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to wonder if working dads are feeling guilty and stressed?

(53 Posts)
RitaMorgan Wed 19-Oct-11 19:34:05

We hear a lot about working mums, struggling to have it all, missing out on time with their children etc. I have read a few heated threads over the last few days debating nursery care, women feeling guilty and upset about using childcare, other women suggesting they should feel that way.

I was wondering if fathers worry in the same way? There certainly doesn't seem to be an expectation that putting children in childcare should be a source of anxiety for men.

DP is a great dad, very involved and hands on, definitely an equal parent - and yet he wasn't really interested in choosing childcare at all. I visited lots of childminders and nurseries, read Ofsted reports, asked people for recommendations - DP basically felt that all Ofsted registered providers met the same minimum standards, would be safe, and so we should just pick the cheapest and most convenient.

Why is it so different?

hairylights Wed 19-Oct-11 19:36:24

Yanbu. I struggle to get the guilt thing though.

ScaredBear Wed 19-Oct-11 19:37:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

guzzlepuzzle Wed 19-Oct-11 19:39:33

This is a good point and ive been thinking about this myself over the last few weeks. My dp is also very hands on ,he adores our dc and does his best to be around a lot. His work allows him to be home most days to pick up our ds from school which means i work longer hours ...however i still feel guilty for not being around as much and i feel stressed at the amount of housework i dont get a chance to do when at work ...he never feels the same emotions im sure ...yanbu i will be interested to watch this post.

BsshBossh Wed 19-Oct-11 19:40:35

My DH is stressed but loves his job, suffers no guilt and accepts the fact he gets to spend quality time with DD only on weekends and some holidays.

When I worked full-time I was the same. No guilt whatsoever - my situation was simply what it was and couldn't / didn't want to change it.

Now I've radically scaled back my working hours to spend more time with DD but guilt didn't propel that decision.

guzzlepuzzle Wed 19-Oct-11 19:40:40

scaredbear grin

TadlowDogIncident Wed 19-Oct-11 19:41:16

YANBU to wonder, but I think it comes down to who's been the main carer while the baby is tiny, not gender. DH and I have just started DS in nursery one day a week, and DH was much more anxious about it all than I was. Originally the idea was that when I went back to work when DS was 6 months, we'd start him at the nursery so that DH had a day a week to do freelance work (he is SAHD), but when it came to the crunch he couldn't bear to put him in nursery that soon. I would have been fine with it!

DP feels bad that he doesn't earn enough for me to be able to go part time and spend more time with the kids. I suspect thats normal for most dads though.

The kids ACTUAL dad though, well, I doubt he'd know what guilt felt like if it came up and slapped him in the face with a rotten sheep.

hardboiledpossum Wed 19-Oct-11 19:41:50

I wouldn't worry or feel guilty if DS was being looked after by DP but I would feel too guilty to put him in nursery. I don't think DP would feel guilty about putting him in nursery, I'm not sure why though.

guzzlepuzzle Wed 19-Oct-11 19:42:33

Children do add to the guilt when they are old enough too ...any parent who can answer "Mummy why didnt you come to my show/harvest festival/ school play" etc and not feel guilty is a damn site braver than me!!

rycooler Wed 19-Oct-11 19:44:04

My dh would never have put our dc in a nursery - neither would I.

RitaMorgan Wed 19-Oct-11 19:48:54

I must say I didn't feel in the least bit guilty about using childcare - but I did do a lot of research and was very careful in choosing somewhere.

DP wouldn't have been so worried about it. He does all the pick-ups and drop-offs now and whenever I ask how DS has been he always says "fine" grin

Yama Wed 19-Oct-11 19:53:20

I reckon I feel about the same level of guilt as my dh does with regards to putting dc into childcare. Maybe less so because I know what the alternative would be like (ie me at home).

I feel zero stress about the housework.

My dh was brought up by a single working Mum. He adores her.

I was was brought up at first by a frazzled sahm (there were 4 of us), then a depressed sahm and finally a happy working Mum. I adore her.

Perhaps our own experiences shape our attitudes to guilt.

callmemrs Wed 19-Oct-11 19:55:52

Neither dh nor I felt any guilt about using childcare for our children. Our children are now teenagers and very happy and high achieving. I honestly don't know why some women seem to thrive on guilt, and trying to guilt trip other mums. Very negative and definitely not good for children

StoneSoup Wed 19-Oct-11 19:57:24

YANBU. As a female boss once said to me: 'I have never heard anyone talk about a man 'juggling' his work and family responsibilities'.

MrsBloodyTroll Wed 19-Oct-11 19:59:10

DH wasn't able to help choose childcare (was at work, unable to take time off) but was interested and still checks daily if DD went in to nursery happily or not. He would love to be a SAHD but he earns way more than I did at the time of having DC1, and then I was laid off, so the decision was made.

DH works stupidly long hours, doesn't see DCs Monday to Friday, and feels hugely guilty and upset about it. It's not at all the type of Dad he wanted to be.

