Husband Watching the Kid

Updated on August 29, 2011
C.C. asks from Austin, TX
17 answers

My husband has always been a computer guy...spends countless hours on his computer, and is a bit of an addict. He works at home and spends all day on the computer both working (he is self employed and the sole provider), and playing computer games on Facebook, etc. when he's in between calls/e-mails. We get up at 6 AM and he is on the computer the moment he gets up and will stay on the computer til dinner time, and then finish dinner and go back to his computer until 7 PM.
There are the occasional evenings when I have an event, or an afternoon outing during my son's nap (our son is 19 months), and my husband has to watch him. When my husband watches him he will turn on the TV and then leave for large quantities of time, leaving our son unattended. I am having incredible difficulty with this as I just don't think that this is good for our son. Yes, I do understand that our son needs to learn to entertain himself, but he's only 19 months old.
Have any of you wrestled with this issue? I have spoken to my husband about it and he just doesn't "get it". I am at the point where I will hire a sitter if I go out, which my husband would disapprove of because of our finances, but I need time away from the home too. Any wisdom on how to handle this situation? Also, I will add to this that my husband and I don't spend much quality time together as well. He has indicated that since I have gotten pregnant with our son that I am not fun to be around. Not really sure what to do. Feel somewhat lost and hopeless at this point. I know children change a marriage, but there has got to be some way to make this work.

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answers from St. Louis on

At least in my experience most men are not attentive when they watch their kids. Doesn't really matter what the distraction is does it? My kids would tell me when they wanted to take food out of the kitchen they would look to see who was in the family room. If it was their dad they would walk right past him and he wouldn't notice.

So far as all the posts that he has checked out of his family, really? So your husbands are home all day and play and interact with their family? Oh that's right they work. I play on this site all day when I am at work does that make me inattentive to my family? Why is there a difference if one works from home?

Stop making her feel like her marriage is over.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You guys don't need counseling, you need a date night, stat!
Don't ask him, just set it up. Hire a sitter, make some dinner reservations and tell hubby you're going out. Try to do it once a week, or at least twice a month. Do things that are FUN, things that you liked to do together before baby. My husband and I like movies, dinner with friends, live music, bowling, hiking with our dog and going to baseball games.

It sounds like your main focus is your child (of course) and your husband has emotionally checked out. You need to reconnect with each other, spend quality time together as a couple. This should enable him to "hear" you more and hopefully make an effort to be more of a hands on dad and husband.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Well, truthfully he doesn't sound like he is much fun himself. Get a babysitter or a place to take baby for a mother's day out and go out and have some fun without 'mr. computerhead'. And I don't blame you. I'd feel lost and hopeless, too. And too bad about the money, tell him to stay on the computer another hour if he doesn't like it. grrrrr...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Sit down and talk, it may be hard at first but he needs to hear you. Tell him you have some things outside of the home that you need to do and that he needs to pay attention to the kiddo. Tell him he can choose, either he has to come out of the office and provide care for the little one or pay a babysitter. That is his choice. Not yours. You are going regardless. Let him be the one to say let's hire a sitter or I'll watch the little one.

The thing is so far, nothing has happened so far and he may not think you have a valid point.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Frankly it sounds like you have deeper problems than your husband being a lousy sitter. I understand totally, my marriage has taken a huge hit since my daughter came along as well and what you describe fits the situation in my house when my daughter was that age to a T.
It will only get worse from here if you don't seek counseling for the two of you (it did for me), so don't ignore it and get your DH and yourself into marriage counseling.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Sounds like he (or maybe both of you) needs some counseling. Hubby has an internet addiction budding and b/c he uses it for work it complicates things. Have you ever asked him straight out to turn off the computer at 5:00 (the end of his work day) and have family time with you and your son? There needs to be a designated "home" time and "work" time.... Can he agree to that?

As far as a sitter during the day... that might be something you need to do. If hubby is working, then he is "at work" and I can see where he might not be able to do both simultaneously.

I'm guessing your not fun anymore because becoming a mother made you responsible for another little life, and he hasn't quite realized that he is too. :( Perhaps if you weren't having to be mom to both the baby and him (that's what kids do, stay on their computers playing games all the time) then he wouldn't feel like you were "no fun". Counseling for that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I agree with Jo and Mamazita.

Many men aren't that attentive to little kids.

Don't beat a dead horse, just hire a babysitter.

Don't spend your money on counseling, just spend it on a fun date night with your husband, and babysitters for the kids.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Tell your husband to grow up, realize that becoming parents means your responsibility levels and loads change and that BOTH parents are expected to take care of their child in a safe and responsible manner. Leaving a child alone is not safe or responsible. Then I'd say if he's too immature and selfish to stay off the computer, interact with his son AND be a responsible parent, then he needs to pay for another adult who can so Mommy can go out and either do errands or have some alone time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Hubby has serious problems, he needs counseling, do not enable. in the meantime HIRE a sitter, get hubby involved in the physical act of paying the sitter, hand the cash to him and say give this to sitter please so he is completely aware of the finances involved in him being a crappy babysitter!
Also email him articles (I assume he likes to read online) about a) American Pediatrics recommend NO TV for under age 2 and b) articles about how husbands are healthier and happier when more involved in family life


answers from Phoenix on

Uh, ya, I "wrestled" with this and now he's my ex husband. Habits are hard to break as an adult and I hope you find a solution that will help but its probably unlikely unless he is willing to work on it. This is a tough one. Good luck.


