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When Your Partner Is a Parenting Slacker — And How to Change It

When Your Partner Is a Parenting Slacker — And How to Change It

A new ForbesWoman study confirms exactly what many Circle of Moms members deal with on a daily basis: the majority of moms, both those who work and those who stay at home, resent their husbands for slacking on household and child duties.

The study's findings indicate that this is a real issue in many families:

  • 63% of working moms and 66% of stay-at-home moms agree with the statement "Sometimes I feel like a married single mom."
  • 47% of working moms say they almost never get a break while 93% say their partners do.

These findings should offer validation, if not comfort, to the many Circle of Moms members who feel like single parents even though they have a partner or spouse. ("I argue with my husband about this all the time," says Circle of Moms member Katherine C.) But they also speak volumes about why it is so important to find ways to get a husband or partner invested in the idea of co-parenting.

Not to diss all dads, as some truly do co-parent, but I'm not surprised by the survey's results, and I understand Katherine C.'s compulsion to duke it out with her husband. As a divorced mom of three, I painfully remember how much I resented feeling like a single parent when I was married, and know firsthand how corrrosive those feelings of resentment can become over time. I remember my own stoic snaps at my ex-husband: "No worries, I can do it myself." Wow, talk about mantras that are prophetic. I used to quip when I was a parent that I was a single mom. After the split, I became a double parent.


Moms need to deal with this anger, because over time, it can ruin a marriage. I find hope in the ways some Circle of Moms members have learned to move beyond their resentment. The key seems to be inspiring husbands and partners to become more engaged in sharing the responsibilities of parenting.

Tracy M. feels a similar resentment, but she has found a way to get her husband more involved. "Moms and dads are on different planets when it comes to babies," she says. "My husband works first shift and at first would come home and go straight to the least visit with your son for a minute or two. I finally got sick of it and spoke up. Now, he will cook occasionally and do the dishes." And, she says, her feelings of resentful are lessening.

Stacey W. had the the same problem, but she had a meltdown and told her husband he had to step up to the parenting or she would leave. "Finally I snapped and we got in a huge fight," she explains."He told me that he would help me and he has now. But I never tell him what to do." She advises other resentful moms to be direct, adding that "I threatened to leave and yes, he still has his days when he doesn't help but it's better than nothing."

Sometimes there are happy endings, and sometimes not. I hope the Circle of Moms who read the statistics in this study and see themselves heading down this road are inspired to find ways to get their kids' dads on board. Your resentment does not always have to forecast the end of your marriage or relationship. It can be a catalyst for change.

How did you move from resentment towards positive change in your family?

