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?

Manchesterhistorygirl Sun 26-May-13 20:40:57

Yanbu at all! Sounds like he's just carrying on as a single child free man and leaving you to do everything else.

You need to put your foot down and make him see sense.

YANBU at all. Life changes when you have a baby, he should have realised that before he had one.

SugarPasteGreyhound Sun 26-May-13 20:44:37

Jesus he sounds like a selfish arse! Does he have any redeeming qualities at all?

ByTheWishingWell Sun 26-May-13 20:46:53

It sounds like you're coping very well, and a lot better than he is.

YANBU at all. Surely he didn't have a child expecting that nothing would change?

I think you're being far too accepting of him being (by the sound of it) a pretty crap dad. He does have a stressful job, but so do you, as he's basically leaving you to be a single parent. 7 months is too long to do this to you, and long enough for him to have started to adjust to not living a child-free life. Put your foot down!

FindingVino Sun 26-May-13 20:48:14

Thank you for the confirmation. Feel a bit like I'm going insane sat here with a teething baby while he's enjoying the sunshine playing a round of golf. I just don't know how to make him see that life does change without him thinking I'm nagging. His answer is "if you're not coping, let's get a nanny". It's not a nanny dd wants, it's her dad.

YANBU

I'm not sure I see the point in being with someone like this. Does he really think this is normal?

Royalmailer Sun 26-May-13 20:49:08

He's being an arse.

I don't know if you can force a man to become family orientated- actually, I know you can't.

Talk to him, have couples therapy if necessary, but be prepared to leave him if he won't compromise his single lifestyle.

If he takes your well-founded criticism as nagging that just makes him even more of a jerk.

PuggyMum Sun 26-May-13 20:50:47

What would he do if you did split up? He would have to give up his precious weekend time if he wanted to see his dd at all.

When do you get time out for you??

YANBU

ArtexMonkey Sun 26-May-13 20:51:45

Oh you poor lass, he sounds like a cock.

Yama Sun 26-May-13 20:52:29

I lived with a golfer once. It made me resolve nver to marry one.

Your expectations are far from being unreasonable.

Euphemia Sun 26-May-13 20:56:54

Time for a chat. He knows full well that he's not pulling his weight. He's taking you for a mug.

Startail Sun 26-May-13 20:56:56

YANBU and he's jolly lucky not to have found a note in the cupboard saying his golf clubs are at the bottom of the Thames, he's 'babysitting' and you have gone to the Maldives for a month on his credit card.

Sorry, not only Mothers have children, men who think they do make me very very cross.

PoppyWearer Sun 26-May-13 21:02:38

YANBU.

I've had a bit of this with my DH (also long hours in City job) with his various sporting obsessions over the years, but have "had a word" a couple of times and he has reined it in.

I understand completely that they need to have a bit of time "off" to decompress at weekends, but if they didn't want family, they shouldn't have bloody had one. grin

I do think there is a bit of City culture of the "trophy wife and kids", needed to have nice photos of in the office and paraded out when needed, but the DHs need reminding that we are here and still part of their lives, even if their bosses choose to run their families differently!

acoop1985 Sun 26-May-13 21:14:48

Hi,

I don't want to come across as too critical to your husband, because I am sure when he does make the effort he is great.
However, there is absolutely no way you are being unreasonable!!!

Yes your husband works long hours, but he should realise that parenthood is a 24 hour job. It sounds like you are acting as a single mum.

My husband works 12 hour shifts, early, lates and nights. After a night duty, he gets home about 7am, and will sleep between 5 and 7 hours, an then he will get up, so that he can spend a few hours with both of us before he has to go back to work. He totally understands that looking after a baby can be harder work then going to work. You don't get breaks being a mum/house wife. Even when the baby is asleep there is always something to do. Sometimes you are lucky just to have a hot cup of tea, or shower for the day!!

Your husband should want to spend time with you and the little one. He probably doesn't realise how much he is missing out on. little things like them learning to crawl/walk/eat, or what makes them laugh etc.
He obviously see's everything as a chore, rather then time to interact with his baby. One day it will hit him that he has missed his daughter growing up.

It can be hard to say goodbye to your old carefree life, where you had little responsibilities, but it doesn't mean he has to give it up totally. He also needs to understand that you need time to be yourself as well, and that you two need time together as a couple.

Being a mum is hard enough, without the stress of your husband not taking an interest in their child.
You need to have a serious talk with him, make him realise how you feel, and make him understand that his little girl will only be little for so long, and that he will always regret not bonding with his daughter at a young age. If you don't speak to him seriously, he may not realise how you are feeling, and it will put a massive strain on your relationship.

