Am I Being Unfair to DH? — The Bump
Attachment Parenting

Am I Being Unfair to DH?

Back story:

For the first almost 2 years of DS's life, I did all night times. DH "tried" to do some nights in the beginning but it was an epic fail. He's a bear when he's awakened and it was just a mess all around.

About a month or two ago, I started cuddling DS to bed (he's been weaned since 18mo) and after he's asleep, DH takes him to his crib.  We have been alternating night duties.  However, on the nights that I'm "on" and DS wakes up, as soon as he knows it's me, he wants to get in bed with me. Even though he's weaned from eating, he's not weaned from the boob. He still cuddles them and has to touch them.  With me being almost 7 mo pregnant, I can only lay in one position for so long and then I need to adjust. So, needless to say, no one sleeps well when it's my night. When it's DH's night, DH just tells him to go back to sleep and DS does.  He used to ask "Do you want to get in bed with Daddy?" and DS usually said no. Even on the days he does want to get into bed with Daddy, they both sleep. There is no nipple harassment, tossing and turning, etc. They're both out like lights.

So, after a few particularly terrible nights when I was totally drained the next day, I told DH that I need him to take over all night duties. I just can't risk being sleep deprived. I have a long commute to work, I'm pregnant, I've already put in 2 years of sleep deprivation and I've got another 2 years ahead of me when this LO comes in July....

DH thinks I"m being a total beyotch and he's pretty much furious about it. He keeps trying to give me the baby monitor. Last night, I asked "do you keep forgetting or are you trying to tell me no?" I was calm. I really wanted to know if this was his way of saying "I refuse to take over night duties". He just stormed out of the bedroom

So....Am I being a night-nazi or am I asking for something reasonable from DH?

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Re: Am I Being Unfair to DH?

  • totally reasonable to ask him to do night duties, and it's something my DH has started to do this past month because of the exact problem you describe above. We night weaned LO, but she still wanted to cuddle me if she woke up and I was there. (we were bedsharing, have since moved her to a crib in the same room as us) So I am sleeping on the futon and DH is sleeping in the room with her. It's cut down on her nightwaking considerably because she could care less that DH is there. Once she gets used to STTN, I'll go back in. 

    SInce you are preggo, I would give total night duties to DH in prep for when LO comes. Just My Opinion.   

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  • Is what you are asking unreasonable? To me, no. I'm your partner in night-waking LO while PG! Is what you are asking unfair? Eh, it's kind of the wrong question to ask. In all honesty, in fairness doesn't really matter in a healthy marriage because both parties have to give more than what is fair at different times, right? I don't know what other things your DH does that levels out the "fair" playing field, so I can't answer if it is fair or not. But even if we did a detailed tally of everything  you each do, it isn't going to help the current tension, right?

    Here's the kicker--I do wonder if the way you approached it was unfair. It sounds like the kind of thing that you two needed to talk out together, compromise on, ponder, and based on how both of you feel maybe it goes your way or maybe not. To have one person make a proclamation that changes the agreed on system, even with very solid reasons like yours, tends to raise defenses and just make each party shut down. Can you set a time (not during the middle of the night) to talk it out, make a plan, and come up with some options?

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    On this particular issue, your DH sounds like an a$$.  The two of you should be a team, you need help, and he's refusing.  Wow, awesome guy there.

    What does he think life is going to be like when #2 comes?  I think he's in for a rude awakening.

  • image pixieprincss:
    But, here's the kicker--I do wonder if the way you approached it was unfair. It sounds like the kind of thing that you two needed to talk out together, compromise on, ponder, and based on how both of you feel maybe it goes your way or maybe not. To have one person make a proclamation that changes the agreed on system, even with very solid reasons like yours, tends to raise defenses and just make each party shut down. Can you set a time (not during the middle of the night) to talk it out, make a plan, and come up with some options?

    This was my first thought too - the request isnt unreasonable, but maybe you could have gone about it a little better.  I think it might also help to talk about a time frame (ie: I would love your help on this for the next 4/6/whatever weeks.)

  • I don't think it's unreasonable, but maybe try easing into the schedule change, like every 3rd night you'll take it on. Maybe he wouldn't see it as such an absolute? Or maybe just on week nights you ask DH to take over?

    And I just have to say that I can relate to the nipple harrasment, which is getting really old and we're trying to break it but UGH.

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  • I think you had your fair share of night duty.  It is his turn.  You being pregnant need the break!
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  • Does your DH agree with you about how to handle your LOs night wakings? 
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  • image pixieprincss:

    Here's the kicker--I do wonder if the way you approached it was unfair.

    Very very good point. I was exhausted and over my limit. I did present it more like "I need you to..." than "Could you please?"  I should go home tonight and thank him for being so agreeable (even though he really wasn't) and apologize for making it come out more like a demand

    I started out by saying I was exhausted and had almost driven off the road that morning. My exact wording was, "I think it's time to switch all night duty over to Daddy."  Then I explained why I can't sleep when I have DS.  You're right that I could definitely have approached it more as a conversation than a request/demand.

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  • image VOR:

    On this particular issue, your DH sounds like an a$$.  The two of you should be a team, you need help, and he's refusing.  Wow, awesome guy there.

    What does he think life is going to be like when #2 comes?  I think he's in for a rude awakening.

