Do I have a right to feel this way? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 02-21-2010, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DH is a sahd and I woh, so I need some perspective from the sah side. Dh is great w DD and I have no complaints about his parenting, but when I'm off work, he's mostly off duty, which seems fair in a lot of ways and of course i want to spend time with DD, but it seems I never get to do anything for myself. I just asked " permission" to go out shopping alone this afternoon after he finishes one of his very rare work shifts (it's like once every few months he has wah projects), and he was like "well, I was going to walk the dog."

He gets time to himself. Usually he gets the whole weekend and dd goes to preschool 2 mornings per week and he has band practice 2 nights per week. I rush home immediately every day after work. I have a hard time making time for myself because I feel guilty, but I should get a little time, right? I belong to no groups or clubs and don't even work out though I'd love to.

How do other sahps negotiate free time for woh spouses? Do you resent it if he/she wants free time?

Amy (34): mommy to DD1 (11/07) and DD2 (7/10), wife, wohm, and wannabe suburban homesteader.
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#2 of 23 Old 02-21-2010, 03:09 PM
 
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No, it's not fair. This does seem to be how it works among most (not all) of the SAH parents I know, though. If the mom is a SAHM, she is "on duty" all day and all night, except an occasional mom's night out once a month or so. If the dad is a SAHD, he is only "on duty" until the mom is home, and then his time is free and it's her turn. And you're right that it isn't fair.
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#3 of 23 Old 02-21-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
No, it's not fair. This does seem to be how it works among most (not all) of the SAH parents I know, though. If the mom is a SAHM, she is "on duty" all day and all night, except an occasional mom's night out once a month or so. If the dad is a SAHD, he is only "on duty" until the mom is home, and then his time is free and it's her turn. And you're right that it isn't fair.
I know 3 SAHDs to WOHMs and 2 of the 3 are like mamazee is talking about. The third is (or was--I don't know as we're somewhat estranged for the last year or so) a complete slave to his wife and her ridiculous overachieving overwhelming life. Seriously. CRAY. ZEEE.

I also happen to be one of the SAHMs that is really guilty of what your husband is doing. But I've become aware of it in the last few weeks and am really trying to find ways to give dh "time off" because much like you describe, he works (and he's a full-time WAHD), he does pretty much ALL the cooking (including lunch because he's here) and when he's done with work he goes straight into helping (or just dealing with on his own) the kids. After dinner, he gives them a bath to give me some of my own time. I belong to one mother's group, I go to a class for my Master's once/month (last semester it was once/week plus another once/month) and up until last summer I belonged to a community group that met once/month.

It wasn't fair. I was bitter and not considering his feelings. I was being resentful about things that were my own responsibility in my own life.

It is still not balanced, but we're working on it. Part of the problem is his lack of interest in any hobbies (or his belief that it will take more time than he has) plus the fact that we have some obligations that none of us can escape at the moment eating up EVERYone's spare time.

But you're definitely NOT in the wrong. He's not seeing that your work is work--not "a break from the kids". I think it's really hard for the SAHP to "get" that sometimes. I worked in the same field as my husband and even I occasionally felt like he just had it easier... and "it wasn't fair".

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#4 of 23 Old 02-21-2010, 08:37 PM
 
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Not fair. I'm a SAHM and I really value when my DH is home so he can spend time with our kids but I'm not "off-duty"- I'm doing work that is difficult to do with small children- messy projects, organizational overhauls, etc. I'm much more efficient without my kids helping me. We both carve out time for ourselves as well.

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#5 of 23 Old 02-21-2010, 08:46 PM
 
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I'm a wohm, and my DH is a sahd. And what we've learned is that we both absolutely need time for ourselves. I have a really hard time asking for it since I'm gone all day, but it really makes a difference for the whole family when we are all getting our needs met.

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#6 of 23 Old 02-21-2010, 09:14 PM
 
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Why can't DH take DD with him while he walks the dog?
Why can't you do something for yourself on the way home from work?
Why can't he watch DD so you can do some shopping for a couple of hours on the weekends?

He gets his time alone, you should too.

