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#1 of 43 Old 09-27-2011, 06:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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!!


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#2 of 43 Old 09-27-2011, 08:02 AM
 
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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.

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#3 of 43 Old 09-27-2011, 08:06 AM
 
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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.
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#4 of 43 Old 09-27-2011, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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


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#5 of 43 Old 09-27-2011, 08:43 AM
 
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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??


betsy:  wife to tony, mama to haven (7/6/10), arlo (m/c 1/21/12), and expecting valencia in late december.

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#6 of 43 Old 09-27-2011, 09:10 AM
 
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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 :(


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#7 of 43 Old 09-27-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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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.

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#8 of 43 Old 09-27-2011, 09:30 AM
 
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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.

 


SAHM to one moody son J hat.gif(06-27-03), one super-girly daughter M hearts.gif (02-23-06) and welcome Sophie! energy.gif(05-23-10) expecting fourth in July baby.gif

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#9 of 43 Old 09-27-2011, 09:42 AM
 
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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!!


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#10 of 43 Old 09-27-2011, 09:48 AM
 
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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.

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#11 of 43 Old 09-27-2011, 10:32 AM
 
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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!

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#12 of 43 Old 09-28-2011, 05:48 AM
 
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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. 

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#13 of 43 Old 09-28-2011, 06:31 AM
 
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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. 

 

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#14 of 43 Old 09-28-2011, 07:28 AM
 
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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.


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#15 of 43 Old 09-28-2011, 07:32 AM
 
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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.


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#16 of 43 Old 09-28-2011, 08:08 AM
 
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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. 

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#17 of 43 Old 09-28-2011, 08:14 AM
 
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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. 

 

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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.



 

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#18 of 43 Old 09-28-2011, 08:24 AM
 
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Difficulty editing without erasing prior remarks.
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#19 of 43 Old 09-28-2011, 08:28 AM
 
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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.


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#20 of 43 Old 09-28-2011, 09:53 AM
 
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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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#21 of 43 Old 09-28-2011, 10:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Chamsia View Post

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!




I could have written this post!  I mentioned in another thread a couple of days ago how much more I do now that I am a SAHM (just left my job - yay!) and how unequal the balance has become - my only real complaint about SAHM-ing.  (But to be fair the balance was unequal before, and when I was working it was just overwhelming - now it is much less so.)  I love how Chamsia highlights that disconnect - how men (sorry to generalize, fellas) seem to succumb to being tired, while women just DO it, because it needs to get done.  Like Chamsia, I struggle with the fact that I'm either venting/complaining and stirring the pot to get DH to see how much he relaxes in comparison to what I do, or I'm just sucking it up in the name of harmony.

 

DH has a very physical job and is also exhausted when he arrives home.  When he gets in the door the house is as clean as I can make it (and I'm a pretty anal housekeeper), dinner is ready or in the works, and all the dinner prep has been cleaned up.  The kids are always milling about me as I get all this done.  Someone is often doing homework in the kitchen.  DH kisses everyone hello, scans through the mail and then disappears upstairs to generate some invoices and record hours from his workday (he is self-employed).  Then he showers (his job is physical & he's always dirty), then comes down stairs.  At this point I am usually juggling the homework assistance/support for one and the whinyness/end of the day neediness for my toddler.  DH eats his dinner and then attempts to disappear to do something for himself (it may be work-related, maybe not).  I usually have to tell him firmly "I cannot be in 2 places at once.  Would you like to help DD1 with her homework, or would you like to give DD2 a tub?"  It is frustrating that without such a request/reminder, he would drift away to do his own thing, but there it is.

 

I do not have any answers for this difficult time of day and for this difficult dynamic.  I agree it is hard and that these years seem to sometimes sap us utterly of our reserves, whether working or at home. Remember how the post-work time used to be spent relaxing, or having fun, and re-connecting with our partner?

