Dad's - how much do you help your wives? - Mothering Forums
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Dads > Dad's - how much do you help your wives?
Melissa S's Avatar Melissa S 03:58 AM 05-28-2004
Where I come from it's pretty normal to have chauvanistic attitudes. DH and I are almost splitting up over this issue. I know it could be worse - generally he respects me. There's no yelling or shouting, namecalling, throwing things, alcohol, etc.... but DH has bouts where he feels like if he brings in a paycheck that's enough, that he shouldn't owe me anything else. He feels if he works hard all day he doesn't need to help out with the kids or around the house. Basically it happens if he feels like it but when he doesn't feel like it or is otherwise occupied he uses the excuse that he worked all day or that he makes the money. I feel like such a second class citizen as a stay at home mom. Like if I don't make any money I don't deserve help and family teamwork. My job (though I can stop to nap or watch a tv program in the afternoon or post at MDC, lol) is 24-7. I know this is a common problem among many couples but I'm especially targeting maybe those dads who used to feel like this but have had a change of heart. How much do you do to help with the family after a hard day's work? Do you think it's fair? Do you feel you could or should be doing more or less?

Melissa

Aura_Kitten's Avatar Aura_Kitten 05:27 AM 05-28-2004
does it say something that so far no dads have responded? :LOL

s

this is hard, isn't it?

my SO was like this... and yes, it drove a gigantic wedge between us. we still have issues with it! but it's not nearly so bad now.

what helped me was this: i sat down and made a list of all of the things i normally did during the day and how long it took me to do them. then i looked up all the different people and services that would do those same things (personal cook, maid, nanny, preschool teacher / babysitter, etc) and made a list of their hourly rates. and then i tallied up how much money i was worth ~ how much it would cost for us to hire people to do the exact same things that i did every single day, without pay, without benefits, and with no recognition from anyone.

then i gave the list, and the sum, to my SO.

it kind of got the point across...
Melissa S's Avatar Melissa S 01:36 PM 05-28-2004
Sorry, what's SO?
Aura_Kitten's Avatar Aura_Kitten 08:38 PM 05-28-2004
Significant Other.



still no replies?!?! s
Melissa S's Avatar Melissa S 09:13 PM 05-28-2004
still no replies?!?! s[/QUOTE]

Nope! But I might just have to write out a list like yours. I'm feeling tempted to get a job just to proove I can make it without his financial support - that I need more than just the money. We're at least in talking mode now. Thanks for your help.

Melissa
sling_dad's Avatar sling_dad 11:19 PM 05-28-2004
I had written a lengthy reply earlier today, but before I could submit it my computer froze!

Anyways, my point of view is that parenting is at least a two-person job. It's unrealistic for me to expect my wife to do all the parenting even though she's a SAHM, because her job is definitely much more demanding than mine - it can be so physically and mentally exhausting! (just have your DH spend a few hours with your kids alone to find out how hard it is...)

I work out of the home, so I don't get to spend as much time on weekdays with my son (1 year) as I would like - maybe two hours in the morning and an hour in the evening. But during those times I try to do my share and give my wife a break: in the morning I usually change diapers, play with him and start his breakfast while my wife gets an extra hour of sleep, and at night I read him bedtime stories and put him to bed while my wife prepares dinner. Of course there are times when things are so hectic at work that I need a break when I get home. Fortunately my wife is so great and understanding and lets me be on those nights (yeah I'm really lucky! ).
Also on weekends I try to do a good share of the baby care, especially when we're out (I love to carry him in my slings anyways, so it's not a problem! ).

In any case, I think it's fair for you to ask your DH to contribute, but at the same time I don't think you should push him. It should really come from himself. He needs to realize that he's needed around the house and that his contribution matters (even if it's not baby related, like cleaning, etc.). Also, do you think part of his reluctance could be due to the fact that he's not comfortable with caring for the kids? (either b/c he's not used to it, or b/c you do such an awesome job at it! ) If so, maybe you could try to involve him more, starting with what he's comfortable with.

