WOHM with SAHD - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 01-10-2003, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I work FT outside the home during the week and DH stays with dd during the week and works on the weekends. I wanted to start a thread to discuss the special issues this arrangement has.

What made you decide on this arrangement?

In our case DH was pretty adamant that he wanted to avoid daycare for as long as we could manage it, at least for a year, and I agreed with him. We would both love for me to be the SAH parent bc I have more desire to be home with dd (even though he is a much better housekeeper and has always been the primary cook - if meals were left up to me we'd starve). Before dd came along, DH owned his own retail business and worked 6 days a week all day long. My job was the one with the benefits and I also get a lot of assistance with my student loans (which are huge) through my work (attorney with Legal Aid), so whether DH worked or not, I would be working, too. So we came to the decision that DH would stay home for now. We have a teeny house, with a very low mortgage, drive modest cars and have really scaled back on other expenses to be able to do this for now. For us, though, I think it's worth it.

I've found that one thing that has been difficult for both of us is the perception that DH isn't "ambitious" or "successful" enough to be the provider. On the contrary, DH is an extremely hardworking guy. He made as much money as I did with his business. The problem was that he didn't make enough to also cover health insurance, retirement fund and pay my student loans in addition. I think that the lack of affordable health insurance is a major obstacle in so many families, almost more than low salaries. Have any of you had to deal with similar perceptions?

How is housework and parenting divided up in your family and has this provided any problems?

In our family, I'm lucky that DH really is better at keeping the house tidy (I tend to let things get cluttered although I keep things clean) and is the one who almost always cooks except on the days he works and I'm home. And he's wonderful with dd. My only complaint is that when we're both home, I'm taking care of dd 95% of the time and he won't even hold her while I try to change out of my work clothes or get ready for work, etc. Most of the time this is ok, bc I miss dd and want to spend all my time with her. But it is irritating that as soon as I'm home, it is as if he has no responsibility towards her and even if I need him to hold her bc she's fussy and I need to quickly blow dry my hair to get to work on time, he acts like it is a burden. On the days he works, he is too exhausted to help with her when he gets home, but I don't feel like I'm allowed to be exhausted on the days I work.
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#2 of 27 Old 01-10-2003, 03:56 PM
 
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Same situation here. Our baby is due in February. So I can't tell you how its going to work out yet...

The decision was made, because I make a much better salary and can get our family full benefits by only working 30 hours a week. I hate the thought of daycare, and really the cost/benefit ratio isn't good for us. We'd get along just fine on my salary and dd benefits from having mom or dad or both always with her.

Just like you 2, Dh is a much better house keeper and cook, luckily. He's also very nurturing and I think he will be a great father. We have most of the same values in regards to parenting. Whenever I bring up ideas he usually agrees with them. Sometimes we read the MDC boards together. So I have no doubt about his ability to handle this. He will probably do better with it than I will. We will learn together.

As it is now, Dh does most of the cleaning and the cooking and the yard work. I work 12 hour days with no breaks and am pretty beat when I get home. On my days off I do a bit more, but the house is really his responsibility. I do the bills, the laundry usually, most of the shopping etc.. We plan to divide the work load up more evenly when I cut back my work hours to 30-36 from 42. That is going to take adjusting I think..will have to see what works.

We'll see how it goes. I'll keep you updated on how it turns out.

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#3 of 27 Old 01-10-2003, 04:48 PM
 
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I love that this got started!

Last summer my SO started home with my son who was 5 at the time, and I thought things went well. He has a different story. But I am due in April and he has agreed to stay home again for the summer to care for the baby and our other two kids.
For the most part it is just because with out and education here he con nevr make more than what we would be paying in childcare. $225/wk for the baby, $125/wk each for the other two. Thats $475/wk. Close to $2,000 a month. Plus with him staying home we quilfy for stae medical. And when the kids go back to school we can arrange our scedules so we maybe only have to put baby in care for two days max .

