i have less to say about the relationship between your partner and child than about the relationship with you and your dp.
i hope that it's ok, since you didn't specifically ask for comments on that.
i notice that you're saying you force him to do x, y, or z. i cannot imagine that, even if you're just using that language for the sake of brevity in explaining, that this sets him up to feel capable or to perform without guilt or a feeling of being judged. that might even be the crux of the problem, as you seem so confident/competent. personally, if i feel as though i'm not going to do something 'right' - and boy can my dh get critical sometimes- i tend to fall into learned helplessness or to not even attempt something at all.
i also bristle when i think my own dh is being patronizing, and i can imagine your sweetie construing some of your well meaning attempts at getting him to bond as this. i also know that i didn't bond with my dd for a long time. long enough for her to actually acknowledge my existence. babyhood is hard for some people.
sometimes the best way to love somebody and the best way to facilitate the parent-child bonding is to give that person trust. don't set him up for failure, don't let him think he's being judged... be there when he asks. (or at least i would) and for us, the best way to get my dh to do something much of the time is to BACK OFF a bit. (and for that matter, me too!!!) maybe ask him for help, ask him for advice, try to read some things together and discuss it... i would perceive that since you seem so knowledgeable about all of the caregiving that he might be intimidated or have feelings of not being good enough. you forcing the situation isn't helping that, it's probably just making him feel less like you trust his ability and judgement.
the relationship between a couple tends to get thrown by the wayside with a little one, too.. maybe you could 'feed it' a little, or give him some like ina may says, you know?
Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?
when i leave the house, i say how long i will be gone for at MINIMUM, and that no amount of calling or crisis will get me home before then. so if i want to get my hair cut, i say i'll be gone at least 2 hours, and then i'm going to stay and chat with my girlfriends for a little while longer, and he's free to call after that 2 hour mark if they're struggling. that way i get my minimum time out at least, and can stretch that time out without feeling guilty. i would really lay down the law if i was getting multiple calls though, and definitely not say i was going to rush home.
as to HOW your partner bonds with your dd, i don't think you can police it like you are. my dh is a great dad, i think, but when he's left in charge of her, he fully takes advantage of her amusing herself to play on his computer as much as possible. it annoys me a little but i figure that if she needs more interaction from him, she'll demand it (and sure enough, while she was actually content to play in her crib for upwards of 30 min at a time at 8-9 months, she is increasingly demanding as she gets older). he really would not be able to get away with sitting there on his computer for the whole time i was gone now.
that said, i expect our family bonding time to come as a family! i don't expect them to go off and amuse themselves by choice at this stage. when all three of us are home, we play as a group... singing silly songs, bath time, flying in the air, peekaboo, etc. i am still the lynchpin at this point in our family life... and i wonder whether that's fair sometimes, but i have come to accept it. both my husband and my daughter gravitate towards me naturally, so unless i really need some private time, i just expect that their interactions are going to involve me. OP, i would really try to build that family play time. i definitely notice that the songs and games we've come up with together are ones he repeats with her later, without me. like we discovered that you can pick her up in the highchair and "rocket" her around the room, to her great delight. a few days later, he was doing "rocket" with her while i made dinner. or he sees me singing a song to her that she thinks is funny, and sure enough, he is singing it to her on his own later.
consider too that it is equally important that your dd witness a strong and healthy adult relationship between her parents as it is for her to interact with her dad. we favour a bit of benign ignoring of our dd so that we have a chance to focus on each other. i don't mean putting your baby in a crib and shutting the door so you can have dinner and a glass of wine... i mean taking advantage of her quiet, happy moments to talk and look at each other, instead of her.
anyway, i guess my main response is that you need to relax about it. your baby is still young, and given the time and opportunity, they will bond. my dad was not the "playing" type... my parents had very traditional and conservative roles in the home, and yet i am incredibly close to my dad now (and that is on top of receiving corporal punishment from him). think carefully about what you NEED him to do (give you a few hours break a week? take over one meal and one diaper change per day?) and lay it out as the minimum you need him to be doing for her, and then just sit back and relax as much as possible on the rest.
I had a bit of a challenge with my husband when my DS (first) was born. Husband would help with the work of taking care of the baby, but it was pretty obvious that it was work to him. The other thing, we coslept and nursed and I think that sets up a bad dynamic for dad. It becomes YOUR baby and he just helps. I agree with previous posters that you need to keep encouraging your husband to take care of the baby. Partly because that is how bonding happens, but also because it is work, and it is only fair that you get some time alone.
