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Stay at home dad - no longer at home

(83 Posts)
Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 13:56:14

Not sure what i want from this thread to be honest but am struggling a bit and i think getting it down can be a help in itself.

My husband walked out the day before New Year with no real warning. He says he no longer loves me but thinks I'm great and wants to remain friends. We have two DC; DD who is 3 and DS who turned 1 two days before he left sad I work FT and he was the SAHP - something he says he loves and wants to continue. This is where i am struggling so much.

I know it is me he has left (made that quite clear) but i am finding it so painful to be around him. I am signed off work until mid Feb as can't face returning at the moment so I am home too. He wants to basically pick up where he left off - so being with the children when i work but not living here or being with me. I feel this is unfair but obviously don't want him to not see his children (who adore him). He just gets the fun bit while i do the nights, bath time, bed time, the early mornings on any day off i have... H even had the balls to say 'that's what you get with kids though' when i had a bitch about it!

DS is oblivious of course but DD knows something isn't right and i think this could confuse her even more...

He has stayed with the children since DD was 6 months for which i will be eternally grateful but i think he needs to find some work so he can start to support himself - he is currently staying with MIL, the most passive woman who will just let him stay and do fuck all (her other DS was unemployed for 7 years whilst living with her!) I don't want him to use the kids as an excuse ('couldn't take that job as i was looking after the kids' kind of thing) but think him not working is all part of the problem!

We're going to regular counselling as of Monday but I don't know what i want from that anymore - have gone from desperately wanting him back to enjoying time one on one with my kids and realising how selfish he is being!

Sorry this is long and rambling... I'm just so unsure of everything!

Charbon Sat 26-Jan-13 18:34:48

Yes but by the sounds of things, he's completely checked out of evenings and weekends now hasn't he?

That's not reasonable or fair and while it might be a novelty now, at some point you will need a break to get out and socialise with other adults.

Please listen to the advice about formalising things and getting legal advice. My guess is that your husband has been planning this for a long time and he is not in your corner or thinking of your best interests, or even the best interests of the children.

TalkativeJim Sat 26-Jan-13 18:39:53

Um, from where I'm sitting he doesn't look like the primary carer at all!

You went back to work at 7 months, but still did ALL the night duties? While he was going to be at home the next day, you were the one waking? And still are? And are still bfing at a year? I'm sorry but that fact alone would totally undermine any claim he might have to get you to move out as NRP.

Sounds like he's had a pretty cushy time- SAHD for the 9-5, but the nights, and the rest of the time, you've been primary carer as well as chief cook and bottle washer. So much so that you're knackered, disengaged from him (unsurprisingly) and as a result HE'S decided he's had enough.

Sure he's primary carer hmm

I'd lay bets on there being an OW.

OP, get legal advice and explain that although he does 9-5 childcare you are very much the primary overall carer and in fact are still breast feeding. See what a solicitor thinks. He simply can't argue in the normal way that he's primary carer /SAHP and should therefore have residency, when what that would mean is the REAL pattern of care - night feeding etc - being completely overturned.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 26-Jan-13 18:44:37

The apologists for this man should know that no court is going to separate a just turned 1yo baby from its mother...

expatinscotland Sat 26-Jan-13 18:49:18

Bet you OW is feeding him lines on how to fleece you.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 19:23:53

And thank you to everyone who has posted - it makes such a difference to just get views, even if they open up some unpleasant ideas. I had asked him if there was anyone else and he's denied it but he was with someone when I met him, so I know he has previous here...

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 19:24:20

Does he pay for much?

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 19:27:04

When you met him, how did he end the relationship he was in. Honestly? Honourably? Can you think back and be candid about he behaved. That might give you an insight.

Skillbo Sat 26-Jan-13 19:44:40

He doesn't pay for anything other than a few bits for the kids during the week like a drink when out or a magazine - he receives the child benefit money but that's it really. He doesn't have any debt or anything though (I've helped him pay this off)

I guess he might feel a bit trapped... I'm not controlling with money but I don't have a great deal left after bills, rent, food etc so would say we probably have about the same disposable income. Except, I pay for any unexpected costs or for brithday presents or for trips etc so really the CB is just for him.

That sounds dreadful now I've written it down - like he's some sort of 50s housewife. I have always encouraged him to find work though we did agree it would probably need to slot around the DC but he was always keen to do that and if he had found something that didn't, we'd have worked it out. He's been looking for work but am not sure how applied he's been.

I also need to get the CB back, don't I? Not sure how to do that if he's still looking after the children although when I mentioned this to my friend, she said leave him money for day to day bits and pieces but get the lions share back, It would help (DD in pre-school and she goes for a couple more sessions than we get paid for and the CB would cover this!)

And I'm not sure how he ended the other relationship, but it was definitely after we were intimate blush Not very proud of that!

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 26-Jan-13 19:55:15

You just phone child benefit say he's left and you are now the resident parent. I emailed them when ExH left. He was a SAHD and our DS's were 1 and 3. He wanted to be friends. Turned out another women was involved. My mum, an avid daily mail reader, likes to quote 90% of men leave after they've started an intimate relationship with other women.

Have you checked your tax credit situation. You can potentially get upto 70% childcare fees and this could obviously make a big difference.

My MIL isn't local. She is onher DS's side but she's also an aly. Would she enjoy babysitting. So you could have 1 night a fourtnight/ month out?

KitchenandJumble Sat 26-Jan-13 20:22:47

Loads of sympathy to you, OP. You must be absolutely reeling. He left less than a month ago, is that right? I'm impressed you are able to function at all under those circumstances.

