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?

Fairylea Tue 28-May-13 09:36:50

Goodness me, stop making excuses for him. He is a useless arse. So what if he works loads of hours etc etc- so do you, and you know this. You don't get a free day to yourself to swan off and do as you please so why should he??

At the very very least you should both have the same amount of free time. So for every hour he gets with his mates, you get the same.

I don't think he's adapted to parenthood at all. I left my ex for similar reasons. I just got so intensely resentful of him.

I am now married to a man who works no less than 65 hours a week and he would never dream of swanning off at the weekend or whenever to play golf or whatever else. He really values his days off as family time. We have two dc and split childcare and finances and everything else between us- I am a sahm but when he is home we look after home and children between us. Don't settle for less.

Fairylea Tue 28-May-13 09:37:59

Sorry that sounded harsh... I meant it sympathetically. Just don't feel sorry for him working lots. You are working lots too!!

badguider Tue 28-May-13 09:39:02

The other thing is - are any of his mates 'good dads'? or at least engage with his kids? If so, try to engineer a situation where they spend time together... sometimes one dad boasting about his time or relationship with his kids can make another see what he might be missing more than any woman can (I'm getting the feeling your DH isn't the type to listen to women sadangry)

CherylTrole Tue 28-May-13 09:41:33

Sorry but he sounds completely selfish. Maybe this is is as good as it gets with him confused No woman or child should have to live like this.

Fairylea Tue 28-May-13 09:46:03

I also suspect you and dd are more of a badge of honour or trophy - "look how wonderful I am, what a man I am, my testicles made a baby" - rather than revelling in the understanding a parent is more than the name of mum or dad.

I would say leave him with dd for the weekend while you go off and have a break but from what you say I suspect he wouldn't have a clue how to care for her? Am I right?

Something drastically needs to change here otherwise single parenthood would actually be the less stressful option.

One day your dh will turn around and your dd will be a 15 year old stranger. It'll be too lateby then because she will have very little interest in forging a relationship with someone who has ignored her for so long.
You have to ask him if that's what he wants.

FindingVino Tue 28-May-13 10:05:27

Thanks both.

Fairy - I am sure I can make him see spending time with dd as fun. I'm not making excuses for him, I just sympathise with how hard his week is and the stress he is under. Where I might have a really stressful 18 hour day with dd, there are always moments that make me so happy. He might have an 18 hour day and not have one happy moment all day. I know I've been a bit of a pushover but it's only because I didn't want his entire week to be crap so was happy for him to go off and enjoy his weekends. I stupidly haven't done anything to show him just how enjoyable dd can be. Like other posters have said, the answer is to do fun stuff with dd so he sees spending time with her as downtime rather than time with mates.

Badguider- All of our friends are in their late 40s/50s. Started families late (or are with second families) and most have live in help. They are all, I expect, a bit hands off. Most of his colleagues have au pairs. They all boast about their children and I have no doubt OH does too. In all honesty, he is in a world where fathers don't seem to do a huge amount with their children. I really don't want it to come across as though he doesn't love dd because he does.. He worries about her all the time and I know thinks about her a lot. Our issue is just getting him to stay at home, which we will fix.

marryinhaste Tue 28-May-13 10:07:30

I work in a stressful city job. I am also a single parent with a useless ex who does nothing for the kids. So, I do the commute, stressful day in the office but then I leave, collect kids and put them to bed and continue working once they are asleep.

I went down to 4 days a week at work when I was still with the ex, but when we split I decided the time at home on a Friday with the youngest (and being able to do school run for older DC) was worth more than the extra money. It is a struggle, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

My ex was very like yours - though he was hands on when out and about. But now he says he needs his rest for his driving job, or has to do overtime for more money so he rarely sees the DCs.

Everyone has a choice about what is important to them - your dh is clearly showing you where his priorities lie.

When your baby is older, it will be even more stressful trying to keep a noisy, bored toddler amused doing the stuff your dh wants to do.

Some men do take a while to get into family life -some find babies boring (as do some women) and not actually having to get stuck in like women do during mat leave can mean they just don't get it as quickly as we do. Take your dh up on him being home so you can get out - you do need a break, and even if you don't think it's addressing the real problem, at least he will be doing something at home. I hope things improve for you soon - if they don't you might have some hard decisions to make sad

marryinhaste Tue 28-May-13 10:10:53

Oh, and my days in the office are so much easier than days at home with the kids - most people I know who work in the city enjoy their jobs (though not the long hours) it's not like he's doing something awful whilst at work.

GinandChocolate Tue 28-May-13 10:19:27

There is a lot of agreement on this thread but perhaps there is a different perspective to consider.