Please don't think you are being unreasonable, and please don't doubt that you are a good wife/mother. Just the fact that you are worried that you are, goes to show that you put them first all the time.

Best of luck!!!!

specialsubject Sun 26-May-13 21:18:48

I know a man who has a very stressful city job. He does everything he can to see his child during the week and is a fully hands-on parent at the weekend.

it is perfectly possible to be a good and loving dad in this situation. He idolises his child and pulls his weight at home.

time to ask my usual question; the reason you have sex with this man is.....?

you are a single parent in all but name. Find out if he wants to make it official.

Nanny0gg Sun 26-May-13 21:27:57

It's not only that your DD doesn't have a dad.
You don't appear to have a husband.

Do you want to carry on living like this?

my dad was like this when I was a baby. As an adult, I chose to have no further contact with him. You get out what you put in.

Shakey1500 Sun 26-May-13 21:41:06

Oh this was DH and I circa 5 years ago. Older parents, previous high life, holidays whenever, meals out etc etc.

DS is born, we relocate for better quality of life and my life changes WHOOSH. DH meanwhile, found any excuse to go to where we lived previously for the weekend. After about the seventh jolly visit I booked myself a weekend. To where we used to live. Using all the same reasons he did (to visit friends, family). He had absolutely no come back/argument whatsoever. And I went, had a blast. My mum was on strict instructions not to go round to "see how DH was doing". He simply had to get on with it grin

He did, and eventually he realised that it's bloody hard work but also can be lots of fun. Helped him bond with DS better. He's much better now smile

FindingVino Sun 26-May-13 21:44:15

Thank you all.

WishingWell - thank you. I needed that boost today.

SugarPaste - Redeeming qualities were all pre-dd but seem less important now (amazing fun to be around, loving, witty - all the reasons you fall in love and stay for 15 years). Seem irrelevant when you've gone 7 months on no more than 4 hours' unbroken sleep.

Dreaming - I really do think he thinks it's normal. Doesn't help that his colleagues have au pairs etc and are happy to be less hands on / normal like most people.

Royal - 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.

Puggy - I don't get me time! I had one hour away from dd once. I am bf-ing though in fairness to OH but now she's weaning she can go longer.

Startail - made me laugh! Fabulous suggestion!

Poppy - how did you do it? How did you get him to change?

Why do you think he'll change when you go back to work?

Sorry, but what dreamingbohemian said. Why would he change? If he doesn't see why you want to work, any comments about sharing the parenting workload will be met with "well you don't have to work...."

Longsufferingmrs Sun 26-May-13 22:04:53

I never really wanted children but when I met my OH he persuaded me that it would be wonderful to have a family together. He promised me that he would be a wonderful doting Dad and that, actually I probably would never see the children cos he would be playing with them all the time. So we had our first child, I gave up work and everything changed. He worked away mon to fri and had his 'down time' from work at the weekend. He never changed a nappy, never got up at nights (would get really pissed off with me at night if I didn't get up quick enough not to disturb his sleep) and claimed that DD 'only wants her mum anyway'. Things were very difficult between us. I would try and get him to do more with DD but he saw it as a competition for 'who was tiredest' or 'who worked hardest'. We nearly split up over it but I wasn't strong enough to leave. My self esteem was v low. I even had a 2nd DC with him. Things got even worse then as he got involved with another time consuming past time that took him away even more. To cut a very long story shorter; things only changed when I went back to work. DCs were 4 and 7 at the time. OH suddenly regained his 'respect' for me cos I was earning money again. He became more involved with the kids then. Funny thing is now, when people compliment him on his lovely well behaved, polite chidren, he always says 'nothing to do with me; that's all down to Longsufferingmrs!'

PoppyWearer Sun 26-May-13 22:07:41

A) I called him out on it and made sure he knew my feelings on the subject I.e. a bit of time out is ok, but not all day or every weekend

B) I (re-)developed interests of my own requiring time away from the DCs and requiring DH to spend time with them. We set up a family calendar online which requires us to discuss and negotiate plans. I also try to keep our weekends relatively booked with family activities, one day a weekend is generally "booked" for something or other. If not, it's give and take. If he wants to go to the gym, sure he can, but I will go for a run when he gets back and he will look after the DCs for the next hour or so.

C) DH is a decent bloke and did curtail some of his sport voluntarily (spectating). Likewise I put major dates for his chosen sports into the family calendar and don't book things on those dates where possible.

D) I let him off the leash and don't always say "no" so that he doesn't resent me/the DCs for standing between him and fun (this was advice from my MIL - FIL was the same).