Image Source: Baqir Ali via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

wolfcat87 wolfcat87 5 years
My husband is very distant, but 5 years of being with him and 3.5 years of marriage later he has definitely gotten better with age like a fine wine. I still feel that he could do more and do it better, but the fact that he tries makes me happy. I think the only reasons our marriage made it far enough for us to learn to enjoy it are the children and the fact that we don't believe in divorce. Now we are happy and look forward to a long future together. Was it easy? Nope. There were a lot of fights, arguments, and hurt feelings. They say the best marriages start off as the worst ones and then turn into the best because the couples works out all of their problems early instead of allowing them to build up. I've exploded a few times for sure. Remember, communication is key. Be blunt about what you want and need and why and consider their side of things as well.
shaespoon shaespoon 5 years
I'm thankful for my husband, he understands me and loves me. He pays the bills and I'm currently a full time Mom. He don't do alot to help me with the boys unless I bluntly ask him and pretty much nag him about it. But I guess I'm pretty used to doing it myself. It does however get under my skin when he says "I've worked all day I'm tired, you just stayed at home and done nothing" Men should be taught thats just something you don't say! lol
AlisonKlein AlisonKlein 5 years
I really try to just be happy with what I have. My husband is definately not perfect but at least he pays all the bills and gives me a break once in a while. It would be way harder if we were to get a divorce. He does try... and I understand that he is tired too. We both work hard and I think it is important in a marriage to put yourself in your partners shoes.
MelissaDale12032 MelissaDale12032 5 years
When my husband gets that way, I take my son and spend they day with him doing fun things. When we get back he asks where I went and why didn't I take him, I usually respond "you said this morning that you where exhausted and worked 50 hours this week." That usually makes him think about what he said and then he spends time with his son the rest of the day.
RebeccaDoyon RebeccaDoyon 6 years
I think that many spouses feel that they can't do it right, so they back off and don't help. I had to ask my self what my standards were andhow I could include my husband, letting him be dad and it being OK for him to di it his way. It is hard to step back and be OK with this, because of course I think my way is best, it is orgainized and it works well. But that is the beauty, if I open the door to him and let him be daddy, he often steps up to the plate and enjoys our kids. I also try to give myself time away and let him have kid time. I do find it difficult to understand why he can't have kid time and do house chores, but have come to realize after 16 years, he, as most men, only focus one one thing at a time. I juggle many balls at once at it all gets done, but then after i wonder how much quality time i have had with the kids after all. Learning to let go, learning to give a little, goes a long way for dads to be dads!
TonyaChester46257 TonyaChester46257 6 years
I deal with that there are days when out of the blue he will do something like wash the dishes maybe a little laundry, but I when I ask him to join me and our daughter on a little walk to the way, he's the same way with school functions, when he is available for them he still says the same thing, do I have to go? in the last 8 years I have done all family events alone with the acational tag along hubby who really doesn't want to be there and when I try to talk to him about it, it always the same thing, I just don't feel like it or I don't like to do those kinds of things. I swear we don't just raise our children we also raise our husbands. I have honestly considered leaving because it is a fight to get him to do any kind of family time, it shouldn't be a fight he should want to.
JonelleneSosa JonelleneSosa 6 years
I feel that exact same way!! :-(
HeatherHamilton27663 HeatherHamilton27663 6 years
This fits e 100%!! My husband and I have been together almost 7yrs with a 5yr old. I used to work 2 full time jobs 7 days aweek and would still have to come home and do everything that should have been done. I've had break downs before with my husband about how I have 2 children not one with ahusband and how maybe I should just leave and all get is a blank teenager look and he tries for a day or two but nothing ever sticks. I feel a little better that there are so many other mom's that feel this way also.
ZoeEustace ZoeEustace 6 years
I understand this completely. I felt like that with my husband and when we split up I actually found bringing the kids up to be easier not harder, I was actually doing it all myself. However I have now got a new man in my life and he is amazing with the kids and the house so there are some out there. x
HadleyHill HadleyHill 6 years
Being a mom is a job and the last time I checked we were paid for jobs. Just bill your husband for jobs that he should be doing and really make him pay, then take that $ and go get your nails done. I feel much better about the whole thing when I get home from the spa!
BrendaRish BrendaRish 6 years
This article is very interesting. I was married for 39 years and I am now divorced. I had 4 children. When we were young I tried to get my husband to date me onece a week, because we needed time together, apart from the kids. Then it came to asking once a month. It never happened. I was conserned that when our kids were gone we would not have develped anything between us. It happened. My husband was to busy alwaus finding other things to do while I kept the kids in his younger years. Fishing, bowling, tennis, basball, golfing, So I began to delvope my own interest. His response when I spoke to him about things and dwanted to get counseling was," We can fix this our selves" I believe it is better to pay a price for counseling while you are young than pay the price when you are in your 60,s. I loved my husband and wanted so much for us. It is better to grow together than to grow apart. Do something when you are young enough, to many causalities of the me generation.
LiliSulastriZainalAbidin LiliSulastriZainalAbidin 6 years
Come to show I am not alone after all. Anyway, I try my best to show appreciation everytime hubby helped around the house - like cooking, drying the clothes, etc. etc. even though this is rather rare. Sort of gives him the boost. Occassionally he'd take us out for dinner to give me a break from the kitchen. Learnt not to complain much though. By the way, I am an 8 to 5 day worker and a 8-11pm homemaker. Sunday is family time. I have no maid but I do have a demanding daughter, though. lol!
