Hubby Doesn't Understand Stress of Working Mom

Updated on November 20, 2008
A.B. asks from Indianapolis, IN
32 answers

Okay, so first let me say that I have seen some stellar adivice here so I am hoping someone has some for me! :) Anywho, I have two kids, a daughter who is 6 with PDD-NOS (it is a form of Autism) and an almost 6 month old son who is thankfully hitting his milestones early. I have been married for 7 years and have been the bread winner for my family. My hubby currently is a SAHD due to a recent relocation for my job. He is great with our daughter and does well with our son during the day but when I get home, the house is not always clean and he just kind of figures he is off "duty" because I am home. I get that being at home all day alone with an infant is hard work and that he too needs a buffer zone for a ahwile but it is really starting to grind at the nerves. HE complains that I don't help around the house enough and that I am often home late from work. My job is not the kind that you punch a clock and things can be left until the next day and it is usually like a half hour to 45 minutes over. My point has been that my job is to go out and provide and his job is to maintain the home, the children, and me! I guess I am just stretched too thin and can't get him to understand the role I play in keeping the family in a really nice newly constructed house, clothes on the backs of us all, and food in our bellies. He also didn't seem to mind when I bought him a new car in aUgust for his birthday! Help me help him understand that I need at least one night a week for me and that if I am late from work he should jsut say, "I am glad you are home, How was your day?" Instead of being a jerk! I should also mention that we have divided up the chores around the house. Heis supposed to do the daily pick up. Load the dishwasher, put shoes away, make the toys are not trip hazards etc. I am supposed to cook dinner, do all of the grocery shopping, the laundry and the weekly "clean- mop and vacum, clean the bathrooms, wash bed clothes, dust etc. My cleaning is always done and I am ususally picking up the things that he left behind. Also, he has two nights a week that he hangs out with friends and is out of the house for his own sanity. I haveno outside clubs or hobbies other than girl scout night with my daughter as that is our time to be girls together. I can not even get a bath without being interupted. I don't want ot sound ungrateful for my husband because I know that without him, I am not me, but when I go out my way to say thank you and aknowledge his many contirbutions but get no thank you verbally or other wise in return, it is disheartening. Sio before I get the "staying home is hard" speech, I know it is hard and I respect that role.

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D.K.

answers from Indianapolis on

I agree. HOWEVER, it's best if you sit down and set boundaries, guidelines and even talk about who's responsible for what around the house. If you haven't taken time to talk about expectations, YOU NEED TO!

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D.H.

answers from Toledo on

Girl, do i feel you....the difference is my son is 18 and just moved back to my house after living with his real dad for about 7 years and my hubby is disabled but still capable of activity such as washing dishes, cooking, running sweeper....since son moved back he is helping but hubby plays on computer or sleeps....If you get good advice PLEASE share!!!

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J.C.

answers from Cleveland on

No, seriously.......you're kidding, right? Your husband is taking care of the house and the children (and I'm guessing that raising an Autistic child is slightly challenging). He probably gets the kids up, dressed, fed, packs your daughter's lunch, then has to get his own shower (does he get to shower every day?) and get your daughter to school, to outside activities, to doctor's appointments; he does the laundry, the cooking, the shopping, whatever volunteering he needs to do for the school; all the while taking care of an infant, meeting his needs, changing diapers, feeding him, getting him to sleep, caring for him when he's ill, and on top of that, trying to carve out just a few minutes for himself to grab a bite to eat or sit down for a few minutes (and while he's sitting there he can't stop his mind from spinning about what he needs to get done next or make for dinner). Seriously.........you WERE kidding, right?

Your remark that "his job is to maintain the home, the children, and me!" is interesting. How is he supposed to maintain YOU, just out of curiosity? What all do YOU do around the house and with the children?

Many of us on this site are in your husband's shoes - doing everything with little or no help (or appreciation) from our working spouses. I suspect that your husband is getting more sympathy from us right now than you are. Good grief!

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C.W.

answers from Columbus on

I am a new grandma, babysitting 3 days a week for an almost-4 month old darling granddaughter. I so VERY understand counting the minutes until the cavalry rides in over the hill! It is tiresome to maintain conversation with a baby who does not have words yet!!!

You seem very confident in who you are, what your priorities are, what your accomplishments are, and why you are important in the household. Your fantastic career is very exciting TO YOU, but perhaps your husband is jealous of the "strokes" you receive at work while his job will NEVER give that same level of recognition. And culturally he is still swimming upstream as a stay at home dad. I really respect him for it. Also you recently relocated for YOUR job, so he may have lost his network of support in the relocation.

