Are you the "assumed" primary parent?

Discussion in 'The First Year' started by lharrison1, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. lharrison1

    lharrison1 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    What is up with this? I feel like dh just goes about his life assuming I have it all taken care of! He will just go in and out of the house completely oblivious to the needs of the babies-I never do that! Everything from diaper changes, feeding, baths, bed time-he never just steps up and does it, it is just assumed that unless otherwise indicated that I will be taking care of these things. Dont get me wrong he doesnt complain about helping when I ask but why is it that I am the primary parent. Did I cause this?
    On a second note-he isnt like this with our 3yo what so ever but was when she was a baby-is it a baby thing?
    Are any of your DH's like this? Or do they automatically do their part parenting?
  2. rrodman

    rrodman Well-Known Member

    DH has always automatically done his part. We are absolutely equal in the amount of labor.
  3. Leighann

    Leighann Well-Known Member

    I think for some dads they aren't 'baby people.' But thats not an excuse for him not doing his part. I think you should sit down and talk to him when you aren't upset about it and decide how to divide up things. For us, Dh has always been an equal partner because when I went back to work when the girls were 8 weeks old, he took care of them every morning. He and I don't do things exactly the same way and I had to learn to give up some control. Even though we have different styles its ok because in the end the girls are well taken care of, and are learning to be flexible. Of course when we are both here, I do the majority of baby stuff because he does the majority of the house stuff (so in terms of dividing family/daily activities its still 50/50). GL.
  4. Beth*J

    Beth*J Well-Known Member

    :hug99: My DH just does whatever needs to be done. He assumes he will be helping with the babies when he's home. In fact, he asked if I wouldn't mind feeding both babies last night (he usually feeds one before bed) so that he could get us caught up on laundry and some odds and ends around the house.
  5. melissak

    melissak Well-Known Member

    Well, I would say that yes, I am the primary parent but that's only because I'm at home and he's gone m-f 7:30am-6pm. So I do everything then, obviously. But luckily, when he is home, he definetly does his part otherwise. He travels a bit as well so I have to do everything then which really stinks :(
  6. cjk2002

    cjk2002 Well-Known Member

    I have to tell DH what I need. He does not automatically do anything for the boys. When I wake up (always before DH) I make the bottles, change them and if it's the weekend, I will wake him up for his help with the feedings.

    His excuse is that I do it so much better :rolleyes: I tried to explain that I never did this before either and I just had to figure it out. I was afraid at first to give them a bath, but I "had" to do it.

    I think for him it's more of a fear.
  7. BeckiAllen1130

    BeckiAllen1130 Well-Known Member

    My husband is like yours. He'll do whatever I ask him to do, but he doesn't look for a need & fulfill it. I wish he was more proactive & hands on with the girls. It's gotten a little better as they've gotten older b/c he can interact with them more, but I think he still sees the girls as my primary duty. :rolleyes:
  8. jschiess

    jschiess Well-Known Member

    DH does his share of the baby work--sometimes more than his share since I am not a night person at all and basically collapse after the babies go to bed. However, for some reason, if there is a question as to what to do for them if they are fussing or whatever, he always asks me. I continue to remind him that we have been parents for exactly the same amount of time and that he read all the same books I did. So he's as much of an "expert" as I am. He's a very logical/analytical person; so I think he feels more helpless than I do when they are crying for no reason. In his mind, I think he's thinking (a) diaper, check; (B) food, check; © nap, check. And if all the things he knows for certain can make babies upset are as they should be, he's at a loss. I sometimes lose my patience with him on these things, especially when they are both fussy, and I'm trying to deal with "mine," but he's a great dad and a wonderful parenting partner. I think our issues are going to come up later--we have differences of opinion regarding what sports are appropriate at certain ages (football--Mommy says no way) and whether or not they get a car. :)
  9. Rose524

    Rose524 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I am the assumed primary parent in our household.

    Then again, I have always been the one in charge of a lot of household stuff - I have always paid the bills, managed our finances, household expenses and shopping, etc.
    So when the babies came along and the fact I am a SAHM, it only made sense that I would be 'in charge' of them too.

