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Thread: Differing perspectives on how busy we are

  1. #1
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    Differing perspectives on how busy we are

    I've been married for a year and a half and we have a 7-month-old baby. Generally, things are good, but there's one issue that's come up and will become more and more of a big deal going forward.

    Since we got married, I have been working full time (apart from maternity leave), and my husband has been attending school part time (though he took a semester off when the baby was born) and taking care of the baby. We are now all at home because of the pandemic, me working remotely and him taking 1 class online. Because I am now taking breaks to nurse rather than pumping, I have about an hour and a half less per day to get my work done if I don't want to work extra hours. I also stop working to take care of the baby when he's "in class" (pre-pandemic we had a babysitter), so 2 days a week that's even less time. My husband, on the other hand, ends up with about 5 hours MORE time each day to get his stuff done between my nursing and the fact that I no longer commute (I am with the baby until I start working and as soon as I get off work). Somehow, though, he has expressed that he feels like I should be helping out more with the baby while I'm working. I have laid out the facts that I did just now to him, and he has acknowledged them as true, yet still feels like he needs more help from me. Additionally, he has repeatedly said that he feels like I don't take his need to do homework seriously enough. I have no idea why he feels that way, since I generally assume I will be spending my entire Sunday with the baby to allow him to do that homework, in addition to various evening hours. I have never once told him that I can't take care of the baby when he says he needs to do homework at a particular itme. And again, we have spoken about this multiple times but he still feels this way.

    My husband will be starting an intense, full time grad school program in a month and I'm so worried about how this trend is going to play out, especially as I'm still working from home for the foreseeable future and will need to somehow balance even more childcare with that due to his increased class hours, let alone homework. I feel like we're living in 2 completely different realities - mine where he has tons more time than he did pre-pandemic and I have less and yet am still helping plenty, and his where he has perhaps even less time than he did before the pandemic and I don't take his class seriously enough to help him get things done. Every time I try to talk about this it just goes in circles because his perspective is so completely different from the reality I'm living in. I have asked people for advice regarding how to reallocate household responsibilities once grad school starts (my husband has up til now done the majority of cooking/cleaning/etc due to being less busy, so things will have to change), and the only advice I ever get is to "communicate." But how can 2 people who don't see reality the same way effectively do that?

  2. #2
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Sometimes putting things in writing helps more in terms of communicating, than just talking at each other. So I suggest that you try that approach. Keep it factual rather than emotional and maybe create a real task list and timeline of what you and him do and when. Give it to him and leave him alone to digest and process that. Sometimes the impact of seeing something on paper is greater than talk as it leaves the emotions out of it.

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    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Does he work or bring in any income?

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    Originally Posted by catmouseshoe
    . Every time I try to talk about this it just goes in circles because his perspective is so completely different from the reality I'm living in. I have asked people for advice regarding how to reallocate household responsibilities once grad school starts (my husband has up til now done the majority of cooking/cleaning/etc due to being less busy, so things will have to change), and the only advice I ever get is to "communicate." But how can 2 people who don't see reality the same way effectively do that?
    I think the innate problem is that you are communicating to be HEARD and agreed with, rather than trying to understand his point of view.
    I don't know if you're aware, but you repeatedly refer to your opinion as "facts" and "reality" and his thoughts and feelings as "opinion" and "perspective".
    IMVHO, you should be careful with this kind of thinking as it can be very toxic. You may be giving off an inadvertent judgy vibe.

    One of the biggest issues in marriages, differing opinions in how to raise children and dividing parental duties. If you are just looking for him to see things the way you do, you are only going to fail. Even in the best of marriages, NO spouse is ever going to see everything the exact same way that we do. So, alter your own way of thinking first.

    Avoid using phrases like "reality" and "facts", because that comes across as very harsh and with a ready judgment of yourself being "right", because how can "facts" be wrong?

    You need to sit down and do so when you are both in decent moods. Tell him you want to talk about your priorities together as your schedule changes.
    List what is most important to you and allow him to list what is most important to him. Do not get angry if your priorities don't align. You are going to have to compromise and that means that you may have to do something that you believe is unfair, but that is what you need to do. If he is telling you something is important to him and your attitude is "I already do enough", that is not helpful to you, him or your marriage in the long run.

    Marriage and parenthood ain't always 50/50. Most of the time it isn't. Sometimes it may be 70-30 or 90- 10 or 20-80, it's going to fluctuate over the years. As your child grows, for example, they may feel more comfortable with one of you than the other and therefore THAT parent may have more on their plate than the other. It doesn't mean you don't try. It's just the way life is. Maybe after grad school is complete, he takes a break and does more with the baby.

    Marriage and children means sacrifice and compromise and the truth is that it is NOT always pretty and doesn't always feel "fair". So, you may not love the "communication" advice but it IS what you have to do and work on TOGETHER. That's the only way this is going to get better. If you're looking for a "how do I get my husband to think the way I do" magic wand, please let ME know! LOL.

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    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    It sounds like he resents being a SAHD/homemaker and you resent supporting him in a addition to the rest of the parenting and household stuff.. Unfortunately add the challenges of a new child, finances, and the general virus issues and you have a recipe for conflict.

