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how much do dads really do?

(50 Posts)
babylove21 Mon 04-Aug-08 22:42:15

sorry to pick on the guys, how much do dads help out. I'm looking at the average here. i know there will be some who are on hands 100% and others who aren't.
I live with the latter...... does anyone else? and if so how do you cope?

TattooedGrrrl Tue 05-Aug-08 08:45:01

DH has always been hands on- although i've done 99% of the getting up in the night with them, partly because they were mostly breastfed, partly because getting him awake in the middle of the night is usually a pointless exercise.

He changes dirty nappies, plays with them, helps with bathing, drops them to the CM and picks them up. He knows where to find their clothes, and what foods they like to eat.

The fact that you say 'help out' says it all really- it shouldn't be helping out, it's doing their share of the parenting.

Overmydeadbody Tue 05-Aug-08 08:48:38

they shouldn't be helping out at all, they should be doing their fare share.

I don't think you'll find an average though, it varies hugely from doing nothing to doing everything.

Notyummy Tue 05-Aug-08 08:49:57

Mine is the same as tattooedgrrrl. I went back to work 4 days a week when dd was 6 months old and since then we have split the 'night duty' 50/50. When I was on maternity leave he did night shift with a bottle of ebm once a week to give me a longer sleep. He has had her for a number of weekends when I have gone away with mates. He knows her just as well as me, and nursed her through her worst bout of illness when I wasn't there (didn't tell me how bad she was because he knew that I would cancel my weekend away and come home; it was a reaction to MMR, but came on 10 days afterwards when we thought she had escaped).

He is in the military so does go away, but when he is home our parenting is completely 50/50....he does his share.

kittywise Tue 05-Aug-08 08:53:16

I think there are no rules. Each couple must find something that works for them.

If the the mother is at home then she should of course do the lion's share of childcare/housework.
If both parents are working then the work should be split.

kittywise Tue 05-Aug-08 08:58:49

babylove, so what does your dp do then. Does he work full time?
Before dp and I had kids we discussed what our roles would be.
We have a very traditional set up. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times dp has changed a nappy in the last ten years.
My dp is the breadwinner and I am the 'homemaker'.
he does not do: cleaning, washing up, tidying, dressing kids, shopping etc
The stuff he does do with the kids are school runs, sometimes, picking up from friends' houses and taking to clubs.

StellaWasADiver Tue 05-Aug-08 09:13:43

The only thing my DP doesn't do, is get up in the night, because DS is breast-fed.

Actually that's not strictly true - I am shit with syringes of medicine so if DS has needed something in the night when teething for example, DP gets up then.

I get a fair amount of time to myself at the weekends, I love it and need it, it's not a chore for DP, that's spending time with his son that he misses out on when at work. I don't think I changed a single nappy this past weekend. But then DP doesn't have to do them Mon-Fri except putting a clean one on after DSs bath.

MmeLindt Tue 05-Aug-08 09:18:42

Depends on your situation. Are you SAHM?

I am SAHM so do most of the household chores (but not very well). DH cuts the grass and takes the bins out.

I am more involved in the day to day childcare as DH is at work but in the evenings he always did his share. Nappies, baths, feeding.

He often takes the DCs out for a couple of hours at the weekends, less so now that both DCs are in kindergarten/school. When they were younger he would give me a break by taking them to the park at weekends.

LackaDAISYcal Tue 05-Aug-08 09:21:08

my DH works away four days a week, but when he is here he is pretty hands on and does most of the feeding, dressing, washing and playing and lets me lie in in the mornings and he does the school run if home on a weekday. He also helps catch up on the housework that I haven't managed to get done, giving me a chance to play with the DCs rather than just marshalling them from pillar to post like I do in the week.

when DD was a wee baby and BF, he would get up in the night as well and after she had fed would change her and settle her back to sleep.

