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Sometimes I feel like a single parent

 
 
JPB
 
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:31 am
I love my husband to pieces but sometimes, like this morning, I feel like I have a third child and I'm the only adult in this house. Nothing major, except I'm assuming he's downstairs keeping an eye on the clock so that my daughter doesn't miss the bus. Instead they're having a DDR (dance, dance, revolution) contest, working up a sweat and she hasn't even finished getting dressed or packed up her backpack. I finally arrive on the scene, put on my ugly, mad mommy hat and create bedlam. M ends up running down the driveway carrying her coat even though the temp is in the 20s this morning. She'll probably spend next week (spring break) sick in bed and I will be one unhappy camper as I play nurse while he's off at work.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,923 • Replies: 22
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:39 am
When I found myself Single Again, back in the 70's, I visited a lot of face-to-face chat groups on being single and on the problems of being a single parent.

Once I remarked that being a Single Parent meant I was the only person in the house who was going to replace the toilet paper.

Several women laughed bitterly. Not all men are domesticated and reliable about bathroom supplies.
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shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:40 am
>sigh< boy dont I know that feeling..
This is what I did, it may help you.

One thing I realized about MR Wolf is that he doesnt notice all the unspoken things that go on ALL THE TIME.
IE; food prep, bed time being exactly the same everyday, small bits in routine, that the baby dishes are ALWAYS clean, bottles being made on time..e tc.

So, I made a list of my day.
I started with the obvious.. Getting bean up...
and ended with 'taking the towel off her changing table'.
I included every little thing and WHY it was important.
What the pros and cons were of each step. not being nitpicky.. just explaining how i came to the conclusion that these things work and why they still work.
Example..
Bean goes to bed at 830 every night. WHY? So she can sleep until 7am so that he gets time to see her in the morning before he goes to work.
I start her night time routine at 730. WHY? because I have to do steps 1 2 3 and 4.. to get her to bed at 830 so that you can have blah blah blah...

Something like this might help you. Explain to mr lets have fun, that doing things like that is great! So you have to prepare the morning schedule to accomidate this. Then tell him something like..
Try getting everything ready FIRST, lunch, backpack, breakfast, teeth brushing etc. Tell Little jb that if she gets everything done quickly, she can dance with me before she leaves. So lets hurry.
I dont think he understands the 'big deal' because he may not be the one getting her ready every morning.? I bet a thousand dollars, you just jump in to do everything with out asking for help? It is automatic for you isnt it?
Try stopping and making HIM do it?
or... lock him up in the closet. Laughing
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:46 am
I know just what you mean. I get frustrated for all the same reasons as folks have already mentioned, but the real knicker twister is when he comes to me with his monthly "you don't give me enough attention" crap. I used to make an effort to remedy that, but the last time he said something like that I just said, "hey, we have two kids and a house and it appears that I am the one responsible for them. If you want some attention, maybe you could take some of my workload." So far, so good, but these things wax and wane all the time. We go through times when it is about 50/50, but anytime there is a special circumstance and I end up picking up more of the slack, a new precedent is set and stays that way even after the special circumstances have passed. It's a constant struggle.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:47 am
<nodding vigorously>
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:48 am
shewolf--

Far be from me to malign another woman's man, but I suspect Mr. B. is a Domestic Grasshopper of long standing--capable of moments of sweet delight as well as moments of monumental exasperation.

You seem to feel that reform is possible? Perhaps in some cases....
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:49 am
JB, I hear you loud and clear, and I don't have kids yet! Sometimes I feel like I have to be the mom to my husband and it drives both him and I nuts! But if I don't "remind" him to do things, they won't get done half the time. What is it with men? Very Happy :wink:
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:53 am
shewolfnm wrote:
I bet a thousand dollars, you just jump in to do everything with out asking for help? It is automatic for you isnt it?
Try stopping and making HIM do it?
or... lock him up in the closet. Laughing


I do. My kids depend on it too. When I flipped out and asked him why he wasn't making sure she was getting ready, he said he'd told her at the beginning to keep an eye on the clock. Oh sure, he told his 12 year old daughter to keep an eye on the clock and then proceeded to challenge her to a dance contest Evil or Very Mad Then he tried to tell me she's old enough to get herself ready in the morning. Sure she is. Just so long as someone is keeping her moving in the right direction. You're right, I do enable them too much. I tend to be M-O-M around here.

lol, Noddy. He's pretty good at bathroom supplies so I guess I should count my blessings.
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shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 08:56 am
If this world were with out men,
we would be a bunch of fat happy PMS'ed women
whos wars with other countries were every 28 days. ;-)
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 09:00 am
J_B wrote:


I do. My kids depend on it too. ............................................................ You're right, I do enable them too much. I tend to be M-O-M around here.

