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To have reservations about DH's childcare skills?

(8 Posts)
Stressedmummy1 Tue 23-Jun-09 10:31:02

Oh dear. I've gone back to work FT but a lot of it is done from home so I'm around to see some of what is going on. I'm hardly supermum, far from it, but I'm worried about the way in which DH is looking after DS. We agreed that DH would do childcare as I have better earning potential than him, and he seemed happy with doing that when we made the decision together. Maybe the reality of doing FT childcare has hit home, I don't know.

When I have taken a break from work to have a cup of coffee, I have several times gone in to them to find 18 month old DS unsupervised (but within earshot I suppose) whilst DH is on the computer. He lets him watch lots of telly, doesn't do many activities with him and feeds him crap with very little fruit and veg even though I have frozen meals down that DH could give to him. DH's heart just doesn't seem to be in it. When I went back to work I said that I thought DH should aim as I have, to give him at least one home cooked meal a day and not too much junk, a physical activity such as a trip to the park or even time playing in the garden (he is quite active and needs this), and limit TV. This doesn't happen every day when I look after DS, but I try, I don't think it hurts to have in mind a few standards to aim for, do you? DS is currently spending most days stuck in the house, watching lots of telly. It is a shame as he is not a difficult boy to amuse - he loves painting, getting involved, going out and about.

It is early days yet, so I am giving things a month or two to bed down, but AIBU in the back of my mind to be thinking that DH is not really into doing this, and that ultimately DS would be better being looked after by a professional at least part time so DH could cope better and I would have more peace of mind. How we afford that help is another questionQ"!BTW, we agreed that DH would do childcare as I have better earning potential than him, and he seemed happy with doing that when we made the decision together. Maybe the reality of doing it has hit home, I don't know.

mistlethrush Tue 23-Jun-09 10:46:22

We've been forced into this - I'm working ft as the co that dh worked for went into administration in Jan - so I take ds home after school and start work again and leave ds to dh. I find that I need to be quite pro-active with what I suggest - if its nice I suggest they go to the park, do some gardening, or if nasty - cooking or craft. However, whilst it started really well, the same has a tendency to happen with dh - going to be difficult for him over the hols and going to get some playdates organised (as much for dh's sanity as ds's).

If your dh can get some work pt or from home, definitely think this would be better for both - he would possibly have more energy to put into ds - certainly worked this way for me.

However, I don't agree that you can leave it a month or two to settle down - you need to have a discussion now - and agree the ground rules. OK, some days won't work right if ds is tired or grumpy, but its reasonable to expect that not more than, say 90mins of TV in thw whole day - and some time out at the park if good weather - take a football!

Snorbs Tue 23-Jun-09 10:56:49

What does your DH think of the way he's looking after DS?

violethill Tue 23-Jun-09 10:58:10

Agree with mistlethrush.

Not everyone wants to be at home 24/7 looking after their child - it just doesn't suit some men, or women, and it's better to be upfront about this. It sounds as though it was a convenient solution because you earn more, rather than a positive desire on your dh's part.

If he can find part time work, and your ds goes to nursery or a cm for part of the week, then you may well find you're all happier. I always appreciated my time at home a lot more because I was working part time. Being at home all the time doesn't mean you'll play more, cook more homemade meals etc. It's about a state of mind. If you are stimulated by doing something outside the home, you're far more likely to come home and really enjoy playing with the kids, cooking dinner etc.

Sit down and talk this through.

Stressedmummy1 Tue 23-Jun-09 13:46:35

Thanks for your kind replies.

Mistlethrush,thanks I think I will suggest to DH that we agree ground rules, TBH I'm not sure I can just leave things as they currently are for a month or so. I do suggest things that they can do together sometimes, and sometimes DH agrees, but then later on when I think they are out doing whatever I suggested, I find DH slumped on the sofa and DS in front of the tv.

Violet, the part time work solution could be a good idea, I think you are spot on about the convenience factor. DH may be up for a part time job if he truly isn't enjoying looking after DS.

Snorbs, I hadn't thought to ask him, but it's a thought.

fucksticks Tue 23-Jun-09 13:54:05

Definitely ask him how he's getting on.
Phrase it more as if you are concerned about him struggling with it, rather than that you are worried he's not doing it well enough iyswim.
Also perhaps you could tell him that you are struggling with keeping your concentration on top form with them in the house ALL the time and would he be able to take DS out somewhere once EVERY day (with exceptions for ill days, bad days etc of course). Once he gets a push to do one activity a day it might actually motivate him to do a bit more in general the rest of the day. It works for me (as a SAHM) I always force myself to get out once a day and the rest of the week seems to fall in place more nicely around that.

Whats happening with the household stuff as well? Is he literally just lounging around with DS all day? Who does the housework, shopping, household stuff, cooking? Hopefully not you after you've finished a days work!!!

mistlethrush Tue 23-Jun-09 13:59:17

Stressed mummy - I went back PT and it was a lifesaver - and it meant that I had the energy to put into doing 'fun' things with ds on my days off. But I think that you do need to get the ground rules agreed now - these are ground rules that should be in action unless there is a really good reason for them not being in action.

Perhaps you should think about when and why ds should be allowed to watch TV (and what?) - eg dh could use it when preparing meals, or if ds needed a bit of 'down' time

FWIW, I would think that dh should agree that the computer is not to be used unless ds is napping.

At this age I think getting out is really good - I know that I would take the dog for a walk every day, whatever the weather - and ds always comes - perhaps you should suggest that they should go out to the park every morning before it gets too hot.

At this age ds also loved his sandpit.

But what your dh should think about is that he has the chance to spend time helping to give a really strong grounding to your ds at this time - and leaving ds to it and being on his computer won't achieve this. Perhaps being outside in the garden and allowing ds to play (closely supervised) whilst managing to do the odd crossword clue or similar is different.

Out of interest, my dh is in IT and we're both fairly good on computer - so we specifically decided to ensure that ds had very little opportunity on one! However, there is a nice baby paint programme that he occasionally got to have a go on which he loved. He is just over 4 now - since he was 3 he has been able to open the internet explorer on my laptop, find Cbeebies on the bookmarks and open it, go to their games and choose which one to do and play it...

JemL Tue 23-Jun-09 14:00:06

I know it isn't to everyone's taste, but what about an activity planner - not a massive colour coded thing, but just a simple plan of park in the morning, painting in the afternoon etc. Might help to provide a bit of structure for your DH - perhaps he finds it hard to get organised?

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