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Thread: *whinge* Balancing Work and Baby

  1. #1

    Default *whinge* Balancing Work and Baby

    For all your Working Mums out there - how do you balance your home life?

    My scenario...
    My partner works 7 days a week, which I was also doing before we had the baby (our own business). I now work 2 days a week and look after bubs the rest of the time. Recently I had to go back to work for 6 days a week for about a month.

    During this time, it was somehow still my sole responsibility to do all the housework and all the baby care! We'd come home after the same hours of work, where he'd flake it on the couch after a 'stressful day', whereas meantime I came home via the supermarket to do a grocery shop. Get home, cook the baby a heap of meals to freeze, cook us our dinner and prepare our lunches and the baby's food for whilst at her carers for the next day. The washing basket overflowed during this time, so he just started putting his clothes on the floor in front of the basket!

    I am now back to 2 days a week but have gone on a week-long strike of business-related stuff so I can spend some time with my bubs after barely seeing her for a month, and try and get the house back in order. But now I'm having to listen to him whinge how stressful his job is and I should be pulling my weight more!

    Is this the way it is for us women in the workforce or have I just got a lazy sod on my hands?! He is good in that we've always done it where we take turns getting up to the baby at night, and he'll spend an hour each night playing with her whilst I get our dinner cooked (thats the extent of his time with her though really) and he is in charge of taking the garbage out, and he'll wash the dishes most nights (I have to dry them and put them away and wipe the stove and benchtops down though!).

    I just feel like I've entered a time warp where somehow OUR house is MY responsibility and he's the man who works sooo hard (he seems to forget I was doing the same role before the baby was born!) and so needs to come home and relax and not have me nag him to do chores!

    No matter what I do, I'm continually getting "I need you to be more supportive of me and help me with the business" yet, I'm feeling tired and worn out from helping with the business, looking after our baby, and managing our house and finances! If I try and talk to him about it, he says "fine, you can go to work tomorrow and deal with the problems there and I will stay home with the baby". So I say "ok" and he says "well... no... I have too much on tomorrow" so I say "thats ok, you can work from home whilst looking after the baby" and he says "I wont get anything done because she is too much hard work"!! BINGO!

    *urgh*! How does everyone else manage it? Thinking of making a list of jobs that I do around the house and allocate him more chores as compensation for me having to work. (It's our business, so I actually don't mind working because its building our future... but I hate that he does not recognise that I've put in the hours he has at the end of the day, yet I have to come home and feed the three of us and do some housework whilst he's flaking it on the couch!)

    Actually, its worth saying - when we were both working 7 days a week, I was still running the house when I'd get home after an 80 hour week! I complained that he should be helping out because I was working as hard as he was so, under his instruction, we got a cleaner in! (That's how seemingly against housework he is!!) (Though, it WAS nice having a cleaner. No complaints there - but its just like he doesnt believe he should have to do housework or something!)

    Do I need to just resign myself to the role of housewife and just learn to deal with it as being what it is? Am I just fighting against myself and need to just accept it? I have always been so very self-sufficient and independent and so feeling a little trapped by the current situation! (I know girls who have always wanted to be a housewife and so are lapping it up now, but that was never me. I've always been strong and independent and so playing a "doting housewife" role makes me feel like I've lost my self-worth.)



    Any honest advice would be truly appreciated!

  2. #2

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    Keep the cleaner, he can pay for it.

    Don't ask me why guys are like this, and he is smart enough NOT to swap roles with you so he does know how much you do.

    Tell him to shut up, adn if he keeps up the bollocks with the washing etc, only do stuff for you and baby - cos you "have too much on".

  3. #3

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    Wow, you poor thing, sounds like you need to house train DH
    I work full time, and so does he - but we have a good balance - there are certain things that are his responsibility and things that are mine. eg - keeping the balconies neat and tidy is his, cooking is his and cleaning and washing are mone (though he often helps out with vacuuming).
    Much harder to have that kind of balance if he is working 7 days though.
    Have you considered getting a cleaner again? Just cos you arent working full time at a job doesnt mean you dont work full time with bubs?! Maybe swap positions with your partner for a couple of weeks, if you cna take over his duties in the business - i am sure he will realise then what it is that you do all day.
    Dont give up on your work if that is what keeps you going and you enjoy it - you will end up resenting yourself and him in the long run!!!

