and a control freak of a mum or have I picked the wrong men to have children with?

(183 Posts)
flummoxedbanana Thu 05-Dec-13 11:22:15

My exH and I separated when our DD was almost two years old. He was abusive which was the main reason but a big part of the reason I left was how he was with our DD. He paid little attention to her and was very much focussed on me; from his viewpoint he said I was too focussed on DD and not on him. He spent no time alone with her at all, never changed a single nappy, never fed her once she started solids, never looked after her when she was ill and so on. He would do things that were downright dangerous. For instance, I asked him to bring a screwdriver in with him from the other room and he sent a just toddling DD running in with it, he let her climb on the glass TV cabinet and pull at the TV on an odd occasion he looked after her etc. He would do things to purposely anger DD - i.e. she hated being watched on the potty but he'd sit and stare at her, she hated being held still but he'd tell me to pin her down to dress her etc. He made everything stressful and DD was always upset when he was around.

I now have an 18 month old with new DH. He is a very good father and happily changes nappies and spends time with our DD while I'm busy reading etc with my DD but I'm beginning to find it similarly stressful when he's around. He had three or four days off per week as he works shifts so he's well aware of DD's routine and how she is used to things being done but still doesn't do it the same way. For example, she hates having her nappy changed and getting dressed. I usually put a toy alongside her which makes noises and give her one to hold which distracts her and I get it all done with no upset. He, however, keeps saying repeatedly for 5-10 minutes before nappy change/dressing 'shall we change your nappy?' and she is whinging and crying about it, then when he eventually starts to do it she is full-blown crying and thrashing about and it takes five times as long to do it then she runs to me to comfort her.

If she is upset because she's hurt or whatever, she wants me but DH will intercept her route to me and pick her up despite her pushing him away. He will then hold onto her despite her screaming and struggling to be put down. I don't think this is the way to teach her to settle with him and it upsets me when she's reaching for me and he's effectively taking her away and upsetting her far more than was necessary.

She is quite a fussy eater and eats very little so I do not really 'do' unhealthy snacks. When he has been looking after her, he feeds her pretty much whatever shuts her up - biscuits, crisps, chocolate etc. This then leads to her eating being worse for days, her whinging for snacks, demanding at vending machines etc. I spend days encouraging her to eat what we're eating, he has her for a few hours and she's back to square one and asking for snacks.

If he looks after her, he thinks the less sleep she has in the day the better she'll sleep at night. This is not true and it leads to me having an unsettled night with her as he has never got up with her at night. I have explained this repeatedly, but still he does it.

She hates getting washed in the bath. I let her play then do it right at the end. He starts saying 'shall we wash you?' as soon as she gets in the bath, meaning she's crying within a minute in poor DD1's ear and it spoils bathtime for everyone.

My exH said I was very controlling with our DD and that it was 'my way or no way.' I understand everyone has different ways of parenting and that's fine, but toddlers don't really understand that in my opinion - they like consistency. If there's a way to do something which results in no upset, I don't know why you'd do it a different way which results in hysteria. AIBU and controlling to think this?

harticus Thu 05-Dec-13 11:27:18

I feel really sorry for your DH.
He is trying to help and be involved and you are just making it very fraught and using your DD's behaviour as an excuse to control it all.
He is her dad. Let him be involved with his own child and just back off a bit.

flummoxedbanana Thu 05-Dec-13 11:31:03

I don't want to control it all. I want him to be involved and DD would enjoy him being involved if he did things the way she is used to. The way things are now she runs to me as soon as he's in sight as he keeps purposely taking her away from me and she spends the days he's home clinging to me or whinging and crying.

QueenofallIsee Thu 05-Dec-13 11:31:47

OK lovely..first husband sounds like a dickhead and a mean one at that.

New guy I'm afraid sounds like a new Dad trying to get to grips with his role and his daughter and you are not being terribly supportive. You do sound a bit 'my way only' in your post.

I agree that he should not be feeding her unhealthy snacks and about the sleep thing but things like 'nappy changing must be like this' aren't helpful really..Dad should be able to find a way that works for him and your DD. She isn't in pain or being hurt, she doesn't want to do something and gets into a temper at being made to do so..he will find a way that works for him more easily if left to it I suspect. Consistency is meal times, bath times, boundaries and discipline rather than nappy change only like this, bath only like this..in fact the consistency should be nappy needs doing so don't be silly about it.

You must be second guessing yourself a lot after your rubbish first marriage but I think you need to unclench a bit to be honest.

