I thought i would ask this as there seems to be a lot of helpful dads on here, My partner and myself have two children a 2 1/2 yr old and a 4 month old. My partner works 5 days a week leaving the house at 8 and getting home at about 7 ish. I'm currently on maternity leave due to return to work after christmas and i see to the children day and night and do everything around the house. This wasnt so bad with just one child, but i'm worried i will struggle returning to work completly worn out. How can i get him to help out without nagging, because that definatly does not work with him? Or are you all just naturally helpfull dads?

P.s he is a very loving daddy he just doesnt see anything that needs doing, and say's he can't hear them at night

asked 17 Nov '09, 14:09

Phil%20Seller's gravatar image

Phil Seller
accept rate: 9%

+1 Great approach to not want to nag, nagging sets a bad example for children too :)

(18 Nov '09, 06:34) Emi

I wouldn't set it out as a general problem - I'd just ask for help with specific things:

  • Could you put a wash on?
  • Could you make breakfast this morning?
  • Could you do the washing up?

Each of these is a lot less threatening than a general dressing down of "we need to talk, you need to help out more."

It's definitely possible to ask for specific things without nagging. Asking in a bright, cheery, almost off-hand kind of way will probably help it to feel less like a criticism, too. Hopefully after a while he'll take some jobs upon himself.

Is there some regular aspect of childcare you could ask him to take on in a "giving him more bonding time" way? Perhaps something on Saturday mornings, so you could catch up on a bit of sleep?

EDIT: I've just told my wife about this question, and her answer was: "Just don't do any housework. Eventually he'll do it instead. Worked brilliantly for me!"

I deny any charges of doing significant amounts of housework, of course.


answered 17 Nov '09, 15:43

Jon%20Skeet's gravatar image

Jon Skeet
accept rate: 35%

edited 17 Nov '09, 18:27


I agree with the idea of having a day you can sleep in. My husband gets up on Sunday mornings and it's wonderful! (He also sleeps through everything so I just push him out of bed when our baby wakes up :) )

(17 Nov '09, 15:50) Kiesa ♦

This is one of those things that I didn't get for a long time, even though people with successful marriages keep telling it to you over and over:

  • You can't change the other person
  • If you need help, just ask. Don't expect the other person to suddenly jump up and cater to your every need (this is because they have their own very important things they're very worried about too).
  • In most cases, if there's something you want done, it causes way less stress if you just do it yourself. You'll find that the less important stuff just won't get done, and there's a lot less stress on your marriage.

answered 17 Nov '09, 14:36

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦
accept rate: 10%

Also, if you don't need help, don't ask your spouse to quit what they are doing and get you a coke out of the garage because you don't want to get off the couch.</rant> (ie, Give as much as you get)

(17 Nov '09, 16:14) MrChrister

@ MrChrister Ha ha if only i give and dont get any thing in return, when i say i do everything i mean everything. @scott yes i agree it causes less stress if i do it myself and that is what i have done for the last 6 years, but its all getting too much for me and i need nice ways to persuade him to help without nagging or bitching at him.

(17 Nov '09, 17:02) Phil Seller

@Phil Seller: I find just asking each time you need something done (it tends to pop it to the top of their to-do list) and being honestly appreciative when something gets done works wonders. It's also a great behavior to model for your kids.

(18 Nov '09, 01:31) Scott ♦♦

Step 1 would be talking to him. Explain to him what you explained to us: work load is about to increase, you're both going to be working, and you need help.

Don't attack him with it though. Lay it out as a problem that needs solving and you want him to help you work out the solution.

I don't know your husband, but most men think in terms of solving problems. Have you ever had a conversation where you want to express your bad day and have someone listen, but he tries to tell you how to fix it instead of trying to talk with you? That's the natural response for many men, so it seems like a natural place to start here.


answered 17 Nov '09, 14:32

Dinah's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%


+1 We are fixers. Ask it in the form of something that can be fixed and maybe you get the response you are after.

(17 Nov '09, 16:13) MrChrister

+1 Elegantly stated:)

(18 Nov '09, 06:43) Emi

This is very true in my experience, and seems to be the basis of most "communication" books I've read. It's the source of a lot of frustration until you recognize it happening.

(18 Nov '09, 11:30) Scott ♦♦

Firstly, simply asking him to do specific tasks will probably work. Speaking for myself, I'm usually happy to do any housework my wife asks for, but I'm rubbish at noticing which things need doing myself. It would be nice if us men did some thinking occasionally but sometimes we are really that bad.

Secondly, having specific responsibilities for evening chores can help a lot. For example, it's always my job to put the bins out (a classic), give the kids a bath and put the bread machine on, so I can manage that without any nagging.


answered 17 Nov '09, 22:25

Paul%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Paul Stephenson
accept rate: 4%


A similar approach is used in our household. The initial conversation went something like this:"Chris, with the (newly added responsibility), I'm finding it hard to do both the dishes and cook dinner. Do you suppose you could take care of the dishes so I could have dinner ready for you after work?". No passive aggression, no nagging, no sweet, tentative voice. Just ask.

(30 Nov '09, 23:17) DarwinsMom
Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text](http://url.com/ "Title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "Title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported



Asked: 17 Nov '09, 14:09

Seen: 3,795 times

Last updated: 17 Nov '09, 22:25