  4. #4

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    Hmmm, I'd be livid...
    My Dh does about 75% of housework as he says he goes to work at 6ish am, then gets home around 4pm, he will do a load of washing, or bring oin washing from the line, fold it put it away/iron it etc, then take kids out from under my feet so i can make dinner etc...

    This has all been whilst I was on mat leave too mind you... But as he says... My job is 24/7, My day doesnt just start at 6am & finish at 4pm... So how can i be the best Mummy for our family & wife for my hubby if I am an exhausted zombie!???

    He will often cook dinner or bring something on the way home, he is now working 6-7 days pw too... But when he had Saturdays off he'd clean the entire house whilst I took DD#1 to basketball & then grabbed groceries!

    I'd tell him to stop whinging & help out, or ecah time he sists on his arse I'd sit down too... If there's no dinner & he asks say, you thought he was getting it, or whatever..

    It is unreasonable to look after a child all day & be his slave!

  5. #5

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    Keep the cleaner. I am reading a book called "Baby-proofing your marriage" which has been invaluable - and should be part of your DH's evening routine for a while I am blessed with a husband who does more than most around the house.

  6. #6

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    I hear you!!! I agree with catrionalee about the cleaner and when I go back to work in 3 months I will be getting a cleaner once a fortnight even though I will only be working 3 days a week and we can't really afford it.
    I am lucky my DH cooks even though I am not working, because I find BF and a toddler and baby really tiring so he doesn't expect me to cook every night, but I just wish he would pick up after himself instead of waiting for the fairies to come and pick up his clothes or put his shoes away!!!!!
    I feel stuck in a messy house with no time to tidy and clean and look after the kids.

    The only suggestion I would say is doing a list and seeing if he can do some chores and splitting the workload. Can you get someone else at work so he doesn't have to work 7 days, but only works 5 or 6???

    Sending you lots of support!

  7. #7

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    It's funny, I was just thinking today about the old saying "a woman's work is never done". Traditionally, and by the sounds of it in your marriage, men would go to work 8-10 hours a day and come home and that was it, but for women there is always something that should or could be done at home. Even if the house is spotless and the meal is cooked, you could always plan next week's menu, wash the curtains, vacuum under the cushions on the couch or whatever.

    And traditionally, men have shouldered the "burden" of supporting the family. It sounds like your DH has really got it into his head that he is putting in his fair share by running the business. You said you wanted some honest advice, so here are a few home truths for both of you (from my persepctive.

    1. Yes, it is a big "burden" to carry the family financially, but usually that is a choice, of sorts, that we make before we have kids. I am the main breadwinner in our family and my DH hasn't worked outside the home for 3 years. I keenly feel that I am responsible for how quickly our mortgage gets paid, whether we have enough money for food, how often we holiday and so on. But we decided to arrange our lives like this - I love my career, I earn more, DH wasn't into his career as much, so it was an easy choice. It is wrong for me to carry on about my "burden" because, quite frankly, that's life for those of us who aren't independently wealthy.

    2. When you are home you can run your own ship. The days that you are at home you don't HAVE to clean if you don't want to. You don't have a boss or customers hassling you to get the job done. If you want to work like a maniac for 3 hours and then spend the rest of the day playing with your bub you can. Your DH, when he is at work, probably has to be "on the job" the whole time (UI imagine this is especially the case if it is his own business). Yes, you do work two days a week, but for the other five you can pretty well do as you please. During my mummy years I have variously worked 2, 3 and 4 days a week so I have had the chance to compare the two "worlds".

    3. When you work outside the home you have a "life". Without knowing what your DH does I can't speak about what he probably does, but most workers get a lunchbreak without a baby clinging to them, a coffee break when they chat without having to sing "baa baa black sheep" and a little bit of adult conversation. They get to feel that what they are doing is valued (hey, they are shouldering the "burden" of supporting the family, aren't they?) and often have a bit of automony in what they choose to do next. I liked working - I got to read emails in peace, have lunch with friends, the list goes on.

