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to feel like DH doesn't support me with new baby?

(33 Posts)
blushingmare Wed 19-Sep-12 00:37:23

....or are all Dads like this?

DD is 14 weeks, she is our first. I feel really unsupported by DH, but fear perhaps IABU and a whingey wife!

He works relatively long hours - leaves at 8 and is normally home by 8:30, unless he has a (work related) social thing in the evening, which average once a week when he's home after 10. So I accept he can't do much during the week and Mon-Fri I am pretty much a single mum. He usually takes her and changes her first nappy of the day and that's it, but he's only started doing this recently since I started putting her to bed in the evenings because it means he actually gets to at least spend a bit of time with her. Before that happened, in the mornings he would just lie in bed pressing snooze until the last minute and then rush off to work leaving me dealing with her feeling like shit because I've been awake since 5am with her. When he gets home she's in bed, but she usually has a feed when I come to bed and she always takes a long time, and lots of ssshhing and rocking to get her back down - I do all of this and he just goes to bed. He is sleeping in the spare room because he doesn't want the sleepless nights (again - fair enough, he's working and it kind of suits me to have my own space and not have to worry about disturbing him), but when he does sleep in with me (sometimes at the weekend - although not always!) he never helps with any of the settling last thing at night or in the middle of the night. I'm often up for 2 hours with her getting her settled and he just pulls a pillow over his face and goes back to sleep. I know he can't feed her, but that only takes 10 mins, the rest is getting her down to sleep! Tonight, I suggested he have a go at settling her after her ten o clock feed and he made a half hearted attempt that just resulted in her crying for half an hour, before giving her back to me and going to bed.

At the weekends he just carries on like before we had a baby. He changes her nappy when I ask him to and has a few cuddles, but doesn't do any of the more tedious bits like helping her get down for a nap. He'll just go off on a run or arrange something with friends without even thinking about needing to do anything about her or thinking about giving me a break.

I know much of the time can't be around to support, but I don't feel like he shares any of the psychological burden either. I'm a new mum and often unsure about what I'm doing so I want to talk about what would be a good thing to try with her or whether I'm doing the right thing, but whenever I raise anything with him he just makes a noncommittal "uh huh" and isn't interested in discussing it.

God sorry this is long and ranty. I probably ABU - reading this back it doesn't sound like a big deal, but I just feel like I'm doing this on my own and I didn't think it would be like this. I'm loving being a mum, I really am, and I don't begrudge having to do any of these things, but I just feel like I'n shouldering all of the practical and psychological responsibility and he's just carrying on his life as normal with the occasional cuddle from a sweet baby. Is this normal Dads behaviour or normal for me to feel like this?

Softlysoftly Wed 19-Sep-12 00:47:26

Sadly it's fairly normal for a lot of Dads doesn't mean it's right! DH went through an adjustment phase when we had DD1 like this and I think it added to my PND.

During the week I would think its fair enough but at weekends he should be having some family time, he should also listen to you.

I think you need to have a sit down talk with him and make sure he knows it's serious he needs to listen. Tell him what it's like I my having a baby to talk to all week and how much of a bloody dull tiring grind it can be much as you live them. You need the other adult in your life to listen even if it's just as a sounding board.

You may find he had t thought of it this way and he may also think as you do the majority he doesn't feel the need to influence the parenting (and do you really want him too or do you just need reassurance?), he also may see settling her etc as scary and impossible for him as he hasn't the same connection you have built but he needs to start.

So talk first, if he won't listen then post again and well get arse kicky grin

Softlysoftly Wed 19-Sep-12 00:49:04

*only not I my

*love not live

suburbophobe Wed 19-Sep-12 00:51:35

As a LP I really can't stand women whinging about being a "single mum" when they have a man around....

sleepingbunnies Wed 19-Sep-12 00:51:39

Sorry - that sounds shit to me. No way I'd be putting up with that! But I know how lucky I am as my DP is such a hands on dad it's unreal.