But as far as house hold stuff goes. I refuse to do any of it because he won't help out. So now he has to take on that. I cook because he would burn the kitchen down, and I shop for the food. Other than that I put full responsibility on him. He works now for a part time job, but doesn't help with the bills, but the kids and him sure do have fun, and he takes them on all sorts of adventures. Some times I think he is wasting his money, but then the kids come home and are so happy to have stayed all day at the zoo (whitch here is so expensive to go to) that I can not argue.

But I am going to print this to show that there are other men who stay home, and they do it because they want to , and it is ok for the woman to work , but then the men do help out more than taking the kids fun places.
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#4 of 27 Old 01-10-2003, 05:18 PM
 
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We did this for a while too, after dd was born. It worked out really well.

We did it because my income and benefits were better at the time. I was also hesitant at that time to try out alternative working arrangements. He always did more of the housework/cooking than I did. He still does though I'm pitching in much more now that I'm home.

But he was the same way about handing baby over when I got home : though he wouldn't act put upon if I asked for some time for myself. Plus we had ds1 who was 3 at the time, and dh would do things with him in the evenings.

I really much prefer how it is now - we normally both work part time (I'm home after having ds2 in November but will probably go back to work part time in the next few months). That way we both have time with the kids and time to spend with each other, etc..

Cheryl
Gage (almost 7!), Maddie (4), Mason (2 mos)

C ~ mama to (16), (13), (9) (5)

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#5 of 27 Old 01-10-2003, 05:20 PM
 
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Hi,
I copied a post below that I wrote a while back. It didn't get much of a response because I think I posted it in the wrong place! Good to hear from you all!

With regard to how we split up the work -

We both like to cook; I like to bake; usually he does the shopping with DD

Dishes = morning me, lunch either/or, dinner him

I get DD's breakfast most days being the morning person

Other housework = about 75% him, 25% me (I hate it; he is a neat person. We tried 50-50 for a while, but I could never get everything done - he can at least do some while taking care of DD whereas I work freelance and that means some 12-hour days + some weekend work)

Bills and banking = me

Childcare on weekends = split

Putting DD to bed = alternate days

Volunteering with DD's preschool = me

We might be switching roles somewhat soon because he is applying to grad school, but I would work at least part-time in any case. My earning power is pretty good and it's a portable, home office-based job. I am looking forward to being the primary caregiver, although we will soon have 2 kids (edd May 30!) and I know that will be a challenge. I certainly have a different perspective on both his and my jobs. On days they spend at the beach and I spend in front of the computer, I am jealous!

I would ideally like to have it like MaybeBaby above with both of us working part-time and parenting part-time.

****My old post:

My husband has been staying at home with our daughter since she was about 3 mos. old. She is now 3 yrs. old. I have worked that whole time, but have been able to work at home for the past 1 1/2 yrs. We like this way of doing things, especially now that I can work at home. It has been wonderful for us, and most people have been supportive, but I think there is still a lot of lack of understanding about SAHDs.

For instance, almost all books about parenting are still based on the "SAHM, dad works" or "both parents work" models. Families with SAHDs or those who share both work and parenting or have other situations (grandparents raising grandkids, etc.) are pretty much absent.

I would love to exchange info and experiences with other families in this situation. Do you get negativity from your family or anyone else? Was the situation voluntary or involuntary? What are the challenges? What do you like best about your situation?

Here are some of the issues we have confronted:

My husband's identity as a SAHD (rather than X career) because men are so often defined by their work. Women are too, but it's societally "OK" for them to stay home with kids. Sometimes when we say he takes care of DD, people ask several times "But what do you DO?" He is shy about telling people sometimes for fear of the reaction.

DH being out of the work force for almost 3 yrs. and trying to explain this on resumes now that he is looking for a job. What do employers think of this? Is it different for SAHDs and SAHMs, or the same?

My identity as a working mom. This does bring on quite a bit of guilt sometimes. I wonder whether I could do as well as DH is doing with our daughter, worry when I don't see her enough, hear lots of positive feedback from family about DH's parenting and none about my own, etc.

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences!!

Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (14) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"

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#6 of 27 Old 01-10-2003, 05:37 PM
 
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Hannah's Mom, we're in quite a similar situation. I work at a private law firm about 45 hours per week. When I was 8 months pregnant, my dh was laid off from his job, and since then he has been the dd's daytime caregiver. DD is now 12 months. Since being laid off, dh has been trying to get contract work, with some success. Right now, though, he does not have any paid work, which is tough on us financially. So we didn't really make the decision to have me work and dh stay at home; it just happened.

It has been great to have dh home with dd. They've really bonded, although sometimes he is hurt that dd has a clear preference for me. DH never really wanted to be a SAHD, but he is happy that dd is out of day care. On the rare occassions when dh is super busy with work and has pressing deadlines, we pay someone to come into our home to watch her downstairs while dh works upstairs.

I would love to be a SAHM, but financially, that just isn't realistic. I, too, have sky high law school loans, but my school does not have any loan assistance program, so I am the primary income earner. I took a job at a small firm so that I could have more flexibility, but I'm not sure if it's really any less work than big law firm jobs, although the pay is much lower. Also, dh never went to college so his earning capacity is limited and it would be tough for him to support a family. He feels bad about that because he knows I would love to be a SAHM. He has never been particularly career oriented, so he doesn't struggle with the emotional issues that some SAHDs do regarding what other people think about him. In fact, people often think he is a great dad because he'll change dirty diapers and give her a bath, etc, which many WOHDs won't do.

Health care coverage is also a big issue. I pay what I think is an outrageous amount ($520 per month -- not as bad as my student loans, but still outrageous, I think) to have dh and dd covered under my health insurance. DH has been to a doctor twice in the 8+ years I've known him, so we sometimes consider just taking the risk and having him uninsured, but then I worry about what would happen if he had some sort of major accident.

We live in a very expensive part of the country, so our very small starter home we purchased last year is quite expensive. I've tried to think of ways that we could somehow reduce our living expenses so that I could stay at home, but I just don't see how it would work unless we sold our house and moved to a less expensive part of the country, which in and of itself would be an expensive process. We only have one car, which we just paid off, we never go out, so selling our house and removing dh from health insurance is about the only way I see that we could reduce our living expenses.

I often wish I had postponed law school until after having children, but when I was in my teens and early 20s thinking about my career plan, being able to be a SAHM wasn't on my priority list, so now I'm doing my best to deal with the situation we're in. Sorry for the long vent, but it's very frusrating for me that going to law school, which I thought would make me very financially stable, has actually done the opposite.
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#7 of 27 Old 01-10-2003, 05:38 PM
 
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I think I responded to the old thread too. DH has stayed home since DD was born 9 years ago. It has worked out to some degree but I do feel I bear more of the burden of the additional "chores" Since DD has been in school, I really feel he should do more. I shop (90%) cook (90%) all DD related activities after work and on weekends. He does minimal housework (I rarely do so it doesn't get done), laundry (but not very well) is very good at getting DD up and ready for and to school and picks her up (walking) and takes her to any after school activities they can walk to. He makes our the bed everyday! Now that DD is more self sufficient, my burden doesn't seem so bad after all....
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#8 of 27 Old 01-10-2003, 05:44 PM
 
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As it turns out, I was just mentioning this forum to my DH last night. I commented on how many of the WOHMs had SAHDs as partners! My DH stays home 2 days a week with our DS. It was his decision, because he hated the idea of day care for our infant son and he wanted the opportunity to have nurturing time with him. Additionally, I have the benefits (so yes, insurance is the major crippler, the golden handcuffs).

We do use a care provider (extended family, really) for three days, so he isn't with him full time, but it is a good time for both of them.

Yes, we face the typical issues of perception, but honestly, the worst culprit is DH himself. He worries a lot about appearing as a failure to our friends and family - crazy! And about his inability to give me a life such that I don't have to work. Other than that, I've had only positive remarks (to my face, anyway) about his staying at home. Granted, it's only part-time, so I don't know what I would be faced with if it were FT.

He does much of the cleaning, laundry, and all bills (I am very non-confrontational about money, so bills go unpaid with me! But he did all that before we had DS....I'm just a bit of a slob, Virgo notwithstanding!

