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?

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 30-Sep-13 10:50:46

Not at all. Why can't he care for his child alone? Why don't you just go out and leave him to it? Schedule some time to yourself, even if it's just going for a drive or a walk.

Who do you ask permission from to go for a shower? Just say "I'm going for a shower" when you want one.

tbh, I think he just needs to be told this is being a parent - get on with it.

TheSeaPriestess Mon 30-Sep-13 10:52:21

Just plan a day out, tell him you are going out and GO!

He will learn on the job, like we all have to.

Squitten Mon 30-Sep-13 10:55:26

What on earth do you mean you have to ask permission to take a shower?! Surely, you just say "I'm off for my shower now" and off you pop...? If dinner needs doing, why not tell him "You can do dinner, I'll do bath" or whatever?

When do you go out on your own?

On the one hand, it sounds like he isn't pulling his weight but I'm unclear from your post whether it's because he outright refuses to do what he needs to or because you are not taking charge of your own time and being a bit martyrish about it...

LeaveTheBastid Mon 30-Sep-13 10:55:47

Has he ever had the opportunity to take the lead with her? You say you haven't had a break in a year, why is that? Because you won't leave DD with him, or just not had the chance?

Sounds like you have always done everything, and he has just taken his lead from you and is getting on with the other things whilst you do the main parenting stuff.

I know how you feel, it is the same for me and DH, but only because of me... I find it hard to surrender control and accept his way of doing or not things, so find it easier to just get on with it myself. Even when I am out I find myself texting him to remind him it is bed time etc, he just doesn't seem to have any concept of time when alone with DD so 'forgets' to do things when I would do them.

Have you told him how you feel? Has he explained why he doesn't take a more hands on approach with her?

MammaTJ Mon 30-Sep-13 10:59:18

Why do you ask permission? Just tell him you are going for a shower.

I only ask if I can go away for a weekend, not for a shower.

happydaze77 Mon 30-Sep-13 11:02:05

I have tried to explain to him (although usually when I am at my wits end a bit snappy -not the best approach I know)
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.
Maybe there's some martyrdom on my part going on, or a need to let go of control a bit.

CaptainSweatPants Mon 30-Sep-13 11:05:13

You need to start going out on your own
Especially if you're returning to work
Loosen the reins, dd will be fine

becsbornunderadancingstar Mon 30-Sep-13 11:09:06

Erm, yes. You need to back off. Go out for the day - what do you mean 'if it all goes wrong'? He's her father, he loves her just as much as you do. And when he has her, let him do it his way. Let him put her down to nap when he thinks best. Give him information but not orders.

If you're going back to work in a few days you really do need to let go of control and start being equal partners with your DH.

It's a tricky balancing act, but essential for your sanity and for your relationship with your DH.

Turniptwirl Mon 30-Sep-13 11:10:26

He might not do things "right" but he won't actually harm his own dd! Leave them to it, he might welcome some bonding time

pantsonbackwards Mon 30-Sep-13 11:12:23

I know what you mean op.

I think my dh has no idea what its like to sort out all the things i need to regarding our children and myself, before i can leave the house in the morning, whereas he can just get dressed and go to work. It used to make me so frustrated.

I would find that if he was going to the shop he would make the choice of whether or not to take the children, and he usually wouldn't, he would say it was quicker to go alone. I never had that choice during the week and it used to piss me off.

I think that's what i found hard, not seeming to have any choices about things like he did. He would pop out and take it for granted that i would look after the children. If i wanted to do something it would be "well Im doing xyz so you'll have to take the kids or do it another day". Then his parents would demand that he did stuff for them and off he'd trot.

He has always been great hands on dad, but a combination of me not being assertive enough, his having no idea what it was like for me despite me telling him, his having trouble getting used to thinking of the children before deciding to pop to the shop etc all contributed.

I managed to start saying that i would stay at home while he and the children went on an outing but would find that he would still expect me to help him get everything ready before he went. I didn't want to! Because i had to do that every bloody day! I wanted him to sort it all himself as though i wasn't there.

