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To expect dh to be able to look after dd by himself? Like I have to.

(96 Posts)
happydaze77 Mon 30-Sep-13 10:47:14

I should start by saying that dh is generally a very helpful and supportive husband and father. However my bugbear is this:
While he is at work I look after dd by myself. When he is at home we look after dd together

I really would have thought that, by now, he would be able to take charge now and again. He seems to prefer to do all the 'behind the scenes' jobs like emptying the dishwasher and feeding the rabbit but seems incapable of taking any initiative with dd. For example I am always the one who sorts her dinner, knows when she'll need her next nap etc. He can just take a shower as and when he pleases whereas I have to ask permission. I just want him to know what it's like to have to take dd to the toilet every time you need to go!

I haven't had a break for nearly a year and I am going insane. Her grandparents are the same - they think they are coming around to 'help' but all they do is wind dd up play with dd, then leave me to deal with the fallout.

I return to work in a few days time and so emotions are running a bit high to say the least. Am I expecting too much?

ZenNudist Tue 01-Oct-13 21:53:37

OP,the first year is really hard on mums. Now you are going back to work it's time to redress the balance.

You already got the message about letting go a bit. It's time for your dh to do more.

My dh got a shock when I went back to work and he had to take over so much more. More and more we became equal parents, and I won't be making the same mistake for the first year when number two is born in January. It's hard when you breastfeed but as time goes on you just have to let go and accept help.

Nowadays I try to refrain from commenting on the outfits that he puts together for ds and don't really bat an eyelid if the dinner isn't as nutritionally sound as I would like. He does lots of things better than I do as well in other respects.

sashh Tue 01-Oct-13 18:16:27

It is tempting just to bugger off somewhere and leave them to it but then I would feel bad for dd if it all goes wrong.

Such as? she misses a nap or has to cry for a drink?

Yes that wouldn't happen if you were there but these are not the end of the world. How is he going to ever cope if you don't let him?

Go out for a day, a long day, or better still go stay with a friend for a couple of days, it will be good for all of you.

BeCool Netherlands Tue 01-Oct-13 17:24:40

I'm not blaming her at all! I think you are reading a lot into what the OP has said.

In fact I am saying exactly the opposite of making her responsible for the relationship her partner has with his child. Step aside and let them have a relationship. If he is reluctant then, assuming he knows the basics re safety, leave the building. he will do it.

She should just go and have a fecking shower - he will cope! Where has the OP said HE makes her ask permission? In fact she has said she needs to lighten up, and let go a bit and she has also said he is great around the house - so all the points you mention I don't read as relevant here.

I would be right in being pretty insulted you called me chauvinistic but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt as you sound a bit tense join - you've completely twisted what I said. Did your partner let you done on the co-parenting front? Sorry if that is so.

Make sure he knows the safety basics yes - Personally I wouldn't feel safe leaving my baby with P if he didn't know the basics.

Then either you can give him a step by step A-Z do this do that personal instruction guide (i.e be very controlling about it) OR just let him get on with looking after her (i.e. he will work out the stuff he doesn't know what to do the same way any new parent does, the say way the OP did).

He will certainly know more than he's letting on he does, and when he doesn't have anyone to defer to, he'll just have to make decisions himself.

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 01-Oct-13 15:51:11

"As long as the safety basics are covered it is very important that you step back and allow him to do things his way"

BeCool, if the only thing a mother is allowed to worry about is safety basics and expecting anything else of her co-parent is unreasonable and interfering, then you are saying it's fine for them to do the job badly as long as the child doesn't come to any serious harm.

You see it all the time on here - Dads who get up to let their wives have a rare lie in, and leave the house a complete shit tip that their wife has to deal with when she gets up, doesn't dress the children, completely ignores them, in some cases doesn't feed them, but it's all apparently OK because the children didn't die and the woman can't say anything because that is apparently "controlling".

"If you want an engaged involved parent, then leave him to it, trust that he can and will step up and parent."

That's fine when you are dealing with someone who wants to be an engaged and involved parent. Not all men do, it would seem.

There are many who just want to do the fun stuff and leave all the hard work to their wives.

"Accept that he might do things differently to you and this is OK."

But it's not always OK, is it?

