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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How long did it take to get your DH fully on board with splitting up the child and house responsibilities?<br><br>
I don't want this post to be a vent, but I'm really pulling my hair out. I worked up until ds was 18 months old, and then became a SAHM. After almost 5 years, I transitioned back to working this past Sept. We talked about how it was going to mean that he would have to start doing things he hadn't for a long time - like dr. visits, cooking (on a regular basis), cleaning, *parenting*, on so on. He was completely on board.<br><br>
Now almost 6 months later, I'm still having to remind him about things to the point that I feel like I'm nagging. I knew some things would have to slide, but I draw the line at the inconsistent parenting style that's really affecting our kids, and the fact that I'm still the one that's working up solutions and trying to make things work. DH can do everything except for really provide the parenting that is important for the dc's. It's not that he doesn't care, he just isn't intuitive enough to recognize that his approach not only doesn't work with the dc's, but is probably on the border of causing some problems.<br><br>
I don't know how much longer I can hang in there and watch this. We've talked over, and over, and over about this. I also respect that dh will not do everything the way that I do it. But every day, the kids cry if it isn't me that takes them to school or picks them up. They cry if I'm not the one to give them their baths or tuck them into bed..... It's still me that coordinates everything school and child care oriented or it just doesn't get done. Period.<br><br>
Do I just have a guy that I can't re-train? Is it too soon for me throw in the towel? PLEASE give me some food for thought.
 

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If I'm reading your post right there are two different issues:<br><br>
1. Things he doesn't do.<br><br>
2. Things he doesn't do the way you would do them/the way your children like.<br><br>
As long as we're not talking about safety issues or something really over the top (shaming, hitting), for #2 I think you need to let it go as much as possible. He is your kids' dad. If you were seriously ill or died, he'd be the solo parent.<br><br>
It will be a hard adjustment for them but remember, they're secure with you and as long as he loves them (and I'm sure he does), they will work it out in some way. Probably in the middle - he will learn the 'worst' of his behaviour that doesn't work and change that, and some of the other stuff the kids will learn to float over. His intuition will probably develop as he takes more on. 6 months isn't that long for that, especially if you have been intervening.<br><br>
One suggestion I have is if you have the flexibility, try to pick the times of day - maybe you do bedtime, so they are secure for sleep, but let him do the morning drop off, or before dinner. If you can do that, they can develop a consistent pattern and routine, whatever it is, for that time.<br><br>
If it's #1, then I think the only real option is to remove yourself at certain times so that he just has to deal with the parenting at that time. Or if it's organizational stuff, let it fall.<br><br>
My DH is terrible with remembering things on his way out the door, but I <i>have</i> to leave for work at 7 am. So for a couple of months my son didn't have whatever he needed at daycare for that day, but it was also my husband who heard about it from the teachers. Now he remembers everything. I didn't step in and start putting bags in his car or anything, although it was really tempting.<br><br>
Also, depending on your kids' ages, they can start helping to remember. Although I don't necessarily think they should have to, it isn't a bad skill for them to develop as a side effect.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
I know where you're coming from. My DH and I are still working on it after 4mos.<br><br>
I got super frustrated with all the nagging and gentle suggestions and totally read him the riot act. He got the point and we're making progress now.<br><br>
I don't know about your DH, but in my case I think it's unrealistic for him to manage and coordinate child or house-related things, but he will do things when asked - in the case of housework, sometimes without being asked <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> When I have to plan something that I don't feel I should be doing alone, I make him do it with me. He's done some minor stuff like meal-planning on his own...baby steps. In my DH's case he is not one to look for solutions or make things work either....because he usually is totally oblivious to the problem. Why he gets to be oblivious I do not know, but if I don't call his attention to the problem that won't solve anything either.<br><br>
It sounds like there's another problem though - you're really not happy with his parenting approach. That would seriously bug me, for reasons that go above and beyond splitting the work. Your kids need two parents.<br><br>
I don't really know what to tell you about how to address it or what you've already done, but it sounds like you either don't give him much credit or you've given up on him. If he's not intuitive enough to figure out things aren't working, would it help if you pointed it out, or even got outside help? Is there a communication gap? Is he open to change? Do your kids need some bonding time alone with your DH to get comfortable with him?
 

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bump! interested to hear what others say too... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the thoughts. I've been really thinking about this and observing, and I think it comes down to the fact that dh will go through the motions of caring for the dc's, but he's not empathetic to them and has very little patience with the dc's when they're tired, hungry and need extra loving before they go to bed. Consequently, our evenings are more stress filled than they need to be. If there's an "issue" things go overboard very quickly. Instead of taking it down a notch, he gets really stressed out and becomes more militant in his approach with the kids. Instead of working through issues, he's quick to make a "ruling" and that's that. This happens every evening and because it does, I can see the anxiety level rise in the kids from the point they get home. Most evenings, we are splitting the responsibilities with the kids - from dinner prep to clean up, baths, etc., so he isn't responsible for it all.<br><br>
If I give him a choice to do something that involves the kids or doesn't, he'll choose the one that doesn't involve the dc's 99% of the time. I was hoping that over time, he'd be able to alter his approach. But now I'm thinking that he isn't able to change the way that he is with them. There is no way that I can do it all and WOTH.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br>
That sounds iike a really difficult situation.<br><br>
What does he think?
 

