November 03, 2010,
A.P. asks from Decatur, GA on May 16, 2009
Husband Won't Help with Baby
I don't know if this is how all men are or just mine. My husband really hates helping with the baby. He truly does the minimum. If I ask him to watch the baby while I go the the bathroom, he will sit the baby next to him on the couch while he watches TV or plays video games. The other day, I came out of the bathroom, and the baby was rolling over and was on the edge of the couch ready to take a dive onto the floor! I caught him just in time. My husband couldn't take his eyes off the TV for just one minute while I was in the bathroom! I just started back to work and was hoping he'd be more willing to help because we are both working now.
Here's my usual day: I wake up at 6 am with the baby, get him ready for the day, get his lunch and expressed milk ready, get his extra clothes ready, beg my husband to look after the baby for 10 minutes while I shower, grab breakfast (cereal or a banana in the car), take the baby to daycare, go to work. After work, I pick up the baby, play with him and do baby exercises/activities, bathe the baby, get him ready for bed by 7 pm, breastfeed him every one to two hours until midnight, do the dishes, do the laundry, wake the husband off the couch to go to bed, fall into bed at midnight, wake up to feed the baby two other times until the baby wakes up again for the day at 6 am. It's exhausting and my husband sometimes will help if I ask, and sometimes he will say "no". It's frustrating. He rolls over and groans if he hears the baby at night. The other morning I asked him to hold the baby for 10 minutes so that I could take a shower. His response was "I can't, I have to be at work at 9:00". I was so furious, I could not even speak because, guess what? I had to be at work at 9:00 also, and it was only 7:30. I guess he sensed my silent anger because he took the baby from me and I went to take my shower. But it's like that, he has an excuse every time I ask him to look after the baby. "I have to do this." "I have to do that." Well, often he would be playing on the internet, and the minute I ask him to look after the baby, all of the sudden he has something important and pressing to take care of. He refuses to bathe the baby because he's afraid that he'll drown the baby. He enjoys playing with the baby but wants to hand back the baby if he starts fussing or crying. Are my expectations too high? Are all men like this? I am so unhappy.
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So What Happened?™
I'm not sure what happened, it's like a lightbulb turned on in my husband's head. All of the sudden he wants to help and even woke up at 4 am last night to bring the baby to me for a feeding. I almost did a dance in bed, I was so thrilled. I had confided in one of my friends, don't know if she spoke to him. I think he realized how tired I was and sensed that I was not happy. I hadn't looked at him or spoken to him for 2 days. Not sure if this will last, but I'm so happy that he has come around and I have been lavishing him with praise for any help he gives me. Thanks for all of your advice, ladies! My baby is 7 months old, by the way. P.S., We have had "talks" about it before.
A.M. answers from Atlanta on May 17, 2009
Wow....Not all men are that bad...but all men do have some sort of issue with rearing of their children because they feel leftout and forgotten.
Check out the book "Babyproofing your Marriage" It's spot on. I had issues in the beginning...hubby wanted to help, but I was too critical and particular about how things were to be done that he just stopped wanting to be involved as much and our marriage began to suffer a bit. It took me reading that book and realizing that he felt left out, ridiculed and like a red-headed stepchild. It's not on purpose, but us moms just know that they can take care of their kids better than dad...and they feel that in our actions.
Since readding that book I have changed and realized I did "watch over" everything he did and tell him how to do things. So we talked it out and figured things out. I let him do what he needs to do...and if he needs help or wants to know how to do something, he'll ask. We have an agreement that if he asks, he can't get upset about what I tell him.
If this turns out NOT to be your problem, you have bigger issues that need to be resolved and I'd recommend counceling. Some questions you need to ask yourself and think about the answers are:
1) was he 100% on board with having children?
2) what was his committment about having children before it actually happened?
Best of luck.
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J.O. answers from Atlanta on May 17, 2009
Congratulations on your dear, precious baby! Keep being as encouraging as you can with your husband. He is the same man you met and fell in love with but he has to grow into this new role as a father. As with children, husbands grow with lots of love and support. In order to do that, you need to simplify. Take the advice of the other women (decrease baby's baths, make lists, create a safe place for baby to "hang out" while you work/shower/etc., change your standards to fit your life, etc.). Find a support network of married, female friends (if they're also moms, that would be perfect). You simply must also have down time...sit down time...with the baby playing or lounging in the "safe place" and not always in your arms. The pace you are attempting to keep will wear you down in no time. I hope you find more support.
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H.R. answers from Myrtle Beach on May 17, 2009
I don't mean to be harsh but you are going to wear down. Your husband needs to grow up and be a dad. Your expectations are not to high. If he'd do other things then you probably wouldn't mind bathing your baby all the time. My hubby loves bathing our baby, he gets right in the tub with him. Definatley you and hubby need to have a talk. Ihope things get better cause you sound like a great mom!!! Keep up the breastfeeding!
