Sunday, April 20, 2008

Men.. seriously... !

I know this cartoon is really sexist, but it cracks me up.

My husband had a work night out last night, presumably to thank everyone for working like slaves for fuck all remuneration over the last month or so.

He said he'd come home on the 1 o clock bus as I've got to get working today and am in a state of advanced exhaustion already.

I woke at 4 am with the baby, to a text saying he was on the bus, sent at 1.50, saying he'd get up in the morning and I could have a lie in... yeah, right. He got in shortly after.

The baby was up on and off quite a lot from 6 but had gone back to sleep, as had I, when my husband's phone alarm went off in the hall at 7.20 - stern English lady's voice saying 'IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP, IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP' plus buzzing. He grunted a bit, I got up and turned it off, baby awake.

I just don't get it, I really don't. Is it just stupidity, is it callousness, or is it just not giving a fuck?


Alleged Comedian said...

Men want to do the right thing, it's an ingrained, deep seated urge, and it is very strong.

However, it is not nearly as strong as our "glued to mattress, can't move" gene.

Find what works, with me, it's forlorn guilt, I tend to do anything rather than feel guilty. School Marmish instruction rolls off me, making no descernible difference.

jothemama said...

Nothing works. Nothing! He feels no guilt, only festering resentment. I've given up. But the alarm clock thing is just adding insult to injury!

His Girl Friday said...

oh, well, will have to get back to you on this one...been married 20yrs, three kids...yeh, we can talk about this one...and yes, sometimes they just don't get it, or think we're over-reacting...

...right now, I'm at a second glass of wine after a long 12hr headin' ta bed... :)

morgor said...

hmmm, I don't really see what the problem is.

So here are his crimes :

1. He was a little bit late for his bus.

2. He forgot to turn off his alarm.

3. He didn't get up early when he said he would.

A bit of an irritance alright, but holy gay jesus, not worth shouting about in my book.

jothemama said...

Ah morgor. Sigh. It comes down to more than this, you know? It comes down to the total imbalance in quality of life for mothers, basically. I've been a handful of times in the last 9 months, I get home when I say I will, as opposed to lying about it pointlessly.

My last big night out was the blog awards at the beginning of March, I was home by two so he didn't have to wake up with the baby. The next day was mother's day but I still had to get up and give the baby breakfast. No lie ins for me. Ever.

He can't seem to go out and have a reasonable night, and be home by say, two, it always has to be late, and then he sleeps late and he's knackered and narky while I look after the children some more, after a week of looking after them. No one's saying he shouldn't have fun. There just needs to be some fucking balance. Leaving the alarm on so I can't even get sleep when it's there for me is the last straw and just shows how much of a shit he gives.

I hate to play this card, but you really won't see where I'm coming from (well, probably never) from from your point of view. You just have no idea... Months and months of broken sleep and early mornings. Spending all day each day trying to work and being home alone a small child and a baby. I'm not saying I didn't choose this, or that it doesn't have all the rewards in the world, but it's also completely exhausting. And I would prefer to do it as a team.

morgor said...

hmm, so this was more of a final straw rather than a once off.

Fair enough.

But it seems like you're treating this like a malicous attack rather than just being a little late after a few pints and forgetting to turn off the alarm.

Surely if you say that you want him to mind the kids sometime cos he cost you lots of sleep he would be happy to do so. (and escape the surly looks I have no doubt he's getting).

I know a guy whose wife is pregnant and they already have a small child, but after the pub he brought back about 5 of his friends for some more beer and late night poker.

jothemama said...

Ah, ah. That argument doesn't wash with women - he's tried it on me himself before now: 'you should see the guys who come into the off licence, they're in the pub every night, blah blah.'

See, it doesn't really make any difference to me whether you're better than the scumbags out there who treat their wives like crap. I wouldn't be married to them anyway.

I'm not throwing any tantrums morgor. No surly looks, there's no point. And it's not that I want him to babysit. We both signed up for the trials of parenting. Not just me.

jothemama said...

By the way, morgor, I might have a little treat for you.

Can I amil you? You can send me your address a

His Girl Friday said...

Hi Jothemama,

They do get better with age, but open communication is the key.

Alleged Comedian is right, men do want to do the right thing.

I'm not sure how old you both are, but I think men do mature later with some things. Mine was similar to this when he was younger (20's), not so much out at the pub, but still out doing this/that, coming back late, gone for the week helping out friends, rarely up with the kids, forgetting to switch off the alarm. Yep, they just don't get it. As loving as they are, I think it's just the way they were raised...mum doing everything. As well, as they weren't raised to be the 'nurturer', we were. Men can also be just 'one-track' minded, and they can be selfish (unintentionally, I think for the most part...the 'glued to the mattress gene', AC speaks of). Most women get over the 'selfish' stage when we have kids.

