Q&A: Work load for SAH parent–perspective?

Today's post is not my finest work. Weird stuff happening all around that's distracting me. Is anyone else feeling like things are particularly chaotic since Saturday?

Anon writes:

"I am a WOHM and
my husband is a SAHD caring for our 10 month old daughter. My husband
does a large portion of the household chores during the week while I'm
at work (laundry, cloth-diaper laundry, dishes, some cooking, cleaning,
outdoor as well). I do what I can on weekends, plus most of the meal
planning and try to do most of the cooking as well, although some of
it's shifted to him lately.

Since our
daughter was about 4 months old or so I have also been doing the night
shift, mostly alone. I was getting fairly tired so asked him to step up
and at least take care of the "getting her back to sleep" as needed
before he went to bed (around 11/12pm). He did pitch in. We also decided
that as I'm not the kind of person who does well on 5 1/2 hours of
sleep, that I start "retiring" for the night at the same time as our
daughter. We usually start bath-time around 6:15/6:20, followed by
nursing, followed by sleep. My sleep really did start to look better.

Then my husband
apparently started feeling "overworked" and basically either stopped
doing his "getting her back to sleep" work before 11pm or doing it very
belligerently. This has recently been compounded by the fact that Miss A
is in full separation anxiety mode and won't even let him comfort her
before 11pm (not that we've really tried for more than a minute or two)
by crying loudly if he picks her up or if I pass her off to him.

What I'm really
wondering is a) in the light of all the work he does is it unreasonable
to expect him to pitch in at night too? and b) in the face of separation
anxiety, how long do we give her (days, weeks) of me only consoling her
before we try him again? Also, he recently made the comment to me that
he thinks he's the only man doing this much work at home (child care
plus housework).

I'd really love
to hear some feedback from any SAHD's who cruise this site."

I think your husband's comment that he thinks he's the only man doing this much work at home is the most telling part of this, and gives us the clue about what's really wrong, because your husband either isn't able to or doesn't want to verbalize it.

I'm hoping that some SAHDs jump in to give some data points here. I am 100% positive that your husband is not the only man doing that much work, but I hope the men speak for themselves.

But it's really not even important where your husband's workload lies on the spectrum of SAHD workloads. It sounds like your husband is just really unhappy, and is taking it out on you by being passive-aggressive and not just saying "I feel overworked and something needs to give." (Any other current or former SAH parents who've ever been passive-aggressive, raise [y]our hands.)

But something does need to give. There are all kinds of solutions here, everything from hiring a part-time babysitter to give your husband a break, to hiring someone to come clean every other week to give your husband a break, to having your husband go back to work part-time or full-time and finding corresponding care for your daughter. There are all kinds of ways to make the family arrangement work for everybody involved, but the first step is talking about it honestly.

Talk about it, and leave your mind open to all kinds of ways to make things work.

Talk about it.

I'm talking to everyone: SAHDs, SAHMs, WOH parents, WAH parents, everyone. Even single parents (if there's anyone involved in your life that you can talk to). My kids' dad and I were in the same kind of road-blocky passive-aggressiveness for a long time and finally just got honest and found a solution and both of us are waaaay happier now. You can do it, too, but it takes stepping away from who's got the most "points" and moving on to who's feeling what and how can everyone feel better.

So, any SAHDs who want to give data points can, but as part of that please talk about whether it's working for you or not, and if so, how are you making it work.

Everyone else, please talk about what you're doing that makes things work or not. And if it's not working, is there something you think would make it work for you?

(Oh, and I predict about another month on the separation anxiety.)

61 thoughts on “Q&A: Work load for SAH parent–perspective?”

  1. For 5 years my husband was a stay-at-home dad while I was a working mom. We had two children, spaced 2.5 years apart during that time and other than maternity leave of a few months each time (3 the first time, 6 the next), he was the one at home.I always did bedtime and nighttime duty for the youngest one (i.e. the first born until his sister arrived and then her after that). I did it not only to give him a break from the kids, but also because I think that bonding time was extremely important for my relationship with my kids.
    That said, there is no way it would have worked if our babies/toddlers were sleeping in a different room from me. That is why we chose to co-sleep. Not only did it give more opportunity for bonding (which reduced seperation anxiety), but it also helped both of us to sleep better (they woke up less when nestled against me than when in their own room), and also made the night-time wakings much shorter and easier to deal with (no getting up, no long ordeal).
    That said, I also needed time for myself outside of work/kids, so there was one evening per week and one weekend morning where I went out alone (I played basketball or some other sport).

  2. with our first baby, I did all of it – the night wakings, baths, cooking, most of the cleaning (none of the yard work though).And then she got older and still wasn’t sleeping through the night so I started by asking to have bath time off.
    Now we have two and I ask for more help more often. I’m still liable to be the one up at night (as we are still nursing and he can’t do that and I hate pumping)…but he often will take over if it’s the older child who is up.
    It’s hard. Staying home I have access to nap time (assuming we have naps) so I’ve always felt like I should take over nights as well. Also, I can adjust my workload differently in ways my husband can’t by leaving for work outside the home everyday. But in reality, it does come to a point where being on call 24/7, every single day, reaches a breaking point. Especially when you aren’t the one outwardly contributing financially (sure, you are by saving the costs of child care but you aren’t bringing in money so it’s hard to ask for a babysitter or a take out dinner once in awhile because money is tight, etc).
    Sounds to me like your husband has reached his breaking point. He needs time off. If it doesn’t work that he take nighttime off, find time on your weekends, early mornings – some time – when he is completely off-duty. It’s not about what is man’s work and what is woman’s work – it’s about being on call at all times.

  3. Neither myself nor my hubby have ever been SAH unless you count my (brief) maternity leave. But I agree 100% with Moxie’s overall message that honest discussion of problems and solutions has to be the first step… keeping tally of who’s working harder is so tempting, but so destructive because it puts you and your partner on opposite teams, instead of on the same team.Periodically, we sit down and talk about what’s working and what isn’t. Maybe this is weird and maybe it only applies to us, but we’ve found that alcohol (in moderation) is a big help in keeping these discussions mellow and less intense, and lowering inhibitions so that what needs to be said gets said!

  4. My husband (a SAHD) does all the grocery shopping, cooking, and day-to-day errands (e.g. banking, post office). I (a WOH mom) would say I do almost all of the laundry, all of the cleaning apart from some general tidying my husband can squeeze in, and at least half of the dishes.I don’t do well on too little sleep either, so my husband is on any night duty that goes past my bedtime. He and my son both sleep in later than I do on weekdays.
    I do try and take over for him for a bit when I get home, so he gets space, and the occasional weekend night. It’s hard for me to give myself a weeknight to go do something fun because then I know he’s going straight through from morning until night, but sometimes it’s needed.
    I found things got a lot easier after the first year, since we were all getting more sleep and our son needed less intense attention.
    I’m happy to provide any more details.

  5. I also wonder if it’s time to try some sleep training for the 10 month old. By that time if no one is sleeping well, everyone is miserable.

  6. My husband is a SAHD. He picks up around the house, does the diaper laundry, does the dishes, and does the yard work. Since I’m pregnant again, he’s also doing pretty much all of the cooking.For a long time, probably the first couple of years, getting our daughter to sleep was primarily my job. He’d help out as he could, but I tended to be more successful at it so that’s just the way it worked out. These days, at 2.5 years old, it’s a two person job. We’ve found making us both part of her sleep routine helps her get to sleep that much sooner.
    Also, he functions better on less sleep than I do, but this just means that a) he naps with her during the day and b) I go to sleep at 8pm, same as she does. Yep, even on weekends.
    Oh, also, I get up with her on weekends so that he gets to sleep in those couple of days, and I think that helps him feel less overwhelmed.
    Also, honestly, we’re not great with the housekeeping. We do what needs doing, and let stuff go when we can. I think that’s important, but we’re on the same page with that.
    That’s how we work now, but I think part of the point is that our duties as regards the house and our daughter have shifted as they’ve needed to. Sometimes when one of us have been feeling overwhelmed, we’ve talked and we’ve shifted things around. Sometimes it just sort of happens without discussion. It always seems to balance out in the end.