I remember wanting to do some temp work, just a day to get a foot in the door but he wouldn't take time off work as holiday so that i could do it. He's never had to worry about sorting out childcare so when i go back to work he is going to have a shock because i know he's never even considered the options. I don't see why it should be up to me to sort it all out and arrange all my work hours around school!

I really wanted a part time job a few years ago as i wasn't coping well being the primary childcare person all the time, but he didn't want me to work at the weekends because he wanted us to spend time together as a family. Never mind the fact that i felt suffocated! And then felt guilty for feeling like that.

I should have just got a job anyway. I had assertiveness problems at the time. I've since learnt to say what i want in a more assertive way but I've found it very hard as the guilt is terrible. Its taken me years.

pantsonbackwards Mon 30-Sep-13 11:12:42

Massive rant!

mummycat0 Mon 30-Sep-13 11:13:11

I feel EXACTLY the same as you do OP!

I always feel like you've never had to have a shower whilst manically singing to the child so she doesn't cry! But DH does look after her on his own sometimes, is it really his fault he hasn't thought to have a shower on his time alone with the child? No. So it is unreasonable but I feel your pain with all my heart!

It's worth reiterating though that recognising your looking after the child as labour, i.e. a job equally important to his, then it's only fair that you share childcare when he's back. Assuming that you get breaks/time to yourself on the weekend for example. And if you'd rather cook dinner or do the washing up to give yourself a 'break' then say it.

EST0106 Mon 30-Sep-13 11:22:35

I'm also a bit of a control freak, I think it's hard when you're on maternity leave, so in practice the main care giver, to let someone else in and heaven forbid mess up your routine! I know what I'm like though so made a conscious effort early on to let go of the reins. First time I went away for a weekend alone DD was 10 months, you know what, he didn't do it 'my way' but they survived! She's 2.4 now and is a proper daddy's girl, in part I think because I let this lovely relationship flourish. Leave them be, go out, have fun, he won't break her!! Also, it might get easier when you go bak to work because childcare won't be solely ''your' job anymore.

I know, GOD I KNOW!!!

Like yours, DP is lovely (and gets lots of praise from PILs about how amazingly hands on he is). But at the weekends will just disappear for yonks to fiddle around with things that suddenly need doing, or if we're both in the lounge with the twins will sit on his laptop or reading the papers, while I try to mediate WW3.

He acts like it's a massive surprise when I say it's the start/end of nap time. I don't think he's ever made a single meal when I'm there. And then is bewildered that I get up at 6.30am...what are you doing??...well, I have to make all their food for the day and do the washing DP because I know I'll be stuck in the lounge with them all day...

I have a part time mother's help so I can, you know, go to the loo and get on with life part of the week. But most of the time I do it myself. But if I ever have the audacity to go away for even half a day, he will book her. Witness this weekend. Am going to London overnight, so he's got her coming crack of dawn on Sunday morning (am not back till lunch) and I know he'll help her get them up and then just go back to bed. When I'm here and she's here, I'm either doing the twins and she's doing the ironing or vice versa.

Gnrrrrr...

However, frankly, I think I need to grow a pair and speak up. Because he is lovely. And maybe I am martyring. And he genuinely doesn't realise. Maybe wink.

Locketjuice Mon 30-Sep-13 11:26:50

I could have wrote this!

My DH was hopeless when the children were small precisely because I did everything. He didn't know when they wanted feeding (etc) because food magically appeared out of nowhere, he didn't know what they wore because they just always had clothes on, etc etc.

I was rushed into hospital unexpectedly when PFB was 7mo. DH didn't even attempt to feed him solids for that 24 hours, just gave him bottles of milk when he looked hungry or it had been a while. When they came to visit me PFB was wearing a very odd outfit.

I've learned to be explicit now. We're waiting for DC3 and he now has a vague idea that a baby wears nappy-vest-babygro and sleeps if you put it in a pram and walk somewhere boring. He knows that if DC2 does "the dance" you need to locate the potty fast. Fortunately DC1 is old enough to read a clock and say "Daddy, it's twelve o'clock which is lunch time".

