November 07, 2011,
M.B. asks from Eugene, OR on November 04, 2011
Do I Expect Too Much from My Husband?
I am a stay at home mom to 3 kids, 5 1/2, 2 1/2, and 6 months. My husband and I decided that I would stay home when my 2nd child was born. When we discussed me staying home, we agreed to take more traditional roles when it came to the household. My job was to take care of the kids and clean the house. I also deal with all the school stuff, activities, finances etc. Well I soon learned that being a stay at home mom was A LOT more work than anticipated! I had a hard time keeping up with everything! I'm trying to get better, but being at home wasn't the fairy tale i saw in my mind :)
I keep struggling with the thought that my husband should help me more but then the other part of my brain tells me that I am at home and I should just stop whining and do my job. Know what I mean? He is a great Dad and does help with cooking. But he doesn't to ANY cleaning and there are things that need to be done around the house that I need him to do. But I keep asking and asking and he doesn't do it. He works 30-40 hours a week but is always paid for 40 hours (works the family business). I just wish that since I am working long hours at home that he would step up and work his full 40 hours plus maybe some overtime. we sure could use the money.
What do you think?
W.C. answers from Seattle on November 05, 2011
I remember when my kids were that age and I had made the same bargain with my husband. It seems like you will never catch up. It has a lot to do with the kids being the age that they are, you never having enough sleep, you never having enough time to think things through, and finally, the things that you do have time to clean and pick up never staying cleaned or picked up more that five minutes. Eventually it will get better, but it would be nice if you could get some more help from him.
Perhaps you could renegotiate the arrangement?
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R.D. answers from Richmond on November 04, 2011
I work from home, so I'm in your shoes PLUS some.
What works for us: a 'reset' button. When my husband gets home, he has 30 minutes uninterrupted 'wind down' time. After that, he takes over helping with the homework while I kick everyone out of the kitchen, put on some music, and cook and have a drink, uninterrupted, for 30 minutes.
It helps sooo much just to have that 30 minutes to clear your mind and get your head back on straight!!
You both work hard; you both deserve the break. Talk to him about it and try it for a week... I'll be EXTREMELY surprised if you both don't feel a whole lot better!!
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D.M. answers from Chicago on November 04, 2011
I too had fantasies of what being a stay at home mom would be like. My house would be spotless, homecooked meals everyday, I would be in peak physical shape, the kids and I would do exercise, science, music, art everyday - All with perfect hair and makeup, of course.
That said, I'm now home w three kids, drowning in laundry, dirty dishes, and dust bunnies. I weigh more now than ever, all our dinners come from the freezer and the kids? I'm not even sure where they are right now (j/k).
I get overwhelmed and I feel like everytime I say anything, his standard answer is simply "ok, get a job". Not sure how that would solve anything. Would I magically get a chef and cleaning lady? No. But it does sort of snap me out of my funk.
So what I've kind of settled on is this: I take care of the day to day stuff (laundry, dishes, carting kids around, bills, groceries, etc) but I expect him to help with anything above and beyond that. And I've had to stress to him I'm not HIS mommy. I'm not cleaning up after him. He can put his own dishes in the sink, clean up his own garbage. I fold his laundry, but he has to put it away. And if we're having a party or something, I'm learning it's ok to ask him to help clean/prepare.
You'll have to find what works with you two, but hopefully it helps to know you're not alone. Besides, if you had it all together you would be bored, right? ; )
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R.J. answers from Seattle on November 04, 2011
Okay... you know how easy you THOUGHT it was going to be?
That's how easy your husband THINKS IT IS.
I'm sure you had people tell you different, before you actually did it, but you obviously believed them as much as your husband believes you. Meaning, I'm sure you believed them to a degree, but NOT to the degree that it is actually the case.
Unless he does it himself, he's probably never going to understand. Nor help.
Back when my marriage was good, I lost it. I FINALLY got it through to my husband this way
"It's not fair that you get a 2 day weekend, and I get a 0 day weekend."
"But you're HOME."
"But HOME is my job."
So we started trading days. We EACH got a one day weekend. I got to sleep in until I woke up, and then LEFT THE HOUSE.
First Sunday: I came rushing home when he called
Second Sunday; I answered all his phonecalls (at least 3 an hour, sometimes once every 2 minutes), all begging me to come home, or wanting to know things like "Where's the laundry soap?" (really???)
Third Sunday; I shut my phone off (and came home to a very angry man... and told him I was switching my day to saturday, because if I was going to be called into work all day long, then my weekend day would be the next day)
Fourth saturday; he decided to "show me" by having the house sparkling. He was on his hands and knees in the kitchen with a screaming baby and the house a tornado crying.
Fifth saturday he STARTED to get into the swing of things.
For the next three years I NEVER HEARD HIS 8 HOUR DAY COMPARED TO MY 14 HOUR DAY EVER AGAIN.
Not until our marriage hit the rocks and he stopped watching our son and taking care of the house once a week did I become "lazy" in his mind, and the comparison of my job v your job started coming up again. Don't get me wrong... by this time he KNEW how hard my job was... but for his own reasons CHOSE to be a jerk.
