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Old 12-17-2006, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am new to the site and a little disappointed by the dad's forum so I thought I might liven it up a bit with the following.

My wife and I have been together since we were teenagers. During our years long engagement, we lived together and both worked. I found myself doing the lion's share of the cooking, cleaning, bill paying and various other administrative duties of a household. The one and only fight we have ever had revolved around this. I tried various approaches at finding a more equitable arrangement. We would talk and agree on specific chores we would take on. Inevitably, I would find myself in the same resentful position and my frustrations would increase.

Then I concluded that my tolerance for mess and disorder in our lives was much less than hers. I am by no means a neat freak. I am just as much a slob as my wife. But messy environs tend to disturb my peaceful existence after a time and when things are organized and uncluttered I find myself to be more productive and happier. So it is on me to make my world the way I want it. I also concluded that in any relationship, one person will always take advantage of the other. Not in any malicious sense, mind you. It is just human nature. I am by no means innocent of this myself with regards to my wifes duties. But I still felt that things were a little uneven. And I decided to stop making an issue of it.

Now we have moved 1.5 hours from where I work, we have two children, 1 and 4, and she stopped working to stay at home full time. All of these things I embrace fully and enjoy the fruits that they bear. I am self-employed and work seasonally. I don't work in the winter, at least not when the season has been profitable, and have chosen this career to be more available to my family. Before I bitch about what I feel is frustrating, let me admit what she does that I find helpful.

She is the primary caregiver when I am working and I count my blessings that I get that time away. It doesn't seem to wear on her like I imagine it would me. We co-sleep and she is nursing so she hasn't had an uninterrupted night sleep in almost 5 years. Her resiliance is humbling. She also cooks half the evening meals and feeds the kids during the day. She also does half the laundry and most of the dishes. I can't list all the other little odds and ends that is her workload, but believe me when I appreciate it all.

When I would get home from work however, she would almost always be sitting at the computer reading MDC. She is also an avid knitter. The kids would be in front of the TV. The toys would be all over and the dishes would still be in the sink from the night before. I still do all the household cleaning, all the work on the yard, all the work on our fixer-upper of a house and half (being generous to myself) the parenting in my free time. I know we are slobs and that my tolerance for mess is less than hers. When it was just us, I could accept that I wanted our place clean so the duty fell to me. But the kids need a clean environment in my opinion in order to learn how to be organized and clean themselves. Now that I have been home for a couple of weeks I have been seeing if it is possible to accomplish this basic housekeeping while seeing to the needs of the children. So far I have been able to do it.

So where does her day go? I am sorry if I sound like a neandrethal, but I feel entitled as I do more than my part. If she was so absolutely engaged with the kids all day that she had no time, I would understand. But come on!

Any advice or similar situations?
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Old 12-18-2006, 03:48 AM
 
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I am not in a similiar situation. My dh and I share most of the household work but much like your DW my dh doesn't mindthe mess so I have to unfortunately delegate tasks to him. It is frustrateing to continually ask for help with dishes/laundry since these are tasks that always need to be done so I don't understand why he needs me to ask him for help everytime. Anyhow that is not the point I wanted to make. I am nursing a 3wo tight now and it is terribly exhausting at times-you are always oncall and get interrupted when you may be trying to compete household tasks. Also she may just be plain old tired and doesn't have the motvation to do things that are not essential to her. I don't thinkyou should be left to do it all but you try askingher if there is any way you could help her out with getting things done. Or maybe you could do it together every evening if the kids will allow it. Just a thought
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Old 12-18-2006, 04:17 AM
 
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I think that my dh could have written your post...Fred? Is that you?LOL

Where does my day go? I do much more when he's not around, actually. He's in another country and has been for almost a month and I'm like a superwoman, but normally it's not like that.

He says that I take all the good stuff and leave the work(he used another word) to him, for example, if we get a pet, he's the one who changes the box, or takes it for walks, while I sit around and admire it's "cuteness." I think he never sees the fun in anything, but I guess that's why. When he put it that way, I couldn't deny it. Actually, I laughed so hard I cried...It was hilarious how mad I'd been that he didn't want a dog and then he said that....ah, how blind I was.