    BUT my Dh does help out - albeit a lot of times I need to direct him and tell him what and how some stuff needs to be done. But it works for us..

  10. sbcowell

    sbcowell Well-Known Member

    My dh takes on his share of the baby and housework for sure. As soon as he gets home from work, he changes out of his suit and takes one baby if not both. And, on the weekends we split it 50/50. He sleeps in, in the mornings and I get to take an afternoon nap. It all works out great!
    I hope things improve for you - why don't you try talking with your partner and letting him know what he could do to help out? Perhaps being really sweet and telling him what a great job he would do at it, and then when he does it tell him how much the babies liked it and wow how good he was at it.
  11. ladybutterflyrose

    ladybutterflyrose Well-Known Member

    My DH automatically does his part in parenting. He even gives me a break on the weekends and does more. He also feels like he gets to spend time and catch up with them on the weekends. I hope it gets better soon :hug99: . You're doing great!
  12. AshleyLD

    AshleyLD Well-Known Member

    Dad of DD1 did that. He never did anything.. He didnt even hold her until she was about 6 months old.

    I am lucky to have a DH that thinks abotu everything else before himself.

    Maybe you need to talk to him and tell him that there are other things that need to get done.. Have you ever told him that you need help?
  13. mmbadger

    mmbadger Well-Known Member

    My DH is the same...doesn't do it unless I ask, so I've just learned to ask. I married the numbskull, so I suppose it's partially my fault :)
  14. AimeeThomp

    AimeeThomp Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I am the primary parent, but I feel like DH does his part. As far as the girls are concerned I definitely do more - but he works outside the home and I don't. He helps me, but I am the primary care-giver and I am okay with that. If I were to go back to work he would be expected to help out more. It has been difficult to establish a happy balance between the two of us as far as work and home responsibilities go. On days my DH works it's a 12 hour shift, so I do everything, he isn't here when they wake up or when they go to bed in the evenings. But on his days off he does his fair share. He likes spending time with his girls so I think I do more of the work and he does more of the playing, but he helps too. I want to be the one in charge of them because we have our routines down!
  15. Dianna

    Dianna Well-Known Member

    We are like this in a way...I think we both knew from the start I was the primary parent b/c I stay home with the babies. He is out working. When he is home, yes he does help. But sometimes I find it more difficult when he does help b/c I have very specific ways I like things done. I personally would rather him spend his time with the boys playing and having fun. Since I don't work and he does, I think he needs that down time with them.

  16. gina_leigh

    gina_leigh Well-Known Member

    I am more of a primary caregiver just because I stay at home and am with them more. But if Dh is home, then he's helping. And sometimes (like today) I'll go on 'strike' and he'll just take over. He does sometimes have questions about their schedule, but again that's mostly because he doesn't do it everyday like I do.
    He also helps with the housework. Actually he does more housework that I probably do.
  17. Babies4Susan

    Babies4Susan Well-Known Member

    My DH always does his part, he's extremely helpful when it comes to the kiddos. He isn't fond of anything involving the kitchen, so I am definitely more of the meal person, but he changes more diapers than I do and I maybe give them 5 baths a year.
  18. beemer

    beemer Well-Known Member

    QUOTE(ChelleBadger @ Aug 12 2008, 09:56 AM) [snapback]926079[/snapback]
    My DH is the same...doesn't do it unless I ask, so I've just learned to ask. I married the numbskull, so I suppose it's partially my fault :)

    Ditto. I feel like such a nag. The older the babies get (and the more visibly interactive they get) the more he spends time with them at least.

    I will say I was shocked to get a glimpse into his way of thinking one day fairly early on when he commented how much he had helped me out by taking care of ONE baby (for the record - the baby WITHOUT colic) for a WHOLE hour and a half. I was abolutely stunned speechless. After that I started making it a point on weekends to leave him with BOTH babies for at least an hour at a time other than naptime while I was still in the general vacinity of the house so he really understood how much work it is, and to help him get more comfortable with the idea that he really could do it on his own, but still had a safety net to fall back on. Though it would never dawn on him to feed them so I can't be gone too, long. :) He'd just keep changing diapers and trying to figure out why that wasn't fixing the problem. Yes, the man has 2 masters' degrees, and not one lick of common sense.
  19. *Sully*

    *Sully* Well-Known Member

    QUOTE(Rose524 @ Aug 12 2008, 10:21 AM) [snapback]925995[/snapback]
    Yes, I am the assumed primary parent in our household.