    Talking hasn't and won't help. It's nonsense as you found out. Action is the only way to proceed. Only do what you are capable of with the new child and working at home and around the house. He will have to pick up the slack. The "fair" discussion is just hot air.Basically a power struggle. Why can't he work while you are home?

    It sounds like you both want to be the boss and both don't want to be the house-spouse. You'll both just have to do whatever you can rather than attempt to have intellectual discussions, make plans, lists, task assignments etc that you very well know will go no where.

    It sounds nice on paper to "communicate" and have heart-to-heart talks about who does what but as you know, it leads to nowhere without action. Both of you: just do it.

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    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    Make a scheduled list and timeline of household and childcare duties. Then he can see how fair and equitable each chore or duty needs to be not only now but make another scheduled list based upon timelines when he's in grad school.

    Life is more complicated and extra busy now with a baby to take care of.

    Make a spreadsheet, put it on a wall somewhere and have that spreadsheet organize your home and childcare life. Get your home life organized by scheduling everything now and in the future, do it again. Make a chore chart.

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    Originally Posted by Cherylyn
    Make a scheduled list and timeline of household and childcare duties. Then he can see how fair and equitable each chore or duty needs to be not only now but make another scheduled list based upon timelines when he's in grad school.

    Life is more complicated and extra busy now with a baby to take care of.

    Make a spreadsheet, put it on a wall somewhere and have that spreadsheet organize your home and childcare life. Get your home life organized by scheduling everything now and in the future, do it again. Make a chore chart.
    I want to add to this - when you figure out "5 extra hours" -when are those hours? Do they work with his body clock/his preferred time to focus on studies - I mean we have a child, I was home full time the first 7 years, now child is 11, we are both teleworking because of the pandemic but I only work part time. But because of the pandemic I am spending hours more a day on housework, cooking, shopping and child care. I exercise early morning - because typically they are sleeping but also because it's the optimal time for my mental health and physical health. Including getting dressed ,exercising, returning and showering I need one hour. If my husband insisted I work out at night because an hour is an hour -I couldn't because I really dislike exercise videos, because my body is exhausted at night -I'm a morning person, etc. Similarly if I told my husband to do his work from 7am-10am instead of 10pm to 1am, he'd tell me he couldn't because he's a night owl and shifting his sleep schedule just isn't feasible. So is all day Sunday his optimal time? What is his perspective on the 5 extra hours? As far as quality time for studying? And why can't he be with the baby more when the baby is not nursing? (Because you should remind him that you're now spending your past commute time with the baby -it's not extra time for you).

    We had a similar miscommunication -but we resolved it -because I didn't think all my extra housework and shopping (including searching for supplies on line that are not readily available) - was noticed or counted at all. Then he pointed out that because our son is all off schedule he's up later which cuts into my husband's work time and also down time he usually has. He's right. Our communication helped me get perspective.

    I think after the pandemic you should hire more household help like a cleaning service. And I would explore again what the 5 hours really means to him -mathematically correct doesn't always translate to practically correct. Good luck!!

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    Platinum Member melancholy123's Avatar
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    I too was going to say make a list or a chore chart of what needs to be done. Get him to read it over and he can figure out what he thinks he can handle and when. Sometimes you just have to let things go, maybe the house isnt as tidy as you'd like it, but so what, nobody ever died from a moderately messy home.

    You both sound like right fighters so you need to figure out a division of chores.

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    Originally Posted by melancholy123
    I too was going to say make a list or a chore chart of what needs to be done. Get him to read it over and he can figure out what he thinks he can handle and when. Sometimes you just have to let things go, maybe the house isnt as tidy as you'd like it, but so what, nobody ever died from a moderately messy home.

    You both sound like right fighters so you need to figure out a division of chores.
    "Dirt is inert" as Dr. Joy Brown used to say, RIP. I'm not a fan of a chore chart at all unless both people want and work on it. If one person is pushing it it comes across as parental IMO. I'd discuss with him what his most favorite/least favorite household duties are and see if you can divvy it up informally in that way. My husband hates to take out the garbage but puts the can liner in. He does all the handy work but I'll put in the maintenance request if needed/follow up ,etc.

    I use email and text for requests/reminders about what needs to be done because it's a boring topic and that way if possible I can keep our conversations more interesting/light hearted. With quarrantine it's a bit different but typically that's what I do
    Last edited by Batya33; 04-28-2020 at 08:48 AM.

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    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    If you want to emasculate him even more than he already feels as a house wife, make a chore list as if he's a child and you're his mother. Do not become a task master and make charts, lists, spreed sheets etc.

    That is a surefire way to kill the romance and make this into a parent-child dynamic. It's also a great way to ramp up the resentment and power struggle treating him like you're the boss and he's the employee. If you want to kill the marriage, make chore list and spreed sheet and post them on the fridge.
    Originally Posted by catmouseshoe
    Every time I try to talk about this it just goes in circles because his perspective is so completely different from the reality I'm living in. I have asked people for advice regarding how to reallocate household responsibilities once grad school starts

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