  7. I am a stay at home dad and have been since January. I have a boy, 27 months, and a girl, 8.5 months. We are dealing with some of the same problems that the writer above is dealing with. Like her husband, I can find it hard asking for help doing the day to day house stuff and my wife does the night time feeding of out daughter and needs more sleep that she is getting. We alternate days for sleeping in (although not really too late) and we each get some time to ourselves during the week. The time off really helps as does the sleeping in. We do find that we still need to tweak how we help each other and really try to talk when a problem comes up, but, for me, that can be hard.

  8. I really wanted my husband to do nights, for balancing-the-load reasons, but discovered after a while that he just can’t take sleep disturbances, while I am very good at getting back to sleep and getting by with less sleep. We now sleep in separate rooms so that he really can sleep undisturbed.It’s also really tough to be the parent the kid doesn’t want to see, in the night, especially if there’s no clear road map for how it should go. If there’s crying and grumpiness regularly in the night already, perhaps Ferberizing her would be a bargain (in terms of minutes spent crying)? It worked fabulously on my older son, and much less well on my younger.

  9. My husband is a SAHD. He does about 95% of the laundry, 90% of the cleaning, and 80% of the cooking. I take the kid from 6:30 to 10:30 pm every weekday and usually all but about 2-4hrs of the weekend. In addition, we cosleep, but not together. He takes her 4 nights a week and I take her 3 nights a week. So we actually split childcare close to evenly. I like it because we’re both close to our daughter and equal parents. But, it’s hard for me to have so little time to myself.Gender issues complicate things. I think if the genders were reversed I would do less childcare and maybe even less cooking. But I think that’s in part because SAHMs are in general overworked and underacknowledged. So which is more feminist/equitable? Treating my husband as many people treat women, thus balancing the genders a bit, or acknowledging that traditionally female work is in fact real work and SAHPs need breaks at the end of the day and on the weekend? We do the latter but then you get the second shift problem…
    The solution is for the kid to get older I think

  10. I am a SAHM with a husband who works 80 hours a week (plus some weekends.) I do all the grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, all the kid cooking and maybe half of our dinners per week plus whatever life stuff we need to deal with. If my husband makes it home for either dinner or bath time he helps out with those.I find it very hard to ask him for help with any household chores/responsibility since he has a stressful day job and long hours. However, when I get run down/tired/grouchy/stressed no one benefits and my situation is always relived by asking for help. I think its hard for SAHparents to ask for help since there is no clear job description for what we do and (at least for me) it feels like I’m not keeping up my end if I need help.
    I agree with everyone else, talking it out always helps- if not in the short term, at least in the long run.

  11. I think this is incredibly hard and needs to have honest discussion. If your husband wants to go back to working outside of the home and children need to go to daycare, it isn’t the end of the world.In my case, my husband and I both work out of the home and the baby is in daycare. However, I was depressed, I can’t handle sleep deprivation, I was being rejected by my daughter, and my husband took on everything at the same time that I mentally checked out. Luckily, things have recovered, but the marriage didn’t survive and part of that was due to the fact that he wouldn’t talk about anything and he wouldn’t make his needs known and he wouldn’t acknowledge that there was anything wrong with anything.
    All I really have is — talk about it. Be honest. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to be at home all day with the kids — even if it makes the most financial sense. If doing something else will keep the peace and help build a stronger marriage, then do that. The kids will be a-ok as long as people are happy and they feel loved.

  12. I’m a WOHM and my husband is a writer that works from home, so he takes care of the child. It’s been like this since I went back to work when she was a year old (she’s now 3).I always do bedtime because I want to maximize the amount of time I get to spend with her. For the night wakings though, since he is always up until at least 2am anyway, he has those. In return, I take her in the mornings and let him sleep as long as possible. In the rare event that she will only take Mommy, he just puts her in bed with me while I am asleep. That’s usually enough for her to fall back asleep. But by now, she’s very accustomed to this split and I think she kinda enjoys the occasional night with her dad.
    For the housework thing, since he was writing every minute that he didn’t have to be looking after her, not a lot of housework got done on his shift. The same for cooking. So when I got home from work, I would get the child (she would often go up and bug him while he was writing though) and be responsible for getting dinner on the table. This meant dinner was always really late and the house was always a mess because, let’s face it, not a lot of housework was getting done in this scenario.
    After the first year of this, we realized that everyone was really unhappy and really stressed.
    We talked about it and a lot of changes were made. Even though it hurts financially, the child is now in daycare 2 days a week. My husband is in charge of all weekday dinners and on her daycare days, he does a couple hours of housework. He gets a lot more writing time because we can put the child to bed a good 2 hours earlier because dinner is so much earlier. The house is also a lot cleaner. I still do my share of housework on the weekends and all the dishes (no dishwasher so this is a big thing). We are way happier now.

  13. I am a SAHM to a 5.5yo boy ( who is away from 9.00 till 4.00 m-f) and a 3.5yo girl ( at home). My role consists of the following: child-care, cooking, day to day chores, night-time parenting. My husband has a fairly stressful job(involving some travel abroad) and is away 11/12 hours a day. He walks in the door at best around bedtime, but more often than not after the kids are in bed.I can not count on him for much during the week, but during the weekend he does at least, if not more, 50% of the house-keeping, all the outdoor stuff and all the book-keeping for the family including my personal work related bk-ing due to the complexities of Italian work law. I let him off the hook regarding night duties.
    I do feel resentful on occasion particulary in regard to night duties. I had the good fortune of having a good sleeper first time around but our 3.5 year old is the world’s worst sleeper and I’m sure if hubby had helped/helped more at night her sleep would have been/be better. Instead, I pander to her every whim and she knows I’m a pushover, unlike her dad. The times dad has stepped in, her nightwakings go right down (like now), but I feel quilty asking a person who works so much both outside the home and inside ( when he is home) to also contribute at night. But that’s just me.
    Re. sep.anx. She’ll probably go thru it again at 18 months, 2, 2.5 and 3.5, and there is little you can do to stop it ( well that’s what I found with no.2). 9-11 months is not a great time for sleep training but remember it can ‘wear off’ after a while, so you could be back to square one.

  14. My husband has been a SAHD since our daughter was born (3.5 years). I think that the 8-10 month mark is where he started to hit the wall in terms of struggling with his identity as an at-home parent. All those questions of who am I now that I have no professional identity, where did I put my manhood, is this really what my life looks like day after day, that I’m sure every stay-at-home parent experiences (minus the manhood part) after the initial newborn shock wears off. Add to that an increasingly mobile (and therefore increasingly exhausting) baby, and he was having a really tough time. I don’t know if that’s what your husband is going through, but that might explain some of his resentment.And boy does my husband feel like crap when he’s spent the whole day taking care of our child and she only cries for Mommy. (That’ll ebb and flow, btw.)
    The good news is that he was able to get through that low point. Don’t get me wrong, we still definitely struggle with balance of workloads etc., but I think him coming to terms with his new identity as an at-home parent (which, as much as we talked about it, he could only do on his own) was the key factor in making him feel better able to cope with the workload, and taking to it more wholeheartedly if not always cheerfully.
    As far as data points for workload…when my daughter was 10 months old, my husband did, in addition to all the daytime child care, most of the laundry, cleaning, and dishes; about 50% of the cooking, meal planning, and grocery shopping; and ALL night wakings (she was bottle fed so nursing wasn’t an issue). And she had a hellish sleep regression from 7-11 months (I’m talking waking every 45-90 minutes, all night long) so night duty was a big deal in our house. He started out doing night wakings when I was recovering from c-section, and it continued that way because (a) he’s a lighter sleeper than I am anyway, and (b) it was clear I needed sleep to function at work.
    I got up with her in the morning (whether that was 4:30 am or 7 am–still do) and gave her the morning bottle and played with her until I had to get ready for work, so my husband could sleep in. I also did bedtime routine every night (still do), did the settling-down for wake-ups before 11 pm, about half the cooking, and a heavier share of the child-care load on weekends. Now that I have a more demanding job, I would say my husband does even more of the household chores–all of the cooking during the week, for example. I do more of the “managerial” type things like make doctor’s appointments, insurance paperwork, that kind of thing.