    Then again, I have always been the one in charge of a lot of household stuff - I have always paid the bills, managed our finances, household expenses and shopping, etc.
    So when the babies came along and the fact I am a SAHM, it only made sense that I would be 'in charge' of them too.

    BUT my Dh does help out - albeit a lot of times I need to direct him and tell him what and how some stuff needs to be done. But it works for us..

    This almost exactly, except I work FT outside the home too. It is a constant struggle. I asked DH last week to list 3 things that he does for the house or family that I never have to worry about or do. He couldn't come up with ANYTHING. I gave him one - taking the trash to the curb every week. That's about it. Everything else I do too. There are so many things that I am solely responsible for by default... bc otherwise he'd never think to do them and they'd never get done. I could ASK him to do them and then there is about a 50% chance he'll remember. So that doesn't work so well when we need diapers, formula or lunches packed for the next day. If he doesn't remember, the babies CANNOT go without diapers, formula or lunch. So instead of risking it on him, I do it. <_<

    I'm so worn down by all of it and so tired of discussing it and trying to work on it. It's a lot like this :BDH:

    I feel your pain. :hug99:
  20. lharrison1

    lharrison1 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Well it isnt like there is anything to talk about with him because he never says he wont do things or refuses-he helps everytime I ask-I just dont get why I have to ask-why isnt it the other way around, it is assumed he does it and then I get asked to do things when they need it the natural order of things???? The mom takes care of the children...always assumed??? Did I play in to it and just take over and so now it is just the way?
    For example I feed the babies after we finish dinner-I just put them in the highchair and put bibs on and start doing it-now if I didnt would he? No! They wouldnt eat. Or if I didnt go up and run the bath and strip them down would he do it? No! They just wouldnt get a you all see what I am saying? Or he will go outside for something and end up chatting with a neighbor for 20minutes and not think twice about what is happening with the babies because it is just assumed that I am taking care of them.
    I was just pondering this in the middle of the night because my little guy was crying and I said could you please go take care of that and he was like "what should I do?"...go be a parent for goodness sake! that is what you should do! Why do I have to tell you what to do?!! Oy!
    Again, this is not the case at all with Sophie-he is just the parent all the time no matter what-he gets her bathed, fed, dressed and even takes her to her doctors appt. picks her up from daycare...never having to be asked. Maybe it is a baby thing that he is intimidated by---I dont know????
    Also, we both work FT out of the home so the issue of one of us taking care of the them the majority of the time is a non issue.
    And I would like to reiterate that he is very helpful and willing...when asked. :)
  21. *Sully*

    *Sully* Well-Known Member

    Sounds just like my house, except that DH will often "forget" things unless it is immediate. For example I can say: go draw a bath for the babies while I feed them dinner and he will (he'll even get out towls and jammies). But when I asked him to lower the cribs, it took DS almost bailing out a week later to finally get them lowered.

    The things that I deal with solely that wear on me are as follows:

    Clothes - switching them out for seasons and size, doing something with them when they're outgrown, stained, etc., washing and folding (although he will put them in the dryer and help me fold if I ask)

    Daycare supplies - LUNCHES (cutting up fruit and veggies, meats, writing their names on everything and buying what they need each week), stocking diapers, wipes, rash creams, changes of clean clothes in their drawers at daycare,

    Equipment and gear - I figure out what they need and upgrade and deal with the stuff they've outgrown. DH said he'd help me sell stuff on CL, but so far has only gone with me once after I set up the meetup to sell stuff.