I do the shopping and cooking, mostly because we'd eat bagels and cereal exclusively if it were left to him (and I enjoy it most of the time).

DH was very much like yours Hannah's Mom when DS was younger. Now that he's a year old - and very mobile - it has become easier for us (him?) to share in the responsibility when I am home. It's still very lopsided, and I have to ask a lot, but it is working better.


I look forward to sharing with you all about this!
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#9 of 27 Old 01-10-2003, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ocean
I would love to be a SAHM, but financially, that just isn't realistic. I, too, have sky high law school loans, but my school does not have any loan assistance program, so I am the primary income earner. I took a job at a small firm so that I could have more flexibility, but I'm not sure if it's really any less work than big law firm jobs, although the pay is much lower.

...

I often wish I had postponed law school until after having children, but when I was in my teens and early 20s thinking about my career plan, being able to be a SAHM wasn't on my priority list, so now I'm doing my best to deal with the situation we're in. Sorry for the long vent, but it's very frusrating for me that going to law school, which I thought would make me very financially stable, has actually done the opposite.
Ocean - OMG, you said exactly what I always think and I'm so glad you did. I always wanted to work in some sort of public interest/public service law and was a prosecutor when I first got out of school. Then I decided I wanted to make more money and not work for a politician anymore (district attorneys are elected in NC), so I started working for a small firm. They paid so much less than big firms did, but my billable hour requirements were equivalent, if not more. I did so well in law school and could have worked for a big firm, but decided to go another route. If I could do it all over again, I think I'd go ahead and work in a big firm for awhile and get my loans paid to some degree (or even better, not have gone to law school in the first place and just worked for a nonprofit somewhere). Ironically, several women I know who work for big firms have BETTER maternity leave, etc., benefits and more family-friendly environments than most of the small firms I know of, when most people who choose smaller firms do it bc they think their quality of life will be better. Like you, in my 20s when mapping out my career path, wanting to be a SAHM in the future didn't even occur to me.

Ragana, we haven't gotten any negativity from dh's family members, but some subtle criticism from my family members. Primarily though, it has been more of a feeling I get (and I don't think it's just me being insecure) from women attorney acquaintances who are married to traditionally "successful" husbands (most of them are also attorneys) that don't understand why DH doesn't work and couldn't imagine being the primary breadwinner. Many of them also don't understand our decision to live a very scaled down lifestyle, with the teeny home, older cars (not new ones every other year), not going out to eat much, etc., in order to do this, bc they would never choose to go without those things. (This is not a criticism people who have those things, if you can afford it, that's wonderful! Just don't knock me for not having it.)

As for the actual breakdown of some specific chores in our family:
Laundry - DH about 60%, me about 40% (although dh has now banned me from doing his stuff unless I actually follow through with folding it and putting it away rather than leaving it in the basket ) . Oh and DH washes our cloth diapers about 70% of the time bc he was the one who really pushed to use them.
Cooking and meal planning - DH 85%, me 5%, takeout or his parents cooking something for us 10%
Paying bills and balancing checkbook - me 100%
Bathing dd - me 100%
Cleaning (everything but the bathrooms) - dh 80%, me 20%
Dishes - dh 50%, me 50% (I load up the dishwasher every evening bc I have to make sure my pump parts are clean)
Bathrooms - me 100%
Grocery shopping - dh 70%, me 30%

I forgot to say that dd is almost 6 months old.

I'm so excited to hear from others with SAHDs!
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#10 of 27 Old 01-10-2003, 11:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ocean
Health care coverage is also a big issue. I pay what I think is an outrageous amount ($520 per month -- not as bad as my student loans, but still outrageous, I think) to have dh and dd covered under my health insurance. DH has been to a doctor twice in the 8+ years I've known him, so we sometimes consider just taking the risk and having him uninsured, but then I worry about what would happen if he had some sort of major accident.
Have you looked into switching your husband to major medical insurance (I think that's what it's called)? You pay less per year than for regular coverage, though if your employer pays any of the cost of your current insurance or is getting a big break for group rates, it may not be a huge saving. My understanding is that if there's a major accident or illness, you'll have some expenses you wouldn't have with regular coverage, but you won't be wiped out like you would if he were uninsured. I have a self-employed friend who could only afford major medical insurance, but it was a blessing when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
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#11 of 27 Old 01-11-2003, 12:09 AM
 
