April 22, 2009,
K.C. asks from Conway, AR on April 18, 2009
Selfish Husband, I Need More Support but Can't Seem to Get It Through to Him...
I have been Married 6 years this month and we have a beautiful 5 month old girl who is the light of our lives. I work from home; I telecommute and literally need to put in an 8 hour day at my desk 5 days a week. We wanted to keep our daughter at home as long as we could- I would love to be a SAHM (I am the main bread winner- and we don't really have enough in the budget for full daycare). Currently I get up at 4 am to start my workday so that I can get some uninterrupted time in before our daughter wakes up. I often end up only getting 5 or 6 hours of my work day completed as she doesn't nap for very long (20 mins 2-4 times a day) and then I end up having to work on Saturday as well. She doesn't really like being in her bouncy seat in my office- she gets bored pretty quickly despite the cute hanging toys she has. I really feel like my husband has no concept of what my day is lke. I seem to always be waiting for her to nap so I can get some work done- thats not to say that I don't enjoy my daughter- I love spending time with her but it's sometimes bitter sweet because i am getting so sleep deprived. He is not interested in putting her to bed so that I can go to bed early. He even acts all put out if I ask him to take responsibility for her so I can work a couple hours afetr he comes home on weeknights. His excuse is that he has worked hard all day- and that leaves me flabbergasted- as I have tried to work all day long too- and tended to our infant daughter as well. I have tried to explain just how much I do all day and it's to the point now whenever I bring up that I need him to watch her more when he is home he gets all frustrated and angry. He made a comment this evening about not being able to take naps at work- and I had to tell him that every minute she naps i try to work at my computer- and that I don't nap during the day. I really think he has this idea that I just lounge around (i do laundry and other househodl chores as well as work and care for our little girl). I have never left her with him for the day as he does not want me to- so he has not seen how much effort it is to take care of a little one and do household chores (or work...) I have tried to say to him- "you don't want to be left with her because it will be quite a bit of work and you won't be able to do some of the things you want to do- well imagine trying to work 8 hours on top of that" but he doesn't put it together.. What should I do? how can I proceed?? My last car payment is in May and I will hopefully be able to afford part time daycare (which he is protesting) I think my husband and i would actually benefit greatly from some therapy- but he flatly refuses.
So What Happened?™
Thank you all for the support and encouragement. The day I posted this I pretty much blew up at my husband- I think he kinda realized I was angry and hurt and that it was affecting our marriage as whole. Each time I spoke with him after that we addressed some of the issues- in little mini-conversations. I think he could deal with the problem better that way. He has made some changes this week in the way he does things when he comes home from work - if he will keep it up it's already a big difference. Without me bringing it up he offered to stay home on Saturdays while I go do something- although he did ask- please don't stay away all day, I'm not sure I could handle that yet. This statement in and of itself helped me appreciate his position a little more- he doesn't usually admit to not being able to handle something, so it was a step away from the manly man image he tries to project. By no means is ths situation resolved but I feel like we've at least made a step in the right direction. With the few things we talked about, my husband tentatively asked me "are we good now?"- to which I responded no, of course. I'm glad he at least knows what's going on- I am sure it will be a work in progress but I think we have a good start. Oh- I think I read this in a couple of posts too- I have created this monster- I enable him. It was fun and made me all warm and fuzzy to do things for him when we were first married- now he expects it. I should have listend- someone wise told me before we got married- don't start off doing anything for him that you don't want to keep doing!
Thanks again ladies- I got the boost I needed to really address this with him, normally I would have brought it up once, and then dropped it when I didn't get the response I was looking for.
J.G. answers from Oklahoma City on April 18, 2009
I would get up one saturday or sunday morning, hand him the baby and say, it's your turn. When he goes to argue tell him you will be back tonight. Give him a kiss, kiss the baby and leave. Stay gone all day doing whatever it is you need to do. I had to do that with my ex husband b/c he never watched our kids and thought all I did was sit at home and nap with them. After I did that a couple times to him, he understood a little more. I am sure some of the women here aren't going to agree but you need to do something drastic to make him help and understand how hard it is. Good luck!
