Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

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supergirl
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Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby supergirl » Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:27 pm

Hi everyone,

I would like your thoughts on this one so please forgive me for a probably (very) long post. It is very important for me to know whether I am being unfair in my expectations.

I would much love views from couples/families where 1 parent whose main job/role (however you defines yourself) is to look after the house, primary school aged children, family and logistics and 1 parent whose main job is to earn the money. I have simplified on purpose.

Firstly, I do not like the term SAHP as personally I very much see it as my main job and my husband agrees with me. So as any job i thrive to do it to the best of my abilities. I put an enormous amount of pressure on myself (which is not a good idea I know).
My husband's main job is to earn what we need to live here and because of who he is, where he was in his career when we had our first child and the hours he puts in, he needs a job that he likes too. He has a very big job, travels once a week and when in London he leaves the house at 7.15 am and is back around 9pm at the earliest. This past month I haven't seen him much during the week as by the time he was home (10/11pm) I was ready to sleep.
It feels like we are flying on 2 very different pathways and it is getting very frustrating.

And secondly, I want to say that he is a great man, he shares, he listens, talk (sometimes when not tired ah ah) and really puts his family first.

My question is: if your spouse is the same (long hours, travelling, etc). how do you divide your family time at the week end between his rest and your rest? What do you expect of her/him? Do you share the decision making or do you delegate it to the one who has more flexible time? What do you spend on to help you as the SAHP and as the WOHP?

- House maintenance (renovations, general maintenance);
- kids;
- Family time;
- Couple time;
- House chores;
- Paperworks, admin, etc;
- Money
- Expectations of both sides
- And what "selfish" spend do you have on yourself if you are "at home"

I totally appreciate that this a private matter but I would be very grateful if you would share the general outline of the way your family functions. I really need some new creative ways of doing it otherwise I think I will explose :lol:

Many thanks. Supergirl
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pie81
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Re: Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby pie81 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:57 pm

I think you need to say the age of your children - or at least whether they are under 3, or older and in nursery school or school. This makes a big difference to what can be expected from each parent during the week, because if they are all in school or at least nursery school then you have a lot of time without children to get jobs done and maybe something for yourself. If they are little however then it's a very different equation.

My husband has a similar job to yours (although I work too, but shorter hours) and broadly speaking I will expect him to do 50/50 when he is at home. So obviously I do more at home overall because I have more hours at home (mostly this happens after children are in bed and before he comes home). However during the time we are both at home it is equal. For example we get one lie in each at the weekend. If he has a "day off" (golf trip) then I have one in return.

Also, I go to bed a lot later than you so that I can spend more time with my husband. We eat dinner very late and go to bed very late. It's not ideal but it's a way not to grow apart.
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supergirl
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Re: Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby supergirl » Wed Jun 29, 2016 1:18 pm

Thanks Pie.

Children are primary school aged.
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Mum2Monkey
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Re: Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby Mum2Monkey » Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:56 pm

Perhaps not helpful, but my husband and I both work. I work longer hours but still do over 80 percent of what is on your list, although do try and get my nanny to help a bit and my husband usually looks after the kids from 7pm as I am still at work. That means me doing jobs at midnight or at the weekend, usually when the kids are in bed or at soft play. So I get no rest, but expect that with children and a career. My husband has more free time (from when the kids go to bed in the evening) and I try to make sure I give him a couple of hours to himself at the weekend. But hard to give much more than that with young children. I think he seems to really need a break though. Where as I seem more content to either be working, managing the house or hanging out with the kids. Do miss my friend a bit though, and don't really see the light at the end of the tunnel. Would be good to know what you determine with your husband!
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Goldhawk
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Re: Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby Goldhawk » Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:23 pm

I think the main thing to remember is that if you aren't happy then things need to change

- House maintenance (renovations, general maintenance); - this we split
- kids - I sort their schedule etc
- House chores; - mostly me, plus cleaner, although he will empty/load dishwasher
- Paperworks, admin, etc; - this we split - I do most of the house related stuff but some of it is down to him, mainly our business admin, one vehicle, gas/elec
- Money - this is split, big purchases are usually discussed but in general I buy what I want and he buys what he wants.
- And what "selfish" spend do you have on yourself if you are "at home" - do you mean £££?

At the weekend we don't have a set schedule apart from kids activities
This weekend I am out one day - shopping in town/lunch/art show with a friend
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Seb
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Re: Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby Seb » Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:36 am

Can I drop in a blokes perspective here please?

First, Supergirl, I think it's great that you are even thinking about this. I have at least one good friend whose marriage I believe will not last because both him and his wife feel that the other is "short changing" them on chores/jobs. The resentment is spilling into every aspect of their relationship.