I discovered that my husband enjoyed playing with the baby and me - so I tried to do that. He found the baby boring, but the three of us playing was fun for him.
It also changed for him when the baby became more interactive - at maybe 6 months or so. We have a 2 1/2 year old and an 8 MO old - he obviously enjoys and prefers spending time with the older kid more.
I think a lot of men don't love babies. It may change for him.
But you can't expect him to parent the way that you do. You can expect him to do 1/2 the work, but that's about it.
I can only speak from my experience, but my DH just is not a baby person. He doesn't "get" babies. They don't make sense to him, he doesn't know how to interact with them, he's essentially uncomfortable with them. He CAN go through the motions, but there's no connection there.
With DS1, I thought it was just the circumstances.... We hadn't been together long, there was a lot of emotional/financial stress, we were working awful hours, and so on. So when we had DS2, I expected that things would be different. But they weren't.
But with both kids, around the time they reached real "toddler" age and could suddenly play and interact and communicate verbally in some way, it all changed. DH loved his time with them. He didn't do things my way, and I had to be ok with that. They were cared for.
The main thing, though, that DH did do with both boys when they were small was take them out of the house. He'd basically just run errands, sometimes just wander around Best Buy for no reason. But he'd take a carrier and wear them and they'd have a blast together.
He needs to grow up. I know that I will get flamed, but if you have sex, you are, in essence, willing to become a parent, because as we know, birth control can fail.
How would he like it if you rushed through sex or something HE liked or needed to be done?
Being an adult and a parent means that you sometimes have to do things that you do not want to do. What if you became ill? What would he do then?
a lot of dads find it easier and more enjoyable to do things with a baby, rather than just take care of them.
ask him to take her to the home depot with him.
take a walk with her to get that one last ingredient for dinner.
take her to the park and push her in the baby swing.
you sound like you are so in love with her that cleaning poop out of her hair would be a wamr and fuzzy bonding experience. for him, not so much.
doing something he enjoys with the baby along might help him enjoy time with the baby.
Ok a few things.
What are you doing to still make your marriage grow and be a team together?
You can't make him love/bond with a child on your terms. While to you it may appear he isn't bonded or has a uncle type love for her that could be far from the truth.
DH is a great father however when it comes to changing diapers, feeding her, making her bottles. Its not going to happen on his own. I have to ask him to do it. If I want to go grocery shopping well DD either should already be napping or about to nap. Up until 6 months of age he never changed a dirty diaper or given her a bath. I went grocery shopping and sure enough DD had a blow out and needed a bath. When it came to it he had no problems doing so. But if I am here not a chance of that happening. Oh and forget about nighttime parenting he tried and said I don't know what she wants and said you do it.
DD loves DH I see it and while DH may not be hands on like I am he loved DD and can't imagine life without her. She gets excited when he walks in the door. and now that she is mobile and not just sleeping, eating, newborn stage he is more hands on being the fun parent with playing. DH plays with DD way better then I do. Every night when he is home he will sit with her before her bedtime however if she starts fussing or anything like that she gets passed of to me. He always makes comments that he can't wait till she can walk and is more fun. So for him the baby stage is more my time then his. Doesn't mean he won't step up when he needs to but if I am here it falls on me. But that doesn't mean he isn't bonded with her or loves her any less then I do.
A couple of thoughts:
1) the constant calling is unacceptable and needs to stop; it's totally not fair to you.
2) your love for your daughter sounds really really hard to live up to. i don't even know you and I'm intimidated by it. It's just not like that for the vast majority of new parents. I don't think it's fair for you to expect him to have the reaction to your daughter that you did.
3) I'm willing to bet some money that he loves her very much.
I'm going to agree with Tjej. I think this has a lot less to do about the baby and a lot to do with YOU. I sounds to me like he really wants to be with you, and maybe he's a touch resentful that now there's this little person who is always in the way. Not that he doesn't love her, or doesn't care, but she changed his world, in ways he likely wasn't expecting. It sounds like you are beautifully attached to your child, but is it hindering your relationship? He can't have time with you when she's not there. Or if you don't have her, it means that he has her for the purpose of you being away. I think that's a rough point for him to be. I know leaving little ones is hard, but have you thought of perhaps having a date night with just the two of you away for a couple hours? Have you ever done things just the two of you since her birth?
