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The Second Shift is BullShift!

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When I was at home with my newborn and my husband was working, I did the night feedings, cleaned the house and did all the baby "work." Now that I'm back at the office, I'm pulling double duty. Why should I?

Mom with baby using telephone

Notes from A New Mom: It's every working mom's dilemma: Balancing work life with home life, and now that I have gone back to my full-time job and am gone from my baby 11 hours each day, I wonder if my husband shouldn't be pulling a little more of the weight at home.

Don't get me wrong, he is a fantastic father but most of the baby responsibilities fall on me, even now. Maybe he's just used to me doing everything, and coming home and cracking open a beer has become routine for him, but now that I'm working (umm, even longer hours than he is) I need a chance to regroup too!

When getting home from my "day job", I put my baby in a bath, feed her, change her into her pjs, read to her and put her to sleep. By the time 8 PM comes around and my husband says "Babe, what's for dinner?" I've had it. At that point, he's already had a beer while watching reruns of "The Office." Umm ... hello? I am exhausted and I am torn because I want to spend every moment with my 5-month old baby but why should it be assumed I'm still responsible for everything now that I'm working too!? Basically, I'm now working a 24-hour shift, first at the office then at home and I know I'm not the only mom out there feeling this way.

Anyone feel the same way? 

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18 comments so far | Post a comment now
Sara February 21, 2010, 5:09 AM

Sometimes women need to step back in order for their men to see that they need to contribute.

When he gets home hand him the baby so he can spend time with her. Don’t make dinner or just make dinner for yourself. Learn to accept that your house won’t be spotless and tell your husband what he needs to do to help.

Or you could sit and complain that he’s not helpful enough.

renee February 21, 2010, 6:45 AM

He needs a list of daily chores,just like a kid apparently.
You need to cut ur work hours to 8 a day not 11.
if the house isnt spotless so what.start using a crock pot for dinners,set the so its ready when u get home.

Rebecca February 21, 2010, 6:52 AM

It’s “dilemma” not “dilemna.” Don’t you have editors, Momlogic?!

melissa February 21, 2010, 7:53 AM

You husband will keep on doing what he is doing until you put your foot down and make him help you. Communicate with him your feelings. You are a new mom, so your house will not always be spotless, so don’t worry too much about that. Leave it until the weekend. Crock pot meals are also an awesome idea.

Rachel @ Busy Mommy Media February 21, 2010, 11:26 AM

We experienced something similar when my first son was born and I learned that first time fathers are just as lost as first time mothers. Sometimes you really just need to communicate and let your husband know that you need some help around the house and with the baby so you can have a break sometimes too. If you can afford it, I’d look into someone taking care of some deep cleaning around the house so that the time you do have at home can be spent with your baby rather than cleaning. Good luck. Being a first time mom is a huge transition but it does get easier.

Swati Bharteey February 21, 2010, 12:17 PM

Well I have to admit I’d be a little passive aggressive at first (sometimes my actions come out b4 my words)…so I’d probably answer with: “what’s for dinner is whatever you’ve made for both of us.” But then I’d grow up and probably think about having a conversation with him about everything that has to get done and how it should be split…and I’d stay away from trying to have it all done just how I like it done (though that’s so hard).
Good luck!

Lori February 21, 2010, 12:46 PM

I give you a lot of credit for all that you are doing, and I think that the way your husband is acting is unacceptable. If you are working full time out of the house, the two of you need to split everything else equally, or at least have some kind of balance. Why can’t he help with the baby and help with dinner? Or, while you are bathing, and getting the baby to bed, he can be making dinner (while having his beer). You need to work this out with him or you are going to be burned out and resentful. Good luck!

Christina February 21, 2010, 1:09 PM

The mistake you made as a couple was not sitting down and splitting up the household tasks BEFORE you went back to work. You two need to sit down, write down all of the chores, break them down into daily, weekly, and seasonal and then decide who is going to do what. Then type the list up, print it out, and laminate several copies. That way hubby has no reason to whine that he’s doing more than his fair share (oh yes, they do that) and you don’t have to get pissed - you can just point at the list. This has saved my husband and me from many an argument.

Anonymous February 21, 2010, 3:03 PM

men are lazy

Anonymous February 21, 2010, 3:55 PM

Men will get away with whatever whenever and then give you the answer…Well I did not know…or You never told me, how am I supposed to know..and so on…try and sit down and talk about splitting things up between the two of you, and I wish you alot of luck, I have been married for almost 20 years, and 3 kids, and I just don’t expect any changes, he does what he needs to do, what he thinks he is supposed to do….and that is it!!!!…Good luck!

Black Iris February 21, 2010, 4:06 PM

I think you need to talk to your husband. Let him know that you need more help in the evenings. Don’t get mad, just talk about how overwhelmed you are and how you can’t do it all.

Figure out what responsibilities you want him to take over. For example, he could cook dinner every night while you take care of the baby. Or you could ask him to bathe the baby and feed her while you cook dinner.

He might want you to show him how to do things with the baby. It can be scary at first. Once you show it to him, though, back off and leave him alone.

One other thing, when I was a new at-home mom, I did not do all the baby care and cleaning. It’s too much for anyone.

Michelle February 21, 2010, 4:47 PM

I certainly can sympathize with your plight and remember how hard it was when my son was 4 months old and I went back to work.
I agree that you need to speak up when you need a break. However, I know that alot of Dads do better with toddlers and even 4 and 5 years old. That certaninly was the case with my dh and a lot of other dads I know. The time will fly and those days will come faster than you realize.

CMS February 21, 2010, 6:30 PM

Men are like children. There are only a few good ones out there, if that. That is what motherhood is, being superwoman & doing it all. From what i have heard from other moms, & from my own experiance, Dad’s dont do much. they can come & go as they please, dont help care for their kids & it’s sad. I am so sick of everyone looking the other way, Dads need to step up, and start doing at least half of what us women do each & every day!

English Lit. Professor February 22, 2010, 5:17 AM

Rebecca - Actually the correct spelling is “Dilemna” (“mn”, with a silent “n” as in the word “column”. Over the course of the past 25 years there has been a trend toward the spelling of the word as “dilemma” due to the unfortunate dumbing down of the English language.

cynde March 24, 2010, 6:14 AM

Welcome to parenthood! You will always do more….later, you will reap the benifits of your sacrifice. Quit keeping track of who does more. My husband did exactly what you described….now he doesn’t understand why the kids are so close to me an not him.

Christina September 19, 2010, 2:21 AM

English Lit. Professor - Actually, it is spelt “dilemma” and has never had a silent “n” - have searched and searched for the root of this mistake (I, too, was taught “dilemna”) but so far have found no origin.

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