IamGluezilla Thu 05-Dec-13 11:33:07

First husband him at fault. This time: you are at fault

You sound very unreasonable to be honest. He probably feels you indulge her far too much (which it sounds like you do). He is her parent too you know, it's not all about how you look after her and sometimes he may actually know best.

Cut him some slack and loosen up a bit. I have a friend who is a control freak and as a result her marriage is in tatters.

Sidge Thu 05-Dec-13 11:34:39

Well children are generally adaptable and malleable and will respond differently to different caregivers.

You need to give your husband a chance to find his own way to parent. One reason your DD becomes so distressed may be that she is being rigidly parented by you and hasn't had the opportunity to get used to her dad's way of doing things. Also if you are hovering, anxious and ready to jump in and intervene then she may pick up on your anxiety and be more anxious herself.

flummoxedbanana Thu 05-Dec-13 11:34:41

Queen: he isn't a new dad, he has two children already. She's almost out of nappies and still he hasn't 'found a way that works for him and DD.' I don't lecture him on how to do it or tell him how he should be doing it, but he clearly sees DD giggling away with her toy when I do it so I don't understand why he wouldn't just do it the easy way for everyone's sanity??

BaileysOnRocks Thu 05-Dec-13 11:36:32

I don't think yabu. You are her mum and understand her and it's so frustrating when someone is doing something you know she doesn't like and it's uncomfortable to watch.

I am the same anyway!

flummoxedbanana Thu 05-Dec-13 11:36:51

Betty: I really don't see how letting her play in the bath is 'indulging' her - surely bathtime should be enjoyable rather than miserable? Sidge: I don't hover or jump in, I generally leave the room as otherwise DD is struggling to get to me and it makes it harder for DH to do whatever he's trying to get her to do.

But sometimes with kids the easy way isn't the best way and maybe that is what he is thinking??

The easiest way of course is to give them what they want - and therefore creating that rod!

tinmug Thu 05-Dec-13 11:37:44

Your first husband sounds like a prick but I think it sounds like the current one is actually trying to do his best, and I think he's doing the things he does for good reasons rather than incompetence/malice. The "shall we change your nappy" thing, for instance, is probably because he thinks that giving her a heads up and letting her know what's happening is better than just doing it without giving her time to prepare herself, if that makes sense. Picking her up when she's crying is a normal thing for a parent to do, surely? He wants to comfort her.

flippingebay Thu 05-Dec-13 11:37:57

First husband sounds like a tosser

The second one sounds like he's doing his best and you're not supporting him. I was exactly like this with my dd and DH until I realised that my attitude was very much 'my way, or the highway. So what if dd cries when she's having a nappy changed, it's not doing her any harm, if anything it's you that's getting more stressed.

Maybe it's time to start standing back and letting him figure out way works best? After all he is her D.

Enb76 Thu 05-Dec-13 11:38:39

I think, that without meaning to, you're making your child very dependent on you to the exclusion of your DH. You need to relax a bit and let him find his way with her. So he does it differently to you - that's ok and your DD will get used to change if you're not hovering making your DH and DD nervous. Your DD can probably pick up on your and your DH's anxiety which of course will upset her. I'd let them spend some time together, just them. An 18 month old is perfectly adaptable to change but you have to give them both room to grow together.

GobbySadcase Thu 05-Dec-13 11:41:37

Toddlers shouldn't be able to run the show. She knows now that you're hovering so if there's the slightest thing she's not happy about she will whine and you'll swoop in giving her her own way.

You're actively preventing your DH from having a full relationship with your daughter. Comforting her post nappy change etc is also reinforcing that something bad has happened when it hasn't at all.

Toddlers DO scream, shout and tantrum. Doesn't mean you should do everything you can to stop it.

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Thu 05-Dec-13 11:43:28

TBH, I would be crossest about the sleep thing, if someone was disrupting my DC's routine and leaving me to suck up the consequences...angry.

How about letting him do night wakings when he's been keeping her awake?

TheGirlFromIpanema Thu 05-Dec-13 11:44:03

YANBU.

He sounds a bit crap at best, which is hard for you I imagine.

It's all very well saying he needs to find his own way of doing things, but he isn't is he hmm

I'd ask him if you could sit down together and agree on household 'ways' of doing some of these things so that everything is less fraught for you all. Do you think a reasoned discussion is possible between you both?

Wednesbury Thu 05-Dec-13 11:45:11

I don't think you are unreasonable, either, in the situations you describe. But I don't know how you fix it. DH and I try to be objective about the best way to do things with our kids: if one of us has a more successful way of doing something, we do it that way. That said, our children don't respond to each of us in the same way even if we are doing the same thing.