    Me, too. I think he may have forgotten how much work a newborn is. Or...wait...I'm not sure he ever knew how much I did.  I remember when DS was about 2 months old and he asked where we keep the diapers. Indifferent

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  • image ctbride08:

      I think it might also help to talk about a time frame (ie: I would love your help on this for the next 4/6/whatever weeks.)

    True. Unfortunately, I think the time frame will be "until DS no longer needs us to monitor him."  That may not go over very well.

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  • image jday1229:

    I don't think it's unreasonable, but maybe try easing into the schedule change, like every 3rd night you'll take it on. Maybe he wouldn't see it as such an absolute? Or maybe just on week nights you ask DH to take over?

    And I just have to say that I can relate to the nipple harrasment, which is getting really old and we're trying to break it but UGH.

    I could try that. As it is, the man sleeps in both Saturday and Sunday. I can't remember the last time I slept past 7am.

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  • image ryry1977:
    I think you had your fair share of night duty.  It is his turn.  You being pregnant need the break!

    Thanks :) This is how I see it. Of course, I'm not so sure DH has such clear hindsight.  I'm wondering if he knows just how much I was doing for the past two years while he was sawing logs!! I remember one night he woke up well-rested and said, "Wow! DS slept through the night." I replied, "No...YOU did." 

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  • image Doodler:
    I don't think you are being unfair, but I can imagine my husband would not have the best reaction.   I dont know if he would even do it....I mean, I guess he would, but not happily. Of course I don't work, so my situation is different.    Anyway, if it is that easy for him to get him to bed....then it seems to make sense that he would do it.   
    This is what I'm going with. It's easier for me to make dinner so I do it. It's easier for me to wash the diapers so I do it.  I'm not a 50/50 person, I'm a "whatever makes things run smoothly" person. 
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  • image solidio:

    totally reasonable to ask him to do night duties, and it's something my DH has started to do this past month because of the exact problem you describe above. We night weaned LO, but she still wanted to cuddle me if she woke up and I was there. (we were bedsharing, have since moved her to a crib in the same room as us) So I am sleeping on the futon and DH is sleeping in the room with her. It's cut down on her nightwaking considerably because she could care less that DH is there. Once she gets used to STTN, I'll go back in. 

    SInce you are preggo, I would give total night duties to DH in prep for when LO comes. Just My Opinion.   

    Thanks :)  He can really get me second-guessing myself!! He works with a bunch of guys who are very much of the mindset that men work at work and women work at home. He is often "tainted" by their opinions of things. He'll come home and say, "you won't believe what Ray's wife did!" and I explain things from her point of view and he calms down.  I think he just thinks that everything inside the front door is my responsibility and everything outside (mowing, trash,...) is his. The irony is that I'm the breadwinner so "outside the front door" is me, too!

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  • image StrawberryAlarmClock:
    image Doodler:
    I don't think you are being unfair, but I can imagine my husband would not have the best reaction.   I dont know if he would even do it....I mean, I guess he would, but not happily. Of course I don't work, so my situation is different.    Anyway, if it is that easy for him to get him to bed....then it seems to make sense that he would do it.   
    This is what I'm going with. It's easier for me to make dinner so I do it. It's easier for me to wash the diapers so I do it.  I'm not a 50/50 person, I'm a "whatever makes things run smoothly" person. 
    This is where I'm at. Sometimes one person pulls more weight in one area because thats just the way things work best. It wasn't "fair" that my DH got to sleep night after night while I woke to nurse L. But I have boobs and milk and that's just how it is. When we began night weaning/moved L to his own room, DH had to take over night duty so L wouldn't ask to nurse. Its just the delegation of duties in the way that makes the most sense at the time. So yeah, I don't think you're being unreasonable here.

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  • image StrawberryAlarmClock:

    I should go home tonight and thank him for being so agreeable (even though he really wasn't) and apologize for making it come out more like a demand

     

    This... Men are different when they 'fight' (I'm generalizing so bear with me) women tend to analyze it way more, men usually get over it. I would suggest just doing like you said and be thankful to him, instead of saying 'sorry' just say something like "this really means so much to me, it really helps" and maybe do this consistently for the next few (days, weeks depends on the guy) Anyways that is my advice.

    and to answer your original question... no you're not, this is exactly why we have partners and it sounds like it works really well for him and that is good he will get used to it ... it is hard for anyone to be awoken I am not one to have much patience at night so I understand this. But I found (from being a mom) I actually have a lot more than I ever thought and it took a child waking me (tons) in order for me to realize I had more control than I knew. Good Luck!


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  • Sounds fair to me.

    And even if it is an, "I need you to..." homeboy needs to man up. You're kind of preoccupied right now. 

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  • Totally reasonable.  

    Maybe I am not understanding, but why is he getting up at night?  Unless there is a physical reason (sick, bad dreams, etc) for night wakings, I would try end that habit now by limit his attention to no more than a pat on the back at this point.  And Daddies are the ones to do it because they tend to be much more no nonsense.  I promise you if you are having a tough time now, it will be pure torture getting up with a newborn and then having your toddler/preschooler also engaging in nighttime attention-seeking.

    On another note, babies cause big changes that we should try to limit impact-wise on siblings to the extent possible to avoid resentment.  Any changes you foresee, I advise preparing for now so LO doesn't blame the baby.  Chances are when D awakes, the baby will be nursing or laying with you and D will not be able to play the sleep game he likes to play with you-- Daddy will be the one available to him.  So I think it is a great idea to have your DH take D duty now, so it is more of a natural progression, rather than a change that happens due to baby.

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