1 mom found this helpful
C.T. answers from Baton Rouge on April 19, 2009
Hi. I am a now 40 year old mom to a 6, 4, and 2 year old. Luckily I do not work, but nothing changed when I was working full-time--I still did everything, was sleep deprived, exhausted, and my husband would always get upset if I asked for help with the kids and said that he had had a hard day at work. Unfortunately, I don't have any advice for you! I can say that I know several women who have the same problem--and these guys are great guys, good dads, but they can't get over the "me's"--they are the most important. AFter getting extremely upset for about a year, we had an incident that led me to realize that he honestly doesn't think he is doing anything wrong, he does "need" his down time after work, and he is not trying to be "mean or hurtful" with his behavior. We have concluded that it is in their genetic makeup to be this way and you can maybe change a little of their behavior, but not enough to satisfy you. I started watching everybody loves raymond and he reminds me soooo much of my husband--he is loveable, but his selfishness is obvious which is just how he is--he doesn't try to be mean and doesn't realize what he is doing. I had to figure a way to work around him to make my life better which included naps on the weekend, watching other kids in the neighborhood for free so that they could reciprocate with mine, joining an all-hours healthclub so that I could work out after they go to sleep (which helps a lot with the exhaustion).
B.W. answers from Oklahoma City on April 19, 2009
Perhaps he needs to be having some father time with her more often, so that he gets an idea of how much work a baby is. It is obvious that he isn't too compassionate about your job duties as well as your motherhood duties. Even though he refuses marriage counseling, go yourself. It will help you formulate how to better deal with a husband who wants to have it all...... a wife who stays at home, cares for the kids and ALSO makes money. It is totally unrealistic of him and he needs an objective person telling him that. Also, why don't you offer to let him take the baby to his office for a day or two? How much work would he be able to get done? He really needs to grow up, he is a father now!
R.S. answers from Tulsa on April 19, 2009
I believe the only way to get empathy from a spouse is if they literally spend a day in your shoes. Would he be willing to switch places with you for just a day? I bet he wouldn't even make it through half a day and it would open his eyes to reality.
S.S. answers from Honolulu on April 22, 2009
I don't have any advice for the non-supportive husband so many women are having that battle in their marriages. As far as your daughter try to skip the first morning nap, entertain her a little more and keep her awake. When it homes time for her nap she should sleep a little long. Her taking short naps indicates that she is not completely ready for a nap. By extending the time between naps it should make he sleep longer. You can also try spacing out feedings a little longer or introducing cereal she may be waking up because she is hungry. I would skip the first nap when she shows evidence of getting sleeping sleeping give a warm bath (even doing the day it will relax her) then a bottle and rock her till she falls a sleep. She will be completely relaxed and should sleep longer.
M.B. answers from New Orleans on April 19, 2009
Make him watch her! Even if it's just while you run to the store. Men sometimes think we have no choice but to parent as a mom, they want to wait until the time is right for them. Stress bonding to your husband, he should have aone time with her to play and get to know her. All else fails do like I did simply remind him she was not created alone, and that you both wanted to be parents, it's time to step up. Good luck! this is a very common prob.
L.P. answers from Jonesboro on April 20, 2009
Wow. He kind of sounds like a cave man. My suggestion is to leave her with him for an entire saturday and give him a reality check. if that fails to work, either quit your job or put her in day care. He shouldn't be able to make decisions about daycare or you quiting if he is not participating in her raising.
C.G. answers from Huntsville on April 19, 2009
I think you need to tell your husband it's time to step up and BE her father (in a nicer way if you think he will get defensive if he thinks you are jumping on him).
I am guessing that he Wanted her here and that's why you 2 have her-he needs to take some responsibility for her.
I am (Thankfully) a SAHM but my husband had the same mindset-I work hard all day and you should have the baby ready for me to play with, dinner ready and house spotless...
I told him that our daughter WAS my job so -Imagine what it would be like if he were are work 24 hours/day 7 days/week and the only time he got away from his "job" was to take a poop!! :-) Of course after our girl started crawling that was out of the question too!
I said imagine if you got a call (like a Firefighter) and no matter what time it was he HAD to go-even if he'd just worked a 9 hour shift and they call at 2:00am.
(Our daughter is the best thing in our lives-after our marriage.)
I told him that if he didn't step up and be willing to do something other than hold her and change her (which he has always done :-). That we weren't ever going to have any kind of marriage. Also, that if the marriage isn't healthy and strong the child suffers most.
