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DH does no childcare. Nothing. Please help me see clearly.

(102 Posts)
blistersclots Tue 03-May-16 23:36:00

DH and I have been married 5 years. We both worked for ourselves and we agreed that when we had DC that we did not know what it would be like and would both contribute towards childcare and “see how things turned out.”

When we got married, DH already owned two properties, and when we had much anticipated DD 2.5 years ago, DH transferred half of both properties into my name and created a joint bank account and made me a Director of his company, giving me access to the company’s profits and his salary (this seems relevant, to me at least, as I mention later.)

When DD arrived and I was BF-ing on demand, it naturally transpired that I gave up half of my work and DH’s business took off. What also transpired was that DH just did not/could not look after DD by himself. Since the day she was born, he has not changed nappies, dressed her, played with her, fed her, bathed her, got her up, put her to bed, put her in the car, lifted or held her for more than 1 minute, or made her a drink by himself.

For the first few months after DD was born, I thought it was shock/lack of experience that led to him doing nothing, and then we somehow got into a habit where I did absolutely everything anyway and no longer left her with him, even though he had the free time and opportunity to take her. I worked my part time hours during DD’s naps and after she went to bed, but it just didn’t work because clients needed me on the end of the phone during normal working hours and not at night, so I stopped work.

When DD was 8 months old, I got pregnant again and my next natural strategy was to try to get some childcare, with the end hope of maybe managing to work a bit again. We spoke to a few nannies and nurseries, but DH came up with excuses and problems with everyone we interviewed and every nursery we visited. He eventually revealed that he felt strongly that nothing was better for DC than being solely with their own mother until they go to school, a view he had not previously come out with. Childcare plans were abandoned, I had DS and gave up my days to BF-ing newborn again and taking care of toddler DD. The pattern was already established that I did everything with one DC, so it continued into two DC.

DH’s average weekday is from 8am-1am, pushing his business, entertaining clients in the evenings, and travelling, and I am with DD and DS all day. Aside from sleep problems and illness (of which the DCs have had many) I usually put them to bed and sit alone in the evenings. When DH has time off he is “exhausted” and wants to stay in bed or lie on the sofa and watch TV.

I have brought this issue up with him many times and I know you’ll find it hard to believe, but he genuinely does not think he is an unavailable father. He absolutely and truly believes that he is a perfect father because he “provides” for them. He can be affectionate – he likes to kiss and hug them, but this lasts for maybe a few seconds a day, and because they are just not used to him being around, they often cry and flinch when he does it because he goes from not interacting with them at all, to being all over them.

I can cite so many outstandingly unfair examples from the last 2.5 years of when he has left me completely unable to cope, but he has two excuses which he uses interchangeably 1. The situation where he did not do anything was an exception and it was because he was more exhausted than me or ill And 2. That he is carrying the burden of our family finances, and I am oblivious to the kind of stress he is under building his business “for us”, now that I no longer work.

I feel he is a hypocrite and has put me in an impossible situation by saying work stress is the reason he does not do more, but not allowing that stress to be reduced by letting me work to ease the burden. The answer I get when I tell friends/family about this is “surely you knew he was like this going in?” Apparently this is because he is a renowned workaholic and anyone could have guessed he would never look after DCs and they assumed I was also the traditional sort who wanted to stay at home and dedicate my life to children and have DH go to work. No. That’s not what we agreed.

A further development is that I am now pregnant again with DC3 and I have a huge sense of dread at having DH who will not back me up, a toddler, a baby and a newborn to care for by myself and never being able to have a break because of DH's hatred of any childcare except for mine. I have communicated this dread to him very clearly and we have argued about it. He has made one change and it is that he now does 60% of the housework, which has made things slightly better but still does not address the fundamental problem, which is that I am bringing the DCs up alone.

I have lost some respect for him because I feel so damn hurt that he cannot see or does not care that I am unhappy and in a situation I didn’t sign up to.
Even worse is that he dips in and out with complaints and niggly details which show how far removed he is from what a life with DC is like. He doesn’t like how DD throws her food on the floor and could I please try to stop her doing it, as it gets on the carpet? He doesn't like how DS screams, could I please try and stop him? He read an article today which says that children should be outside for 30% of the day. How much time do I give our DC outside? Could I time it next time and make sure that I am giving them the required amount?