I would not be at all OK if my husband was as shite as the OP's.

Why are you blaming her because she feels she needs to ask permission to take a shower?

Making women responsible for the relationship men have with their own children is pretty chauvinistic.

AnotherStitchInTime Tue 01-Oct-13 14:25:32

Are there any children's centres near you that do a Dads and kids group on a Saturday? It might be a good start to build his confidence as there will be staff there to assist if he needs a hand. Failing that the park for an hour or two.

They only way they can learn is to do it. My DH was a SAHD for dd1, he did all the night feeds for DSS and much of the cooking. He still tries to defer to me regarding dressing the girls now that I am at home (because his sisters teased him about how dd1 was dressed previously when he was at home), but I tell him to go and look in the drawers and find something.

BeCool Netherlands Tue 01-Oct-13 14:21:26

Thumb I had the opposite issue in the the DC's Dad was more inclined to be a helicopter parent.

He followed DD1 around saying "BE CAREFUL" over and over in her ear whatever she was doing. Thankfully he had lightened up (a bit) by the time DD2 was out and about.

avolt Tue 01-Oct-13 14:17:50

The turnaround point for my dh was when I took a job doing a 12 hour shift on a Saturday when dd was about 15 months. DH had to do everything and so he did.

Since then he has never been selfish about sharing the tasks, has never come home and expected a tidy house or a meal or indeed any shopping in the house to cook.

I would really recommend booking yourself onto a relaxing course or yoga class or whatever for the whole of a Saturday morning and leaving him to gain confidence as sole carer.

Thumbwitch Tue 01-Oct-13 14:07:39

I have found that DH needs to learn by experience that I am not an over-anxious control freak when I say to him things like "Don't let DS1 into the lake, it's too dangerous" or "remember to close the zip on the trampoline"

Having ignored me on the first point, he let his mum take DS1 into the lake - she lost her footing, went under, held DS1 up but if she'd passed out/drowned he would have drowned too. Luckily for all concerned DH did look up from baiting his fishing line and saw, and saved them - salutary lesson. He seemed to think his mother would be ok with DS1, forgetting that she is a lot older than she was when DH was DS1's age, and that she has also forgotten what it is like to have such a small child to look after.
Now he accepts I wasn't over-reacting.

With the trampoline, he just thought I was being over-protective, until DS1 shot out of the unzippered gap and hit the concrete chin first - he still has the scar.

He learns from these mistakes but at what price? Why can he not realise the danger before the accidents happen?

So although basic safety might be a pretty low bar to set, I'd be happy to start with that.

JRmumma Tue 01-Oct-13 13:36:06

Playfellows i agree. I'm sure no dad is going to let any harm come to their child. However i do understand that some control freak mums (me included) feel the need to ensure that dad knows how to strap in the car seat, or correctly make up a bottle, before we would leave a baby with the father. I know that i know how to do it, but these ate things that you cannot learn as you go along and i know that my hubby rarely reads instructions properly! I'm sure he wouldn't take the risk with things like this but i NEED to make sure.

BeCool Netherlands Tue 01-Oct-13 13:30:09

Join where did I say you need to allow them to do it sloppily and badly? It's not expecting so little at all. It is accepting that your partner is a fully functioning adult who can make decisions for himself without an overbearing mother scrutinising every move and undermining them.

What I mean by allowing him to do things his way, is just because a Mum does things a certain way doesn't mean that is THE way or THE ONLY way or HOW YOU MUST DO IT.

If you want to create anxiety and uncertainly in someone by all means demand they must do things exactly how you would do it, and pick apart their confidence what they do bit by bit.

If you want an engaged involved parent, then leave him to it, trust that he can and will step up and parent. Accept that he might do things differently to you and this is OK.

enormouse Tue 01-Oct-13 13:29:47

I agree with JRmumma. You just have to let him get on with it and accept that your dd might not be dressed in a coordinated outfit, or he'll forget the snacks for the changing bag or forgot the wipes. He'll adapt.

I assumed my DP would be terrible at looking after DS initially but I let him get on with it as I went back to studying. And he coped fantastically, I even think in some ways he parents more patiently and enthusiastically than me. He frequently takes DS out for baby cinema (bag packed, appropriate clothes on usually) and they have a great time. He's now retraining to become a primary school teacher.

