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QUESTION FOR ALL YOU FATHERS OUT THERE?

So I am wondering how many men out there work while their wives or partners stay home and take care of the kid/kids? And do you pitch in and want to do things with your children? Things like reading bedtime stories to them, maybe changing a diaper or feeding them? Playing with them for more then 30 min every other day? I really want to know if you participate in the raising of your child or if you think because your wife doesn't have to work that you don't have to do anything with the children? That the kids are your wife's job. I really need to understand how a man who can say he loves his daughter and enjoys her never wants to spend time with her. My child is 3 yr old and since day one she has been my sole responsibility. I can count the number of times he has changed a diaper and if it was a poopy one forget it. I can also count the number of times he has come to the park to play with her, fed her, spent time one on one with her. He is a very selfish man and I really thought with how playful he is with me that he would be a different kind of father but he's really turning out to be a shitty father and I'm sad for my daughter that she already knows at 3 not to expect much from him.

Mon. Mar 5, 10:58pm

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Sorry not a father. I'm a stay at home mom to 2 children. My husband adores our kids. When he gets home from work it's basically his responsibility to play with the kids while I cook, then after dinner he usually plays with them again. On the weekend he always wants to do something with the kids. He puts our son to bed, I put our daughter. We are a great team but by himself he's a very loving and attentive father.

Have you talked to your husband about this?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 7:40 AM

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I am a dad to a three year old and a newborn. I'd rather not judge him, but simply note that he is missing out on a lot and will regret it later in life. Can you guess at the reason he chooses to take this approach? Anger may be counterproductive in this case. What might work is to really work with him/on him in a patient manner that makes every attempt to understand what he is thinking. 50 years ago his behavior was the model fyi.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 9:08 AM

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why does it matter how other fathers behave? if you are not happy in your living / family situation, you should speak up and discuss this with your husband. it sounds like you already have some contempt / resentment building up and it will probably just get worse if you don't address it soon. most of the family's that we socialize with have different family-structures, some are same-sex unions, some are single-parent homes, some have children from previous relationships, some have grown children and now care for their grandchildren...i would steer away from comparing your family's style with others. maybe your husband misses having the time alone with you and he is acting out this way?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 9:15 AM

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OP here, to make it clear I'm not trying to compare my family situation with other families. I am just trying to find out if there are a lot of other old fashioned husbands out there. And by that I mean dating back to how it was in the 50's. I have talked to him A LOT and he just doesn't seem to get it. He has no idea how much I do around here while caring for our daughter. He appreciates that I clean, do laundry, do everything relating to the house, pay the bills, balance the checkbooks, cook, and raise our child, but he doesn't really know what its like or how much I'd like to have 2 hours to myself. He has never watched her for more then an hour at a time, except when she was still napping a long time and then it was only during her naps. I don't regret having a child in fact I wouldn't give her up for the world. It just saddens me that she is already aware at 3 that he spends hardly any time with her, and she sees other daddy's spending time and playing with their kids and she is even starting to ask why questions. I do spend time with my husband, 2 nights a week and every other Sunday is our time, I also stay up late so we can spend most night together even though I've woken up at 6 to start our day, on average I get about 6 hours of sleep a night and he doesn't understand why I'm tired. My husband will admit while he misses all the time together that he doesn't resent or regret our daughter. He is also the first to admit that he is very selfish with his time. Most days he sleeps until 10 or 11 and then goes to work, comes home at 7'ish and doesn't go to bed until 1 or 2. I can understand if he was actually doing something but he's not. Like last night she asked him to play with her and he says not now I'm busy, he was playing a game on the computer. He never sees her sad little face when things like this happen and then I find myself trying to make up for these things. I have told him that if he keeps this pattern up that by the time she gets old enough that he wants to spend time with her that it will be to late, she won't be interested. My husband's only responsibility around the house is to take out the garbage cans to the curb on Monday nights. You say it sounds like I resent him? I do, when he plays with her it is one of the few times I see him truly look happy so I can't understand why he doesn't do it more often. I usually have to beg and argue with him to do a family thing, and lately that has stopped because what is the point. By the time he agrees I am so mad it just ruins the day so I would rather ask once and if he says no then I do it without him. There are times when he does do things like take her to the bathroom to clean her hands without me asking him to do it, but thats about where it stops. I have told myself I will not allow my daughter to grow up in an environment where she feels and sees this, she would be better off with living with a single parent, and that is basically what I am, a married single parent, sometimes I feel that it would be easier if I were single, at least there wouldn't be this constant battle about this issue to deal. But I have told him that I am giving him 2 years to see if he makes an effort to change things and be a part of this family and if not well, then I will decide what to do. So far not much has changed.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 11:14 AM