I think the saying that 'women's work is never done' still, unfortunately holds true, but then we tend to fuss about things, when the man would just shrug shoulders and let things be...I'm not saying that this is all the time, nor is what we 'fuss' about unimportant. People, men and women, just have different views, sometimes, as to what is important, or a priority.

In all this, it doesn't excuse him for not helping more, maybe (in my opinion) just explains it a little. I really don't think he's being malicious. I wonder if he had some clearer understanding of what you're going through, all that you do (while acknowledging what he does) and how you feel, he would try to meet your needs better (and realise that he is an important part in this whole parent thing...very important to validate, put weight to)

Mine has really plugged in with the kids now that they are older, and he can do more with them, rather than change nappies, and wipe noses stage. Some guys are into that, mine wasn't, although he did enjoy them at that age with holding/cuddling.

Perhaps you can set aside some time to write down all what you're thinking and feeling. Then rewrite it (even just in your mind) so that it doesn't come across accusatory. Make a lot of "I feel this/that when you do this/that' statements so his guard doesn't go up. Clearly explain, really, what you expect of him; not in a stern mother way of 'he Will do this', but in the sense of how you would like/need is help, as your partner.
I think men like when things are clearly defined, and when they (like anyone) feel validated in their importance with things. (as in their contribution matters) the long run he wins, because he gets a less stressed wife, friend, partner, mother of his children...and a nice home to come home to.

Then catch him in a reasonably good mood, when he's not got anything pressing to do....I know, this sounds like we're coddling them...but men are men, we're only 'refining' them not changing them ;) (nor would we want to completely change them, me thinks :))
Ask him if he would talk with you about some things that have been troubling you....etc Hopefully, with some open communication (let him voice his feelings thoughts, and you, in turn, acknowledge what he's feeling)....things will improve.

All I know is, I wish I had known this in the I started with more the accusatory in 'are you thick or something...I've just worked a night shift, and now you want me up looking after the baby so you can go out with your friends for the day???...a bit of an exaggeration...but that was how I was 'feeling' at the time!!! :)

You will get through this stage, but communication, love and friendship are the keys to getting through to the 'other side' with relatively minor 'flesh wounds'!! :)

His Girl Friday said...

ps I'm not saying that you're being accusatory, btw. It's just that you mentioned him becoming resentful?
I think if you what you're both doing for the family is validated (ie work/income, home upkeep, childminding, etc)...then perhaps they'll be less 'finger-pointing' so to speak.
I'm hoping that he's not so completely selfish and immature, that he's not going to 'meet' you somewhere with this given there's 'fair and open' communication. :)

I'm not trying to preach, just share so that you hopefully have less bumps in the road than I've, or others I've known, have had! :)

Midget Wrangler said...

Zero tolerance!

Easy for me to say....but I mean it, you work your ass off, sorry but he has it too good!

Leave him with the kids for a week....

You are too nice!

jothemama said...

Thanks for the advice. I know we all go through this to varying extents. We've done some councelling, and while it's ok there, it's as if it hasn't happened the rest of the time, so I've given up for now.

That sounds bad, but when you go pour your heart out and he nods and listens and agrees and nothing changes it gets humiliating after a while.

I don't know. It's true that he's not as bad as many, he can be a great dad when he has the energy, he loves his kids. He works hard - he just doesn't leave a lot over for us.

jothemama said...

Well, Midge, he was good today.

THe thing is, I don't want to go away for a week right now. I just want a family life!

Still, I should get one for a while, with the rest of the band away. IT's jsut been a really really tiring few weeks.

Alleged Comedian said...

There is nothing like being a man, and having kids to look out for, without help to make you realise what a hard job it is.

But, being men, what we tend to remember, is not the hardship, but to never, ever get ourselves caught in that situation again.

Now the tricky and probably overstepping the mark bit;

I made a decision, a while back to distinguish between doing things because it kept Jane happy, and doing things because I love my children and I have a responsibility to them.

So now, I do all the goo-goo ga ga shit with Daniel, and the homework and rock throwing with Robert junior because I realised this is it for me, this is what I want. And it would make no difference whether that makes Jane's life easier or not.

I didn't stop playing golf every weekend because I earned brownie points for it, I did it because I really wanted time with my boys.

The motive must come first, then the behaviour. Most of us men to a large degree are caught in the "Well I gave you children, so be happy" viewpoint, and it has nothing to do with not caring, it's conditioning.

I'm sorry I rambled, but I don't consider myself superior for wanting time with my children or making occasional sacrifices (nothing compared to my wife btw) I consider myself lucky that I am not looking at a "Oh Hindsight" scenario in ten years time