T.J. asks from Rockville, MD on June 11, 2009
Division of Labor
I am a SAHM with a wonderful 15.5 month old son. Since my son has been born, I have spent a total of 6 hours away from him. My husband acts like he is totally out of control when it comes to taking care of our son. He comes home from work and cannot pay attention to the baby for more than 10-15 minute spurts before he is on the phone or reading the newspaper (this happens all weekend too). This becomes particularly dangerous if I am in the kitchen making dinner and our son is trying to get my attention. I get up with him every morning, even on weekends, I make his breakfast, lunch, dinner (we do eat out a lot b/c I am totally done by the end of the day), I give him a bath 9 times out of 10, put him to bed, get up with him in the middle of the night, etc. I realize I am venting a little, but what do your husbands do to help you and how did you come to this agreement. I did in fact make my wishes known about child rearing before we were married...seems he has forgotten my stance. I just feel REALLY angry and I am unable to talk to my husband about this any further without just blowing my top.
I do not feel comfortable with his parents babysitting while we go out because his mother has serious health issues that she basically refuses to address and his dad just aloof also. My mother lives about 2 hours away and I have not found any new mom friends yet that I may trust with my only son! I know I need a break, I just do not know how to get it.
Thanks for listening moms!
2 moms found this helpful
A.C. answers from Washington DC on June 12, 2009
Hi - I was going to write all this advice, but Kristin seemed to say it all- I wholeheartedly agree with her- she hit it all right on the head! Good luck!
V.D. answers from Washington DC on June 12, 2009
Hey there, I have been through similar situations with my husband (we've been married 14 years and have 3 boys, ages 2, 3, 5!!).
You have to (calmly when you're not pissed or resentful) just tell your husband that you are ------blank (overwhelmed, tired, whatever it is) and that you need him to do -----blank (be specific! If you leave it up to him, he won't do anything!).
Our deal is that my husband watches the boys while I make dinner (I actually like to cook). He takes them outside or downstairs so I can cook him peace and safety. Once a week he gives them a bath instead of me. (He is also a SAHD who works from home, so he does a ton!!)
Men are action-oriented. Give them a problem and they will solve it. Women are emotion-oriented. We nurture, feel, and are concerned with how others are "feeling". Men really are different. They need specific guidelines on what to do when and how to "fix" things. So be bold, tell him what the problem is, and what HE can do to HELP!!
God bless, best wishes!!
1 mom found this helpful
J.B. answers from Washington DC on June 12, 2009
Hi T.- girl you are not alone! I totally agree with the posters who said your best course of action is to give instruction to your husband. my dear, dear husband will come home from work and watch TV- decompressing after his oh so busy day, while i run around fixing dinner for us all, letting the dog out, cleaning the kitchen, folding laundry, keeping children away from stoves... etcetcetc. :) He will watch me, and i don't think he's particularly cruel or a bad father- he just thinks i have it under control. Since he doesn't know i need help unless i make it VERY clear, i have to spell it out. I know, it'a annoying. but it works. "Honey, can you take the baby outside for a walk around the block while i make dinner- maybe for 10 minutes?" or "honey, go take the baby up and change his pants and then play with him and some crayons for 20 min so I can get this laundry folded." "sweety, I need an hour to take a shower- please take the baby outside to play"
Give a specific activity, a time, and a reason why it needs to be done. He'll start to catch on. Now i just have to give my husband a look (not even a mean one) and he jumps right up. He's definitely not good for longer than 20 min, but i've given him enough "tasks" over the past year that he can survive a few hours with the baby, and has even done a whole day. You husband may just not feel confident, and feels that you have it all under control. he's probably not TRYING to be a jerk, but you have to spell it out what you need from him and HOW he can help you. :) good luck!
K.L. answers from Washington DC on June 11, 2009
First I want to say, this is totally normal! In your situation as a SAHM, you hubby probably argues "well, you don't work. I need a break after I get off work." Most men feel like this. They are very wrong. I am a nanny, so I take my 13 mos old son to work with me and I care for an 11 mos old, 3 yr old and 5 yrs old.
I, like you, was uncomfortable with leaving my son, but I had to get over it. I did it gradually. I started by going to get my nails done or to buy a few things at the store. I also started while my son was napping and I knew it wasn't going to be much for someone else to "deal with". My husband wasn't comfortable being alone with our son for more than an hour or two, and part of that had to be nap time. However, he's since gotten over that. I started leaving the baby with my husband for longer periods of time.
Let me just tell you, my husband has a whole new respect for me and what I do as a mother, wife and nanny! He admitted after spending an 8 hr day with our son (who mind you naps for 1-2 hrs in the morning and another 2-4 hrs in the afternoon) that it was absolutely exhausting to take care of and entertain the baby all day...Well Duh!
We live with my in-laws, but I am not comfortable letting my MIL babysit unless my son is asleep most of the time because she doesn't have the patience to deal with him (and recently she's been going thru medical issues and can't watch him). My parents only live 20 mins away, but in order for them to watch him we have to take him to their house (that will change soon as my husband and I are buying a house this summer).
My son has spent the night at my parents house twice, and is going to spend the night there tomorrow night. My hubby and I understand how important it is for us to have a break from the baby and to be together just us.