As I have access to all his company funds and our bank account, I can use the money as I wish. I have paid for childcare in secret from this bank account when I really needed it by withdrawing cash and pretending it went on something else - but I don’t want to have to do it in secret!

He knows and I know (and we have acknowledged, indirectly, to each other during a crisis point) that I could leave tomorrow and take half of everything, and give him 50% custody of the DCs, meaning he would have to step up. Even after this conversation and acknowledgement of what would happen if we split, he has continued to share all assets with me (he bought another house for my parents and put it solely in my name) – so it doesn’t make logical sense to me that he is putting me in this situation because he is a complete bastard twunt, if you see what I mean? It just makes me feel that he is so signed up to this ideal of him being the perfect provider and me being the perfect mother that he cannot shift his perspective at all.

Everyone has told me that it gets easier once the DCs go to school, because then you at least have some free time to yourself. But it is frustrating knowing that we can afford some childcare NOW but he is so against it. Also, no nanny wants to work last minute, in secret. So on the rare occasions when I am at my wit’s end and DH is safely off at work and not returning until late, it is only random, interchangeable agency babysitters who can come round and watch the DC when I have terrible morning sickness - not more permanent figures in the DC’s lives who they can become familiar with.

Is there something I’m missing here? Is there a logic or a solution I am not seeing? Is this just what it is like for some people? That some Hs that you think would be great Dads just pull total shockers and do absolutely nothing?

If I can put the resentment and sense of unfairness aside, our marriage is fine. We still laugh, we still have sex, we still do kind little loving things for each other. IF - and it's a big if - I can put the resentment aside. But it is becoming increasingly hard. He will go out of his way for me, but only in ways that have nothing to do with the DC, which is the only way I really want to be helped right now.

sykadelic Wed 04-May-16 01:12:30

He unfortunately will only learn how much of an absent parent he is when the DC's don't know him or come to him.

As for the childcare, you're essentially a solo parent so I would have the conversation about you needing more break time from your 24/7 job (them sleeping doesn't count because you can't leave the house). You could start to get them into some sort of routine that makes school easier when the time comes. Tell him that it isn't open to discussion because this is YOUR job that YOU are finding a way to deal with, but you are willing to have his input.

I'm sorry you're struggling with this!

MangosteenSoda Wed 04-May-16 01:24:10

I think you have to decide for yourself how much help you want and if / when you want to start working after DC3 arrives.

Those are not his choices, they are your choices. If he wants them to be cared for by a parent, he can step up and care for them otherwise they can go to nursery or have a nanny like millions of other perfectly happy children do.

It's not his choice. He is not your manager and you are not his employee. You need to make him understand that.

Ouriana Wed 04-May-16 01:24:41

Out of intrest what would happen if you were sick? Im thinking flu-type illness where you were incapable of ringing a nanny or babysitter and he had to sort it out.
Any idea what he would do?

HelenaDove Wed 04-May-16 01:27:26

He is not willing to do any hands on parenting because he is using the children to control you.

MarthaCliffYouCunt Wed 04-May-16 01:32:26

I never ever say this on MN but actually on this occasion i think you should throw a tantrum and go on strike. Tell him you have had enough, you're not discussing it, youre clearing off every day between 9 and 5 next week and what he does to deal with it is up to him but that you'll do it every single day until he agrees to actually sit down and come up with a real plan to co-parent your (soon to be) 3 children.

thecatfromjapan Wed 04-May-16 02:19:08

Give yourself a time-frame (maternity leave) and then interview for a nanny/nursery yourself.

You sound as though you are uncomfortable with your lack of control, and worried. If you were completely happy being a SAHM, you'd know. So, the poster who pointed out that he is not your boss is right. You need to have the conversation with him where you explain you want to go back to working in the company, and you want proper childcare to enable you to do it.

I realise that this is not all about you wanting to work, I suspect it is in part about your need for autonomy and potential, but these are deeply tied up with you being employed outside the home.

I think you may have to be prepared to be tough, even telling him that if he doesn't support you in this, you'll get any p/t job you can, or perhaps going even further and telling him he is jeopardising your marriage.

It is not his life to do with as he wishes, it is your life. You have compromised your desires because you care for your children and you want your marriage to work. He needs to compromise - not exploit your capacity to care.