Many of my friends comment on how lucky I am so I guess it is unusual - have you told him how you feel? Spell it out! It took two of you to make the baby! He's got to take the rough with the smooth, Not just have the nice cuddles!

bogeyface Wed 19-Sep-12 00:54:44

AS Softly said, it happens alot but it isnt right and YANBU.

I try to be generous with things like this and say that you have had 9 months to get used to being a mother, you couldnt ignore it or escape it so you had to prepare for it. Not having been pg, he didnt have that so suddenly realising that a whole new human relies on your for everything can be a bit of a shock.

BUT, and it is as big BUT, he has now had 14 weeks to deal with it and it seems like he has done fuck all. My theory only holds for the first 6 weeks or so after birth, by then he should have stepped up.

Again I will agree with softly that you should talk to him, laying out all that you do and what you need from him. Explain that as a good father he should want to do this and if he is worried he wont be any good then you will help and support him. Give him a month (in your head, dont tell him this) and if he hasnt pulled his finger out by then, get serious and kick arse.

So unhelpful suburb.

I have been both and personally having a man who did nothing was worse than being alone.

Probably normal but definately not ok OP.

You need to have serious words.

bogeyface Wed 19-Sep-12 00:58:17

suburbophobe

WTF??!! A) it isnt the OPs fault you are on your own B) it is hardly a "whinge" that she is supposed to have a co-parent but appears to have a lodger, so she is a LP in all but name at the moment and C) take your issues somewhere else. The OP needs support at a very difficult time and you are being nasty by saying that she should be grateful for having a man, any man, because you dont have one.

Vile.

TwinkleReturns Wed 19-Sep-12 01:00:44

suburb thats a very unhelpful post and very dismissive of OPs feelings. Im a LP parent but I dont think that gives me the right to make snide comments about every parent who has a partner and dares to find some things hard!!

AgentZigzag Wed 19-Sep-12 01:01:23

You both sound totally nackered!

He is out of the house a lot of the time, and I agree with softly, he might feel a bit of an outsider on the caring for your baby front.

Do you think he feels he has a close bond with the baby? If he doesn't that might explain why he's so distant.

Again agreeing with softly, you need to tell him exactly what it is you need.

Perhaps start off with a couple of things he can do to help, rather than everything all at once. Maybe something he could routinely do at a time where it'd mean you can have some time for yourself? (I would say to do something together, but it'll just end up with you assuming the main caring role with your DC).

But the time you have together is just so small, it must be pretty isolating for you, do you get any other support from family or friends?

crackcrackcrak Wed 19-Sep-12 01:03:02

You are not a single mum.

However, otherwise you ate not bu at all!
He is not pulling his weight. Yes he is working ling days - why is that? Long hours or is there a big commute? Are there any options for him to change it?
He is either v tired or just lazy. He sounds v detached - does he talk to you about anything? I mean not just baby stuff - are you have much conversation at all?
Going itv at the weekend and leaving you is v unreasonable too - that's not fluky life that's just selfish.

Meanwhile are you getting our in the week and meeting other mums?

AgentZigzag Wed 19-Sep-12 01:04:12

Lone parent or not, having your first baby is bloody difficult.

mumnosGOLDisbest Wed 19-Sep-12 01:28:12

This sounds just like my dh. It really bugs me when he gets in and says "ive been at work all day. I need a break!" ive been sat on my arse all day drinking coffee and watching JK!

I found the best way to get dh involved is to massage his ego: wow you changed her quick! She never falls asleep for me like that! I don't know why she only cries when i dress her! Oh and he loves 'she's a daddy's girl'.

On a plus side it is nice to be able to make decisions and do things yout way. I find with 3 dcs the day runs more smoothly when dh is at work smile

KnockedUpMell Wed 19-Sep-12 02:43:54

Talk to him! My DH was like this for a long time. I think he felt that I was coping fine and didn't need him as I appeared to be managing. Dont let him take a backseat though- DS shows a very clear preference for me now, and it's hard work to have to do virtually all the bedtimes and night wakings! DH doesnt do much during the week either but is getting much better with weekends. Nip it in the bud before your baby decides only you will do.