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wow. maybe marriage counselling is the first step to take in this situation. there does not seem to be any sort of a "meeting of the minds" going on. when did you tell him he had 2 years to change? are you really able to wait for 2 years from today? no offense, but you "sound" angry, hostile, and in self-destruct mode. you definitely need some type of outlet for your feelings, so please take advantage of this site when you need to vent!! are there any mothers with whom you could arrange some play dates to give yourself some time alone? or what about signing your daughter up for some activity classes during the morning or afternoon? you can explain to your husband that the classes are a necessary expense since you have to do all of the housework and child caring, if he asks.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 11:46 AM

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Ultimatums almost never work. If the person does yeild, it's usually with resentment and you want him to want to do it. My mom only saw her dad once a week, because he usually came home from work after 7pm which was her bedtime. On the weekends, he did business or he played golf. He liked to be with his wife, not his kids. My mom still lived for him. She says that she can only remember spending one day with him, only one day in her entire life. He took her to the english gardens. to this day, there are pictures of English gardens all over her house and she's obsessed with it. She talks about her dad as if he was the greatest thing in the world. Forgive me but I think you're projecting your own "movie" ideal of what a father should be and what he should act like. If you show that you're angry about it, that is what your daughter will pick up on, your anger, not even necessarily her own anger because she might not even be angry about it! Sounds like you need a break. Raising children is tough. Do you have a trusted babysitter or family around so you can get a break? This really sounds lke it's more about you. Be happy he loves you and he's into you. Many husbands aren't. Is he really that bad?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 11:49 AM

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Wow... at first, I was gonna say that maybe you don't appreciate his struggles at work, or that this was the deal you two made when you had a child, but this guy really seems disinterested. Even worse, it's almost like you've got two kids to look after.

A couple thoughts- he sounds depressed. At least, he's acting like a lot of guys do when they're depressed- closed off, brooding, hiding in video game world. I recognize this because I do it too sometimes...

He also seems to be acting like he's resentful- that the child has wrecked his perfect little world and that maybe if he ignores it, it'll go away. He may say he doesn't resent the child, but his actions say otherwise.

Otherwise, he really sounds like he's being a HUGE baby himself- he admits he's selfish with his time but refuses to do anything about it, He knows there's a problem but refuses to change.

Y'all need to get some serious couples therapy or something ASAP. because otherwise, your options are to DTMFA.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 12:22 PM

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DTMFA? Am I dumb or just not getting what this stands for?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 12:34 PM

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i, too, am at a loss for these acronyms. i usually just punch in the letters in google and find the meaning. DTMFA means "dump the mother f*cker already".

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 12:37 PM

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This is harsh and I know I'm going to get beaten up by anonymous peertrainers everywhere, but it sounds to me like your husband is just a general old run-of-the-mill a$$hole.

Agreed about DTMFA.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 12:39 PM

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or, maybe he just feels like he gets more out of working, you know, more personal satisfaction, more praise from peers, more feelings of taking care of his responsibilities. maybe he is not emotionally wired the same way as you and does not derive the same sort of parental pleasure from spending time raising your child as you might. maybe he feels like he cannot relate to a 3-year old girl and maybe that makes him feel like a failure. yeah, a lot of "maybe"'s, but only he knows for sure.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 12:43 PM

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It really sounds like he has some sort of problem. I am a dad, and the person who said that this behavior is typical of someone who is brooding or upset about something is probably on to something. He in some sort of pain, and is in such pain that he is desensitized to his daughter. I cannot believe the part about ignoring the pain in his daughters eyes. What on earth is going on with him?

Q- what is dad like? Some advice for you- don't be angry at him if that is possible. He needs help and sympathy. Takeaways do work. Can you go to your mothers place for a week or something like that. Don't make it a "I am mad and leaving" just say "I need the extra help." If you keep leaving him to get help and a break, he will miss you. Or at least he should.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 12:45 PM

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I think I would get mad - he may need help but so do you.

