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How do you share childcare with your partner?

(38 Posts)
ohthegoats Sun 07-Jun-15 21:16:48

I have an 8 month old baby. From the first day my partner moved into the spare room and put in ear plugs. I knew he'd do this on work days, that's only reasonable while I'm on maternity leave, but he's still doing it on weekends, on holidays etc. I have stopped breast feeding in the last week, and have been mixed feeding since 6 months, so he's got a lot more opportunity to be involved in everything - he's just starting now to actually 'do' stuff, but not much of it happens without me asking him to do a specific thing. I think the general chore stuff of making bottles, getting bed stuff out, taking her for a bath etc will just improve, since it's improved a lot in the last 6 weeks.

BUT... in all that time he's only dealt with her between the hours of 11pm and 7am on 4 occasions. She's not a good sleeper, I'm exhausted and just want a night off where I can sleep for 8 hours. Or even 5 hours to be honest.

Every time we have a night scheduled in for him to be the main person getting up to her, there is a reason why it can't happen.. interview the next day, feels ill, she's ill and so on. Tonight it was meant to be happening - I put her to bed, came out of the room to find him tucked up fast asleep in the spare room. At 8.30. So... that's me on duty for the night again then is it? He's apparently 'ill' - he aches. Diddums.

Obviously we need to have a conversation about this for the future - I'm going back to work for a few days here and there as of next week, 4 days a week in September. He's also doing a 10 days in 9 days contract as of now. Even the nights before those days off there have been 'reasons' why he can't get up to her.

Apologies for the long rant (I'm FUMING right now) - what do you to try and make sure that childcare is a properly shared job? I want to get something sorted out in an almost formal way as I think that's the only way he'll actually start properly stepping up.

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Buglife Mon 08-Jun-15 03:50:55

I have a nearly 10 month old who usually still wakes 1-2 times a night although no longer night feeds, he does require attention. I do weeknight overnights, but DH is 'on duty' from DS bedtime until 11.30pm, and again from 6am, so he will sort him out if he wakes then, which he doesn't always, but if doe example he wakes really early DH can take him so I can sleep for another hour, or get up and wash/have coffee before I do DS breakfast. Weeks he does one overnight then I get up with DS, and then we swap the next night, so I get one full nights sleep and then the next day a lie in, and DH gets breakfast, puts down for morning nap etc. DH takes him swimming on a Saturday and I sometimes go but often stay home for some alone time. DH does most bedtimes as he only gets in after dinner so it's the only thing he gets to do with him on a weekday sometimes. I'm lucky that he wants to be hands on, though I guess since I am not as obviously in need of help as in the early days when I was barely sleeping and DS would only sleep on me so in the evening there would be lots for DH to do, now I have such a routine once DS is in bed we can sit and the baby related stuff is usually done, I am doing a lot more of the practical stuff just because I'm the one here (DH out the house about 11-12 hours a day with commute). I am going back to work 2.5 days a week soon and he will look after DS on a Saturday when I work then, I'll do nursery drop off the other days as he'll be long gone to London. I am hoping DS may have stopped waking as much if he's not having night feeds but if not we'll have to think about what to do the nights before I have to work.

purplemurple1 Mon 08-Jun-15 04:33:38

With dc1 we split the night so I stayed up until last feed around midnight and OH got up for first feed around 5am. At weekends we took a night each.
We did that from day one so we were equally confident with dc1.
I think that could be your oh problem, i would book a night away in a couple of weeks (just for you). Then tell him you are prepared to train him up over the next couple of weeks but he needs to be up with you every night he is free the next day. Your trip will not be cancelled on any account barr him being hospitalised. Once he has done a night make a rota and stick to it put the baby in his room I need be and buy your own ear plugs.

Your oh is beng a dick don't let him get away with it any longer.

NerrSnerr Mon 08-Jun-15 04:54:22

Our baby is 9 months and is still breastfed so I need to do lots of the wakings but we also do it in shifts. My husband will go in before midnight as she's unlikely to need feeding so I can at least have a few hours undisturbed. On a weekend (and the occasional weekday) I will ask him to try and settle her if I'm struggling. I just ask for help as I need it.

Your husband sounds like an arse, I agree that you need to arrange some time away so he has to step up.

ClearEyesFullHearts Mon 08-Jun-15 05:05:18

what do you to try and make sure that childcare is a properly shared job?

Leave him with the baby for a night or two.

Also, once he's doing nights, don't split evening care. Much better to alternate 'on night duty' for 2-3 nights in a row. It provides more chance of essential, uninterrupted, sleep.

Bohemond Mon 08-Jun-15 05:07:49

4.5 month old here. DH does bath time every evening. I feed and put to bed and DH feeds again at 11. I get up once in night and feed and then get up with him in morning. I can hand him over at 7.30 (we both work from home). DH then has him for two days a week if I need to work. I probably do more than 50% for the baby but he will pick things up if I need some time out or want to do something else.
Your DH is a lazy twat.