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When we started TTC, DH was back in college, looking to switch careers from construction to teaching. We knew that he was going to have a couple of light semesters, so we thought we could get by with just a little babysitting--but so far (DD is 5 months old) we haven't even had to do that. Instead, I asked for and was granted some flexibility in my work schedule for one semester, and DH is taking this semester and the summer off. DD will go into day care for a few months starting when she's 17 months old so DH can do his student teaching. After that, if he gets a teaching job I might do a stint as a SAHM, or DH might continue staying home for a year or two after getting his degree--though if day care is going well, I could imagine us both working at that point.

DH has never had a job with benefits, and I earn more than he ever has--and he wasn't earning any income while in school--so it made financial sense for me to keep working. But more important, I enjoy my career, and my co-workers, very much, whereas DH would be happy taking care of the household. (When we got married, we joked that I wanted to be the "husband" and he wanted to be the "wife.") He does almost all of the menu planning, grocery shopping, and cooking, most of the laundry, and much of the tidying and cleaning, as well as home improvement projects like building new cupboards and putting up a fence. We split dishes about 50/50. He usually walks the dogs; I pay the bills.

We easily pass DD back and forth in the morning as we both get ready to start our days. I'm usually delighted to take over care of DD when I get home in the evening, so DH can finish getting dinner on the table, etc. On weekends I assume more of the baby care by choice, though it's pretty equitable. We're all happiest when we're all together.
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#12 of 27 Old 01-12-2003, 01:26 AM
 
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Glad someone else has this situation -- I was beginning to think I was the only one.

DH has been a SAHD since our dd's birth 2 years ago, and overall, I'm very happy with this arrangement. It's permitted us to avoid putting her in daycare, to which both of us had strong objections, and it's even going to allow us to homeschool her later....thank God.

I had to laugh at the woman who said that as soon as she enters the door, her kid is her responsibility. Overall, that's SO true here too -- after work and weekends and holidays, I'm the primary caregiver.

Here's the breakdown:

1. Child care = M-F from 6:15-3:15, it's all dh; on M-F from 3:15pm-6:15am and on S/Sn all day, it's all me.

2. Bill-paying, taxes, and banking = 100% dh

3. Laundry - 60% me, 40% dh. I do mine and dd's, he does his own. I'm a lousy laundry person and dh is far more careful about his clothing than I am. He'll separate the laundry into about seventeen little piles based on color, fabric, et cetera. I'll just wash everything.

4. Cleaning - About 60% me, 40% dh. Dh keeps the place picked up during the week, but the real cleaning -- the floor swiping, the vacuuming, the toilets -- is my job. However, he's very good about doing the dishes and putting them away.

5. Taking dd to events -- Again about a 60-40 split, although dh has really been cool about taking her to Gymboree and Mommy and Me events.

Fascinating to read everyone else's!
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#13 of 27 Old 01-12-2003, 11:42 AM
 
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I am in the opposite boat. My dh works full time and I stay home with the kids. We have a boy who is nearly 3. He can be a real handful, so he goes to daycare 3 days a week, so I can have some chill-out time, and go to my counseling appointment. It also gives me some 1on1 time with my 2 month old daughter.
My husband and I struggle with having time together without the kids, and we argue alot about who should do this or that. I do find that men are sometimes more laid back than women when it comes to the kids and housework, but I cannot afford to work because my pay would never cover health insurance, nevermind anything else, and on one salary we are low enough that the kids and I get state medical. I need health insurance because I have expensive meds, and I need to go to counseling because of bipolar disorder, and I will be on meds for that once my baby weans, which is whenever she wants to.
I get as much slack as stay at home dads, from my hubby's friends. We are having a hard time making ends meet, and they all tell me to get a job.(they don't have kids who are too little for school obviously) Daycare is so expensive, and it is easier and healthier for my new baby to be with a parent rather than a daycare provider.