If I am without them I'll say "here's a bag with snacks and a change of clothes" or whatever (because bag packing is IMHO an advanced parenting skill) and remind him that the children like to be fed at 8, 10.30, 12, 3 and 5.30, and that if they aren't in bed by 7.30/8ish they will turn into wailing banshees.

FridaKarlov Mon 30-Sep-13 11:29:58

I know what you mean. My other half is going to be sharing my remaining maternity leave in a few weeks so he'll be primary carer for 3 months. He won't know what's hit him.

pantsonbackwards Mon 30-Sep-13 11:31:31

Stinking.

How about telling him that you are concerned that he isn't bonded with the twins enough (bit of guilt) and so you were thinking maybe he should cancel the help and spend time together just the three of them. How do you think he'd react? Does he ever spend time with them alone? If not you could use that in your argument.

pantsonbackwards Mon 30-Sep-13 11:33:36

Or, cancel her and tell him she's ill! [evil]

Quenelle Mon 30-Sep-13 11:33:51

Perhaps your DH is picking up on your anxiety that it might 'all go wrong'?

If you're not relaxed about leaving DH to it he might be picking up on that so he defers to your greater experience and knowledge.

It's an in at the deep end thing isn't it? I would go out for a few hours and leave him and your daughter to it. It will be just like the first time you were left in sole charge.

mummycat0 Mon 30-Sep-13 11:39:21

I think there are a lot of men who don't appreciate the amount of work that goes into having a child tbh, mothers make it look too easy! The only way they'll realise is if they're left to it, without you in sight! You should try that OP.

NomDeClavier Mon 30-Sep-13 11:47:14

If you have fallen into the role of SAHP then it's difficult for both of you to readjust to you not being the default carer. I find DH will still dither about whether to take DS out when he needs to do/buy something although he is much better about organising practical things (mostly since I got pregnant with DC2!).

You do have to force it a bit in some ways. Tell him you're going for a bath/shower/nap. Tell him you have a hair appointment. Tell him you need to sure your wardrobe for your return to work and will then need to go shopping for tights/a new bra/whatever you're missing. If bread/milk needs picking up from the shop just expect him to take DD while you do something he would usually do.

shoofly Mon 30-Sep-13 11:57:29

I get what you're saying that you're afraid things might go wrong, but do you really think your daughter will be in danger? She might miss a nap or a meal, but if you leave your husband with her for a short period of time and then for longer stretches, he will presumably work it out! You can give him pointers before you go, but you can't really complain that he doesn't look after her if you never leave her with him!

And I mean this in the nicest possible way (as the woman who is leaving 2 sons with her husband overnight this weekend - for the first time -eek )

badguider Mon 30-Sep-13 12:20:39

You need to consciously hand her over to your dh at times. My ds is very young and I am bf so dh mainly does behind the scenes stuff like the kitchen and our food and grocery shopping but I still give ds to him regularly each evening and at weekends - I just say 'he's been fed, you should have two hours, I'm going to have a bath and a nap'... at weekends I get out for an hour to hour and a half without him (I have my phone if he needs fed unexpectedly).

My dh fully appreciates that I do about 20hrs a day with ds on a weekday so the minimum he can do is a four hour 'in charge' shift.

thegoldenfool Mon 30-Sep-13 12:35:20

i am i another country where working parents both get some mandatory - use it or loose it - parental leave

it really does reset the expectations for childcare and responsibility to be shared, it just as likely for men to be leaving work saying - oh just had a call my child is sick and I need to pick them up from nursery etc. All women (parents and non-parents) are treated more equally.

it´s great for the mums, dads and children smile

happydaze77 Mon 30-Sep-13 14:37:13

It's good to know I'm not the only one. I need to lighten up a bit though I think. I just wish he could cope with a bad nappy/emergency bath by himself now and again, or take her out by himself, or decide what she's going to eat, or wear etc etc. You know, the sort of things we do without a second thought!

