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Thread: moms vs. dads: watching the kids

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    Default moms vs. dads: watching the kids

    I am basically a sahm, although I do work from home very part time. DH is an adjunct prof and has the summers off from teaching. A few weeks ago I explained that since he will be home more I would like to be able to count on him to handle the kids at certain times so I can get things done more easily. This has been an issue for us in the past so I wanted to mention it before break started.

    This week is one of those weeks where I need someone to handle the kids (and not even all three at one time!) for a couple hours each day. I am doing end of the year volunteer stuff at my girls' schools, so it's not like I'm having two hour social lunches or anything g. DH got upset last night because I was "planning his schedule for him" when he needs to get things done too. This just happens to be a crazy week, being t he last week of school, and then things will slow down. I explained that but apparently 2 hours a day to watch one or two kids is asking too much.

    I want to say that DH loves the kids oodles, of course, but he tends to have tunnel vision when it comes to competing work he wants to do. There is no doing little, take a break, come back to it later. It's all or nothing. That's our problem. I can't seem to get him to see my side...that at all I do pretty much is kid stuff and now that he is home, I would like to do a few things without them in tow. Even though the stuff I need to do this week is FOR the kids!!

    I guess what I am wondering is if there is another way to approach this so we don't end u p in an argument about my time vs. his time. Do other men have a hard time putting aside what they want to do to help with the kids? (For the record its not like he is playing video games all day, he has a bunch of fix it projects do around the house which do need to get done, but nothing is truly urgent.) I am tired of having the same issue pop up.

    ~ Cassie, mama to Madison (8), Ali (4) & Wesley (new dude!)


  2. #2

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    My husband is the same. He will help if I ask, but it's obvious that he doesn't necessarily want to. Right now he is on doctor ordered medical leave from work (he's a teacher), so he is home with the kids now that school is out. His medical issues do not affect his ability to watch the kids. On a day where he actually is working, I try to be sensitive to the fact that he worked a long day, just as I have. But typically, over the summer, he watches them to save from having to pay a sitter.
    Last edited by Coruscate; 05-28-2014 at 08:44 AM.
    Julie (Mom of 3)

  3. #3

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    when its a matter of house stuff vs. hanging out with the kids i always remind dh that the house will still be there tomorrow but the kids may not... morbid i know but it reminds him that in-animate objects should take a back seat to the living.
    it usually helps him relax about getting house stuff done and just take a few hours to help his children learn something new.



  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by froggie83 View Post
    when its a matter of house stuff vs. hanging out with the kids i always remind dh that the house will still be there tomorrow but the kids may not... morbid i know but it reminds him that in-animate objects should take a back seat to the living.
    it usually helps him relax about getting house stuff done and just take a few hours to help his children learn something new.
    I think men kinda need things to be put in black and white like that to really "hit" them. I have to remind my husband of stuff like this, too.
    Dorcas (36) DH (37) 3/13



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    Quote Originally Posted by froggie83 View Post
    when its a matter of house stuff vs. hanging out with the kids i always remind dh that the house will still be there tomorrow but the kids may not... morbid i know but it reminds him that in-animate objects should take a back seat to the living.
    it usually helps him relax about getting house stuff done and just take a few hours to help his children learn something new.
    Unfortunately I am the one who needs this reminder every now and then I get so caught up in wanting to get things done I could ignore the kids all day if I didn't force myself to actually focus on them.

    To the OP I would suggest sitting down with your calendars and going over the week or month's schedule together. My DH is different and pretty much needs for me to "plan out his schedule" because if I didn't nothing would happen. My DH doesn't have many outside interests (neither do I) so it's all about the house and kids and what we can get done and how we can keep the kids busy. If there is a week coming up that DH is off we will talk about it the week before and discuss what we will do, who will do what and when, etc. Some days are literally scheduled down to what is happening each hour. It seems to be the only way things get done.

    And yeah I would have a huge problem if my DH thought 2 hours was too long to be alone with the kids. I do understand his side and wanting to get things accomplished but that isn't a reality when you have 3 very young kids. I am the one in the house who takes on projects and it kills me that I can't just spend a few hours finishing them. I got a desk off CL a few months ago that I wanted to paint for the older girls' room and it took FOREVER and it was so much work trying to work around the kids. It made it very unpleasant.