    4. Housework can be overdone. It can be "underdone". You need to find a balance. Sounds to me like you want a clean house - heck, so do I - but that your DH doesn't value the effort taken to get it or even value the clean house in the first place? When he says "pull your weight" it sounds like he means the business, not the dirty washing he avoids. Ideally, you two will decide TOGETHER (ie: not him saying leave it messy and you insisting it be perfect) how clean the house should or shouldn't be. I would strongly suggest you then draw up a list of what needs to be done on a weekly basis to achieve this.

    5. Organisation makes a HUGE difference. Take a look at websites like "FlyLady" or "Organized Home" and look at creating a household planner. Basically you divide it up into sections for cleaning, cooking, and so on and create a workplan for your house. I am a career girl through and through and I have actually found that this kind of approach actually helps me deal with the never-ending drudgery that can be housework. I personally have a love-hate relationship with housewifery - the very nature of its economic dependence and lack of perceived worth in our society repells me, but at the same time the promise of domestic bliss is deeply attractive. Organsing myself with a household notebook helps me deal with these contradictions in my life.

    6. Men just don't see mess. They need to be shown. See if your DH will agree to a list of jobs for him to do.

    7. Has your DH ever really looked after your bub, full time? My DH did while I was working and BOY does it make a difference to his attitude to SAHMism. Anyone who has cared for a child alone at home knows that it is no easy job.

    Hope this helps - I know it is all scattered but there is no easy answer.

  8. #8

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    Is this the way it is for us women in the workforce or have I just got a lazy sod on my hands?!
    A bit of both I reckon.

    10 years on and 3 children later, I still get cranky with my DH over this issue. He is not too bad, BUT, I still get resentful that not only is the house my job as well as the kids, but also all of the 'extra' organisational stuff life throws at us such as kindy, swimming lessons, Dr's appts, birthdays, Christmas etc.

    We have a rule now (and bear in mind it has taken a LOT of negotiation to get to this point!) where:

    ~ When I am at home with the kids the house is my job
    ~ When DH is at work, that is his job
    ~ When we are BOTH at home, the chores get spilt 50/50

    There is a good article that may help here: Writing It Down

    BUT, it may take YEARS before you get to a position where you can be satisfied..........

    (I am still not there to be honest, but if I think back to when Olivia was a newborn, we have moved in leaps and bounds since, so there IS hope!)
    Last edited by Lucy; January 12th, 2008 at 12:26 PM.

  9. #9

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    Great post Rory! And that's what we do Lucy.... it works for us too.

    I learned with my first child 13 years ago that having a career and juggling children was going to be tough... i swore to never try to attempt to do both... but I have... and studied at the same time as well. After trying many things I decided that it was going to be one or the other. I prefer to live simply and all that juggling was making me dizzy and this affects your mood and therefore your children. My DH is bloody brilliant though. He will come home from a management job (banker) that can also be highly stressful and he will roll his sleeves up and get stuck into it. Now that I have an illness that involves incredible fatigue and muscle weakness DH has to do even more. Before I was diagnosed i thought I ws just being slack by not keeping up with the housework (i've been a SAHM for the past 5 years) but at least I know now what was going on. I wonder what your DH would do if you fell ill? He is going to have to learn to accept more responsibility for the domestic work. There are many a business owner who doesn't have a wife that have to find the energy to grapple with the domestic drudge. I would cut back what you do.... down to the bare bones. Put him in a position of picking up the slack. Don't fight about it.... just tell him that you are pulling your weight and will not do any more. Who gets to sleep through each night? Does he get up at night? if you are getting up make sure you make up for it during the day.

    Do what you think is fair. Don't fight about it. Make a calm stand. If he wants something done so much then he is capable of doing it just like my DH and every other professional bloke who is single. Getting a cleaner in will only help so much... you can't ask the cleaner to: pay the bills, go buy a gift for the party on the weekend, make appointments on the phone, plan the menus.... keep the cleaner but know that there is more to running a house than she will ever be able to do. But most importantly try to relax into the mess until your DH "adjusts".

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