I felt it was time for him to decide how his future would be. If I was going to be our girl's sole caretaker, and didn't have energy for the fun married stuff-I might as well be single. That's how my future looked at the time and it scared him into action.
Now he keeps her for a little bit each week for me to run errands if needed and if we have to go someplace "big" on the weekends (Walmart, Sam's) we double team her or one of us keeps her and the other goes alone.
She is now 3 and an even bigger handful than as a baby (she is into Everything :-). Daddy is a much bigger help even though he works 8 hrs a day and has about a 40 minute commute 1 way.
I told him we needed to work on our marriage and that included trying to be sensitive to the other person's needs and we needed to be honest about what those were.
In short-Talk to him tell him how stressed/sleep deprived you are and if he wants the household to stay the way it is, You NEED him to help with the baby.
Also-is there a MDO program locally (some go during the summer) you can take your child? Most of them about 3 days/week for somewhere near 100 dollars/month.
I started our daughter in one of those when she was 2-my husband was skeptical about it at first, but then he stayed with her for a few hours on a Saturday for me to go to Walmart and when I got home he was singing a different tune ;-). Some weeks her days in MDO are the only days I can go to the store/get my haircut/see the Dr/dentist...
Also, if you want to tell him this-what will He do if You got so run down you got the FLU and he HAD to stay home and take care of your daughter b/c YOU Can't!!!
Just something for him to think about. I also told my hubby he needs to know how to take care of her (baths/bed time/making meals for her/how to make her juice etc...) in case I fell and broke my leg it would probably be a week or more before I could do stuff again..Plus you need some time just for You-I Promise if you get it (even if it's just 20 minutes a couple of times/week ) You will be a better Mom and Wife!
I hope this helps-sorry it is "rambly" I just get irritated at men who think being a Mom full-time is "easy" and act like their wives sit around home all day and eat bon bons or some such b/c they can't see them. :-)
Good Luck let us know what happens ok?
J.M. answers from Fayetteville on April 19, 2009
Hello, My name is Katherine. The only thing I can say is hang in there. My husband was the same way. I am blessed to be a stay at home mom but we all need breaks and a support system. My husband was at the bars pretty much the first year our daughter was born. Just don't think you have to do it all. Meaning the laundry can wait, and your haouse doesn't have to be the cleanest house on the block. Im in a moms group and they help out a lot. They were my support system. Maybe you could look one up in your area. That might help out and don't forget to pray. That's what got me thru this year so far. Our daughter is going on 17 months now and it's just now getting better. So, like I said earlier just hand in there it gets better.
C.P. answers from Little Rock on April 19, 2009
Wow reading this was like rehashing the first year of marriage for me. Sad to say his selfishness led to our divorce. We were both in our mid thirties and just married and had a baby. We were tight and best of friends,or so I thought, until one day I started asking for help. We both worked full time outside of the home at industrial type jobs while babe in daycare. My thing was I had no time to look nice while getting myself and the baby ready for work. Plus I was never in mood for sex in the evenings cuz I'd fall asleep on couch due to the fact when I got home I had to cook, clean house, and take care of the baby. When I started to demand equality he started spend time outside of the home and our mornings became screaming battles. Next thing I knew he had himself a girlfriend and we got seperated then divorced because I couldn't see past the affair and his selfishness. Now what I say to you is this... What I wish I knew then is the Love Dare. I highly recommend it because it may save your marriage. When there is a case of uneven yokes in a marriage one usually bails or becomes severely depressed. That's why the Bible speaks of being equally yoked in a marriage.
A.D. answers from Pine Bluff on April 20, 2009
That burns me up! Probably because I have one at home who thinks that because he does physical labor at work and I do desk work that he has the right to sit around, have a few beers, watch TV, eat, and fall asleep just about every night. :> He is pretty good with keeping our DD, but I just got back yesterday from a girls' weekend and found out she spent the night at my MIL's on Sat. ?! Same child I have kept without "help" when he took a week to go hunting, traveled 1 to 2 weeks far away, etc. Urgh.
Anyway, this is not about me, LOL. I, too, suggest starting to get away. Here are the steps you can do so that it's more gradual and he doesn't freak:
1 - "Spontaneously" decide that you need something at the store. Tell him "no thanks" if he offers to go for you - you need to "get a little fresh air!" - and stay gone 30 min to an hour.