I'm afraid that I agree with the poster who mentioned control. I suspect some of your unhappiness may be arising from the fact that you feel controlled and somewhat powerless. But you can take that back. Be strong. You have value.

thecatfromjapan Wed 04-May-16 02:24:14

And, yes, of course he should be a parent and share the work of parenting - however, it seems to me that you have tried asking and now you may need to move towards being forceful about your needs first and foremost.

If push comes to shove, and you get truly fed up and decide to leave, you will be in a better position if you have recent work experience. It's possible you working might even shift the power-balance a bit and mean he takes on more of a parent role.

Those are the reasons I'd suggest you finding childcare yourself and being insistent about it. It's obviously a long way from what would be an ideal set-up.

Catinthecorner Wed 04-May-16 02:33:37

I would start by booking myself a lovely trip somewhere for a weekend because you need something (for the baby you know). He wants the children with a parent - he can parent.

Then I'd be hiring a nanny (because with three you'll need help at the park and all those other outside places he's so keen on while you breastfeed).

Then I'd start back at work - maybe mornings only to begin. So the children can acclimatise to the idea of school, and so you can help your husband with the terrible pressure of sole responsibility for family finances.

If he objects you can suggest he go home and parent. Studies show daddy time is very important you know - etc, etc.

ShebaShimmyShake Wed 04-May-16 02:53:01

The fact that he provides and shares assets as he should doesn't mean he isn't abusive. He's made a unilateral decision that you didn't agree to and which makes you miserable, to satisfy his personal preferences and self perception. If he will not talk to you about it, I'd be reconsidering the relationship very seriously. Quite apart from the toll on your mental and physical health, it shows a horrendous disrespect and I suspect he feels that he owns you since he provides, even though you didn't accept this and find it suffocating.

You're already lone parenting. A separation might force him to step up.

dailymailphequers Wed 04-May-16 03:14:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jenijena Wed 04-May-16 03:40:04

I am not an expert, but I feel for you OP, it does feel like he is exerting a ridiculous amount of control over you and where is the 'you' left to develop any sense of identity? Reading between the lines, does this mean you never get to go out by yourself, even to the pub for an evening? And I'm shock that he can read up about childcare and give you instructions but not do anything himself. 60% of housework seems a curious number - were the hours calculated and negotiated?

He will lose any connection with his children, but I do wonder what you get out of this relationship...?

Using cash behind his back to buy you the support he should be providing is just ridiculous. Is your eldest in pre school or doesn't he agree with that either? Does he take any time off for the births or is he too busy for that? and finally, what was/are his parents like?

Really hoping this improves for you. There's one thing being the SAHP as an active positive decision (and even then it's bloody hard), but doing it because your partner has dictated that This Is The Way It Shall Be is very, very different.

Isetan Wed 04-May-16 07:25:58

He's controlling you through your children and you let him. He did a good job of concealing it in the beginning (when everything was hypothetical) but now shit is real, this is who he is and you need to accept it. He's done an excellent job of convincing you that he's not being controlling by his 'so called' transparency of your finances. Finances, that his attitude makes you feel you have to lie about using, in order to avoid his displeasure.

You are effectively a single parent, which means you should stop asking for his permission with regards to childcare and stop making life harder for yourself by having more children. I love being a single parent and a large part of that enjoyment, is derived from the memory of the miserable time I was a single parent in a relationship with DD's dad. There was nothing more soul destroying than trying to include someone (and them thinking they could dictate shit), while they chose to be an absent parent.

It sounds like you're afraid to challenge your H because if push came to shove, there's a good chance that he would still be the same and you'd be forced to confront the truth about your so called partnership (a partnership where effectively he makes the decisions and you do as your told). What kind of marriage do you want? If this isn't what you want, than speak up because the person who benefits most from the status quo, isn't going to volunteer to change it.

The handwringing days really should be over and the getting angry and taking back the power you've surrendered days, should have started.

Cabrinha Wed 04-May-16 07:41:55

You make it sound like you just woke and found yourself pregnant with the second and now third child.

Stop being so passive!!!

You either chose to get pregnant or chose to remain pregnant.

If you can choose to have children you can choose how you bring them up. Tell him that if it's that important to him to have SAHP then he can do it.

Then start interviewing for a nanny.

And don't get pregnant with #4 until you've resolved this.

cosmicglittergirl Wed 04-May-16 07:47:55

Everyone's response is very eloquent, I came on to say that he sounds like a controlling weirdo. I can't imagine you'll change him, he thinks this is fine/normal etc. Never changed a nappy or put a child to bed? He's an arsehole of the highest order and outdated in his views.