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#22 of 43 Old 09-28-2011, 10:39 AM
 
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My dh and oldest dd work and carpool together.  When they come home, dd starts dishes, and dh comes and gives everyone hugs and kisses and then he and I go play a couple of games of pool and drink a beer and talk.  Then I go finish up supper (or give further instructions if one of the other kids are helping) while he jumps on the trampoline, takes a walk in the woods, goes to the road w/the kids on their bikes, or just works on a project (right now it's electric fencing) while they play nearby or help.  After supper the kids usually hang out together while he and I spend some time alone and then we all hang out together for a bit (usually outside) before the kids and Dad go to bed and I stay up and do some laundry, make his lunch for the next day, etc...Then I get my me time.  I usually read or watch something funny on tv.  Dh does his own laundry, I do most of the cooking, kids do the dishes and the oldest does the dusting and all the floors on Sunday for part of her rent.

 

IT WASN'T ALWAYS LIKE THIS!

 

When we had just 2 or 3 kids, dh was working 2 jobs to make ends meet and keep me home with the children.  He would come home and play with the kids a bit while I finished up supper and then really the rest was on me.  I didn't have a problem with it, though because we've always figured if I was not feeling well, or the kids were sick, or super grumpy I can take it a bit more easy than he.  I CAN lie down for a bit (I would do that w/the littles playing on the floor and baby gates up in case I dozed off, but would sleep very lightly if I did) if I needed to, and the house could just be messy.  Over the years we've all grown and the kids take care of alot more stuff for themselves (like their laundry).  We've grown into this groove together.

 

Messy house and mac and cheese never really hurt anyone, but those years do fly by in the grand scheme of things and now we can have 7 course meals if I really wanted to spend the time on that (I LOVE cooking).

 

It does get better, but communication is key.  Always if I ever needed my dh to help w/something specific, he would, no questions and he'd never make me feel like I wasn't doing my share.  He says he couldn't do my job. But I couldn't do his either.   Men really do need specific instructions sometimes.  They don't have that multi-tasking mama mind and sometimes come across as dense because of it.  TELL your dh's what you need/wish to accomplish/wish for their help with and see where it goes.  Maybe they really just don't realize it.  If it does take you leaving the house to accomplish this, then go for it.  That wouldn't have worked here.


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#23 of 43 Old 09-28-2011, 11:03 AM
 
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When DH is around he is usually willing to do his fair share (at least!)  but sometimes he just isn't around to help, so I do it all myself.  Oddly, I find myself more resentful if I'm doing it alone and I think he is around and should pitch it, that feeling isn't a problem at all when he's just not around.  I recognize I'm on my own and I don't get upset about it.  It's somewhat irrational, but I'm working on recognizing it.

 

The other part of the dynamic in our family is the older child- having that extra set of hands around just to be able to grab a 10 minute shower or to ask the child to help by unloading the clean dishes from the dishwasher is HUGE. I never ask her to be 'in charge' or do more than is age appropriate, but it is an integral part of the way our family works, and it also shows me that a few years from now things will be very different from the sleep deprived marathon they are right now.  It gives me a little more perspective.

 

 

Things that help for us:

 

- I need to get out alone sometimes.  Without a task to do.  I try to do this at least once a week when DH is around. 

- I need the house to be clean. DH is a faster and more thorough cleaner than I am sometimes.  I take the kids to the park and come home to a spotless house and scrubbed floors.

- A nap!  If I am doing the nighttime parenting, the kids nap time during the day is not always for working.  If I'm tired that day, I will doze on the couch and not allow myself to feel guilty about it. 

 

His needs:

 

- He works off hours, he really does need to sleep for a while without interruption during the day sometimes.  I try to contain the kids to areas away from wherehe is sleeping, and we make sure he has white noise to cover the chaos. 

- He needs 'off time' without the kids underfoot.  A trip to the park is great for this.  I take the kids, he stays home and gets to relax for a bit. Once in a while he'll spend the weekend with his cousin (also his best friend) and they play video games and go out for sushi together.  This isn't common, but it's not unheard of. 

