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Quick straw poll needed - what to do about H and DC?(14 Posts)
There is a long back story to this, but basically H is an EA workaholic who dips in and out of family life and domestic responsibilities as and when suits him, spending the rest of the time glued to his laptop. He routinely has only 3-4 hours' sleep a night, sometimes less. He is chronically sleep deprived and will fall asleep during the day at the drop of a hat if he sits down and rests.
This week the DCs are on half-term. Both of us work full-time, but (as usual) I am covering most of the week's childcare using leave/flexible working. H agreed to look after DCs today while I do a long day at work. DC1 (8) is on an outing with friends, so H will just have DC2, who is 4.
Last night H worked on his laptop until 5am (I was awake for a while around that time so know the exact time he came to bed). He set his alarm and got up at 7.15 after 2 hours' sleep. Based on past form, he will have a nap in our bed at some point during the day, leaving DC2, who doesn't like being/playing by himself, to his own devices for a couple of hours. He also plans to take DC2 to a busy attraction this afternoon.
The problem is I don't trust him to look after DC2 safely on so little sleep. In case anyone thinks I am being precious, last weekend H took both DCs to a large park (think extensive playing fields rather than garden square) and lost DC2 for a considerable period - long enough for DC2 to be found wandering and crying by a very kind woman who bought him an icecream and walked around with him until DC2 spotted H. H would never admit it, but based on past form I strongly suspect that H sat down, fell asleep and didn't keep enough of an eye on the DCs.
My only options are:
1. Suck it up, leave DC2 with H today and hope for the best. I know lots of parents (me included) do manage on little sleep when they have to, but H is too self-absorbed to see how it might impact on the DCs and change his behaviour accordingly.
2. Take DC2 with me to work, which will mean I don't get as much done. H would probably kick off (verbally, not physically) because in his eyes he is doing me a favour and by questioning his fitness to look after DC2 I'd be insufficiently grateful. We're in a relatively peaceful phase at them moment and I'd rather not rock the boat unless I have to.
Staying home myself is not an option - because this is my only "in-office" day this week I've scheduled lots of meetings and conference calls that can't easily be rearranged.
Difficult. What was your Hs reaction to what happened in the park? Did he accept it was his responsibility or brush it off? If the former then he won't want a repeat. If the latter then perhaps you should suggest that they stay at home.
Could you suggest he goes to a soft play which is noisy and would keep him awake and is locked at the exit? Or they could go to the cinema instead maybe.
I think this is outrageous. A grown man and he can't be responsible enough to get enough sleep to ensure people's basic safety.
I hope he doesn't drive.
Give your son a water pistol to squirt daddy with if he catches him sleeping!
If you can't trust him to keep your son safe you should not leave your son with him. Or insist they keep to somewhere with walls.
Having said that, his behavior is outrageous. What use is he to you? He takes no part in family life. Sorry you have to put up with this.
Why on earth does he not go to bed at a reasonable time and behave like a normal adult?
Over and above what you do today, what are you going to do long term and why are you putting up with this nonsense?
are you sure he was awake until 5am - could he have fallen asleep on the sofa?
My dad was very similar due to severe depression. The last time my mum left him with us, he forgot to feed us all day and didn't notice that we left the house and were in town alone. I was a similar age to your ds, my sister younger. My mum came home and found us sat outside wrapped in our duvets, my dad thought we were in the attic. I'd take your son to work and honestly I'd look at divorce because a parent who ignores your existence is damaging.
Many thanks to all for taking the time to respond.
Errol, no taking responsibility - in fact he tried to blame DC1 for encouraging DC2 to run off (which may well have happened, but doesn't negate the fact that H was the adult in charge and his it was his job to keep them under control).
sparklyDMs, good suggestions, thank you. He has taken them to the cinema before
because it's easy, but unfortunately I can't find any child-friendly listings near us. Suggestion of soft play did not go down well.
Quite, not driving (he'll just fall asleep on the tube). He used to, though, before I grew a pair and put my foot down. Love the water pistol idea but in practice it would just get DC2 into trouble.
Humphrey, not much use. The joys of being married to a manchild.
sooper, good question! He doesn't behave like a normal, responsible adult because he doesn't think he has to. He's a workaholic - probably due to a combination of insecurity, selfishness and emotional immaturity (his only coping mechanism for failure/adversity is to work harder/longer).
thelonggame - he might have fallen asleep but it's unlikely. He didn't deny it when I mentioned this morning that he'd only had 2 hours' sleep.
litteltabby, I'm sorry you went through that as a child. H is not depressed, just very unhappy with his lot in life (i.e. with our reasonably comfortable daily existence and family life), but I do appreciate that his lack of engagement with the DCs isn't good for them.
I left DC2 with H and went to work in the end. Being realistic, the chances of anything really terrible happening are small, and I just couldn't face the inevitable fall-out from H if I insisted on taking DC2 to work with me.
I did query with H whether he should be taking DC2 out after so little sleep, to flag up the fact that I know how late he went to bed. I also reminded DC2, in front of H, what DC2 should do if he gets lost while he is out, and also what not to do if H decides to take a nap at home. H was annoyed that I considered this necessary and tried (unsuccessfully) to cut me off.
I don't like living like this. However, part of the reason I haven't LTB yet is so that I don't have to confront this sort of scenario EOW.
I'm so sorry. Would he even be that bothered about EOW for long?
I think that it sounds extremely unlikely that he would be able to commit to EOW, and even if he did, I think you would be able to circumvent it with relatively little difficulty by insisting on full weekends (Fri eve, so no working late, to Sun evening - could he even CONCEIVE of having them for such a long time and not being able to have any precious work time?) It would last a month at most.
This is so damaging. And so pointless - what on earth is the point of having a man like this 'present' as nominal husband and father?
I really hope you move on.
Another self-absorbed df who's about as much use as a chocolate teapot when it comes to caring for his dc.
My imagination for worst case scenarios is far too vivid to live the way you are doing, honey. Instead of leaving, tell him to doss elsewhere and get yourself an au pair
re your comment:-
"I don't like living like this. However, part of the reason I haven't LTB yet is so that I don't have to confront this sort of scenario EOW"
Its not a good enough reason to stay and put up with this situation. There are no joys in being married to a manchild and your children won't say "thanks mum" in the long term either for staying with someone like him. They will wonder of you why you put him before them.
He's too bloody self absorbed to ever be having these children every other weekend (he cannot even look after them properly in a park because he is so sleep deprived); I doubt very much that if you separated he would show any real or long term interest in his children.
The problem also here that you are now indeed living like this and in turn so are your children.
Is this really what you want to teach your children about relationships, that this is really how people behave?. What do you think they are learning here about relationships?.
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