Anyways, not sure if this is helping any, but I thought I'd give you a dad's perspective... good luck!
Dr.Worm's Avatar Dr.Worm 12:15 AM 05-29-2004
Ummm...please forgive me for butting in...but sling dad...are you real?
Melissa S's Avatar Melissa S 12:51 AM 05-29-2004
I just did the same thing, posted a long reply and got disconnected

Sling dad, thanks. I was saying your DW is also very lucky. I know very few men who help the way you do. Can you come and stay with me for a while? Just as an example? LOL!

For real. Most of the time I know I have to just let DH be. I don't force the issue but I do express my needs and dissappointment (not in a nagging way). DH is very introverted and needs to space out after work. Otherwise he just gets irritable and owly. It's hard with four kids, 3 under 4. It gets very noisy and active here, especially around supper.

Having said that, I just wish sometimes he's extend himself further than what he is comfortable with. There is the odd time he helps. like two nights ago and he put out two toddlers to bed. The thing that really bugs me is that we've talked about this many times and I've explained that I feel so alone in life, I get depressed and that makes me less lovable. I also am more likely to decline dates and be more unresponsive during sex b/c I'm wiped all the time as I am waay stretching myself over my limits everyday. I don't know why he doesn't get that I will be a better wife for him when he helps. It's just a win-win situation when everyone is doing their part.

I also think it has to do with upbringing and what was modeled to you. Most of the men I know who are sensitive and helpful come from families of all girls or were the firstborn, taking lots of responsibility, or the children of a single mom, thus more in tune with female needs. DH's dad was an alcoholic who was gone alot and when he was home mostly sat around and watched TV. He's mellowed in his old age and helps my MIL lots now. However, I think many can get past their upbringing and follow their God-given instincts. It all comes down to choice, don't you think?

Melissa
sling_dad's Avatar sling_dad 02:44 AM 05-29-2004
Quote:
sling dad...are you real?
:LOL Funny, I just saw the movie "Shattered Glass" where this journalist fabricated most of his articles for a long time without anyone finding out...hmm, maybe my whole life is fake!

Melissa,
WOW!! 4 kids so young in age?!? You must be SuperMom!! Then you have every right to ask for some help! Maybe you're right though, maybe your DH feels a bit overwhelmed with all the activities in the house when he gets home from work (I'm also an introvert, and I can't deal with a lot of noise). Perhaps you can suggest to your DH to take just one of the kids (maybe the mellowest one that day ) when he's home and have the two of them do a quiet activity together like playing, bath, reading, etc. while you take care of the rest. That way he might feel less overwhelmed with the whole situation, and who knows, maybe he'll eventually be more willing to help with other things too. Anyways, I wish you all the best!
Melissa S's Avatar Melissa S 02:56 AM 05-29-2004
My kids are 8, 4(in July), 2 1/2, and 10 months! I'm 28 and so is DH. Thanks for the advice. You helped me see that by possibly maintainig a state of control he may be more willing to help. That's something I have been intending to do for awhile. Back to the drawing board!

Melissa
Dr.Worm's Avatar Dr.Worm 03:26 AM 05-29-2004
LOL! Just making sure you weren't really a stepford husband...you are a rare breed though! Melissa, I know where you're coming from except I only have one child!
G-Dawg's Avatar G-Dawg 07:22 AM 06-03-2004
G-Dawg's husband here.

I want to give a little disclaimer to my comments. I deeply admire and respect the work of a SAHM. I appreciate what Sling Dad said. You have every right to expect more out of your husband. But because you are the one asking, not your DH, my advise goes out to you.

Sometimes men seem to take a bit longer to "buy into" fatherhood. Especially when they have a wife that is so competent. They can be overwhealmed. I know from experience that it is hard to keep up with a MDC mom. They are so proactive and get concerned about issues that I never realized were issues. While my wife's play taught her to love babies and take care of them, mine taught me how to tear crap apart and put it together again. It is easy to watch a competent women taking care of children and think, "why should I get involved, she is doing a better job than I can do. I don't want to mess this up."