2 - Plan a lunch or something with your mom/sis/girlfriend(s). Something that will take 2-3 hours if you eat and then sit around talking or whatever.
3 - Take an afternoon to go shopping - get an outfit or just window shop. Take longer than #2 but not all day. I like going to bookstores and hanging out, or a coffee shop, scrapbook store...anything that interests YOU!
4 - Nighttime event for you. Go to the movies with a friend, or to a concert - where he puts DD to bed! Let him know the routine (or have him help a few times) so that he's not totally clueless.
5 - Overnight - get some girls together for a moms' getaway. If possible, make it OUT OF TOWN. =:)
6 - Continue doing ALL these things, rotating until he gets used to the fact that YOU have rights, too!
If he calls your cell too much, which wouldn't totally surprise me, you may have to be like, 'Oops, I didn't hear your call' or 'I didn't have a good signal for a bit, there'. He's not going to die, and neither is your DD!
A.P. answers from Birmingham on April 20, 2009
well, first of all, good luck. i can definitely speak from experience on this one. with our first daughter, it was no problem. we worked different shifts, so he HAD to take care of her at night while i worked. 9 years later with our son, i was expecting the same kind of help. he didn't want another one (already had 2 from his first marriage, plus our 1 together), but after 9 years we finally had our son. for the first 4-5 months, he wouldn't touch him or lift a finger to help. i stayed home for 4 months, instead of the normal 3 due to changes at work. i developed tendonitis in both wrists and two cases of 'trigger thumb' in both hands when i attempted to go back to work (computers) and then take care of the baby all night by myself. he finally came around at about 5 months, when the baby really started showing a personality and he loves him to death. unfortunately the damage is already done on my hands, they will NEVER be the same, and i still do most of the taking care of the baby. so, all that being said, don't wait till it's too late. i figured i would just make it thru and it would get easier, but only halfway being able to use my hands was a curve i wasn't expecting.
C.T. answers from Little Rock on April 19, 2009
Leave him alone with her for a few hours. 1 - you need your "me" time anyway and 2 - he needs an awakening and the only way he will get it if he is held responsible for HIS child as a parent. He really doesn't have a clue at all. We, as mothers tend to want to hold on to that mother role so it is difficult for us to let our husbands have more responsibility. We also tend to fear they wont do it right. You can't let those thoughts take over and just leave even if he doesn't want you to. You have to let him taste it so he will have a better understanding of how it is for you.
It sounds like he is afraid of being a parent or doesn't fully grasp the concept of what a father's role is supposed to be (at least in today's society). If he protests so much about helping out with your daugther you could always tell him if he can't help with her then he needs to get another job to help more financially because you are going to fall apart trying to manage too much family responsibility on your own.
Also, your household chores need to decrease. I would stop doing the laundry and dishes etc. so my work could get done. There is nothing keeping him from doing those things as well. You might be working at home but you ARE working. You just don't have the luxury of leaving the house to do that work. If you happen to have time ot get that stuff done then great but work and baby comes first.
My daughter is two months older than yours and has been sitting up on her own. She prefers the floor over her bouncy now too. Maybe you could get her a baby gate area for your office so you can put toys on a blanket on the floor and she will be more occupied that way too. Mine will pay for hours on the floor where she would tire of her bouncy fairly quickly.
S.C. answers from Mobile on April 19, 2009
Having a child is a huge life change -- and you can't take on all the change and responsibility yourself. If you both have to work than you both need to share equally with child care (my husband and I did it from the beginning -- we both worked and while I was at work he watched our little one). Now we have two and I work from home and I still depend on my husband to take the kids while I get some work done. He is a much more interested and hands on dad because of it -- and enjoys them so much. It is a lot of work and he is not always happy to take the kids all day -- but he definitely likes getting the pay check and understands how hard it is to do anything while watching the kids.
Your husband needs a wake up call because it is not going to get easier-- as the baby becomes more mobile and more vocal, you will not have a moment of peace. For your sanity and the stability of the home your husband needs to contribute. I think the only way he will understand is to walk in your shoes -- you have to start leaving the baby in his care. Nothing gives you backbone like becoming a mother. Just let him know one day -- New Rules! -- Spell out your needs (clear enough for a caveman) and stick to them (if you need a few hours at night or on Saturdays, help with the housework, whatever). Pump him up, tell him you need him to be your hero -- superdad, tell him how much your daughter loves her special time with him (which is so true).