  15. My husband has been a SAHD since my maternity leave ended (>5 years ago). He does the laundry, the majority of the shopping, and all the cleaning except the bathrooms. I WAH, do all the cooking, and clean the bathrooms.We started co-sleeping ’cause my husband couldn’t wake up to get DS back to bed, and I wouldn’t (I’d wake up, get DS, nurse him, and fall asleep). DS & I still co-sleep, which works very well for our family (DH sleeps in his own room; he and I always retreated to our corners for sleeping anyway – we’re not night-time snugglers).
    DH gets to sleep in on days I don’t go to the gym (or have early morning meetings).
    Mostly, it works out. Periodically (ahem! laundry day), we have spats about imbalance. I’ll be watching the comments here avidly for tips.

  16. I can’t really speak to this specific situation, but here’s mine.I’m a SAHM and my husband is really, really busy with his work so does next to no housework and childcare. I haven’t had any help from him on that front for months and he’s at work until all hours…
    But because my husband so clearly works as hard as he can for us in his job I don’t really feel resentful that everything else is left to me. If he was coming home and playing computer games on the other hand…
    My gripe is that I’m not wanting him to work so hard – my daughter (I’m sure) and I would prefer less money but more time with him. Things are supposed to be changing, so we’ll see.
    Even though I think it’s easy to talk myself out of it, I do still feel like I am lumped with the lion’s share as I can’t sleep, walk away, have lunch with another adult etc when I feel like it, which he can, even when work is really heavy.
    As for the weird stuff and chaos, since Saturday morning I have been all over the place with two counts of dramatic family news (we live overseas which makes that extra hard), husband away for 10 days and my daughter and I are alone in a big house we’re house sitting and we’ve had huge storms and power outages and I can hardly sleep it’s so scary and stressful! Oh and 16 month old is cutting four molars as well… It was a long weekend with a welcome appointment at the chiropractor’s this morning. I’m holding much less of the tension now…

  17. I’m a SAHM of a 24 month old “R”. My husband and I have found a split in chores/childcare that seems to be working well right now. He leaves for work at 7:30 and will do childcare up to that point so that I can get some extra sleep. (I need more sleep than hubby. Always have.)During the day, I do all the laundry, some household chores and picking up, diaper laundry, dog walking, meal planning and grocery shopping. DH gets home at 5:30 and takes over childcare while I do the dinner cooking. Then, it’s family time until bedtime when we split it like this: DH gets teeth brushing, pjs, and books. I get nursing and singing songs.
    When R was younger, we would split the night time wake ups in 1/2 as much as we could (outside of nursing): he’d take one, I’d take the next one. Thank goodness we don’t have to deal with wake ups like we used to! (knock on wood)
    Weekends we each take a morning to sleep in. We each get some child-free time. And everyone pitches in on yard work and any deep cleaning of the house.
    I’m lucky that DH loves to be involved as much as he does. It makes my job much easier knowing that I have so much support when he’s home.

  18. No matter who you (mom or dad) are or what you do (SAH or WAH or WOH), talking about it is the most important way to make sure everyone’s needs are being addressed in some way–and hopefully being met, too.BUT it drives me crazy when it’s broken down by gender. “Also, he recently made the comment to me that he thinks he’s the only man doing this much work at home (child care plus housework).”
    What does “man” have to do with it? He is the Stay At Home PARENT. Therefore, he should be comparing himself with other SAH parents, many of whom actually also take the night shift because they don’t want their partner to suffer sleep loss when working the job that financially supports the household. So compared to those SAH parents, he might actually be doing a lot less.
    That said, I believe in most cases, both parents should split night duties and household no matter the day job. And I personally think the parent staying at home with the child probably needs more sleep since their job is to care for another human being, which can be a problem if the parent is totally sleep deprived. But what I think in a vacuum does not actually mean it’s right for anyone else. So we’ve all got to figure out what is going to work for all people involved.
    I’m sure I could ramble more, but that’s all I’ve got for now. I just wanted to point out that even though more and more men are the stay at home parent these days, the gender bias still exists. I long for the day when we just say SAHP (or nanny, instead of “manny” — shudder!). If he’s got a problem because he really is overwhelmed, I think everyone can understand that! However, if he is being passive-aggressive about this because he thinks other men don’t do these things and he shouldn’t either, it’s time to either get over it or figure out a different arrangement that will work for him.

  19. I’m in the same situation as Bird. I’m a SAHM with a husband who works long hours and at least 1 day on the weekend, and I am de facto responsible for everything in the household 24-7. He does spend any free time when the kiddo is awake with our son, but it’s fun time for them. It’s fine for now with one child, but I think it would be too difficult with two, so we are working toward a dream of him being able to take a gov job in about 2 years so we can grow the family. My job is tough, but so is his. I know he envies my ability to take a nap, but I envy his grown up convos, going to the bathroom alone, always having time to take a shower, etc. This parenting thing? It ain’t easy. But of course you knew that!

  20. I am a WOHM. My husband is a SAHD. We have a 6 year old and a 3 year old and a third on the way in Sept. My husband does all the laundry, cooking, cleaning, bill paying, grocery shopping and kid activity running. He has done this since our 6 year old was 10 months old. We have a house cleaner come in every other week to clean bathrooms, floors, etc. I handle homework, bed time routines, morning routines and weekend activities. Two days a week our 3 year old spends the day with my Mom. Communication is key. Both adults can get tired. I try to remember we both have a responsibility to help the other be the best parent they can be. There are seasonal changes in our routine. During grass mowing season, I need to pick up some of the dinner responsibilities or the HOA is going to send us hate mail because the grass is too long. We bounce on the nighttime care. Neither one of our kids are great sleepers even now. We co-slept which makes a huge difference. The 3 year old is still in our bed. The 6 year old sleeps in his own bed, but needs one of us to lay next to him to fall asleep. Don’t ask me what we are going to do with the third, but I’m confident we will work it out. We have both gone through times where we just needed something different. Talking about it and finding a solution that works for both adults and the kids is the goal. I have on more than one occasion reminded my husband that he is choosing to stay home and if he is not happy about that we can make arrangements to change it. So far, he has not done anything proactive to change it though I think he get some mental health benefit thinking he might, just maybe start looking for a job. It did take awhile for my husband to understand the toll lack of sleep had on my health. A depressive episode scared us both a little bit. We both try to be mindful of the physical and mental limits we both have and try to be team mates rather than competitors.

  21. The conventional wisdom I heard before I became a parent was “both partners will feel like they’re doing 80 percent or more of the work. Just accept that and move on.”I thought about this a lot after having my son – SAHM for 6 months, then part-time WOHM who still did/does all the laundry, cooking, etc. I kept remembering it and thinking “sure both of us FEEL like we’re doing more than 80 percent but one of us is WRONG and it’s NOT ME!”
    Eventually I was able to move on though, and just getting past that – other commenters called it “points” or whatever – did help a lot with feelings of resentment.
    What really helps for us is making up written agreements of who has what time off. Now that our son is nearly 2 and finally sleeping well we literally have a written contract about which morning I sleep in, which morning my husband sleeps in, which night he goes out with friends, which weekend night is whose, etc. It’s totally unromantic but somehow helped us both feel that at least with time OFF from parenting, no one was getting a raw deal. That made the daily cooking/cleaning grind somehow less important.
    Of course, I’m due with our second in a couple months, so I’m sure everything will shift again.

