Q&A: Work load for SAH parent--perspective?

Today's post is not my finest work. Weird stuff happening all around that's distracting me. Is anyone else feeling like things are particularly chaotic since Saturday?

Anon writes:

"I am a WOHM and my husband is a SAHD caring for our 10 month old daughter. My husband does a large portion of the household chores during the week while I'm at work (laundry, cloth-diaper laundry, dishes, some cooking, cleaning, outdoor as well). I do what I can on weekends, plus most of the meal planning and try to do most of the cooking as well, although some of it's shifted to him lately.

Since our daughter was about 4 months old or so I have also been doing the night shift, mostly alone. I was getting fairly tired so asked him to step up and at least take care of the "getting her back to sleep" as needed before he went to bed (around 11/12pm). He did pitch in. We also decided that as I'm not the kind of person who does well on 5 1/2 hours of sleep, that I start "retiring" for the night at the same time as our daughter. We usually start bath-time around 6:15/6:20, followed by nursing, followed by sleep. My sleep really did start to look better.

Then my husband apparently started feeling "overworked" and basically either stopped doing his "getting her back to sleep" work before 11pm or doing it very belligerently. This has recently been compounded by the fact that Miss A is in full separation anxiety mode and won't even let him comfort her before 11pm (not that we've really tried for more than a minute or two) by crying loudly if he picks her up or if I pass her off to him.

What I'm really wondering is a) in the light of all the work he does is it unreasonable to expect him to pitch in at night too? and b) in the face of separation anxiety, how long do we give her (days, weeks) of me only consoling her before we try him again? Also, he recently made the comment to me that he thinks he's the only man doing this much work at home (child care plus housework).

I'd really love to hear some feedback from any SAHD's who cruise this site."

I think your husband's comment that he thinks he's the only man doing this much work at home is the most telling part of this, and gives us the clue about what's really wrong, because your husband either isn't able to or doesn't want to verbalize it.

I'm hoping that some SAHDs jump in to give some data points here. I am 100% positive that your husband is not the only man doing that much work, but I hope the men speak for themselves.

But it's really not even important where your husband's workload lies on the spectrum of SAHD workloads. It sounds like your husband is just really unhappy, and is taking it out on you by being passive-aggressive and not just saying "I feel overworked and something needs to give." (Any other current or former SAH parents who've ever been passive-aggressive, raise [y]our hands.)

But something does need to give. There are all kinds of solutions here, everything from hiring a part-time babysitter to give your husband a break, to hiring someone to come clean every other week to give your husband a break, to having your husband go back to work part-time or full-time and finding corresponding care for your daughter. There are all kinds of ways to make the family arrangement work for everybody involved, but the first step is talking about it honestly.

Talk about it, and leave your mind open to all kinds of ways to make things work.

Talk about it.

I'm talking to everyone: SAHDs, SAHMs, WOH parents, WAH parents, everyone. Even single parents (if there's anyone involved in your life that you can talk to). My kids' dad and I were in the same kind of road-blocky passive-aggressiveness for a long time and finally just got honest and found a solution and both of us are waaaay happier now. You can do it, too, but it takes stepping away from who's got the most "points" and moving on to who's feeling what and how can everyone feel better.

So, any SAHDs who want to give data points can, but as part of that please talk about whether it's working for you or not, and if so, how are you making it work.

Everyone else, please talk about what you're doing that makes things work or not. And if it's not working, is there something you think would make it work for you?

(Oh, and I predict about another month on the separation anxiety.)