You sound as though you want total freedom to pursue a fantastic, rewarding career, total time control, total credit for doing your share of the household chores PLUS oak leaf clusters for doing some of his housework for him. I do not hear any mention of when you interact with the baby? And once a week for Girl Scouts with your daughter. Is HE ever off duty?

Get a grip, girl! You say you respect his role, but I don't hear it, you just whine that you are stressed. Try switching roles for a discussion. Do it on a weekend, so you both have flexibility. YOU talk as though you are the stay at home husband. HE talks as the career driven wife. Explain to your partner how you feel. Put yourself in that other person's shoes. Then get down on your knees and kiss his feet for all the stuff he does which does NOT seem so fulfilling, but he does it anyway. Today I counted how many times I used Purell and changed diapers!!!! It was a long day! By 4:30 PM I left the house with the baby to bring her here, although I planned to do it at noon but she.......... It was a long day. And she was not fussy, just off-schedule! Tomorrow AM I buy 4 dozen cookies I did not have time to bake today for a cookie exchange. Embarrassing!

Quit patting yourself on the back so loudly, it is deafening!! Also, understand that he is a MALE and never going to gush all over you for what you do. You are a FEMALE and very likely to use words, when praising someone else. It is not a male trait. You are SO LUCKY that he is so supportive. By the way, since you are out all day, and have lunch with others, and interactions in the workplace all day, you are not suffering for lack of adult stimulation. He is.

Hope you can get a new viewpoint on this. He sounds like a hero to me. I told my daughter that a baby needs 3 adults, in 8 hour shifts, to be properly cared for these days. It takes that much fresh patience! And I love kids!! And I can talk to her all day, just waiting a few months until I can understand her babble and we have WORDS!!!

Sorry to be so harsh, but that is just how I see it. Good luck!

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M.H.

answers from Indianapolis on

Here's a couple of ideas: If you can swing it, get some help with the housework. A housekeeper can save you so much stress in fighting over cleaning and laundry not getting done. Its really hard to use every spare minute of baby napping down-time to get cracking with cleaning and household chores and not just take a much needed break. Could your husband get some "healthy me-time" by going to a gym with a great kids room? This could let him have a needed breather and also a change of scenery for the children.

Perhaps hubby could enroll in a Parent's Day Out program for him to get a few hours on his own; many churches have them and they are not very expensive. Lastly, you could consider talking with him about how he feels about continuing with the stay-at-home status. It could be he is just not suited or happy being at home all day. Maybe he would be more fulfilled to also contribute to the family income and with both salaries you could afford great childcare. I (naturally) would recommend a nanny that still provides your children with a loving, home environment, but also allow both of you to help with the family expenses. It is really hard for many men to not have work as a part of their identity. Good luck to you.

A little about me: I operate a nanny agency and also find helpful household staff like housekeepers and personal assistants. You can find me in MamaSource under Solutions Home Staffing. We also provide specialized nannies for children with all types of physical, behavioral (autism, ADHD), or developmental needs.

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A.E.

answers from Cincinnati on

Even though my daughter is only 15 months, for a portion of this time, I was the stay at home mom (while my husband traveled out of town for work), and now am the breadwinner while my husband stays home. When I was the stay at home, I took care of our daughter as well as really made an effort to keep our house organized and clean. Now that I'm at work, it is frustrating that my husband takes more of a lax stance than I took when I was the one at home. Not to say it isn't busy during the day whether you are just taking care of the child, or whether you are trying to also clean and keep the household up, but I do think when you stay at home that you have to truly say to yourself each day, that okay, this is my job and I need to have my schedule and work consistently throughout the day. It is very easy to get sidetracked when at home unless you keep your vision for the day, just like you have to do at a job. And, I don't think my husband gets that and takes a more lax approach. So, I understand where you are coming from, as I'm in the same boat. However, I do know that for his sanity, as well as mine, he has a few hours on Sunday and I have a few hours on Saturday where we get to do our own thing completely by ourselves. So, what to do about getting him to be better around the house, I don't know, but it does the marriage good to give a little time away for each person (without husband and without child). And, I'm seriously thinking about getting a 1 to 2 time per month housekeeping service so that then we can both be less tense about the house. So, if you can afford that route, maybe that is an option. Then, your husband can feel really good about his daddy role, and both of you know that the house does get clean at some point, so not as many arguments.