  22. My husband and I are both WAH types (though I am about to start WOH, in September) and have split care for our son (27 months) since he was born.To me, the most difficult and important thing about childcare and housework is that it’s never equal. Or fair. Adults and kids change constantly. So even if you think you’ve got a manageable system, it will only work for a while.
    *You* do things, *your spouse* does things, and the parameters are based not on equity but on accidents of personality. For example, my husband could sleep through a freight train, while I wake easily. So I’ve always handled nighttime wakings. If I waited for him to get up, I’d go crazy. Better to just get it done and go back to bed.
    So I think that one thing to consider is that you’re not necessarily looking for a work distribution that’s fair. You’re looking for a system where you can flex with circumstances and emotions. If someone needs a break, you should change the routine to manage that, then you can always switch back. If something changes in your baby, flex the system.
    Somebody up the thread said that the real solution is for your child to grow older. I think that’s true. Try to remember that this stage really isn’t forever. If you can manage it for the next year, you’ll find a whole new set of challenges to confront.

  23. I don’t know what the right solution is here, but I can say as a part-time SAH parent, days at home can be long and grueling, and that’s just if you’re taking care of the kid. If on top of that you’re trying to keep the house at least as orderly as when you woke up in the morning, all the more so.And since I work outside the home three days a week, I know that’s grueling and exhausting as well. However, it’s exhausting in a different way. And your accomplishments at work aren’t immediately erased. (Unlike at-home accomplishments…Washed some poopy diapers? They’ll be poopy all over again tomorrow – or even later today.) So while you shouldn’t have to do all the night wakings (I’m assuming it’s more than just 11pm?), maybe he just needs a break from the baby. Maybe his 7-12 time is his time to feel like an adult in an adult world (even if this just means surfing the internet or watching tv). If he’s not going to an office or spending any time without the baby, he’s not getting his adult time.
    I don’t have a solution for you, but I think I can see where your husband’s frustration is coming from.

  24. I agree with the original post and other commenters who have said that it will never be equal, and chances are both of you will feel overworked for quite a while. I think that’s how parenting is. It’s hard. It’s all consuming, and it’s draining.I think the key is that you and your husband need to figure out what works for you. It doesn’t matter if SAHD or SAHM down the road does less or more. What matters is that you figure out what works for your family, and you keep on talking about it. What works today might not work for you next week. I think being flexible, talking, and being willing to compromise is key to successful relationships with young children.
    There are certain things that he does because he is home. There are certain things you do because you’re a part of the family. There are things no one wants to do because they are hard and unrewarding. That’s where the compromise comes in.

  25. I don’t have time for much of a comment right now, but thought I’d chime in as a SAHM who isn’t all that well-suited for the job – if things were different, I’d be working, but I’m not and that’s just where we are. My responsibilities are similar to your husband’s except that I do all the cooking and my husband does the mowing.I hear and understand your husband’s frustration – by the end of the day (even a good day) I am simply burnt out and don’t want to see a child for at least fourteen hours under any circumstance. It really has less to do with whether or not my husband is doing his fair share than the fact that I just don’t want to deal with it anymore. And that’s when I start getting a little temper-tantrumy myself.
    Our solution has been to get a babysitter for one morning a week, and I go volunteer in an office setting. It’s saved my sanity and allowed me to recall that I’m a competent adult who can string a coherent thought together when I need to. I also get one evening out per week – I go to Weight Watchers as soon as my husband gets home and come home when I feel like it. That allows me the chance to just relax and not feel a need to clean up or deal with any children who won’t sleep.
    Ha, so much for the brief comment…

  26. i’m a SAHM and i’m not sure how much gender plays into this one. my husband works from home but he is working 7 days a week until november and this started in april. i do 90% of all house chores and cooking. we do the night time routine and i co-sleep with my 22 month old. at one point last month i started to lose it. i got short tempered and just “had it” and noticed i was becoming a bad parent. i think it had to do with not getting a break. so we hired a babysitter to come once a week for a few hrs and i go out and do whatever i need. sometimes it’s getting an ice cream by myself or doing errands. it’s saved my sanity. it was hard to communicate my needs b/c i felt guilty. don’t feel guilty. ask away.

  27. My thoughts are just that 10 months is still within the first year survival mode window– caring for a baby is exhausting, whether you’re a WOH- or SAH- parent. Ditto all the comments about communication, giving breaks, trying out new arrangements. Keep talking, be honest– it’s really hard, because all these things (housework, division of labor, parenting, manhood, etc.) can be deeply touchy subjects.On another note, can I just say hats off to all the SAHPs out there? I’m a full time PhD student in a demanding field and my husband works full time (albeit from home, but he’s still sitting at his desk being productive 8+ hours a day– he’s a machine!). We have had full time childcare since my son was 6 mos old (he’s now 3.25). Reading about what the SAHPs are dealing with makes me really admire the reserves of patience, dedication and perspective it takes to be an SAHP. Wow!
    Every parent needs a break from their kids sometimes. Taking care of little kids full time is particularly exhausting. IMHO (not being of the SAH tribe) the SAH should get *at least* 1 day or 1/2 day a week totally away from the kids (thanks to a nanny, a relative or the other parent). And that day or half day should be for whatever the hell they want to do.
    @caramama: True, in an ideal world, gender distinctions wouldn’t matter. But just like a lot of SAHMs feel looked down upon or dissed by WAHMs (what do they do all day?) or vice versa (how can you let someone else take care of your baby?), the reality is that SAHDs are way in the minority and do feel they get extra flack (dude, where are your balls?) . It blows, but it *is* hard to be outside the norm, even if you are fundamentally happy with your choice.

  28. Others have mentioned this as well, but I figure I’ll pitch in with my version:You are both working harder than ever before (regardless of gender and specific roles).
    The key with my husband and I was to acknowledge that when we started these conversations we weren’t telling the other person they had to do those things, we were merely stating that we’ve hit a point where we can’t, and as a couple we have to work TOGETHER to resolve the situation.
    This revelation actually took us a lot longer than it should have, I think, but hey – we’d never done this before! (And that can be said for all additional children, not just the first one, because when you have a second one, it’s still your first time with a baby and another child.)
    Solutions are going to vary by family and situation, but we found that our solution lay in getting outside help. My husband’s mom ended up coming over one day a week where I could run errands, schedule appointments, or simply have a leisurely (and ADULT) lunch with a friend. SO GOOD FOR ME.

  29. Amen, @caramama! I know what he means when he says he’s the only man doing it, but so what? He’s not the only parent doing it, there are millions of SAHPs, and the fact that he’s a man is irrelevant.In our house, we split the parenting and household duties pretty much 50/50 when we are both there. When I am at home during the day with the kids, I do the laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, errand running, tidying (we have housecleaners come do the cleaning), and other household jobs.
    If someone were to actually investigate our duties and somehow compare them, maybe we’re not 50/50, but whatever it is works for us. I don’t know how you could even compare things… based on importance? Stress level? Time? Laundry takes hours and hours but for me, is pretty low stress and easy to do. Hubby has no patience for laundry and can’t stand it. So laundry is my job. I will not scoop the cat litter or pick up the backyard after the dog. No poop patrol for me, so that’s hubby’s job. So even though the poop scooping takes a fraction of the time that laundry does, its a way grosser job, so its a fair trade for us based on our tolerances and perceived “value” of the work to do laundry and the work to scoop poop. Everyone is different and has different perceived values, and you have to work that out with your partner so that everyone feels that its fair.