I say WAY TO GO for the sahd.
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#14 of 27 Old 01-13-2003, 09:22 AM
 
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Don't worry, Bladestar - when people make comments like "get a job", they are thinking of the top line (gross income) and not the bottom line (what you are figuring - all of the expenses that come with working.) You are doing the right thing for your family, and that's all that's important.


MammadeLiana - "We're all happiest when we're all together." - same here! That's why it's been so great that I can work at home. Even though I'm not interacting the whole time, I have much more contact with DH and DD. Best of all, it is freelance work, so I can control the amount and environment. That is very important to me after working over three years in a crazy-overtime, toxic-environment office.

Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (14) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"

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#15 of 27 Old 01-13-2003, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm usually delighted to take over care of DD when I get home in the evening, so DH can finish getting dinner on the table, etc. On weekends I assume more of the baby care by choice, though it's pretty equitable. We're all happiest when we're all together.
ITA with this! I wanted to clarify what I said earlier about being annoyed that DH will not help with dd at all when I'm home. I am usually so excited to be with dd when I'm home from work and love assuming more of the care. The only time it really bothers me that dh will not help when I'm home is when I've just walked in the door and want to change out of my work clothes into something more baby-friendly (i.e., doesn't require dry-cleaning like my work suits). We are working on this, though, and things are getting better as long as we both remember to communicate.

I also think some of our problems stem from the fact that DH works ALL DAY (9-7) on the weekends, which is when I'm off, so we really haven't had much time as a family together. We are working on some solutions and DH is going to begin not working every other Sunday. I am so excited next week is the MLK holiday, bc we have big plans for Monday when we'll both be home!
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#16 of 27 Old 01-22-2003, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So much for our big plans for Monday. We had planned a trip to a local aquarium and lunch out. Unfortunately, Hannah developed a pretty bad cold and I ended up taking her to the doc in the afternoon and holding her on the couch nearly all day. Poor little thing. Either DH or I have been holding her nonstop for the past couple of days. She hasn't wanted to play on the floor with us at all and won't tolerate being laid down in bed even when one or both of us is with her. She sleeps all day as long as she is on one of our chests slightly elevated on the couch. And sure enough, she's developed a little ear infection, which has been causing her some pain.

Which brings me to my question. Last night DH was so wonderful. He knew I was exhausted from no sleep and then working all day yesterday and getting over my own cold (which is the one I think I gave to dd). So he sent me to bed and stayed on the couch with dd until almost 4 when she finally laid in bed with us, bringing her to me only when she wanted to BF. What is something special I can do for him to show how appreciative I am? He would get me flowers or something, but I don't think he'd want that.
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#17 of 27 Old 01-22-2003, 12:18 PM
 
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See if you could get a babysitter for a few hours one evening, and make him his favorite dinner, or take him out...romance him a little Just a suggestion...Good luck
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#18 of 27 Old 01-22-2003, 12:49 PM
 
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great thread!!

Dh has been a SAHD since dd was 3 months old (she's now almost 15 months) I have a pretty demanding job in finance and even though I have a somewhat modified schedule now, it's still more than a full-time job. So it's been hard. I"d love to stay home with dd, but it's just not possible.

Dh has a martial arts academy where he teaches at nights, so he does "work" But we just opened this place a few months ago, and so far he is making a couple hundred a month. Which is not bad for being in business for less than a year, but not enough for me for switch jobs. It's been working out and it's great to see dh and dd so close. THey have a great time together. I love long weekends and a few days off here and there when we all get to hang out

Other than that, I'm waiting for June 30th when I get my retention bonus for the 3 years and then I can find a more family-friendly job Still have those school loans to repay.