Alligatorpie Wed 19-Sep-12 04:08:03

I agree that you need to talk to him - does he understand the upheaval a baby causes.
Have you left her with him at all? I know it's hard, as you are nursing, but I suggest feeding her, then running to the shop for 20 mins, or going outside to garden - small stuff. Maybe he hasn't bonded with her and that's why he is so distant.

Are you getting out and meeting other moms / babies? You need to!

My dd is also 14 weeks, dh is also sleeping in the spare room, and I do most of the settling at bedtime. But I am with dd all day, so it is easy for me to calm her down. Dh can, but it takes longer, so I usually end up doing it and he focuses on dd1. But on the weekends he is very hands on.

nooka Wed 19-Sep-12 04:25:31

I'd say that he was being incredibly unsupportive. When you have a small baby you don't go out on socials in the evening or at the weekend leaving your partner at home with the baby. You can't just pretend that your life hasn't changed! Well of course you can, but if you do you are really a thoughtless selfish piece of work.

However you've made a bit of progress with the morning routine, so there is no reason you can't get him to do more. I breastfed both my children as babies, but dh did the settling to sleep bit last thing at night. He then had a solid night sleep from 11/12ish or so, and I did the rest of the night. It felt fair and I think that's what you need to aim for otherwise you will become very resentful and he won't really bond with the baby. Another mum friends went out for a couple of hours on the weekend to do her own thing for a while and that worked for them (he bonded, she had a break).

ChasedByBees Wed 19-Sep-12 04:26:37

It's not acceptable that he's arranging time out at the weekends without checking or allowing you the same. I'd arrange some time lit leaving the baby with him - even just a 30 minute walk. I'd end up massively resentful if my DH did this. You have my sympathies, it does get easier though.

cory Wed 19-Sep-12 08:46:54

When mine were babies, dh regarded any time we were both at home as shared parenting time, so at the weekend he would do as much as I did with the baby and around the home.

karron Wed 19-Sep-12 08:52:11

My DH was like this but did get home a bit earlier in the evening. My son was also hard to settle, up most of the night and morning started at 5.30 so understand what it can be like. What I did was insist that we had a day each on the weekend when one of us was primary career e.g me on Saturday and DH on Sunday. I was breast feeding so had to have baby for that but otherwise could lie in bed or go out for an hour or too.

DH was quite nervous of the baby at first (as was I!) but didn't have the fact that he spent 24/7 with him to get over it (like I did).

So YANBU to feel this way but do need to do something about it!

jkklpu Wed 19-Sep-12 08:54:55

Agree with those saying you need to talk to him and make specific suggestions. Can he giver her her bath at the weekends? Take her for a walk in the pram so you can sleep/have a quiet cup of tea/shop/do washing? Can you all go for a walk in the park and get him to do the pushing? Do you have a sling? If so, show him how to use it and how close you feel to your baby in it and suggest going out for a coffee together. Make a joke of really dirty nappies, especially the noises that accompany them, and get him to change some. And, yes, praise him for doing things. Best of luck.

tootiredtothinkofanickname Wed 19-Sep-12 08:59:35

YANBU. Yours is a 24 hours job, no proper breaks. Ok, he needs to work Monday to Friday, but at the week-end it's not acceptable, IMO, to arrange time out on his own. Not without checking what you and the baby need, and as a previous poster said, not without you having a bit of me time as well. Also, I would expect him to let you have a lie-in on either Saturday or Sunday, so you can recharge your batteries. You can then let him sleep in the other morning.

Also, he should help with the household chores, as much as possible, maybe batch cook at the week-end and freeze a few portions, or let you just rest for a couple of hours in the evenings while he is making dinner. It seems to me like he didn't adjust his expectations and is expecting to have as much me time as before the baby, which is just not possible.

