you have toddlers, especially more than one, and I remember when my older ones were little bitty how hard it was to even get the dishes finished. Now I have teenagers and a 9 year old, so even when this baby ever gets born it won't be that bad again bc I'll have plenty of helping hands.

post #16 of 43

Look I'm just saying, nobody is going to give you the time off. Obviously some men just decide they should get that time to themselves afterwork, they just decide to not help out as much at home. So you just decide that you may get up on saturday and you get to do what you want. You decide when he gets home in the evening that you need him to do some things so that you too can get to bed at a decent time.  When I get home I don't want to do anything, but most times DH has already decided he needed help with dinner or dishes.  He decided he had done enough and now, I get to do somethings that "NEED" to get accomplished.  Not busy work but real important things. 

 

My mom used to make my dad to some ridiculous stuff after work.  Like clean windows and vaccum the stairs.  Things that don't have to be done but it would be nice if they were. 

post #17 of 43

Why kill yourself over a house?  I never understood why someone women will keep doing the unfair portion of the work.  Keeping a house while caring for toddlers is hard.  So there are somethings that can be saved for when everyone can help.  DH always did the dishes and cooking.  However on the weekends we all clean together.  Sometimes women let the guy just be from the beginning with little expectations.  And when the kids come along they've pretty much created a mess for themselves and they're angry about how unfair it is.  It is unfair, I won't lie and say it isn't.  Raising a family is more important than any job out there.  I don't care what your job is, nothing compares to caring for a family.  However a clean house and a perfect meal is just gravy.  A semi tidy house and a simple meal is doable.  A messy house and mac and cheese... that's more like it. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by purplerose View Post

I think the point is more...both parents work til 4pm...the working parent comes home and does nothing while the stay at home parent continues working til all the kids are in bed, then finishes cleaning up. That's what seems to be the issue with most of these moms who are complaining about it. I'd have a day out every other weekend, like clockwork. Leave by lunch, come home after bedtime, every other Saturday. That was good for me. I do feel that dh needed to get out and go fishing or hiking or whatever with his friends but he didn't seem to want to often. I did try to encourage it!

 

I have known lots of families where the mom stays home with toddlers and babies, then when the dad gets home from work he sits and watches TV til dinner and then bedtime, doesn't help with the kids, and the mom NEVER stops cleaning and taking care of the kids. It was always very sad to see, it felt so strained. I've usually been fine with doing the housework/cooking part myself, but raising the kids should be a shared job, even if one parent goes to work. Parenting is an all-the-time job, it shouldn't be a one-person job, especially when both parents are with the kids.



 

post #18 of 43
Difficulty editing without erasing prior remarks.
Edited by Mulvah - 10/2/11 at 2:32pm
post #19 of 43

oh mac n cheese, yummy...been craving and eating lots of that for months!

I agree with you here! I never figured out why women settle for it to be this way. Or maybe I got really lucky? I saw my mom doing it all the traditional way, she did EVERYTHING around the house and ALL of the kid-work and my dad worked outside the home and did most of the yardwork and the repairing of things and let her struggle with the kids. I didn't want my life to be that way, and it's not! I don't have a spotless house or anything but I try to keep it nice, since I am home, but as I've said when my kids were little it was harder and not as much got done. And that was fine, I did my best and no one complained. Dh's mom had 5 kids and she taught them all to do housework and the younger ones helped take care of neices/nephews(I've heard stories of them putting a poopy baby in the tub and hosing them off lol) My brother and I were raised by the same parents, but he for years did not help with his children. One of my daughters spent the night once and came home and told me they argued bc the son was crying and my brother wouldn't help but was complaining about his crying, and his wife said if he'd help sometimes their son wouldn't cry so much. My husband spent more time babysitting my brother's children than my brother spent alone with his own children. It was ridiculous. I really feel my dh and I are a good team, though I have felt guilty at times about not helping financially but he said he is happy with our situation and I have to believe him...he seems happy and I know I am.

post #20 of 43

DH goes downstairs when he gets home, but I have after school care kids here so I don't blame him. Our kids often follow him down, and he brought the camping chairs into the computer room for them so they all visit/play on the computer down there sometimes until supper is ready. If The washer finishes when he's within earshot, he usually thinks to switch it to the dryer for me. After dinner DS clears the dishes and DD sweeps while we talk, and then if there's still homework for the kids (they sometimes get it done before he gets home)  we help them with it together. I'm happy with the arrangement now, but wondering how it'll be once the baby is born... it's easy with school aged kids, I get my nights off too because everything is done by then, or can wait until tomorrow.

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