Sometimes it is like we have a another child to deal with -- but my experience is that they want to do the right thing and be great dads and husbands--but they are selfish (we all are but moms are forced to forget themselves and look at the big picture --so it is very irritating when you have a child and a husband always saying "what about me"). Anyway, good luck! Life is such a struggle if your partner doesn't help but actually makes things harder -- this is how love gets sucked out of a marriage!
Hey, here's an idea (leave the computer on this page, let him read it, then hash it all out over a dinner out, without the baby).
I'll be thinking about you,
A.M. answers from Oklahoma City on April 22, 2009
I have a wonderful 4 month old and have dealt with that also on and off. I work in the office 3 days a week and am at home the other 4 with our son. My husband would only get to see our son in the evening when he would help put him to bed, of course he was fussy and tired, which made it harder to bond. I reached the breaking point when my husband would want to go out with friends after putting our son to bed with me and I called his parents crying. I told them I was sorry but I was going to get an apartment and I was doing everything myself and I might as well be on my own. If my husband didn't want to do much then fine. He could come visit us at the apartment (separated not divorced) and leave when he felt like he was tired of the responsibilities. (My Mom and his Mom help take care of our son when I am at work). His parents drove an hour and a half and had a talk with him. Things changed right away. Once he thought about what it would be like without us, he realized that you can't have the fun without any of the responsibilities. Of course I was at a breaking point.
A.H. answers from Birmingham on April 20, 2009
We are living the same life, just at different speeds. My daughter is now 8. My husband and I went to therapy.
Nothing changed. He does what he wants, when he wants. If you are the main breadwinner and can afford to have him leave, get rid of him now. He is not going to change. Even if you did go to therapy, he might, might, change for a little bit, but his old habits will creep back in. I call them habits because that is what they are. If he really wanted to change, he would.
Sorry to sound so harsh, but I am speaking from experience, he won't change, you do not want to live in an unhappy marriage. That is more damaging to a child than a divorce. Don't worry, he will not have your daughter often enough to hurt her in any way. It takes effort and commitment to stay in your childs life. He is lazy, he won't do it. In fact, if you tell him to leave, he will cry and beg and promise to change, but he won't. All he is really worried about is the fact that his source of money, housecleaning, and childcare is gone.
Get rid of him before your self esteem is destroyed.
D.H. answers from Fayetteville on April 19, 2009
I suppose dropping your child off at work to him is not an option, eh?
Keep in mind that this is all new (for both of you), you are hormone wild, sleep deprived and stressed and men sometimes take a while to come around to being an active caregiver. He might just need extra guidance and proding. He might be scared to be alone or afraid he will do something wrong. My hubby wasn't keen on keeping our daughter for about the first 18 months. Now that she can talk to him and they can 'do' things together, he keeps her often so that I can go to shoping alone (heaven!)or Girl's night. A child saying "Daddy, I love you" is a powerful thing.
Try making a schedule where he is in charge of putting her down 3 nights a week and dividing other chores up. One of my friends has Free Night each week. On Wednesdays, her hubby is free, doesn't even have to come home, but if he does, he is off duty except for good night kisses. On Thursday it is her turn. He walks in and she hands the kids over to him, same rules. Free nights are sacrosanct unless of emergencies. It works well for them.
You need to be able to have a conversation, sans child with you hubby. Get grandparents or a friend to keep her for a few hours and talk. If he keeps refusing, go to therapy yourself. The first year is hard for any new parents, but as older parents, it is dificult to get out of the 'me' mindset as we have been in it for so much longer. This 'new normal' is a bit of a shocker! Try to come at him without contept or anger, remeber what is obvious to you is (unexplicably) not obvious to him. Start small and remember to thank and praise him and maybe someday he will have an epiphanny and be the one thanking and praising you.
Stay strong and get some sleep! Good Luck!
G.B. answers from Oklahoma City on April 20, 2009
K., my heart goes out to you. I hear your frustration and hurt. Communication is such a difficult thing. My husband and I facilitate a class called," Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage". Mark Gungor is the presenter and author. If you all could attend one of his weekend seminars, come to our class, or get the book and read it - I think it could help with the communication issue. You can find some clips of Mark on you tube.