HeteronormativeHaybales Wed 04-May-16 07:57:18

The 1950s called. They want him back.

Seriously, it sounds as if his ideal of marriage and parenthood is straight from the ideals (not even necessarily the reality) of those days. He seems incredibly heavily invested in an idea of himself as 'provider' and you as the all-round servicer of the family needs. But - this is what gives me the most pause - he wasn't upfront about it. He manoeuvred you into this position. His financial actions are in keeping with his image of himself as the benevolent provider. And whenever he gives, he could also take away. You know this, hence your confusion as to whether he is abusive because he doesn't take away.

Whose idea were the second and third children? It seems that, with three dc in very quick succession, he has you where he wants you - faced with near-insurmountable practicalities should you attempt to leave.

To be clear: it is by no means acceptable in this day and age for a father, no matter how hard he works, to never care for his child, never change a nappy, never feed or play with them. This is no longer how people live - such extreme avoidance (that is what it is IMO) of one's own children was, I am sure, not even the norm in said 1950s.

I do think your first move should be to stop being secretive about the childcare help you buy. Then to sit down with him and say you want to thrash out a long-term plan for your return to work and his relief from some of the burden of sole-earnerhood. Your feelings as you contemplate doing these two things will already tell you a lot about what is really going on in your relationship.

crazyhead Wed 04-May-16 08:16:38

Did you want 3 kids? What do you want to do and who do you want to be? The trouble is, your husband sounds like someone who has a clear vision of what he wants and plays hard to get it. But you don't so you have to start.

BombadierFritz Wed 04-May-16 08:30:27

He sounds a very rigid thinker. What happens if you put your foot down on things? Eg you appear to have a reasonable income so where is the cleaner and home help? Or why not just say you are going back to work and organise nursery? Is something really stopping you (eg his temper) or are you stopping you?

OTheHugeManatee Wed 04-May-16 08:37:32

He's basically tricked you into being a SAHM shock

I'm afraid you might have to arrange childcare unilaterally, and be prepared to just take off and leave him with the DC for a week or two if he refuses to agree. You can't go on like this.

dailymailphequers Wed 04-May-16 08:42:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IrenetheQuaint Wed 04-May-16 08:48:28

Jesus, even my nappy-dodging 1970s father did more than this. He quite clearly doesn't see you as a real person with needs and opinions of your own.

MorrisZapp Wed 04-May-16 08:52:06

Why have you submitted to his will over childcare? Do you consider him to be your boss? I couldn't live one day of my life like this but lots of women choose it and are happy with it. He won't change, you can only control your own actions.

ShebaShimmyShake Wed 04-May-16 08:55:47

He deserves no brownie points for being the provider. It's exactly what he wanted.

Frazzled2207 Wed 04-May-16 09:01:14

This is completely unacceptable and you know it.
It may help to see it from the kids' point of view.
Without wanting to offend any LPs out there kids need a daddy as much as they need a mummy. You're obviously struggling but the kids are missing out on a relationship with their father and you need to turn things around.
It may well be that your dh is a decent chap who was out of his depth when dc1 came, saw how good you were at parenting and left you to it.
It would take an enormous amount of effort to turn the tables now so much easier for him to justify his contribution by working hard and bringing in the pennies.

Start gently eg by saying I'm going out to get my hair done/exercise/
shopping/meeting friend for lunch on saturday. No excuses. And leave him to it. Next time the whole afternoon, one or two evenings, an overnight, build it up to a whole day.
Also you are pg so invent if you need to a reason to go to hospital for an appointment where it really isn't appropriate to take the kids (glucose
Tolerance tests take a few hours!)
So he either has to take charge himself or organise paid childcare.
Also, just organise some part time childcare without involving him -
I have two kids similar
age and despite not working atm
I couldn't manage without!

Take these baby steps but at the same time you need to be clear that this status quo is not continuing, you need to live your own life too.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Wed 04-May-16 09:46:16

Arrange childcare. Get a job.

So what if he doesn't like it? You don't like the current situation.

Who made him the boss of you?

Why are you behaving like he has the power of veto over your life, your choices?

Getting babysitters in secret? That's bizarre. What are you so scared of?

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