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Old 07-14-2008, 07:49 AM   #11
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Re: Why is it ...

It makes me so sad to read this. But I guess it's fairly common.

In our house I am the chief bread winner, but I work hard to make DH feel like he's "the man" if ykwim.

Even when I stayed home and didn't work at all the bulk of our income came from my investments, etc. So while his income is nice we acutally would probably be better off if he stayed home with hte kids. Child care is SO expenseive... But I digress.

The point is that it shouldn't be about who brings in what or who works more. It's more of a respect issue. You both work to keep the family running and moving forward in a positive direction - no? If it were me i'd have a chat with him and make that point. (or just bop him over the head with a frying pan- whatever!)

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Old 07-15-2008, 09:52 PM   #12
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Yeah. I think what's hard is for us it seems things are "always changing" -- I guess it's the same for everyone but communication seems to be the biggest issue. SIGH

Well, for now it just has to suck ... but hopefully things will turn around soon!
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Old 07-16-2008, 07:26 AM   #13
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Not sure I'm in any position to be giving out advice since I'm going through a divorce right now but H and I dealt with this for the past 4 years and sometimes it was better than others.

One thing I can tell you is be honest with him about how you feel and what you need. Several times over the past few years I've had to sit H down and tell him, "Look, this just isn't working. Something's got to change." Can the grandparents or a sitter watch the kids one evening for the two of you to go to dinner and have a grownup conversation? Try to make it a neutral, non-threatening setting and when you talk to him, make it about you, not him. Instead of saying "You never help with the kids" which puts him on the defensive, tell him "I'm really struggling to keep up with everything and I need more help with the kids when I have lessons to prepare." It's a little thing but it makes a big difference (believe me...I've tried it both ways!)

Figure out exactly what you want from him and let him know. I found that just telling my H "I need help" rarely did any good but if I told him "I need you to give the boys a bath, wash their hair, and get them dressed for bed while I wash clothes and dishes and pack lunches for tomorrow" it usually went much better.

Just like children, men do better with routines. Try to get him to help you figure out routines that you can all live with. If you need to, make up a chore list of all the things that have to be done to keep the household running smoothly and then ask him to help you sort it out and figure out what can be put off till the weekend, and who needs to do what during the week to keep things balanced. My H was all the time telling me that I "never do anything around the house" until I wrote out a list and asked him to help me figure out who should be doing what. What he saw was that he was cutting the grass once a month and taking out the trash while I was preparing 3 meals a day, doing laundry, dishes, getting the kids up and dressed, taking them to school, picking them up from school, feeding them dinner, bathing them, reading to them, playing with them, putting them to bed, paying all the bills, doing all the shopping, etc. And just for the record, I work a full time job and WAHM on the side and my day job paid almost twice as much as his!

Related to the division of chores, I was reading something written by a marriage counselor the other day that really hit home for me because I'm a typical "Type A" personality. It said that wives have a tendency to be so overprotective and controlling early in a baby's life that it undermines the husband's confidence in his ability to take care of the children. Husbands get to the point where they feel like nothing they do with or for the baby will be right so they should just stay out of the way and let Mommy handle it. Wives need to let go a little bit and let the husband figure out his own way to do things. It's hard to do! But if it's his turn to feed the kids dinner while you work on your lessons, stay out of the way and let him do it. Even if he feeds them cereal for dinner and lets them watch TV while they eat, they will survive and everyone will be better off in the long run. Try not to criticize and correct when he does do things for the kids.

I'm in a unique situation because I work for the state but I telecommute almost exclulsively. I remember one situation a few months ago when the boys were out of school for the week and I was coming up on some hard deadlines at work. I told H that I just couldn't get my work done and take care of the boys but I also couldn't take any time off right then so he said he would take a couple of days off to take care of them while I worked. Well, the first day, I got up and fixed everyone breakfast then went in the bedroom and closed the door to work. A little while later, H came in and told me that James needed his diaper changed. HELLO!!! You took off today to care for them, you change his diaper!! He pretty much sat there and watched "grownup TV" all day while the boys played and called for me every time they needed something. The next day I sent him back to work and hired a sitter for the rest of the week. He never did get what the problem was.

He would also get home in the afternoon and if I asked him to pick the boys up at school so I could finish working, he'd say he didn't feel like it because he'd worked all day. I frequently had to remind him that I'd worked all day too and my day wasn't anywhere near over! Even now, he thinks that he should be able to take the boys for visits when he feels like it but if he's not in the mood or has something "better" to do then he can just skip it and I'll take care of them. He thinks he should be able to pay child support if he has extra money but if he needs "his" money for something else then it's ok...I'll take care of the kids. It really is a matter of respect and you need to figure out a way to work it out before you get to the point where I am. Good luck and
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Old 07-16-2008, 10:34 PM   #14
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so yeah, there's my rant to tell you that you're not the only one. i have a feeling this is a super common problem. stupid sexism.
I have that feeling too.
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Old 07-17-2008, 01:47 PM   #15
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Re: Why is it ...

It's a pet peeve of mine, too. Since having kids, I've mostly worked PT, so I can understand a FT job taking precedence over that. However, I recently went back full time, I carry the health insurance, and I make more. And yet...

Don't get me wrong, DH is very supportive, but when it comes to a sick kid or some other "job disturbance", I'm always the one who takes time off.
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:17 AM   #16
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Well, I think this is the major problem ladies. How do we get our guys to pitch in and help out?

I've asked several friends if I just have unrealistically high expectations ... I don't know -- is it too much to ask for just a little more help than taking out the garbage (occasionally when reminded) and mowing the lawn (seasonal)??

I've just started asking for help using "I" statements. "I really need you to start a load of laundry tonight." Or, "I need help loading/unloading the dishwaser." It's sloooooooow, but we're making a little progress. (Plus, I'm lowering my expectations -- not TOO low, just a tad lower ...)

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It's a pet peeve of mine, too. Since having kids, I've mostly worked PT, so I can understand a FT job taking precedence over that. However, I recently went back full time, I carry the health insurance, and I make more. And yet...

Don't get me wrong, DH is very supportive, but when it comes to a sick kid or some other "job disturbance", I'm always the one who takes time off.
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:40 AM   #17
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Re: Why is it ...

Since both DH and I are constantly online (even when we are relaxing and watching TV) ...I find a good way of communicating my needs is in an email. That way I can re-read what I wrote and see if I could state it in a manner which won't put him in the defensive.
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:15 AM   #18
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I think I do need to start "writing" to DH - unfortunately he doesn't use email nearly as much as I ...
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:09 AM   #19
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Dh is military and yeah, he can't take time off for a sick kid with a "leave request" which doesn't happen on short notice. mom has to do it. Mom has to change all the diapers, and feed the babies and take them to the dentist, and doctors and whatever else they have. But if the boys are sick for more than a day or two he takes leave. It's just the way our society was molded. Mom is the primary care giver, dad is the bread winner. we haven't adapted to the "new way of life" with a 2 working parent home. I've actually taken the kids and handed them to DH and walked off, without a word. He knows when its his turn to "deal" and I need to work. But he's more "advanced" than most men. haha
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