.


Divide and conquer baby.. Exclamation
( my motto.. divide chores, conquer baby tasks)
He wont lessen the work you have on your shoulders automatically, and with out direction. 12 years tells ya that ! ;-)
Divide the morning chores. He makes her lunch, while you get her dressed, he packs her backback, while you do her hair, he put on her coat before she leaves while you put things away...

Something like that may help?
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 09:04 am
J_B wrote:
shewolfnm wrote:
I bet a thousand dollars, you just jump in to do everything with out asking for help? It is automatic for you isnt it?
Try stopping and making HIM do it?
or... lock him up in the closet. Laughing


I do. My kids depend on it too. When I flipped out and asked him why he wasn't making sure she was getting ready, he said he'd told her at the beginning to keep an eye on the clock. Oh sure, he told his 12 year old daughter to keep an eye on the clock and then proceeded to challenge her to a dance contest Evil or Very Mad Then he tried to tell me she's old enough to get herself ready in the morning. Sure she is. Just so long as someone is keeping her moving in the right direction. You're right, I do enable them too much. I tend to be M-O-M around here.

lol, Noddy. He's pretty good at bathroom supplies so I guess I should count my blessings.


Sounds familiar. My sister has a 14 year old daughter who has had this problem for years. I told her to buy her an alarm clock and tell her if she misses the bus she's walking. She missed it once and managed to get to the bus stop on time after that. If your daughter can't walk to school, you could threaten to take her in the junkiest car available, or make her take a cab with her own money.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 09:21 am
Oh, you girls got it so rough.

At work, I am the only person capable of brewing a pot of coffee. Somebody fills a cup. Fine. The next one gets 3/4 cup (that way, he doesn't leave an empty pot). The next person takes 1/4 cup, and wonder of wonders, the pot still isn't quite empty. The forth one sits with the empty cup and looks mournful.

Same with the water cooler. A five gallon bottle weighs just over 40 pounds. These are big guys. Hard working men. They could replace that bottle with one hand - with the arm fully extended. Could. Would? Not in this lifetime.

And yes, this does belong in Parenting & Childcare. I'd only put it in Life at Work if I were in domestic service.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 09:33 am
Oh, don't get me started, roger. No-one in my house has ever cleaned a toilet besides me. Nobody has vacuumed or swept the floor besides me. Ditto laundry, clean the kids' rooms, put away clothes or fix breakfast (with the rare exception). And I get a guilt trip if he cooks dinner more than once a week (and he's the only one who actually cares about dinner -- I've already fed the kids by the time he gets home). I buy the groceries and put the kids to bed. I write the bills and send them. Oh, don't forget the dishes! I'd like to say that I can at least count on him to shovel snow, take out the trash and mow the lawn -- all traditionally men's responsibilities -- but I can't. If I mention that the neighbors are starting to look at the tall grass he just says "who cares what the neighbors think?" Well, I care since I'm the one who gets the dirty looks that he's not home to receive. And I actually like my neighbors and don't want to feel anxiety about going outside because somebody might say something.

God that felt good. Let's rename this to the "bitch about having too much responsibility" thread.
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 09:40 am
Much of this really is a monster of my own making. Everything would be perfect if they just did everything MY way :wink: Whoa is me, and them when I'm PMSing, if things get out of kilter and the routines I have in place go haywire.

We live out of town, so walking to school isn't an option. Part of my tirade to Mr B this morning was that *he* would be driving her to school if she missed the bus. He said not. From his perspective, alls well that ends well because she got on the bus and the only thing out of sorts was my blood pressure. I did manage to sneak in the 'single parent' jibe before I logged on to A2K to vent.

Everything will be fine for a while now because I've had my rant and everyone will pay extra attention to the clock, until the next time.....

FreeDuck, you have my sympathies. Mr B is really very good about housework, both inside and out. I have nothing to complain about there. He was a bachelor for a long time before we met, so he's used to taking care of himself. Laundry isn't his thing but all in all he's a equal partner around the house. Our basic difference is in how we parent. I PARENT and he [size=7]parents[/size]
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 09:45 am
FreeDuck wrote:
Oh, don't get me started, roger. No-one in my house has ever cleaned a toilet besides me.


My husband has marveled at the Self Cleaning toilet we have at our house. Rolling Eyes
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 10:04 am
<<jumps impulsively, without thinking, into the middle of a group of women complaining about men.>>

There is another side of this story.

I hate when it feels that my wife sees me as another child. I don't see it that way at all, and it causes friction.

First, in defense of my gender, men are perfectly capable of being fine parents... there are even great single fathers. I also think the stereotypical man who doesn't do his share is now a cliche. It is such a part of our culture, that I think it gets exaggerated.