I would consider myself a helpful husband, but I am nowhere near the husband and father that I want to be. I would assume that most parents feel that way. Try to see your husband as a work in progress. I have said this before...there is nothing a wife can do to MAKE her husband understand or do what she wants. As humans we are able to CHOOSE the response to a given stimulus. When someone is in a situation like yours, the best bet is to shift YOUR thinking. Ultimately that is all you have control over. I hated to hear that you were considering splitting up over this. From the way you described your husband, I think he has potential. Here are some things I would suggest to try to create the right atmosphere for your husband to change. This approach might give him the psychological space to change for the right reasons.

First, find a time when he is feeling open to conversation. Maybe point out some of the things that he HAS done recently to help. It is important that he knows you notice. Then just ask him what makes a good husband and father. Tell him how you feel about being a wife and mother. Inform him that his recent help empowers you to be a better mom and wife. Then ask what help you could give to help him. More of a returning the favor approach. (I am well aware that you are probably ahead in the favor department, but for the sake of avoiding a confrontation, go with me...). Maybe all of the kids at once are to much. Taking one on a daddy date may help both of you. The more bonding that takes place with the kids, the more he takes an interest in helping them. He needs this time.

My wife is the master of this next approach. Give him options when there is a lot to do. You may end up doing some of the unpleasant jobs, but at least it is help. Would he like to change a diaper, or rock the baby etc... It gets him involved but it doesn't come across that he is your assistant. He has a choice.

The way your husband was brought up can be used as a reason, but not an excuse. I am nothing like my father when it comes to parenting. I have certain predispositions for sure, but I can CHOOSE what kind of parent I will be.

Praise him. I can't say it enough. Just like you wouldn't ridicule a toddler for scribbling instead of coloring in the lines, praise him for making an effort. Make a list of his contributions to the family. I have already heard that he is a good provider, doesn't yell, helps you some (when it is his idea) etc... Thank him for the help. Thank him that his job allows you to be such an big influence on your children. Praise him to your kids. When he plays with them, tell them that they have a nice daddy.

Try to involve him in decisions. Ask what he thinks about things. Open communication about positive things. If he feels negative, he will withdraw, but small progress is still progress. 1% each day means he will be 100% better in less than 4 months.

Hang in there! Forgive him for the past. Don't hang it over his head. Take him by the hand and lead him, but don't push. Bless your little family. They are lucky to have someone that cares so much.
G-Dawg's Avatar G-Dawg 07:26 AM 06-03-2004
P.S. ladies, don't get upset, or infer things about response time for men! This site is called MOTHERING!

Thanks
Melissa S's Avatar Melissa S 02:03 PM 06-03-2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Dawg
G-Dawg's husband here.

I want to give a little disclaimer to my comments. I deeply admire and respect the work of a SAHM. I appreciate what Sling Dad said. You have every right to expect more out of your husband. But because you are the one asking, not your DH, my advise goes out to you.

Sometimes men seem to take a bit longer to "buy into" fatherhood. Especially when they have a wife that is so competent. They can be overwhealmed. I know from experience that it is hard to keep up with a MDC mom. They are so proactive and get concerned about issues that I never realized were issues. While my wife's play taught her to love babies and take care of them, mine taught me how to tear crap apart and put it together again. It is easy to watch a competent women taking care of children and think, "why should I get involved, she is doing a better job than I can do. I don't want to mess this up."

I would consider myself a helpful husband, but I am nowhere near the husband and father that I want to be. I would assume that most parents feel that way. Try to see your husband as a work in progress. I have said this before...there is nothing a wife can do to MAKE her husband understand or do what she wants. As humans we are able to CHOOSE the response to a given stimulus. When someone is in a situation like yours, the best bet is to shift YOUR thinking. Ultimately that is all you have control over. I hated to hear that you were considering splitting up over this. From the way you described your husband, I think he has potential. Here are some things I would suggest to try to create the right atmosphere for your husband to change. This approach might give him the psychological space to change for the right reasons.

