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What expectations did you have of your husband before baby came?

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#1 Spring Chickadee

Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:08 PM

As the title says… What expectations did you have of your husband before baby came?

My Husband and I are very much equals in our relationship, we don’t fight very often (when we do we are over it quickly) and both of us are happy with the current balance of responsibilities in the house. It’s naturally evolved to be the more manly stuff for him and cooking/laundry/ tidying for me. When we had full time care of a relatives children through Docs DH was extremely active and hand on in caring for them and I would leave for OS work trips with him happy to take on the full load while I was away.  I know he will want to be as involved as possible.

I’ve started thinking about expectations once the baby comes along.
  • I’m not sure how long to ask DH to have off work. 1 week…2 weeks?
  • While on leave and on weekends I would expect DH and I would share responsibilities (to an extent given I’ll be BF)
  • During the work week I would be doing all the getting up in the night. He is up at 5am and works with heavy machinery so for safety’s sake I don’t want him dead on his feet.
  • Housework wise, we currently have a cleaner come in once a fortnight with the inbetween stuff done by both DH and I. once I get into the swing of having a newborn should I takeover all the housework? Split it with DH?  I’d prefer to save the money whilst not working and it makes sense that If I’m already home while DH is at work I should be able to do it.

What were your expectations? What ended up being the reality? What do you think worked for you?

Edited by Spring Chickadee, 07 May 2012 - 09:09 PM.

#2 3_for_me

Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:11 PM

We always just muddled through and did what needed to be done.  Can't help with the time off aspect as my husband is defence force and was lucky to make it to two of the births as we weren't living in the same state when any of them were born Tounge1.gif  Honestly he would have just got in the way anyway laughing2.gif

#3 I'm Batman

Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:20 PM

I expect my husband to pitch in where its needed, if theres dirty dishes wash them. If I'm overwhelmed help me, I just expect that if there is work, do it. Basically I want my partner to pull the load, and there is a much larger load when children come into the mix, they take time, they make more work, its going to be a busy few years whilst they are little.

If you have the money for a cleaner, I would keep them on. For your own sanity and happiness. Children can be easy, sometimes they are not and the endless routine of destroy clean destroy clean is enough to get on top of people.

#4 Baggy

Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:22 PM

DP had 1week off for DD1 and had one day off for DD2.

With DD1 he would do the morning feed before he left for work at 5am (he'd be up getting ready anyway) and I'd do the feed before that. With DD2 she was breastfed to sleep most of the time so I would get up and do it - if I was really tired I'd wake him up to get her for me.

With nappies, clothes changes and general settling/comforting, it would be whoever noticed it needed to be done first.

I do housework when he's at work and he helps when he gets back. On weekends if he's not working it would be whoever noticed the dishes/laundry etc needed to be done first. The only sort of 'set roles' we have it the cooking and the outdoor things. Only because I like to cook and he prefers to mow the lawn etc.

We don't really over think it much we just try to help each other out and do what needs to be done. If he sees me struggling or getting stressed out with something he'll generally take over, and I do the same for him.

Edited by Baggy, 07 May 2012 - 09:23 PM.

#5 podg

Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:35 PM

I trust and trusted my DH to notice what needs doing and do it. He doesn't need a roster, requests or a list.

He took 2 weeks initially (as he was entitled), then a day a week (annual leave) off for another 5 weeks - this was fabulous.

He helped with everything including night feeds during the initial establishing breastfeeding period, and when we turned out to have a needy little girl he continued to expect to help settle her sometimes during the day (in his arms and later on his back), he accepted her in the marital bed, he held her while I ate, he cooked and cleaned and did laundry and shopping. And mowed the lawns, was and continues as the major breadwinner and considered our family in all he did.

We are expecting number four, and his work is very inflexible and not allowing him much leave at all as he has not been there long enough. Otherwise I would expect he would carry almost all the load of caring for our older 3 (under 5) during the newborn period, and do much of the cooking and laundry.

It is possible I have the best husband in the world.

#6 WaffleGrrrl

Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:50 PM

DH had about a month off work when bubs was born.