However, your husband is a parent. As a parent he needs to participate. He needs to spend time with his child, he's not the "baby sitter". I think leaving him in charge for a day would be a good thing for him. I understand he will not be happy about it, but sounds like he needs some hands on experience. Leave him written instruction of the routine and then leave. Turn your cell phone off or leave it at home. You sound like you desperately need a day to spend with friends or do something you enjoy.
Also, do you have some mommy friends you can talk to? If not, women need each other. Please work on establishing some mommy friends. I have a group but when I needed to go out of town to help my parents, I needed support. I found new friends at McDonald play area's, parks, etc. I introduced my self and asked about local churches, parks, etc. I am sorry you are in this situation.I know things can get better if you both are willing to work at it.
R.E. answers from Tulsa on April 20, 2009
I'd say maybe try to have a weekend vacation for yourself, if you can afford it. Maybe just stay with a friend but turn your cell phone off. The baby is as much his responsibility as yours, and he seems to think either that you're lolling around all day playing with a baby (which is hard enough on its own!) and sleeping and lazing around, or that you're somehow capable of doing the night feedings and working a full-time job and caring for an infant and the housework without any rest at all. As it is, it appears he doesn't want to help you with the baby, and he doesn't want you to put the baby in daycare even for a few hours a day (i.e. no one else can help you either). So, if he won't take you seriously when explaining your situation and if he won't help you more with the house or the baby, then take matters into your own hands and arrange for day care for a few hours or for babysitting a few hours a day in your home, or even for someone to come and help you with chores. Explain matter-of-factly and not accusatory, but just "this is what I'm doing now. If you don't like it, I'm open to suggestion, but I can't keep doing things the way I have been - it's wearing me down." Therapy may also be a good idea, but you'd want to find someone who is committed to helping the couple make the marriage successful, rather than someone who is intent on each individual seeking happiness in their own way, because the marriage is an entity of its own and it is influenced by your own individual choices as well as by the baby.
L.D. answers from Tulsa on April 19, 2009
I understand your situation, because it was once my situation. I can say he won't change. You have to make a choice, take him like he is or learn to live with it. I've been married 40 years and had 4 kids. My husband was incredibly selfish &I bought his rationalizations and worked myself to the bone. I had a full time job, 4 kids and no help. No one likes a martyr and I became one. Things got better when everyone got older. I am happy now, but still resent him and angry at myself for not changing my life back when I could have done it. Good luck.
N.M. answers from Texarkana on April 19, 2009
good luck getting him to under stand he is a man I done know what you can do maybe just sit him down and explain that you understand that he works but he comes home at the end of his shift and that is it but you work also and do the laundry clean the house take of the baby cook where is he 50% of everything all he does is work kinda of uneven I think if he could just help you with some of the other things that would help a marriage is a 50/50 deal at the rate you are going you could die early and then he would be doing it all or have to go in the hospital and he still would be doing most of it except your job good luck
L.J. answers from Birmingham on April 19, 2009
I know this will be a little long .. (sorry) After the financial part with your car payment is over, I would strongly recommend Mother's Day Out or PT daycare. It won't hurt her at all and you will feel much more functional. As a mom, we won't always have the agreement from the dad about what is best (mainly because they just don't get it!!), but you have to do what you know is best for both you and the baby. As for his participation, I'm afraid this is more than typical and is very frustrating. As a new mom, it seems we are expected to keep up with all the chores and our job responsibilities that was done pre-baby and now the huge job of mothering. It is very hard that 1st year but just stay as positive as possible. It is so overwhelming at times!! Every year gets easier and you'll look back on it and be able to give others advice. If you love him, try hard to ignore his selfish behavior. I love my husband (sometimes don't LIKE him much like when he didn't help with the kids as babies!) but we were able to get passed that because I didn't dwell on it. He kept doing his normal things (work, hunt, fish, gym ..) and I pretty much just worked and kept a baby until they became old enough for me to get out and go more again. As the kids have gotten older he is much more involved with them and takes them on walks, bike rides and we love to all go out together for dinner and/or movie. I had a friend who was having problems in their marriage and she asked me how we had managed to stay married so long (20+ yrs.). I told her that mostly because I try HARD to ignore the things he does that bother me. I told her we could always find something to fuss about if I did so, but I didn't want to and I surely didn't want to expose the kids to this. I just do everything I possibly can as a mom/wife/housekeeper/employee and that's all I can do. When he pitches in YEA! When not, oh well. So far, so good for our marriage and she said doing that helped them a bunch too. Keep up the care for your baby girl and take care of yourself!
