how can I get WOHP to parent when home? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-11-2011, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am a SAHM and student working (or trying to) on a PhD. My DH works 42-45 hours a week 4 days a week. Usually he has 2 days in a row and another single day off each week.

 

When he is at work I take care of almost the entire household (with the exception of taking out trash, some dishes, and some times cleaning the cat boxes). This is fine with me.

 

The problem is that I have asked for a bit of a break when he is home -- carry the baby a bit, maybe let me do some school work, play with babe, let me sleep in, get more comfortable bathing her, learn how to put her to sleep, etc., and generally I have no reprieve.

 

Yeah, he lets me sleep in a bit, but I only ask when she is up 7+ times a night (4-5 is normal and I can deal with it, but 7 or more, I just am a wreck). He also does some things around the house and will play with her, read to her, carry her, etc. but it is generally my job. I eat with her on my lap (or back, or hip). I cook with her on my hip or back. I do dishes with her on my back. Even when he is home, I barely ever can even go to the bathroom without her. But he just can't seem to parent and do other daily life things. And even when I remind him in the morning that I need him to try to take the lead in parenting that day, by lunch I am the one parenting (and cleaning, and cooking, and taking care of the cats, etc. etc. etc).

 

Part of the problem is that he gets horrible debilitating migraines and will often get them on down time, so some of the days I would like some help he is in bed with a migraine or a bad headache. Another part of the problem is that I am better at taking care of her (because I do it all the time), so he doesn't even want to try, or tries for a few minutes then gives up if she is crying or otherwise difficult (she is rarely any where near "difficult"). I am ok with him doing things his way. I am ok with her crying or being unhappy when he is learning how to do things and finding his daddy way of doing things. I don't swoop in and take over. And she is very happy being with him, as long as he doesn't bring her, say, to watch me while I am in the bathroom and can't get to me.

 

I thank him almost daily for working outside of the home and allowing me to be home with her. He thanks me almost daily for being home with her. We love each other very much and appreciate each other's different contributions that allow us to have this family.

 

I just don't know how to make him understand that I *really need some help*. I have framed it in so many ways, and I just don't get the help that I need. He is talking about wanting to have child #2, and although I flirt with the idea sometimes, I look at the help I have compared to the kind of parenting that I want to do and I just can't fathom it -- TTC is NOT on the table right now because of the lack of help.

 

I am up writing this right now because I couldn't get her to sleep in any of the ways I normally do tonight (I hurt my shoulder so I have tiger balm on my back, so I can't wear her on my back to get her to sleep, and it was too strong for her to nurse to sleep) and for the third time since she was a month old I asked him to try to get her to sleep. He, like the other two times, made a half hearted effort, then told me he has to get up in the AM and couldn't do it. I finally got her to sleep in a front carry and am writing this...

 

I am sorry this is so long. I am frustrated and don't know how to get what I need from my DH.

 

Do any other SAHPs have this problem? How did you solve it?

 

Thanks!

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Old 01-11-2011, 10:08 PM
 
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How old is she? 

My dh isn't very good at babies until they are at least 6 months old.  Oh, he'll do something here or there, but not for long, and he doesn't jump up and volunteer, you know?  My first son was 9 months old when I left him with dh for the day (like 5 hours).  It was a BIG deal.  We're now on baby #3, and I've left him with dh for shorter periods (up to 2 hours), but anything longer, and dh asks that I take him.  He's 7 months old.

 

But you know what?  He's an amazing dad to toddlers and preschoolers.  Patient and playful.  He takes them to walk, lets them help with projects, all sorts of fun stuff.  Babies just scare him. 

 

Now, should he help?  Absolutely.  And he does.  I just have to be very specific about it.  "Take the baby.  Let me sleep for 2 hours.  If he fusses, do x or y or z.  Don't wake me.  I'm dying here."  And dh steps up.  He's just not going to think of it on his own.  I don't see it as a character flaw (well, most days), just a preference.  But, that's because I know that dh is going to be a great father to them as they get bigger.  And that is okay with me. 

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Old 01-12-2011, 05:57 PM
 
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I agree with being specific.  He probably doesn't know what to do, when to do it, because you are doing it all.  I really like how PP phrased it, don't give a guilt trip, give specific instructions, top it off with "i'm dying" and chances are he'll step up. 

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Old 01-14-2011, 08:12 AM
 
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I found making myself unavailable was the most effective way to get DH to step up. It's almost impossible for DH to be the primary parent if I'm right there in the room (though now that DS is nearing 2 it's finally workable sometimes). DS always wanted me, DH never took my (often unspoken/implied) cues, and I ended up doing everything & feeling frustrated. It worked best if I was totally out of earshot & completely unavailable.

