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Partner can do nothing right according to other people

(9 Posts)
ParsleyCake Sun 15-May-16 22:06:56

I just wonder if anyone else has come across this attitude. Seems like my partner is criticised for his parenting by people who barely know us.

For instance:

"He is going to be a stay at home dad"
- other person invariably pulls an 'eek' face despite never having met him

- Whenever I express to my (childless) friends I don't want to go on a night out because of the baby, they immediately leap to attack him, saying such things as
- "___ should give you a break, I'm sure he is perfectly capable of looking after his own child"
- "I would never stop my wife from having a social life" (from a married man with two kids who knows us hardly at all)
Meanwhile the real reason I don't want to go out is for some other reason, completely unrelated to my husband's supposed unwillingness to take care of DS. It just seems that even before I give an excuse they blame it on my partner.

Also, people are always so quick to tell him (and never me) how to parent. They will say he's being too loud when he talks to the baby, or he's being to gentle and for goodness sake he's a little boy not a china doll. My mum heavily criticises me for leaving him alone with the baby when I go out as 'men can't cope'.

I mean wtf?

It's not even something my partner is actually doing wrong as most of these people come out with this stuff barely knowing him, or not at all. Do people just not like men looking after their own kids?

Meanwhile on the other end of the spectrum my single,childless friends are all for me going out all the time and leaving baby with him. Fact is, that's ok sometimes but surely it's not such a bad thing to say I don't want to leave the baby when I know he's not going to settle without me? I mean he would spend the night screaming and I would not enjoy myself as I would be fretting about it. I know things will change when he gets older.

People rarely criticise my own parenting skills and DS is nearly 1 now, but since he was born it seems like people are always pointing out my partners mistakes or offering 'advice'. In particular, people are very keen to 'defend' me and attack him when I have mentioned anything that only I can do for the baby. Like, my partner is a very deep sleeper and doesn't wake for the baby crying. We have tried this a few ways but in the end I am happy enough to get up, should DS wake in the night. I have to breast feed anyway so it makes sense. It doesn't bother us, though I know he felt guilty about this, but one woman snappily said "well he'll just have to get up, won't he? It's his child too!"
I was taken aback as I didn't know her very well and would not tolerate people being so rude about him normally.

Does everyone else just have lazy, horrible husbands and they think our relationship is just as bad? At the moment I am the stay at home parent and he works long hours (though we are about to swap roles) so I do look after the baby more, but all things considered I feel we are each doing our fair share and our relationship has never been better.

So is this criticism normal? And if so, what do you say to defend your man?

BexusSugarush Mon 16-May-16 09:56:11

While we haven't received such rude comments as of yet, we do often get the raised eyebrow when I say I can leave our 4mo with her father, or if I say I can't come out because I need to stay home with our baby they complain about my partner 'taking his turn for once' which is the most ignorant thing, as he is a brilliant dad and ALWAYS checks before going anywhere or booking plans that I'm okay with it. Every 2nd night he gets up in the night with our daughter and deals with her 5am wakeups and as soon as he gets in from work he immediately takes her off of me so I can have a break.

He is brilliant but people still have these really outdated, sexist views that men can't or won't be very good fathers. Unfortunately it is usually because THEIR man isn't as good a father as they'd like so they assume everyone else's is just as bad. Every other woman at my mother and baby group complains about their partner at every session, and it's really sad.

All you can really do is be honest and call them out; say 'I'm sorry if that's YOUR experience, but my partner is a really good father' and list relevant reasons. I've found that attack is the best form of defence in these situations. Even taking some of the blame yourself can throw them off a bit. Just be honest and tell them you don't appreciate their presumptuous, negative opinion.

Failing that, wear one of these t-shirts :D

RainIsAGoodThing Mon 16-May-16 10:32:04

My MIL is like this. She knows of two children who are cared for solely by their dad and she told me she thinks social services should take them away as it would be better for the kids!

My dad was probably a bit ahead of his time and my parents shared all childcare equally, so I grew up seeing it as normal for men to care for their children (!) but it really wasn't that long ago that babies and young children were almost exclusively 'women's work'. It's hard for some people to get their heads round anything different. Poor old MIL certainly wasn't given much help by FIL

I think it has perpetuated in two ways - 1) people think only women should look after kids, so Dad isn't encouraged or given the same guidance and advice from parents, professionals, friends that Mum is and so lacks knowledge and confidence with the baby. Leaves childcare to Mum, 'proving' that men can't cope with kids. The cycle starts again.
2) Until really quite recently, many women didn't have much power outside of the home, and raising a family gave them a social status that they had never had before. Even though socially and culturally things have moved on quite quickly since then, this attitude is quite ingrained in some parts of society and any sign of a shift in this 'power' must seem quite threatening. So people do their best to keep things as they've always been.