It does get easier the more you leave the baby. And it gets easier when they are older and more predictable. My son is 13 mos and I can tell someone exactly when he is going to need to eat, sleep and be changed.
In my experience as a childcare provider, the longer you wait to start allowing others to care for the child, the harder it is on you and the child.
Is it possible for you to find a babysitter (I use craigslist to find babysitting jobs) and have her come over when you are going to be home for a couple hours. This way you and your child can get to know the sitter, she can get to know your child. The comfort and trust will grow from there. Before you know it, occasional freedom will be a phone call away.
A.R. answers from Washington DC on June 12, 2009
I understand your anger very well.
I have a 2 year old and very soon I will have another baby. Fortunately my husband and I work alternate schedules so that he is forced into the Mr. Mom position very frequently. This makes things a lot easier.
He loves to take care of Klausi now, so I have more time to get household chores done. I wished he would do more around the house but he is trying.
Bonding time is probably something that your hubby could use with your little one. Maybe he feels a little insecure about taking care of your boy, because you seem so proficient at it and he is afraid to fail or make mistakes.
How about if you would spend a day with your girlfriends or family on a weekend and just inform him: I am going away for a few hours. You two have fun! Maybe you guys can go to the playground or something!
The trick is to make it through the door and into the car before he catches up with you and leave quickly before he can talk you out of it.
He will be very scared at first but you will see that the two of them will be closer when you come back and next time it won't be such a big deal. It would be the best if the two of them could have a few hours together on every weekend. It would also give you a break to do what ever you need or want to do.
It would give your husband the feeling that he is a good father and that he is doing a great job with his son.
Just don't critizise him when you come home and he didn't do things right or your kid got muddy, etc. Let them have fun and "male bonding" together.
Your kid will also profit from it and start looking forward to spending time with his Daddy.
If things get tough and you both really need a break, get a babysitter. I am going to do that, too, because I have the feeling I will really need one! ;-)
S.G. answers from Lynchburg on June 12, 2009
I know what you mean! I spent what seemed like forever trapped in my house with my four kids. I had my first three in five years and my fourth four years later. The key is to take care of mama.
If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else for long. It sounds like you are not taking great care of your marriage either. It sounds a little to me like your husband has detached from you and your son. Maybe he feels like there is no room for him in your life? The most important lesson we can teach our children is that you have to take care of yourself. I know the thought is terrifying but there are other people who can take care of a child for a few hours. I had the same issue with my in-laws that you have - in fact, we lost my mother in law last year at age 52 because she would not address her health. I actually did not allow my in-laws alone with my children for almost ten years! Anyway, there are always a few home daycare centers that are licensed that will keep children on occasion in the evening. Date your husband. Spend time alone with him and focus on each other for at least a few hours a week. I promise you, if he feels involved, he will be more willing to help with things. When he does things to help, reward him. Make sure he knows that every little bit helps. My kids think it is the grossest thing in the world that my husband and I "pay" each other with a kiss and a little snuggle but we both feel loved. If you need to, bribe him with "I'll pay you later" and make sure it is worth his while. Your baby will be much happier with a happy and loving mommy and daddy than to be stuck at home with unsatisfied parents!
Best wishes, S.
E.K. answers from Washington DC on June 15, 2009
I feel you anger. The only way that I could get time for me when my kids were younger was to schedule some time every week for me. Let him know in advance that you have someplace to be and he needs to watch the baby for a bit. You will probably be surprised at the difference in both of you. You only need to go for a walk, go to the mall, meet up with some friends for an hour or two. Most first time Dad's don't want to much b/c they feel like they are not Mom, not realizing that the kids need Dad's unique playtime too.
K. answers from Washington DC on June 12, 2009
Wow! Been there and done that. What saved my life when I moved here, away from my family and friends, was "The Mom's Club".They have meetings and events and resources that will be fun and offer you the chance to make new friends in your area. You can find a local branch though their website www.momsclubinternational.com. As for the husband, try writing down every move you make during a normal day and showing him how much you actually do for him and your child. There is no such thing as an equal division of labor, especially for SAHM's. But at least he will see why you are so tired and feeling as if you are doing everything for everyone. You may have to delegate some chores to him. Remember, if his dad was uninvolved in raising him, he is following the only example he knows. I wish you luck..........
C.S. answers from Washington DC on June 12, 2009
Hi T., I think what you're feeling is a really common thing. In fact, a recent issue of Parenting magazine had a long article about how much anger women feel inside because of these exact issues. Here is a link to the article, "Mad at Dad": http://www.parenting.com/article/Mom/Relationships/Mad-at...
I don't know if many husbands really do appreciate just how much we do from first thing in the morning till the baby goes to bed (and then getting up at night). I don't think they wrap their heads around it. If you can, try to carve out some weekend time for yourself. Your husband should agree to take your son for a couple of hours at least so that you can have some time for yourself. It's only fair -- he is your partner in parenting. It's a reasonable request for you to make of him. Maybe showing him the article (or some other 3rd party info about this issue) might help. Maybe present things to him as a choice like, "Would you like to bathe the baby tonight or feed him his dinner?" Let him choose what he wants to do, as long as he takes over something and takes it off your hands.
Bringing this stuff up with your husband might cause a fight, but for your own sanity it's probably a fight worth having. Every mom needs support. Best of luck!