First, find a time when he is feeling open to conversation. Maybe point out some of the things that he HAS done recently to help. It is important that he knows you notice. Then just ask him what makes a good husband and father. Tell him how you feel about being a wife and mother. Inform him that his recent help empowers you to be a better mom and wife. Then ask what help you could give to help him. More of a returning the favor approach. (I am well aware that you are probably ahead in the favor department, but for the sake of avoiding a confrontation, go with me...). Maybe all of the kids at once are to much. Taking one on a daddy date may help both of you. The more bonding that takes place with the kids, the more he takes an interest in helping them. He needs this time.

My wife is the master of this next approach. Give him options when there is a lot to do. You may end up doing some of the unpleasant jobs, but at least it is help. Would he like to change a diaper, or rock the baby etc... It gets him involved but it doesn't come across that he is your assistant. He has a choice.

The way your husband was brought up can be used as a reason, but not an excuse. I am nothing like my father when it comes to parenting. I have certain predispositions for sure, but I can CHOOSE what kind of parent I will be.

Praise him. I can't say it enough. Just like you wouldn't ridicule a toddler for scribbling instead of coloring in the lines, praise him for making an effort. Make a list of his contributions to the family. I have already heard that he is a good provider, doesn't yell, helps you some (when it is his idea) etc... Thank him for the help. Thank him that his job allows you to be such an big influence on your children. Praise him to your kids. When he plays with them, tell them that they have a nice daddy.

Try to involve him in decisions. Ask what he thinks about things. Open communication about positive things. If he feels negative, he will withdraw, but small progress is still progress. 1% each day means he will be 100% better in less than 4 months.

Hang in there! Forgive him for the past. Don't hang it over his head. Take him by the hand and lead him, but don't push. Bless your little family. They are lucky to have someone that cares so much.
You have much wisdom. We have actually come a ways since I posted this originally. I spent some time in "my prayer closet" over this and came to realize my end of it. I'm very much a perfectionist and have very high expectations. DH is literally my opposite and it takes some open-mindedness to get understanding of his perception of reality. We also both tend to be very stubborn thinking our own way has to be the right way.

We ended up agreeing on a date to sort things out which happened two nights ago. Actually, lack of communiction and misunderstandings have more to do with this issue than anything. We agreed to make a weekly date night a priority as a time to re-connect. Assuming false motives and selfishness seems a very easy trap to fall into. I'm also guilty of striving to make things happen and manipulating to get my way (which I have been aware of and working hard on since our first year of marriage).

I think the problem was that I have actually NOT been competent and though DH sees me struggling cannot seem to stretch himself beyond what he normally does. We have had lice, bedbugs, and now 6" of water in our basement within 6 months. Needless to say I am behind in laundry (about 15 garbage bags) and boxes from the basement need to be sorted for damage.... I'm just overwhelmed and a little more support would help. I feel if we both pitched in in one weekend and really worked hard it would all get done.

I certainly do need to adopt some of the practices you mentioned. I need to print that off and keep it on my fridge. Our problem is that with years of marriage and lots of little kids we've become reactive instead of proactive in our marriage, just responding to situations as they come up instead of becoming aggressive and making things happen. I will definately take your advice to heart. Thank you so much.
HC4's Avatar HC4 07:37 PM 06-12-2004
Why would I want to help her, I would never do it right in the first place so we have a deal here, she stays out of the garage, and I stay away from the kitchen and laundry room.

Helping my wife is like looking for a fight
Melissa S's Avatar Melissa S 05:42 PM 06-13-2004
HC4,
I originally posted to vent and to get an idea what other husbands find acceptable and normal. I think many men are like you. It's great if you and your DW have a working agreement. However, I would personally not be satisfied with that kind of an arrangement. I suppose though, that I'm not necessarily looking for DH to do laundry or dishes, but just perhaps that we would do the kids' bedtime routine together or that he would help dish out their plates at suppertime. Any little thing to show we are doing the family thing together. I want him to be more involved with family life and from time to time to do abit extra when I am on the verge of a breakdown instead of watching me struggle on my own while he sits on the couch and watches TV or plays video games.