 

When DS was small & still *needed* frequent nursing, I would lock myself in a room upstairs or even in the car. DH could come get me when he needed to nurse but otherwise it was "do not disturb." Now that DS can eat and go longer stretches without nursing, I can just leave the house & go run errands or hang out at the library or take an exercise class. But there are still times that I just need to rest and so I just do it -- I go in the bedroom, close the door, and make sure DH understands that I need time to myself. Sometimes I will send them outside to play together or even send them on an errand or to play at the park/library/whatever is open, though DH is a homebody when he's not at work.

 

I kept waiting for DH to offer, to say something like, Hey I'll take the baby, go do what you want (need) to do! But I finally realized that was never going to happen. The only way I get the time I need is to just take it. I've also been known to say, "Oh, you need a snack [new diaper/book read/etc.]? Go see Daddy!" Just throw the ball in his court. It will take him some time to adapt (especially if your DD is young & he's still new to all this 'parenting') but he will get better at it & find his own way. Also, expect that your DD WILL be more difficult with DH than she is with you -- that is how DS was, and it was hard for me to understand that DH wasn't just exaggerating or being lazy. DS just preferred me & it was kind of 'unfamiliar' to be with just DH... but now he loves being with him and they have lots of fun together & he only occasionally needs me to intervene when it gets too tough.

 

But I can't help you with regards to nighttime parenting... I have been waking up with DS 10+ times a night since he was born. The most I can get out of DH is perhaps he'll do a diaper change if I nudge him awake enough. Otherwise, it's all me, and I've come to be OK with that, as long as I get lots of help with childcare & housework during the day since I'm usually too tired to do it all on my own!!


Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:46 PM
 
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How old is your DD?  Is she your first?  DP was kind of hesitant when DD was younger.  He did not do a lot of the "heavy lifting" until she was about a year old.  Then I told him, I'm gonna go insane.  And he started doing baths and bedtimes.  It made a world of difference.  But he had also gotten his confidence by then.

 

Even now, I tell her all the time, "Go see daddy!  Go ask daddy!"  Hahaha.


DD1 6/2009 DD2 5/1/2013-5/5/2013 (HIE) DS 3/2014
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:02 PM
 
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Lol!

 

Clock out as soon as he walks in the door.  Don't let him even get his jacket off.  Sit your tush down on the sofa and start complaining of being hungry--better if the breakfast and lunch dishes are in the sink.  Don't do a dang thing for the rest of the night that involves either children or house. Expect at least the public areas are presentable before he goes to bed.  Extra points if the kids managed to trash them.  Expect a healthy meal and the kitchen cleaned immediately.  Expect the kids bathed, jammied, brush teeth, and story/prayers and in bed by 8:00.  Don't help at all.  Ignore any grumbling or grousing.  If you must, act sympathetic and say "honey, just leave that"--meaning "you will just have to do it tomorrow".  Turn your show up louder to drown out the sounds.

 

What?  Works for my DH.  I get home, he (the SAHP) thrusts the kids on me (the WOHP) and checks out.

 

Seriously, though, it must be a mommy thing.  If mommy is around (and not on the warpath or passing out chore lists), other caregivers are chopped liver.

 

So, how do I get DH to parent while I'm home?

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Old 01-19-2011, 06:19 PM
 
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How old is the baby?

DH couldn't get our kids to sleep before they were around a year.. he tried but they needed mommy to go to sleep. Now for the other things Id say give him the baby and go somewhere to do your school work. Library, coffee shop, park, friends house.. If you aren't there he has to step up and take care of her.. Its what helped with our first to get him to parent more. Or I had him take her out somewhere specific.. "oh honey I need to make bread/cook dinner/study etc could you run to the store with DD and pick up a few things" hand list and off they go. I do it with the two of them as well but I probably won't when the third comes. Two alone drives him nuts, I think a third would send him into his breaking point.

 

As for the migranes I totally feel for him there. I get them to. Sucks when DH is also not feeling well because I CAN"T do anything. Its not that I don't want to, am being a pain, trying to get him to do it all etc but I can't function. He ends up doing 100 percent of the parents/cleaning/cooking if Im laid up with one.


~Heather~ Mama to Miss E (1/07), Miss A (11/08), Mr.T (2/11) and Miss A (10/12) Expecting our newest blessing sometime late Sept/early Oct.. Wife to my Marine since 11/2005
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kassica View Post

The problem is that I have asked for a bit of a break when he is home -- carry the baby a bit, maybe let me do some school work, play with babe, let me sleep in, get more comfortable bathing her, learn how to put her to sleep, etc., and generally I have no reprieve.