- His greatest need (and this caused a lot of resentment) is to have time with me to reconnect.  This is hard to juggle for us, but we make the effort.  Just watching a tv show together when the kids are sleeping is a big help. We are working on finding this balance still. 

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#24 of 43 Old 09-29-2011, 11:43 AM
 
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if my dh gets home early and is really tired, he'll take a nap while i watch our dd. then we all hang out as a family and take care of our dd together. but once 5pm hits, my dh watches our dd while i make dinner. he plays with her and feeds her. after dinner i clean up and he gives her a bath and then we both take care of her before she goes to bed. my dh wont really do anything (like dishes or laundry) unless i ask but id rather do that myself and have him watch and play with our dd. if im really tired and need a nap, he will take care of our dd while i sleep. its very give and take. im pretty lucky to have him. 

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#25 of 43 Old 10-01-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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I haven't read all the replies so hopefully I'm not repeating.

 

I am a single SAHM, so it's all me all the time. We've got in to a nice routine after I pick the eldest up from school, and now that the weather is getting nicer they spend 99% of the afternoon playing outside. Oh, and they are 6yo and 3yo, so no babies here.

 

I would talk to your DH and explain how you feel. I would suggest that when your DH gets home, he can go hide in the bedroom for half an hour and relax - you keep the kids out his way for that time, but once that half an hour is up, he needs to come out and help with the kids. Split kids things, like maybe you run the bath at night, but he gives them their bath, he helps with bedtime at night. Maybe he can put the kids to bed while you go around and do a final tidy of the house and then when the kids are asleep you can BOTH sit down and watch some telly and spend some time together.

 

I know that my Mum (my parents were very traditional - Mum did all the housework, kid care etc all the time) would say "Daddy's home!!" when my Dad came home from work and would encourage us to go talk to him and spend time with him.

 

I don't see a problem with unwinding after work so long as it's for a set time and then he comes out and joins the family.


It's complicated.
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#26 of 43 Old 10-01-2011, 09:32 PM
 
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My baby is just a few months old at this point. So I don't know much.

 

I have not set a very high standard for how the house needs to be and for whether dinner is made or not.

I do need the house to be mostly clean/ organized.

That is why I keep a few things.

I do need to have healthy food in the fridge.

But other than that, it is all improvisation.

 

I think, what is most important? Is it to be a home-maker or to read or to make art (while taking care of the little one)?

I don't want to be the perfect home-maker or just a home-maker. In my neighborhood, I have come to know women who were home-makers for 30 years and raised 1, 2 or 3 kids, and kept perfectly organized and clean homes, and then their husbands left... for younger women. Of course, it was not the women's fault. But is there something these women missed out on by committing to be the perfect home-makers? 

I don't think that unless someone really wants to, she should make the "perfect home" her priority. The world is too interesting, too engaging and sometimes too scary for women to only be home-makers. So I make it a point for myself- I constantly pick up little projects to do while I am the primary care-taker.

I make preserves. I make clothes. I read a ton. I plan. I make things. I design furniture. The list is endless and it is hiding in your heart, too. What are you good at, besides being a mother? What do you want to do? What can you do while your precious ones are napping or playing? 

I don't always make dinner. I don't always clean. And if he does not like it, well, he needs to chip in. 

 

And, often, without asking, he does chip in. He sees that I am doing things, and he sees that he can do things too. By things I mean- changing diapers, clothes, laundry, etc... It might be a few times a day, or a few times a week, or a few times a month. It is not structured, it is ok. I don't count, but I do take notice of how I feel and how he feels.

 

It is not the tasks that husbands hide from- it is the energy. They are responsible for so much. They can handle a lot more. Speak from your heart (to him). If you can't, act from your heart. Is your energy too drained, too edgy, because you have not claimed the part of you that is really you? Have you given up so many things that "you" is no longer connected to what it is that makes you passionate?

