My husband and I, together a long time, have two children. He can be a good dad, but sometimes he’s lazy about doing things for the kids.
I'm self-employed. Since having children, I didn't work as much as I used to or as much as he does.
I've asked him to help with putting the young children to bed because it can be very time-consuming and frustrating.
They both require a lot of help and they also fight at bedtime. He says that, because I'm “the homemaker," I should be doing it more often.
On some nights, I have to put both kids to bed on my own while he relaxes on the couch, leaving me routine, frustrated and exhausted.
Recently, I started working more, including two evenings a week. He’s forced to do the bedtime routine for both kids on those evenings.
So he suggested that the following two evenings, I put them to bed on my own, even though he's at home.
He's trying to make it fair, but I already asked for help, and now he's backing out.
I do the majority of all the other household chores - cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping, etc. This one task, for which I sought help, he’s refusing to do or only wants to do it on his terms.
I think he's being selfish and lazy; he thinks I'm asking too much.
When he doesn't help me with things like this, I start to get resentful and lash out. He thinks I don't treat him well, but I'm just frustrated with his lack of support. I wanted a partner, not another child.
He refuses to go for couples’ counselling, he can be impossible and won't listen to anyone.
End of My Rope
Sorry, but a constant focus on ticking off chores – especially those that apply to the children – is a crummy way to deal with family life.
With you working part-time and doing the majority of housework, while he’s been handling a full-time job, it’s a pretty even division of labour.
Now that you’re working more hours, yes, some accommodation is needed.
But somehow in this scenario, the young kids are directing the show. That’s not good for them or your marriage.
You both need to focus on a better bedtime routine. Example, if both of you are home, each reads a story to one child, but only starts that story when the child stops fussing/fighting and dresses for sleep. Also, start the routine in separate rooms.
Even when only one parent is home, these youngsters need to know there are boundaries - if they fight, no story, or whatever else is their usual inducement.
As for you two as a couple, gently start a new conversation about partnership in the emotional side of the marriage, not just about who does what.
When that becomes the most prevalent bickering in a marriage, it takes all the juice out of the relationship, reducing it to dry demands and lecturing.
Try something new if you can’t get him to counselling. Lie down on the couch with him, and bring the kids over for a laugh and some play. Then suggest you both deal with their bedtime.
The “homemaker” label is wrong, since you’re both working and parenting. If you stop trading time demands and just do what each of you can, and as a team when possible, you’ll improve both the relationship and the home atmosphere for the kids.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the volunteer who insisted she be the organizational parade’s flag-bearer:
“Her “bullying” was insisting that she otherwise wouldn’t participate at all. However, we teach people to stand up for what’s right and stop bullies from getting their way.
“This person was being selfish, wanting the spotlight herself. Where’s the volunteer attitude in that?
“The letter-writer who complained had every reason to feel slighted and less valued.
“The problem here lies with the organizer who should’ve stood by their initial decision to give the task to the letter-writer and also state that it’s important to share the flag-carrying duties year to year.
“If people don’t like it, they can leave. Part of the job of leadership is to have to make a decision and then stand by it.
“The letter-writer probably also did a great deal for their organization, which is why she was going to be honoured this time with being the flag-bearer.”
Tip of the day:
Partnering is what makes a marriage thrive. A constant checklist of who’s doing chores and when, aggravates it.