 

Yeah, he lets me sleep in a bit, but I only ask when she is up 7+ times a night (4-5 is normal and I can deal with it, but 7 or more, I just am a wreck). He also does some things around the house and will play with her, read to her, carry her, etc. but it is generally my job. I eat with her on my lap (or back, or hip). I cook with her on my hip or back. I do dishes with her on my back. Even when he is home, I barely ever can even go to the bathroom without her. But he just can't seem to parent and do other daily life things. And even when I remind him in the morning that I need him to try to take the lead in parenting that day, by lunch I am the one parenting (and cleaning, and cooking, and taking care of the cats, etc. etc. etc).

 

I don't know what kind of man your DH is, but I am a SAHD so I know where you're coming from... and I'm also a man, so if he's anything like me I have a little glimpse into his psyche.  And honestly, reading your post, I think that he just doesn't know how to help.  He doesn't know where to begin, what's best, when to take control, and so on.

 

Like, if my wife told me in the morning to "take the lead in parenting today" I just wouldn't know how to put that into practice.  6 hours later I'd be parenting and I'd either have forgotten she said something to me in the morning, or I'd be thinking, "does she want to spend time with the little ones even though she wants me to take the lead?  Or should I get them out of the house?  Or should I just play with them and have a good time while she naps?"

 

I would suggest, even though I know this is a little more work for you, just asking him very specifically for certain kinds of help.  This generally works well with male brains, though there are always exceptions to gender norms.  But I would say something like, "Hey, DH., I need some help today.  Could you be on kid duty from 6 AM to 9 AM no matter what so I can sleep uninterrupted?  And could you toss them in a baby carrier and do a couple loads of laundry for me today too?  And then, could you take the little ones to the library in the afternoon some time?"  I know it's probably not pleasant to come up with ideas for him, instead of him doing it... but I think you would like the results a lot more.


I'm Scott, acd.gif  fuzmalesling.gif  treehugger.gif  part-time classical musician and stay-at-home dad, with two beautiful girls, born March 2008 and May 2010.
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 2lilsweetfoxes View Post

 

Clock out as soon as he walks in the door.  Don't let him even get his jacket off.  Sit your tush down on the sofa and start complaining of being hungry--better if the breakfast and lunch dishes are in the sink.  Don't do a dang thing for the rest of the night that involves either children or house. Expect at least the public areas are presentable before he goes to bed.  Extra points if the kids managed to trash them.  Expect a healthy meal and the kitchen cleaned immediately.  Expect the kids bathed, jammied, brush teeth, and story/prayers and in bed by 8:00.  Don't help at all.  Ignore any grumbling or grousing.  If you must, act sympathetic and say "honey, just leave that"--meaning "you will just have to do it tomorrow".  Turn your show up louder to drown out the sounds.

 

What?  Works for my DH.  I get home, he (the SAHP) thrusts the kids on me (the WOHP) and checks out.

 

You laugh but, I actually do this, exactly. ROTFLMAO.gifWhen DH gets home, he's in charge of DS, and the housework, and cooking dinner. Granted, sometimes I take over dinner, and DS & I don't make a mess when DH is out so he only has to clean up the messes/dishes from the evening. But I literally just check out, go sit somewhere with a book or my laptop, or leave the house to run errands, or go work on something in another room. Sometimes I feel guilty about it, but I do 100% of the nighttime parenting (waking 10+ times a night), plus all the daytime parenting while DH is gone, plus I have to work 20+ hours a week (from home) to maintain our health insurance, so it's not like I'm not pulling my weight. So see if you can just let yourself be OK with 'checking out' and leaving DH to fend for himself with the baby. I'd start gradually (with DH it started as just having 10 minutes to myself to read, but now he's 'in charge' for 5+ hours some evenings, except for me nursing & occasionally taking over for a few minutes here & there).
 


Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:22 AM
 
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I don't do the "check out" thing very regularly.  Sometimes, if I need a break, yes.  Everyday?  Absolutely not.

 

But, for my family, the priority is family time.  If we have a week with lots of one person time (I run errands by myself, I go to a class, he goes to a meeting, even one of us tackling a big project alone, etc), where the majority of the time it's one parent with the kids, we start jonesing for family time.  And, by that, I mean just downtime for all 5 of us to play and enjoy each other.

 

So, I try to get a lot of the boring houseworky type stuff done during the day, so that our family time is for relaxing.  I would rather do housework during the day, then play as all 5 of us than the other end of the spectrum--playing with the kids all day, then having to get housework/chores type stuff done at night and weekends.  That just doesn't work for our family. 

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