Melissa
Bethla's Avatar Bethla 06:04 PM 06-13-2004
My husband and I used to have a few problems with this issue until I started working. We worked opposite hours. He'd be home with the kids in the mornings and I'd be home with them the rest of the day. We did this for almost seven years. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. But I think we both learned a lot from it.

I definitely learned what it's like to come home from work very tired. The last thing you want is someone bugging you to do more to help. My husband learned how hard it is to stay home with the kids too. After our third son was born he couldn't handle it very well. I quit my job to stay home with the kids and now only work on weekends. He of course watches them on the weekends when it is a lot easier, not having to get anyone ready for school!

What we both learned from our experience is you must respect the other person and their limits. If you know your spouse is tired from a long day at work, accept that. And vice-versa, being home with the kids is incredibly draining in every was possible. There's no reason why there can't be compromises. In the end, children need parents who work together for their well being. Maybe Dad should give them their bath and get them ready for bed. Not only does it give mom a break, but it shows his children that he's involved. Happier parents mean happier kids.
Melissa S's Avatar Melissa S 01:28 PM 06-14-2004
There is a big difference between the kind of tired you get from working and the kind of tired you get from staying at home with kids. The work is totally different too. Both are tiresome in different ways. I tend to think of my job as 24-7 as I've always got an ear out even in the middle of the night for kids who are either sick, having bad dreams, or nursing. I'm always on call. But I can occasionally take a break. I do agree that there needs to be general family involvement. Even if just in very small ways.

Melissa
DaednuSO's Avatar DaednuSO 04:57 PM 06-14-2004
I have to admit, I can easily see both sides of this issue, being male but also having taken to doing **some** things around the house.

I definitely agree with the post saying that there's already an expert on the case, stay the hell out of the way. That's a very male way of looking at it - this is a team with specialized units therein. You handle the kids, I make the money. The idea of a team being you do 50% of task A and I do 50% of task B, and you do 50% of task B and I do 50% of task B is ALIEN.

There's also the perception that women have it sweet. The men go out, fight traffic, get into work, deal with hassle, deadlines, etc. and field the occasional call from home, can you do this, can you do that, etc. Get back into gridlock, get home, and the first thing the women do is say "Thank God!Here you go! take him/her!"

Well, what did you do all day? Oh, we made the decision to go to the park, then I decided to do the dishes while he/she slept with her nap, then we sat down and read some stories, then I put the laundry on - I don't feel like cooking, let's go out for dinner and the guy's thinking, wow, I wish I could decide how MY work day was going to go.

Of course, not all men feel this way. But a lot of em do. You tend to pattern yourself on what your own parents did and how they handle stuff.

Laziness doesn't exactly live just on the male side either: here's an interesting story I just came across:

"Another poll of 2100 women was taken in the UK that suggested, 'Young mothers are rejecting equality in the workplace and preferring the idea of becoming full-time housewives - but not ones who actually do housework.

This is the overall conclusion of research among 2,100 British adults that says women are happy to abandon the workplace but not if it means spending all day at home cooking, cleaning and looking after children."

It was fascinating reading. Not for the study, but how different people interpreted the results. You could tell how people's family lives were (here's a hint - most were divorced) depending on how they interpreted the data.

There's a show that takes CEOs and make em work front line on their own factory floors, incognito, just to see the effects of their decisions. Many come away with a greater appreciation of what they do and sometimes reverse decisions that made sense on the back 9 while talking it over with Jim and Henry from the consulting firm. Maybe fathers who think mothering is a cushy option should try it.
G-Dawg's Avatar G-Dawg 06:15 AM 06-16-2004
G-Dawg's husband again...

I have a few comments about recent posts.