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I went back to work in early Feb after being a SAHM for 8 years- my kids are now almost 8, and 6. I knew it would be hard on all of us to some extent, but especially on dh. Every time I brought up the subject of any challenges we might face- like, for example who stays home from work when one of the kids is sick- his attitude was always "we'll figure it out" rather than actually looking at the nitty-gritty.<br><br>
In my dh's case, I always suspected that he might have some sort of undiagnosed ADHD, maybe even Asperger's. He lacks a certain ability to perform executive planning- so for example, he won't recognize that it's Wednesday, which means dd has brownies and needs to pack her uniform and an extra snack, and that he'll need to arrange to have ds somehow picked up while dd is being taken to brownies. He's getting better, but man we've had some battles in the meanwhile. I've learned that the way to handle it in our situation is for me to be as direct (and as neutral as possible) as I can and say, "I need you to pick up dd at 5:00 p.m. today."<br><br>
We're still figuring it out. Fortunately my back-to-work thing is only 3 days a week so the transition is not so bad.<br><br>
Btw, my dh was a lot like yours btw in regards to the empathy and patience issues you describe. What changed it was me having to go suddenly out of town to care for my sick mother for 10 days. Man did he ever rise to the challenge, and he's been much more involved and in tune with the kids ever since.
 

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When I went back to work after being a stay at home mom for almost three years I finally had to sit dh down and tell him straight out that I was now working full time and everything couldn't be on my shoulders. I still ended up doing more than half of the parenting but after the talk, things got better. And sometimes I just needed to stop helping him be lazy or forgetful. If I'd prepared dinner (or even just got take out) for a few days and he hadn't done anything, I'd come home and make sandwiches for myself and the kids. When he asked about his I informed him that I was not his mother, I was his wife. I told him that I was tired and just prepared something for the kids and myself since he didn't. Sometimes it pissed him off but it got my point across. You can't do everything yourself, let him know that.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>muttix2</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10769051"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">When I went back to work after being a stay at home mom for almost three years I finally had to sit dh down and tell him straight out that I was now working full time and everything couldn't be on my shoulders. I still ended up doing more than half of the parenting but after the talk, things got better. And sometimes I just needed to stop helping him be lazy or forgetful.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br><br>
With my DH I have been very lucky. He burnt out on his job just as I was gearing up to restart my career. There was a period of time where he was eased into the household by way of my student/internship responsibilities outside the home.<br><br>
So now he is the SAHP. I have been working for 1.5 months.<br><br>
This has changed the dynamic. Honestly, I do not think that any other arrangement would have changed that dynamic for us and the changes are still very gradual.<br><br>
I think that what you are experiencing is very very common. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you for the additional responses and comiseration!<br><br>
I think this comes down to a control issue and subsequently a planning issue for dh. DH is great when it comes to areas that are completely under his control -- he can control cleaning & cooking, for example. He's great at his job because he has the extra tools of a computer and PDA, so he can't forget anything. He holds a great, high level profession and is succesful. But he seems to have issues where flexibility is needed. What worked yesterday for the kids might not work today, and he doesn't seem to be innovative in his approach and problem solving. He also seems to have problems when it comes to understanding how important it is to think ahead and plan for it AND build in contigencies in case things don't fly the way he expects.<br><br>
I honestly don't think this is a lack of caring, but an inabilitly to really think along these lines - at minimum, it's definitely a lack of exposure to being fully responsible for the downside. I'm sure that if I took a week vacation, he'd be forced into re-evaluating how he approaches issues. But this wouldn't come naturally to him in an every day situation.<br><br>
Yesterday was a perfect example. It was my birthday, so he asked what I wanted to do for it last weekend.. Keeping it simple, I suggested that we go out for dinner and have a cake and presents. Tues comes and he's trying to figure out when to go shopping with the kids. So I said to play out the rest of the week -- when did he think it would work? He decided that Wed. he'd leave a little early from work and take the kids shopping. Then Wed. night, he's trying to figure out how to do the cake. I asked him if we had a cake mix in the pantry (he hadn't checked, but we did.) So, I suggested that it would be easier to bake the cake ahead of time - like maybe Thurs. night. He did this. Then on Friday, he went out at lunch to buy icing. So, Friday he tells me that he's going to get the kids a little early, come home, decorate the cake, then we could go out for dinner, come home and have cake and presents. Great! Except that he didn't get home with the kids until after 5 pm (got held up a little at work,) needed to wrap my gifts (forgotten element to have been built into the plan,) then was starting to get the cake ready for decorating (which the kids wanted to help with.) So, I look at the clock and say, "Even if we left for the restaurant right now, we wouldn't get home until about 7:30 -- and then we'd have to do cake and presents, and then it would be late for the kids bedtime. (Our kids REALLY need sleep - and get very cranky if the bedtime is pushed out too far - this is a KNOWN element.) He looked perplexed......so I suggested that we order a pizza, he could get the cake ready while we waiting for that, and then eat the pizza when it came, do presents and cake....and get the kids into bed at a normal time. Problem solved -- but a perfect example of how he wasn't thinking ahead enough to do the things he could have (bought the icing on Thurs, wrapped my gifts ahead of time) that would have still allowed us to go to the restaurant as planned. (As a side note -- I didn't really care that we missed going to the restaurant -- because it was more important that the kids were able to enjoy my birthday celebration as much as me!)<br><br>
And it's not that he doesn't care and want to make things work - he just can't seem to bring it together / work in contingencies / be flexible / do as much planning ahead of time that seems to be his nemesis. Maybe I shouldn't have bailed him out, but my birthday is the one day out of the year that I'd like things to be nice and easy on ME!<br><br>
Again - thank you for the responses because instead of being completely frustrated with our situation, I am now looking for ways to help him think ahead and plan.
 
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