I work in the City and I have seen a lot of men really struggle to adapt to parenthood. I have spoken to lots of them and the common themes that emerge are:
1) they don't feel useful or competent around the baby and they are out off trying by how competent their wife seems. I do point out that they won't get confident if they don't get involved
2) they find babies, even their own, dull and they get much better when their kids get older. This is very common and quite a few of the Dads I know are great now their kids are 4+and regret missing out on the early years.
3) work is easier to control, familiar etc.
4) they feel a lot of pressure to be a good provider and be successful at work and they see this as the area in which they can make the biggest contribution

Don't for a minute think I am condoning your DHs behaviour but there are two sides to every story so you might want to consider this when you discuss what you need from him.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Tue 28-May-13 10:21:09

If his job is really that stressful then he should quit and get a less stressful one. It does not give him a right to do fuck all at home. I doubt his job really is as miserable as he makes out. The people I know in the City thrive on the pressure and enjoy it - that's why they do it. It is however a convenient excuse for him to be able to do whatever he wants at home.

FindingVino Tue 28-May-13 10:22:05

I am really grateful for everyone's time and posts but I am a little surprised at the number of posters who suggest that I should give an ultimatum / talk about single parenthood / ask what the point of him is. I haven't thought like this in 15 years of marriage and 5 years before that and one tiny little 7 almost 8 month baby isn't going to get me to think about life without OH now.

Parenthood is bloody hard work and your life has to change so much. OH was brilliant before dd. Admittedly he is really crappy now and I have let myself get to the stage where i am totally fed up, but I am convinced he just needs time to adjust. Yes, he's had 8 months and I am at a loss now but that has to be partly my fault for not making him stay at home and showing him how amazing dd is. So many people have suggested such positive approaches and I can't believe that they won't have a positive effect.

FindingVino Tue 28-May-13 10:25:27

Gin - you have conveyed how I think he is feeling and why I have let it go on much better than I just did. That is what I was trying to say!

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Tue 28-May-13 10:28:06

It is not your fault for not making him stay at home. It is his fault for taking the piss and getting into a mindset that you will do everything for him. That you have gone along with it is regrettable, but you should absolutely not blame yourself. A good husband should want to spend time with their kids and help out at home, no matter how supposedly stressful work is. I wouldn't say LTB, and there was a good example from someone whose husband was similar to yours but did change. If he doesn't change though, how long are you willing to put up with it? It sounds like you are resolved to be stronger now, which is great.

FindingVino Tue 28-May-13 10:28:12

Longer not better. Sorry.

FindingVino Tue 28-May-13 10:32:51

Thank you WhatsThat. If he doesn't change immediately then I will spend as long as I can trying to help him change.

The reason people are asking what the point of him is, is because many of us can't imagine being with someone so detached from their own child.

It may be normal in your social circles but it's not how many of us want to live. It must be a bit shocking to read but, well, it's shocking to read your posts and see a dad who doesn't want to spend any time with his family.

And I agree with everyone saying he shouldn't get cut too much slack because of his job. He's not down the mines, he's not working in a garment factory for a few pence an hour. If his job was that miserable surely he would find something else to do with his life.

By all means, try to improve things, but if your mindset is that you are going to stay with him no matter what, I don't see how much incentive he will have to change.

BusterKeaton Tue 28-May-13 10:54:14

But you need to change as well OP. Why are you standing around at parties holding/caring for your baby, while your DH is off having a laugh?

Hand your baby to him and then go off and have a laugh.

FindingVino Tue 28-May-13 11:00:17

Thank you Dreaming. I know you are right. Just a little bit sad with the realisation that OH's behaviour isn't just a little bit unreasonable (as I had suspected when I originally posted) but is actually thought to be completely unreasonable.

FindingVino Tue 28-May-13 11:02:19

Buster - yes, you are right. Another thing on my list of things to change. Sadly, she cries/fusses when he holds her so I get her straight back. I know this is a product of him not spending time with her.

Crowler Tue 28-May-13 11:08:25

OP, what a nightmare.

I agree your husband is being a twat. In addition to everything that has been said, I wonder how you are dealing with the baby? Do you have a babysitter or family member who helps out so you two can spend some time together?

Sounds like you guys have an otherwise very solid marriage.

You need to LEAVE THE HOUSE when he is looking after her to avoid having her handed directly back to you.

MortifiedAdams Tue 28-May-13 11:10:11

That day when your dh says hewill come home early so you can go out after the baby has gone to bed - what? Is he just some sort of babysitter? Tell him you need him home at six to do bath/bottle/bed and you walk out the door as soon as he gets through the door.

He needs to start actually parenting

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Tue 28-May-13 11:28:08

GinandChocolate

What does working in the city have to do with any of that?

I know it must be very sad. Just please remember not to blame yourself too much, this is your husband's doing. You really shouldn't have to remind and push a father to spend time with his DD, I don't care how young or boring she is or how much fun could be had elsewhere.

I really hope you can get through to him.

ben5 Tue 28-May-13 11:34:17

look around for Saturday dad playgroups. I know its not much use to you but we have one here on the first Saturday of every month. you can then bargin with him. he has dd every Saturday morning once a month in return of a round of golf in the pm

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