I am a sahm and do daycare in my home, my bf/partner works outside the home. He knows that when he gets home, we share the job of taking care of the kids. And sometimes that means me leaving them with him and doing some grocery shopping or whatever. On the weekends, when both of us are off work, I still leave him with the kids at times. He is their parent, too. And sometimes that means hanging around the kids even though we would rather be doing something else. Or sometimes it means hanging around them AND doing something else. That's life. No need to feel guilty about it at all.

peace...

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#7 of 23 Old 02-21-2010, 09:25 PM
 
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I'm a SAHM, DH works out of the house. When he is home, it is 50/50.

Your DH gets the whole weekend to himself?? That's only ok if you're ok with it.

I have 3 kids! : Lookit them go!!!
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#8 of 23 Old 02-21-2010, 09:36 PM
 
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It seems as though your hubbie has some alone time. If you would like more alone time....prehaps you could do something on your lunch hour or right after work?

As for your hubbie getting the whole weekend off....is that an agreement you both have?

I am a SAHM and I am on duty 24/7. My husband does his hobbies, he goes to hockey games and gets rest. I do all the child care and all the housework and all the cooking......I really really feel like a slave. So....for your husband to get evenings off, and two evenings out of the house and two mornings free, and the weekends....wow....that is alot of time!

The last time I went out without children....I had to have a procedure done (endoscope) and couldn't bring them with me. I had twilight sedation. Got picked up at noon and I had the kids.....sleepy or not.
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#9 of 23 Old 02-22-2010, 12:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AmyKT View Post
I just asked " permission" to go out shopping alone this afternoon after he finishes one of his very rare work shifts (it's like once every few months he has wah projects), and he was like "well, I was going to walk the dog."
It does not matter who is the SAHP or WOHP. If you see time off as a priviliege and he sees it as a right, there is a communication problem.

My DH and I are on a calendar system now. If you don't mark it on the calendar, don't assume you're getting childcare so you can go out
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#10 of 23 Old 02-22-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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[QUOTE=Monkeygrrl;15098145]
He gets his time alone, you should too.



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#11 of 23 Old 02-22-2010, 12:06 PM
 
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yes, you have a right to feel that way. the situation isn't fair. i'm also a wohm (dh is a sahd), and when my boys were babies, it was like this. i understand not wanting to miss out on time with dd, too, but that doesn't mean dh is just "off the clock" once you get home. during the day, you are at work and he is working too. once you get home - you two should share the responsibilities. and you should both get time to yourselves.

here are a few things that have worked for me in the past. when i was pregnant with ds2, i took a prenatal yoga class one night per week and dh put ds1 to bed. i was out of the house for 2.5-3 hours because it was a 2-hour class. dh knew it was important to me and he never complained about it, even though he never would have put ds to bed if i had been home. lunch hours - i came home every day until last spring when ds2 turned 2yo. i do love having lunch hours to myself again - usually use them for errands or eat at my desk, but once or twice a week, i do something fun. sunday afternoon or evening is usually a good time for me to escape, since i've just had 48 hour with my boys. i think the best way to get that time is to make it part of your weekly routine, so it's not in question every time. figure out what it is that you want to do (whether it's something structured, like a class, or just going to drink coffee and knit on your own) and tell dh what day and time you're going to be doing that, and that you need him to be responsible for dd at that time.

as for exercise, on the way home from work probably isn't the best time - you're probably all anxious for you to get home. but what about in the mornings before work? could you work out then?
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#12 of 23 Old 02-22-2010, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for the feedback. You brought me some insights.

I know that DH is exhausted by the end of the day, and compared to his job, mine is a piece of cake. Look, I'm taking a little break to post to MDC, and it's only 10 am! I think I feel guilty for how much harder his day is and so I don't even consider doing anything on the way home. And, of course, I feel guilty for not being with DD all day.

But still, I know I should schedule some things for myself on the weekend. Maybe I should take that Saturday morning prenatal yoga class. Or go swimming. DH does not always seem resentful (maybe not even usually) when I want to do stuff on the weekend, but I do feel like I should be putting in my parent time. I feel so torn, and yet I know I mostly bring it on myself.

