To expect OH to give up the golf clubs for one bloody day?

(98 Posts)
FindingVino Sun 26-May-13 20:36:08

Dd is 7 months old and I do everything at home (cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping etc) which I don't really mind as I am still on mat leave. What is really starting to get on my nerves is OH's lack of interest in dd.

Dd sees her dad in the mornings for a couple of minutes while he's rushing out of the door to work (Heaven forbid he should wake up 10 mins earlier to have a cuddle). He gets back from work really late every night - high powered stressful City job blah blah so doesn't see dd in the evenings at all.

Weekends are always about golf with his friends or there's an endless stream of "unmissable" get togethers often involving weekends away drinking to excess.

On the rare weekend he is around, he has it so fully booked with seeing more friends that poor dd is dragged around to accommodate where he fancies going (apparently it doesn't matter if she doesn't sleep in the day and I get too "wound up" when she cries and should just leave her to it). Then he is always too tired / drunk to do anything useful (has only ever changed about 10 nappies, never fed her, never woken up during the night and was only present at bath time in the first week of her life).

I just feel like he is allergic to being at home and settling into family life.

We're not young parents and after so many years of independence and a marriage filled with fun late nights out, holidays and just doing what we wanted whenever we wanted to, the shock of parenthood has been huge for both of us.

Where I am just getting on with it and focussing on the positives of parenthood, OH is just so negative all the time. "What have we done? Life was so good before" etc etc. This really pisses me off because he has hardly changed any aspects of his pre-dd life. I know he has a stressful job and needs to let go on weekends (as I am reminded constantly) but the current situation is just infuriating.

I am just so annoyed and can't talk to anyone about this as it just makes me feel like a crap wife and like I'm not coping with motherhood. Just needed to vent... am I being unreasonable expecting him to change his life a bit or is this just how it is for others when OHs work long hours in a stressful job?

SugarPasteGreyhound Sun 26-May-13 22:20:13

Darling, I don't want to sound harsh but if you think he's going to undergo a miraculous change when you go back to work, then you are in la-la land.

What will actually happen is that you will tear yourself in two trying to get everything done. You'll be the one who is responsible for all the housework, cooking, childcare and day to day drudgery. Except that you'll be juggling a job along with it.

Trust me, he will use his longer hours or superior earnings to justify why he should do knob-all in terms of parenting or any kind of help.

You need to confront him and make it clear that parenting requires hands on effort from him. But you also need to think carefully about what you will do if he ignores you; will you continue to put up with it?

Startail Sun 26-May-13 22:26:23

grin I was being a bit flippant, but it is ery easy for men who work long hours and have hobbkes out of the home to opt out of family life.

My DH isn't so lucky, he has a DD1 who has never gone to bed before 8 and his job couldnt be pusbed later than getting back at 7. I knew his boss, he would have thrown him out if he'd stayed longer.

His hobbies are all in the study and the shed, both of which I have threatened to padlock if he disappears into them.

Sadly the bankbalance would only streatch to Mallorca (pity, I've always fancied the Maldives).

Seriously, you are going to have to talk.

And please be gentle, but firm. DH found having DD1 very stressful. Men like to feel in control. Small non sleeping, refusing to BF, tiny babies are totally not under control. Add lack of sleep, feeling totally responsible for money and everyones well being and hidding in work is understandable.

I think more far more than me DH got depressed after DD1 was born.

However, he still managed to do his bit and be there for us.

"I am just holding out hoping he'll change when I go back to work? Though he doesn't see why I need / want to work."
Why would he change? Sorry, but that really is just wishful thinking.

What would he do if you weren't there? If you got sick (which after 7 months of max 4 hours sleep is entirely possible)?

"I know he has a stressful job and needs to let go on weekends (as I am reminded constantly) but the current situation is just infuriating."
It's also unsustainable. And frankly, you also have a very stressful job, and you, with 4 hours sleep/night, are working far longer hours than he is. Startail's suggestion may have made you laugh, but it does sound as if you need to implement a milder version. Dental/hair appointment where they couldn't fit you in Mon-Fri. Lunch with a friend. Matinee performance. Something, anything, where he has to hold the fort for a couple of hours. Go, switch your phone off, and be late back. And read him the riot act if he's the least bit sniffy about it on your return.

He can only continue on this path if you allow it. So stop allowing it.

Startail Sun 26-May-13 22:27:35

sorry Kindle spell checking has died. I can't work out why.

FindingVino Sun 26-May-13 22:28:24

Acoop - thank you for being so positive. I think your approach of "this is what you're missing" sounds like a good way forward to start with. You are v. lucky to have such a supportive husband.

Shakey - I really have been thinking of a weekend (well, one night) away. There is a part of me that just thinks a jolt in to reality is probably what he needs. I'm glad it worked so well for you.

Dreaming / stealth - I just keep thinking that when I go back to work he can't keep saying that all of the responsibility for dd is up to me 24/7. He will have to take a more active role and be more prepared to share the load? But you're right, I know I face the "you don't have to work" argument.

