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To think OH has an unrealistic expectation of parenting

(63 Posts)
Charlespock Thu 17-Dec-15 15:57:46

OH and I got into an argument about daytime/nighttime parenting. We are expecting our first very soon and I don't think his view of parenting is realistic.

He has crazy shift patterns which vary week to week (no regular schedule, finds out a few days before what he'll be working that week). He often works nights (10-6) and mornings (6-2) but also sometimes works 2-10s which is the entire day. He said when he has got morning shifts or is working nights he will not care for the baby and will have to wear earplugs or stay at his mums whilst doing these shifts.

So if he works 3 mornings in a row I will not get a rest during the night because he has to be up early. The same with night shifts as well because he then sleeps until 4/5 in the afternoon. He does not work a taxing job (McDonalds). I know since I used to work there myself. I think this is very unfair on me whilst we have a newborn and the fact he said he will have to go stay at his mums just hurts. He also refuses to change his working availability to only day time shifts on certain days because he prefers nights and also refuses to arrange shared parental leave to make it easier.

Is there anyway I can get through to him about what parenting actually means?

Hassled Thu 17-Dec-15 16:01:52

Do you think it might change when the baby actually arrives? To you it's very real and tangible, because obviously you're carrying the baby - to men it's often quite abstract and unreal until the baby actually arrives. Is he usually pretty selfish?

Bathsheba Thu 17-Dec-15 16:04:47

Is he maybe feeling very daunted by this all - my sister was always one for "this won't change anything in my life" and found the adjustment when things HAD to change very well.

Could you agree on dayshifts only for 3 months, and hen back to his "more enjoyable" rota - I presume he enjoys night shifts more as they are quieter..!

icklekid Thu 17-Dec-15 16:05:42

Gosh the going to stay at his mums would really worry me! The night shifts and early mornings is probably reasonable however it will all adjust when baby is here and as long as he is doing some care you will still get sleep. The logistics of this might vary week to week!

junebirthdaygirl Thu 17-Dec-15 16:11:39

If he is working nights he will have to sleep for at least 7 hours or he will soon crash. Working 6 til 2 he could probably manage to stay up until about 9 so could help then. Maybe when he comes off a night shift he could stay up until 8 so you could get those extra few hours. It will work out. No point in fighting about it until baby is here.

WhereYouLeftIt Thu 17-Dec-15 16:13:32

That's not just unrealistic - that's selfish as fuck angry.

DrewsWife Thu 17-Dec-15 16:18:03

Let him know gently. That my husband works shift sleepover shift. Where his client doesn't sleep for long for a well known learning disability support company.

If he can do that, change nappies, help with night feeds.... Then your poppet can too. grin

Twitterqueen Thu 17-Dec-15 16:18:10

I think this is something you'll have to figure out when the baby arrives. FWIW my exH never, ever, ever did any kind of night support, at all, through 3 DCs.

I sympathise with both of you. Your H - is going to need to get a decent amount of sleep - and whether it's a taxing job or not is irrelevant. He has to be somewhere else, awake, functioning and safe. You will be hopefully be able to nap a bit.

Try not to stress about it now - it's really not the kind of thing you can resolve at this point.

nephrofox Thu 17-Dec-15 16:19:16

TBH in my experience most new mums do the night shifts on the basis that the dad is at work. How much are you expecting, bearing in mind he will be going off to work and you will (hopefully) be able to sleep with the baby during the day

PiperChapstick Thu 17-Dec-15 16:22:37

That's not just unrealistic - that's selfish as fuck.


Do you plan to bottle feed? If so tell him that for when the times when he works during the day, that the night before YOU will go to YOUR mums and leave him to it. Don't let the fact you're on mat leave think he can shirk his responsibilities. You shouldn't have to do it all, and he'd be a selfish twat if he let you do it all.

petalsandstars Thu 17-Dec-15 16:24:34

The benefit of the first baby is you can go to sleep in the day whilst baby naps if you've been up all night. He shouldn't need to sleep until 5 though even getting 8 hours he'd be up at 3 surely!

