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To want DH to enjoy parenting more than he dors

(54 Posts)
Icantgetnosleep000 Sat 11-Aug-18 14:45:44

Not sure if I can give an accurate picture in a single post

DH is a good man, very supportive in our previous relationship together (pre baby), though we were on a more equal footing then - both extremely independent of each other and enjoying the perks of a indulgent child free life when together

Now we have 9 mo old DS who is a joy but is causing massive sleep deprivation which isn't helping

In a nutshell, I feel that I give everything to DS and to new family life. I'm not being a martyr, I've chosen this, but I feel that I enjoy DS more than DH does. He loves him dearly, I know this, but he struggles with any kind of change and this is the biggest life change there is! He is also far less interested in things DS does. I enjoy watching him come along in every way, I enjoy the psychology of his developments. I enjoy planning his days, feeing him, watching him grow. DH, I feel, is more of a mildly reluctant baby sitter. That's a very harsh description and isn't true all of the time. But where, say, I would look forward to a family day out, he would pass DS off to a willing GP if they were around.

DH says he needs time to get used to the changes in our sleep deprived life, and that I'm creating an atmosphere he doesn't enjoy being in because of how short I am with him now. He feels like I'm constantly criticising, which I probably am. I feel like he doesn't want to be around us. Chicken and egg...?I feel like I'm giving all to family and I need him to be part of that, he's asking for me to give him some time and understanding. I have nothing left to give!! Is he being selfish? Am I being unreasonable?

I'm so upset at our interactions these days. What we had before our much longed for, much loved son was a very very carefree life. Now it's bickering and resentment (he goes out, I rarely do so atm but that's through tiredness and choice)

I find myself really not liking him some days which is shocking to me

This is a very complex situation. Honestly, if I asked DH to help me with something specific he would in an instant. As I saw before, he is a great man. I'm just struggling to have to understand his point of view when all I want to do is tell him to grow up. You can't make someone feel a certain way, no matter how much you want to, I know. He assures me he will slowly adjust to our new life but please tell me, has anyone else been in this situation? Is it really common for parenting to be so hard? I'm sure lack of sleep is the biggest contributor of all

Please be gently, I need support plead, no suggestions to LTB because he isn't one (and I won't)

Icantgetnosleep000 Sat 11-Aug-18 14:46:04

Sorry for typos and rambling....

Icantgetnosleep000 Sat 11-Aug-18 14:50:28

By the way I've left specifics out deliberately, so perhaps I look like a naggy wife but honestly the support I get parenting-wise is not enough. It's not just about him co parenting but not being "happy enough"

gamerwidow Sat 11-Aug-18 14:53:00

I think you’re being unfair your DH loves your son in his own way and isn’t neglectful. I would find it hard to be with someone judging every interaction with my child to see if it measured up to their standards so it’s no surprise he is getting reluctant to spend time with you.
For a lot of people the baby stage is very boring. As long as he is doing his fair share and not leaving all the care to you then you should let him parent in his own way.

gamerwidow Sat 11-Aug-18 14:55:12

Is see from your update he isn’t sharing in the parenting chores which is not ok. He doesn’t have to overjoyed at spending time looking after his childbir he does have to do it and if he isn’t then that’s a different issue.

Icantgetnosleep000 Sat 11-Aug-18 14:55:22

Thank you, I need to hear this kind of thing smile

JustlikeDevon Sat 11-Aug-18 14:57:04

I had a very similar experience when dd was little. He missed our child free life so much and while he loved her very much (and still does) he could not adjust to me as a mother and the loss of our life. Do try and keep communication open. I was very resistant to anyone helping or babysitting and he hated that - if you are similar, maybe you need to force yourself to have more adult time and let someone else take dc for a day or evening.

Icantgetnosleep000 Sat 11-Aug-18 14:57:30

I think it's more that I feel like default parent. I'm on mat leave so it's an easy dynamic to fall into, but often I have to ask him to take DS or do this or that when it would never ever be the same the other way round!