L.B. answers from Fayetteville on April 18, 2009
WOW. I was fuming over this till I got a chance to sit down and write. I've heard of husbands taking advantage of their wives, but this is off the charts.
I agree with Jennifer. You don't need your husband's permission to go!
Your husband is taking advantage of you, and he knows it. I can tell because he is talking out of both sides of his mouth according to what suits him:
1. He says basically that taking care of the baby all day is easy, and you get to take naps. BUT
2. He also says that he works hard all day and deserves to relax the whole rest of his daily (and nightly) life.
If taking care of the baby is so easy, he should be able to handle her while you sleep, do office work and everything else you want and need to do when he's home. Heck. He can even take naps.
I think another sign that he is deliberately taking advantage of you is, he refuses to go to therapy. My guess is, he knows the game is up the moment you two step into a therapist's office.
Also, what time is bed-time for your daughter? We used to put our daughter to sleep around 9-10. Whoops! Apparently many parents make it too late. We transitioned our daughter to 7-7:30 (8:00, some nights, just depending on how the day has gone and whether she's tired yet or not), and things overall are much better. This doesn't mean that she wakes up any earlier. In fact, babies sleep better and longer when they're not over-tired when going to sleep! Our daughter sleeps from 7-8 p.m. until 6:30-7:30 a.m.
Also, you can prolong those naps by intervening soon before her anticipated wake-up time. Go in there and be ready, and when she starts to rouse, cuddle her back, or do whatever it takes. It might take some experimenting, but you can do this! This will also get her better rested. Babies need at least an hour per nap. (Read No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantly for more info - the book is Priceless!)
I say, take off and show him how much work it is, but not so that he knows how much work it is, but so that he knows that YOU know that he knows how much work it is. While you're gone, get yourself a lovely cup of tea and write up two columns. Write up everything you do every day, from start to finish. Then write up everything that you know your husband does at work (including that wonderful lunch break he gets - what is that, an hour? And does he get a 15-minute break or two, as well?) and at home.
Again, tell him you're doing this so that he knows that YOU know what the disparity is, here.
Put your foot down. Don't let him keep on taking advantage of you.
Hope this helps.
D.L. answers from Tulsa on April 19, 2009
Oh Honey, I am so sorry. Here is my advice. First, pray and get in a good church. there are tons in Conway. Pick on and go. If you don't like the service, Pick another one. this goes on and on. Second. You didn't say if you are self employed or on a work from home with an employer. Either way, there are expectations and responsibilities obviously. Do they know your daughter is still at home? and if so, how long are they going to be ok with it? I understand completely the tug. You are doing everything you can and it doesn't seem enough. I would sit down with our monthly expenses and REALLY evaluate them. How much is spent on eating out, activites(fishing, golf, etc. for him, goodies, extra clothes, magazines, etc for you), eating out(I know, you are exhausted),etc. Those would stop, I wouldn't be suprised if you are the one to pay the bills, so now you hand it to him. You just tell him, it takes all of us to make this family work and you and I aren't doing this together, we are doing it together, we are doing it in the same location. DO a WRITTEN budget, show him how much he contributes, how important he is to your household. Perhaps he would like to be a stay at home parent and you return to the office or still work from home but not have the responsibilities of the baby. He would be suprised at how many men do this. He is feeling fairly useless. You are the bread winner, you had a baby, you keep the house up. What do you need him for? Stop doing the house work during the day. If you make it seem as if it happens by magic, then they don't get it. Do it at night or not at all. That's what would happen if you worked at an onsite office. Then lay that load of laundry in his lap. Put the drycleaning on the seat of his car etc. He'll start to get it. Sit down at a non threatining time. Get a sitter and go out to a nice dinner. DOn't accuse, just ask him what his expectations are and what he he thinks. Did he just start acting this way or has this been your entire marriage and baby makes it worse? Go to counseling and if he won't go, Go anyway. You need it for you, whether he goes or not. It will be helpful in giving you the coping skills you need. If you collapse from exhaustion, (don't laugh, we are of similar age and I have 2 do it all friends, that have collapsed in the last year from exhaustion) he will be doing it all. Do your families live nearby? As for the babysitter, just do it. You live in a college town with an incredible early childhood program. call