Him always calling you over to talk to you is what makes me think that. I definitely think the two of you need an adult time together. At the very least the three of you should do something fun together... but I'm leaning more towards he's feeling like he's lost you a bit to the baby.
I'm totally in love with my babies, but I dislike diaper changes, and try to get through them as quickly as possible, same with baths and feedings sometimes. and often, if they're content, I will ignore them to do something I want to do, and sometimes I feel resentful when they interrupt me when I'm doing something.
I honestly feel bad for your husband, because I know if my DF decided that meant I didn't love the kids and tried to force me to take care if them so I could bond with them, I would hate it, and start to feel resentful. I do change diapers etc., but I do it because it needs done, not because I find joy in doing it.
your husband should be taking part in baby care, not to force him to bond, but because doing so helps you out. and you should be working in some play time for all three of you, be it a round of tickling, going for a walk together, or going to the park, no electronics allowed during family playtime. family playtime helps everyone feel connected, and will give him ideas of how to play with her by himself.
part-time and through infancy. planning a
Im gonna need you to watch her while I take a two-hour CPR class on Tuesday.
Im working four hours on Saturday. You'll need to watch the baby.
Please get the baby dressed. Im busy.
You need to stop asking and start depending on him to do these things. Some dads have a hard time bonding with a baby who cant talk to them. But it seems pretty likely that he is viewing her as something you do, not something he does.
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It seems like that does happen quite frequently but I doesn't have to. And, TBH, I wonder if some fathers use it as an excuse. We have co-slept and exclusively BFed from day one. J has never had a bottle and I expressed for the first time two weeks ago - mainly to make sure my new pump worked. DH has found plenty of ways to be involved and they have a great bond. Now, to be fair, we have not experienced the strong mummy-preference that many babies have so that has certainly made it easier for him to care for her.
These are the sorts of things he does - changes her nappies (99% of them in the early days, still the majority when he is home from work), wears her (virtually all the time when we are out together), baths her (every night when he isn't working a late shift. Sometimes I sit with them so we can chat but usually I play on MDC.), takes her for walks (every morning he isn't doing a morning shift), takes her shopping, to the post office, hardware shop etc, gets up early with her because he is a morning person and I am not.
At the moment they are out together, they're going to go to the markets and then go for a walk on The Esplanade.
Lately, she goes to sleep more easily if he lies down with us while I feed her to sleep, so he does that too. We spoon or hold hands and grin at each other over her head (if we're lying on either side of J). He often gets back up once she closes her eyes and settles and I read a book until she finishes feeding.
I swap from side to side overnight so we spend part of each night snuggled up to each other.
I don't mean this to be a braggy look-what-my-wonderful-husband-does post, I just want to say that co-sleeping and BFing doesn't mean that fathers can't be involved in lots of meaningful ways.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
OP, I totally get how into your DD you are. My DD was a joy from the very beginning and I enjoyed/still do every moment of her. The diaper changes, night nursing(after I got over mastitis and such), bathing. It was all so much fun, so I don't doubt that it's the same for you.
I don't have the same issue with DH, but I can understand how frustrating it is for you. However, I don't get why so many posters are feeling bad for him and saying you enjoying being with your DD is intimidating. Maybe he does'nt love every moment of it and has'nt formed a deep bond, but he still needs to get in the game. OP has done her part and she really should'nt have to conjole him into being more of a father.
Lovin my sweet babygirl 3-17-10 and expecting another in March!
OP, I definitely feel for you and think you've gotten a lot of good feedback. However, I do want to say that no matter why your husband is not stepping up to the plate as a father - and he certainly doesn't seem to be - it really isn't your job to fix it. You have tried all sorts of strategies and they haven't worked and I don't think you should try any more.
This is a problem your dh is going to have to tackle all by himself, and at this point, I think that should mean a third party, i.e. a counselor, maybe for both of you. I can only imagine how much stress it would give me to have an uninvolved father as a partner, and how, little by little, it would erode my respect and affection for him. Because once there's a kid involved, I don't think it's possible to say, "He's a terrible father. But he's a great guy and a wonderful husband!" Because great guys and wonderful husbands are, by definition, good fathers. Or at the very least, they try to be. And your husband isn't even trying.