Misty9 Mon 08-Jun-15 05:56:31

Have you asked him why he's avoiding it? Is he scared? desperately trying to give him the benefit of the doubt here! with ds i did all night feedings - but dh did all nappy changes etc until he stopped needing those at night. Then dh would do the mornings after I'd fed ds. With dd, I did most of her waking and dh got up for ds still and he nearly always does the rude awakening early mornings! But we also both work part time and look after the kids part time, so are fairly equal on child care.

It sounds like your partner needs some alone time with his child - does he have this much?

Nolim Mon 08-Jun-15 06:06:43

Like yours my dp was always too busy/tired/ill unlike i who was relaxing and getting my nails done haha during mat leave. When i went back to work our schedules meant that he had to be the sole carer for over an hour every day. So our arrangament is more balanced now due to pragmatical reasons. Good luck.

5YearsTime Mon 08-Jun-15 06:08:17

Sorry but your DP is a total selfish arsehole. I'd have been waking him up.

My baby is 2 months and I've had to do a the night feeds as I'm breastfeeding so during the week DH will try and sleep as he gets up really early for work. He'll still check on us though. At weekends he'll keep me company during a night feed and do the nappy changes.

Right from when we brought her home he's done his fair share when he's home.

I try to be organised and have bath time all laid out for when he's home and he'll do bath time but we usually have that as some family time so I'll hang around too.

My DH does work a lot and last week was tough and he couldn't do as much but he still put her in the sling whilst he was working on his laptop at home.

When she was really little and up every two hours during the night he would send me for a nap in the evenings and keep her sleeping as long as he could. That nap saved my sanity. A few hours uninterrupted sleep was my absolute salvation at that point.

We constantly talk talk talk about what we both need/if we are tired/what we need and try to find a balance. Getting pregnant was very tough for us so maybe it's easier for my DH to appreciate it? Were you both on board with the pregnancy?

confusedandemployed Mon 08-Jun-15 06:08:57

We split 50/50 right from the off. Bathtime / bedtime is taken in turns, the nights are split: he used to do feeds from 7pm -1am so I got a stretch of sleep and then I was on duty from 1am. I'm an early bird and he's a night owl so I do 80-90% of mornings with a day off each week. Even now, (DD is 2.3yo) it's the same. If she wakes before 1am I don't know about it. DH is completely comfortable minding his daughter and he wouldn't have it any other way
Actually he's rather scornful of men like your DH, he wonders why they bother having kids DS at all.
I've been away for 1-2 nights on countless occasions, DH manages just fine.
I think your DH is being an arse too - but it is possible that he simply doesn't know what to do...

cathpip Mon 08-Jun-15 06:22:16

My dh was like this to a certain extent until I stopped facilitating it and went and dumped baby on him, literally, even when he was pretending to be "poorly". Don't leave the conversation too long as mulling over how little he does will only make you more angry.

Whathaveilost Mon 08-Jun-15 07:39:07

Jeez, what's dick!
When Ds1 was born both of us did what needed to be done together.
DH is self employed and needed to go back straight away but the baby was initially in a crib on my side of the bed. He would snuggle into me as I fed DS and make sure I was comfortable. DH would get me a drink and anything I needed and then settle baby back inthe crib.

When I had bad nights and was exhausted he would ring up his sister who lived near by and ask her to look after Ds for a couple of hours so I could catch up with rest or if he could get away from customers would come home for an hour or two.

DH has never tried to pull a fast one with excuses not to look after his children. Consequently now the boys are older they have a very close relationship with him and adore him.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Mon 08-Jun-15 07:49:03

Your OH is a dick.

With us I would get up work nights while on ML and he would get up Fri and Sat nights. We each had Sat or Sun as a lie in day. He has always done bath/bottle/bed.

When I returned to work we did a night "on duty" each alternatively.

Now we have a 3.6yo and a 7mo and we do alternate nights, and have done since baby2 was born, even though I was on ML.

I work shifts and he does weekdays termtime, so our kids only go to the CMs when we are both at work. He is off all school holidays so is essentially a SAHD during this time.

Athenaviolet Mon 08-Jun-15 07:51:53


Seriously what's the point when he doesn't give a rats arse about you or your child?

Being a single mum is better than this.

ch1134 Mon 08-Jun-15 08:51:44

We don't consciously divide labour, it just happens. I did all the night feeds as I was breastfeeding, and he has always done the first nappy of the day. We both want to be with our son so we don't really argue about time off.

HazleNutt Mon 08-Jun-15 10:13:43

wait, so he agreed it was his night and then promptly went to bed? I would have woken him up. How selfish can one be!

Kent1982 Mon 08-Jun-15 10:19:44

On the goats. I could have written your post, I'm in exactly the same situation and questioning if I should just leave and go it alone. Oh left the bedroom at day 2 never to return and it's week 12. He isn't likely to return either even though baby sleeps for 5 hours through the night

I don't think he has changed a nappy for 3 weeks. He makes out to his family and friends he is super dad but heis appalling. He rareLay picks him up but will talk to him for 10 mins every day. I've not left the baby since he was born and I'm getting tired now. He does bath him but I have to prompt this and he is good at it.