Log all the activity in your days for a week including down time, time with him and time with your daughter (both him and you). Show him the log. Think about the log yourself too - is this the way you want to live your life? Is this the relationship you want to be in? Men often react very well to data. Let him know that you are fuming, and this needs to be addressed. Why should he change his behavior if you continue to accept the status quo? Once you have the log, decide specific actions you would like him to take and request that he do them. Also, decide what you will do if he continues to trivialize your contributions and his relationship with his daughter.

Definitely consider counseling - for yourself if he won't go. Why are you OK with a man who is this remote? How is your own relationship with your father?

Best wishes to you and your daughter.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 5:14 PM

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OP here, All of you have some pretty good suggestions and questions. My husband is depressed, he knows this and is seeing a therapist to try to figure out why he has no motivation or enjoyment in his life. I told him I would see a therapist with him but he doesn't really feel that that would help because it is within him. We do have a healthy sex life, we do talk all the time about things, its just this issue with his daughter. He does love her but just isn't that interested he says, it does bother him why he feels like that hence part of the reason he started seeing someone. We did agree that since I would be staying home I would take care of the house and that is fine with me and not really the issue but put it all together and it is an issue. Like dishes, he will leave them where ever he eats, if he eats a banana he won't even throw the peel away. But he has been doing this forever since his mother let him get away with it. When I mention things like that he will make an effort for weeks but eventually he goes back to his habits.

My relationship with my father was very close, and though I realize not every father is my father there are just some things you'd expect from a man who is a father. Like wanting to spend some time with his kid. Playing ball, teaching them to ride a bike. My father always spent time with us and the time he spent with us was all about us and he loved it, there were times he could have been a better father but we always knew we were loved unconditionally and without judgement.

My husband is extremely intelligent and I know this plays into a lot of his quirks. I put up him it because I am not perfect either and I accepted a lot of his behaviors before but what I can't accept is the longing look I see in my daughters eyes when she sees him or the sadness when he excuses her or himself. I am not angry with him but am really disappointed at the kind of father he has turned out to be. I feel very fortunate that I am able to be a SAHM and I appreciate it and I do let him know in little ways all the time and he likes that but when my daughter comes to me and asks why daddy doesn't want to play with her, what do you say to that. It just kills me. And yes, he is the first to admit that he's selfish, judgmental, critical and at times unable to show compassion or empathy, but he is also very funny, gentle, affectionate, playful and loving. He is moody, sad and depressed also. I have never left him, I do take my daughter and go to Hawaii for 4 weeks every year but thats a vacation for us. I'm not so much as giving him an ultimatum as I am a warning that if things don't change or I at least start seeing him make an effort that I will be forced to figure out what I want to do. I am not the kind of woman who is afraid to be a single parent and I would be well provided for as well, I want our daughter to know her father and hope that as time goes on things will improve. I realize how hard it is for some people who are depressed to deal with things and I'm willing to wait it out and see if things improve. My husband has said many times that I am the best thing for him, I've enriched his like and can't imagine finding a better person to be with. I am not demanding or nagging, I hardly ask for anything except that he spend some more time with his child before its to late and he regrets it. And I don't think asking him to pitch in and read her a bedtime story once a week is much to ask for or that he spend at least 30 min playing with her. It doesn't have to be everyday but 3x a week would be nice.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 6:47 PM

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Blah blah blah. Here's the deal, don't spend 3 (long) paragraphs defending your husband's hideous behavior which you brought to our attention in the first place. You can't change someone else's actions no matter how much you will it so your choices are A. accept that your husband is never going to help you with household chores or be a major part of your daughter's life and let go of the resentment or B. become the single parent that you know/think you can be.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 11:01 PM

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At least he is there. That's more than a lot of Dad's out there. And if the guy is seeing a therapist, he's at least trying to work things out. I'm sorry, but the OP sounds like an absolute nag, and few men ever like to be nagged. OP, you should see a therapist as well, group sessions are in order. I'm sure you said for better or worse when you got married. This is the worse, do what it takes to make it better. (FYI, I am a woman, I am only 26, I'm not a fundamentalist, and I'm actually in the military- so don't make assumptions about me because of my advice...)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 11:15 PM