(((hugs))) it really isn't easy, OP. My DH was training for a marathon when my DC1 was 7mo and I remember being extremely pissed off and upset when he disappeared for 4 hours at a time at weekends!

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.

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

MortifiedAdams Tue 28-May-13 11:40:34

It is saddening ben that your solution is to bribe him into soending time with his child.

cory Tue 28-May-13 11:53:48

To me it's very much what dreamingbohemian said. It just isn't the norm anywhere where I've been and it seems really odd to try to imagine a father like that- I suppose as odd as it would be to imagine a mother with no interest in her own children.

Having grown up with a father who was very much there for his family and engaged in everything we did, and having known all my childhood that being with us made him genuinely happy, I can't imagine what it would be like to grow up with a father who didn't really want my company.

I am sure I cried and fussed in his arms in the early days. As no doubt I cried and fussed for my mother at times. But he was my dad, it was his job to care for me.

And when I married dh I found that having grown up with a dad of the same kind had influenced the whole way that he looked at these matters- so my children also got a dad who was there for them at all times. (and dh works a full day and does a 6 hour daily commute).

Finding fun things to do together might be a good start. But it's never going to be the whole battle. A real dad is one who is there for you when you're not fun.

Nanny0gg Tue 28-May-13 12:46:21

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.

With all due respect, OP, you do a lovely line in excuses! It isn't your fault! I don't know any father (of my generation or my children's') who needed to be made to stay at home or have to be shown how amazing their children are.
He has had plenty of time to adjust, and has demonstrated that he doesn't want or need to.
Plenty of other posters have made good suggestions for getting him to engage, but I don't think he needs persuading or manipulating into it. I think he needs some straight talking about what proper parenting means.

Mumsyblouse Tue 28-May-13 13:02:39

Two things- my husband was rubbish the first year of my dd's life and I used to wonder where it had all gone wrong and why everyone else's dads were involved, the best thing I ever did was start working one day on weekends and leave him with dd1 for the entire day, lots of times, they bonded really well and he got extremely good at childcare (having been useless) and was the SAH some days a week when we had our second.

However- I don't like his phrase- he doesn't understand why you want to work anyway. This suggests to me that he's not really interested in how fulfilled you are as a person or your needs whatsoever, rather as others have said, you have a decorative function as a wife. You seem to get very little couple time together. I also think- without a boot up the backside, he won't support your career. What's the betting you go back, it's all very stressful, you decide to downsize and go part-time/stop entirely? You will then justify this as better for the child (possibly) and it makes sense as he makes more money. He's making it inevitable and the question is whether then in twenty years, when you look back, you will dislike him for it.

Mumsyblouse Tue 28-May-13 13:03:24

And the reason I don't like it, or his attitude, is not because you shouldn't be making that choice but because he's dismissive of you. You simply aren't as important as him here, sorry.

I work in the City and the blokes I know who have children are very involved in their lives.

He currently doesn't need to change from his single bloke lifestyle because you are picking up the slack all the time. I work long hours, sometimes I am knackered by the end of the week. I work in a stressful environment and sometimes work on weekends too. DH was a SAHD and I am the breadwinner. I have time for my children and DH and I take it in turns to have a couple of hours off on the weekend and we take it in turns to have a lie in too.

Bluntly I think he is using his high earnings as an excuse not to contribute to the family i.e. I have done my bit as provider so I can opt out of the rest and that is complete bollocks. Bus drivers work long hours and have to put up with stress and abuse, so do nurses etc. does he think that all of them get to opt out of family life as well.

Start booking your own activities on the weekend. Go out without your DD even if its just to a cafe to read a book or the paper. Leave him to it. Don't let him fill up the calendar in advance for himself book out some days for yourself before he gets his booking in. Book tickets to somewhere for you all as a family, I do this every so often as DH now runs his own business from home and isn't great at taking breaks, so if I think he needs a day off sometimes I'll book us a day out.

kickassangel Tue 28-May-13 13:28:08

I think you are coping just fine. He isn't.

You may need to go through the pain of just leaving him to it, and letting dd cry. Next time you're out, tell him you're going to the toilet, hand him dd. then get distracted and don't come back for a while. If he comes looking for you,ask him why he isn't coping. Maybe in front of a crowd he'll step up and focus on dd instead of assuming you will swoop in.

It's not your fault that he's being an arse, but the more you step in to do everything, the longer this will go on.