On nights he can do stuff in the evening and on mornings he can do things in afternoon /evening and on lates he can be there with you all morning.

It'll get trickier as baby gets bigger but to start with at least let everything else slide and make sure you get enough rest in the day.

OddSocksHighHeels Thu 17-Dec-15 16:27:40

I was always happy to do night wakings but that was because I was breastfeeding so it made sense for me but he needs to help when he's there and when he can.

I worked retail - long hours, short notice for the shifts that had to be worked, on my feet all day blah de blah and I continued doing so as a single parent once me and ex split up. It's knackering but it's what you do as a parent, you don't run off to your mum confused

mouldycheesefan Thu 17-Dec-15 16:34:38

Did you discuss this sort of thing before you decided to have children? As staying at his mums makes him sound very immature and not the greatest basis for starting a family.
That said, night shifts are a killer for the body clock anyway without getting up at night in the nights you are not working. There is a compromise here somewhere work as a team to find it. New babies can crack a relationship and hoofing it to his mums sounds like he is halfway there already.

specialsubject Thu 17-Dec-15 16:36:05

so he prefers nights, but not with a baby?

was this discussed before you got pregnant? Does he actually want this child?

not seeing a lot of teamwork here..

LibrariesgaveusP0wer Thu 17-Dec-15 16:38:52

It never ceases to amaze me how women are expected to manage on very little sleep for extended periods but men's worlds will come crashing down around their ears...

The idea of sleeping when the baby naps is lovely, if it works out. If it does you can adjust what's expected of each of you in the nights. But the reality often seems to be a vague expectation that you can do that, when in reality you can't, and a DP who feels justified in doing bugger all.

It is hard to talk about in the abstract, but don't let "I am more important than you" become a pattern. Have a read of some of the posts on parenting, sleep, relationships, etc for what it does (Hint: long term, not many of the couples are happily together).

LaurieLemons Thu 17-Dec-15 16:41:37

I think it's weird and uneccessary for him to suggest staying at his mums but I've always let OH sleep and I get up with DS unless it's a weekend then he will help out. I definitely agree that it's just something you have to figure out once your baby's here. Tbh I think you're lucky that you'll be getting the help when he does afternoon shifts. I think it's unrealistic to expect him to help with the baby at night when he has a morning shift though.

CastaDiva Thu 17-Dec-15 16:43:13

With respect, OP, the time to discuss this is before you decide to have children with someone. Your partner is not being 'unrealistic', he is clearly trying to make it plain he does not intend to be an equal parent, or to vary his work schedule at all after the child is born. In fact, work is being his 'alibi' for not being an equal parent, to the extent of reattaching himself to his mother's household. Tackle this now, or by the end of your maternity leave you will find that you are a lone parent despite being in a relationship, and find yourself in the kind of appallingly exploitative dynamic women post about too often on here.

NA200712 Thu 17-Dec-15 16:44:03

OMG! He's in for a shock when this baby arrives!!

He needs to get through his thick head that being a parent comes first before getting his beauty sleep.

My husband works shifts full time and I work full time and there are nights we barely sleep because we have a 3 year old star fishing in our bed and kicking our faces but you just have to deal with it. The fact he's willing to stay in a separate house is quite worrying. Parenting is 50/50 not 99% mummy and 1% daddy.

He sounds very immature and selfish. Maybe he needs to look for a more family friendly job... if the answer to that is no then its quite obvious he's happy for you to do everything while his life carries on as though nothing has changed for him.

Alicewasinwonderland Thu 17-Dec-15 17:06:16

It depends. Are you really talking about a newborn, whilst you are on maternity leave, or after when you go back to work? (If you do obviously).

For me, it's fair that the mum who is at home does night shift. I even slept in the spare room to try to let my husband sleep at night (couldn't really see the point of both of us being up! It's hard enough when your baby doesn't sleep more than 2 hours at a time).