ALL of the things I do for him aside from take care of our child and clean up after him, if he was a single man, he'd have to do his durn self... JUST LIKE OTHER SINGLE MEN. There is no one washing their clothes, picking up after them, buying and cooking their food. These are not tasks that don't happen without a wife. These are LIVING tasks. If someone ISN'T grateful that you're doing those things for them... BIG RED FLAG.
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K.P. answers from New York on November 04, 2011
Like any other contractual agreement, if it's not working then it's time to revisit the terms.
I would suggest listing out everything that you do in a day. For a good two weeks write down a daily agenda of "what you do and when". Then take a look at any adjustments YOU can make to your daily activities. Take a look at what is getting done after 6:00 pm. Are those things he would want to help with? Are there some things that you are doing during the day that could be done in the evenings?
Then talk with him about it. Be honest and let him know that this is much more work than you anticipated and that you need his help. Ask him which chores/activities he would be able to take-on himself. Then leave those chores to him. If he volunteers to be the one who put the folded laundry away and it doesn't get done... let it go. I know that's tough, but if you step in and do it then you aren't helping yourself in any way.
As for working overtime, is that an option that really makes sense? If he's working longer hours, that doesn't help you at home and may actually put more pressure on you to do things by yourself.
If you want him to work longer hours and make more money, then don't bring up the "oh- and you need to help me more too" thing for a while. One or the other. Ask yourself which is more important right now.
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S.B. answers from Houston on November 04, 2011
Well if he is working 30 to 40 hours a week, then you need to "knock of" What I mean is after a certain time in the evening if he says something say "I'm sorry, I will have to do that tomorrow, I'm off. I did this to my husband and he was like "what do you mean your off"? Well, I said, "you told me this was my job. You don't pay overtime so I'm not working overtime". I have also told my husband "I don't work for you and if I did, you couldn't afford me!" They get it!
Personally, I don't feel like I have to justify my worth. If I say I need help then I need help. I am not going to write down everythig I do and then negotiate agan. This is a family and I am asking for help.
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K.F. answers from Salinas on November 04, 2011
Ahhh the post below, such a breath of fresh air. A man that can handle a SAHM's job so easily and expects sugar and honey with each household request. Of course being pleasant and respecting your husband is better that ragging or barking out orders but if he is only working 30-40 hours a week and doing little else I can imagine your frustration.
I have done both, professional with no kids and SAHM. I now run 2 small businesses and take care of most everything else with a huge amount of help from my husband who works outside the home 35-40 hours per week. The absolute toughest time in my life (also one of the best times) was having two small children along with all the other home responsibilities. To do it well, the way my family wanted to do it, I needed help from hubby. Sure, I could take care of everything myself if needed but did I have time to be the Mom I wanted to be?
The extra time I had due to having an engaged and involved Papa was used in ways that I feel as so very important to developing kids. I breastfed both up to 2 years, read to them every single day, took them on long walks, volunteered at their schools, cooked homemade meals, did art projects, had playdates, let them "help" with household chores and had a positive attitude (most of the time ;) because I was getting help with the 24 hour a day job that providing the basics to young children requires.
It just depends on what kind of family you want. We wanted everything and that means a 40 hour work week for either parent is just not possible. Make a new family plan based on what you know now. My daughters are 9 & 13 now and I am so glad we did things the way we did. They are A students, with great attitudes, lots of friends, involved in activities, love to read etc. Best of all they both have an incredible relationship with their Dad who was very involved from the minute they were born. Parenting is not a job where you can divide up the responsibilities and be done with it, it's a process and development of relationships that will last a lifetime and it takes a whole lot more than 40 hours per week.
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A.R. answers from Houston on November 04, 2011
My husband stays at home with our little one while I work full time. I do not leave him to do it all since it's not fair. Realistically we both work full time so we both split the housework as evenly as we can. He can't do it all nor do I expect him to. Besides if I don't pitch in, then we get less family play time which means we all lose. Sounds like it's time to talk to your husband so your family can find a better balance.
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B.C. answers from Los Angeles on November 04, 2011
Each man is different. Just like each woman is different.
Before we got married, my wife asked that I graduate college and get a good enough job so she could be a SAHM. I did and she did. She is a really good SAHM. She does and excellent job and always has. I do some things around the home better than she does, and she does most things around the home better than I do.
But I was a manager of 52 prima donnas and 52 holier than thou's and a couple of hundred, "If you were as good as I am, you'd be doing my job."
I bought my wife some airline tickets, for her birthday, so she could go home and visit her parents. She hadn't been home to visit them for several years. I ended up watching 7 kids for 10 days over the Thanksgiving holiday. I found being a SAHD much easier than my job.
I find that if my wife wants me to do something, I am much more willing if she asks with sugar and honey, rather than p*ss and vinegar.
I've read the first 13 posts and it seems there are more people telling and demanding and saying it with p*ss and vinegar, rather than being sweet and kind and asking (!!!) with sugar and honey.
There are some things I just hate to do, like washing dishes. There are somethings I do really well and don't mind doing at all. Laundry, putting the clothes on our solar clothes dryer, cooking, shopping, gardening, feeding the animals carrying the garbage out. I repair things really well and manage kids really well.
Sugggestion: make a list of the things you want help with. (I would include a massage if that pleases you.) Ask him to pick two or three things to take responsibility for. Let him choose and let him do it. Reward him when he does them.
Good luck to you and yours.
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