Decide what you want your life to be like, then start putting that in place. It sounds like he wants a trophy wife and child to look pretty in the background while he is the big I AM Mr BonHomie with the big job and big friendship group. If you're happy to be the wife in that situation then carry on, but he will only see you as an accessory to his lifestyle, not his life partner.

A serious chat about what lifestyle you both want is needed, but he doesn't sound willing to change.

FindingVino Tue 28-May-13 13:37:23

I think I phrased that last post wrong - I don't mean I should make him stay at home, you're right, no one should need to be made to spend time with their babies. What I meant was encourage him and perhaps show him that we need him too and that as dd gets bigger she will want to spend time with him.

Mumsy - you've been there and so have other posters whose husbands were rubbish to begin with.
Cory and Nanny - it isn't just me. From the sounds of things, there are other fathers who take longer to adjust.

Mumsy - when I say he doesn't understand why I need to work, I mean from a financial perspective. He's been telling me for the last 10 or so years that I don't need to work. Not because he's not interested in my needs or how fulfilled I am but actually the complete opposite. He wants me to spend my days doing something that I enjoy and every time I'd come home and have a whinge about work (as most people do), he would remind me that I don't have to do it anymore. An earlier poster made the observation that (at this point anyway) the issue isn't with our marriage / relationship with each other but with OH figuring out his role as a father.

Fairylea Tue 28-May-13 13:41:51

It's not up to you to show him how amazing / fantastic fun / all singing all dancing dd is.... that's like saying you have to effectively sell him the idea of being a dad! Can you see how weird that is?

cory Tue 28-May-13 13:46:55

I am sure there are other fathers who do not care much about their children. There are also uncaring mothers (check out the toxic parent thread). But you wouldn't use that as an excuse for yourself, would you?

The longer you normalise his behaviour by claiming they're all like this, the less incentive he has to change.

Yes, you want to encourage him to spend more time with his dd. You need to show him that she needs him. And above all, that she won't suddenly want him and need him in 10 years time if she has never got used to relying on him. The bonds that will get them both through the stroppy teenage years should be forged now. Tell him to get on with it!

FindingVino

Let me put this in quite blunt terms.

He is not being a good husband to you by letting you shoulder the full burden of childcare unsupported. You haven't had a break in months yet he gets a break every weekend. That is unfair and selfish. He doesn't care how exhausted you are, how isolated you might be becoming as long as he still has his jollies with his mates. He is letting you down as a husband and letting your DD down as a father. If he cares so much about you and your wellbeing why isn't he giving you more support?

FindingVino Tue 28-May-13 13:48:39

Lots of people seem to mention trophy wives. OH and I have been together for 20 years and I have worked for all of them. There are a small number of people my husband works with who really have moved on trophy wives. But that is not us.

Our marriage has always been equal (I don't mean financially, I mean every other way). He's always had the big job and we have always had a big social circle. So those things have been constants for a long time.

I have a question though, has anyone found that after having children, they became "more of an accessory" as kissass put it? Where they stopped being an equal?

FindingVino Tue 28-May-13 13:51:49

Fairy, Cory and Chaz, you are all right. I know. Sorry.

cory Tue 28-May-13 13:53:03

And I do agree with the posters who feel uncomfortable about the idea of selling your dd as a lovely cute happy experience.

A real dad is one who is there for you when you're not fun.

A real dad is one who picks you up and comforts you when you are covered in vomit.

A real dad is one who copes with your tantrums.

A real dad is one who goes into school to hear the teachers complain about you and still loves you though he knows you have behaved badly.

A real dad is one who deals with the backchat.

A real dad is one who cleans up the mess.

A real dad is one who sits by the hospital bed and holds your hand though he can't understand why you did it.

A real dad is one who listens to a teenage strop and forgets about it.

A real dad is one who picks you up from a drunken party because you trusted him enough to ring him and ask for help.

Loulybelle Tue 28-May-13 13:58:47

Bang on Cory.

A real dad gives alot and only wants love in return.

FindingVino
Sorry to be a bit harsh before but right now his behaviour is not acceptable.

The issue is, can he change? It maybe that he just hasn't got his head around being a father for some reason and if he came from a family where the parenting roles were Victorian traditional he won't necessarily have a good model to work from.

If up until now he has been a decent bloke and a good husband then I think you should start taking back time for yourself. You both get time on the weekend. You both get a lie in. You go on family days out that are just for your family.

If this is a symptom of wider behaviour e.g. controlling the finances, making all the big decisions without consulting you etc. then you need to have a long hard think about whether this relationship is what you thought it was.

There are certainly lots and lots and lots of threads on here from women who no longer feel like an equal after having DC. Some of them are like you, married to City guys, some of them are with guys who never work and have no money and still don't have time for their kids.