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M.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

You are stressed. Hubby is ungrateful, but if the roles were reversed, you would want him to come home, help you out with the kids so you could get a break. Taking care of kids all day is not an easy job either. I think hubby needs at least a parttime job to get him out of the house a little and provide some of the finances for the family. You will both feel better.
Make Sat. AM the "do stuff around the house" day- doing stuff your husband isn't good at or doesn't quite know how- make sure your daughter participates in the clean-up/pick-up.

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K.V.

answers from Indianapolis on

As a SAHWM, my husband is great about this. I had always worked full time outside the home until 3yrs ago, so the change was not easy. You would think that having a parent stay home, the house would be spotless, the dinner would be done, etc. It simply does not work that way. One "new" perspective that I have gained in my stay at home days is that alot more goes on than you think! If you do stay home, when does your reprieve come? If dad/mom comes home and is "off work" now, when does the one that works at home get to be "off?" It is a catch 22, and my hubby and I just had to work it out. After spending his vacation doing my "job," he realized it wasn't as easy as he thought. He now spends his days off letting me sleep in and he takes the kids to school. You both need to talk it out, and realize the kids being happy are much more important than a clean house. I think mine will be disaster until they all move out!

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L.M.

answers from Cleveland on

I work 2 days a week and spend the rest of the time at home with my 3 1/2 year old (also on the Autism Spectrum) I can relate to both sides of things. On the days I work, I am exhausted when I get home, so cooking is usually out -(Kudos to you for taking this on) I also understand what it feels like to be the one home all day, sometimes you really need a timeout for yourself. It is hard to balance family life, it sounds like you are doing quite a bit of the major housework in addition to cooking so although I know sometimes cleaning with kids is not so easy, your husband should at least be able to clean up all the clutter before going to bed. That is a rule in our house, not assigned to either of us, but just a rule of thumb, whoever goes up last cleans up anything toys, papers, etc. One thing I can't stand is waking up to a mess. :)

I would talk to your husband and ask what he needs more, you to take over with the kids when you get home or you to start cooking. Sometimes I find that cooking or doing household chores is a break from being my son's playmate all day (not that I don't love that) maybe your husband would prefer to make some changes.

I also think that you deserve at least one night a week where you can take an uninterrupted bath. Plus, if your husband is going out a couple nights a week - It is your turn! It doesn't sound like he should be doing any complaining - In our house, I encourage my husband to go out more often than I do, because I know it is hard to work fulltime and then come home to responsibility. Luckily he does help A LOT with shopping, cleaning and even cooking when need be and he definitely takes the time to play with our son. Still there are stressful and frustrating times but typically we balance each other.

Good Luck!

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K.I.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi, A.,

Go back over all the posts on "I stay at home all day, and I REALLY need my husband to help me when he gets home, and stop complaining about the messy house" and substitute yourself as out-of-the-house-working-spouse! Doesn't matter if someone is male or female, the jobs boil down to the same balancing act.

There are days when the person at home just can't take one more second and then the breadwinner shows up late, AND starts in on how the house isn't perfect or dinner is dry. *Or* the person who has had a hectic business day who really just wants some peace and quiet but is bombarded the second they arrive home with a screaming baby, a demanding toddler, dinner not ready, and a spouse who wants to run out of the room.

Both parties decided to have children, and that one of them would stay home while the other worked, this is true. Now, they need to sit down and negotiate. Make a list of all the things that need to be done, and who is currently doing them most of the time. The person doing most of any particular job needs a break on that duty now and then.

Everyone needs some alone time. It seems, though, that the person out of the house is generally the one who underestimates the stress levels for the one at home. Honestly. You *do* need to help around the house, which is what everyone says about the male spouses who work outside the home. Of course you need some alone time too, but it may be time to dial back your expectations of how clean the house is, or to understand if you are going to work late three nights a week, you really cannot indulge in an entire evening to yourself once a week.

You get to sit down and eat lunch on workdays. Sounds simple enough, right? But you get to just sit down and eat. A whole meal. Uninterrupted. You don't have to first change a diaper, heat a bottle, jump up to clean up spilled sippy cups, wipe someone else's face, retrieve dropped flatware, renegotiate the prepared food because someone changed their mind, put in a load of laundry, and reclean the whole kitchen. That is just one small example.

Understand that it's tough from both sides.

Be well,
K.