CatAmongThePigeons Mon 30-Sep-13 14:44:48

I've made DH do these things- he will change a poosplosion, bath, clothes, food and even sorts the change bag.
He grew up with a 'traditional' set up and it took time to sort it, sending him out with the DC makes him cope and believe me, he'll be better than you imagine.

DH took DS2 to a group on his own today, he told me to stay at home.

Just tell him what you expect him to do and then do what you want for a bit. It will become second nature to him.

happydaze77 Mon 30-Sep-13 14:51:43

That's the thing - I know he'll be great at it, and they already have such a great bond. I think he lacks the confidence. I don't really expect it to 'all go wrong' (that was bit melodramatic on my part- sorry -had a bad morning)

I thinks it has stemmed from when she tiny and breastfed almost constantly and napped only on me, so dh had no choice but to take on a more practical 'behind the scenes role'.

Vivacia Mon 30-Sep-13 14:58:54

becs this is one of the most insightful things I've read in days, it really struck a chord with me, Give him information but not orders.

I think you need to do two things. One, talk to him about you needing him to show some initiative. Two, then let him. Also, get in to the habit of saying you're just popping to the shops or for a shower or to a friend's for a cup of tea or whatever.

TigerBabyyy Mon 30-Sep-13 15:00:40

I could of wrote your op.

I went to my mothers house whos a 5 min drive away the other night, and left 11 months old dd with dh. I said i would be around an hour.

Exactly an hour later he rang me asking me to come back as dd was screaming and screaming and he couldnt settle her.

I returned home to find dd in her cot screaming and as soon as i picked her up she stopped.

Last night i asked dh to watch dd downstairs whilst i cleaned the bathroom.

He decided he would put the tea on. All very good etc only he put the gas on too high and burnt the lamb chops which set the smoke alarm off in the lounge and had dd screaming.

The alarm went off 4 times in the space of a few mins. Dd had got herself in such a state that she wouldnt eat her tea and threw up straight afterwards.

The kitchen was also a bombsite and the tea was vile as it wasnt cooked properly so i ended up chucking it in the bin and having some weetabix!

Sigh....

sweetestcup Mon 30-Sep-13 15:00:51

In the nicest possible way he probably lacks confidence because youve never let him just get on with it, its then a vicious circle.

Vivacia Mon 30-Sep-13 15:01:38

happydaze I remember my wonderful auntie telling me that perhaps my partner didn't do things because he was worried about getting it wrong. What she meant was, he was worried I would criticise and point out his mistakes. I started to practice letting him do things, saying, "whatever you think best" or "I'm not sure, what do you think?" when he asked how to do something and last but not least, thanking him all the time with absolutely no criticism.

Vivacia Mon 30-Sep-13 15:04:18

Could have written

Grrr.

happydaze77 Mon 30-Sep-13 15:06:51

You're both right sweetestcup and Vivacia (and everyone else who has basically told me to let go a bit more) Thank you. I will try.

I posted on here rather than on the parenting section as I wanted people to 'tell it like it is'.

smaths Mon 30-Sep-13 15:24:31

I give my husband no option, but plenty of warning. As my daughter was breastfed, like with your twins, he wasn't terribly involved because life revolved around my boobs. However, when I went back to work after 7 months he had to look after her all day on his own for 2 days a week until she was a year old - since then she goes to a nursery. In at the deep end! Up to that point he had changed one nappy. But, he got on with it, there were a few hiccups along the way but they survived. For a year til I went on maternity leave again he got her up every day and took her to nursery as I have to leave for work at 630am.

Outside of normal day to day arrangements (ie the leaving to nursery) I just give increasing amounts of notice if I need him to do stuff. E.g late home from work and he has to do dinner, a couple of hours notice. Out for dinner/drinks/cinema with friends over bedtime time - a couple of days notice. Away for a night - a weeks notice. He has the option to say no but never does if he has enough warning. Works for us!