I don't tell him how fab he is often enough blush

bythepowerofgreyskull Tue 05-Aug-08 09:21:21

Same as MmeLindt in the greyskull house.
DH takes ds1 to school 3 mornings a week so DS2 and I can get up in our own time.
I wouldn't have been able to cope if he hadn't

cadelaide Tue 05-Aug-08 09:23:32

Mine has graaaadually given up his involvement in DCs bedtime.

Sad really.

He's a great Dad though, all the same.

bythepowerofgreyskull Tue 05-Aug-08 09:27:34

cadelaie - I don't understand - why has he done that - why would you allow it?
Not having a go I just really don't understand.

warthog Tue 05-Aug-08 09:28:26

yup - agree that it's not helping out. they are his progeny too!

my dh gives dd breakfast every morning, does nappies, helps out generally on weekends, and now that i'm 8.5 months pregnant, tries to get home in time to put her to bed.

housework - will often tidy up toys, do the washing up from the night before.

ComeOVeneer Tue 05-Aug-08 09:30:48

Babylove, it is a bit like asking "how long is a piece of string?"

It really depends on each families dynamics and circumstances. How much do dads really want to do may be a far cry from what they actually (are able) to do.

For instance dh loves being a father, he is and always has been fantastic with children (used to babysit as a teenager and looked after his much younger cousins in the holidays when their mum worked). He was the one itching to have children as soon as we were married.

However because of our circumstances (ie his job involving long hours, regular trips abroad, putting in the hours to be made partner, plus his health issues - psoriasis complicated by psoriatic arthritis, affecting his joints pretty badly especially his knees) he doesn't get to spend nearly as much time with the children as he would like and can't do alot of things with them very easily, like running around, playing football etc.

When he is here he is very hands on with everything, from nappy changes, bath, bedtime, cooking/feeding, playing, stories etc.

lou031205 Tue 05-Aug-08 09:39:39

DH works fulltime (42 hours). I am SAHM.

He gets the children up in the morning (2.8 & almost 1) and gives them breakfast. I come down at 07.30.

He does bathtime, we settle 1 child each.

Both DDs generally sleep through now, but he gets up to DD1 if she wakes (although if he is struggling I join him), and I deal with DD2 if she wakes (she is in a cot next to me anyway).

If we go out, he would typically share preparations, like checking their bag to make sure we have everything (DD1 recently potty trained, DD2 still in nappies).

I cook.

I put washing on etc, but he will do this if he sees it needs doing and has a spare 5 minutes, and he loads the dishwasher of an evening, unless I have managed to keep up with it through the day.

Pinchypants Tue 05-Aug-08 09:43:34

DH does little during the week as he is usually out of the house for work by 7am when me and DD (aged 2) are just getting up. He does try and get back for bathtime/bedtime, though, and we do that together most nights. We both read her stories before bed. Sometimes if he has an easy start to the day he'll do the nursery run so I get get to my office at home early.

At the weekends he usually gets up when DD wakes and gets her dressed and downstairs for breakfast so I can get up a bit more slowly (am 38wks pg). He takes her out for drives/trips/shopping by himself, doesn't like pooey nappies but does them when required, and is quite capable of doing all the other stuff with her.

I should probably let him do more - I always feel a bit guilty unless I'm being mummy the whole time. He never did night shift because she was breastfed and slept through from nine weeks anyway, and there didn't seem any point him being up in the night when he had to go to work in the morning via rather a long drive on the M25.

I think he more or less does his bit, actually, esp now she is older and a little person and good company - she never plays up with him like she does with me. The one real difference is that for some reason I have to arrange evenings/time out in advance like I'm booking him as a babysitter, and sort of ask, whereas his assumption is that I will be looking after DD so he can whip off for golf/a drink with his mates at a moment's notice. That's a little bit bugging but I've sort of let that happen as much as him. I certainly think he's rather more hands on, rather more willingly, than his two best mates with kids the same age.