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D.T.

answers from Muncie on

You sound exactly like a man who is the main bread winner and by exactly I mean my own husband. Nearly word for word. Our solution he took our daughter for a whole Saturday, from wake up to bed time, very little reminding from me to help keep him on her schedule. The thing we learned is that together we made this baby and together we needed to be there for her and for each other. He quickly realized how early she actually gets up and why I insist on napping when she does. The thing is, I can do everything in the house alone, but I shouldn't have to. I am in a partnership that's what marriage is. You want one day a week to be yours, what about him? Does he get one day a week were he's not taking care of the kids? If you get a day so should he. If you are going to be late a quick call to let him know would be nice. It's just a nice things to do, it might also help him not complain about being late if you don't complain about the house not always being clean. Heck, I'm lucky if I shower every other day and I only have one child. You both work hard, you yourself have said you know this, but your job ends at 5 or whenever, his doesn't. If you love each other work with each other, he needs you and you need him. As I said you're partners.

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S.K.

answers from Columbus on

There was a time that I was the only one working the 9-5 job and it was exhausting giving my all at work and then getting yelled at for being late because his food wouldn't be made on time. I was so tired of doing the laundry and not getting much time with my kids since I was too tired to play. I felt so guilty that I didn't spend the quality time with them that I desired and I was so frustrated that my husband didn't do all the things that I wanted to do with them during the day.
I was so angry with him for not keeping the house looking nice even though I couldn't do much about it either.
I think he was depressed and slept much of the time and just let the kids play in their room.
Maybe he felt imasculated because I was working and he couldn't. I think he was frustrated that his vision wasn't being accomplished.
It was hard and the only solution for us was for him to get the dream job and me to stay home. I still had a passion for working, so I finally started my own business that lets me be with my kids during the week and pursue my interests a few weekends out of the month.

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T.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

A., you might want to really read what you have written. I want to be gentle with you, but you sound like all the men I knew in the 70's & 80's when women were trying to make things more balanced at home. And that just because the man worked didn't mean he was excused from responsibilities of the family. My ex-husband, back in 1986, had almost the exact complaints about me, when I was home with our two small children, and the house wasn't always perfect when he got home and I was frustrated because I never knew when he would make it home from work, so I couldn't count on him....it's all about balance, and talking thru everything, and creating a life plan that works for both of you. Just because you work outside the home, doesn't mean you can detach from what needs to be done to keep the family on track and together or that your family can survive without your magic touch (your love). And just because he is "being a jerk" about something doesn't mean he doesn't appreciate all the hard work you are doing. I am proud of you for following your dreams and making an excellent career...yet at the end of the day. It is love that counts the most. Ask your family would they rather have a new car or you! And they would alway answer YOU!! A really great book you and your husband can read together is "love and respect" I think it could really help alot. PS - don't get nervous about the title, it isn't one of those "submit-women-submit" books. It is really about understand your and his nature. I think you will like it.

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V.B.

answers from Canton on

I think this is a common enough problem with role reversal. Women have always complained about men not doing enough, while they felt overburdened in providing.

I think that you are stretched to thin because you are trying to buy too much. It sounds like you have a new house and he has a new car. Rather than buying more things, you could consider hiring someone to come in a couple hours, a couple of days per week to help him out and/or give you two the time to spend together doing some reconnecting.

He complains when you are late, but perhaps he is truly missing you. Rather than get angry about the comment, reassure him that more than anything you WANTED to be home with him and the kids. Sometimes people forget just how many hours they put into their job, and do not realize how many they do NOT put into their family.

If you only worked a straight 40 hours on the job and had 1 hour for lunch (5), had to drive only 1/2 hour to work each way (5), and only took 1/2 hour to get ready before work and another to relax after work (5), you have just accumulated 55 hours for work.

Figure up how much time you see the children/hubby at night after work before they go to bed (sleeping doesn't count since you are not spending time with them, just location), and on the weekends (do you work on the weekends at home or by going in?), and you can begin to see that the hours for work far outweigh the reason for doing it all.

Not trying to knock you, at all, because it is hard to have or get to have without working long, hard hours. I commend you that you step up and do it. I also commend your husband for accepting that his wife is "supporting" the family, and is probably given a lot of looks and comments that you either have not noticed or did not think was important. It is quite a mouthful for men to swallow. I really commend him for really being close to the kids and having a special needs child requires even more work and attention, along with having a new infant in the house.

I think both of you need to have some time together, patience with each other, and by providing him with a little help, I think you would be providing yourself with some.

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E.D.

answers from Cleveland on

It sounds like (from the end of your post, I don't think everyone that responded read all the way down) that you guys already have a system for dividing the household chores and you feel that he isn't really doing his half of the work. It also sounds like he has some evenings out of the house, but you don't.