OP you just have to take the plunge, go out and leave him to figure out how to do things his way (try not to criticise if it's not how you would do it, so long as no harm is done. Eg if he feeds dc custard for dinner and puts them to bed with pyjamas on inside out and back to front it doesn't really matter - just keep your thoughts to yourself! )

nextphase Mon 30-Sep-13 19:32:51

shoofly
Honestly, it will be OK.
Kids left with DH friday night. He has done it before, but only when at work, so has had to get kids dressed and out the house, and then fed and into bed in the evenings. This was the first weekend solo.

OK, so somewhere in nursery are 2 pairs of DS2's trousers, we have a random jumper and pair of trousers which are not ours, DS1's water bottle was still at nursery, and his homework is ???? (good job really, as he hadnm't done any reading, so non of it would be done!) BUT, they were cleaned, fed (junk mainly!), and had a lovely time. Job done!

Faux Mon 30-Sep-13 19:50:41

When DH takes DD to the park it is with a bag packed by me with snacks, drinks, change of clothes, she's just been to the toilet and I've got her dressed and ready, I nag her to fasten her shoes, find her scooter, put her jacket on. I check the weather forecast. I get her outside, he just puts his shoes on and goes. He literally doesn't even lock the door behind him, just leaves it swinging open. My job.
When they get back he heads off to do something else and I put the muddy clothes in the wash, I put the plaster on the knee, put her in the bath...

It's like I hold all responsibility, and my free time is strictly only time she is physically outside.

That stresses me out kind of.

pantsonbackwards Mon 30-Sep-13 22:26:47

Faux. Why on earth do you do all that? You're babying him!

zoobaby Mon 30-Sep-13 22:42:31

Feeling your pain happy. I've been "training" DP for about 6 months now in anticipation of my return to work. He still has no idea of timings or sequences. Just makes up random things when quizzed. Argh. No idea what DS will eat or when/if he'll sleep, but at least I know he'll be well cared for and have great fun on his "dad days".

Faux Tue 01-Oct-13 01:57:41

I honestly try not to! I disappear upstairs, he calls up "Is her bag ready?" I go "No dear. I'm ironing in the spare bedroom, have a nice time!" He goes "Are you free to help?" I go "I'm ironing, the snacks are in the lunchbox drawer!" He goes "I don't know where that is. Where are her shoes? She doesn't know where her coat is - can't you just come and help us? Why wouldn't you want to help!? Does she need gloves? Is it cold? She wants gloves now. Where are they? Have you got a key to open the door?"

mrsspagbol Tue 01-Oct-13 03:26:42

omg Faux you need to address that pronto!!! hmm

SatinSandals Tue 01-Oct-13 05:14:54

He isn't your child, Faux. Just go out for lunch one day, tell him in advance and go. He will cope when he has to. The same with OP, just go out.

jasminerose Tue 01-Oct-13 06:36:55

This is why I hope my dds carry on working. We take it in turns with the kids dh can do absolutely everything with them.

Why on earth cant he deal with a 1 year old? confused

BeaWheesht Tue 01-Oct-13 06:44:54

Dh does feed them when he's here but he drives me mental in other ways. So for example one of the dc ask a question one of three million that hour and Dh just ignores it and expects me to answer. Ds is the oldest and almost 7, Dh has had the dc alone for a whole day once and got his mum round so he basically sat on his bum whilst she fussed around them.

I am going away for a whole weekend soon, asked Dh if he could try and manage without his parents and he looked at me like I was unhinged and said 'no way'. This also annoys me because we live here near his parents because this is where his job is and where he wants to live whereas all my family are some distance awyay.

Recently I had been up with ill dd all night and when I said to Dh I was tired and felt ill he said ' well at least it's not as if you have to do anything like go to work'

so I killed him

jasminerose Tue 01-Oct-13 06:46:02

Reading these some of you have awful dhs and dps, especially fauxs and pantsonbackwards.

Dh has had exclusively breastfed dd2 and dd1 whilst I have been away on nights with my friends, does any nights out I want, does the childcare whilst Im at work, lools after ours and our friends babies/children at same time etc. There is nothing I do that he cant just aa good as me, and thats normal from what I see from most dads except the deadbeat ones

prissyenglisharriviste Tue 01-Oct-13 06:52:35

I worked weekends away. Left one, two and then three dcs with dh for 72hrs at a time. They are all still alive, and everything..