PoppyWearer Sun 26-May-13 22:31:09

SugarPaste's post has prompted me to add that those superior earnings need to translate into a lot of a) help in terms of cleaners, takeaways, childcare and b) nice stuff such as holidays and presents and handbags and shoes to create memories for you as a family and give you new things to look forward to when the mundane shit grinds you down.

Make sure you have at least equal financial control in your relationship, because when the shit hits the fan, this is essential.

"I know I face the "you don't have to work" argument."
To which the response is "Apparently I do, since you show me no respect since I stopped working <hard stare>."

Startail Sun 26-May-13 22:32:45

My milder version was, DH did bedtime once a week while I went to the ladies swimming and free sauna session. Mostly older ladies, so no baby talk, bliss after NCT and toddlers during the day.

Shakey1500 Sun 26-May-13 22:33:32

Yes I think short sharp shocks can be useful at times. It's just this bloody assumption isn't it? That you will be the one with the eyes and ears everywhere, all the pre-empting, all the organising while they will just pootle on as normal.

FindingVino Sun 26-May-13 22:37:32

LongSufferingMrs and Poppywearer - thank you for posting. Really sounds like you have gone through what I'm feeling now. I'm glad going back to work was the right thing for you. This is exactly what I'm hoping will happen when I return. Poppy wearer - I suspect it's time for me to to sit down with OH and talk about things the way you have. Your point (D) is exactly our issue , that he feels dd and I stop him from having fun (though he has never asked me if he can do something and I've never told him not to). Thank you for the advice.

Aitchy Sun 26-May-13 22:47:58

I really feel for you, OP.

My DH hasn't behaved as badly as yours but there have been times where he's just assumed he could opt out of parenting, and I've had to have words with him. It's frustrating. And it's unfair that in the 21st century, where things are supposed to be equal, men are still carrying on as they did pre children and assume that the woman will pick up the slack.

Lots of great advice there from Poppy! I really hope you are able to get through to your DH, and that he realises he needs to change

FindingVino Sun 26-May-13 23:00:11

I really don't want to be left doing it all when I work. I think for now, step 1 is talking to him and trying to have some time away on weekends. Ahead of time away, I simply want time together with the two people I love most. I don't really feel the need to disappear, I would just like dd to play with her mum and her dad together. I have allowed this to go on too long really. I don't even know how I have. Poppywearer - I know you're right about equal financial control. We used to but that was many years ago. Shakey- you are absolutely spot on about the assumption. Not helped by an mil who is positively Victorian.

Longsufferingmrs Sun 26-May-13 23:01:21

OP, Do say something sooner rather than later. I wish I had said something early on but I didn't and then by the time I did confront the issue it was already a well established habit. He would say 'Oooooh it's so hard for you isn't it, sitting at home on your backside, drinking coffee' and he would tell me 'if you don't like it you know where the door is'. He knew I had nowhere to go. I was very low for a long time because I had made a rod for my own back. Don't leave it unsaid. It won't get better unless you say something.
Sugar You are right, I am still responsible for all the household stuff as well as any childcare issues whilst working, however there are no complaints anymore if the house is a tip or its beans on toast for tea.

PoppyWearer Sun 26-May-13 23:13:07

He doesn't need to ask you for permission to have time away from you/the family. He just needs to tweak his attitude so that he realises it's not ok to assume it's fine and to realise you need him/a break too. It's not asking for permission, just having enough respect for you to think about you when making his plans, and factoring you and your feelings (as well as DCs) into them.

Omnishamble Mon 27-May-13 00:29:11

Your OH is taking the p*ss

Regardless of the stress his job generates (and is he really at work all those hours?), when you're both at home everything: child care, chores me-time etc. should be split 50/50.

"he feels dd and I stop him from having fun"

This is really the problem, right there. You are not going to get him to change as long as he equates fun with being away from his family.

I don't know how you make someone enjoy spending time with their family. Perhaps as a start, try to find some weekend activities that you both would normally find fun anyway, that you can have your DD with you? Throw a BBQ for all your friends, or go to brunch somewhere nice.

If he won't even do that, I don't know what else you can do. Ultimately he just thinks that he's made his contribution to fatherhood and doesn't have to do anything else. Ridiculous.

SizzleSazz Mon 27-May-13 10:36:43

I don't think he will pick up more responsibility if you go back to work; he'll just hire a nanny (or get you to organise one...) and say he is 'doing his bit to make sure she is cared for'

SugarPasteGreyhound Mon 27-May-13 18:03:39

To be honest it sounds like there are bigger issues at stake. If his attitude is that you and his child are stopping him from having fun, then you need to consider that he might not be willing to get further involved in family life. That having a DC is a nice idea as long as he doesn't actually have to do any parenting...

Loulybelle Mon 27-May-13 18:19:11

My BIL works away alot, leaving my sister with a 4 year old SN and 2 year old. He loves getting home and spending time with his kids, hes very hands on and works really hard to support them.

Your OH, equates to nothing much more than a lodger who donated his sperm to you, you cant make him want to be involved, he needs to make the effort off his own back.