    What's for dinner? - Since we've started moving away from jar food he does not do it on his own. I mean, he sees what I feed them, but never jumps in to do it himself. I usually end up just doing it every night (and breakfast and lunch on weekends) because he doesn't know what to do. :rolleyes:

    This is just the stuff related to the babies. There is other household stuff too, but I won't go into that. I wish I had an answer to all this, but I guess I just hope that it improves with time and as they get older. At least you know that your DH will help with your older DC. That should give you some hope that he will with the twins in the future as well.
  22. beemer

    beemer Well-Known Member

    I so get what you are saying. And you are not alone. My $.02 - he doesn't know what to do, or was a little intimidated by them early on and since you just take care of it he thinks it is all under control unless you ask. He thinks you ENJOY doing all of it! :) Despite the fact that he doesn't have a clue what all of it entails.

    For my husband he was also afraid to do something wrong (to which I want to respond well if you just do it my way it will all be fine. Or since we have both been parents for the same exact amount of time... Or fine, if you don't want to cut their fingers off (afraid of nail trimming), which of the 37 other things that I need to be doing instead do you want to do?). I try to compliment him profusely and often when he does do something. And I have found that goes a long way into helping get him doing it all the time.

    Unless you point blank talk to him about it, it will never change. Even if you talk to him there are no guarantees, but don't just assume he realizes what a slacker he is being at the moment. He probably thinks he is helping a ton. And he may be devoting all kinds of time and engergy doing things you could care less about. Or am I the only one with the nicely power washed driveway with the uber sticky kitchen tile floor that the boys want to gum on? He may just need some gentle redirection. :)
  23. beemer

    beemer Well-Known Member

    FWIW... I will also say that my husband responds best to passive agressive tactics more than let's debate the philosophy of why you should be helping me more. KWIM? For example, after dinner "Honey, so which one of these little monsters do you want feed sweet potatoes to?" (Look! It's his choice, aren't you nice?) And then afterwards "Oh no you don't! You aren't going to get him coated head to toe and give him back! (All said while smiling and talking directly to the baby). Nope, straight to the bath tub you go." Then the next night assuming it went well... "[Fill in Baby B's name] was so jealous last night watching you give [other baby] dinner doing the ... (airplane sounds for us in this particular example). They want a turn with daddy, too!" Or one of my favorites... [While looking and talking to the baby] Do you want mommy or dada to ____ you tonight?" Works particularly well when they learn to say dadada and repeat it after you say it. :) After a while of him "pitching in" it becomes habit or routine and he will just start doing it. Now he is the one who asks me what's for dinner and starts getting it and them ready while I finish up other things.
  24. sjohnson813

    sjohnson813 Well-Known Member

    Count me in!!! DH is completely clueless :unknw: . He honestly thinks he does just as much as me. He actually told me last night that he thought since I just sit at a desk all day that its okay that I am the one who gets up with them at night :shok: . My DH is also more than willing to do whatever I ASK him to do. I don't know why they don't just know. I swear the boys would go two weeks without a bath if it was up to him. Also, I can say "do you want to clean the kitchen or bathe the boys?" and he will say "kitchen". Then the next morning supper from the night before would still be on the stove. He keeps telling me to just tell him what to do and he will do it, but it is the same things every night. They always need food, diapers, baths, etc.

    I agree with PP it is just like this... :BDH:
  25. xianfern

    xianfern Active Member

    When each of my boys were born, I felt like the primary parent, but I was exclusively nursing. When the girls came along, it was a totally different story. He HAD to help, there was no way around it, my girls were not easy babies. He did it though and was really a trooper. He's currently a sahd, as he teaches and has the summers off.. so I'm working full time and he gets the joy of being with all of our kids all day! It gives him a dose of feeling like the primary parent!
  26. DATJMom

    DATJMom Well-Known Member

    DH always does his fair share even the night feedings when they were small. They are his kids too! But now that they are a bit older, I do more of the day to day parenting stuff and he does all the laundry, yardwork, and sometimes the grocery shopping.
  27. Jody_527

