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Is your Husband/Partner a good Father?

18 replies

zebra · 16/02/2003 22:44

What is a "Good Father", anyway? Sometimes I feel so disappointed in DH. I wish he was more attentive, more oriented towards safety, more patient, more pro-active.

Example 1: today I was up in the loft while DH was supposed to be minding children. 3yo DS is constantly shouting for me, anxiously. Annoyed that DH isn't keeping DS out of my hair, I open loft hatch to see 3yo sitting on top of ladder on the hall landing, next to stairs. 16 month old at his feet (16m old is perfectly capable of climbing to top of 5' ladder). Where is DH? Downstairs ironing. I shout for him and say this situation is not safe. DH brusquely removes ladder, leaves both kids in tantrum tears, goes back to ironing. Why does he have to be so harsh? Why doesn't he think a step-ladder next to the stairs presents a safety risk for toddlers? Why can't he just play with them for 1/2 hour, entertain them so I can do this one thing I asked him to give me time to do?

Example 2: Tonight I gave 3yo some milk in a cup; jealous 16m old grabs for it. Territorial 3yo yanks cup away; milk spills on DH. DH shouts at both of them, but honestly, couldn't he have seen it coming, and done something to prevent the spill? Isn't he the adult in this situation?

Or am I being unfair?

OP posts:

sb34 · 16/02/2003 22:58

Message withdrawn


zebra · 16/02/2003 23:42

Oh yeah, I forgot about that one -- DH can't seem to accept that the kids simply MUST have something to eat every 2-2.5 hours.

OP posts:

WideWebWitch · 16/02/2003 23:54

No you're not being unfair zebra. Your DH is responsible for keeping them alive (!) and happy just as much as you are. So my sympathies. In answer to your question, yes, my dp and ex dh are both good fathers in this respect and others I think.


Ghosty · 17/02/2003 08:04

Like WWW I don't think you are being unfair zebra ...
I feel very blessed that my DH is such a good father ... very 'hands on' ... in fact he is a better parent than me in many respects ...
He is a bit harsher than me on the discipline front and will often 'discipline' rather than distract and he thinks I am a bit of a soft touch with DS ... but then he sometimes does wonder why DS seems much calmer with me and has less tantrums with me than he does with him ...
I do think that men see things differently to women ... perhaps I am generalising ... I don't know but maybe the fact that fathers generally spend less time with their children than mothers does make a big difference in how we parent? It would be interesting to get the view of a full time Stay At Home Dad ... are there any of those lurking?


Marina · 17/02/2003 09:33

I think you were very reasonable in both situations Zebra and men do seem to be much more prone to this sort of "inability to supervise and do ANYTHING else". It makes me smile when I think of knitting a scarf, keeping an eye on tea and watching Fimbles with ds, AND keeping my equilibrium as well.
Like Ghosty and www, I feel I am lucky. Dh lost his dad when he was quite small (he died in unhappy circumstances). He grew up not only minus a positive male role model at home but with a lot of baggage from his mother about what a hopeless husband and person his dad had been. Dh was a very unconfident but determined parent when ds was tiny. He still has a tendency to talk to ds as if he is about 15, and be permanently clueless about socks whereabouts. But considering the start he had in life I think he does a really good, loving, involved job.


Lindy · 17/02/2003 09:45

I consider my DH is a very good father - like Marina's DH he also lost his father when he was young & considers it very important to be a 'good role model'....... also, like Ghosty, I would say he is a much better parent than I am. For example he will take DS swimming every week, I loathe taking DS swimming - I find it cold & boring, (I love swimming myself, but just not hanging around in the baby pool). DH does work long hours & is often abroad in the week so he can't be very 'hands on' during the week but he'll do everything at the weekends, I nearly always have Sat & Sun mornings to myself to go out, do what I want on my own (very important!) & DS sleeps most of the afternoons when DH watches the sport or does the gardening!!

