March 18, 2008,
S.B. asks from Lexington, KY on October 20, 2006
Frustrated with My Husband Not Helping
I'm starting to get frustrated with my husband's unwillingness to help me out with the baby every night. He doesn't seem to understand that I'm with her all day, and sometimes get frustrated when my daughter is fussy. He acts like it's a big deal that she's crying, but never once offers to take her off my hands. When I do ask, he acts like it's a big chore. I can understand he's had a long day at work, but I feel like he could at least help a teensy bit more, especially on the weekends. I'm starting to feel resentment towards him because while I'm busy dealing with a fussy 2 month old, he's going about his merry buisiness doing whatever he pleases.(sleeping, video games,reading,painting...)Meanwhile, I'm getting more and more frustrated with him and my daughter's picking up on it, which is making her fuss more. Just once I'd like him to offer on his own to take her so I can get some good rest or do something relaxing I enjoy doing. I feel like it's driving a wedge between us, becasue every time I try to talk to him about it, I end up blowing up and then feeling guilty about it. It feels like a vicious, never ending cycle. Any suggestions would be wonderful.....
So What Happened?™
Thank you everyone for all of the wonderful advice and support. It's nice to know I'm not alone on this. As for my husband, we haven't actually sat down and talked, but I have thrown out little hints here and there to let him know how hard I work every day. He seems to have gotten the hint, and has been quite helpful since I've posted this. One night he actually offered to put the baby to bed for me, and he's actually been asking if he can help or if I need a break when the baby's fussy, and even sometimes when she's not. Things have been a lot less stressful now that he's gotten a clue....
T.J. answers from Waterloo on October 29, 2006
For some reason, men seem to think that being a stay at home mom is not a job. Like all we do is sit around watching soap operas and eating bon bons! There probably isn't a man on this earth that could handle this job! It's hard enough to be cooped up in the house day after day, taking care of the house, meals and the kids. You definitely need to sit him down and school him on the way it is. Challenge him to try doing what you do for a day or two, and I'll bet he changes his tune! This is his child too, and should not be considered babysitting. Regardless, you need to take the baby to Mom's or someone else that you trust, and do something just for you.
M.J. answers from Indianapolis on October 22, 2006
Sounds like you have lots of advice to consider, so I will make mine brief. Praise is the secret to life. When was the last time you said: "I really appreciate all you are doing to work for our family. Thanks for paying the bills for us." Or anything that you really love about him. Men want to be respected and appreciated for all they are trying to do. Most feel a wee bit awkward with a new baby, but some are naturals. I would fix him a nice dinner and then just calmly ask him if you could schedule a time for yourself, to grocery shop, to meet a friend for lunch. But the secret to being loved is to show a man the respect he craves, something our society has totally lost. We are into demeaning one another and countless put downs. Don't go there. Keep your marriage healthy and happy. You'll never regret working on this relationship and it does take work. If you have a Bible, please look up Ephesians 5 and read the chapter. You know when all else fails, read the directions. God's directions for marriage work everytime.
God Bless you,
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J.C. answers from Fort Wayne on October 21, 2006
This is a stage, so don't worry. Every new mother has certain expectations about their husbands and they are just not how it is in the real world. Here's the thing. The guys will never understand that we really do keep busy most of the day with the kids when we are a stay at home mom. Now, I honestly feel that the house and the kids are my "job" since I don't work outside the home, so I don't have my husband give baths, make dinners, things like that. This is something that took me a long time to come to realize though. It's just easier to look at it this way because it doesn't make it seem so upsetting. The thing I believe about men is that they simply don't know how to help. They don't have that thinking when it comes to kids on what needs to be done and what the baby may need or want. If the baby's crying, they have no idea why and they don't know what to do to make them stop. If you tell your husband specifically what to do, I'm sure he would probably do it for you. Try not to expect him to offer help though, because he just doesn't know what to offer as help. Plus, during the first year of a child's life, a lot of fathers don't seem to be involved with them. Well, we as mothers can sit and hold a baby and be totally content for long periods of time. A man is normally not that way though. They will hold the baby for you and then think "okay, now what?" The baby doesn't play, so that's out, it can't talk, so conversations are out, so what are they supposed to do with it now that they have it? That's what a lot of men's problem is. So, that first year is the hardest for new mothers. They want help and their husbands aren't offering any. If I want my husband to do something, I've learned that I just have to ask. If I wait for him to do things that, in my opinion, are just obvious things, then I'm setting myself up to get pissed off at him, and the truth of the matter is that he didn't even do anything for me to get mad at, he just simply doesn't see the things like we do. So, try to cut him some slack, it will be so much better for both of you. If you need a diaper or bottle or whatever it may be, just ask him. If you're in the middle of changing the baby and he spits up, don't expect him to get you something...ask for it. He probably won't get you anything because he won't know what you need. They just aren't built like women when it comes to kids. Hang in there because it DOES get better. For now, just enjoy that first year or two because once it's gone, it's gone and if you didn't enjoy it as much as possible, you'll feel like you missed out on it because you were frustrated most of the time. It's what happened to me with my first child.
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N.H. answers from Indianapolis on October 24, 2006
My name is N. and I do understand what you are going through. I feel that my husband is the same way. I am at home all day, with no child but we get my stepdaughter on the weekends. Let me tell you. I get so frustrated almost EVERY weekend because my husband is "tired" and "its his only time for rest" but who is the one that is being a parent to Grace,4.