Someone asked if we agreed on the he-gets-weekends-off thing. No, we didn't -- not in so many words -- but I suppose it has become an expectation. Usually DD and I run off to meet my mom or a friend for an outing that keeps us gone for most of the day. It's fun and what I always dreamed of when I dreamed of having a daughter, but I do sometimes get tired, like happened yesterday.

I calculated our primary parenting time for the week (waking hours only), and he has 39 to my 34. That's pretty even, though I don't get breaks like he does. Work, home, work, home. That's it for me. I think I'm mostly upset with myself for not having any sort of outside life. And with a new baby coming, I can see my world getting even smaller. And DD is still so clingy and demanding that it's hard to even do things at home like garden (which used to be one of my passions) when she is around. I know that will resolve over time, so usually, I tell myself to be patient. I will get my broader life back.

Fwiw, DH did eventually offer to take DD with him to walk the dog, but instead, we worked out a time share. He took a shorter than usual walk and I still got in my shopping time before dinner.

I usually go for a walk at lunch, so at least I am getting a bit of exercise.

I think it's only fair to point out that DH does always cook dinner, so he's not completely off duty when I get home. Just off kid duty.

I have gotten the sense that most SAHMs are on duty all the time and that most working dads have no mental anguish about taking "me time," but I'm not a man. I'm a mom who suffers from that common female malady -- guilt. Sigh. Why is it so hard? Thanks for letting me know that I'm not just being selfish and unreasonable.

Amy (34): mommy to DD1 (11/07) and DD2 (7/10), wife, wohm, and wannabe suburban homesteader.
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#13 of 23 Old 02-22-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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And DD is still so clingy and demanding that it's hard to even do things at home like garden (which used to be one of my passions) when she is around.
Why can't you garden with her? Share your passion with her? Let her play in the dirt next to you. I think somewhere you said she was 2? Maybe your signature says that? Anyway, why not get her some of her own tools to play with and she can "help" you? While you may not get much done, you can talk to her about the plants and what you are doing and be able to share that with her as well. She may even learn to love it as you do and that would be one more thing you two share together.

peace...

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#14 of 23 Old 02-22-2010, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why can't you garden with her? Share your passion with her? Let her play in the dirt next to you. I think somewhere you said she was 2? Maybe your signature says that? Anyway, why not get her some of her own tools to play with and she can "help" you? While you may not get much done, you can talk to her about the plants and what you are doing and be able to share that with her as well. She may even learn to love it as you do and that would be one more thing you two share together.

peace...
Oh, I do that. I mean, I try, and she's totally into it for a while. But I can only get a little bit done before she is wanting to go inside or have me come sit by her in the sandbox, or etc, etc. It's been several months since we have played in the dirt, so it could be different this summer.

No, trust me, sharing my passions with her is tops on my list, and I try to involve her in everything I do (DH thinks I'm crazy for letting her bake with me. I see that flour and sugar can easily swept up.) But she's just too little to be patient enough for some things. It will pass.

Amy (34): mommy to DD1 (11/07) and DD2 (7/10), wife, wohm, and wannabe suburban homesteader.
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#15 of 23 Old 02-22-2010, 05:15 PM
 
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Well I've seen so many SAHM threads where the mom feels that the parent who WOH gets all the free time and they have to do all the work. Or that it's expected that the WOHP come home and do half the childcare/housework in addition to the hours that they put in at work. Some people even go so far as to say the commute to and from work counts as alone personal time.

at anyrate both the SAH and WOH parent really deserve some time off. I think you guys just need to sit down and discuss you going out and having "me" time. Going shopping for the family doesn't count either.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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#16 of 23 Old 02-22-2010, 06:34 PM
 
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If you need "me time" you must, must, must schedule it into your life. Put it on your calendar. Just a few hours a week can be magical. I think in general, men are more receptive to assertive behavior. I don't know how much they notice if their spouses seem overwhelmed. I hope that isnt a UAV, I don't mean it in a sexist way. In other words you need to tell him, "Honey, I want an hour to myself everyday after work, does that seem fair?" Don't just expect him to notice that you need a break.

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#17 of 23 Old 02-22-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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I calculated our primary parenting time for the week (waking hours only), and he has 39 to my 34. That's pretty even, though I don't get breaks like he does. Work, home, work, home. That's it for me. I think I'm mostly upset with myself for not having any sort of outside life.
But on top of your 34 hours, you also have 40 working hours?