I may have given this too much thought for a Monday morning. Your partner sounds lovely OP, you do what's right for your family. Best of luck smile

squizita Mon 16-May-16 15:07:20

He is going to be a stay at home dad"
- other person invariably pulls an 'eek' face despite never having met him

Yep had that.

Person is usually the type who says 'why even have a kid if you want to work?' like they cannot compute that the only thing I did that DH couldn't was push her out and lactate. All other jobs are on a jobshare basis!

squizita Mon 16-May-16 15:14:04

Like, my partner is a very deep sleeper and doesn't wake for the baby crying. We have tried this a few ways but in the end I am happy enough to get up, should DS wake in the night.

hmm Now this is a bit crap. My DH is like this too. Too used to me doing all the nights and when I returned to work, something had to give, I was exhausted.

When I put him properly onto a few nights a week with expressed/follow on milk, I bought a baby monitor and turned it up LOUD. He wakes up now.

I sort of assumed he couldn't - but he wouldn't. Not in a bad/deliberate way at all, it just had to come to the crunch for his brain to sleep lightly.

It doesn't bother us, though I know he felt guilty about this, but one woman snappily said "well he'll just have to get up, won't he? It's his child too!"

You must have a brilliant sleeper if nights don't bother you and you work.
At times I actually felt like it was spousal neglect- not one good night's sleep in a year and DH snoring next to me. The toll on my health was noticeable.

Are you really really sure you don't mind? Or do you just think 'oh well no alternative...'
Men sometimes pick and choose their chores/choices and get praised by partners for helping, but actually it's not truly 50/50. 'Emotional labour' and 'wife work' are the headings to look for if you want to research it. Perhaps people are incredulous that you genuinely don't mind?

squizita Mon 16-May-16 15:21:10

Does everyone else just have lazy, horrible husbands and they think our relationship is just as bad?

hmm He doesn't help you at night and you can't sorry don't want to go out.

In all honesty, as someone in the 'mum as breadwinner' set-up, you're confusing two things:
-the people who are shocked by SAHD are old fashioned. They are reacting stupidly to a 'label' because of sexism
-your husband doesn't actually sound like he's as faultless and ready to SAHD as you hope. Your baby is nearly 1 and won't settle at night for him, possibly because he doesn't get up. I'm saying this because I've been there and when I was in the midst of it I insisted only I could ever do nights and DH slept too deeply and couldn't possibly wake up and everyone was critical... right up until I was so tired I wrote off my car in an accident. Thank goodness DD was not in the car at the time.

Honestly? My DH was like this (and he was in the past about nights) I had a frank discussion with him about the realities of the situation.

EricaPrimrose Mon 16-May-16 15:43:27

My DH was a stay at home Dad till our DS was 18 months old. He was absolutely fantastic, and still is!
The most horrific and sexist thing that happened to us, was our Health Visitor not carrying out our sons 1 year review as I wasn't there! She said, and I quote;
'I'll have a look at him today, but tell me when Mum is home so I can come by and do the full assessment?'
Even after DH explained he was the main care provider, she still insisted on 'dropping by when Mum was home'

I was furious! I definitely agree with some above comments, that some people are nasty about Excellent Dads, because their DH/DP/DBFs aren't as good and helpful as they should be!

ParsleyCake Thu 19-May-16 00:22:37

Thanks for the replies.

There is some truth to my partner not getting up in the night partially due to laziness I guess but he doesn't really wake up for any noise at night, and never has throughout our ten years together so I don't really feel it's due to the baby in particular. Our relationship is great but no, he is definitely not perfect - and neither am I. I don't resent him for not waking up as although I do wake for the baby, I Wake him up (by shaking his shoulder hard) to get me anything I need while I breast feed and he does as I ask. I'm not really exhausted for work, no as baby wakes up only twice a night which is nothing (I repeat, NOTHING) compared to the initial months where we were both at the point of hallucination due to lack of sleep. I actually kind of treasure my time with the baby, even at night, as I miss spending all day with him. If I get dangerously tired however, I might try the loud baby monitor thing.

In the past, yes, I definitely have said no to invitations to go out because I would rather know baby wasn't screaming his head off with my poor partner. However...I am a bit of an exception here, being an extremely shy introvert sometimes I tend to welcome the excuse. Not always though.

Anyway, thanks for the tips.

corythatwas Thu 19-May-16 09:10:42

I haven't had too much of this. But then I think it was pretty obvious that there was nothing I could do that dh couldn't do (barring breast-feeding); I certainly knew that I could e.g. go away for work for a few nights and dh would get up in the night or deal with a sick child as a matter of course.

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