It is really hard and I tell him that on the weekends that we have to do activities that consist of all 3 of us, not just me and Grace. He use to get irritated when I brought it up but now he seems to look forward to it. I also do understand about the chores around the house. That is something that really makes me feel unappreciated when I ask him to do the simplest things he starts to say, "I worked all day and you are here at home." I just get tired. I know it sounds bad but there are times I just don't clean on purpose and then he'll start doing it himself. I just sit back.lol. I do love my husband but I also dont think they will eber get it. I would suggest that one day that he isn't working to just get dressed and take an hour to get out and before you go put your daughter in his arms and say I'll see you in an hour!
K.M. answers from Indianapolis on October 24, 2006
My husband and I went through the same thing. I too felt guilty. Finally after me blowing up for the millionth (it seems) time. I told him that either he helped me. . . or I would go somewhere where I could get help. (I have twins) but twins or not, you need a break. Hire a babysitter or ask a friend (they will understand esp if they have kids. . .and probably feel great that you were comfortable enough to ask). . .and give yourself a night out. Go get a pedicure, go out to dinner with a friend, etc. even if it is only for an hour or so. Leave him at home by himself. It is such a big chore for him then let someone else do it. I did this and my husband was so offended that I took our kids to someone else to watch when he was home. I explained the being home all day with them etc and I needed a break so I found someone who I thought WANTED to watch the kids and took my much needed break. He was so worried that others would think he was a bad dad that he has started offering to watch the kids when I want to go get a pedi. etc.
He is getting better. . . but he will never OFFER. I thought that too. You have to ask and TRY to look past the "it being such a chore" attitude. It is a chore!!! but you deserve a break too! He is the father and is VERY able to watch a 2 mo. old little girl. Plus, now is the time you need to establish daddy time. Sometimes they need a little prodding. He will get better as she gets older and more playful. Daddy's sometimes don't know what to do with something that doesn't know how to give back to them. Have faith that it will get better.
If you want to get together. I live in Westfield, I have 5 mo old twins, boy/girl. I am at home all day with my kids too, but work 2 nights a week at Carmel St. Vincent as Respiratory Therapist. Always looking for more friends to hang out with.
you can e-mail me at ____@____.com.
T.H. answers from Charleston on October 21, 2006
Men will be men LOL.. My husband is still yet to help me and my son is 4.. LOL.. I stay at home so he acts like because he works all day and i stay at home i have it good, just let ur hubby know that u need the help desperately and that u are very frustrated and tired and hopefully hed understand..
A.S. answers from Omaha on October 21, 2006
I have been there too. Well, Im still there actually. My husband went along with his normal day to day things and basically left me to do all of the baby care. iT is extremely frusterating, I know. My son is 9 months and Im expecting another in April and things still havent changed. So unfortuanalty we are separated. I dont want that to happen to you. My problem is that I didnt say anything and eventually I just blew up. The only thing I suggest is voicing your opinion.Yes, tell him you need time away from your house. Don't sugar coat things. Being a Mom is the hardest job Ive ever had. Maybe you both can take a parenting class together.I dont know if it would help, I just am trying to give you ideas. Hang in there sister, thngs will get better...until your baby starts getting teeth. I will keep you in my thoughts. God bless.
K.S. answers from Indianapolis on October 22, 2006
I KNOW HOW U FEEL. My husband works and I have stayed home for 18 months (and need to go back to work now.) and my husband has done that since the beginning when I even ask him to change a diaper, give a bath, etc. he says "I did it last time it is your turn!" or "can't I just come home and relax!" I didn't know as parents we had to take turns (and besides I ALWAYS change the diapers and give the baths so where does he get off!) I just want to scream, "You at least get an 8 hour break from us I would at least like 5 minutes!" I love our son and NEVER want him to feel unwanted so I try not to argue with him, but I suffered from Anxiety really bad after my c-section(I went into anaphylactic shock and almost died) and even then I had no escape. It was crying, holding, diaper changes, and not much sleep all day every day along with dealing with my mental status (for 7 months without treatment) and I had NO out. They just DON'T understand that as much as we love our babies and them, we still need our time at least every once in a while.
M.L. answers from Fort Wayne on October 21, 2006
My husband wanted to be involved with our daughter when she was born, just didn't really know how. Holding her, changing her, bathing her, didn't feel natural to him. It took him time to adjust. One evening I went out for some "me" time (I believe it was a Mother's night out with a local mommy group). It was difficult leaving my daughter behind with him knowing that he was still uncomfortable. It was the best thing that I could have done though. He had to call his dad for advise because Jordan wouldn't stop crying. He then began to realize what I went through day in and day out. He was finally the one responsible for figuring out if Jordan was wet, hungry, tired etc.
My first suggestion is definately find a local "mommy" group for support. It's great at this time in your life to make friends that you have something in common with. You also need to make time for yourself. Let your husband know that you're going out and he's responsible for the little one. Give him instructions you would give to a sitter (feeding time, bed time etc.) then leave things up to him. When you return, compliment him on whatever you can to compliment him on. Whatever you do, don't berate him for the things you feel he did incorrectly. Soon, he should start feeling more confident and sure of his parenting skills.