If you can negotiate a clear definition of his/her jobs, that is great. I do think there is merit, however, to the idea that there is no women's work or men's work, it is just work. (Lactating excluded). In small areas, DW and I have agreements. I don't usually do toilets, and she doesn't kill bugs that crunch. In the major areas, however, we are both capable of doing either job.

I think that we, as men, should get out of the mindset that the wife nurses, cares for, educates, entertains, feeds, bathes, and nurtures the children and as men we bring in a paycheck and lift heavy crap (as needed).

How can we say that we will just follow the example of how we were raised. My father was a TV addict who spent every moment at home in bed watching TV. He ate every meal in bed. VHS and Beta VCR's were wired to a night stand next to the bed. The remotes were velcroed to the wall. He always had q-tips, lotion, salt, fingernail clippers etc... right there so he would never have to get up. I am surprised there was no bedpan. He fully expected my mother to serve his meals to him in bed.

After a hard day at work, that sounds pretty good, until I remember that I am not a selfish pig!! I exercise my ability to choose a response to a stimulus and try to do what is best for my family.

Does that mean I don't have issues with TV? No. I can zone out like no other when I watch TV, so I CHOSE to go without cable. I CHOSE to keep the TV out of the bedroom. I CHOSE to play with my kids, change diapers and help clean the house. For the women out there...I CHOSE a wife that wouldn't enable me to act like my father.

I believe the OP was not about what specific tasks men do to help, but that we do something to contribute while she is doing all of the work. My wife is very capable. I am positive she could get by without any help. I don't want my children raised to just get by. I want them to excel, and that will be most likely if we both do what we can. Don't fall into the trap of (this is what my parent modeled for me, so that is what I am going to do). If that is the case, heaven help my children because I am helplessly consigned to practice DP (detachment parenting) forever. Puh-leeze!

If she seems to do all of those things better than you, remember this:

"That which we persist in doing becomes easier. Not that the nature of the thing has changed, but our ability to do it has increased." -unknown to me


Dov's Avatar Dov 03:44 AM 06-22-2004
I probably shouldn't even post since it sort of doesn't apply to our situation. I'm a SAHD who's gone back to college once my kids started school. My wife is a work-a-holic and I used to be. Being a SAHD slowed me down and completely made me re-work how I operate. But even in the parenting-home management departments I don't do things the same way nor am I motivated from the same centers as she is.

It took us a long long time to negotiate that reality so we were working together, differently or should I say more dinstinctly from each other without thinking that was a bad thing. I often feel like when she comes home from a 14 hour day, "here take these things from me... I'm beyond my breaking point." SAHD's face a silent discrimination from males and females alike and few like to admit it (otherwise we'd be admitting that we're weak... a no-no amongst males). But it is a menace similar to what SAHM's face. The only way through division of labor quagmires is communication and to a large extent that is predicated on enhanced communication competencies.

One thing we did this past year was meet every Wednesday for lunch near her school (She's a teacher). The purpose of the lunch was from my POV, to find out what she needed from me and then hell of high water, I do it, no complaints. I also spent time trying to hear what kind of a mode she was in and where in her psyche it was centered. With that info I could try to find out what she needed from me and figure out where I could get that motivation from within myself.

One hour a week made a world of difference. I resisted the urge to dump off the kids on her when she got home. I learned to enquire empathically when she was blowing up at me for a messy kitchen or laundry that failed to get moved between machines, etc. I had every right to be resentful and angry with her unfair accusations that I was somehow being lazy or whatever the gripe du jour happened to be but I chose not to go there and instead find out what need in her wasn't being fulfilled. I learned to work around my own sense of higher threshold for dirt than her and ensure certain hot-button things were taken care of for her at the times I could anticipate they'd set her off. I still don't do things according to her Hoyle but because I've shown her over time in a consistent way that my motives and intentions are to meet her needs as her partner in the way she needs them done, she is much more willing to cut me slack when I don't do what she needs.

