Husband Will Not Spend Time with Children

Updated on November 07, 2006
S.R. asks from Perryopolis, PA
11 answers

I really need some advice. My husband refuses to spend time with my children. Yes, he works full time and rearly has days off, but I believe that the time he does have off he should spend some of it with his family. He loves to hunt and when he is off (during hunting season) he spends those days hunting and I mean all day.(5AM to 7PM). If it is not hunting season he spends his time shooting his bow competivly.
My 5 year old has asked him to play with her & her toys and he always has an excuse and now she has begun to notice it. She tell me that daddy never has time to play with her. He is always leaving. This brakes my heart. When I asked him about it he tells me that he does not like to play with toys with her. WHAT??
He really never spent anytime with either of my kids from the time they were born. I was always the one who got up with the children, changed them, stayed up for days with my colic daughter and so on. I can't go any place without my children, because he refuses to watch them. Even when he does not work and I am sick, I still have to care for the children, because he will not.
His excuse was and still is that he works and I don't. In my opinion, being a stay at home mommy is work. 24 hours a day with no brakes.
Just wondering if I am being selfish or over reacting. I come from a loving family ( family who shows love & spends time with each other) and he was never really shown love as a child. (divorced parents and abusing step dad). Maybe he does not know how to show love or spend time with the children, because his mother never paid much attention to him?
I believe that it took two to make the baby and it takes two to raise the child.

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answers from Philadelphia on

You need to tell your husband if you're going to do this by youself, your going to be by yourself. There is nothing more frustrating then trying to raise children with no help when the help is sitting right next to you!!!!!!!! Also just remind him that we are not in the 1950's anymore and you didn't make these babies by yourself. He needs to step up as a father and a man and be a part of his childrens lives.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

First thing is first here, you are not being selfish!!! And furthermore, you should never let that thought enter your head again. Your husband is being completely selfish in every way here. Yes he works & earns money, you work out of the kindness of your heart. Everyone needs a break sometimes & I know from experience that staying home with kids is much more work & stress than working outside of the home. Neither is more important than the other.

My husband & I both work full-time, I work farther away & earn a little bit more than him, but it hasn't always been that way. Even when I didn't work, he's always been great about sending me out w/ my sister or mom for a break. We share the cooking & doing laundry, homework & baths, he cleans the house by himself because he's just better at it than I am. We share the duties because we are both adults, we are married, we are a team. Every year since September 11th, he has deployed for a minimum of 3 months (pretty much always over Christmas, blech) & I'm on my own to just do it all. He sees all that I do & he appreciates it. That's what you need, some appreciation & some freakin help once in a while!!!

Now, I'm sure your husband's attitude has got a lot to do with his childhood, but that doesn't mean he can't overcome it (my husband had a completely screwed up childhood, but he's a great daddy & wonderful husband so I know it can be done). Most people want to make sure they don't make the same mistakes with their kids that were made with them, right? Sounds like he really could use some therapy (but doesn't sound like the kind of guy that would ever be willing to go unfortuanately for you.) Have you ever tried talking to anyone in his family, or has anyone in your family (siblings, parents, anyone he's close with) tried to talk to him about it?

He needs to be a man & step it up, he's not being a good father to his kids & certainly not being a good husband to you. I don't have the answer for you, but your story is very frustrating to read. I would keep trying to talk to him & especially see if you can get some outside source, like I said, one of his friends, his siblings, your family, ANYONE to talk to him because it could just be that he doesn't want to hear it from you. Best of luck honey!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Maybe there is something to your question about his childhood having effects on his parenting - or lack of it. Can you think of anything he is interested in doing that would be appropriate for the children too? Even going out to dinner would be a start. There are plenty of kid and adult friendly places. Maybe to start try to focus encouraging your husband to join you and the kids in activities. If he becomes more comfortable with that and gets to know the kids a little better, maybe he'll be better able to accept the idea of doing something alone with the kids to give you a break. Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from York on

Please remember, your job is just as important as his. And to top it off, you put in a lot more hours. He needs to understand that your children need two parents. I am a stay at home mom also, and I don't what I would do without my husband. He has worked 3rd shift for most of the past two years, and usually gets home around the same time that our girls wake up. So, when he gets home, he gets them up, changes their diapers, feeds them, and plays with them. He does for about two hours before he goes to bed. You didn't make the kids by yourself, so you shouldn't have to take care of them by yourself. I couldn't imagine my husband not helping or even playing with my children. Maybe, someday when he is home, you should just take a walk out the door, and force him to be with them. Tell him you'll be right back, and take a short walk. I hope that you get the help that you deserve.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on


The first thing I want to say is that this response is going to be very realistic and may seem hurtful but I don't mean it that way.

I can't help but notice that you have been married six years and your oldest is five. The first question I have is were you pregnant when you got married? If you were, your husband may not have been ready for a family and may be blaming all of you for him having to be a father. If you were not pregnant when you were married, did you ask him if he wanted to have kids so early in the marriage?