Just. Go. Out. And. Leave. Him. To. It.

And yes, the first two were bf. The third has cerebral palsy and was born without a suck reflex, so was tube fed. Their father is a parent, just like their mother.

I have never really understood this infantilisation of fathers. I wasn't born knowing what to do with a baby, but being a reasonably intelligent adult, I worked it out once I gave birth. So can any other adult. Given the chance...

SatinSandals Tue 01-Oct-13 06:54:48

I think that the fault is that the woman takes charge at the start and expects change later. If you let him get on with it from day 1 you don't have a problem. In most cases women are not any more experienced so you really don't have to tell him what to do!
I haven't understood either prissy , you just need to go out and let him get on with it! They will both survive.

Thants Tue 01-Oct-13 07:16:05

Just go out in the evening and leave her with him.

pantsonbackwards Tue 01-Oct-13 07:23:27

Faux. So a nice bit of emotional blackmail there, implying that you are neglecting your child hmm

I would reply with "and why wouldn't you be able to sort it out yourself?!" Or perhaps just tell him to stop using that emotional blackmail shit and sort things out for his own kid for once, for fuck sake!

pantsonbackwards Tue 01-Oct-13 07:26:31

Bea. When your child asks a question say "well answer him then!" and then have a Fucking stern word with him about ignoring his own child!

As for the parents coming to help i would take the piss out of him that he can't cope alone. Mention it in front of his mates? Generally humiliate the fuck out of him until he stopped being so pathetic.

PoppyAmex Tue 01-Oct-13 07:30:46

DH is an amazing father and super hands on, but in the first few months he would say things like "do you think she needs changed now?" or "should she nap in a couple of hours?"

I pointed out to him that he was her father and was just as qualified as me to make those calls. He was actually quite surprised at that revelation grin

From then on he was able to take proper charge without needing me to prop him up with snacks/outfit choices/nappy bags for the baby.
18 months on he's truly an excellent father with an instinctive knack for all things DD related smile

I think you need to be very direct and empower him. My pet hate is the "loveable incompetent male" myth, I assume he's a fully functioning adult on other matters so just let him get on with it.

MrsDavidBowie Tue 01-Oct-13 07:30:52

Tbh I don't think the problem is dh...it's mums being controlling and martyrish and assuming dh will get it wrong.

Dh had the dcs from when they were 6 weeks old, every Saturday afternoon, so I could run away screaming from the house to have some free time for a few hours.
Nothing awful happened.

JoinYourPlayfellows Tue 01-Oct-13 07:35:34

"Tbh I don't think the problem is dh...it's mums being controlling and martyrish and assuming dh will get it wrong."

Yeah, men being lazy and useless is always a woman's fault.

These men are usually extremely good at doing the stuff they want to do.

Weird that.

pantsonbackwards Tue 01-Oct-13 07:47:15

I must admit that i have seen a bit of what bowie mentions. A friend of mine took on the role of supermum once their child was born. I think she thought that was what she was supposed to do. She was like a stepford wife on acid!

I saw on many occasion when i visited her dh going to do something with the baby or suggesting a snack etc and her knocking him down with looks to kill and sharp comments. From what i could see he was doing no wrong.

In the end she got pnd but wouldn't admit it. She still refused to let him help but got increasingly angry that she was doing everything and spent all her time either complaining that he got everything wrong or complaining that she did it all.

Not long later she had an affair with his friend and the marriage couldn't recover.

It twas shit. He now is a great hands on dad on his days.

jasminerose Tue 01-Oct-13 07:52:37

Joinyourplayfellows- Anyone can look after a baby its not exactly difficult. Of course the ops dh could do it, if she left him to it.

MrsDavidBowie Tue 01-Oct-13 08:02:33

I am the first to admit that I like to micro manage, but knew for the sake of my sanity that I had to have a regular break from the children.

Some of the mums on here must be with their dcs 24/7 .......if you have a partner, why?