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S.S. answers from Charleston on May 18, 2009
A., I feel your pain and it will get better. I have a 10 month old and just celebrated my fourth anniversary with my husband. He would also avoid any responsibility with the baby, frankly because he was intimidated. It doesn't come as naturally to them as it does to us, and they seriously need coaching. I remember being overwhelmed like you are, and I finally just had to give him no choice. If I wanted to take a bath, I didn't ask I would just hand him the baby and say "going to take a shower." Then I'd walk out the room, scared to death that he might drop her, forget he's watching her, or God only knows what. But I had to trust him and tell myself that it was his child too and he had no choice but to get comfortable. I was always very carefull not to criticize what he did, unless it was absolutely necessary. I would pump my breastmilk just so that he could feed it to her in a bottle. I started this just like the "watch for a few minutes" routine. Drop her and the bottle in his lap, find something I had to do and leave the room. I tried to get him to split the middle of the night feedings with me, but that was no good because my nerves would let me sleep through it. So he would do the last of the evening feeding so that I could get ready or go ahead to bed. This only lasted for a few nights, but that was a few nights that I needed. It's important that he spend time with the child, even if he doesn't realize it, so that he can build that bond. We already had nine months to do that.
I remember getting to the end of my rope and telling him I might as well be a single parent, because at least then I wouldn't have to take care of him too. I feel your pain!
I don't know how old your baby is but I am guessing still pretty young. Once my daughter hit 5 months and started crawling a little, smiling, and getting a personality she has been a daddy's girl since. I guess when she lost that "fragile newborn" look and moved more into a growing toddler then my husband got more interested. Then he had this little one he could teach to do funny things and make laugh. That day will come for you, just hang in there.
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S.G. answers from Savannah on May 17, 2009
Honestly, you need to slow down and pace yourself before you burn out!! I'm not saying your hubby is in the clear right now but......your son sounds like he is still very young right? He doesn't need 24/7 held suppervision. If you need to take a shower and your hubby is home, lay your son on the floor with some toys or in the swing or bouncy chair in the same room as hubby and take a shower. And don't ask your hubby to watch him either. Tell him you are taking a shower and you are leaving the baby in the room with him! Same goes for when you are cleaning up after dinner or what not. Heck don't say anything at all, leave the baby playing on the floor and do your thing. And relax your schedlue with the baby as well. He doesn't need to be bathed ever night, or baby exercises every day or held all of his waking moments as much as we would like to.
As far as your hubby goes......you need to set him straight on what your needs are with help around the house and the baby. Yes, most men are either great and do everything for the baby (I thought my hubby would have fallen into that catagory) or they are scared of the baby and how to met their needs (that is where my hubby was) and it would make them feel less of a man to admit that! My hubby wouldn't change a poopy diaper, or bathe him till he was sitting up on his own and got frustrated when he couldn't make him stop crying unless it was for a bottle! This is something you are going to have to ease him into. Tell him how it makes you feel when he doesn't help with the baby and that you would really appreciate a hand from him. Also, you say you are nursing, does the baby co sleep with you? I did that with both of my kids and it was so much easier on me to wake up in the middle of the night, offer the breast and fall back to sleep, wake up 2hrs later and change sides. I did that till they were sleeping though the night by about 2 months old. Also, if you are pakcing his diaper bag every day, how much of that can you leave at the day care?? A few changes of clothes and a package of diapers, and possibly some wipes so all you have to do is make sure his milk is there every day.
Just remember to slow down!! you are not super woman and no one expects you to get it all done in one day!
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J.F. answers from Macon on May 22, 2009
Your husband is being self-centered. Give him an ultimatim, either he helps or you're going to separate, you're going home and let him fend for himself. What order was your husband born? Even if he was the baby, he shouldn't be so self-centered. I have 3 younger brothers (1 of them now dead), none of them were like that. Tell him it is his child too, and if the child winds up at the hospital because of him not watching the baby, you're not covering for him. He could be arrested - how would he feel about that?
M.C. answers from Charleston on May 17, 2009
My husband did the same thing when my daughter was a baby, so no you are not alone. I tried being nice about it at first and then, screaming and yelling and demanding he pitch in and neither worked. Upon a friend's recommendation, I started leaving him alone with the baby--first for an hour or two, then several hours, eventually overnight. Provided he's not a totally irresponsible jerk, he'll step up to the plate and do what he has to do because HE HAS TO. Looking back on it, I think my husband did not form a bond with my daughter right away. Most moms are happy to give up their whole life once their first child is born because they love them so much. Some men do not feel the same way. Think about it--if you didn't love your little one so much, or possibly not at all, would it be as easy for you to do all that you do? Unfortunatly, you'll have to force that parent-child bond on your husband. Once he falls head over heels in love with that baby, you'll see a difference. As the baby gets older and responds to you more and can actually "Do" things (my husband was forever asking me when my daughter would "do something"), he'll enjoy the baby more and pitch in more as well. I let my husband get away with this stuff way too long--nip it in the bud now or you'll start to resent your husband because you WILL wear yourself out. Best of luck!
J.S. answers from Atlanta on May 17, 2009
I am sorry you are going through the tough time. Please forgive me in advance, but I have to be honest. I have to ask you who you married? Was he like this before baby...inattentive to anyone but himself? Have you always served his needs and now he is getting ill because you have someone to care for. Have you read a book called "How could he do that?". Perhaps you should pick it up and decide if you can cut this thing short before it is too late.
I know from experience close to me that this is a very hard situation. My hope for you that you either work to correct it quickly or end it quickly. Neither you or your child has alot to look forward to unless he is ready to be a husband and a father.