I spend a lot of time on MDC as a get away. My one year old clings to me as soon as I get up and walk around. He wants to "help" in the kitchen and usually ends up breaking something and making it very difficult for me to clean. So, I sit on the computer with him on my lap and life is calm for a minute (or an hour). Then, I stand up and see that the other 2 children have destroyed the house! I get overwhelmed again and sit back down at the computer.

What helps me is to give myself 20 minute blocks of time to clean. I tell myself "ok, it will take 20 minutes to clean the kitchen" and I get started speed cleaning it. Usually, I'll end up cleaning a lot that way and won't stop at the 20 minute mark. Also, to clean the house with small children, it helps to take a broom and sweep EVERYTHING into a pile, toys and all and then separate it. The room looks cleaner instantly and I can work from a small pile instead of a whole floor. So, if you tell your wife "Let's clean for 20 minutes, you take the living room, and I'll take the kitchen" you'll be amazed how fast it gets done. Also, you're teaching her a trick to use later.

As a mother, who has children that try to "help" me when I clean, folding and putting away laundry is impossible. Washing and drying...no problem, but then it gets piled up and I can't do more laundry while there's a pile....you see the cycle. I can lay them flat and fold what needs to be folded, but that's the extent of it. If my dh takes one hour every few days to put the clothes away, I feel a lot more energy to clean.

As far as yard and house stuff. I'd love to help. I kind of think of it as "his thing" he hasn't ever invited me to help and so I would feel strange going into his domain to work with him. Since he's been gone this last month, I've done so much of "his" work. I make the morning coffee. I put silicone along the bottom of a wall that was letting in air, I called the maintenance people for our house, changed a toilet seat (3 kids in Lowes? I'm brave), go get firewood everyday from the shed and start a fire. I'm amazed at what he did do that I never really saw.

Also, when you have more time, you waste more time. When I had no time to clean, the house would stay cleaner because I knew there was no "later." As a SAHM, there is always later. It's much easier to put stuff off.

I know you were looking for dads advice, but hopefully, it'll be useful anyway.
Lisa (mom to 3 wonderful children)

Our children make a study of us in a way no one else ever will.  If we don't act according to our values, they will know.~Starhawk Rainbow.gif  New  User Agreement! http://www.mothering.com/community/wiki/user-agreement

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Old 12-18-2006, 04:51 AM
 
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I My one year old clings to me as soon as I get up and walk around.
Same here, except that mine is 28 mos. As long as I'm sitting, he's happy playing by himself, or nursing on my lap. When I get up, he want my attention, to play with him or whatever. Which is great! But I don't get much done either way. lol

I will say I do the majority of the housework, but that's really only because dp doesn't do it first. I do leave the dishes until the next day, but I eventually do them. It seems like he tolerates messiness better than you, op. Not dirtiness, just messy, like toys on the floor.

Some days, the house is so messy that I can't even start cleaning. I know it sounds wierd, but I get easily overwhelmed. So I want to sit on MDC even more those days. sigh. lol

One thing that really helps me, when I think about doing it, is to clean up 5 things in a particular room. That helps it seem managable, and it's amazing just how much picking up 5 things will help a room!

Btw, you sound like a great guy

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Old 12-18-2006, 06:30 AM
 
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She is the primary caregiver when I am working and I count my blessings that I get that time away. It doesn't seem to wear on her like I imagine it would me. We co-sleep and she is nursing so she hasn't had an uninterrupted night sleep in almost 5 years. Her resiliance is humbling. She also cooks half the evening meals and feeds the kids during the day. She also does half the laundry and most of the dishes. I can't list all the other little odds and ends that is her workload, but believe me when I appreciate it all.

When I would get home from work however, she would almost always be sitting at the computer reading MDC. She is also an avid knitter. The kids would be in front of the TV. The toys would be all over and the dishes would still be in the sink from the night before.
Any advice or similar situations?
Here you are asking for advice from dads and ya know, gotta put in my unasked for two cents.

I don't know about your wife but I have extreme trouble, even now, being motivated to do things when I haven't had enough sleep. My concentration is shot. I ended up quite depressed.