Seriously you lot. Stop infantilising these fathers. If the worst case scenario happens and you are in hospital or something, they WOULD COPE. Let them parent too.

Tabby1963 Tue 01-Oct-13 08:07:47

When my first was born we bought her home at tea time (I'd had her that morning) and we both just sat looking at her (sleeping) in her carry cot. Neither of us knew what to do, neither of us had experience with babies. We were both terrified, it was a fine bonding moment!

Over time we learned what she liked and didn't like and I also noticed that I had a tendency to be a bit control freaky if DH didn't carry out tasks with DD 'the right way' (the way I did it lol). It was hard to bite my lip and leave him to get on with it, but I am glad I did, because I could leave her with him at any time. Ok, his ways were different some times, but not wrong.

It is the same with housework, he hoovers differently (doesn't move the furniture), cooks differently (cuts the onions too big in bolognaise, doesn't add Worcester sauce), but it is his way so I don't interfere.

stealthsquiggle Tue 01-Oct-13 08:09:50

It's so easy to slip into this pattern, OP, but it takes conscious effort to get out of it I might be a bit guilty myself. The one which still winds me up is that if we are both working at home (so a 30 second commute and no real need to get dressed) it is always me that gets up and gets DC sorted and to school. If I am leaving early I sort out the DC's clothes and other clobber before I go.

<<slaps self, hard>>

I am currently hiding in my office. I did have a 7am call, and told DH he was on DD duty this morning. They should really have left by now, and my call has just finished, but I am resisting the temptation to go and sort out whatever it is he can't find and check if DD has done any reading. It's not easy...

Thumbwitch Tue 01-Oct-13 08:10:09

Faux, if it's any consolation, my DH pulls all those stunts as well. It's bloody annoying.

He took DS1 camping last week, luckily only 15mins away from where we live, DS2 and I visited during the day and then went home grin.

I made him sort everything out for DS1 - DH was "ready to go" and said "where's DS1's bag?" I said "I don't know, have you packed it yet?" The look of shock on his face that I hadn't just done it, the way I have to when we go away properly (it's "not his job" apparently hmm and if we're going far then I don't think it's fair on Ds1 to leave him without stuff - we're talking about the man who forgot his own toothbrush last time he went away on a work thing!)

So he "sorted" it, including food for them both; and then I took down the bag of stuff he'd forgotten when I went down a bit later. I didn't have to take the extras but then it would be DS1 who had to suffer, so I did.

I can leave him to take care of both boys - but he's very reluctant to change DS2's nappy (dunno why exactly, he was capable of doing so with DS1 but has pretty much refused to participate with DS2) - and chances are he'll forget to feed them or something. I am in no way a mummy-martyr (thanks for that hmm) but DH seems to hand over all power of thought when I'm around, so he doesn't have to. Fucks me right off!

MrsDavidBowie Tue 01-Oct-13 08:12:37

Dh took alot of videos of the children when he looked after them.
Interestingly, Sky Sports is always in the background grin

as they got older, I deliberately made myself a bit boring so they would veer towards daddy for bike rides, swimming, other activities.

Now they are 17 and 14 it means on holiday I can read 14 books in a week, while dh takes them cliff jumping, snorkelling and kayaking.

Agree with Tabby....the washing up might not be done to my high standards, and he might not peg washing out exactly how I would....but he gets on with it. I don't feel I am a doormat.

SmallBee Tue 01-Oct-13 08:15:16

I'm SO glad this thread exists. I'm 38+3 with my 1st & I know I have a tendency of being control freaky in some areas ( I don't let DH cook done dishes because he'll only do it wrong & I can do it better etc) I think I'll need to train myself into a habit of backing off & letting him get in with it but knowing this in advance is a massive help!

SmallBee Tue 01-Oct-13 08:15:46

*some dishes, sorry!

Xiaoxiong Tue 01-Oct-13 08:30:46

DH and I did the equivalent of splitting maternity leave - I was at home till DS1 was 6 months, and did everything around the house. DH would "help out" on weekends but whenever he did he would leave a huge mess that I had to clear up, he would "make dinner" by getting a takeaway, he would put on one load of washing and expect a gold star when I was doing one a day, etc.