TanishaGriffinGathright TanishaGriffinGathright 6 years
This is so true, but in a lot of instances I realize that if I just ask or give him a little time he will go ahead and step up to the plate. Women tend to be more on schedules and want it done immediately while men are quite different. So many times I end up doing something myself and if I would have waited most likely he would have done it.
fionahennessy89617 fionahennessy89617 6 years
this is my marraige left him on a few occasions worked for a while he couldn do enough but then a wk later back 2 square one i just feel im goin around in a circle.
JudiBriggs JudiBriggs 6 years
I really resent married moms who think they know what being a single parent is like: Really, you have no idea! Quit whining!
CoMMember13629833852955 CoMMember13629833852955 6 years
As a semi-wise woman at age 60, first I want to say how much I commend men like my son, who really are hands on in every way. But, girls, there are 2 things that need remembered. First, it is not in the male DNA to nurture. It is a learned thing for them and they do not approach it like women. Which brings up the second point. The kids will not die if dad is allowed to do it his way. A lot of women unknowingly push dad away by micro-managing everything he tries to do. If you want him to do it, walk away and let him do it.
deidrerobinson20343 deidrerobinson20343 6 years
This is so true. I've been a married single mom for at least 10yrs so a few months ago I decided to leave.I couldn't deal anymore because as much as I spoke up it would only change for that day!
ChristabelMacleod ChristabelMacleod 6 years
My husbands was like this and I left him. He was supposed to be the one being the house husband. He woudln't coook because"I don't know how to".He wouldn't do housework because he didn't like it. He wouldn't pass on messages during the day form my family or friends because he would forget. He wouldn't do the shopping because he didn't know what I wanted. in theend we went to a marrigae councellor who told us that he was depressed and I was too bossy. The one who was feeeling depressedabout the counselling was me adn athe final crunch was when he told me after Icame back from a holiday that he hadn't done any housework because i was too efficient. Now I can see that I took over because I was so frustrated with his attitude when we had i thought agreed that I would work full time and he would become the house husband. It never worked and he became resentful that he was at home and expected to do all these things he didn't want to do and I was resentful that I never had any tme to myself between working and taking up the slack. we both had very different attitudes to what constituted a healthy compromise.
KyraYon KyraYon 6 years
I know men who will do something half way on purpose just so the wife would take over the job again. We have a tendency to want things done a certain way and don't appreciate if it is done their way instead.
CoMMember13629986640993 CoMMember13629986640993 6 years
I feel like a single parent all the time!!! I don't mind doing everything myself when my husband is deployed but when he's home he doesn't do anything, and when I ask him to do something he says "in a minute" and I wind up doing it myself anyway!!! I get so frustrated, and when it come to discipline he always undermines me makes me crazy!!!! Glad to know I'm not the only wife dealing with this crap lol!!
DesiraeRenfroe DesiraeRenfroe 6 years
some times men thing you have the stuff under control sometimes it simpler to as hey can you help with this or that ....(be specific about what you want or need help with) i am a mom of two an almost eleven year old and an almost fifteen year old .... it really is easier to just say what you need help with rather than expecting them to just know what you want or need help with.
VenusVendouresWalsh VenusVendouresWalsh 6 years
I can relate and I agree with Tammy Dyer's comment. I'd like to add that focusing on the positive and really noticing and vocalizing appreciation of what is done rather than what is not done will go a long way to improving life for everyone. Energy flows from you to your kids so be mindful of what you are projecting. Getting out of the house with the kids when you can or having friends over will reduce the stress. You can only control your own response to the situation so start there. Clearly, many of us feel the same way and knowing that can give us energy to find the right balance for our own lives. Just believe in yourself.
JessiWeigelHobgood JessiWeigelHobgood 6 years
I'd get irritated when my husband would tell met daughter's diaper needed to be changed. One day I finally said, 'Then change it!' It never dawned on him to change her diaper. So frustrating!
RachaelMiller74134 RachaelMiller74134 6 years
my partner, and a lot of men, i think have trouble associating with young babies because they can't play the way the boys want them to and they can't talk. my partner cried when our daughter was a newborn but he was very limited in his interactions with her, at first it was the old "but i'll break her" fear that men seem to have but then it was just that she couldn't do fun things with him. now she's two he will chase her around the house and play with her all the time, she went from not really giving a crap about him to screaming whenever he leaves for work or even goes outside to have a cigarette, she is so attached to him now she likes to be with him most of the time and will even get excited when he comes home from his night shift. i think a lot of men just can't cope with young babies and it's really important not to harass them about it, they're not as good as we are at expressing their feelings so they won't come right out and say "i'm sorry honey but newborns bore me". men were once boys and boys are more about the physical connection so physically being able to play and rough and tumble with the kids is better for them than just holding or gooing and gaaing to a newborn.
DianaThomas DianaThomas 6 years
I used to juggle full time "flexible" work as a professor, teaching at night, research in the day, and then do 90% of the household duties. After I ended up in the hospital after having a seizure in March things changed in our house. Now we have a rule. I should never be in the kitchen alone. No one leaves after dinner till I leave. The kids and my husband help me with laundry and making meals. Although this is a frightening wake up call, it was the best thing that happened to us.
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