I think one (of two) points I would want to add is about downtime.

I totally understand that both roles (SAHM/D and career person) involve huge amounts and effort and energy and no-one is disputing that. The area where I've seen blokes get really cross is the feeling that there are opportunities for the stay-at-home parent (I'll say mums but we all know that's not always the case) to "slot in" some R&R when the one working doesn't haven't that opportunity.

Specifically a friend of mine has been having quite a tough ride from his wife on chores/admin and he has been trying to do more around the house. His wife then told him she was taking tennis lessons twice a week in the afternoon now that they had more time and he was so cross I thought he would pop. It wasn't that he felt she shouldn't do them, it was that this activity was at odds with her previous arguments that she was at breaking point. Obviously he didn't have the opportunity to go and play tennis in the middle of his working day. Personally I would view a morning coffee/tennis class/catch up with friends during the day as "not working" and the one in the office just doesn't have that luxury.

The other point, and I think we all know this but sometimes forget, is that at work you're always "on". Client dinners and lunches aren't always jollies that we love to do but bloody hard work. I had a heated discussion with my partner when she sent around to her friends the five star hotel I was staying in for a series of client meetings. The comments were along the lines of "look who is gallivanting around the world whilst I mop up sick" but we worked eighteen hours a day straight and I hated being away from the family.

It was about as far from fun as it was possible to be and I felt really really upset that she totally misunderstood what we were doing, she made it out to be like a stag weekend!

Anyway, as I said at the start, brilliant to even discuss this.

:-)
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schoolsearching
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Re: Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby schoolsearching » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:57 pm

My husband and I both work so our situation is different but I echo the feelings about missing your partner and wanting to find time for them and not being able to. This is the consequence of children. The strategies we have employed to "make it work" include the following:

- House maintenance / chores: Outsource, outsource, outsource, literally as much as you can. In my house, we have fake grass, a go to plumber, a regular cleaner, a once a year "spring clean," and a monthly ASDA order. We keep it simple and don't own a car and use Uber and ZipCar instead (and find it cheaper and less hassle). It may cost more money to outsource but if your priority is spending time with your family you can make it work but cutting in other places. My husband and I tend to not to go on very fancy holidays for example.
- Weekend time: We have regular help than comes in a couple of hours every weekend to help with the kids. This frees us up for a combination of couple time, our own personal time and/or just allows us to get more stuff done! Do I feel guilty sometimes, sure, but we don't have grandparents nearby and it takes a village to raise a child and therefore so what if I have to hire it
- Also, really think about what you need. Think about your "non-negotiables" and communicate them. I gave birth 6 months ago and was barely holding it together. My husband was really busy at work during this time and it was really hard. We got into a few fights and I realized that he just didn't pay enough attention to me. He was great with the kids and very helpful and stuff but the romance was gone. No flowers or card for my birthday. I pre-approved my Christmas present (no surprise or thought went into it from him). No surprise bouquets of flowers. I think if you get the relationship right and the communication is good some of the daily aggravation goes away. You communicate more so you know and appreciate what your partner is doing. So when things get busy and you need to step in and do a bit more, he knows about it and understands when you say that you need a bit of a break afterwards and visa versa.
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sw1234
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Re: Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby sw1234 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:44 pm

Seb - I hear your comments whole heartedly, but my views are slightly different. I work in the city and have had 3 children, hence 3 years off working in a corporate environment swopped for working at home with the kids. Well I know which one I find harder! I was lucky enough to have a small amount of help with the kids in order to get some of downtime you mention. It didn't cause any resentment as my husband who has also been both sides or the fence understands the requirement to have a break when looking after small kids, As my husband and I have both spent time at home vs working FT, it's easier for us to both understand the demands of both. . You are right it's all about good communication otherwise resentment builds. Who does more is the most common cause of marital issues that I hear about from friends and family. I do think the woman (regardless of whether she works or not) often takes on the emotional baggage of home life, from arranging pick ups, play dates, activities, drs appts, shopping, homework, arranging childcare etc and I think until you are in the shoes of the person who does all this you cannot understand how time consuming this is - ill be honest I don't get a break from this ever, even when I have my downtime I'm busy thinking of the childrens logistics! I would love to share the burden of the thinking not just the doing! The doing is the easy bit. The thinking is what keeps me awake at night. While working full time is also full on and all consuming, it's just different. My journeys to work and back and the odd coffee break gave me more time to think about the I have ever had as a SAHM. I also don't feel the need for downtime at the weekend after a week of work as I am happy to spend my time with the kids after a week of not being around. Every family is different and every situation is hard - the grass is rarely greener on the otherside but as long as you respect what each other do you will be fine! Sorry this was written quickly so apologise for the spelling mistakes!
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Mum2Monkey
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Re: Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby Mum2Monkey » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:04 pm

You are so right about the thinking part!