    Anyway, it's only fair that he do more now that he is home more. I don't see caring for the kids or house as a "mom job" or "dad job" it's really who is able and there and now that seems to be him.
    Thing 1 (8), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

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    He doesn't like to actually schedule anything, which is why I think he is now wondering how will he accomplish what he wants to do. Knowing something else is required during his day is making him feel like he won't get anything done at all. But since I have already committed to these projects/events I had to give him a heads up so he could plan his time around these blocks of time. I am the opposite and need to schedule or else I will never get things done. So part of this is also a personality conflict I guess.

    ~ Cassie, mama to Madison (8), Ali (4) & Wesley (new dude!)


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    My husband in also a professor and is not teaching for the summer. However, he does not yet have tenure and wants to make sure that he qualifies.

    So, we have this conversation a lot (and over the last 10 years really). Even though it is summer, he still wants to clock 10 hours of work M-F. He would prefer 12 but has compromised to 10. He is willing to be flexible on when those 10 hours occur. He does realize that the kids will only be this little for so long and he wants to have good relationships with them. So, he generally does breakfast with them and then is home in time for dinner and baths. Once the kids are in bed M - F he can work again. If he isn't able to work because he has the kids then he does want to and I let him make that time up elsewhere.

    He will, however, watch all three kids for me to go to the doctor or a women's only event. I generally have the kids otherwise. On the weekends he is good about taking the two older kids with him on errands that we all don't go on.

    Another conversation we have often is about vacation time. As in he doesn't take any.
    Jessica (33) and Ryan (33). Madelyn born August 5, 2009; Malachi born December 23, 2010 and Nathaniel born July 19, 2013. Lost a loved baby 02/29/12, 05/14/12 and 07/05/12 all due a serious allergic reaction to fabric softener.
    My blog about MCAD

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    Instead of scheduling, can you make a list? And mark off the priorities? We do this almost every weekend and have a list of things we have to and want to get done. It's pretty easy to see which things HAVE to be done and which are one that it would be NICE to get done over that time frame. And something often gets pushed back a weekend. Things get added to the list that are chores and errands as well as fun things.

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

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    I am a SAHM, so *mostly* the house is my "job" (I still need him to pitch in with some things with that, as well, but mostly its my responsibility) and his job is his job. But I have had to remind him that with the kids, we are BOTH equally their parents. When he is at work, obviously I take care of them, but when he is home he needs to be co-parenting with me. We are a team, and they are ours together, so we both need to be taking care of them equally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzmom View Post
    He doesn't like to actually schedule anything, which is why I think he is now wondering how will he accomplish what he wants to do. Knowing something else is required during his day is making him feel like he won't get anything done at all. But since I have already committed to these projects/events I had to give him a heads up so he could plan his time around these blocks of time. I am the opposite and need to schedule or else I will never get things done. So part of this is also a personality conflict I guess.
    Yes well that is how it is when you have 3 kids to care for! Does he not realize how much work it is? My DH appreciates what I do but I don't think he actually realized HOW MUCH I did until I kind of went off a bit. Still he is willing to do what I ask to chip in.

    I guess "schedule" is the wrong word since we don't always do it the way I described (by hour) but as Jen said to make a list of things that need to get done and prioritize those things and then figure out when the best time to do them would be. I don't know what his projects are but say his project is to work on his garden (using something I know that I do) - that will probably take a few attempts. He can make a list of what he'd like to do in the garden on a given day/week or just say "2 hrs for garden" and he will have that block of time. Just as you will need a block of time for him to be with the kids while you do your things. Since yours are scheduled and not something you can change he will need to work around that. That is just how it works....I am not really sure what else he thinks can happen when there are 3 kids in the mix? And I don't mean any of this to sound negative or snarky I am just really confused as to how he thinks things get done when you have 3 kids to care for....

    DH and I do take turns taking the older 2 out while the baby is napping to get some time to do things (quietly!) around the house without kids to interrupt. Maybe you can do that if he needs to get things done at home for a day or 2? Really he is going to have to understand that you both have things to do and you both need to work together to get them done. Also that things will need to be sacrificed and prioritized....
    Thing 1 (8), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

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    We have this issue every year and I have decided this year to just give up. DH is a teacher and the last thing he wants is to spend his vacation minding children. Even his own children. So we will be paying around $1200 per month to have him sit at home on the computer.
    No I am not thrilled. I could spend that money better. But this is now it must be done for peace to reign here.