answers from Houston on

He sounds like me to be perfectly honest. My internt addiction started with my husband's video game addiction. It ruined my marriage so I found my own escape. Now that my husband and marriage is better, I'm still down. I also do a lot of work online at home, and frankly I have a lot of emotional turmoil over being a stay at home mom and have a lot of depression over it. The best thing to do is to set time frames. For me, I leave the computer off until a certain time, then shut it totally off when I'm done so I don't get totally hooked into a game or social media or something. At nights, I turn it off and have planned family time together, including making dinner (my husband and I cook together). Also, he should be checking out for at least a few hours a day when he's watching the child to spend one on one time with him. One thing that helps me, is to leave the house and take the kids somewhere.



answers from San Diego on

Hello, Yeah, and he sounds like he's REAL fun. I would hire a babysitter for the times when you go out. I would also get out with the baby. He should be playing with his son whenever he can. He can't get these years back. If he won't go out with you to have fun, go without him and he can have his "fun" on the computer. My husband didn't have the computer when our kids were young. One Christmas Eve, he came home from work early. I was thrilled and told him that I needed to finish something I was making for him. I locked myself in the kitchen and left him with our two younges kids (almost two and four). I was sewing a shirt for him. It was western and had a lot of fancy seams. When I went to take a break, I opened the door and there he was sleeping. All through our living room, family room, dining room and hallway there was popcorn. My friend had dressed up a huge bag of popcorn as Santa and they had gotten into it. I went back into the kitchen and folded up the shirt, pins, pattern and all. I then wrapped it in nice Christmas paper and the next day, I gladly gave it to him. We did both laugh, but I can tell you that the day before we weren't laughing.
Good luck.
K. K.



answers from Las Vegas on

He needs to set some time limits on the computer. I work at home and when I have a big project, I spend a lot of time on the computer (can be 60 hours a week). When I don't have as much work, I sometimes still spend a lot of time on the computer because I am used to it, but I am normally just fooling around. My husband has had to remind that he would like to spend time with me, and that I should set a time for getting off, so I do. That really helps us.

Your husband should set specific work hours, and during those hours he works, plays a little if he has time, and then he gets off. If he has to work extra, he does that, but then goes back to his normal schedule when he doesn't need to work so much. My 3 year old son is home with me half of the day, and I used to never get work done when he was here. I had to actually spend time with him or get no work done and have an unhappy kid. I never resorted to the tv though, and still don't (other than a conference call last week I had to do), we do things together, and it is a nice break from work. Maybe if you told him in advance that you would like him to watch your son, and give him different ideas on what to do with him (park, legos, etc), and tell him it will be like a little break from work, he will try. Tell him that is important to you (really all 3 of you) that he spends quality time with your son. If he still doesn't get it, get a babysitter. You should also try to get the too much working/playing thing fixed, it can really ruin a relationship. At least talk to him and tell him how you feel, and do a date night like others recommended, to reconnect to each other.


answers from Santa Fe on

If he really is that inattentive I would hire a "mother's helper" - in this case a father's helper! This young teen or tween can be there to play with your child while your husband is in the house. But in the long run it is sad that he does not want some quality time with his child. He is addicted to the computer. It really is an addiction.



answers from Los Angeles on

I thought I was the only one! I used to complain that my husband's real wife was his PC and that I was more familiar with the back of his head than his face! That said, things CAN get better - I've now been married for 20 years and couldn't wish for a better husband. He's still in the IT business but hardly ever goes onto Facebook now. I understand that money is tight (it is for all of us nowdays!) but (just as you need some time away from home) so does he! Right now his "escape" is FB and games. You need to make YOU his "escape"! If (like I used to) you only talk to him about problems etc, he's going to avoid spending any time with you. As hard as it is, try the trick of not saying anything at all unless you can say something positive to your hubby. Organise "date night" - get someone to look after your son for a few hours and try to remember what it was that attracted you to hubby in the first place. If you can let your son sleep with grandparents one night, you can cook a special dinner at home and then concentrate on talking about pleasant things and not your son! Praise hubby for being a good provider. Let him know that you understand he's under a lot of pressure but you miss him and would love to spend some time just cuddling like you used to (or something along those lines). Make time for your husband. It's still hard for me to initiate ... you know ..... Unfortunately men equate that with love, whereas for us its often more "chore" than "fun"! Be that as it may, you'll be amazed at what a huge difference just telling him that you "need" him will make in your relationship! Believe me - it's going to really pay off if you nap at the same time as your son - and then are "bright eyed and bushy tailed" when hubby has finished work for the day! :) I wish you the best of luck with your relationship. Please feel free to email me directly if you need more support. (



answers from Minneapolis on

I agree with Mina K. that the bigger problem is that your husband has checked out of family life, not just when you leave him with your son. Pull the plug on the computer and get to counseling. If he won't go, go by yourself (and hire a sitter for when you are gone).



answers from Phoenix on

This is not good for your son and I wouldn't leave him with your hubby. I have a 17 month old who can't be left alone for a minute. I can't even imagine him being left for large amounts of time. Also, try becoming for fun and playful with your husband. What would happen if you consistently went out of your way to make your husband's life awesome for him? You are madly in love with him and would do anything to make him fall crazy in love with you! I did this with my husband and amazing things began to happen in our relationship!! He may even realize that life off of the computer is much more exciting! I wish you the best!!

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