JennyHolzersGhost Sat 11-Aug-18 14:58:23

I know that you said you’ve left specifics our deliberately but it makes it very hard to comment I’m afraid OP. Is he not pulling his weight with the sleeplessness and the childcare and so on, or does he do his share but is sagging slightly under the pressure and stress?
If it’s the former then you’ve got a fundamental problem and he needs to step up; if it’s the latter then I think your relationship is suffering from the stress that having small kids can bring and you probably need to try and find some way to reconnect. But it would be easier to advise if you could give some more info.

Icantgetnosleep000 Sat 11-Aug-18 14:58:41

Thanks Devon, there is a definite element of truth there. He says I should use our mums more, I see that as him shirking his patent responsibilities and passing it onto others...

Confusedbeetle Sat 11-Aug-18 15:00:07

Sadly this is really common. Some parents don't really enjoy all the little joys of the child and see only the hard bits, of which sleep deprivation is massive. Many men struggle with the baby being the centre of attention and feel pushed out but naturally don't want to admit it. Whatever is going on in your relationship I really would try and focus on the sleep. Your baby by 9 months is physically able to sleep through the night so you may need a bit of help and support to achieve this. Nothing else with be in perspective until you get some sleep. I am not lessening your concerns or saying you are the one responsible for sorting them. But as a couple, the one thing that can be put right is your baby learning to get through the night without need ing you. Good luck

MirriVan Sat 11-Aug-18 15:02:15

This could easily be the other way round - you struggling to adjust to your new life as a carer. It's hard. Wouldn't you want your partner to be understanding if you were struggling?
Having said that, I can understand your frustration if you feel you are doing everything for the baby without prompting and he needs to be asked all the time - that's a dynamic you don't want to get entrenched in.
Could you maybe sit down together and draw up a rota of baby related tasks for him to do when he gets home? That could help him bond and feel more comfortable with his child, and you wouldn't feel like you were having to take the initiative all the time.

HonkyWonkWoman Sat 11-Aug-18 15:03:39

Sometimes when a baby comes along, you give EVERYTHING to the child and neglect the relationship with your first love your Dp.
As long as Dbaby is loved and cared for he will be fine. You can be a good parent without obsessing about everything the Dbaby does.
Relax a bit! Connect with your Dp! Get the Gparents to babysit and have some fun.
Then you will have the happy little family that you crave.

Icantgetnosleep000 Sat 11-Aug-18 15:03:42

Jenny... It's probably more of the latter.
Perhaps it's because my standards are higher whereas his are more relaxed, doing "just enough". So for example, if I'm up super early with DS i'll cook breakfast, do some cleaning and housework and play with DS. He is more likely to sit on the sofa and watch him with one eye on his phone.

I also do 100% of the housework but I'm a clean freak. He works hard to support us all and keep us living very comfortably (I am a professiobal but obviously not working now). It was never an issue before but now it adds to my resentment. He says he'll pay for a cleaner so I can relax, I just want him to contribute to family and home life more.

God am I am awful nag??

Icantgetnosleep000 Sat 11-Aug-18 15:05:35

Thank you all for responses so far, elements of truth in every comment and advice I can definitely follow

loveisland Sat 11-Aug-18 15:06:25

Maybe look at it from I different perspective, you got a partner, if you were doing this all on your own with only your mum to rely on you would just have to get on with life!

AmIRightOrAMeringue Sat 11-Aug-18 15:07:35

My husband is a little bit the same. He does more than his fair share (he needs a bit less sleep than me)...but...he just isn't into it. And I think it shows and worry the kids will pick up on it. For example if he's feeding the baby he will put food in front of her and go and do something else (checking regularly) whereas I will sit down with her. If she needs to be kept upright after a feed he will watch TV with her on his knee whereas I'll read a book or sing with her. If he is playing with her on the floor or on the swings or something he's actually just sitting next to her / pushing her, while reading his phone. He hardly ever voluntarily interacts with her. And if I point this out I'm a nag - I just don't think he realises he's doing it, or it doesn't come naturally to him (which I was surprised about as he is actually great with babies - much better than me - for a small amount of time)