Although, I did have to accept that being a messy bugger he would let certain household things slide. But he's slowly getting better at tackling them.

When DCs were tiny and toddlers I had the same problem. Or we had the same problem.

We talked about it when we were calm one day - he did lack confidence - I was ratty if he did something differently to me, so eventually did not want to do anything. I knew I needed to relax - he wanted to do more.

I wrote out a schedule of a normal day for DCs. Naps, snacks etc etc. Put it on the fridge. He could see what was supposed to happen. If he asked I could say "It is on the fridge in a breezy way". But in addition - when I go out and leave him to look after the DC his way goes. He is their father. He knew the routine. He can live by it - or not. Somethings I would emphasise "Please do not let DS nap beyond 3pm or he will not sleep tonight". But apart from that he is in charge. If he wants a pajama day, fine. If he wants cornflakes for lunch, no problem. DCs often had fun with a different schedule for a day or so.

Now DCs are older 7&5 and none of us lives by the same strictness of daily schedule (no naps, they can say if hungry etc) but DH utterly has the confidence to do any of it. And if he is not sure he is happy to ask as I am not all martyrish at him. And if he does stuff differently I try and bite my tongue if it bugs me.

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 01-Oct-13 13:23:00

"As long as the safety basics are covered it is very important that you step back and allow him to do things his way."

I think that is bollocks, actually.

There is no reason to expect so little of a parent just because they are a father.

Allowing someone to do something their way is not the same as allowing them to do it sloppily and badly and in a way that forces you to run around after them covering all the mistakes they made.

I quite happily leave my DH to do stuff his way. It's easy because he's not lazy and he doesn't generate loads of extra work for me by making a giant mess he doesn't clear up or leaving the children tired or hungry or neglected while he watches sport.

I treat him as an equally useful and responsible parent because HE ACTS LIKE ONE.

I would have a complete pain in my face if he was always forgetting to do important things.

Expecting nothing more than basic safety from a parent looking after their own child is really, really sad.

BeCool Netherlands Tue 01-Oct-13 13:07:41

I think you need to let go. Go out for some days and leave them to it.

Part of this is about you giving him the space to do things his way. He might do things differently to you, he might make some stuff up, he might put her clothes on backwards or whatever. As long as the safety basics are covered it is very important that you step back and allow him to do things his way.

They will get there fast if you force them to be alone give them the space.

JRmumma Tue 01-Oct-13 13:01:03

I think that half of the problem is that in the majority of families, women will always do the lions share of childcare and running the household because its just how its always been. We assume that role naturally and men naturally let us. They aren't necessarily being lazy or inconsiderate of us or the kids, in sure most men would do more if we just asked!

Easier said than done though, in sure we all say nothing until we are pissed off and then don't handle it greatly and don't get our points across.

My hubby is great, but ive learnt to give specific instructions and just BREATHE when he doesn't do it my way and accept that my way isn't the only acceptable way to get things done.

AbiRoad Tue 01-Oct-13 12:56:23

When DDs were little, if DH and I were both around, i tended to do more of the DD stuff (making food, choosing clothes, getting them drrssed etc) and DH would do more of the normal housework. This suited me just fine as I am not a big fan of housework. However, if I wanted to go out or have a lie in etc, he would absolutely do it. He is still a bit rubbish about doing their hair though!

pantsonbackwards Tue 01-Oct-13 12:54:36

BeaWheesht Tue 01-Oct-13 10:45:44 pantsonI've done all that, none of it works, the ignoring the kids is a MAJOR issue for me

I bet! What is his excuse?

pantsonbackwards Tue 01-Oct-13 12:52:49

I was very ill and in hospital for two weeks. Did he man up and cope? Did he hell, he gave the dog to my mum, DD to his mum and lived alone whilst complaining about how hard it all was on him.

Bloody hell! Did you tell him to shut the fuck up?!