I guess you both will have to talk about it. You are both working (you at your job and him raising the kids) and you both need time away from the house and a fair division of household things. Maybe look into something you would like to do once a week (a club or activity) and approach your husband to let him know that you want to take off X day of the week. Maybe you could make up a chart with chores so you can visually see who is responsible for things? If your husband feels it’s too tough to do something with the kids around, maybe you could rearrange chores and give him the ones that are easier to do while watching small children. By the way, can your daughter do chores? Maybe you could assign her some simple things to do (like pick up toys and put away shoes).

My husband is home one day a week with our daughter (who is 8 months) and chores are never done when I get home. When I am home with her, I manage to get some things done and my husband is always amazed. My husband has a more kid-focused parenting style where he spends most of his day playing with our daughter, while I give her independent time to play by herself while I try to get things done around the house. Both ways are valid, so maybe just accept that your husband spends most of the day interacting with the kids and lets the housework go. However, he should be willing to do his share after bedtime or once you get home and can help watch the kids.

I don’t think you’ll win any points with your husband by pointing out that you are the breadwinner and you earn most of the money. It has to be a little tough for him to be home since it’s a demanding job and not traditional for men to have. You both should be appreciated for the roles you play in making your family work – one is not better than the other.

Good luck!

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D.T.

answers from Indianapolis on

I've been a SAHM for almost 7 years and I can tell you that by the end of the day I NEED a break. At work during the day, my husband gets a lunch break, or at least a few random minutes to himself where he's not working but doing personal stuff. I do not get any break to myself at all - not even for lunch or to use the bathroom! I do not spend the day doing housework. Of course, I do some of it, but my job is to raise our kids.... keep them safe, play with them, help them learn and grow, keep them fed, take them to doctors and dentists, help with homework, make sure they take naps, drive to after school activities, etc.

And yes, I do take evenings off... not every night of course. My husband and I sit down and discuss it. He gets a 30 minute commute home to unwind - crank the radio and sing or whatever. When he gets home - he's on duty for 30 minutes and I disappear to do something for ME to unwind. Then we both take care of the kids and play together until bedtime. I put the toddler to sleep and he puts the other children to bed (they want him at the end of the day because they haven't seen him). I start cleaning the kitchen and doing housework once the toddler is in bed and he joins and helps me when the other 2 are in bed. We do housework TOGETHER for an hour or so and then we sit down to watch TV or talk or play board games or whatever.

Also, 2 evenings a week I'm out of the house completely playing soccer or at a moms night out. And 2 nights a week my husband is out of the house playing ice hockey. So on the nights one of us is out the other gets all the housework and all the kid work.

I think you also need to realize that you can't pay for all those nice things if it wasn't for him. If he was working a job and you had to pay daycare you wouldn't have the money for many of those things because it's so darn expensive (at least around here... average daycare for 6 month old is well over $1000/month. Besides, at least it sounds like he's doing some housework... if he was working outside the house, NO housework would get done during the day. No one needs a new car, or new house and most people wildly overspend on clothes and food... if the financial strain is making it tough perhaps you should rethink those purchases.

Sorry to sound so harsh, but your email sounds just like too many men I know who really don't "get" what a SAHM does all day. It's to take care of the kids... not do housework.

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C.W.

answers from Cincinnati on

I can identify with some of what you have said. I worked when my husband was laid off. He really had nothing to do but sleep on the sofa. Our children were in school by then and the oldset had already moved out. I would walk in and take 3 steps, he would say "I am starved. What's for dinner I haven't eaten ALL DAY". I would retort "Well Whose's fault is that? This house is full of food you could have fixed." And when he would BITCH (complain is too soft of a word) "that the house was dirty". I would say well are you allergic to the furnature polish? I know you can push the sweeper." Well it took some time but as long as he was off he cleaned house. I still cooked but he didn't jump on me the second I got home. Now when I am out he fends for his self just fine. Neither of us are able to truly clean house so our wonderful daughter in law comes once a week to clean. Both our health have gone to pot. Heart issues, depression, major pain. I have been falling lately and am going blind. Mostly we sit about the house and fuss at one another. We have done this to our selfs by having a bad life style. No activity, bad diets. And with myself I stopped taking my insulin and almost died from a heart attack and severe high sugar levels.