I work at home and dh is in the process of looking for work (for months now), and we had a lot of problems figuring out what was "fair". I can totally understand feeling like you should have an outside life but then your outside life is still with your dd. I felt MUCH better when I had joined a book club. Then it was expected that was 100% ME time. We've moved since, and I haven't found anything else to join or do, and there's some inertia as far as finding and participating in something new...but I can only blame myself for that.
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#18 of 23 Old 02-22-2010, 07:37 PM
 
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But on top of your 34 hours, you also have 40 working hours?
Exactly! If you want to be fair, that 34 would be pretty much split in half.
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#19 of 23 Old 02-22-2010, 07:42 PM
 
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I'm not usually completely "off duty" once dh comes home, but I do need maybe 20 minutes after he comes home to keep myself reasonably sane... and the occasion to get out of the house (usually like once a month, lately) keeps me sane, too. There's something about only having small children to interact with all day that can really grate on a person.

That said, you're completely entitled to your feelings, and I'm not saying that it's fair or anything. Definitely not fair. I mean, generally when we're both home, it's pretty 50/50 (although lately b/c i'm so pregnant, it's been less...), but I do understand the "omg get me out of here" side that your husband may be on.

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#20 of 23 Old 02-23-2010, 01:30 PM
 
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I feel like you need to talk to him about this, but express yourself in a way that doesn't accuse him of being lazy or doing nothing.
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#21 of 23 Old 02-23-2010, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But on top of your 34 hours, you also have 40 working hours?
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Exactly! If you want to be fair, that 34 would be pretty much split in half.

That's a very good point!

Thanks to this thread, I got inspired to take a water aerobics class on Saturday mornings. I did it during my first pregnancy, and it was great. I'm going with a couple of friends, so maybe we'll hang out at a coffee shop or somewhere else afterwards. Hmm... I can see this turning into an all morning thing The nice thing is, it will be early enough that DH can still do stuff in the afternoon and DD and I can, too. Win-win. Saturday mornings usually consist of a lot of lying about and too much cartoon watching, anyway, so I won't be missing much.

Thanks again for the support. We all deserve a bit of a break every so often.

Amy (34): mommy to DD1 (11/07) and DD2 (7/10), wife, wohm, and wannabe suburban homesteader.
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#22 of 23 Old 02-24-2010, 09:43 PM
 
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To chime in-- when my husband is working out of home, I'm working in-home with the baby and the housework. When he gets off work, we split the time spent watching the baby, pretty much down the middle. I take night-time parenting but since she sleeps great that isn't a problem.

It seems fair to both of us.

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#23 of 23 Old 02-25-2010, 01:26 PM
 
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If you need "me time" you must, must, must schedule it into your life. Put it on your calendar. Just a few hours a week can be magical. I think in general, men are more receptive to assertive behavior. I don't know how much they notice if their spouses seem overwhelmed. I hope that isnt a UAV, I don't mean it in a sexist way. In other words you need to tell him, "Honey, I want an hour to myself everyday after work, does that seem fair?" Don't just expect him to notice that you need a break.
Yes, yes, yes.

Quote:
I have gotten the sense that most SAHMs are on duty all the time and that most working dads have no mental anguish about taking "me time," but I'm not a man. I'm a mom who suffers from that common female malady -- guilt. Sigh. Why is it so hard? Thanks for letting me know that I'm not just being selfish and unreasonable.
This is a good observation.

Part of the problem is that we moms think the dads should be seeing it our way. And I do think they should. I think there needs to be a meeting half way. Moms tend to totally loose themselves to intense parenting. We're very willing to make that sacrifice.

I'm 42 and my youngest is 10 y.o. My perspective from this side of parenting
is that I wish I'd known that there is a high price to be paid for a woman who dives head long into parental sacrifice, and if I didn't want to become completely resentful and bitter I needed to give myself permission to take a break.

My experience: I didn't need to ask my dh for a break. I needed to value taking time for myself. Yes, the guys need to man up a lot of the time and be there more. Not expect that they're going to be able to hang with the guys and jam as much as before. Maybe even NOT AT ALL for a while. But both parents need to make changes.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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