  12. #12

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    My husband has the philosophy we are equals and I think that should be like that regardless of being a SAHM. James is great with the kids and he isn't an extra kid.
    Granted his parents co-parented very well they shared chores. Maybe a list could help you DH. I need a list to stay on task. Communication is also key talk with him
    about what you need.
    *** Lindsay ***



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    right there with you, Janben!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by janben View Post
    We have this issue every year and I have decided this year to just give up. DH is a teacher and the last thing he wants is to spend his vacation minding children. Even his own children. So we will be paying around $1200 per month to have him sit at home on the computer.
    No I am not thrilled. I could spend that money better. But this is now it must be done for peace to reign here.
    That's ridiculous. There is no way I would settle for that.
    *** Lindsay ***



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    Quote Originally Posted by janben View Post
    We have this issue every year and I have decided this year to just give up. DH is a teacher and the last thing he wants is to spend his vacation minding children. Even his own children. So we will be paying around $1200 per month to have him sit at home on the computer.
    No I am not thrilled. I could spend that money better. But this is now it must be done for peace to reign here.
    Quote Originally Posted by tapir View Post
    right there with you, Janben!
    Good for you guys. We all have to do what works for our families and it doesn't look the same across the board. Sometimes we find out what ends up working best in the long run is definitely NOT what we went into things wanting/planning to do. And maybe next year "what works" will be different than this year.

    OP-that is a very hard one. I run into it a bit, and I know it would be a much bigger issue if DH's career were in the teaching field. We've actually discussed that. He dreams of being an teacher at a community or small state college. He had some math professors in those environments that literally changed his life and he wants to pay it forward-plus he is a very talented instructor. BUT he already struggles with the "come home and relax" or "relax because I'm not at work" mentality. It's much better now than before we moved in the winter, mainly because he isn't commuting a minimum of 3 hours a day anymore. But his personality is such that he doesn't multi-task well at home. So folding laundry AND making sure the kids aren't tipping pitchers of water over onto themselves while refilling water bottles is impossible. Let alone making sure they're going to eat while also trying to be sure the dog gets walked, the messes don't over take the house and the mail gets out to the box. BUT he's really good at having fun with them. When that's all he has to do. So for us, him forgoing his dream profession until they're older is the compromise. And on my end...I just have to know that when he's left "in charge" that really just means they're safe and fed. Doesn't make any promises about the house (this is in terms of me actually leaving town or for entire days).

    For random 2-6 hour blocks of time, we really do have to schedule to make it run well. I do work from home. And there are days on the weekend or when he has common days off work with the kids off from school where we have to have talked ahead of time about it. Me saying what I HAVE to do, him saying what he WANTS/NEEDS (...I don't really consider his "need to dos" on the same level of my "have to dos" because 90% of the time he decides he doesn't NEED to do it afterall...if it means he doesn't get to play games/golf/etc but I know this is going to differ for everyone's circumstances). Then we hash out how my HAVE TOs are going to get done and when his WANT/NEED to can fit in. Since most the time his career is priority for me, the kids and him I don't think it's asking too much for him to prioritize me and my part time working from home! But it has to be VERY detailed and literal when we talk about it or there is too much left open to his liberal interpretation...

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    That brings up a good point....I don't think men in general are as good at multi-tasking. My DH is great in terms of doing stuff around the house like cleaning or looking at the dishwasher and emptying it just because it's clean and needs to be put away. But he's not so great at multi-tasking and just is very focused on what he is doing.

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

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    If I leave the kids with dad, he takes care of them but honestly will not even prepare a meal unless I specify what and how to prepare. The house will be a complete wreck. I think he'd be much better at "multitasking" if he didn't have an iPad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DucksLikeRain View Post
    Good for you guys. We all have to do what works for our families and it doesn't look the same across the board. Sometimes we find out what ends up working best in the long run is definitely NOT what we went into things wanting/planning to do. And maybe next year "what works" will be different than this year.
    I was thinking this, too. If it works to keep the peace in your relationship, then do what you have to do.
    I never thought we should have to pay for someone to mow our lawn. It seemed like a waste of money to me since we are both able bodied. But with three small children, and my DH managing the best he can with ADHD, its just not something that gets done. So to keep our lawn looking nice, and keep us from arguing, we just pay someone. If our working situations were different, I could easily see us paying someone to watch the kids for us to keep the peace.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmosmom View Post
    That brings up a good point....I don't think men in general are as good at multi-tasking. My DH is great in terms of doing stuff around the house like cleaning or looking at the dishwasher and emptying it just because it's clean and needs to be put away. But he's not so great at multi-tasking and just is very focused on what he is doing.
    I agree the multi-tasking is a problem here, too. He gets focused on what he is doing and nothing else exists. Even before a project gets started I think he gets so engrossed in just thinking about it that he can't fathom doing anything else.

    I do think sitting down and making a list of what we both want/need to accomplish is a great idea. I will try that for next week...hopefully it will help avert other arguments.