Giving him DD for the weekend with probably mean he finds someone to dump her on, if his solution is find a nanny.

maleview70 Mon 27-May-13 19:19:16

His solution of getting a nanny to him is solving the problem and he will be wondering why you haven't snapped his hand off.....in his mind he will be thinking that you can't be struggling that much or else you would have agreed.

He sounds like he isn't really into having a child. Not all men are.

I doubt he will change. You may end up splitting up.

fairylightsinthespring Mon 27-May-13 19:50:42

I agree that a nanny or au-pair isn't the answer because taking care of the baby isn't the problem per se. Does he imagine that if you get one, you can then both naff off all weekend together and you'll stop nagging? He has yet to make the mental transition into what being a dad involved beyond providing the £££. I understand about long city hours and yes, Omnishamble, its perfectly normal for city job + commute to = those hours but that's one of the reasons I left my ex and had babies with my DH who is a teacher like me and who breaks his neck to get home in time to see the DCs before bed, even if its for 10 mins. If the OP's DH can't do this then he should be working it into his weekends that that is family time, with the occasional break for friends, not the other way round. OP, as everyone else has said, a serious talk is needed, plus a genuine and serious plan for you to book a weekend away when he will take charge and "bond" with his DD. In the lead up to it, he will need to do more so he feels confident, so it might help him in a general sense also.

littlepeas Mon 27-May-13 19:51:26

My dad was like this - we never saw him (played tennis and associated socialising all weekend, painted in the garage in the evenings), he didn't even come on holiday with us. The only memories I really have of him from my childhood are when he got angry, because that was pretty much all the interaction he had with us! My mum just let him get on with it. In all honesty, I find it hard to summon much respect for my mum because she was such a doormat (although obviously I love her!). He still calls all the shots now my sister and I are grown up and they are retired. I do think he regrets not being around more when we were children - he certainly makes more effort with my dc than he ever did with us.

Springdiva Mon 27-May-13 20:05:29

I would say you need to make changes and I don't mean bleating and whingeing at DH about how tired you are.

Asking, persuading, suggesting won't work imv.

Instead you need to be different, not a pathetic doormat, if he accuses you of having an easy time just tell him he is an ah. If he presumes you have time to do all the housework then don't do it, say there is more important things than housework. GO OUT (on your own for several hours). Then GO OUT again, then GO OUT again and by the third time he will be getting the hang of looking after baby. Did you know exactly the best thing to do from the first few hours after birth, no, you learned, and that is what he will do if you stop being the perfect mother and housewife and leave him to get on with it. Once he is a good DF whose daughter reacts with smiles and chuckles he will want to be there. Whilst he can bunk off, and have a lazier time, he will prefer his mates.

Once he gets the hang of it and has a happy baby AND a happy wife he will be a happy man. grin

FindingVino Tue 28-May-13 09:29:28

Thanks all.

Longsuffering and PoppyWearer- you are both right and I have made a start adopting yours and Acoop's approach. Unfortunately, OH has an overseas trip next week. There's always something. I am a bit annoyed that his next available weekend to see dd is in 3 weeks. I think he feels bad though as he suggested that one evening he would come home early(well, earlier) from work so I could go out and see a friend or something after dd has gone to bed. Doesn't really solve the whole OH and DD spending time together issue but is a start nonetheless.

Dreaming - Whenever we do have weekends together, that's the problem - we do the same stuff we did pre-dd. Which us always great for him but I get stuck at restaurants / friend's houses etc with a baby who just gets overtired and wants to nap so I'm getting stressed and a husband who always says "just 5 more minutes" chatting to mates until we're still there hours later while dd is just desperate for home. I don't want to sound like I don't enjoy it, because I do but I just struggle to see that as family time. To me, I feel like we're going somewhere as a family but when we're there, dd and I together and OH is off having a laugh. Sigh. I do want him to be happy and I love seeing him laugh, I just want dd to see it too.

Fairylights - I know he still loves spending time with me (ie when dd has gone to bed if he has made it home). Then it's like it was before. I think he expects a nanny will give us the freedom for couple time again.

Littlepeas - my relationship with my dad was the same. I know he loved us but just wasn't around.

Spring - your last sentence made me smile smile

badguider Tue 28-May-13 09:35:54

Many many high flying men with very stressful jobs see spending time with their child at the weekend as 'down time' - it allows them to swtich off and be grounded into the simple pleasures in life.

If I were you I would ty to engage him with what he's missing in his DDs life and how she's growing and also try to get him to spend some time with your DD doing the fun bit first - going to a zoo, the beach or something, particularly now it's summer...

I know he SHOULD do the drudge bits too and give you a bit of a break but that's a different argument (arguably you could employ people to help with that bit) but I would start with the nice bits of parenting and try to engage him in them for the sake of them having some kind of relationship as she grows up.

How is/was his relationship with his parents? and father in particular? my dh had a father who was involved for the early years then left his mum and didn't really visit so he is determined to build a close relationship with our DS from the start.

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