I could have written this though:

Quote:
Originally posted by Hannah's Mom


ITA with this! I wanted to clarify what I said earlier about being annoyed that DH will not help with dd at all when I'm home. I am usually so excited to be with dd when I'm home from work and love assuming more of the care. The only time it really bothers me that dh will not help when I'm home is when I've just walked in the door and want to change out of my work clothes into something more baby-friendly (i.e., doesn't require dry-cleaning like my work suits).
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#19 of 27 Old 01-22-2003, 02:14 PM
 
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Hannah's Mom - one time when DH was especially wonderful with DS, I printed up a "World's Best Papa" Appreciation Certificate for him, signed by Owen (DS). It had a picture of Owen and I made it look all official....It was silly, but appreciated. I do like the romantic dinner option, though....hmmm.....I haven't had one of those in over a year.. Maybe it's time.
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#20 of 27 Old 02-20-2003, 05:06 PM
 
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bump

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#21 of 27 Old 02-20-2003, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wanted to report that DH and I have really come to a better understanding about the few things that were upsetting me before. I think I also understand more how difficult it can be for DH during the week when I'm not there and dd wants her mommy so badly. It can make things very rough on him and that is why he is so ready to hand her off to me the second I get home. In that way, I think a SAHD of an infant (especially a BF infant) can have a tougher time than many SAHMs - there is just such a special bond between a mommy and a baby. I think that as dd grows it will get easier for DH.
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#22 of 27 Old 02-21-2003, 03:24 PM
 
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Good point. I'm glad you have had a chance to talk some things out.

We have recently gone to full-time caregiver so that DH could concentrate on finishing the house. Once he's finished he will stay with DS two days a week, or at least that's the plan.

I made an assumption that since DH wasn't with DS as much that he would make up for lost time in the evenings and on weekends, rather than defaulting to me for DS's care. Actually it's been quite the contrary most of the time. He seems to be headed in the other direction....further withdrawn from DS's care.....: I honestly think he's overwhelmed with the "stuff of life" right now, but it has been a little disconcerting. Maybe there's a talk in our future, too!
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#23 of 27 Old 02-21-2003, 06:30 PM
 
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Hannah's Mom -- I'm glad to hear that things are working out better with your dh. I go though similar things with my dh. I totally agree that it's really hard for a dad to be home alone with a really little bf baby, and it gets easier with time. My dh is a SAHD mostly because he was laid off, but he agreed that keeping dd out of day care would be good if we could manage it, so we're doing the best we can to make that happen. I know that my dh gets pretty frustrated at times because he never really wanted to be a SAHD, but it is definitely much easier now. When I first went back to work, dd was only 7 weeks, and often nursed for comfort and never napped more than 20 minutes and always wanted to be held. Now she naps 1-2 hours once a day (or sometimes two 45 minute naps), so he has time to do his own thing for a while. Plus she can play by herself for sometimes up to half an hour at a time and she will let us set her down now (although sometimes she's still very clingy). She's 14 months old now, and for us things got significantly easier around 10 months.
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#24 of 27 Old 02-28-2003, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Long vent/request for advice ahead.

The last 2 nights have been really rough. DH and I had a wonderful evening on Wednesday night after dd went down for the night. Then dd woke up CRYING and pretty much inconsolable about 3-4 times during the night. We cosleep and it's not unusual for her to wake and nurse a couple of times, but usually she wakes up relatively quietly and goes right back to sleep, sometimes without even needing to nurse. Wednesday was different. She is teething (her top front teeth are about to break through) and we assumed that was her problem.

Usually after a bad night, dd will nap pretty well the next day. Not so on Thursday. DH said dd took 2 naps for 30 minutes maximum, when at least one of those naps is usually over an hour. When I walked in the door last night, DH starts venting to me in what I considered a very inappropriate way. He says, essentially, that Hannah was horrible today and was a pain in the a$$ (actually used that term) and she was right there playing! I got so upset and told him not to talk about her like that. He responded by telling me not to tell him what to do. I was so mad I told him maybe he should go back to work bc dd might be better off in daycare than with him if that was his attitude. We were basically short with each other all night. DD went to bed at her normal time (btwn 7:30 and 8:00) with little trouble, but then woke up crying again 3-4 times, again inconsolable even after nursing a couple of times. We even gave her a dose of baby Motrin and during one of her fits rubbed a little baby orajel on her gums (something we've never used before), which calmed her for about 30 minutes before she woke up again. I am usually the one who handles dd's night wakings bc she usually just wants to nurse, but even that wasn't doing the trick Wed or Thurs night. I finally asked DH (probably not so nicely) at about 12:30 am to get involved bc nothing I was doing was working. He got all annoyed and picks up dd and takes her to the living room to see if sleeping on the couch would help. Apparently it did bc they returned to bed at some point and dd woke up crying again at about 1:30 or 2:00 (and again at about 3:00 and again at 4:30 and again at 6:15).