  30. To comment specifically on the night-time care issue: What if both parents agree to deal with night-wakings together? Having a baby who wakes up at night is always tough, and dealing with it alone can be very frustrating.

  31. @Casey: “There are certain things that he does because he is home. There are certain things you do because you’re a part of the family. There are things no one wants to do because they are hard and unrewarding. That’s where the compromise comes in.”This is so important to keep in mind while having your discussions.
    Data point: SAHD who’s also starting my own architecture firm, so I’m working part-time, and home part-time. I handle food shopping, cooking, dishes (except weekend mornings), camp pickups, nanny negotiations, bills & checkbook, mail & filing, household repairs, scheduling, lawn mowing, trash, recycling, and general picking up during the day. hedra is WOH. Our tradeoff is that when she gets home (which varies each day) she’s on and I’m off. And she is primary for bedtime. And she manages the laundry (mostly).
    The getting a company started part of my life is what’s really kicking my butt. I have to find time to market, and do billable work, and maintain my website and Facebook pages and a million other things that compete directly with my time that needs to be spent on the house. And there really isn’t anything that hedra can do to lift the burden. So it sucks, and we expect that at some point things will change and it will suck less.

  32. I am a WOHM and I think the letter writer needs to give her husband a little break. I have never been a SAHM, but there are many Monday mornings when I skip to work merrily. I work long long hours and travel a lot and even work at night and on weekends, but having an uninterrupted cup of coffee or a sandwich at work, chatting for 10 minutes with nice colleagues, kicking back and closing my eyes on a long flight… there are my down times/adult times. I think it is very isolating to be at home with a small baby or toddler day after day after day. You also mentioned that you go to bed early. That means he gets no down time with you during the week. No one to chat with, no one to enjoy a laugh with, and perhaps less intimacy as well. I know you are working hard, but cut him some slack a couple of days a week and talk to him, he needs a little vacation.

  33. I can only echo what others have said – TALK! What works for us doesn’t matter if it won’t work for you.I also have to respectfully disagree with Caramama and suggest that you do take his feelings about being the only man doing this seriously. I don’t expect my husband to understand when I feel like less of a woman due to being a baby/milk factory, but I most certainly expect him to empathize.
    Good luck!

  34. Oooh, no time to read the comments right now. I’ll come back and read them, and probably have more to say based on the smart things other people say.BUT- I agree with Moxie, you’re nearing the end of the horrible separation anxiety phase and it will get soooo much better once that passes. I’m in this phase with baby #2 now, and it sucks. One thing that keeps me sane is that I went through it with baby #1 and have definitive proof that it does end.
    I also agree with her point that you and your husband have to figure out the solution for your family on your own. It doesn’t really matter if he is doing more or less than other men- what matters is what will work for your family.
    Still, if you want a data point, I’ll say this: my husband and I both work outside the home. We both do chores at home, and one of the key things to maintaining sanity is that we try to split the night time parenting as fairly as we can manage. Honestly, the middle of the night feeling that the other partner isn’t pulling his or her share of the work is the most relationship corrosive feeling I’ve ever experienced.
    As for the other chores- we split cleaning 50-50ish, I cook weeknights due to scheduling issues, I do the meal planning, he does the yard work, we take turn doing dishes and chores based on who is doing the bedtime routine with baby #1 (now a 3 year old). I had a “Housework Logistics” post awhile back with more details if you’re actually curious about them.

  35. I’m the original poster (question asker). First of all let me say thank you, Moxie, for posting my question and giving me some feedback, and to all the commenters for providing their advice and sharing experience.A few things I left out of my original question that may shed a bit of light on the situation:
    1 – My husband is from a different country, and while incredibly more enlightened than most of his fellow country-men, I think he never imagined he would be a SAHP, so that feeds into his general disatisfaction.
    2 – Part of his being “overworked” is due to his own neat-freak tendencies. I tried to talk to him about letting certain things slide, housework, yardwork, etc. But he feels like they “MUST” be done. I don’t have time to do all that he feels must be done, but I try to get some of it done on weekends.
    3 – I’ve suggested asking my retired dad/step-mom to come help, watching Ani for all/part of a day, but husband doesn’t want to ask for help. Argh!!! And he feels like he can’t leave Miss A’s side (we will have our first date day in August – with my dad/step-mom watching Miss A, Miss A was born in September ’09).
    4 – We can’t really afford any regular daycare at this point (even if hubby got a job – it would eat up all his salary and be beside the point) and my husband (see above point #3) wouldn’t let anyone outside of family take care of her anyway.
    5 – I am basically co-sleeping with Miss A after her first “chunk” of sleep. Hubby sleeps in another room, so 1) he can get an uninterrupted night’s sleep, and 2) so Miss A and I can sleep better (hubby snores and wakes us both up – plus with co-sleeping it seems safer as he’s a heavy sleeper).
    6 – I’ve actually tried to get hubby to leave the house on weekends, go out and take a walk, go to the library, something. Part of the issue is that we’ve only been back in the US for 3 years and still trying to find our footing in terms of friends, etc. So I guess he feels like he doesn’t have anything to do if he were to go out. Argh again!
    Finally, I think what mostly everyone says is the best advice – we need to talk more. I need to find out from him what he needs the most help on in terms of feeling better about his workload and seeing what we can compromise/shift around so we both feel better.
    And it’s probably just a matter of time like someone said. Waiting this period out til she’s a better sleeper. BTW, we plan on “sleep training” the week she turns 1 yo – I will be home for the week and hubby can stay up with her at night, to get her “weaned” off of night feedings which I think will get her sleeping better/more through the night (she currently nurses about 3 times per night).
    Many thanks again for the sharing and perspective. I think I’m feeling a bit more sympathetic to him and hopefully he’ll open up a bit and be willing to share with me his frustrations and some solutions he thinks he can work with.

  36. My husband works outside the home, and I have been on maternity leave for about 6 months (I’m a professor, so my summers are flexible, which allowed me to be a SAHM for my daughter’s 10 months–also in Canada, where mat leave is a year). My husband changed his schedule when my daughter was born to work 7:30-2:30 on a temporary (so says his boss) basis. My husband does weekend cleaning, almost all laundry, and baby duty from the time he gets home at 3 until we both do bathtime at 7. I do the majority of the cooking, and we are starting to put my daughter in daycare now that I am back to work (starting with about 2 hours/day). Our daughter is not the best sleeper (and is in some kind of $^@#$*! regression on top of things), so she’s up 2-5 times most nights. Occasionally he will take the wakings between bedtime (7) and the time he goes to bed (11), but often she just wants me. I do 99% of nightwakings. He compensates by getting up with her (often she wakes for the day at 5 am) and letting me sleep until breakfast time (7). On the weekends, he gets up with her and lets me sleep (I do way worse on less sleep than he does).I can’t say that it’s really 50-50; I take on more child care, but he takes on way more cleaning and household chores. I feel like it does somehow balance out though (never underestimate the power of someone else doing household chores), even as I slowly return to work. I hope that, unlike this poster’s partner, he isn’t feeling to burnt out from a full time workday, being superdaddy the minute he’s home, being the resident cleaning person, and always being the one with less sleep.

  37. I sounds like lots of folks “divide and conquer” which works for logistics, but maybe not so much for the marriage.Yes, TALK, TALK. But be sure to get “couples time” Sleeping in separate rooms, never spending time just the 2 of you… Not good. The most important thing you can do for your kiddo is keep a strong marriage. It’s HARD. But essential.
    And yes, the best thing is the kiddo will grow older and make lots of things easier.