Given I was exclusively BFing and DD was a slow feeder and a comfort sucker (every 2 hours, for about an hour at the start!) and due to this I was doing the night-time settling too (once again, BFing every couple of hours or so) DH was more than happy to pick up the rest of the slack in terms of the household chores.  

He did: dishwasher loading/unloading, dish handwashing, laundry (inc cloth nappies), cat litter change, feeding cats, rubbish outside.  He used to go about the house doing things when I was BFing, as he called that my 'job' so he would get on with his 'jobs' during that time tongue.gif .  

The only things he didn't do were what he's really not very good at - general tidying (as he doesn't see things that need to be put away or notice things that are out of place), cleaning floors/bathroom/etc, and food prep.

Baby duties in terms of soothing a crying bub, nappy changes, and  settling we shared equally, or else whoever was less tired at the time.  

He does still insist I choose her outfits though - he has a fear of  choosing mis-matching baby clothes

#7 Baggy

Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:54 PM

He does still insist I choose her outfits though - he has a fear of choosing mis-matching baby clothes

When I was at uni DP used to have Tuesdays and Wednesdays off instead of weekends so he'd be a home. I used to come home to DD1 being in some really mismatched clothes laughing2.gif

I never said anything - it only mattered that she was comfortable anyway. I'd just have a little giggle in my head.

Edited by Baggy, 07 May 2012 - 09:54 PM.

#8 Divine 35

Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:11 PM

QUOTE (Baggy @ 07/05/2012, 10:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
When I was at uni DP used to have Tuesdays and Wednesdays off instead of weekends so he'd be a home. I used to come home to DD1 being in some really mismatched clothes laughing2.gif

I never said anything - it only mattered that she was comfortable anyway. I'd just have a little giggle in my head.

laughing2.gif it took mine i while to figure that out. He is great now though, he even does DD's hair really well !

DH had 6 weeks off with DD, 1.5 weeks off with DS.

Next time, we are going for 4 weeks off .

Edited by Divine53, 07 May 2012 - 10:22 PM.

#9 Chardonnay Buffay

Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:19 PM

This is how it worked in our house!

DH took 6 weeks leave with each baby (although, that was his yearly annual entitlement original.gif )

moving forward, I got up during the night, unless on the weekend, then DH had to help.
I did early evening, bed, bath routine. DH cooked us tea.

Anything past 8pm, it's tag team time!! Babies never got the memo that I wanted to eat my tea too!!

#10 busymum01

Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:25 PM

I had no pre-baby expectations, none at all.

Same. We have three children and DH took a day off for each of their births (or the day after as DS1 was a weekend) and then I was home and back to it. He goes to work and works hard, I run the household while working from home. If I want him to do something I ask him.

#11 roses99

Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:34 PM

One thing that might be worth considering, is what you'll do if you get sick. I remember (pre-kids) a colleague of mine took a few days off because his wife was sick. I thought that was kind of weird at the time. But now I get it.

Depends on your DH's work, of course, but maybe have a discussion about whether he will be willing to take a day off if necessary to look after you. It can be hell to be sick and still have to meet the needs of a demanding little person!

#12 YodaTheWrinkledOne

Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:58 PM

our biggest adjustments were actually when DD1 was 12 months old and I returned to work part-time.  Over the 12 months I was home as full-time mum, I had stepped up and taken on most of the housework, bill paying, buying groceries, errands etc.  Which was fine when I was home Mon-Fri.  But going back to work 3 days/week, I just couldn't sustain that.  And DH had gotten comfortable with me taking on all the domestic responsibility.  It took a while for us to figure out who does what when we both work.

Edited by YodaTheWrinkledOne, 07 May 2012 - 11:00 PM.

#13 Mitis angelam

Posted 07 May 2012 - 11:16 PM

Our situation is perhaps a bit unusual in that DH wanted a child and I didn't - so my biggest expectations were around him supporting me in continuing to do what was important to me.  I have to say he's been pretty good about that so far, but prioritisation is fairly ruthless.  Lots of things which would be nice to do or have time for just don't happen.

On annual leave, I suggest your DH take as much time as he can!  It's not just about physical recovery from the birth; so much of your life together changes, and going through it together was invaluable for us.