Men and women look at families differently, and some women (now keep in mind I do not mean you necessarily) want a family so badly that they "accidentlly" get pregnant in the hope that the man will do the right thing and to marry them. That usually breeds contempt with the man. If women get pregnant without consulting the hubby first, that also causes contempt. If he married you to be with you, then he may not have been ready to share his time with you with kids yet. The old addage, you can't be the baby when you have a baby.

I aggree that it takes two to raise a baby, but if he was not ready, or did not want kids in the first place, there is a lot of bitterness there. You may need to visit a counseler to figure out where this contempt is coming from, and you will also have the opportunity to tell him how you feel.

Also, if you want him to notice what you do all day, follow the example of the e-mail that went around not too long ago. Go on strike for the day. Don't clean, don't change the kids, don't do anything, and when he comes home to a mess, tell him, well you know how you said I don't work all day, well today, I didn't work all day. . . and leave it at that.

Good luck,



answers from Philadelphia on

My first husband didn't spend any time with my oldest daughter. We were young, and when you are that age, a lot of men are into themselves. I also must say, that he did work a lot. You can't change them.

My ex has remarried and so have I. I had a child with my hubby, and a year later my ex had a child with his wife (and oldest daughter was 20 years old at the time!). My ex is very involved with his second child. He does everything. He is totally opposite to how he was with our child. I thought that would bring him closer to my oldest, but it hasn't. She rarely hears from him.

If I were you, I would just make my own life without him. I'm not saying get divorced, but your children only have you now. You can't change someone. Maybe if he sees you and your children having a good time he'll start to notice. I would not argue with him or go out of my way to help him with his hunting, etc. I would just take the kids and go out somewhere. When I came back, I'd look happy and go about life on my own. Take them to McDonald's once in a while to play for dinnertime. Don't cook for him. Let him fend for himself here and there and learn to appreciate you.



answers from Washington DC on

this is unacceptable and needs to change! since he doesnt know how a dad should act and doesn't want to, you are going to have to teach him how to be a dad.....maybe you should seek family counseling on how to do this?



answers from Harrisburg on

The very first paragraph is my hubby to a tea. He works from 7am-2pm, then comes home and works again from 4pm-midnight. He does not make excuses not to play or help take care of our daughter. I work only two nights a week. In the beginning he was scared of the baby. I used to do EVERYTHING! He was scared of alot of baby things until one day when I told him I was going to the store by myself/ without the baby. He freaked. I told him that I had my cell phone and that he is just going to have to get used it. I didnt get a call while I was at the store, but when I got home, he plain out said,"I dont think I could do this like you can everyday". He apprecieated everything I did for him everyday, he helps me when I need him, he lets me go out with friends and he takes time out of his day, even from a nap, and plays with our daughter. He even on his nights off, will put her to bed for me.
To get to the point..he works one job. You work 5 jobs. You have a 5 yr , 3yr, hubby, house(cleaning/laundry/cooking.ect...), and yourself. Those four
jobs in front couldnt survive a day without you. You tell him, that it is time that he steps up, and is a father, and that he steps up to be your husband. This is not about not wanting to play, or spend time with the children or you, this is about him. He has major problems, and you both together need to deal with them. I am definitly not saying for you to pitty him, because if there should be any party it should be for you!Take control. Talk with him, tell him you are sick of being a single parent.He may get mad, he may even leave, but let him think about his actions. Pour your heart out to him. It helped me. Good luck.

I have to agree with Dina! I didnt think of it at the time of writing you, but she has a great point.



answers from Lancaster on

Gee, my husband was like that, now he is my ex. Of course, that wasn't the only reason. One of the things I did, was I just left. If I had to go grocery shopping, I left and said I'm going to the store, I'll be back when I'm finished, and I left. There was a lot of fighting for awhile, and then it stopped. It became a non-issue. I had to somehow show him they were OUR children, not MY children. You can't babysit your own children. They are a SHARED responsiblity! You have choices. You don't always have to make the choices that are his easy way out. It won't be easy. Emotionally it will be very painful, but more will be revealed.



answers from Washington DC on

Sorry to sound mean but, this is B.S.!!!!
Sorry about his childhood but does he want to make it a new family tradition... ignoring your kids?? You need to get him in there....ASAP! Remind him that what they see now will make it what they do as adults.
Go to counseling if you have to. I am just glad to hear that you are a wonderful loving mom.
Good Luck!!!



answers from Scranton on

You are in no means selfish you are the primary caregiver to your children and that is a wonderful but excruciating job and what to to about your husband i am not sure try having your daughter explain her feelings to him. I know where you are coming from my fiancee thinks spending time with our child means being in the same room with him whether he is sleeping on the couch or watching tv (watching tv means zone out and doesn't pay attention to anything or anyone). Unfortunately there are still men in the world who think that just because they work they should do nothing but work play and reproduce. Leaving us women to take care of the kids and the house and everythign that goes into them. Sine you have tryed talking to him about it my best advice would be couples therapy though there is nothing wrong with you getting him to participate in the family is a big deal to you and your children and they can grow to resnt him for not being around and spending time with them.

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