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L.S.

answers from Cleveland on

I have been a stay at home mom of 7 years to 3 beautiful kids age 7, 4 & 2. I'm not going to give you the staying home is hard work speech, but it sounds like you have to have a talk with your husband. You have to decide how much you can put up with and as they say 'pick your fights'. You also need to make it a priority to do things yourself (I like to go out with girlfriends). If you don't take time for yourself, it won't be good for anyone. You also need to decide how important the cleaning is to you. Pretty much it just comes down to having a serious talk with your husband, to let him know how bad it's gotten. Good luck and hope that everything works out.

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L.T.

answers from Dayton on

Is he getting at least one night a week for himself? I can only help you from the stay-at-home mom side. He is just as frazzled as you at the end of a day. Maybe he really wants to spend time with you when you come home. After all, he has been having conversations with children most of his day. One thing I asked my husband way back when I first started to stay at home, when we were having some what of the same issue you are having. Why should your day end at 5 and mine continue until bed time? I believe they are his children also and when he is home he should help with them. Sure if he needs to take a few moments for himself to chill out, he should. BUT I also should receive the same thing. Others who work outside the home seem to think we have it so easy. That we should all have spotless homes. The only way my house will ever be spotless is if I am not spending quality time with my kids. They did not become the children they are by me cleaning all the time in order to have a spotless home. My house in not dirty either but occasionally when my husband comes home he may need to scoot a load of laundry over to be able to sit down or may need to kick a toy out of his way to walk to the kitchen. BUT he has clean underwear to put on and at least he can see that his children played! That is just life in a house with kids. I am not sure how long your situation has been going on but we struggled in the beginning to find our places, finally we figured it out. I don't tell him how to work outside the home and he doesn't tell me how to do it here. That's how it works for us. I am sorry if I am not helping you, I am not trying to be unsympathetic but maybe I have helped you see things from his perspective.

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S.B.

answers from Toledo on

I know that there is always stress trying to understand where someone else is coming from in a situation like this. Have you ever stayed at home with the children for several days, without your husband home all day? I know that it is sometimes quite impossible to get anything accomplished. Both of you need to come to the understanding that you work all day. Have him "punch the clock" if need be, to make yourself understand. You are in meetings where you are expected to perform at your best, and he is molding your children & expected to give his all at that. He also needs to realize that you give just as much, and need the sanity time as much as him. Just because you are with adults all day, doesn't mean you are playing and socializing. Instead of two nights a week, maybe he needs to compromise and you each get one.

So at the end of the day...what do you do?

Can you hire a neighborhood kid to come play with the children for 1/2 hour so that you both can "decompress" and catch up on each other's day before starting dinner?

Use the crockpot more often so that dinner isn't a hastle?

Put the kids to bed 1/2 an hour earlier?

Have 15-20 minutes of "family cleanup" when you get home from work?

I was a stay at home mom for 5 years and battled this with my working husband, then we both worked full time, and I was still responsible for the bulk of child rearing & housekeeping. Now, I am a single mother...and I go from being at work for 8+ hours a day in a demanding job, to being at home with 3 daughters, housecleaning, dinner, homework, bills, etc, etc, etc, all by myself.

Compromise is the key. Sit down with him and openly discuss both of your frustrations. Make a list, make a chart...and see where the 'division' of job and home is.

Good Luck,
S.

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L.

answers from Cleveland on

Oh my, It's usually the other way around isn't it?
My sister was a SAHM and her husband always wanted her to keep the house clean and have dinner ready when he got home. She, on the other hand, wanted him to come home and give her a break from the kids.
Their solution was that she got a job in the evenings and then he had time with the kids alone.
Their house is still a mess, and it has been years.They are still married though.

I would think that you would be glad for the time to spend with your kids in the evening, so the issue is probably the housework and dinners. What my sister did was sit her husband down and tell him that the house was as clean as SHE was going to get it. If he had higher standards than she (which he did), he would have to do it himself (which he did).
Obviously, your hubby and you have different expectations, which is normal. It seems to me you need to have a heart to heart and be willing to compromise.

When my husband was laid off at the beginning of this year, he did the projects I had been putting off like cleaning the basement. He did some cooking and some grocery shopping as well, but when I came in from work, I couldn't help but feel resentful that he was just sitting and watching TV.
Now he works out of state and is gone for 3-4 weeks at a time, with only a weekend home in a month, and I would love to have him home more, It appears that he did do quite a lot.

Stop to think about if you didn't have your husband at all anymore...Is it really worth fighting over these things?

It seems to me that you are expecting your husband to do all that YOU would do if you were the stay at home parent, and perhaps he feels a little unappreciated for the things he DOES do. (Men need more propping up emotionally than we women do)

You're both going to have to give up your expectations of what you want the other to do and just start appreciating the things you have. In a marriage, you both work hard for the sake of the family and contribute what you can. Keeping score of who does the most work or provides the most income is a recipe for trouble.