That being said, let me talk about a difficulty in two parent families.

Men and Women seem to have different expectations. Women seem to deal with honest differences of opinions by attributing it to the traditional defects in the male character.

One thing that struck me in this thread is the "list". My wife also has a "list" (unwritten but always discussed) that, in my opinion, causes problems.

But there are many items on my wife's list that I simply don't see as important and a couple are darn awkward. There are also things that are important to me that aren't on my wife's list.

The problem is that when my wife and I have different priorities, the assumption is that her opinion on the way things should be done takes precedence. This leads to the dynamic of the husband always responding to the demands of the wife-- and the awful feeling of the wife being Mom to all.

It seems that in a perfect world, a couple would have equal expectations and priorities. I don't know why in reality this is so hard. But I believe parents as equal partners should work together .

It would seem that in most cases, getting ready for school is more important than dancing. But, neither you or your husband are perfect and having a supportive spouse to remind you of things is a good thing. But one can do this as a partner... not a Mother.

The Mothering wife is a cultural stereotype that I personally hate-- it is one part of male-female inequality that has stubbornly resisted the advances of feminism.

The tendancy to blame these difficulties, caused by differences in opinions and persistant gender streotypes, on defects in the male character rubs me the wrong way.

It is clear to me that the best thing is to talk and have a clear agreement with ones spouse.

My point is that both partners should approach this with an open mind and a respect for differences with the goal of solving a problem.

Approaching your spouse believing that the problems are due to his faults and tying to convince him he nees to conform to your ideas of how a family should work usually leads to an arrangement that neither partner is comfortable with.
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 10:22 am
Good points, all, ebrown. It reminded me of a sort of epiphany I had after my first child was born. That was the ultimate precedent setting time because neither of us new jack about babies. It was very easy for me, then, to see that if I wanted him to share the responsibilities I had to 1) expect him to and 2) let him. That all worked very well and for the most part he is perfectly capable of caring for the children.

But the dynamic is constantly changing. For us, it changed dramatically after my daughter was born and I decided to stay at home with them both for two years. Suddenly the responsibilities were divided in the traditional manner -- man work, woman take care of house. That took some getting used to, but under the circumstances it made sense. Now that I'm back working, though, we haven't managed to re-adjust the responsibilities. I know that it's a matter of expecting him to pick up the slack, but I'm not a nag and I refuse to ask him to do things as it creates the very dynamic you speak of. I'm actually ok with accepting slightly more responsibility as his job is much more physically tiring than mine, but I'm reminded of how unequal it is when suddenly he starts sending signals that he feels like he isn't getting the proper attention.
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 10:26 am
Hello, ebrown_p.

I don't disagree with a single thing you said. I also disagree with all of it, which is why you are correct in saying that there are two sides to the story. :wink: Of course there are times when things work cohesively, and fortunately in our case that's the majority of the time. There are other times when things go haywire and cohesiveness goes out the window.

On the other hand, there are relationships where parenting isn't a parntership and a majority of the parenting decisions, routines, and implemention of them are the soul responsibility of the mother/wife.


Quote:
My point is that both partners should approach this with an open mind and a respect for differences with the goal of solving a problem.


I think that sums up the difference perfectly. My husband (dare I say most men) would look at the situation as a problem to be solved. He looks at life in problem solving mode. I look at life in problem prevention mode. This morning there was ultimately no problem because she made the bus. Does that make him childlike because he failed to prevent the situation? No, probably not, but it made me feel like I was the only parent on the scene.
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shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 10:29 am
That was why I started a 'list'.
My list isnt a - this is what i do every day , so you need to do ______.-
It was a way for me to show him the things that happen during the day, WHY they happen that way and a way to help us understand and work together.
I really felt at the time that he KNEW these things and WASNT doing them because he didnt want to.
It wasntuntil I opened this communication between us and showed him all that goes on during the day and how one small move can create a huge ripple in our day , that we were able to say some of the things to each other that EB has stated..
Meeting on the same ground and dropping the MALE FEMALE roles is /was/ and will be hard for everyone.
I am so guilty of that. I am the first out of both of us to think " Men dont know this.. that.. blah blah" I am also mature enough to realize how much that DOESNT apply .
After I created this list, Mr wolf and I are now on the same page . For us it worked, it may not for others though?

(( EB- I love your baby picture! ))
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Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Mar, 2005 10:30 am
I just know that my husband knows I will get fed up with the messy house, dirty bathroom and clean it. And he doesn't have to. Not to mention, I am guilty of criticizing his abilities at cleaning... Embarrassed I can't stop myself...even if I don't say anything, I feel like he didn't do it right and I have to re-do it. It's a sickness, I know. Embarrassed
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