My Husband Is a New Stay-at-Home Dad & He Is Freaking Out!
What happens when a recently retired husband can't handle the pressure of taking care of his daughter's rigorous schedule—a job his wife held for a decade?
Please help me understand why it’s okay for me to do it, but not acceptable for “him” to do it, “him” being my husband. For the last 10 years, I have gotten our daughter up, forced her to brush her teeth, dug through laundry baskets to find clean socks, reminded her to put on deodorant, impatiently waited in carpool lines to drop her off at school. Then, since I was a high school teacher, I’ve had to work a nine-hour day with teenagers (we all know how lovely they are), picked up my daughter from school, taken her to piano, dance, or tutoring, went home, made dinner, helped her with her homework, forced her to take a bath, then passed out in front of the television set. This was my daily routine, plus or minus some community organization meetings that I’ve had to attend.
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I resented my husband watching television in the other room as we struggled to figure out math and memorize vocabulary words. I would beg him to help her study and his response was, “I can’t, I wasn’t good in school.” I would roll my eyes as he slammed the door on his way to the gym faithfully before or after work as I stayed home doing homework with our daughter, getting fatter and fatter. I’ve pretended to be sympathetic as he complained about how tired he was and how he never got to accomplish anything he needed to do on his Friday’s off.
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His Turn to Manage... It All
Now, it’s finally my turn. My husband retired four months ago and I have a new job in Corporate America. I make great money, but work long hours. I have a job that I LOVE. Now, it’s his turn to do everything I did, but WITHOUT a job.
Only four months into being a househusband, all I hear is fussing and complaining. “I’m not a maid.” “Where are your tights?” “You should have gotten your clothes together last night.” “Hurry up!” “We are going to be late.” “This is too much.” “She needs to get out of these extra-curricular activities.” “I shouldn’t be doing this, I’m a man.” “I’m retired, I should be fishing.”
Excuse me? What was that? I did everything you are doing, but WITH a job. My husband’s idea of cleaning the house is sweeping the dirt on the kitchen floor into a corner and closing the bathroom door. Hello!! It’s still dirty.
Other Moms Experience This
I recently attended a leadership workshop and was seated at a table with 11 other successful wives and mothers from a variety of industries. Many of the ladies had been married longer than I was and had many more children. I asked them who in their household was responsible for transporting their children to extracurricular activities and taking the kids to school. One lady replied, “It’s just easier for me to do it than to explain to him what to do.” Another lady said, “we both work, but I’ve just always done it.” I asked them if they thought that was fair. Someone chimed in and explained, “Men are not detailed oriented. It is extremely difficult for them to correctly pack the dance bag and to perform other detail driven activities. If you allow them to do it they would do it their way, which you may not agree with.”
In my opinion, that’s an excuse! Why should we be punished because we have the ability to multitask? If he knows how to pack his gym bag, then he can pack a dance bag.
One lady said that she usually picks up the kids from school, but she had to work late today. She texted her husband to ask him to do it. His response was “have you asked your mom?”
Those are his kids also. You don’t need a biology lesson, but both of you made those kids together so you both should share the responsibility of caring for the kids. Caring for kids is not just financial, it includes helping out with extracurricular and day-to-day activities.
Our (Possible) Solution
I did agree with one of the ladies at the table. She is a school district administrator. She said that communication was the common thread. Parents need to sit down and set priorities. Raising children successfully takes a team. Open and honest communication in addition to compromising is necessary to sustaining a marriage, having well rounded kids, and keeping your sanity. I plan on scheduling our family meeting immediately or maybe I’ll just keep quiet and let him yell. It’s his turn.