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Half-hearted parenting

(17 Posts)
Naughtymummy101 Tue 12-May-20 20:42:06

I was going to post this in parenting, but ironically, they can be like vultures in there.

My DH is parenting half-heartedly in lockdown.
I refuse to pick up the slack,but I'm facing the consequences. He is having to juggle work too, but is losing his focus doing both at the same time.
I'm also WFH (less than him) and I'm managing my time by having focused parenting time and focused work time. He has the support from me to do similar but doesn't.
I can't change his parenting style, but I've realised that the children are now needing more stimulation from us. Our eldest is constantly talking and wittering all day long, I've discovered that with a bit of focus, she can channel her chatty energy. On family walks however, he dawdles along in a daze whilst I stimulate our eldest child whilst pushing along our youngest (I don't mind pushing for fitness) but all DC1s questions are aimed at me because he doesn't engage.
Bedtime, we have been training DC2 to self-settle (supposedly). I walked passed her room tonight and he was sat cuddling her on a chair, on his phone because it's easier.
Meal times, he doesn't engage in family discussion- he shovels his food in at speed, staring out of the window.
I've told him I'm struggling with DC1s chatty, loud energy and he tells me I ought to do what he does and just "zone out."
This means he picks and chooses when he listens to her.
He has things on his mind around work, but doesn't discipline himself to set aside work time/homeschooling time/ toddler time. So he's always in another world.
Today, he was homeschooling DC1 for an hour whilst I painted with DC2 and he was barely engaging with her, afterwards, I looked at her work and it was scruffy and eligible. He could have picked this up earlier on before she completed the task.

I know there's a lot going on and we're all struggling but his half-hearted parenting is putting extra strain on me to stimulate, engage the children and get them in to bed at a reasonable time.

I don't want to be having to tell him "it's your turn to communicate with our child now,I've had enough" that would be ridiculous. I'd also like to dawdle along one of these days and actually look around, but he's busy doing it, so I'm the one playing eye-spy, spotting rainbow pictures and singing along instead.

If I don't keep them stimulated and engaged, I've found that life is harder and they seek our attention much more in misbehaving or arguing.

He's also not contributing any of the reward stickers to their charts. To make things worse, at times, he is competing with them for my attention! I have DC1 telling me about something she's seen on YouTube in minute detail, DC2 throwing food around and asking me to spoon feed him and DH trying to tell me that he's spotted the neighbours having new paving delivered! Now and then, I am having to take myself off to bed for half a day because I'm knackered!!

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Sparklfairy Tue 12-May-20 21:07:51

This would drive me mad. I don't think you'll change him though. Sounds like even if you left the kids with him and went out for the day he would just sit on his phone and ignore them?

Bumping for you and hopefully someone will come along with some better advice.

Needtogetbackinthesack Tue 12-May-20 21:38:10

He sounds like a lazy selfish shit. (Probably grossly unfair, It just really reminds me of my ex) single parenting is easier than picking up his slack ever was. You have my sympathies.

Naughtymummy101 Tue 12-May-20 22:12:53

Thanks. It's not like he's incapable. He's just choosing to wander around in a daze, which obviously doesn't stimulate the kids and creates extra for me! He thinks this is ok and that kids should just make their own fun. I agree they need to have free time to do this but not 24/7!
He's such a dreamer.
I asked him what he was thinking about yesterday as he stared out of the window whilst eating like a pig and he said he was thinking about "a little DIY project" he's got planned.
He is also supposed to be teaching DC1 to ride her bike, but he's given up after 2 days. He can't seem to motivate himself at all and gets stuck in old routines.
No wonder he's so laid back- he takes the easy route with everything in life!

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Elderhedge Tue 12-May-20 23:20:14

My H is just like this with dd5 and I left him yesterday. Ultimately he thinks his time is more important than yours/theirs and his phone is more interesting than human beings in his family. He's fucking lazy not dreamy. What a prize...

Scott72 Wed 13-May-20 03:26:20

On that last point, so he's not supposed to try and engage you in conversation when the kids are around? It seems like you're being a bit unreasonable there. The rest of your points, you have to accept this is how he is. He can improve a little, but he'll never be engaged and energetic as you would like him to be.

BadgersAreReal Wed 13-May-20 06:15:59

Have you spoken to him about how you both want to approach home schooling/childcare during lockdown? I guess he might think that what he is doing is giving them more freedom?
You also said that sometimes you take yourself to bed for half a day, what does he do then?

