Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: from the fire roads to the interstate
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It is worth the fight. You are only 3 years into your parenting journey. You have many, many years ahead of you, and if you get this resolved now, those years will be a lot easier. In my opinion, this is something you should be giving our top priority to resolving. I know it's hard to negotiate these things sometimes, but you have to do it, for the sake of your happiness, your sanity, and that of your family. Till I became a mother, I never knew how true that old saying was, "If mama ain't happy..."
Different men are going to come to "helping" in different ways. Zinepapa sees it as his job to be my partner. He didn't grow up with a dad who was especially helpful, but for whatever reason, he didn't take his own father as a role model. It was a joint decision for us to have children, and he believes we should share the load. The way we see it is, he works 8 hours at the office, I work 8 hours at home, and when he comes home, we split the work.
As for what he does to help: As soon as he comes home, he takes the kids so that I can finish making supper in peace. After supper he takes them for a walk, or plays with them while I take a break. He puts the 4yo to bed while I put the 1yo to bed. He takes the kids with him on errands so that I can get a break. He changes most diapers on evenings and weekends.I get regularly scheduled "time off" on the weekends. (Yesterday I spent 3 hours at the movies seeing LOTR!). Back when he used to work 4 10hr days, I had all day Friday for myself. (Alas, that schedule's gone).
Zinepapa once said to me, "I don't ever want to see you getting frustrated with the kids when I'm around. When I'm here, take advantage of it - ask for what you need from me."
I didn't have to do anything or talk about anything with him for him to do any of this. It was part of his vision of marriage. But in your case, I think you're just going to have to be drastic. Sit him down, tell him how you feel, and then tell him that you're going to be giving him a reality check. Walk out the door. Don't take your cellphone if you have one. He will cope. Not well, most likely, but you'll give him another shot at it the next day. And the next. And the next. He needs to learn to be a father NOW. Not when they're older. And you need to stop taking all the burden on yourself.
I hope I don't sound too stern! But imagining myself in your shoes makes me almost as upset about the situation as you must be.