  38. I’m a SAHM and happy with split of duties. My DH works long hours and has to travel much and often unexpectedly for work.We were in the headwinds of The Great Recession and that’s how you stay employed in DH’s field.DD is devoted to him and vice versa, and they do a lot together when he can, walks and play. He helps with the bath and skincare routines as he can. But it wouldn’t work if her routine depended on him.
    We have a service for mowing and gardening, and for most repairs.
    The rest I do cooking, cleaning, book-keeping, laundry, care of the decor as in fix the paint etc, care of the little one’s eczema, which is a lot of work, and her allergies. So when he travels all keeps going.
    I also come from a background where looking good to the outside was the most important thing and with ridiculously high standards.
    I’ve let a lot of that go, but it’s hard.
    We’ve not used any outside childcare, but friends occasionally take DD out for an hour or so. That’s because we’re both paranoid about the food and Epipen issue , DD is ” spirited” and does not sleep in the evenings.
    As she’s gotten older, she’s now 2.5 DH can stay with her for the occasional evening so I can go out. I make dinner for them and then go out.
    When she was younger and nursing I did all nights as DH wouldn’t be able to work quite simply. Now she’s no longer nursing he will take her one night in the weekend which helps tremendously.
    For me it’s a choice. But when I look at fellow SAHP there are some like me, who chose it, but many more who are economically inactive, and not out of choice.
    It’s not just parents; lots of people, both genders, spend whole days in coffee shops and the library. Lots of people out of the loop. Lots of new thrift shops with working age volunteers and customers during the working week.
    A lot of scared and isolated people.
    Being a SAHM is looked down on and underestimated. I remember opening the door to the DHL man one day, after 4.30 so colicky baby screaming in my arms while I was trying to also cook and finish the laundry. So I looked the picture of frazzled housewife when the guy said ” another day off! Lady of leisure! ”
    That was no joke but a judgment. As I was in most days he’d drop off the neighbours’ parcels. Being at home means drudgery and isolation as well as the happy times. There are many such happy times.
    8-12 months wasn’t. I couldn’t take an active and lively DD places anymore like when she was little, I was cracking up with her sleep regression. And around me other mums ended their maternity leaves and went back to work.
    As others have said I truly then realised that I was a housewife and mother and it might as well be 1950.
    It’s perceived as a default, can’t do anything else option for women often, and always for men. So a SAHD who chooses to stay home really doesn’t get validation. People see an unemployed men wheeling the stroller on weekdays.
    For SAHDs and SAHMs who are home because there are no jobs, or the pay’s too low to pay for childcare it’s doubly isolating and the drudgery harder. I think so. My mother was an unhappy SAHM when all mothers were and she said she could climb the walls out of frustration. It’s seen as an easy option but it’s not.
    Even when you choose it it can also be very hard when you’ve been alone with the little one(s) for 12 or more hours and your partner comes home exhausted and short-tempered.
    From the partner’s perspective getting handed the screaming baby when you come home and want to decompress a bit isn’t much fun either. When you’re locked in by circumstances all that rankles more.
    I don’t know what my point is at all. Probably that a lot hinges on whether the OP’s DH really wants to be a SAHD or whether he feels it’s all he can be under the circumstances.
    I don’t think he does the most of any SAHD I personally know, most do more, and I do more as SAHM, but as other posters have said better than I this is not about what a SAHD ” should ” do.
    It’s about how the OP DH feels about the role.
    Several friends of mine, SAHM, went back to work even though after childcare they earned pretty much nothing. They couldn’t thrive at home.
    That isn’t possible for everyone of course. But every couple of parents needs to adjust and renegotiate all the time.

  39. @haymama, in reading your most recent post I had the thought that your husband may be experiencing some PPD (yes, men can be affected, too). Not wanting to ever leave the baby, not wanting to go out because he doesn’t know what to do–those to me sound like there might be more to it than just the (perfectly understandable) stress and overwhelmingness of being a SAHP.For the record, I am a WOH/WAH (college professor) mom with a husband who works approximately 24/7 M-Th, a normal day on Friday, and often one day on the weekend. I am essentially a single parent during the week, in the sense that he’s often out of town and even if he is “home” I can usually not count on him for help unless it’s a real emergency. Yes, we are re-evaluating his work situation.
    Anyway, I do know what it’s like to be the one doing everything, including nights, and in order to preserve your mental health you have to have a break. It seems like maybe he could use some other help besides occasional child care (which I’m sure he could also use, if he would take it).
    Good luck to you both.

  40. The combination of domestic perfectionism and not allowing the possibility of outside childcare really sets off my hinky-meter. Purity obsessions are bad news to live with, in whatever form they take. (But that’s neither here nor there, and I’m speculating wildly.)As the one who does more childcare in my household, what really bugs me is the feeling that to be off-duty means I have to be out of the house – I would really like to putter at home alone. So it may be worth considering whether he’d find it a break if you took the little one to the playground for a weekend afternoon, then to Friendly’s for dinner, or some such. (I realize ten months is a little young for the playground, but mine is at least up for chewing on wood chips and watching the children.)

  41. My husband was a full time SAHD, and we split the nighttimes – he dealt with wakeups from 7pm to 12, and I got the 12-5 shift, since he’s less of a morning person than I am. He didn’t do much in the way of housework, either, other than random errands, garbage, and dishes, but he took care of the pets, all the well-baby doctor’s visits, etc. I did the bulk of the housework, on weekends, and cooked dinner most nights. Basically, we just had to come to terms with the fact that neither of us were going to get enough sleep anytime soon and just make the best of it.It sounds like the poster’s husband is doing a LOT, and even if he’s the one insisting on doing it all, I think that it’s only fair to split nighttime parenting, no matter what the SAH/WOH breakdown is.

  42. 10 months is so hard because it seems as if things should be easier and in some ways they are, but in many ways they are still difficult.My husband and I both WOH. for the first eighteen months our son did not sleep through the night. I was breastfeeding and it was logical that I would take the nightshirt. there were points in the thick of it where I was very resentful of my husband sleeping through the night.
    In other ways, he did so much more than I do. and he is an amazing father.
    I guess I have no good advice. Only sympathy and assurances that with time and communication things will get better.

  43. +1 to an open discussion but not when either of you is upset, so schedule a time to talk about this specific stuff.+1 also to outsourcing what you can, especially the non-baby stuff, like yardwork or housecleaning. Can you get a neighbor kid to mow your lawn for $15 or pull some weeds, put out the trash, etc? We have a housecleaner that comes every 2 weeks, just for 2 hours, and she does the stuff we hate doing (bathrooms and floors).
    Disclaimer: my husband and I both WOH and both stay home with BabyT (who was also born in Sept 09!). He stays home with her 2 days while I work part-time, and I stay home with her 4 days while he works a full time compressed schedule. Because he WOH’s more days, I do more of the housework. (but i have help, see above.)
    We split night duty so that the person who has to work the next day can get a full night’s sleep. Except that I’m still nursing so I typically take the 4am wakeup since she really wants to eat then.
    However, I was at my breaking point a few weeks ago (just not enough sleep!) and so we started splitting up the nighttime parenting more – he’d do any wakeups before midnight (even on the nights he works the next day) and i do after midnight. He also lets me sleep in on Sundays, our one day home together.
    We’ve also really tried to figure out what NEEDS to be done vs what can slide. I’m more of a type-A, needs to be organized and neat, person whose to-do list is pages long, but I’m learning to let things go so I/we can just have some downtime.
    I also find putting a strict schedule on laundry (do laundry on Friday, have it all put away by Sunday) and dishes (run a load every night, put away next morning) makes it seem less like these chores are looming over me all week.
    When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I find that asking for help works well, but I have to consciously remind myself not to couch it in that “you never do anything around here” tone and make it more about how I’m feeling.
    Good luck HayMama! And know you’re not the only mama of a 10-month old who doesn’t sleep well 😀