BigFatLegsInWoolyTIghts Wed 19-Sep-12 09:00:01

You should definitely TELL him (not ask) to take the baby out for a walk and a coffee or something one day on the weekend...then you can have a lie in...then you should be a family....go out for lunch together or just have a quiet day in....go shopping etc.

He shouldn't be buggering off on mates day trips on weekends!

GingaNinja Wed 19-Sep-12 09:23:59

YANBU. The early weeks ARE shit. My spouse was also crap.

Practicals: he might be doing long hours during the week - who doesn't. (If I have overtime I clock into work at 5.30am for a 12 hr shift - or more. )

This does not prevent him doing bedtime/dream feeds at least at the weekends if you express. He can also do the early/breakfast feed with exp milk to give you a break/more sleep at the very least. Definitely have something arranged for Saturday; announce it (do NOT ask - sauce for the goose and all that), leave the house. Even if in reality you're only driving round the corner to hide in the car/going to the garage for choc hobnobs and a lottery ticket.

Discuss it with him, or try to. If he won't speak at home ("I'm sooooooo tired" - pah!) then phone him during the day when your lo is napping. Silence will do nothing good for your relationship (speaking from shit central here) as the resentment will just build up - and sleep deprivation just adds a factor of 20 to that.

The other thing is to point out that in the long term he will end up with what my own spouse has found. DD (now 3.4) has no time for or interest in daddy as daddy had no time/little interest in her for most of the first 2.5yrs despite nominally living in the same house. However, DD is great mates with a lot of the staff in Tesco including greeting them by name. grin

Enjoy your DD.

blushingmare Wed 19-Sep-12 09:36:02

I know I'm not a single mum and was stupid to make the analogy - no offence meant to anyone.

Thanks for your replies - I was starting to feel like maybe this is just what it's like being a mum, especially as being on mat leave it is my only "job" right now! But from seeing what you've all replied I know I need to talk to him about it - just not sure where to start. Crackcrack you're right in that we really don't talk about very much at all these days - baby or otherwise - don't know how that happened. And it's now hard for me to broach the subject with him because I do feel resentful, but I know it's not going to be helpful for me to come across like that.

Come to think of it I think maybe it's the lack of communication that's our biggest downfall. Probably if we talked more he would realise more of the things he could be doing to help. It kind of started after the birth - I had quite a traumatic delivery and both of us had a moment where we thought I was going to die. Once out of hospital I really wanted to talk about it all, but he just says he never wants to have to think about it again... confused

He loves our dd very much and I know he misses her when he's at work. He feel sad when I tell him she's done something for the first time and he's missed it. But he is at heart quite a lazy person - always has been! He wants to spend the quality time with her - cuddles etc, but when she's tired and grizzly and can't get to sleep its always down to me and if there's something else he wants to do he just isn't in the frame of mind to think "what about dd/dw" first. He's also not good at focussing on more than one thing, so if he's busy at work, that's all he does and when he comes home he's not good at switching to "family man" and those responsibilities.

I'm not sure where to go from here and never thought I'd end up in this situation where I feel like I can't talk to him as we e always been quite a tight knit unit. But thank you for your advice - it really helps to have thrashed it out.

I am fortunate in being well supported in other ways - have a great NCT group, going to a few baby classes and although my mum lives a couple of hours away I see her every other week or so and have lots of phone contact. So in many respects I feel well supported and like we're doing fine. I just feel sad that DH and I seem to have lost something along the way.

Thanks again.

blushingmare Mon 24-Sep-12 08:19:17

Just an update....

Had a really good chat with DH over the weekend and feeling much better about things now. Because of the situation we're in, I will always end up doing a lot of this on my own, but DH now has a lot more understanding about what he should can do to help - both practically and psychologically.

Thanks to all who commented and made me feel like I wasn't just being a stroppy postnatal woman and had good reason to raise issues with him.

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