TattooedGrrrl Tue 05-Aug-08 10:46:40

i don't agree that a dad working full time doesn't need to be 'hands on' when he gets home though- alright, maybe you don't expect him to start washing up and hoovering the minute he gets in, because you've been watching Jeremy Vile all day or something, but you're both parents ALL the time, so when he's home, he's still a Dad. Childcare and household chores are different.

Acinonyx Tue 05-Aug-08 10:47:27

House work and chores are very different to childcare I think. I'm at home 2 days/week and I do a lot more chores - but dd is not the same kind of activity. Dh tries to spend as much time as possible and has arranged his working hours so that 1.5 hours with her every morning before going to work at 8.30. We try to get the childcare nearer to 50:50 alhtough I do do more - because that really has nothing to do with who workd more and is about being equal parents IYSWIM.

I do get fed up with the endless household chores though! He's a DIY maniac, so I never feel as though I can complain as he's always busy with something - and dd likes to 'help'. But he enjoys DIY - I don't enjoy washing etc....

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Tue 05-Aug-08 10:52:04

he occassionally does playtime and will come with us and even suggest himself trips to the beach/park/funfair but he does very little wrt to actually caring for them, though the last two nights in a row i have had enough and walked out to leave him to put dd2 in the bath and bed. and he coped just about. well last night he didnt he had to phone me to come back! shock

i am very envy at all of you who have dh's that help! how do you manage it without a fight?

motherinferior Tue 05-Aug-08 10:52:21

This week my partner has taken our daughters away, so he's doing the lot.

DaddyJ Tue 05-Aug-08 10:57:36

Babylove, you should not have to cope with a partner who is of little help.
Ask him to do more and show him how to do it.

EBenes Tue 05-Aug-08 11:01:36

He spends the first two hours of every day with her, playing, reading, making breakfast, while I sleep in because my pregnancy is making me really tired. He cooks for himself because I have morning sickness and am turned off all normal food. He does all the laundry and about half the cleaning. He has a full time job but works from home. Changes about 1/4 nappies, does every other bath, reads bedtime stories, takes her to the park at weekends. I do everything else with dd, which sounds like it should be nothing, but is actually really quite a lot when you get down to it, but I think I have become slovenly around the house this pregnancy. I always get up in the night for dd, make all her meals. It's nice to see this isn't a very unusual split, makes me feel a bit less guilty.

TattooedGrrrl Tue 05-Aug-08 11:02:40

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore on Tue 05-Aug-08 10:52:04

i am very at all of you who have dh's that help! how do you manage it without a fight?


I don't 'manage it', i just married someone who knew they were going to be 'our' kids, and it's his duty to do his share. I feel really sad for the wives and kids with DHs/Dads who do nothing in terms of childcare tbh. I don't know how they put up with it!

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Tue 05-Aug-08 11:05:34

sorry babylove i have just read your full post! dd2 is throwing yoghurt everywhere so im distracted.

i live with the latter and i dont cope it winds me up something chronic. i have asked him to help more and he does for a few weeks then slowly stops and it build up and up again untill i lose it again.

does your dp/dh work? mine does so i dont expect him to do much just not take the piss (which is about the only thing he is very good at) so he is 'too tired to help' with anything and the amount of times that man is ill im surprised he hasnt keeled over yet!!

its something you really need to get sorted. i have sadly come to the conclusion that very shortly the lack of balance in our relationship will cause us to split. walking out instead of shouting is good as they have no choice but to help i just say "i have had enough, im not putting up with this" and go out and come back when i am drunkercalmer!

though most of our problems are magnified by the fact that despite him not helping nothing i do is good enough. the house is never tidy enough, the dc's arent fed properly/dressed right/clean enough/in bed on time etc.

Notyummy Tue 05-Aug-08 11:28:40

shesells, that sounds like a nightmare tbh, an d I am not surprised you are thinking of splitting up. My dh still helped out with everything when I was on maternity leave, and would NEVER have commented on the house. It doesn't sound like a partnership to me, and must be very hard work for you. sad

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