    Jody_527 Well-Known Member

    This is funny in a way because a friend of mine with twins just went for coffee today and had the exact conversation. My DH will help when asked or told to do something but will never just do it, or offer to help. He likes to pretend like he is stupid and say (I didnt know):lazy:, we have only had the same routine for almost 5 months now, no offence to any men but I think most DH assumes like most that its mommys job and unless we ask for it, it doesnt get done. My DH last night was sitting watching tv while one of the boys were crying, while I was doing the dishes, I had to yell into the living room and ask him to pick him up out of his swing for my DH to actually do it. I totally blame his behavior on his mommy!!!!!!
  28. jkendall

    jkendall Well-Known Member

    My DH definitely does his part. I feel like we are just about equal.
  29. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I am very fortunate, DH does help out a lot and if he sees a need, he will take care of it! DH has so much more patience then I do, Thank God. DH and I don't always agree on certain things for the babies (i.e. he believes they should be rocked to sleep, I don't agree)...but he is extremely helpful and I would consider us co-parents.
  30. mrsmoon

    mrsmoon Well-Known Member

    My DH will help somewhat. I have to ask a lot though. When he tells me I am the primary caregiver I tell him he is a parent too and is responsible for them just as much as I am. I do do most everything for the babies though and he will make sure the older two boys get their bath, snack, and in bed on time.
  31. chocomilko

    chocomilko Well-Known Member

    I am the primary caretaker as I am a SAHM. However, when he is here he jumps in with both feet. He does more than I could ever expect him to do. He gives me breaks, he tells me to get out of the house and even has me go away some weekends so I can spend time with my best friend who lives 3 hours away. He got up with them in the night because I am so NOT a night person. He feeds them, helps with chores, he really does a great job helping out. I would talk to him. Tell him you need his help more than what you are getting now. Let him know that its something that is really important to you. Some guys really need to know exactly what they have to do otherwise they won't do it. Its just the way men are wired. What seems obvious to us is not at all to them.
  32. april mcdaniel

    april mcdaniel Well-Known Member

    i am a SAHM so I do the majority, but when DH comes home he does all he can. I think I have the best DH in the world. He lets me, in fact encourages me to go out with the girls while he stays home with the kids, he helps whenever needed and even gets up with the babies during the night to let me get some rest--I know, youre jealous--LOL :p


    [email protected] Well-Known Member

    My dh is a great and very involved dad. He can and will do everything. But, if he has hockey practice or football is on he can leave and focus on himself. If he is working on a "project" around the house, he just goes about his business. It would never occur to him to just step up and do things b/c he knows I will. He won't stop what he is doing to make sure kids get fed, naps, bathed, etc. He knows I'm all over it. Oh, and he has never once taken the initiative to schedule things for school or any medical or dental appointments. That is all me. I am also pretty sure he wouldn't know what size clothes any of the kids wear!
  34. belinda07

    belinda07 Well-Known Member

    My DH is selective in his helping. Overly helpful when he wants something - totally oblivious if he doesn't. Lately the twins have been really clingy to me - and he gets upset about and pouty. Such a child, my DH.
    And I have to ask most of the time too.
  35. Ericka B

    Ericka B Well-Known Member

    I am (was, I'm working now) the primary parent when the babies were tiny. We are both 27 and I think that Dh can still be a little selfish and immature. Dh and I are just wired differently. He helps and does his part but it definitely isn't as automatic as it is for me. Every thought and action I take through out the day revolves around my boys needs and making sure they are fed and changed and eating healthy meals, meal planning, making sure they are napping,whether they are bored or not, what I can do with them. For Dh it's a little different, he has gotten more and more involved the older they get. It took him longer to really bond with them, not that he hasn't always loved them but I really think it is different for women (generally speaking) and I think a lot of it is instinctual. Kudos to all the dh's that step up to the plate even when they aren't feeling it! I was at work yesterday and when I got home I noticed the boys had a little sand on them. Dh had walked them down to the beach, they played, went on the swings and then he took them to McDonalds for lunch (not the healthiest but sweet). I never would have expected him to do that on his day off! Now that I'm not in the middle of the rough time I can be a little more calm about it but I remember being very frustrated. Hang in there, it has gotten a lot better for us and it sounds like (based on how your dh is with your toddler) that things will get better with you too :hug99: .
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