It is hard to get yourself up to do the dishes when you do not have an intrinsic (it bothers you/you are a neat person) or external motivator and some days it is really hard for me to get to stuff at all.

At one point I had to write myself a list of goals for the day: 15 min interaction with each kid, one on one, 1 hour of exercise, so many servings of veggies, brush teeth 2x etc.... and check them off. At least I could see what I was doing and that helped. And also what I really wasn't doing.
And that helped too. Having a calendar and planning things I could do that day also helped (library or whatever).

What also works for me is to have people over - playdates for the kids and things, because, sadly, I do want my house to be neat for my guests (want them to be welcome).

Maybe you can be a proponent for no tv? That helps a lot too. My husband is really "on" with the kids and burns out quicker than me so I am more hands off than him to pace myself. Also I try very hard to have one craft or project with them and 1 hour of exercise (running around, swimming), which makes me get out along with them.
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Old 12-18-2006, 10:00 AM
 
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Not a dad...You say she's on MDC when you get home. Is this late afternoon/early evening? I am SPENT by then. I have a big burst of energy in the morning, a bit less energy after lunch. From dinnertime on I'm toast. Stick a fork in me, I'm done. So I can understand that.

Meanwhile dh often has a burst of energy at 9 to 10 PM.

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Old 12-18-2006, 10:33 AM
 
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Wow, is this my dh? He too could have written your post. I try, I really do. In the mornings I tend to do ok. But I am exhausted ALL the time. I nap after lunch with my two little ones because otherwise I'm just too tired. So I try to get things done in the morning, but if our 19 month old has been up a lot (which is most of the time) then I am so tired. And I, too, use MDC as an escape, an upliftment. And when dh gets home I might be online. I get online after the kids are done eating dinner and I spend a lot of time online after they go to bed. I also get motivated, get up, see the mess and often am so overwhelmed I just sit back down again. It can be a vicious cycle.

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Old 12-18-2006, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You guys are awesome for responding. And no, I am not yours.LOL.

I know all too well of the cycle of mess begets mess. I am guilty of it too. And working around the house with a 1yo and 4yo under foot is definately a challange. I also can empathize with feeling overwhelmed by what may seem like a huge task or tasks. It is not so much that I resent her taking time for herself. We all need to do it. I just resent the nagging feeling like I need to be the motivator.

It has been a process to get to a place where I am motivated to keep things tidy. (And forget putting away toys until they are in bed, they could dump everything on the floor in 5 min. and ignore them for 5 hours and immediately want at them as they see you put them away!) I am still working on it. I am trying to give my wife the space to come to the same conclusion I came to when the kids were dust mopping the floor for us. Maybe she wont and it will be my lot in life to do the housework. Heaven forbid a man should do what women were expected to do for millenia.

It is just frustrating some times as we meet in the middle on most other things. Being home for the winter, I don't mind the work. I like to keep busy. Most of my frustrations are vestigial at this point in the year. I just need to vent.

Oh and Andy, if you read this, wouldn't have it any other way. Love you.
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Old 12-18-2006, 02:55 PM
 
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Is it cleaning or organizing that's the problem? I can clean but I have very poor organizational skills (currently hiding out here trying to figure out where to begin with the current mess).

If it's just cleaning, it might be worth it to hire someone to come in at least a couple times a month and then try to agree on which fires need to be put out more often.

If it's organization, I don't know what to say. Is a professional organizer in the budget? I have a friend who has hired one and gotten a lot of help figuring out where things should go.
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Old 12-18-2006, 03:02 PM
 
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So where does her day go? I am sorry if I sound like a neandrethal, but I feel entitled as I do more than my part. If she was so absolutely engaged with the kids all day that she had no time, I would understand. But come on!

Any advice or similar situations?
You know, some days moms feel like *Super Mom* where they can keep up w/the kids, the household chores, the cooking etc..

Some days are easier than others.

When you say that you spent one day taking care of the kids and maintaining household order/organization, that's great. Perhaps you had a good day.

Try doing it over and over and over again for what? 5 years (you said your wife was a SAHM for that long so far?) Try it for an extended period and see how many days you fall short.
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Old 12-18-2006, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You know, some days moms feel like *Super Mom* where they can keep up w/the kids, the household chores, the cooking etc..