I know nothing about the legal side of things in the UK, so bear that in mind. I would absolutely not want the man who had walked out on me to have free access to my home. It would be soul-destroying to come home from work every day to see him there. And as others have said, it could confuse the children if they saw Daddy at home every day, especially if he hung around into the evenings. Much better to make a clean break, especially with children this young. They would easily adapt to the idea of Dad's house/Mom's house. He could continue caring for the children during the day but in his new residence, if that was ageeable to you.

However, now that your family situation has altered so completely, I don't think I would be comfortable supporting him while he looked after the children. I completely disagree with a previous poster who said that it wouldn't be in the best interests of the children to be in paid childcare. If I were in this situation, that is exactly what I would want. I'd arrange for paid childcare of some sort, with the expectation that the (ex-)husband would find employment and eventually help pay for that expense (among other household expenses related to the children). This is no longer the case of a SAHD but of a dad who walked out with no warning. It would make my blood boil to think that I was working all the hours God sends in order to fund his living expenses. He should be supporting himself financially.

Lest anyone accuse me of sexism, this would be exactly my advice if the genders were reversed and the SAH parent were the mother. I'd still advise finding paid employment ASAP.

Good luck to you, OP. It is such a dreadful situation and I wish you all the very best.

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 20:31:44

My advice would be the same if the genders were reversed also.

Daddelion Sat 26-Jan-13 21:01:54

I had the child benefit switched to my name.
I had to fill in a form and send it off, my ex had to fill in and sign forms and I think I had to fill in and sign another one after that

This was last year, at the moment as far as the CSA are concerned he's the resident parent.

LineRunner Sat 26-Jan-13 22:01:12

OP, you just need to contact the Child Benefit office and explain that your DH has moved out, and explain that he lives at your MIL's address, and ask for the CB to be put in your name.

Then stop this farce of letting him half-live in your home.

Have pm'ed you Skillbo <hugs>

katykuns Sat 26-Jan-13 23:48:29


Skillbo Sun 27-Jan-13 00:21:36

I am so scared he could take my children away from me sad

LineRunner Sun 27-Jan-13 00:24:21

Well he can't, Skillbo.

Be strong and calm, come back tomorrow, and sleep well.

expatinscotland Sun 27-Jan-13 09:53:52

'I am so scared he could take my children away from me'

He can't. He left and is a 9-5 childminder. He left. And when he was there, he was . . . a 9-5 childminder.

Skillbo Sun 27-Jan-13 13:10:52

Thank you - i just got panicky after reading the thread where even though the man was abusive, because he was the primary carer the poster couldn't be guaranteed to keep their son. My husband has never been like that so i just got scared that my babies would be taken... maudlin and mushy, sorry about that!

Skillbo Mon 28-Jan-13 22:35:15

We went to our first counselling session tonight and he admitted he doesn't even want to try and salvage anything - it is completely over in his mind which i think means i need to get completely over it too sad Pretty soul destroying hearing your 'partner' of 9 years saying they don't want to even see if there's even just a small spark remaining!

So I have some time booked in for some legal advice in the morning to find out my status with the house and the children - am pretty worried but i need to know where i stand. I'm also sorting out the child benefit, speaking to the council and the tax credit people... there seems little point in flogging this dead horse and whilst i am devastated, i have to recognise that my life will go on. Just alone for now sad

I think for now, it will be in both our interests for him to continue being the SAHP without living here so i can return to work but i'm not sure this is a realistic long term thing. But for now, and pending legal advice, seems the best option.

I'm still not convinced of an OW but who knows - at least that won't be as much of a shock as it once might have been if it does turn out to be true.

Thank you as always - some good advice here and will always be grateful for the support.

LineRunner Mon 28-Jan-13 22:45:19

It might not be an OW as such; it might be looking at dating sites and 'the grass is greener' kind of shit that some people naively get in their minds.

At counselling did you look at you, look you in the eye?

Anyway, glad you are ok and definitely get that legal advice. Glad you have found support on MN and it's always here.

Charbon Mon 28-Jan-13 22:48:29

Hmmm...I bet the therapist was as suspicious as us. Because they know that when a couple has children, they don't just walk out without discussing any problems or attempting counselling unless something else major is going on in the shape of an alternative and secret life.

Go and get some legal advice, but now he has made it crystal clear it's over, aim to make your interactions very businesslike and confined to the children and division of assets. Put up a wall about your private thoughts and your private life from now on - he's lost the right to know them.

This is as you know one of the reasons why I think it's a bad idea that he will continue to treat the family house as his home. I can see no real reason why he can't parent the children from his mum's for now until he gets his own place. Have you thought about speaking to work to see if you could negotiate later starts for a short while in order to drop the children to MILs and he drops them back on your return from work?

Eventually too, please organise a regime where he cares for them some evenings and weekends so that you get a break if you need it - but that can come in slower time. I have to say I think it's no coincidence that he's fixed it so that he's got his evenings and weekends free now.

LineRunner Mon 28-Jan-13 22:49:39

Sorry did he look at you (at counselling)

Skillbo Mon 28-Jan-13 22:56:37

The reason for the care to.remain at ours is that DD is at pre-school about 5 minutes walk from here, 3.5 days a week. MIL lives about 45 minutes walk away and H doesn't drive... so it makes little sense to trundle them all that way etc to just come back. i will say that i think on the day DD doesn't go and for when he only has DS that they should go over there but for ease of school run, it just makes more sense - for now!

Good advice about protecting my privacy, feelings wise - i already feel quite vulnerable and raw (and a bit foolish) for saying i would try again after everything so think will just be nice when the DC are around but no more!

Skillbo Mon 28-Jan-13 22:58:18

and linerunner - no, nite really. I think he's just ashamed but whether this is because of lack of feelings or feelings for someone else, i just don't know.

Onwards & upwards!

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