    I don't look down on anyone who looks for outside help with kids or other tasks if the couple can't come to a solution. If we had the extra money I would totally hire a sitter to get some things done. I just know from experience that sometimes it's impossible to get others to see your side, no matter how clear the problem is to you. If reaching out saves the marriage, go for it!

    ~ Cassie, mama to Madison (8), Ali (4) & Wesley (new dude!)


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    I wasn't trying to look down on anyone I can see some tasks needing extra help for. I just don't understand the concept though of paying someone full time
    to take care of the children two people made together when one parent isn't working. That blows my mind completely. What's the point of being married without a
    partner that can deal with 20 kids outside of the family during the year but, not 2-5 kids during the summer? Maybe I am missing something here. I can see hiring a lawn person to come out once a week to do landscaping if someone can afford it. I can see hiring someone to help with the kids maybe a couple of times a week or full time if the both parents are working. This husbands not being accountable for humans they help create though blows my mind.
    Last edited by mom2CodySophia0811; 05-29-2014 at 04:06 PM.
    *** Lindsay ***



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    Why not? We can totally afford it, my kid likes to go to camp, and my husband likes some downtime when he can get it. He can take care of our kid and does (I work at least as many hours as he does), but he deserves time to himself as much as I do, no?

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by tapir View Post
    Why not? We can totally afford it, my kid likes to go to camp, and my husband likes some downtime when he can get it. He can take care of our kid and does (I work at least as many hours as he does), but he deserves time to himself as much as I do, no?
    So you get to do nothing and have a sitter for 3 full months full time during the summer too? If that's so.. then yeah its a fair trade if both parties have that but,
    if he is the only person that gets to be off of the hook for three full months I don't see how's that's fair. Its the first I've heard of these things other than APA. I can see each parent going out without the kids and without their S/O a couple of nights a month but, for months at a time? That's my point for the whole summer vacation while the kids are out of school didn't make sense. Janben was saying $1200 for her husband to sit on the computer that what I was referring as ridiculous and having to pay $1200/ a month for her husband to sit on his butt at home no cooking, no cleaning, no watching the kids while she's
    at work. That's $9/ an hour. Around here that's a whole lot of money to piss away for "dad" to get off the hook. I watched a baby while pregnant with Sophia it wasn't worth the dad hovering over me just for me to be there to change a diaper because he wanted to do everything else which is my point why have a sitter all the time a parent isn't working or going to school? This guy was amazed his 6 month old enjoyed the book I was reading to her. Kids are simple,they are happy to have someone read to them, play with chalk, be out in a sprinkler, go for walks, play with toys etc. Sure everyone needs a break but, why 3 full months? Is being a parent really that crappy? I am just beyond blown away that some people say their DH's can't "cook", the house will be "destroyed"
    if they are away. Why marry someone if you can't trust them to be a parent with you? What's the point? Everyone deserves a break James goes out for a
    bowling game every couple of months and for me I go to lunch everyone couple of months though twice a month for both of us to be alone
    would be ideal. I guess either I got lucky in the DH department or a lot of people have trust issues.
    Last edited by mom2CodySophia0811; 05-29-2014 at 09:41 PM.
    *** Lindsay ***



  23. #23

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    Nah, you actually just read a lot into Janben's and my post that wasn't there. Bottom line for me is, if I am happy, my kid is happy, and my husband is happy, all while we both have successful careers and are financially comfortable, it's all good.

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    I bet the babysitter or childcare worker on the receiving end of that money is pretty grateful to be earning it. And if someone is on a teacher contract and raising a family, chances are they are receiving a paycheck over the summer. I have the option to receive my annual salary over ten months or twelve (less per check, but I get regular pay year-round) because it makes it easier for my family to budget. Most likely there is more money coming in than what is going out to pay for daycare.
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    Gwenn and Tapir are correct. This is part of our monthly budget during the school year and DHs salary is split over 12 months. It makes for a much better home life. DH is a good dad and he will do some laundry or cook. Maybe when the kids are bigger and easier to handle things might be different.
    The kids do love summer daycare and they will do loads of things they wouldn't do at home.

  26. #26

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    It also helps to keep the kids on a schedule!!!! Way to go on knowing what works for your family!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by janben View Post
    Gwenn and Tapir are correct. This is part of our monthly budget during the school year and DHs salary is split over 12 months. It makes for a much better home life. DH is a good dad and he will do some laundry or cook. Maybe when the kids are bigger and easier to handle things might be different.
    The kids do love summer daycare and they will do loads of things they wouldn't do at home.

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