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At least he is there. That's more than a lot of Dad's out there. And if the guy is seeing a therapist, he's at least trying to work things out. I'm sorry, but the OP sounds like an absolute nag, and few men ever like to be nagged. OP, you should see a therapist as well, group sessions are in order. I'm sure you said for better or worse when you got married. This is the worse, do what it takes to make it better. (FYI, I am a woman, I am only 26, I'm not a fundamentalist, and I'm actually in the military- so don't make assumptions about me because of my advice...)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 11:15 PM

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OP, I sense that you need to vent, are just venting, and don't need my advice -- so I won't say much. It's good that he's in therapy -- that is work on his part to try and change things.

About the household habits -- a few months back there was a hilarious article in the New York Times by a woman who was writing a book on animal training and started applying what she learned to her husband. Apparently it really works to simply totally ignore bad behavior (esp. attention-seeking bad behavior) and praise good things. Also, to reward small increments of progress with praise, like the one dish that makes it to the sink, or whatever.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007, 11:38 PM

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11:15 if you didn't want others to make assumptions then why on earth would you give info about who you are? And for the record, I too was in the military, so is that supposed to make a difference? I also have made it a habit not to nag but when asked I am going to say whats on my mind.

11:01 Sorry you wasted your time reading the OP's last writing you didn't have to waste more responding. I was answering questions that were asked of me and about my husband and I wasn't defending him I was simply stating that he is not all that terrible, that there are good qualities in him as well.

11:38 That is interesting I think I will try to apply that towards my situation. Thank you.

To anyone who really answered my questions thanks.

Its clear to me that a lot of people here are really quick to judge and assume things about people they don't even know. I'm at a loss as to why so many are so eager to be rude or nasty in their commenting. Really if what I asked pissed a few of you off why waste time responding at all? My questions were really just to see how other fathers interact with their children and if they want to spend that time with them. So thank you for making me see that this isn't really the place to bring up personal issues.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007, 2:24 AM

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i have to disagree about this not being a good place to ask for personal advice. there were many useful suggestions given on this thread. although you will have to rifle through them to find ones that pertain to your real-life situation, you would have to do the same if you solicited advice from a bunch of strangers on the street, too. i have received comments to my question that were outright rude, insulting and berating. but i also got responses that shed new light on my situation, that showed me a different perspective. i wouldn't come to this forum looking for straight support for a particular issue, but for general feedback, which includes sometimes rude comments.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007, 10:13 AM

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OP, if all you really wanted to know was how fathers interact with their kids, you would have simply asked "Dads, how do you interact with your kids" rather than giving the long diatribe about your husband and how unhappy you are with him. Even if it's anonymous, how do you think he would feel knowing you complain about him on the internet to hundreds of people? Who knows, maybe he's so unhappy with you, he's scared to bond with her because he's thinking of leaving, and it would be harder if he were close to her. Oodles of reasons as to why he could be remote.

This is a place for feedback. But many of us here don't like whiners. I for one read your post at first and thought "Oh gosh, this is not gonna be a pretty thread" and didn't respond, until posters suggested you dump your husband, which I'm not for. I know many many guys who have no interest in raising or caring for other people's children. Your husband may not be there in the manner you wish, but he is there, and finding another person to do his job may not be that easy. So I felt obliged to respond to offer a contrary view.

I pointed out I'm in the military so people wouldn't assume that I'm some Harriet the happy homemaker who thinks men should be king of the household, like has happened to other people in other threads previously.

Most aren't being rude or nasty. They are calling it as they see it, and you are taking offence because it's not the way you see it. They WERE answering your questions, just not with the answers you wanted. Welcome to Life.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007, 11:31 AM

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11:31 - thank you for serving our country. I am routinely amazed at the sacrifice and bravery of the troops. I'm also impressed by the generally level headed demeanor most military people seem to approach things. That has been my experience at least, and it shows in your post in particular.