Some days are easier than others.

When you say that you spent one day taking care of the kids and maintaining household order/organization, that's great. Perhaps you had a good day.

Try doing it over and over and over again for what? 5 years (you said your wife was a SAHM for that long so far?) Try it for an extended period and see how many days you fall short.
My concern and complaint does not revolve around a falling off from duties. My complaint is that it has never been her inititative to begin with. Without children, who cares what the state of mess you live in. It was just us two and we were adults who know better but chose to slack. I had just assumed that she felt the same way and that kids would motivate her to take some initiative to create a clean and organized environment. And I am not talking lysol clean and Martha Stewart organized.

The more I think about this, the less I am concerned. I have taken the position of leading by example, if you can call it that, all these years. Why should I change now? I have been doing this for years, not a day. Most chores are not necessary on a daily basis. I have been able to do them even after being out of the house for 10-12 hours at a time. I am run my own business and my work doesn't end when I come home. But I find the time for all of it. The kids, my wife, my chores, my business and my pleasures.

I believe in my wife. I just dispair sometimes because I also believe human nature gets the best of us sometimes. Much like this self-serving whining you are getting from me, we all take advantage of our own self-importance. I just know that we are better than that. We have a relationship in all other respects is empathic and caring and generous. We meet in the middle when we can and make sacrifices for eachother when we cannot. We know that the only way we can do this is if we do it together.

I know she is the primary caregiver. She is MOM. In seeing this, I make as much of an effort to share the responsibilities. I just get the feeling that she doesn't see my own workload and want to make similar sacrifices to her free time.

I wish that this rant did not sound so global. I guess this all boils down to a feeling that I am not taken in and appreciated. I know she does this in her way and I am sure that she has her own complaints about me, but she can start her own thread.
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Old 12-18-2006, 05:49 PM
 
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Shame on your wife! She should know better! She must get up off the computer when she hears the garage door open, and open the dishwasher so it looks like she's putting dishes away! At least, that's what I do. Sometimes I leave the vacuum out so it looks like I've been cleaning.

Seriously, though, you know how having children and maintaining the house can be overwhelming. The best thing that happened to my house was someone giving me a roomba discovery as a gift. It seriously helps keep the house clean. I feel like I'm cleaning constantly. I feel serious anger when my husband is messy too - I already have three kids to clean up after!

It gets better as they get older, right?
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Old 12-19-2006, 12:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It gets better as they get older, right?
Who? Our children or our spouses?
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Old 12-19-2006, 01:01 AM
 
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Shame on your wife! She should know better! She must get up off the computer when she hears the garage door open, and open the dishwasher so it looks like she's putting dishes away! At least, that's what I do.
omg that is so freaking funny!! It had me lol. I do the SAME THING (when I have the opportunity, that is.) lol.

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Old 12-19-2006, 02:44 AM
 
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I know she is the primary caregiver. She is MOM. In seeing this, I make as much of an effort to share the responsibilities. I just get the feeling that she doesn't see my own workload and want to make similar sacrifices to her free time.

I wish that this rant did not sound so global. I guess this all boils down to a feeling that I am not taken in and appreciated. I know she does this in her way and I am sure that she has her own complaints about me, but she can start her own thread.
Awesome. Nice guy.
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Old 12-19-2006, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Awesome. Nice guy.
I'm not so sure of that right now.

Since starting this thread, I have tried to really open my eyes to the reality of our house and relationship. And I have seen that I have not been entirely fair to my wife. There are three reason's I can imagine for why lately it appears to me that she really is more busy than I have accounted above.

1) I am a self-absorbed martyr that wouldn't really pay attention to the reality just to prop up my own rightousness. (Most likely!)

2) That "leading by example" crap that I was spouting above really does work!
(Makes me sound good, doesn't it?)

3) She read the thread. (This means that my wife and I have found a vessel for complaining to eachother via third party aka MDC, much like the children of devorced parents are exploited when there is beef between the parents. If this is the case, I promise to buy MDC too many Christmas presents and forgive it for wrecking my car!)

In any case, please appreciate, the way I am starting to, the extraordinary effort she puts into our home, our children and our relationship.
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