I can't wait for the economy to improve so he can find another job with less demands on his time, and/or so that I can find a job to share the load. Sadly I doubt that will be any time soon.

DH feels guilty when he has space in his head to think about it, which, with a never-ending treadmill of conference calls and meetings, 16 hours a day, is not often. It's easier for me to think, and agonise about our DCs when I am sat feeding, ironing, on the nursery run, etc.

CountBapula Wed 19-Oct-11 20:00:41

I've been back at work two weeks and DS has been a bit tearful at the CM's when DH drops him off. DH cried a bit the other evening because he felt bad about DS being without us all day.

He also hoovered behind the sofa this morning confused

Ragwort Wed 19-Oct-11 20:01:05

My DH was genuinely sad that his job took him away from our DS for long periods of time - I appreciate he was lucky to be able to do this but he made a deliberate decision to work for himself and be much more 'in control' of his diary so that he is able to spend a lot of time with our DS and going fishing grin. He was also able to be a school governor, sports coach etc. We are fortunate in that I can be a SAHM - even though DS is now at school smile.

Interesting Yama my DH was also bought up in a single parent household, and he was very aware of the stress and strain that it caused - he is determined to 'be around' for his own DC.

MrHeadlessMan Wed 19-Oct-11 20:02:27

I can't speak for every other dad out there. For myself, I can tell you that I feel guilty when I have to leave for work early, when I have to come back late, when I have to go away for a business trip, when I have to miss an outing, and when I stay home but have to work so I have to tell my kids I can't play with them. The worst is when I don't even have time to call and say goodnight over the phone (though that has only happened a couple times).

And all the hours in between... I miss them anyway. I enjoy my work but it's nothing compared to being home with the kids.

grumplestilskin Wed 19-Oct-11 20:02:56

DH felt very torn when he had to go back to work after the birth, so bear in mind that by the time it comes for YOU to go back to work and you're choosing childcare, he has already got used to turning his back and walking out the door every morning because in most cases he's been doing it since the first couple of weeks of the child's life, so by the time it comes to nursery he WILL be more relaxed about it. Probably wasn't when he first went back to work though

MeMySonAndI Wed 19-Oct-11 20:05:15

I suppose that if a man is left with the burden of providing or his family single handedly, I think it is natural for them to feel stressed.

However, they are not so bothered abut little details as we women are...

Putrifyno Wed 19-Oct-11 20:15:04

Guilt is a completely pointless emotion imho. I HAD to go back to work. I researched the child care options. I was confident that dd had the best possible care. She was happy, I was happy, dh was happy. Why should guilt even enter in to it?

Unless you mean that in the last 50 years we have been brainwashed that only a MOTHER can bring her child up properly. Help from GPs, elder children, neighbours, relatives, paid care is BAD! Twas never the case before.

callmemrs Wed 19-Oct-11 20:16:59

This thread goes to show there is a lot to be said 'for couples sharing the pleasures and pressures of both working and caring. Such scenarios are more likely to be the norm these days, as many people partner someone with a similar level of education etc

Ive never really seen the appeal of a set up where one partner (ie the man) has all the pressure of being in a high earning job so the other (ie the woman) can not work. Its an all or nothing situation which means one partner loses out career wise and the other family wise. Makes far more sense to balance the roles better so that neither partner has the pressure of feeling they singlehandedly have to carry the financial responsibility or the home responsibility. It also means - most important of all- the children aren't missing out. Children want and need their dad as much as their mum, and it's hard for them if the flip side of mum being around 24/7 is dad being off working ridiculous hours or having huge pressure in a High stress job

Yama Wed 19-Oct-11 20:21:02

Ragwort - sorry, I realise I didn't explain fully in my post. Dh does drop off/pick up for one of our dc. He spends every single second that he is not at work with our dc. Being part of a family and being a Dad truly makes him happy. When ds was a baby, he used to walk through the door from work and put him in the sling for the rest of the evening. He deals with most of the night wakings now that we are past (way past) the breastfeeding stage. Actually, he usually kept me company when I was breastfeeding.

I think though that no-one taught him that he should feel guilty about making what we feel are the best decisions for our family.

One of my reasons for not feeling (much) guilt is that I know the deep depression that sahming can bring. I hated my Mum being unhappy and relished what she gained from working.

Andrewofgg Wed 19-Oct-11 20:23:48

What MrHeadlessMan said except that my DS is now grown up. When he was four I was given (and had no choice) a task which involved a lot of travel over a number of years and I remember sitting in hotel rooms, bored and miserable, and wondering what DW and DS were doing. No mobiles then and international phoning cost much more in real terms than now. In the end I said Sod it and started phoning twice a day and charging it as part of my expenses. But it wasn't the same as being there.

And when I wasn't away I juggled my hours to see him as much as possible.

So yes, some of us do get guilty and stressed, OP.

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