Dear Thelma: Hubby doesn’t help with chores or baby care


By THELMA

Do you need a listening ear? Thelma is here to help. Email lifestyle@thestar.com.my.

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Dear Thelma,

I’ve been married three years and have a nine-month-old baby.

The problem is, my husband doesn’t help much at all with household chores or caring for our baby. And then, when the baby cries because she is hungry or sleepy or needs a nappy change, and I drop whatever I’m doing to tend to her, my husband gets upset!

He says I should not always give in to the baby’s demands and should just let her cry herself to sleep. And that giving attention to the baby on demand will only spoil her. I disagree.

Some nights, when my husband wants intimacy and I can’t give it to him because I’m just too tired after a day of caring for the baby and doing household chores, he gets mad. That just stresses me out even more, and I find myself getting angry at him.

I thought that having a baby would bring us closer, but as time goes by, it seems only to be driving us apart.

I’m so sad that my husband can’t see that I need help. He can help, can’t he? Must he wait until I ask for help?

I sometimes think he is punishing me by not lifting a finger to help with the chores or caring for the baby.

Unhappy


Unhappy I’m sorry to hear of your troubles. You are a parent to a little baby girl and you ask if your husband can help. I see it differently.

A parent’s job is to raise a baby into an independent adult. This means providing a happy home and all the care required.

Both parents have a duty, not just the one. There is no opting out.

He should not be “helping”. He is a parent and it is his job to provide his part of childcare.

From your letter, you are a married single mother. This is why you’re tired and unhappy.

You were not put on this planet in order to pick up on the difficult, dull, and messy jobs your partner is too lazy to do.

When I read this, I wondered if your husband was always selfish and entitled or if this was new behaviour. As you thought having a baby would make you closer, it suggests his issues are longstanding.

My best advice is to seek personal counselling to figure out what exactly you want from this marriage. Was this an arranged match or did you choose it? If you chose it, what did you like about him? In your heart, do you want to try and change the dynamic or do you want to leave?

Changing the dynamic may be difficult. If he were a bit hesitant or simply careless, you could talk to him. Many new dads get a wake-up call when their first baby is born! And the nice ones moan and groan a bit but then dive in and do their share. They understand that parenting is a two-person gig.

I’m concerned because aside from being lazy, your husband advocates deliberate neglect of a tiny baby and pretends it’s moral. On top of that, he gets angry because he can’t have sex whenever he wants.

I’m sorry but he sounds selfish and entitled. Given his behaviour, I think you have to consider it is possible that he will never be a father to your daughter or a husband to you.

When there are no kids, you can undo a marriage. However, kids mean you are stuck with co-parenting. If you split up, you will have to deal with custody, shared finances and more.

So I’d look into all the options. You can carry on or you can divorce him. But there are middle choices such as hiring a cleaner and finding a part-time babysitter who can take up his share of the parenting. Or you can split without a divorce now or at a later date.

Talk it all over with a counsellor, and get some financial planning help from AKPK at akpk.org.my.

As there is a baby in the mix, I think it’s important not to do anything too quickly. Also, try and see where you can make improvements.

When you know where you stand, try to talk to him once more. If there is someone in the family he respects, ask them to mediate. You might look into parenting classes for him too.

However, if he just won’t go, and there’s no mending his ways, it will be up to you to bring up your daughter. It’s not fair but your little girl is the innocent party in this and she needs loving care.

Again, I’m very sorry. I’ll be thinking of you.

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Marital woes , house chores , laziness , parenting

   

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