But (and I hope this gives you some comfort) we also have a 3 year old and he is much much better with her. He was similar with her when she was a baby (maybe it's a bit worse second time round as more tired and stretched more thinly but I remember having the same concerns). He will play football with her, take her bike rides, trips out, teaches her games, takes her to activities, swimming, reads etc. I think he is just better at it when there is more interaction. He speaks another language and was worried she wasn't speaking it much when she was younger - I think it's because he barely spoke to her or read to her. In the last year he has interacted wi th her so much she has come on massively.

So hopefully given time, things will improve

I'd add he also struggled a lot with lifestyle changes (seeing friends, holidays, work trips and hobbies). This has also got better as they have got older and easier to leave with one parent or join in

Bambamber Sat 11-Aug-18 15:09:57

I honestly could have written your post. Have you sat down and talked to him openly and honestly about how you are feeling and exactly what you need him to do? It took me a while but I did with my husband and things are slowly getting better but it is slow progress.

I think the turning point for my husband was when he realised that our daughter always seems unhappy around him but as soon as she is with me she is happy again. And that's because we have fun together, which requires time and effort

JennyHolzersGhost Sat 11-Aug-18 15:12:19

Hmmm. In that case it sounds as though he’s one of those people who doesn’t ‘get’ babies. Meringue’s tale is encouraging - so perhaps he’ll engage more as the baby gets older ? I do agree with those who suggest focusing on sorting the sleeping out. Getting enough sleep may help put the other stuff into perspective ?

FinallyHere Sat 11-Aug-18 15:13:55

* He says he'll pay for a cleaner so I can relax, I just want him to contribute to family and home life more.*

This jumped out at me

Icantgetnosleep000 Sat 11-Aug-18 15:14:36

Bambamer- we have spoken a lot (today particularly!) but it's usually at a time when we're already tired and angry with each other. Not constructive.

Meringue, you have given me hope- thank you!

formerbabe Sat 11-Aug-18 15:17:45

This is a very complex situation

Doesn't sound very complex to me. It's an age old, bog standard situation huge numbers of women find themselves in once they have children.

Saracen Sat 11-Aug-18 15:18:14

I think your disappointment that your dh doesn't feel exactly the same way you do, or parent exactly the same way you do, is something you'll have to weather. He may change over time - some parents find older children more engaging than babies - or he may not. It is what it is.

But you need your DH to stump up more practical help, whether he enjoys it or not. If he isn't doing his share and this is making you sleep deprived and crabby, that situation is totally fixable. You recognise that you're sometimes overly critical of how he does things, so maybe it would be best if he looks after the baby on his own sometimes rather than with you looking over his shoulder. It is possible, though not guaranteed, that a fringe benefit of your DH spending more time looking after his child is that he may get more attached - that can happen. (I vaguely remember research cited in a documentary which indicated that fathers who spent more time in close physical contact with their babies experienced a consequent hormone shift which inclined them to be more attentive to the baby. In one experiment, the hands-on fathers became worried when they heard a recording of a crying baby which they thought was real. They tried to find the baby, presumably to comfort it, whereas fathers who spent less time cuddling their babies tended to ignore the crying or become annoyed by it.)

So yes, as others are saying, YABU to expect your partner to feel a certain way. YANBU to expect him to behave differently and give you more practical help.

Icantgetnosleep000 Sat 11-Aug-18 15:19:47

You're absolutely right formerbabe and I think that gives me comfort.

What I meant by complex is there are many nuances to our specific situation that I can't start listing otherwise the post will be pages long

Broussard Sat 11-Aug-18 15:21:52

and that I'm creating an atmosphere he doesn't enjoy being in because of how short I am with him now. He feels like I'm constantly criticising, which I probably am

Would you enjoy it all so much if someone was constantly criticising you? Would you be throwing yourself into doing things with the baby if he told you everything you did was wrong, not good enough, and not only that but he doesn't approve of how you feel?

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