If you are at home, you can have a rest during the day (or at least crash on the sofa. It sounds perfectly reasonable.

Most of my friends have the same arrangements during the week, and ask for parents or in-laws to help at weekend so they can both get a bit of sleep!

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Thu 17-Dec-15 17:16:33

I don't think it really matters what shift he works TBH. Lots of people work a night shift with a baby & cope. What matters is him prioritising his need for sleep over yours!

If he's worked a night shift, it's perfectly OK for him to come home & go to bed to get some sleep before the next night shift - so long as he gets up early enough to look after the baby while you catch up on some of your missed sleep too! If he's planning to get home from work at, say, 7am then go straight to bed & get up late afternoon with just enough time to shower, eat & go back to work then he's being a twat.

What's this nonsense about going to his mum's to sleep? If there's a newborn baby in the house, sleep is likely to be disturbed. This is a non-negotiable part of parenting. You don't get to go to your mum's to opt out & come back when baby sleeps through the night! Presumably, this would carry on until the child starts school (daytime sleeping after a nightshift), as a toddler in the house is even more noisy than a newborn baby?

Hopefully, the wakeful nights stage will be pretty short for you (I have 3 DCs, 2 were poor sleepers but DS2 was sleeping through the night from 6 weeks old) but if it isn't, what does he expect you to do? Effectively operate as a single parent for the duration?

marmiteandcheeseplease Thu 17-Dec-15 17:24:14

neph I think the whole " most new mums do the night shifts on the basis that the dad is at work " thing is absolute BS though. Is looking after a baby not work?! Not all mums can sleep during the day when their baby sleeps - my DD wouldn't sleep for longer than 30-40 minutes during the day until she was about a year old.

Also, what about mums who go back to work, but their kids still wake up at night (like my sleep monster)? In my experience (of friends who did all the night parenting when on mat leave), mums who return to work often then get saddled with all the night parenting when working as well, and it's shitty.

When I had DD, I offered to do all night parenting to my DP as he would be 'at work'. He told me that he was happy to take on his fair share of night parenting as he thought my job of looking after the baby was more important than his job! I was very thankful of this when baby came, and even more so when DD continued to wake until she was 15 months old, and I was long since back at work.

NewLife4Me Thu 17-Dec-15 17:35:17

I'd be telling him what is going to happen and expect him to cooperate otherwise he'd be at his mums permanently. grin

Perhaps explain to him that it doesn't happen like he suggests and he needs to do his fair share to bond with his child.
I would also insist on the shared parental leave and change of hours if it was what I wanted.
Hopefully your oh will realise you are a couple, both parents and step up to the mark.

slightlyglitterpaned Thu 17-Dec-15 18:12:44

I didn't do night time nappy changes for the first few weeks, DP did them, including when back at work. I just fed baby.

TBH, I needed the rest. I had SPD towards end of pregnancy, so wasn't that fit, & lost 2l blood during birth that I needed to replace. DP had an office job, so felt that a few extra coffees at work were worth it to allow me to recover after birth & make sure I was alert enough to look after DS during the day. DS, after all, was our priority, not DP being able to swan about as if nothing had changed.

Agree that "just nap when baby naps" is a lovely theory but BS in reality.

3sugarsplease Thu 17-Dec-15 18:22:15

Does he not realise that you're going to a parent to which is also a full time job? Where's your luxury of spending the night away so you get a good sleep?


HelenaJustina Thu 17-Dec-15 18:22:55

I have always done all the nights with our 4. I bfed them all so they mostly wanted me, and if I was going to be awake to feed them I didn't see the point of waking DH just to change a nappy. He was working full-time and my full-time job was child-care... He helped out when he was home though and after a really bad night would take the baby at say 5am so I could have a couple of hours before the other DC woke up.

My DH often has/had long drives and I would send him to the spare room to sleep as I worried about him driving tired. I think you need to reach a compromise but until the baby is here and you know what kind of one you get, there's no point winding each other up and manufacturing arguments.

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