In a way, the City thing is a red herring. Many men ignore their families. It's just that if you work in the City and make a lot of money, it's somehow more acceptable (all those long hours! the nice lifestyle they provide!)

I think basically some men just do not want to have to sacrifice any bit of their lifestyle for the sake of family. Which means ultimately, it's the woman having to make a lot more sacrifices. That is sort of inherently an unequal situation.

I think equality comes from sharing the load (to the extent possible, of course).

FindingVino Tue 28-May-13 14:05:31

I was really pissed off with OH this weekend. That round of golf was the final straw and I was furious. The anger has passed and now for the first time since having dd I feel really sad. Sad that we're missing something I didn't even really know we were missing. All we can do is try and work on things now. I'm not going to sit here and make myself more upset by thinking about just how rubbish a dad OH has been. I'm going to focus on getting things right for dd. will come back to this thread in a few weeks and let you know how we're getting on.
Thank you all again.

oscarwilde Tue 28-May-13 14:09:10

Doesn't sound like much fun, you have my sympathy. Lots of good points have been made. I think you know he is being lazy and selfish but most of all there's a dawning realisation that he's just not that into his own child. Difficult to force affection and interest. It will either grow or it won't and IMO, all you can do is try to create an environment where he becomes more hands on and competent and hope that fosters a better relationship. Only you can say what you want to do if things don't improve.

In my experience, the less hands on Dads tend to get their act together once the baby has been weaned and is a little more independent and interactive. I didn't find my DD's terribly interesting and fun for the first 6 months personally, but because I breastfed and was not on a strict routine, my DH was totally out of step at interpreting her needs/cries etc and inevitably gave up quickly. Dumping your husband in at the deep end, while tempting is probably something you are not keen to do with a young baby.
Personally, I would suggest to him that you would like to set one day a weekend aside to spend as a family. If an offer to socialise comes along, that you BOTH want to take up, it is on the basis that he does the lions share of the baby entertaining while out and about.
Start small - have him do the spoonfeeding at breakfast times at weekends. Most babies are in good form and hungry and he'll get the best out of her. BF her, hand him the grub and go out for a run/quick pedicure whatever and leave him to it. Nothing worse than having the expert standing at your shoulder. An older parent is likely to be much more self conscious about making airplane noises! He can easily squeeze it in before a round of golf too grin
Write down the routine / standard day and stick it on the fridge door so he has some clue/reference point. Include food quantities etc
Tell him you want to go back to work for your own self esteem and that you want him to have a closer relationship with his only child. Don't make ultimatums, just state that you feel like a single parent. Tell him you would like to spend more time with him too.
Hire a nanny. It doesn't sound like money is an issue, get one in for one day a week and at least one night babysitting per week. Have some time off. Stop being a martyr - you are going to need childcare if you are going back to work anyway and it will be better for your DD to phase it in. Have a nice day to yourself once a week and go out in the evening with your husband and friends. He's far more likely to want to spend time as a family if he's seen friends on another evening.
Agree before you accept invitations what the plan is for the day. When you will arrive/leave, how you are dividing up the childcare and tell him that you don't want to be put in the position of publicly telling him its time to leave but if he forces your hand, you will insist in front of his friends. There must be some occasions too that you can be more flexible on departure times - take a travel cot to a house party etc, but insist that he helps with the inevitable overnight fall-out with an overtired child.
Tell him that you are really disappointed in his apparent lack of interest in his own child. Remind him that it is just a phase, and within a relatively short space of time things will be much easier.

Best of luck

Good luck OP

You're right in trying not to be sad but proactive and trying to improve things.

Just please remember that your husband is not being in any way reasonable, and everything that you want for your family is totally normal and you deserve to have it. I hope things get better very soon.

cory Tue 28-May-13 14:17:53

Best of luck, OP. You sound very focused and somebody who might actually be able to change things.

Remember making him get more involved is not some kind of punishment: it is a great gift you will be giving the two of them. I have been round engaged fathers all my life: my granddad, my own dad, my three brothers, my FIL, my own dh, various friends of dh's and mine. The one thing that shines through is that they have all been happy and fulfilled men.

orangeandemons Tue 28-May-13 14:24:52

Sorry but he sounds like a twat. He hasn't adapted to family life in any way. You're sad because you and your dd are missing out on family life.

Dh and I split our time I away from dd. it usually works out about 4 hours per weekend between us. The rest we spend together. Even sobbing out is family time.

My ex was exactly the same as your dh. Just couldn't adjust to having children and blamed me and ds from spoiling his fun.

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