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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.

stinkingbishop Mon 30-Sep-13 11:23:53

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.


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!

HorryIsUpduffed Mon 30-Sep-13 11:28:31

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


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.

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