This morning DH and I were irritable with each other and I left for work on a terse note, hugging and kissing dd goodbye and telling her I love her and I'll miss her like usual, but just telling DH goodbye (not I love you like usual).

So, first, what can I do to help dd sleep better. She doesn't have a fever (I didn't take her temp, but she isn't warm) and doesn't appear sick in any way (no stuffy nose, etc.) and her diaper wasn't dirty or anything. Second, what can I do about this incident with DH. I'm still very upset about what he said about dd, especially right in front of her. It is like he doesn't understand that she's just a baby and that all babies have bad days and nights. He takes it so personally. But if I tell him that is how I feel, he gets even more upset.

I know he is great with her during the day and would never be mean to her and was probably just venting, but I don't want him to talk like that about her, ever.
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#25 of 27 Old 02-28-2003, 03:01 PM
 
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Hannah's Mom, I'm sorry that you had such a rough night. I'm not sure I have much advice, but I can totally sympathize. My dd is not a good night sleeper, and often wakes up every hour or two at night. It's definitely worse when she is sick, like just two weeks ago when she had the chicken pox and was literally up all night long for two nights in a row, and didn't go to sleep until 3:00 or 4:00 a few other nights. It's very hard when you need to get up and work the next morning. Like you, I typically take care of dd at night. My dh figures he is the one home with her all day so he should get a break and that she probably wants to nurse anyway. (Funny how I never get any breaks...) Usually dd comes to bed with me around 9:30. If she is still not sleeping by about 2 or 3, I will ask dh to take her. At first he was very upset about that. I pointed out that literally 99% of the time she wakes up at night I take care of her, and that I didn't think it was fair that he should be able to get 8-9 hours of sleep a night while I only was getting 2-3 hours and had to go to work for 11 hours the next day. He finally seems to get it, and now he is more willing to take dd when she has been up for hours and it is clear that nursing is not helping. He still doesn't like being woken up in the middle of the night to take care of dd, but now sometimes if he is up and it is 11:00 or 12:00 and he can hear that dd still hasn't gone to sleep, he will take her so that I can get some rest for at least a couple hours before he brings her back to bed. I still get much less sleep and almost no "me" time compared to my dh, but it's an improvement. Maybe you can try to get your dh to see that you both need to get *some* rest, and that maybe over the next few nights while your dd is up teething you can try to take turns or shifts caring for her at night.
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#26 of 27 Old 02-28-2003, 03:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ocean
(Funny how I never get any breaks...) ... I still get much less sleep and almost no "me" time compared to my dh,
I can SO relate to both of you! Several times in the last few months, DS has done the same thing, Hannah's Mom. Crying for no apparent reason. Like Ocean, it has generally been the two or three nights before something hit - in our case, it was some sort of virus, then a tummy upset (that culminated into a two-diaper explosion at 3:00 a.m. after which he slept like a rock), then croup . I couldn't get it either, there was usually no fever or symptoms until a day or so later. The teeth could definitely be it.

Yes....somehow, my DH seems to think that my work time IS the "me" time! Except for about five minutes here a day at most, that's about the extent of it....

I don't have much advice either. It sounds like a rough couple of days for you. Funny, our biggest riffs usually follow a really romantic or nice time together, come to think of it. :
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#27 of 27 Old 02-28-2003, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ocean & owen&mama - it is so nice to know that DH and I are not the only ones going through these issues! I think DH also thinks my work time is my "Me" time also. Ocean - I don't know why our DHs can't realize that we need sleep, too, in order to function at work. Thanks so much for commiserating with me.
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