I have a PDD-NOS child as well and two more with ADHD. These are high Maintenence kids. It's very important that mom and dad are a team. I have learned a lot from my PDD child. They really cannot read non-verbal clues, so I had to learn to explain clearly what I expect from him, and subsequently have learned to be clearer with my husband.

Blessings,
L.

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S.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

I'm a SAHM, and I can understand totally where you're husband is coming from. As a SAHM, I am a babysitter, a teacher, a dishwasher, a laundress, a jungle gym, an entertainer, the one who kisses the ouchies, the disciplinarian and the cook all rolled into one. It's hard to understand what a stay at home parent does, unless you do it yourself. I have no doubt that you work very very hard at your job. I also know that your husband works very hard at his. He's at home with no adult interaction day after day. It has to be especially hard with an autistic child at home. He may want you to be home at a specific time so that the kids' schedules aren't messed up. And he probably feels like he never gets anytime alone. I know I feel like that and I only have one child at home. When my husband comes home, I just want a minute to myself. If you really want to understand what his day is like, walk a day in his shoes. Stay home from work one day and see how demanding it is to stay at home. Personally, I think you need to be a little more understanding. You are a mother first and a career woman second.

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S.Y.

answers from Dayton on

I work 3 and 1/2 days a week, ad when I walk in the door it is "my turn". The house is a complete mess. But it has gotten better since I had an open discussion with my husbaand (listening to his side, then explaining mine). TGry talk to him, listen to how he feels, then tell him how you feel.

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J.L.

answers from Cleveland on

I haven't read what others have said, but from a Mom who works part time and my husband works full time..plus I had the blessing of being off three months when my daughter was born..the fact is no one gets the night off when you are a parent. The "working" parent doesn't get to pull the I worked all day card b/c so did the parent who's at home. When I'm home with my girl it is by far the most rewarding job, but it's also the most tiring I've ever done. And, the stay at home parent doesn't get to dump the child off on the working parent b/c they worked all day..it's 50/50 all the way.

I do usually ask my husband to take over with my daughter when he gets home b/c a. he doesn't get to see her all day, so that's their time before she goes to bed to bond and play and b. I head off to fix dinner, clean up the house from the day etc.

After she's asleep, we both do whatever is needed to get ready for the next day b/c we BOTH worked all day!

I also have to add the truly the three days that I work are a break. While my job is very demanding especially since cutting back on time, but not work load..I can finish a cup of coffee, work uninterrupted, enjoy a lunch break once in a while, listen to music I like while I work...things I don't enjoy when I'm at home with my family.

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M.S.

answers from Bloomington on

tell him you need a night out. set it for the same day every week and leave him at home. it will make a world of difference. you won't feel resentful for his nights out, because it's fair. AND get a good babysitter and have a date once a week, or at least once a month!!! you need time out TOGETHER! schedule it and do it! i know how much of a difference it makes for me, so i'm sure it will help!!

and in his defense.... i picked up my living room three times today and it's a disaster zone AGAIN! so maybe he has done his chores but they are ongoing messes because the kids LIVE there. maybe it's the kid's fault, not his. so try implementing a "one toy out at a time" rule, or the gunny bag, or something like that to help with that.

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R.B.

answers from Toledo on

Hi A.,
I am a SAHM. I quit working when I was 8 months pregnant. While I do teach belly dancing classes part-time, my husband is the breadwinner. I wasn't a mother until I was 35, so I can compare the stress of work with the stress of staying home with a baby, and I have to say that there is no comparison. Staying home with a baby/small children wins hands down. However, I don't know the stress of being a full-time working mother. Rather than get into a competition with your husband as to who is more stressed, you both need to communicate your feelings and needs without blame and try to find a balance. We all need time to ourselves, and couples need time together without their children. Your children need time in the evening with you, as you are gone all day, so like it or not, you just may not get that "buffer". Being home with the kids is emotionally as well as physically draining. You can't expect your husband to get all of his housework done everyday on top of that, and also take care of you!! Maybe you want to exert some control because you can't be there to do these things yourself. When children are small, you need to ask yourself, "How important is it?" Let go what you can let go and ease up on your expectations, of yourself as well as your husband. What your husband does is worth as much as what you do. Don't demoralize him by acting as if your contribution to the family is more important than his. Oh gosh, I didn't see your whole post at first! Have your husband help with the laundry by folding and putting it away. Do not trust him to wash your clothes, though! Make sure you get out of the house by yourself once a week. Of course, I recommend belly dancing! But anything you enjoy will do. Just keep communicating and realize that this stuff is hard. Your husband does need to show gratitude for all that you do. And maybe he can cut back his nights out to one. You also need time all together as a family. Try to see each other's point of view. Good luck!!