 

Take time for yourself, despite everything, and rediscover yourself, and then the changes will happen. Show with your actions that you won't be "just a mom", but you will be a woman first, and then a mother, and then "a sahm". I have a lot of conflicts within myself, and a lot of problems. But as far as the daily routine goes, I can't give all of myself away, so I don't. There are times when I leave the house after the baby is asleep and don't come back till 10 or 11 or 12. I see a movie by myself. I take a drive. I meet a girlfriend who is single and has time to hang out. He took a trip with a friend of his to Canada. When he came back, he was so refreshed. I think time away is good for men, as it is for women.

 

Once your energy changes, he will want to be around you, little chores might become playful back-and-forths and the opportunity for cooperation will be limitless. 

 

And remember, online interfacing is not the same as real-life. Find friends around you to talk to, even if it means crossing your own boundaries. Call women you know. Grab the kids and go out, every (almost) single day. An inspired woman is an attractive woman (regardless of how many kids are chirping around her ears). That is what men want. And just like they did things while you were dating, they will do things again, because, well, they want to win your heart - over and over again- like every day, when they come home from work.

 

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#27 of 43 Old 10-02-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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This thread has me tearing up.  I feel like I'm drowning with my 3 month old and the house, but I can't bring myself to have a rational conversation w/DH about it.  The thing is, even though I'm doing tasks most of the time, I feel ashamed that I'm not "working".  I plan to go back sooner than I planned, not because we need the money (paying for childcare etc. will be a substantial expense), but because it's the only way I will get any time off!  I feel myself getting angrier and more bitter daily, and I don't want to live this way.


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#28 of 43 Old 10-02-2011, 02:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie8681 View Post

This thread has me tearing up.  I feel like I'm drowning with my 3 month old and the house, but I can't bring myself to have a rational conversation w/DH about it.  The thing is, even though I'm doing tasks most of the time, I feel ashamed that I'm not "working".  I plan to go back sooner than I planned, not because we need the money (paying for childcare etc. will be a substantial expense), but because it's the only way I will get any time off!  I feel myself getting angrier and more bitter daily, and I don't want to live this way.


If you don't think you can approach it rationally... then tell him you need to talk to him and you're angry... However let him know you understand he may think you're being irrational because even you have admitted that you wouldn't be able to be rational. Then tell him exactly how you're feeling and remind him you are not attacking him you just need help with all these new feelings.
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#29 of 43 Old 10-02-2011, 08:27 PM
 
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I am not sure going back to work will really be time off. Think about it- and perhaps try and see if going back to work once the baby is 6 months or a year is a better option. You can hire some part-time help here and there so you can go out if DH won't participate at all. But it is a precious time in the baby's life and working full-time might be an over-reaction to how you feel if you don't need the money.


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#30 of 43 Old 10-02-2011, 08:54 PM
 
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Well, I'm the parent who comes home after a long day. I'm a professor, and a mild introvert. The absolute hardest days for me were when the kids were little, I'd spent all day talking to students, and when I came home, the kids needed/wanted me. I was hungry (always bad for my temper), tired, and needed to get away. Usually, I didn't. I sucked it up and was with the kids. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask the WOH partner to spend time in the evening connecting with their kids. That might be a better way to phrase it than 'giving you a break'. (Dh and I split the cooking, so if it was my night to cook, then he spent more time with the kids.)

I will say that it gets easier as the kids get older. Now when I come home, they're not hanging off me. They're often off in another part of the house, doing their own thing. Dd (age 7) will usually come say hi, sometimes want to talk. Ds (age 10) doesn't.

I think the way to approach this discussion is:
I'm exhausted and frazzled at the end of the day, you're exhausted and frazzled at the end of the day. How can we compromise so that we each get some time to rejuvenate in the early evening? For example, can you split cooking duties? Bedtime duties? (We split both.)

I rejuvenate best at home, alone. Dh rejuvenates best out doing something. So, one compromise we reached was that every other Saturday or so, dh would take the kids on an outing. I got to spend part of the day by myself. Often I just took a nap. Sometimes I did silly things on the computer. But that alone time allowed my introverted side time to recharge. Dh rejuvenated by going out and doing things (like playing raquetball) without the kids.

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