But after the 6 months was up he was the SAHP for 2.5 months while I went back to work full time in a very long hours job with a long commute. I honestly think it was the making of both of us - it forced us to completely hand over roles as I left the house before DS woke and returned when he was asleep. It made him appreciate how much work looking after DS is (and also how much work needed to go into the running of the house, eg meal planning, weaning DS) and made me appreciate that just having been gone all day at the office didn't mean I got to expect a show home and put my feet up and be waited on when I came home because I had been "working" as if he hadn't somehow. He now doesn't expect to be able to come home and sack out just because he works long hours either.

When you're looking after kids alone, especially when they're babies, mistakes are punished harshly. The day you go out without the nappy bag will be the day they do a poosplosion and you're trying to clean them in the loo at Starbucks with a million tiny paper napkins: DH has never forgotten a nappy and change of clothes again. The day you forget to put them down for a nap when they need to sleep becomes the night from hell - DH is now even more conscientious about sleep routines than I am having done all night wakings while I was working. But they have to have the responsibility to make those mistakes first.

I also think an extended period of time is the key - anyone can take kids for a day and leave the house like a bomb site, let the washing pile up, feed the kids crap and get them to bed too late leaving the other parent to clear up. It's only when a parent (of either gender) has to do the day in day out mundane routine that they learn how much they really need to do to pull their weight as a parent and partner IMO.

mrsjay Tue 01-Oct-13 08:40:26

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.

what is going to go wrong if you go out you want him to take the lead and do more but you are not letting him not on purpose it has probably become a habit as you know her routines etc but fgs go out and do stuff dont ask for permission for a shower just go for a shower he will manage you need to give him a chance to parent her it might not be the way you do it but she won't break if he does it different to you,

mrsjay Tue 01-Oct-13 08:42:24

I have to agree with mrsdavidbowie why do mothers think they can't give up control to the men just because we are mothers doesn't make us in charge

Mawgatron Tue 01-Oct-13 08:51:22

This may mean some judging from you lovely ladies, but the way I dealt with this was buggering of for a girls weekend to Ibiza when baby was 12 weeks old. Before I went it was very much like this, and DH would moan about why I hadn't done such and such as all I was doing was watching tv all day. Since my return, he has been much more hands on, seems to have a better relationship with baby and doesn't seem to be making jibes about what I do all day any more! I had a lovely time, DH bonded with baby and understood my role. Win win!

So, moral of the story- go away and have fun!

pantsonbackwards Tue 01-Oct-13 09:09:54

Thumb. I must admit that when Im out with my dh i unintentionally hand over power of "direction". In that I take no notice of the route we are taking and would get lost! When im on my own i have to take notice. I manage just fine. Its just that he has such a good sense of direction.

pantsonbackwards Tue 01-Oct-13 09:15:06

I also think an extended period of time is the key - anyone can take kids for a day and leave the house like a bomb site, let the washing pile up, feed the kids crap and get them to bed too late leaving the other parent to clear up. It's only when a parent (of either gender) has to do the day in day out mundane routine that they learn how much they really need to do to pull their weight as a parent and partner IMO.

I agree. My dh thinks he knows what its like but without the day after day after day stuff, he can't really. Him staying at home while i go out and watching a film with the kids, or taking them to his mum and dads who will play with them and feed them isn't the same.

everlong Tue 01-Oct-13 09:15:39

' maybe there some martyrdom on my part going on, or a need to let go of control a bit '

This.

Don't be snappy with him because of your issues. Men aren't mind readers.

Go out for a full day. You all will enjoy it.

stealthsquiggle Tue 01-Oct-13 10:18:34

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.

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

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

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?"

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.

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!

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 12:52:49

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?!

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?

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!

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.

BeCool 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.

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.

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.

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.

BeCool 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.

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.

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.

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.

BeCool 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.

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.

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.

BeCool 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.

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.

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.

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