Can you have a discussion with him about how to agree on these sorts of situations, ie where one of you thinks a specific situation should be handled a specific way? So if one of you has a problem with the way something is being done, you discuss it to agree a way you both do it. Can you try and find some other situations than the ones above which can be handled in 'his' way, so that he is less likely to cast you in the role of 'controlling critic' and more likely to feel that you have equal input into these decisions - and therefore more willing to agree to do some things your way?

gamerchick Thu 05-Dec-13 11:45:14

If you want something done a certain way then you do it yourself. You can't expect somebody to do things exactly the way you do it.

I agree.. unclench and let your bloke find his own way with his own kid. You are doing yourself no favours by being a helicopter.

flummoxedbanana Thu 05-Dec-13 11:45:19

Betty: again, how is letting her play in the bath creating a rod? I feel it's him giving her what she wants re: snacks, whereas I do not which I feel is something that will be difficult to rectify. Letting her play before washing her isn't something that is going to ever need to change.

Tinmug: I agree my DH is trying to do his best and only has good intentions. I understand giving her a heads up about what they're doing but 5-10 mins in advance just causes confusion and upset, why not just say it as he lays her down? When I said about picking her up I meant she hurt herself, I was a few feet away and she was walking to me crying with arms out to be picked up. He jumped up from sofa and pulled her away from behind just as my hands touched her, then took her away to another room as she called for me. He then shut the door and she screamed and screamed until eventually he put her down and walked away. If I'd picked her up, she would've stopped crying instantly and he could've played with her or whatever.

GobbySadcase Thu 05-Dec-13 11:48:03

Once again toddlers tantrum. Pandering to that isn't the answer.

HeadlessHeadmistress Thu 05-Dec-13 11:49:31

YAB a little bit U.

I assume you've spent more time with your DD so have learnt the best way to do things in order to keep her calm. But other people like your DH will do things differently when they're looking after her.

If her grandparents, childmilder or nursery worker are looking after her they will do things differently too. And it's not necessarily a bad thing.

Eventually your DD will learn that things are different with different people but that it's ok, she will ultimately be fine. And eventually she will be happy and secure to be left in the care of other adults that she knows, and not be so clingy to you.

If you criticise your DH in front of your DD you're giving her the impression that only you can look after her properly, which will make her feel insecure with others even if she has no reason to be.

CoffeeTea103 Thu 05-Dec-13 11:49:47

I agree with everyone else, first partner was bad, the new partner seems like he is trying parenting too but a different way.
Do you think he might also be feeling bad that she wants you more? Therefore he is trying to get her used to him by doing all of this? I think you should let him manage the situation his way, he seems to want to try hard. Your dd will need to learn that she has two parents, maybe you are the one she gets her way with therefore she wants you more?

youretoastmildred Thu 05-Dec-13 11:50:06

why can't dh listen to the op and do what she knows works?

He doesn't get up with the baby at night, yet disrupts her sleep by not letting her sleep in the day. IF he were getting up at night maybe there would be an argument for letting him work it out (although this causes unnecessary misery for the baby while he does work it out so it would still be better for him to shut up, listen, and do what works). But he doesn't, so he doesn't get to decide how to manage dd2's sleep.

He is winding up the child with too much emphasis on things she doesn't like. Distraction and lightness of touch is key to getting nasty things done and op knows this. why doesn't her dh listen?

the food thing is just stupid. He needs, again, to listen to the op.

I don't get why this dh is getting so much sympathy. maybe because he is at least better than the first arsehole.
but the dynamic here is screwed up. We have an expert and a man who refuses to listen to the expert and is causing unnecessary misery to the child and inconvenience to the mother and the first child. The things she is suggesting are not knacks, or impossible skills - just things she knows, and he won't listen to and learn from. I bet he would listen if a man were telling him.

Flummoxed - my DS hates having his hair washed with a passion so I get him in the bath and get it over with. He hates it and will create and I just want to get it over with, if I let him play he would be in there for ages and ages, anything to avoid. You are creating a rod because from your posts it seems you will do anything to avoid your DD getting upset/cross or whatever. Our kids need to learn that sometimes they have to do stuff they don't like and it's just tough luck. I just think that pandering to them at a young age will just make it harder as they get older - only my opinion though.

Why did you ask on here - the general consensus is yes YABU but yo know you aren't. And I don't know why you are singling my posts out, many other answers have been pretty similar.

My DS can be a real awkward bugger at times so I totally understand about wanting an easy life but it seems to me that your DH can do no right. I think you need to leave him alone when he is bathing or changing a nappy or whatever, see it as a chance to get some chill time and just let him get on with things in his way.

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