I think though you are right, I don't mind not having lots of time to myself at the weekend because after a week at work I really want to hang out with the kids. My husband on the other hand, is a bit more present during the week but also needs an hour or two "in the man cave". I think everyone is different and every relationship is different and you need to figure out something that works for you - otherwise resentment builds. Also, I've noticed that I often expect my husband to be a mind reader .... and being a bit more open and obvious about expectations and needs definitely helps in our house.
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AbbevilleMummy
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Re: Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby AbbevilleMummy » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:18 pm

SW1234 I was just about to say exactly the same about the thinking!

My husband will do anything I ask him to in terms of the house, running around after the kids on the weekend, occasionally dropping them to school etc because he does understand that we're a team and I work in the city as well as him but what really gets to me is that I have to ask him and give him very precise instructions.

He just thinks about himself, his work and his social life. Anything to do with the kids, the house, family time or couple time has to be thought about by me. So if I forget something or drop the ball then we're stuffed. That pressure to keep all the balls in the air and remember and coordinate everything is exhausting!
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sw1234
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Re: Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby sw1234 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:47 pm

Abbévillemummy - that sounds just like my husband. The most amazing doer but awful thinker! The weeks I travel abroad for work (sorry seb) are the most relaxing times of my life - all I have to think about is work!! Have to confess though, I do also have to leave a timetable and instructions for the week at home for my husband..
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Seb
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Re: Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby Seb » Thu Jun 30, 2016 4:27 pm

The most amazing doer but awful thinker! The weeks I travel abroad for work (sorry seb)
hahahahha - a fascinating discussion!

OK so I have an insight into this.

My favourite childcare weekends are when my wife disappears off on a girls weekend and she leaves it all to me. I LOVE that but there is a proviso. I love to do the things I want to do with the kids. So I am will ram the weekend full of really really fun stuff and it's brilliant and I will think SO hard about what I want to do.

What DOESN'T work is when I have to take over her schedule for the kids and then she gets cross as I don't think. In actual fact I do, but as she's done it all already I'm not going over it all again. It's just like working for a control freak at work when they're constantly micro managing.

:-)
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pie81
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Re: Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby pie81 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:58 pm

Absolutely petal!

Seb that is being a "disney dad" - it's easy to do a fun day out once in a while, the question is what are you like day to day? do you notice when the kids need new shoes? Or read and reply to their party invitations or letters from school? or sort out a doctors' appointment at short notice if they are unwell? Or reorganise their swimming lesson because it doesn't fit with their new after school club? That's the difficult and boring stuff. How are you on that... :D ?
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lemonzest
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Re: Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby lemonzest » Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:30 pm

I'm not sure I agree with all that is said in this blog/article, but I saw it posted somewhere recently, and this thread reminded me of it, so I thought I'd share it in case helpful:

http://www.workingmomsbreak.com/2010/07 ... y-results/
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sw1234
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Re: Can you share how you do it in your family set up?

Postby sw1234 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:58 pm

I realise we have gone a bit off piste to the OP, sorry! Seb - I think you have made a good point in some ways. It's important that you and the kids have fun.. My husband does the same and to be honest I'm delighted! He does with them all the things I dislike, camping, swimming, boating etc! When I come home from my being away, the house is a tip, there's bags of washing, homework and admin but they are all happy and that's great. Luckily, however, my husband isn't deluded and knows that this isn't sustainable beyond a couple of days. While frustrating at times, I have grown to accept that he cannot think about anything other than himself, his job and having fun with his kids or friends. He knows that he is rubbish at coordinating all the family admin and quite frankly nothing would get done if I didn't do it.. I am by no means a micro manager or perfectionist, I am talking the basics, no childrens birthday parties, no presents, no holidays, no clean clothes, no food, no homework done, no play dates, no activities, clubs, paying the nanny/cleaner, remembering the sports kit etc. I not a super mum but i do enough to get by - but even that takes a significant effort in addition to doing my City Job ! My husband did the childcare role (part time and with 2 kids at the time not 3) it only took him a week or two before he realised he needed to get back to work quickly too. I truly take my hat off to SAHM and think they deserve every mini break they can get. The pressures that mums (often mums but not always) take on co-ordinating and running families is exhausting mentally and physically whether it's a full time SAHM or a working mum in my case... Neither is easy but being a working mum gives me time to breathe and think which I never had at home. Anyway back to the family admin now!
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