The question about housework....look, it all depends.  Are you planning to do anything else while bub is very small - study, go back to work, serious time-consuming interest of some other kind?  Those will skew your answer.  The truth atm is that neither of us do much housework, the house looks sadly neglected.  But I'm studying - there'll be time enough for housework in the mid-year break.  The other thing, too, is that a lot will depend on your bub and how much of your time and attention is taken.  Some bubs sleep well and are happy to be put down, and others not so much....that'll affect your time and energy dramatically.  You might have to see how you go and adjust as you need to.

#14 SnazzyFeral

Posted 08 May 2012 - 12:05 AM

We did the bringing baby home workshop when DS was 9 weeks or so and it was invaluble. You can do it before or after the baby is born but I wish we had done it before because it covered so many basic things. It is not really that the content is so new but that it forces you to think about things that you have always taken for granted in the divison of labour etc.


#15 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 08 May 2012 - 12:27 AM

DH ended up being my carer for the last 2 months of pregnancy, and the first 2 months of DDs life, so he did 100% of EVERYTHING.
I literally ate, slept and breastfed.
So all our plans went out the window.
This time he is taking maybe 2 weeks off, and is only parttime anyway. We are waiting and will go with the flow, depending on how things go.

#16 hiccamups

Posted 08 May 2012 - 01:29 AM

DH took 6 weeks off with our first.  It was awesome, especially as I got very sick and had to go back to hospital.  

After that, we just muddled by.  I still did most of the housework/cooking etc but he did baby duty until midnight (I'd head to bed around 9pm) and I did night duty until around 6am.  He would then wake me around 7am.  DD didn't sleep more than 2hrs so each shift was hard going.  

We struggled on trying to establish routines for DD.  DH did things HIS way, I mine.  It was a real learning curve for us because he was so stubborn.  I wanted her to be put into her bed to go to sleep, whereas he would declare that if I wanted his help, I'd need to allow him to do it his way - which was to rock her to sleep in the sling, whilst watching tellie.  That was probably our first big parenting hiccup.  I'd read endless books, whereas he just did whatever came naturally to him, without any concern for the future (or how hellish it was to be with her all day if she didn't sleep unless being rocked).

But as for the housework, no, I really couldn't ask for more of him.  We were stretched, both of us, to our limits.  She was a tough first baby.

#17 hiccamups

Posted 08 May 2012 - 01:30 AM

Oh and I also took DH along to a parenting/sleep training course.  It helped so much because he wouldn't take my advice, but gladly listened to the midwives!  Stubborn ox he is.

#18 ScarfaceClaw

Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:03 AM

Dh took his 3 days paid parental leave (!!) 2 weeks annual leave and 10 days carers leave as i had a section, and DS was in SCU for 10 days.

We had a long discussion about what we thought it might be like and of course it's nothing like that, but I think on the whole I expected him to be an equal parent. He's not really, in that I do the bulk of the physical parenting, and the bulk of the parenting thought load (research purchases, child rearing methods, CCC etc etc) while he does the bulk of the cooking, and those sorts of things.

So in short I expected him to pull his weight and he does. Sometimes I feel like he does a lot more stuff around the house, while I'm playing on the floor with DS!

#19 MintyBiscuit

Posted 08 May 2012 - 07:12 AM

Our expectations and our reality have been fairly different. My grand plan with being a SAHM was that after the initial newborn period (the first 3 months in my head) I'd have a lovely daily routine where I'd get all the housework done while the baby slept for 2-3 hours at a time, plenty of down time for me, fresh baked bread every second day, and DH would be able to come home and relax and spend time with his son. Weekends would be cruisy and easy family time because everything would be done through the week.

rolleyes.gif rolleyes.gif rolleyes.gif  

In reality, DS has been a shocking catnapper and it is only now at a bit over six months that he is finally showing signs of decent sleep. DH has rolled with it the whole time and been his usual wonderful self, and we've both managed to muddle through with just the usual handful of tears and tantrums (from us, not DS wink.gif )

Leave wise, DH took two weeks annual leave, then two weeks working from home, and then when he went back to work he worked from home once a fortnight. I've always taken night duty up until the last few weeks, because up until then I'd feed DS to sleep after every waking. We share nights a bit more now, but just play it by ear every night depending on who is more tired (apart from the overnight feed which I still do).