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R.P.

answers from Columbus on

I think you both have hard jobs and it does sound like your unappreciated. I have done both and both are equally hard. I think each of you should have one night a week to yourselves, whatever it be. I think you should also make time for each other. Maybe once a week or if not that often twice a month. It will make you both better parents.

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K.S.

answers from Cincinnati on

As I told my husband when we were deciding whether or not I would leave my career to be a SAHM - "I'm staying home to be with our child (now children), not to be a housewife and a maid. If that's what I had wanted, I would not have been working in the first place." So, I take care of the kids and do feel it is not unreasonable that the house be somewhat straightened, food in the house (though not always "on the table), etc. The house is not spotless and I don't cook big meals every night. My husband gets a few breaks each day at work - lunch out with colleagues, some travel/dining out, time in the car, etc. I get a break during the day when I can. Two of my children are in school now, so that makes it a little easier once they are out the door. In the evenings, we share responsibilities - I cook, he cleans up, etc. He does put the kids to bed each night - he has been away from them all day and enjoys that time with them. We each get our time out during the week/weekend - sometimes alone and often on a "date." We have also had a housekeeper at various times over the years when it has been necessary. That may be something to consider, too.

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B.B.

answers from Indianapolis on

This just reminds me of the saying "Why can men go off and fight a war, but heaven forbid they should get a cold!"

It still sounds like you're working and still having to do the majority of the cooking, cleaning, etc. BUT realize that some would say that being an "at home parent" is the equivalent of 2 full-time jobs.

Yes, you deserve one night off a week. My sister once had a "reality check" with her husband who kept going off to play basketball, or golf or hang out with the guys. She told him for every night he gets off, she gets one off too. Then it went to he got Tuesdays, she got Thursdays.

He could also be having a hard time adjusting to being the "at home parent".

Sounds to me like you guys need to re-negotiate the duties and nights off and other details so that it's more equitable.

For what it's worth, and GOOD LUCK!

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M.C.

answers from Indianapolis on

My sister-in-law had a great solution. She "hired" the young teenager across the street to come over for two hours several times a week to play with the kids. It made a huge difference in my sister-in-law's evening, getting supper started and just a little alone time to think straight! The kids were still in the house with the teenager, but she wasn't on "first call duty" with them. Maybe your husband just needs a little time each day before you get home when pressure from the kids is off and he can regroup. Wonder if he's getting razz from the guys about his home chores? Also, for your own peace of mind, you might think about a cleaning person before holidays, three day weekends or special events at your house. Seems like that would make a world of difference to both of you. By the way, have you thought about a "date night" once every week or so?

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N.S.

answers from Columbus on

I have been the bread winner of the family and now I am a stay-at-home mom and I can see both sides of this. Make a long story short: Household chores should be divided up between husband and wife. It's both of your house and you run it together. You both work very hard during the day. It can't be that hard to come to an agreement... one cooks, the other one does dishes after dinner. One takes out the trash and cleans the kitchen floor, the other one cleans two bathrooms. One vacuums the carpets, the other one mows the lawn or shovels snow, etc. I would suggest that you sit down and talk to your husband. Come up with a list of chores that need to be done every day and divy them up. You could also include your daughter in the chores if possible. Make it a family affair. Don't let it drive a wedge in-between you and your hubby. It's not worth it.

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T.P.

answers from Fort Wayne on

The one comment no one else picked up on is that you bought him a new car. I am a Sahm and sometimes I feel as though it is his money and that I don't earn anything. Your comment would make me feel this alot more strongly. My husband says that he earns the money and I earn it from him for looking after our children. Men have very tender egos and when they aren't employed outside of the home they can become very depressed very quickly. Even when it is by choice. I choose to be a sahm but sometimes I feel like he has the better choice. Its just part of the ups and downs of life. Also be thankful that he agreed to a relocation. I moved 2000 miles for my husbands job, leaving behind my friends and family. When his job wanted to transfer him another 120 miles, we decided that he could see if he could do it from home 2 days a week and on the road 3. That way I would not have to give up my support network that I developed here. Some days I wish he wasn't on the road but I love that he loved me enough to let us stay in our home and not disturb it again.