Comtesse Wed 13-May-20 06:30:29

Not sure it is worth making a fuss about scruffy school work right now tbh. Is he doing other practical stuff? Making lunch, cleaning the bathroom etc?

Waiting1987 Wed 13-May-20 07:43:17

Sorry I am going to say that you sound like hard work. Why do children have to be constantly stimulated out on a walk? Surely they should be allowed to play and be imaginative? I don't stimulate my children out on a walk and they manage to use their imaginations and play.

Is he an introvert? It can be exhausting being around others all day. Yes, it's not ideal or fair that all the chat is left to you, but some people struggle more than others.

Naughtymummy101 Wed 13-May-20 07:54:09

@Waiting1987 we have very needy/extrovert children who require constant attention. They are unlike many other more relaxed, quiet children. Without any communication during walks etc they will create a fuss and misbehave for attention and I have to deal with it whilst DH saunters around. DC1 is being screened for ADHD, so it's not like you can just zone out with a higher needs child.
It's taken me a long time to come to terms with this. I'm very introvert myself, but have discovered that attention seeking behaviours and hyperactivity is draining without channeling their energy. For a long time, I tried to ignore it, but DC1 would create such a fuss and become so hyper that I would actually end up crying. DH ignores her a lot. She often complains that Daddy doesn't ever listen to what she says. He will give her grunts and say yes without even looking at her 90% of the time. It's not good parenting and seems very lazy.

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Naughtymummy101 Wed 13-May-20 07:58:24

@BadgersAreReal he doesn't seem to approach anything with any sort of intention. He won't have thought about how he wants to approach anything. With regards to homeschooling, he keeps saying "tell me what to do." I keep directing him to the school website and telling him I'm not his manager.

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arickitupyourpompom Wed 13-May-20 08:03:49

I think there's a happy medium here. My friend and her partner are like this but my friend is over parenting if that's a word. She just constantly there for every little demand and frankly that's as irritating to watch has her husband who retreats into his own zone.

GreasyFryUp Wed 13-May-20 08:07:53

OP, I did wonder about ADHD from your posts. It can be exhausting, absolutely emotionally draining. I'm completely with you there.

Is there any chance your DH has ADHD too? Overwhelmed by everything at the moment? Choosing not to do anything (apart from pet projects he can fully direct his attention to) because he just doesn't know how to focus/where to start? Not excusing his behaviour which is frankly crap, but if it were the case he could look at strategies to help him engage more.

PippaPegg Wed 13-May-20 08:13:07

Easy solution is DH and DC1 go out for a walk alone while you focus on DC2. Ideally while DC2 naps!!!

It's not ridiculous to tell him flat out to engage. What's ridiculous is you refusing to say some words out of a feeling of frustration, resentment, shame etc. Just communicate clearly to him. If he sulks, call him out. "DH you are sulking like a child. You are their dad. Stop being so ridiculous."

Micromanage him if you have to. Tell him why. "DH you are not taking the initiative here, I have no choice but to tell you what to do. Once you step up and start acting like a father I will stop treating you like a child."

At the moment it's easier for him to zone out than engage because you are enabling him. If you make his life more difficult when he zones out than when he engages, there's his incentive!

Scott72 Wed 13-May-20 08:23:04

But if he attempts to engage her in a conversation, even if its an inappropriate time, and her first reaction is he's a spoiled little boy clamoring for her attention,, that seems a bit demeaning to him.

ConnieDoodle Wed 13-May-20 08:26:41

He is lazy. He will be excused as suffering under corona virus.

Ive no patience for the praised inadequacy of men. (Isn't he a great father! He made his children lunch!) Id be tempted to sit him down with a sticker chart id made for him, and explain this is basic parenting.

Naughtymummy101 Wed 13-May-20 08:51:59

I'm definitely not an over-parenter.
It was only after posting on MN a couple of years ago that I realised DC1 possibly has ADHD and the general consensus then was that I needed to engage with her more and channel her energy.
@GreasyFryUp yes. I think DH possibly has ADHD. We had a chat about it a few months ago and his 'laid back' ways, but he generally believes he's very hands-on and energetic. He doesn't seem to realise that hes such a dreamer and disengaged, although does tell me that he 'zones out' when DC1 is talking because she talks too much.
Yep. He makes lunch. Tidies up. Has never cleaned a bathroom in his life but will vacuum. All under my exhausted direction and requests.

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