I think if you guys are fairly equal already you should be fine. I agree with a PP and wouldn't be cancelling the cleaner just yet until you know what sort of baby you have - DS is by no means high needs and is a really happy baby, but the lack of sleep makes everything else incredibly difficult.

#20 ~Supernova~

Posted 08 May 2012 - 07:32 AM

Considering I never wanted any more children, my expectation was that DH would be there to support me 150% so I didn't lose the freaking plot...

I do most of the housework/cooking, as DH works long, hard days. He always does one night feed (usually the midnight one) as DS just feeds and goes straight back to sleep. DH can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, whereas I take forever, so this works for us. DS sleeps really well at night time, but is a shocking cat napper during the day. Some days are extremely exhausting, so DH will take all the night feeds a couple of times a week (I don't ask, he just sees that I'm tired so he takes himself off to the couch with the monitor and closes our bedroom door so I can get some sleep. When he gets home from work he relaxes for about half an hour with a coffee, then he takes over for the bedtime routine (feed, shower etc) while I relax (usually with a wine LOL). On weekends we share the load, with him doing the majority of things with DS and me doing more of the housework.

I expected him to be an equal parent, and that's exactly what he is. Sometimes I get a little cranky and have to remind him to help with a few things on the w/e, but he really is quite fantastic  wub.gif

#21 jeska~and~her~secret

Posted 08 May 2012 - 07:50 AM

I expected equality in all areas except BF, and that's what we have. original.gif

However I would also urge caution on cancelling the cleaner. DD hated to be put down, at any time, and although she did start sleeping on her own very early, I used a lot of that time to rest myself. I remember I only had two daily jobs early on: make dinner, and wash nappies. Some days that was a struggle, and I was the walking cliche of a mum in her dressing gown till after lunch. Luckily I had a gorgeous cleaner who came once a week and cleaned the kitchen and vacuumed for me. I think I would have found it even harder (and I found it  pretty hard) without her.

Good luck, OP!

#22 =R2=

Posted 08 May 2012 - 07:57 AM

I suggest not expecting anything at all. Everything is just a wonderful fantasy for you at the moment and the reality could be so different. People cope with sleep deprivation and groundhog days differently.

Just communicate your needs with each other as they come and thank each other when they are met. There's nothing worse than feeling like you're a single parent doing everything and feeling helpless or being the partner and feeling like you can't do anything to contribute because you do it wrong or not as well as you'd like.

#23 chocolatecrackle

Posted 08 May 2012 - 08:52 AM

DH and I had three things we agreed on - my responsibility was breastfeeding and my own sleep; DH was in charge of settling; DH had to be home on time from work, or give me as much notice as he could if he was late.

DH had three weeks off when DS was born. I think this was a decent period of time - I am glad he didn't have longer as I think I would have found it hard to cope by myself.

The most important thing for me in the early weeks was having DH home on time. I could get through the worst of days, counting down the minutes to when I could pass DS over and take the dog for a walk, have a shower or just have five minutes without crying.  When DH was running late, it was so much harder. I would have traded less paternity leave for more certainty that I could have had DH home on time.

As for dividing tasks, I was in charge of breastfeeding and getting enough sleep to be able to cope with a baby during the day. Everything else was a bonus.

Our agreement with the overnight feeds was that I would feed, and DH would settle. It turned out that DS was pretty easy to settle overnight, so I would only get DH to help if I couldn't settle DS within twenty minutes - it just didn't make sense to wake DH up for fifteen minutes of settling when I'd already beeen up feeding for an hour, especially given that I wouldn't be able to sleep with the bassinet next to me.

Everything else we made up as we went along. We tried to make time to talk for ten minutes at the end each day about what had worked, what hadn't, and what we should try the next day.

#24 Therese

Posted 08 May 2012 - 10:22 AM

We didn't really have any expectations.  He was happy to do whatever needed to be done.  We had always shared what needed to be done before we had kids so I knew that would continue.

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