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To expect OH to give up the golf clubs for one bloody day?

(98 Posts)
FindingVino Sun 26-May-13 20:36:08

Dd is 7 months old and I do everything at home (cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping etc) which I don't really mind as I am still on mat leave. What is really starting to get on my nerves is OH's lack of interest in dd.

Dd sees her dad in the mornings for a couple of minutes while he's rushing out of the door to work (Heaven forbid he should wake up 10 mins earlier to have a cuddle). He gets back from work really late every night - high powered stressful City job blah blah so doesn't see dd in the evenings at all.

Weekends are always about golf with his friends or there's an endless stream of "unmissable" get togethers often involving weekends away drinking to excess.

On the rare weekend he is around, he has it so fully booked with seeing more friends that poor dd is dragged around to accommodate where he fancies going (apparently it doesn't matter if she doesn't sleep in the day and I get too "wound up" when she cries and should just leave her to it). Then he is always too tired / drunk to do anything useful (has only ever changed about 10 nappies, never fed her, never woken up during the night and was only present at bath time in the first week of her life).

I just feel like he is allergic to being at home and settling into family life.

We're not young parents and after so many years of independence and a marriage filled with fun late nights out, holidays and just doing what we wanted whenever we wanted to, the shock of parenthood has been huge for both of us.

Where I am just getting on with it and focussing on the positives of parenthood, OH is just so negative all the time. "What have we done? Life was so good before" etc etc. This really pisses me off because he has hardly changed any aspects of his pre-dd life. I know he has a stressful job and needs to let go on weekends (as I am reminded constantly) but the current situation is just infuriating.

I am just so annoyed and can't talk to anyone about this as it just makes me feel like a crap wife and like I'm not coping with motherhood. Just needed to vent... am I being unreasonable expecting him to change his life a bit or is this just how it is for others when OHs work long hours in a stressful job?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dreamingbohemian Tue 28-May-13 14:10:30

Good luck OP

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

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

Best of luck

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

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

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

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

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

dreamingbohemian Tue 28-May-13 14:05:29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bang on Cory.

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

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

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

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

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

A real dad is one who copes with your tantrums.

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

A real dad is one who deals with the backchat.

A real dad is one who cleans up the mess.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Let me put this in quite blunt terms.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parenthood is bloody hard work and your life has to change so much. OH was brilliant before dd. Admittedly he is really crappy now and I have let myself get to the stage where i am totally fed up, but I am convinced he just needs time to adjust. Yes, he's had 8 months and I am at a loss now but that has to be partly my fault for not making him stay at home and showing him how amazing dd is. So many people have suggested such positive approaches and I can't believe that they won't have a positive effect.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ben5 Tue 28-May-13 11:34:17

look around for Saturday dad playgroups. I know its not much use to you but we have one here on the first Saturday of every month. you can then bargin with him. he has dd every Saturday morning once a month in return of a round of golf in the pm

dreamingbohemian Tue 28-May-13 11:32:15

I know it must be very sad. Just please remember not to blame yourself too much, this is your husband's doing. You really shouldn't have to remind and push a father to spend time with his DD, I don't care how young or boring she is or how much fun could be had elsewhere.

I really hope you can get through to him.

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