the university and as them to send over a few students for interviews and hire one. Or hire a housekeeper that comes a couple of times a week for a reduced rate( I had to do this due to illness and it has made all the difference, she charges me less per day and comes twice a week, which allows her to deep clean , Do laundry, special projects etc. this could be a college student or adult. They could also help you nanny your baby and give you an uninterrupted day or two a week. Most of all, Pray,pray, pray. If you aren't a believer, try it anyway, God is the father of all of us, not just those that believe. He is waiting for you. I am here anytime. I am so sorry. I agree with the poster who suggested just leaving. I would prepare her bottles for the day. If you are breast feeding, then prepare your expressed milk. I would lay it out and I would leave. I wouldn't return, if he didn't like it tough. He is a parent, not a baby sitter and guess what? She might fuss a little etc. but , He is her father and he will not hurt her. He will figure it out. Also, do you let him know how wrong he does it? It doesn't have to be just like you do it to be right. Just let him do it and move on. Don't call to check, don't run errands, leave it all, dinner, laundry etc. He'll either step up or step out and either way what's the difference. If taking care of his family is a deal breaker then so be it. Good luck sweet lady. I hope so much that this helps.
S.T. answers from Fayetteville on April 22, 2009
Hello K.! I complety understand how you feel. I have a two children one is almost four and my daughter is one. Well ever since she was born I have been the one to get up with her in the middle of the night, feed her, change her, bath her and so on. It gets really frustrating. I do have to say if I want to go to the store or something he will watch her. But to get the full extent on how it is to work at home and take care of the children they wont know till they do it. We have a full time job just being home with the children, then when we are working at home thats another job. So basically we are working two full time jobs. Three if you want to count the husband. HE HE HE. I work at home and I do most my working in the mornings when they kids are eating and watching their morning cartoons on noggin. Then at nap time I get alot of work done. Also in the evening after bedtime. I dont know if your job can be worked like that. I know my son doesnt always takes naps but he is old enough to understand when mommie has to work. My daughter still likes to cling to me. Try working in the morning when she is calm. Then when she is looking sleepy play with her for a little bit, make her a bottle (or sippy cup) and rock her while she is drinking it. Wait till she is completly asleep then lay her down. My daughter had to have a stuffed animal on her and she thought it was still my arms around her. To this day she likes a stuffed animal in her bed. Also during nap time her room is dark. So she knows its sleeping time. Play music while she is sleeping. I really hope this helps. I know how you feel. If you ever need to talk let meknow.
J.T. answers from Oklahoma City on April 22, 2009
Even if he won't go to therapy, you can. I was convinced that we needed marriage counseling, and ended up just going for myself. It ended up being a tremendous help - not that it was just me that was "broken," but a lot of the things that were so frustrating for me about my husband/marriage had a lot to do with what I was doing-I'm a bit of an enabler (ok A LOT!) and I'm told that it only encourages this kind of behavior from our husbands.
Like the other mothers, I firmly believe you need some time to yourself, and he needs to take on some responsibility. Start prioritizing what you need to get done and do that. I don't suggest pointing out his lack of help, just matter of factly tell him that you are tired can't do it all, and that something had to give. If you pick work over laundry for instance, you can say that I felt really strongly about continuing to bring in $, so you chose getting your work done over laundry. You deserve some time to yourself, and even if you're not comfortable going out on a saturday for some TLC and some me time, you might arrange to work outside of the home on Saturday. Hopefully you have a laptop or can go into the office for a change and let him know that you must be gone until you get it done and that he must stay home w/ your daughter. Honestly, just taking that step was HUGE for my husband and I. He now realizes that our kids are truly a job (of course now he thinks he's the only one that does it, but at least I have help!) and things are 1000 x better + he's developing a great relationship with our kids.
Bottom line, don't give him an option. You NEED the time away, and it's not subject to compromise. I say start with not less than 4 hours (if he's truly not been involved with the details, you may want to leave him with a list like you would the baby sitter of things like medicines she may be taking, feeding/napping schedules, what she eats etc. may stave off some, but likely not all of the phone calls)