I try to make sure she's got lunch, coffee, gas, a well-working car, and grading help when she needs it. I try not to get pesky about when income is due to arrive in the bank account so I can pay bills. I try to get the kids into bed even though she's "doing that tonight." I'm learning to do things my way or from my own motivation centers but craft them into presentations that she needs to see or experience. It pays off in spades.
MOV's Avatar MOV 03:30 AM 06-24-2004
Dov,
If what you are doing works well for you, great.
I couldn't do it. Your post to me sounds like you are doing all the bending.
With kids in school, you may have more time, but your work is still valid and all of us stay-at-home folk need some support and appreciation.
My DH helps but I wouldn't call it equality. I try to appreciate what he does but I'm honest about what I think would be equal work.
spinach's Avatar spinach 11:30 AM 06-24-2004
My DH and I had a pretty even division of labor before we had our dd. He cleaned and cooked (pretty much) as much as I did. I mowed the lawn, replaced light bulbs, cleaned the garage, etc. Now that we have dd and I'm a SAHM, we've moved into a much more traditional division of labor. I'm the one home to prepare dinner so I do. I'm the one who is playing with my daughter during the day so I help clean up the toys, etc. When DH gets home, I'm too exhausted to mow the lawn so he does. I don't like it, intellectually, but it's what works. On the weekends, we're closer to an even distribution but not nearly as much as before dd.

I do think DH's view on doing "women's work" is largely affected by how much I did (and still do, to a lesser extent) "men's work". We're a team. I can imagine a man who has always done "his" work (w/ no help from DW), and then children come, thinking "why should I be doing 'my' work and 'hers'????" Not a great attitude but I could understand the argument. It's a legitamate question, if the division of labor prior to kids was traditional, and should be approached with intelligence and empathy from both sides, ideally.
Alexander's Avatar Alexander 05:29 PM 06-25-2004
We parent together. So there is no me helping her, we wre init together.

So I do whatever I encounter, but I have to be reminded to hang up the washing, which I like to do together becase it gives a quiet moment to chat.

I love doing the dishwasher. That's my job :-)

If DW is under claer stress, I try to do everything I can. But I'm poor at noticing the "crunch" moment.

a
zipworth's Avatar zipworth 12:19 AM 06-26-2004
While reading these posts with my "DW" I just quickly wanted to add a statement or two. As a very proud papa of a 13 3/4mos. beautiful boy I have seen my DW put endless hours into the daily care of our son. At times I have felt challenged working all day with children myself to come home to be "handed" our boy when I feel other maintenance related tasks need to be tackled around the house. However, it has been important for me to keep in perspective the fact that, really, my Dw has been working all day with OUR son! He is alot of work, and the product of all my wife's dedicated, selfless effort is our happy, wonderful little guy.

What is important to remember here fella's is that whatever support we can offer our partner, little or big, benefits the whole family. By taking time alone with our child at the end of our workday provides an opportunity for "mom" to take a hot bath, read a magazine, or whatever the heck she likes!

Parenting is a collaborative effort. As dads we really need to listen to our DW's and really put effort into making sure our children really are raised by BOTH parents. "Childcare is women's work" is out the window. Our little people have a tremendous amount to experience from a caring, involved dad!

What a journey so far, but wow!, so much more ahead (-: Keep up the wonderful work mom's!

DH to zipworth, DD to Little Liam
.
ktmama's Avatar ktmama 01:18 AM 06-26-2004
Gotta put in my two cents - again, from a different perspective.

I recently married a wonderful guy who has no kids. He totally looks to me for coaching and DIRECT requests for help. I've decided to approach this by choosing one thing every couple of weeks to introduce him to. After nine months of living together, we now put my dd to bed every other night. This includes the whole nighttime routine of books, brushing teeth and going to bed. On weekend mornings, we trade getting up with her and making breakfast. I've even talked with him about the best ways to talk to her so she'll listen and given him some ideas for activities to do with her. Luckily, he trusts and respects my as a mom and seeks out my advice. He doesn't feel intimidated by it or get defensive. BTW - his way of doing things can be pretty different than mine and I'VE had to adjust to that.