  44. Yeah. Passive aggressivenes. Not so good. We definitely go there when things get stressful. It’s constant work to recognize it, address it, and deal with it. But so far I can see that we consistently make the effort to do so, even if we don’t always catch it quickly (but I think we’re getting better at that).I’m definitely tempted to tally up who does what to see how evenly it splits, but quite frankly, I’m too tired. And it also occurred to me that really, at the end of the day (literally) it’s ‘how much free time do we each have’? I kind of had a lightbulb moment one day when I realised that I didn’t really care who did what (for the most part…though sometimes I do grumble to myself that he has all the ‘fun’ jobs (cooking, dog walking etc.) and I have the ‘chores’) but what I did care was that responsibilities were split well enough that we could each have the same amount of free time in the day. I’m trying to focus on that now.
    I don’t think we’re quite there yet (even split of free time). But the difference is a lot less than if I look at the list of what I do vs. what he does. As some others have pointed out, the divide and conquer thing just has to work for you, it doesn’t need to be split 50/50 down the middle necessarily.
    @Emily “both partners will feel like they’re doing 80 percent or more of the work. Just accept that and move on”. Well that is exactly it. And like you, if I’m honest, I also tend to think (when I’m tired/grumpy/etc) “ure both of us FEEL like we’re doing more than 80 percent but one of us is WRONG and it’s NOT ME!” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
    Luckily evenings after DS goes to bed are pretty low key, so we’re each really supportive of the other to go out for a night with a friend or to do something on our own. This was very difficult when DS was younger. I found it much harder to leave him. Just having this support now (and someone who actively encourages me to go out) goes a long way.
    Having stayed home with DS for the first 11 months of his life, and now back at work as a WOHM, for me, I can definitely say that working (even in a demanding job) is a picnic compared to being at home all day with an infant or toddler. When I was off on mat leave, DH was really good at giving me a break when he got home / taking DS out in the mornings on the weekends, particularly after we’d had a sleepless night. Now that we’re both working, this seems to happen much less frequency. I think it’s something we need to re-balance.
    @Paola, Thank you so much for mentioning the separation anxiety for older (toddler) ages. I’ve been totally wiped out this last week, DS has been extra clingy and it only occurred to me today that maybe he is in some separation anxiety phase. argh! I thought that was over and done with by 18 months. This round (DS is 25 months) is taking so much out of me. How long did it last for your kids at 2, 2.5 & 3.5?
    @Casey, I think you quite eloquently summed up the issues. Especially with this: “There are things no one wants to do because they are hard and unrewarding. That’s where the compromise comes in.” Brilliant & very important to remember.
    @epeepunk, I started my own retail business when I was 26 (no kids at that time) and it was one of the hardest (if not the hardest) thing I’ve ever done. I can’t even imagine doing it with kids, now that I have one. Hats off to you for making a go of it.
    [yay! DH just said he’ll take the dog out for her late night walk…even though it’s *my* turn. Things like this go a long way in encouraging ongoing empathy]
    @HayMama, I think the additional points you bring up regarding your DH’s cultural background as well as his ‘neat-freak tendencies’ are key points. As another poster pointed out, going against the norm is hard, or at least makes it harder. BUT, that being said, clearly something’s gotta give and the more support he can have to ‘give in’ where it’s needed, the better. Easier said than done, I know.
    My last point is that the never ending onslaught of responsibilities and housekeeping and childcare routinely kicks our asses. It’s readjust, readjust, readjust. Our difficult periods are when we identify the problem but can’t come up with a way out, or when one of us gets sick. Eventually the phase passes or we stumble upon a different way to do things. But it is hard.

  45. @HayMama (the OP) – I was about to make a comment about “hey, hire a housekeeper, it’s cheaper than marriage counseling”, but then I read your follow-up post, and all of the alarm bells went off in my head. It sounds to me like he may be suffering from depression – not only from the issues surrounding being a SAHD, but also culture shock from moving, and feeling socially isolated. Just something to consider, that it may be more than you can just talk through and that getting counseling or medication may be helpful tools. Good luck, I hope things get better for you both soon.

  46. @HayMama- I just read your comment, and the bit about your husband not wanting to ask for help makes me want to add to my earlier comment.It IS really hard to ask for help- we have this myth in our heads that we should be able to handle a baby on our own, and geez, aren’t all those other families doing it? They seem to have it together.
    But the fact of the matter is that the idea of a neat little nuclear family doing it all on their own is something that only existed for a short period of time, if it even existed at all. We all need some help sometime, and I’d bet a decent sum of money that the families that look happiest and most together are the ones getting the help. Certainly, things start going to pot around here when we go too long without any outside help.
    I think you’re smart to wait to sleep train. No would be a really, really hard time to do it. For what it is worth, we mostly nightweaned my first baby toward the end of her 10th month, and it was far easier than we expected (she was not easy in the sleep department). I am firmly convinced that had we tried a month earlier, it would not have been so easy.
    The idea of giving your husband some time at home alone is a good one. My husband and I have commented how sick days, even when they are taken for a nasty stomach bug, have a plus side now, because you get to lounge around the house ALL ALONE. A 10 month old will probably love the swings. Or you can go for a long, long walk.
    Finally, I have to agree with those who have said that the stay at home parent needs sleep as much as the working parent does. I find dealing with a baby or toddler (or even my high energy preschooler, for that matter) on very little sleep to be far harder than dealing with my job.
    That’s not to say that you should split the night duties- you should if that is what your family needs to have happen. For what its worth, we split the night in my house, too.

  47. I only have a minute so have not read the comments before mine – I’ll just add a quick data point and suggestion.I work outside the home and our husband has been a SAHD since our daughter was 9 months old. The work load split you describe in your letter to Moxie is similar to what we do in our home.
    Our most successful way of splitting up duties so no one gets burnt out is taking turns. So, the way we would handle your situation is doing bedtime every other night. You do the whole bedtime routine one night, and on that night, you are also responsible for any wake-ups, etc. The next night, you’re totally off duty. Knowing that helps both of you on multiple levels.
    You said that your baby is going through separation anxiety, so this may be tough initially, and/or you may not be able to do such a clear division of duties right away, but it’s something to work toward.
    Best of luck!

  48. I’m a SAHM with a working hubby and we went through a similar passive-aggressive thing after #1 was born wherein I felt he didn’t understand how hard I worked and felt really resentful of how much work I was doing, comparitively. We finally talked about it and continue to do so (he needs reminding, sometimes, how hard I work). He understands that my “job” is actually harder than his and way more stressful, I understand that there’s only so much complaining he can take from me. :PWe came to the compromise that, once he’s home we split all childcare/household duties between us. We alternate nights on baby duty, we alternate who feeds the toddler his meals, we alternate changing diapers… it’s so automatic now that we alternate who has to get up from the table during dinner to get something for one of the kids (without thinking about it).
    Perhaps Anon could set up “working hours” for herself and outside of that split the childcare up evenly however works best for her and hubby. I think, having her around makes things harder because she’s “there” but not helping with childcare, even though “there” is work-time. I know that when my own hubby brings work home it’s frustrating if he’s around and not helping me, even if he’s already busy. It helps a LOT when he cloisters himself in the office – out of sight, out of mind kinda.

  49. Oh, I forgot data points. As I said I’m a SAHM and I do all the cooking, 80% of the laundry, 50% of the dishes, all the cleaning/groceries/finances/gardening/weekday childcare of 2 boys (almost 6 and 3.5yrs). We have no babysitter/family/community around us so it’s all us. Hubby does all the yardwork and washes the floors (personal dislike). When he’s home he helps where he sees I need help or where I ask (if I’m specific) and tries to keep the boys out of my hair so I can get work done.