This guy is responsible, so I just cannot believe how bad he is. I feel bad for wanting to leave because I would be depriving baby of a family but if we stay I don't want Ds to grow up thinking that this is how men should be. Pretty much oh has better social life then before baby was born and everything he does with us seems half hearted.

When I see families in the park I could cry because oh is missing out on so much and Ds is such a happy content baby

I need to hear someone has turned it around and it will get better because it's looking a bit bleak at the moment

ohthegoats Mon 08-Jun-15 10:31:51

Interesting replies, thanks.

In the end last night he woke up at 11.30, I fed her and put her back to sleep at that point, and left them to it. He actually looked like shit, but tough! There have been nights where I have felt dreadful and he's shut the door saying 'good luck!'. He slept in with her and I went into the spare room, where I slept from midnight until 8am! Woohoo... well, there was one wake up for a wee, at which point I could hear her crying, but it was at her normal nightfeedwakeuptime, so I left them to it. He's actually been pretty good at getting her to sleep in general - the way he rocks her seems to work better than my 'not feed to sleep' methods.

He was on board with the pregnancy, although it happened quicker than we expected (both nearly 40 at the time, thought we'd have a month or so, took 3 weeks), so we were both a bit in shock. In his defence, he's very good with her in the daytime (and getting better as time goes on), and he does look after me in that he does most of the cooking etc.

Until now with the breastfeeding I have been able to at least slightly understand his viewpoint, but things are going to change formally now.

I was lying in bed this morning working out how to share the nights. Agree definitely that we both need an option for sleeping through the night and getting a lie in at weekends.

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EvilSidekick Mon 08-Jun-15 10:33:45

I agree it is a confidence thing, but do not agree with the leave him to it suggestions as it may knock his confidence further and lead to more discord. As much as your husband is being unreasonable, you want to resolve this in a mature fashion and ensure that shared childcare is a long term norm, with a clear and fair agreement as to who does what and when, not turn this into tit for tat which has all the hallmarks of leading to a row and not actually resolving things. Good luck.

ohthegoats Mon 08-Jun-15 10:36:06

Kent that sounds crap, you have my sympathies. My OH isn't anywhere near as bad as that (although there were times around 3 - 4 months where he was getting that bad - he blamed his long commute, pah!)... I have to keep telling him he's being shit, which steps things up for a few weeks.

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ohthegoats Mon 08-Jun-15 10:40:10

but do not agree with the leave him to it suggestions as it may knock his confidence further

This is why I want him to do nights when I'm still around - he did try to do one a few weeks ago, but at 3am I couldn't stand the crying anymore and went to get her. His face looked like I know mine does at 3/4am when it's a bad night!

He said that she needed comforting a lot last night and woke up lots, but she doesn't for me (either that or I do it in my sleep!), so it's a 'getting used to it' thing for both of them isn't it. He's just 8 months behind!!

He's properly cock-a-hoop this morning too.. probably it wasn't as bad as he thought. Not going to have a conversation about that though, it needs to be not a big deal.

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ohthegoats Mon 08-Jun-15 10:41:37

Oh, and he's just suggested I go out and 'do some shit' today. On my own. Ha.

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Nolim Mon 08-Jun-15 14:47:26

So he is suggesting you go out for coffee or shopping or whatever and he stays with the baby? Isnt that good?

squizita Mon 08-Jun-15 16:06:35

I still bf my 8 month old.
DH and I split it "boob and bum" ie I do milk and he does nappy/randoms.

If as is often the case she wakes more for milk, I get "payback" on hos days off ... He creeps in when she wakes, takes her and gives her bottle/cereal, clothes on etc so I get a sleep in.

When he sleeps in the spare room either the monitor or his phone (I give him 3 rings if there's a brrrp and a stench on the Co sleeping bed! grin ) to alert him. He actually sleeps there a lot cause of HIS snoring waking baby! grin

He is driving me mad with regards to anything over 2 hr (he's very "intuitive" in terms of his approach but hippy though I am I don't care if she's "happy in herself" if she smells of wee she needs new nappy/trousers. Also foods for fun before 1 doesn't make coating the entire house with strawberry yoghurt "a good lunch" angry ).

ohthegoats Mon 08-Jun-15 16:52:59

Yes nolim, that's good! He has also suggested doing the same tonight. Also good.

Yes squizita same here regards 'she's happy' in a 3 tonne 6 hour nappy! To be fair though, I find that's the same with the grandparents too. I change her nappy according to the day's schedule, so if people only have her for part of the day I guess they aren't really thinking about when it was last changed.

I've found with most things in 'training' my partner, that I need to make a really clear point about telling my daughter why I'm changing her nappy, or why I'm making a bottle.. 'you must be hungry.. 2 hours since lunch, better fill the gap before tea' etc. Eventually things are sinking in and he's doing them before I remind him or ask him to.

The sleep/overnight thing though... there will be a conversation.

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