As for housework, we decided to hire a housecleaner twice a month. Paying the $40 a week is worth it to us so we have more time together and less time negotiating. Alas, my dd is learning nothing of dusting and cleaning toilets. I do the grocery shopping and the cooking, he does the dishes (with dd) and takes out the trash and the recycling.

The key for us has been that everything we do, we talk about and it is all based on strengthening our relationship and strengthening his relationship with dd. I really do feel that I can talk to him about anything. I can also tell him when I feel he's not engaged and he can tell me when he needs some space after a particularly hard day. I also, always, tell him how much I appreciate him - because I do. And, he agrees that the rewards of a family are worth it.
papaya's Avatar papaya 12:22 AM 07-13-2004
I haven't read the responses to this, just the post (it's late and I've got to go to bed soon ) so anyways, I'm currently not with my son's father anymore (we were never married) because of the same reason. My personal feelings, (along with the kind of family I grew up with) were that a mom has the hardest job out there, and yeah sure the dad may work all day but you've got to be there emotionally, physically, and spiritually 24/7! It should be appreciated. When I lived with my boyfriend, it was the same situation. I needed a small break, even to just clean myself up, take a walk, do something small for myself...go to a yoga class! Even those things would sometimes escelate into a fight. So every mom deserves help! And now that I live with my family, everyone wants to help out, because they love me, and my son. I'm getting child support (which is the most I was getting out of the relashionship while we were together (not to be harsh or anything.) So anywho, I look at it like your partner should want to help you out because they are your friend, and lover, and when you're in need, they should step up. A dad should want to help out and spend time with the kids, right?
papaya's Avatar papaya 12:27 AM 07-13-2004
okay, I just re-read my post, it's a little one-sided and extreme. I know Your partners work and pay check should be appreciated, but what I'm trying to say is that a little effort to help his friend out shouldn't be too much to ask
Melissa S's Avatar Melissa S 01:09 AM 07-13-2004
Hey. Just incase ya forgot I'm the OPer. There were a few posts in this thread that really helped me. Both the one where the wife worked and dad stayed at home and the one where the roles at some point got reversed. There was one comment in particular - that at the end of a hard day Dad did not want Mom to say "here ya go, take these kids from me". I just thought back to my breif time as a single mom with my oldest and days I spent alot of overtime as a waitress. I remember how dog tired I was when I got home and I just put myself in DH's shoes for a moment. I try to REALLY serve him when he gets home, get him whatever he needs, food, water, talkin', back rub, whatever. I try to have the home in order so there's a peaceful atmosphere when he gets home. No, I'm not from out of the 50's but everyone is happier and better for each other this way. DH is way more inclined to help. He even bathed the kids after a long day's work last week which he has not done for about 6 months. The theory is - I'll give 100% to (within my range of ability) meet your needs and vice versa. If I hound him and complain and act like I'm having a pity party all of the time, it's worse for everyone. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that he is giving all he is physically and emotionally capable of and if I push him past that no one wins. Thank you all for your input. I have really learned alot from all your veiwpoints and experiences. I'm also interested in continuing this conversation and hearing other points of view. Keep it up!

Melissa
Telepathy's Avatar Telepathy 12:55 PM 07-13-2004
I always keep in mind that, even though I go to work all day, I do get to leave work until the next day, but she doesn't. So, once I get home, I try to help and share the load. I cook sometimes, I help pick up toys, I help with the bed time routine (which I enjoy too). Sometimes I help with the laundry. I make sure to pick up after myself because if nothing else, I don't want to add work to anyone else!! I certainly don't think that any of the household chores is only "woman's work".

A lot of times, all that I "have" to do is play ( )and, as tired as I might feel, I also know that I will regret it years from now if I don't spend the time playing with our little girl.

Thankfully, there is really not that much for me to do, but I do try to do my part.
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