  50. @HayMama – We’ve had our own serious marital problems around issues of division of labor, and I just wanted to offer you our perspective that proactively seeking out couples therapy has saved our marriage from total disaster. It seems, to me anyway, like given your communication and cultural/gender roadblocks you could really benefit from sitting down together with a facilitator before things get really ugly. Hugs to you!

  51. @the millinerMy daughter has always suffered enormously with sep. anx. Around 20 months and 2.75 years were particularly tough. From 2.75 to 3 was a doozy as it really affected her sleep and she was constantly ‘dropping in’ at night just to make sure I was in bed. During the day she was particularly clingy and wanted only mummy. She is now exactly 3.5 and seems to have just come out of her last regression. She is easy going and happy to hang out with her dad, which really is ‘the’ sign that she is back to normal.

  52. @Paola, Thanks for the added info. After I saw your comment last night, I scanned the Moxie archives about 2 year old sep anxiety, and voilà! Duh! I thought it was just me this past week being extra tired/cranky/short tempered for some reason. I think DS is on the verge of some major expressive language development, so it’s all making a little more sense now. A bit harder for DH to take as DS is constantly pushing him away (even in the best of times he’s not super clingy to Papa). DH finds this hard not to take personally I think. But I’m relieved to know it’s a phase and it eventually will pass. Thanks again.

  53. First, I want to second @BlueBirdMama and others in the “hats off to all the SAHPs out there”! I really think they have a super hard and important job, with no real time off, sick days, vacation days, awards, promotions, kudos or even pay! I am constantly in awe of all that the SAHPs do!@BlueBirdMama and @Danielle and @electriclady – You all make very good points in defense of the gender issue. As much as I wish we lived in a world where it doesn’t matter, you are all correct in saying that it does exist. If it matters to the SAHDs, then their partners should respect that and work with them. How the gender issues affect how he is feeling about his manhood is absolutely valid.
    However, that was not the quote: “he thinks he’s the only man doing this much work at home (child care plus housework).” My point was specifically in his comparing the AMOUNT of work he does compared to other men. I don’t think that is a valid comparison. Though I WOH, I compare the amount of work I do with coworkers who do the same job regardless of gender. At least, that was the point I was trying to make.
    @HayMama – Good luck with your plans! I’ve recently been encouraging my hubby to take a martial arts class to give him something to do outside the house. He also won’t just go out and do something for himself with no real goal in mind. Maybe you can help him think of something regularly that he would go out and do?
    @Camilla – That is a really good point, about needing alone time IN the house. My hubby and I often try to give each other time at home by taking the kids to do something outside the house while the other stays home and has time to himself/herself.

  54. @HayMama – Oh, I wanted to share another thing… but don’t tell my hubby. When I was having a really rough pregnancy two winters ago, my husband was stuck with pretty much all childcare of our daughter and household work in addition to working full-time out of the house. He was overwhelmed, but did not want to ask anyone for help. So I did. I called up his mom on the sly and asked her to please come up and stay with us for a week to help him out. I knew he would let his mom do things to ease his burdens, which he wouldn’t let any of my family who lived nearby do. It was such a life savor for us both, and he still doesn’t know that I was the one who arranged for it. I also asked for my mom to help “me” out, and when she’d come over I’d really ask her to do things that would help both of us and really him, like childcare or housework. Any way you can find a way to get help without him knowing you asked for it?

  55. My husband was a SAHD before I was laid off.What I saw as a contrast between him and my SAHM friends is that he had no interest in finding playgroups or programs or storytimes or anything for our daughter; it wasn’t in his nature.
    The older your daughter gets, the less satisfied she will be with staying home with Daddy all day; she’s going to need some stimulation. It will probably help her sleep better.
    We found a solution in a membership with the local YMCA (now “The Y” apparently). The Y has an on-site babysitting service for folks taking a class or working out.
    My husband now takes the girls (we have 2 now) to the Y a few mornings a week, and drops them off in the “Child Watch” room for an hour while he takes a class or sits in the lobby reading emails.
    Many gyms have something like this; you and he should look around.
    As for cleanup, I suggest you hire a maid or cleaning service once a month, at least, for a few months, to see if that takes the burden off.

  56. Okay, I admit, I am skipping the comments because I feel the need to just start typing my answer… so if this has been touched on already, then consider this yet another vote for this opinion…I’m sorry, but you just described my life. I have never been or will ever be a Stay At Home Dad (because I’m a MOM) but that is what I do every day. I am my child’s primary caregiver, and I do the bulk of the chores (laundry, etc.) around the house because that is how it makes sense. My husband does help out A LOT, and not just on the weekends, and there are plenty of times when I feel overloaded, so I get where he is coming from, but I’m curious if he thinks he gets to do less because he’s a MAN or if he just thinks he’s doing too much of the household stuff in general? I do nearly ALL of the nighttime waking stuff, since A) I am the lighter sleeper, and B) my husband has to get up for work in the morning and I have a little more flexibility in that dept. (When he hears her, he gets up if I haven’t moved, but mostly, he doesn’t hear her).
    When she was VERY little (she’s a toddler now) we did have a deal that I could wake him up outside the hours of 11PM – 5AM if I needed the help (like I’d been up inside those hours a lot or repeatedly) so that he was guaranteed a nice good block of sleep before going into work and I was guaranteed some help if it was a bad night.
    I just keep reading the statement about him thinking “he’s the only MAN doing this much work at home” – and if that would be different if the roles were reversed and it was the WOMAN doing the domestic stuff. And I’m not a feminist, so it’s not my usual thing to jump to that conclusion.

  57. I am a WOHM. My boyfriend (and baby’s father) is a SAHD, and has been since I went back to work when our daughter was 3 months old. I work 40 hours a week. I have always done all night wakings. When I get home from work, I do all cooking, dishes, bathtime, bedtime. I do all laundry and all other housework. Weekends, I do all of this as well as all childcare. I can’t get through to my boyfriend that I need more help, though I ask again and again. Sorry, I have nothing helpful to add to this conversation.

  58. I agree with @Jennifer because I’ve seen the same behaviour from my husband, who, for the past 3 months, has been the SAHP for 3 days a week: my husband has no interest in “social” activities like playgroups or playdates or even taking the kids to the playground (all free activities!). Yet he is fine with horsing around the backyard or taking the kids sailing.@HayMama: I suggest hiring a “mother’s helper”. This could be a neighbourhood teenager or an adult relative, but basically it’s someone who comes over to “babysit” while the parent(s) is(are) home. You could have the helper come over on the weekend so you & your husband could do something around the house/yard.

  59. I have almost the exact same experience as the first poster. My husband works 1 night and one weekend day, I work full time office job. He does his PT job plus most of the housework and the bills and the yard and a large part of the childcare. I have the more demanding job and make the food, and chip in on the other stuff. I always put the oldest to sleep until I was late into my second pregnancy, and now my husband puts the oldest to bed, usually the easier job, while I take care of the younger at night.That being said, I can function on less sleep, he has a hard time doing that. If I couldn’t do it I would ask him to rotate with me every other day. Good luck!

  60. HayMama, I just read your comment and can really relate to many things you said. To be concise, from someone who’s husband does many of the same things (doesn’t want many others to watch the kids, very much a neat freak), sometimes I find it beneficial to let them complain and stick to your own standards for clean until they see how really ridiculous it is. He’s been doing this for 4 years now, and is really starting to chill out.

  61. We keep track of the hours we both work each work. Any time responsible for the child equals time commuting and working. We count housework separately and try (not so successfully) to divide that equally. Take a look at how much time you are both spending at work, then see what is fair in terms of dividing the housework. Also, consider how many hours the nighttime childcare adds to the total. We have divided it so one of each is responsible any particular evening. The other person gets to relax and do what they want, which may well be sleep. Whoever is “on duty” has to deal with whatever comes up. It works well for us in knowing that we’ve split the load about equally and knowing that on our “off” periods, we are really off.

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