I have to say that we were married for 12 years before having a chid (by choice) & it was definately DH's decision to try & have a child .... so I guess I would be pretty angry if he hadn't turned out to be the devoted dad!


bea · 17/02/2003 09:52

oh dear! i feel really bad about this but dh is a brilliant dad!... so good at times, i often feel guilty that he does so much and looks after dd so well!...

he looks after dd when i'm pottering i.e. surfing the web and cooking! (believe it or not i love cooking and is my equivalent to slobbering out with a glass of wine!), takes her out for a wander around the garden, to look at the birds and worms! and frogs (when he would be dying to get on with t he digging and planting and erecting of sheds and greenhouse! - he's a veggie growing fiend!) ... always does the bathing and rough tumble play... yet likes to teach her about the moon and stars and clouds ( dd is only 19 months! he thinks she should be able to identify orions belt!!! - also on top of being a veggie fiend... also a mad meteorologist!)... and generally takes control when i am getting cross and fed up with being mom!.... he is often more saftey concious than me... paranoid about the running out on the road thing... and tells me off when pins and needles are left on the floor!

... but then again.... she was eating a slice of cake yesterday... which had huge chunks of walnut in...

me: have you taken the walnut out!
him: yeah duh! course i have...
me: are you sure cos she can choke on it!
him: yes i have!
me - spies dd about to put something huge and un cake looking into her mouth, lean forward.... and lo and behold... the biggest walnut in the cake... just about to to be swallowed whole by dd...



elliott · 17/02/2003 09:58

Yes, he's pretty good. zebra, I don't think you were being unreasonable at all. I think quite a lot of fathers tend to be a bit lax on the safety front - they don't seem to realise that its down to them to keep them safe - I think a lot of this is because they often don't get a lot of practice at being in sole charge of the children, so they don't get accustomed to being permanently 'switched on' in the way that mothers are - at some level they assume that someone else is REALLY in charge.
DH has ds one day a week and so he has learnt from experience about things like needing regular food etc - you learn pretty quickly when on the receiving end of the consequent meltdown!! He's still not quite as 'on the ball' as me, but then in other ways he is better - often more patient with ds, and more willing to do things that require a bit of effort like going swimming.


grommit · 17/02/2003 09:59

My DH is a brilliant dad but does sometimes lack common sense - eg. dh and dd making jelly frogs (nice father/daughter bonding), I come in to find dd on the floor of the kitchen stirring a jug of boiling water with jelly granules!!! Dh did not see the danger...!!Needless to say I lost it


witch1 · 17/02/2003 10:58

My dh sees it as peices of elastic. My elastic is shorter than his so the kids cant stray far. He reckons his elastic is safe but they learn more for themselves. I have definitely applied this technique whilst training dh up to be excellent father and perfect husband (not finished yet but still improving..)
first baby: husband bathing baby in bath screaming. Water too hot no towel etc at the ready or anythng useful. I waltz in and give him what for take baby and march off huffing and puffing
Second baby: ask dh to bath baby. Hear miraculous calm from upstairs followed by loud request for towel etc. Thank him for bathing baby hand him towel bite tongue and walk out.
3rd baby peep round door to see blissed out baby in bubbly warm bath and smiling husband with all equipment incl towel and cream within arms reach...tell him how lovely to see them getting on and to know he is there for us all blah blah .
The more I leave him to make his own mistakes the more he is amazed at how clever he is. He says guess what all the kids were fighting and I gave them something to eat and they stopped and I got half an hour to read the paper (you should try it he says, ignoring large mountains of washing up and laundry!)
My advice would be as long as it is not life threatening to the kids let him get it wrong and praise him for being wonderful and helpful and making your life a dream when he gets it right. After all puppies children and men all seem to respond well to this method of training.

Good Luck


sobernow · 17/02/2003 11:46

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kaz33 · 17/02/2003 12:09

My DP is great. At the beginning he was totally clueless with our DS and scared of being left alone with our DS for any period of time. He now realises that I was totally clueless as well and only learnt by getting on with it.