WinteronPluto Tue 01-Oct-13 12:51:31

If I have learnt anything at all from having first child for 5 years is that the only ONLY way to get someone else to look after your child without your help is to leave them together. This goes for DH, grandparents or paid childcare (nanny, au pair etc). Otherwise you will end up supervising.

pantsonbackwards Tue 01-Oct-13 12:47:12

Stealth. My dh does that zoning out thing. If we are both home he might do housework which is great, but he'll do it with ear phones in so any arguing between the children or anything they need or want is dealt with by me. He knows Im not happy about it. I would never dream (ok i may dream about it but would never do it) of shutting myself off from the rest of the family like that whilst still in the same house.

I just go up to him and tell him that his children have been talking to him and he's ignoring them!

Orangeanddemons Tue 01-Oct-13 12:05:57

This is like my dh, it drives me mad. He just sort of opts out. He will always look after dd, and help around the house, but if I'm around, he just screens her out and forgets to give her any breakfast etc.

Dd gets eczema, but somehow it is my job to police it, check it, put creams on, take her to doctors about it. She has long curly hair which is a nightmare to wash and brush....but it's ALWAYS my job to deal with it. He's never ever cut her toe or finger nails. He just doesn't think about it. When ever we go out, he strolls ahead leaving me to deal with questions/nags/tantrums. I have had several words about it, but he just doesn't get it.

My particular pet hate, is when I tidy up and put dds stuff on stairs to take up to her room. He just walks past it every time.

oscarwilde Tue 01-Oct-13 11:54:47

Similar experience to Xiao (ish) in that I did a lot of business travel when I went back to work after DD1 when she was 7 months old. Dropped DH in it from a height. They muddled through and I was 6000 miles away which was probably a good thing and have a great relationship as a result.
No travel now so DD2 was mostly left to me as BF and then even when not, DD1 was the easier to look after. I sat down one day and wrote out the most anally retentive day planner for looking after the two girls simultaneously. He's not an idiot and is a v good Dad, but when they are small, it's very easy to not know how much food they should have and when. We are both at work full-time so now I check with our nanny as to what has changed periodically.
Even the MIL has commented on how useful it is to have as a quick reference when she has babysat. It's very easy to drift a bit and then you've got one child like a bag of cats because a nap is overdue.
I can't recommend it highly enough - PM me if you want me to email it to you and save you the trouble smile
You do have to write it up and then bugger off for a day or two though for it to be any use.

Those of you with the helpless men children who rely on their parents to feed and water their kids. Bury them in the garden, there's clearly no hope. I'd probably just ask lots of passive aggressive questions in a snide tone of voice as to "diddums - who does all the tricky stuff for you at work?"

BeaWheesht Tue 01-Oct-13 10:45:44

pantson I've done all that, none of it works, the ignoring the kids is a MAJOR issue for me

KittyLane1 Tue 01-Oct-13 10:32:36

What the hell is it with men who just take the DC to their mum and dads to watch them?! My DH is the same and it drives me insane.

On the odd day that my DH watches DD he will leave her in her pajamas until noon, tv on all day, food will be toast or coco pops, dress her in a random outfit then take her to his mums where she will do everything and he will sit on his ass. Then he tells me that its easy looking after her!! Arghh!

He also asks where x y z are instead of just looking, example, where is DDs pink coat? Instead of looking at the coat rack, wardrobe or clean washing pile. Then where are her shoes, her bag, his car keys etc until it gets to the point where I may as well have gotten up and done it myself.

I was very ill and in hospital for two weeks. Did he man up and cope? Did he hell, he gave the dog to my mum, DD to his mum and lived alone whilst complaining about how hard it all was on him.

he is buried in the garden

It's an ongoing thing, though. Friend who has self-confessed control freak tendencies was really strong about this with her DC1 - made sure she handed over to her DH and didn't tell him how to do stuff, let him do things his way, 50/50 responsibility during her mat leave so that it wasn't too much of a shock when she went back to work, etc, etc.

However, they now have DC2 and she has gone back to work again, and I have noticed that if they are both there, then her DH always seems to get the "easier" DC at any given moment, IYSWIM - or he is focusing entirely on one DC while she deals with the other and getting something else donw at the same time. She is the one stressing about school decisions for DC1, future childcare, etc while he shrugs and says "it'll all work out" - and he can zone out completely whilst engaged in some household/DIY task whereas she rarely gets to. She still does way better than me at the whole letting go and letting him get on with it thing, so I am in no position to criticise, but it does need a bit of a reset.

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