Wednesday, March 07, 2007, 12:10 PM

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i don't understand the correlation between being in the military and not holding certain beliefs about running a household. my friend served in the first gulf war, and now she is a stay-at-home-mother who truly believes it's "supposed" to be that way, with her at home raising the kids and her husband at work, doing what he does. just because you are in the military does not mean that you don't also prefer the traditional roles of mothers & fathers. i mean, i get that YOU don't believe in these roles, but participation in the military does not presuppose anything with regard to bringing up children.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007, 12:19 PM

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I think the OP was looking for dad's to respond not women and from what I've been reading most of these posts sound like women. The person in the military sounds like she isn't even in a relationship. I don't think the OP was whining or even really saying she is unhappy with her marriage. All it sounds like is she is venting. She's not happy about the type of father her husband is being, not about the type of husband he is. I think its clear that she has respect and love for him but her child comes first and if she doesn't see changes or at least an effort to change then she would choose not to have her child grow up in that environment. There are many women out there who have children and are re-married their are also tons of women out there who are single parents and although it is harder enjoy it. Not ALL women need a man to define who they are or make them feel complete, it doesn't always work like that. I think the OP sounds like a strong woman who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to be on her own. I say just give it more time and perhaps as your daughter gets a little older he will want to interact more. I also think him acknowledging that he is talking about this very issue in therapy is a good thing. Maybe his depression and lack of motivation are really bringing down a lot of things in his life that might be different or that he wants to be different.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007, 12:19 PM

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OP, hang in there. Sounds like he's depressed and needs some help. It's rather unfortunate that you're taking the brunt of that depression. Can you call his family?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007, 1:33 PM

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WIth all due respect to the 12:19 poster, you mention your friend is now a stay at home mother- that means she is not in the military any more. I don't know how any woman could serve in the military and believe she should be a stay at home mom at the same time, and not be in inner turmoil. Generally, if a woman is in a full-time, demanding job *by choice* then they don't feel all women should be stay at home mothers. I do not have children as my career is currently not conducive to raising children (not saying military life can't be for children, but mine where I don't sleep in the same place for more than 6 months, and am gone for 3 or more months at at time, is NOT), but I will be the first to say that mothers should make their children a priority. I can't, so I don't have children. She it seems wanted to be a full time mother so she left the military, and kudos to her.

And no, I'm not currently in a relationship, but I fail to see how that matters. I've been in relationships, and have viewed relationships (like my parents, married for 30 years who have been through better and WORSE). And I have single friends who can't find a guy willing to date them because of their children, guys who can't keep a girl because the mother of the guys baby is psycho, and friends who grew up without fathers and always missed them.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007, 1:33 PM

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My husband was just like this with our children. My kids are now 9 and 7 but for the first 4 years he was pretty much out of the loop. He just wasn't interested in the baby/toddler stage. A little bit more with the 2nd after a few years. Things starting changing a lot when the kids were potty trained and pretty self sufficient. Now he really enjoys time with them and even has Sundays for himself with them and Tues. nights are his. I know quite a few men who acted the same but came around when the kids got older. Hang in there OP, at least he's going to therapy and that is an effort.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007, 1:45 PM

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my friend was in the military for the benefits of schooling and home buying assistance, primarily. once she left, she then had a family and found she was never happier than being a SAHM. i think it's funny that you can generally speak for all women who work by choice. some women cannot biologcally have children, so maybe they have a preference that goes un-noticed while they work away from home. some women are preparing financially for the time when they will start a family and so are working now, by choice, so that when the time comes, they can be the stay-at-home-moms they choose to be.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007, 1:54 PM

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So maybe I am the 2nd man to actually answer the questions. First I have to say how sad it it to hear how dismissive this man is. To not see the sadness in his childs eyes just kills me. I was somewhat like he is but only during the baby stage. Honestly I just didn't know what to do with a baby. But once my son started crawling and especially walking things became a lot more fun and I wanted to interact more with him. I do do things with him and enjoy it, I take him to the park on the weekends, sometimes without mom, while she sleeps in. I do pitch in and give him a bath on weekends, make lunches for him or such. But during the week I work till 7 and by the time I get home he is either in bed or about to be put down for the night. So my wife does pretty much do everything during the week. Your husband is missing out on a lot and I bet when he gets over his depression or at least pulls himself out of it to the point where he feels more energy and motivation he will regret not pushing himself more. As a man I don't think you (the OP) is wrong for wanting your daughter to know her father and I think if you just give it more time things will change, after all by going to therapy he is already making an effort. I also don't think the OP sounds like a nag, I think she is really disappointed in the father he is and she has a right to be, he is not much help.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007, 9:37 PM

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