Now they have a brilliant relationship and is adored by our DS, sometimes I feel like the spare tyre !!

I agree with Witch1, the more you leave him to learn and make mistakes the better and more confident he will get. He probably is also a little scared that he won't be as good at parenting as you, so its easier to back off and not get involved. He will survive the kids and when you return will be more appreciative of you and understanding of your importance in looking after them.


Philippat · 17/02/2003 14:15

witch1, you are so right, zebra, I suspect your dh is only going to learn by experience (eg HIM being the one that gives the milk and takes responsibility for the consequences...).

My dh is a total star and I don't deserve him at all. The only criticism of his parenting I can think of is the day he had to take dd to A&E and he didn't call me. I arrived home from work to find telephone directory open to 'NHS Direct', open calpol on the table, car and pushchair in drive (we live in the middle of nowhere so they should have been clear signs they were home) and no family.


rosehip · 17/02/2003 16:31

My husband is very good at keeping the kids out of my way while I have a few hours to myself (this is spent cleaning, irmongin, putting away toys etc .....) This is as long as I have given them their breakfast, washed and dressed them, including coat, hat, gloves and shoes on, and prepared a bag with DS (2) spares, nappies, juice etc, then he usually drives somewhere with them and DS (2) then falls asleep and DD (6) is just then bored. He does work long hours (out of house 7.30 in again at 7 and earns decent £, but I too work part time and don't feel he helps or appreciate what goes on 'behind the scenes' or maybe I expect too much. He does not seem able to occupy them AT ALL in the house. He has only done a dozen of bathtime routines, never irons for them, will take them to MCD'S because it's easy - but he does pick up the toys at night!!! I always feel they are my responsibility if we are both in the house with the children somehow.


CP · 17/02/2003 18:28

My dh is a great father, many times I think he is better at this parenting lark than I am! We are on a well established routine so he never forgets to feed dd, especially as I always leave her food out along with detailed instructions... He is great, works from home too so he actually baths her more often than I do, hence me being able to dial into mumsnet! However she does seem to have more tantrums with him than with me, I guess I have learnt the art of distraction!


Eulalia · 17/02/2003 20:37

Well at least he was ironing zebra so its not all bad. But no seriously I don't think you are being unfair at all... like you say he should have kept them away from the ladder.

I posted this on another board but a few months ago I was ill and asked dh to look after our eldest while I slept on the sofa with dd. I was just drifting off to sleep when the door opens and ds is pushed into the room and dh says "you'll have to look after him I need a dump" ARGGGGGHHH!!!!!!

However bowel motions apart (how does he think I manage to go to the toilet?!) he is quite good but doesn't have a lot of time due to renovating the house, long drive to and from work etc. So... I probably do about 99% of the childcare and therefore he doesn't really know what to do... Having said that he will look after eldest on the odd occasion if I need to go out (I take baby with me) and he looks after both once a month when I go to a committee meeting. This doesn't involve putting them to bed or any bathing or anything which I have to do.

He is very loving but I do wish he could be a bit more attentive and practical at times...


Clarinet60 · 17/02/2003 22:47

Ironmongering, Rosehip?!!!!! If this is more fun than straight ironing, you'll have to give me tips, LOL.
I can't start on this thread, or we'll be on all night. You all know what my DH is like anyway.


karenanne · 18/02/2003 08:46

my dp is a great dad...has been from day one .my dd is definatley a daddys girl and although she can wrap him round her little finger when it counts he can say no.
he looks after her so i get time to myself whether its to do the housework or do something for me.
my only complaint is spending time as a family at weekends...he plays football both saturday and sunday so we dont really get chance to do alot together but hey hes getting on now he wont play for much longer .....
i agree with posting further down about letting them climb slides terrifies me when my daughter climbs to the top of the slide etc i always look for things that can go wrong....dp is always there to make sure shes safe but lets her find her own way.....i admire that

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