What I would do in your shoes is to sit him down once and for all and say, "Look, this issue is affecting our marriage and it would mean a lot to me if we could talk to someone about it." And then make the appointment.
I agree. Especially the bolded part. If it isn't addressed now, it sets one up for a lifetime of issues, both marital and childrearing. You guys are in it together, and accepting that he won't be involved isn't good enough. Injecting my own personal opinion here but it pisses me off when people don't take charge for the things that they are responsible for and should love. I'm spoiled because my own DH is such a wonderful father, but if he wasn't, I would definitely take positive steps to either involve him or to limit his "benefits" per se. Sounds harsh but I personally can't live with the idea that people don't hold up their end of the bargain. Sometimes stuff happens in a relationship: sickness, poverty, death, pregnancy, etc. I don't care if he didn't expect it to happen in the beginning. The fact is, it did happen, now he has to equitability deal. You're not in it alone just because you carried the baby and bore the baby. It is a two way street. Okay, off my giant, giant soap box. :)
oh, i'll be home at three. can't wait!.
Honey, if there's not a problem, try not to call me too much so that I can wrap up my work and come home early to you guys.
Husband, I'm working as fast as I can. I think I can get done ahead of schedule, please try not to call so much.
Husband! Seriously! I can't get any work done with you calling constantly!
Ok, I will be home at three. I can probably hurry and get done faster. Please do not call me anymore
Stop calling me. I will call you the second I finish.
What the *bleep* is wrong with this man???
Tell him to grow up already. "You are not the baby in this family, you are the father."
Seriously, your responses sound just like the ones I give my dd when I'm using the bathroom. "I'll be out as soon as I'm done pooping." "Sweetie do you have ouchies? (no) Okay I'll be out in a second." etc etc.
hehe my DD does the same thing..."Put down phone MAMA!"
I have 3 little boys. The youngest is 11 months old. I've left him with dh some, mostly for errands or a few moms' nights out or whatever, but probably never more than 3 hours. He's never gotten up at night with him (why would he? I never understand this. He has no boobs). I see men at church that rock and hold and wear babies, and I'm a little amazed. He has never done this, either. He just does the basics the first year or so.
And, then, something clicks.
Right now, he is gardening at our community garden with our 2 and 4 year olds. He is a great dad. Very involved, very loving, very close.
Your baby is still so young. I was probably a little worried with my first baby (though not much, cause I'm selfish about my babies) that there was no bond, but you know what? It was unfounded worry. As each baby has gotten mobile, more vocal, and probably most importantly, less dependent on nursing, the bond has strengthened by leaps and bounds. It's pretty neat to watch actually.
I can relate to this. DS is an angel child, sweet, easy and loving, but only to me and his grandmother, whom we lived with until he was 14 months old. He has always been shy around strangers, and never has cared much for his dad. DH worked 2 jobs during DS's first 8 months and then left completely for the next 6 months at boot camp. When he came back, there was no bond at all. LO cried and clung to me when we encouraged him to visit daddy. He still doesn't like him much and ignores him when he is home for the vast majority of the time. When he babysits ( I hate using this term, but whatever), he chain watches TV shows I don't like him to watch and plays on the computer- at the same time, with his back to the tv... so I am like, why is it even on? Just turn some music on or something... He does very few activities with him when they are alone. He says If he gets tired and cranky he doesn't do anything about it because if he leaves him alone he will crash on the floor. He complains if I ask him to take him out with him without me- he has only done so twice, at 19 months old. His excuse is "I just want to get it done real fast and not have to worry about him" Really no way I would like to get errands done easily too but I take him along and talk to him about everything under the sun because he is my baby. I ask him to change a diaper and he"really doesn't feel up to it." Baths are pointless with dad because he immediately wants out again, even if DH plays with him. When I finally got him to come to the park with us (for the first time ever) he sulked about how he was bored, didn't want to be there and didn't enjoy playing on the playground with LO. I am not into playing much either- I prefer to teach him to cook and read- but I play because LO loves it and it makes him happy. Sorry this turned into a vent but I am extremely frustrated. We are having a nice little break from each other because he is in training and I am visiting my family. When we talked on the phone I told him how LO has bonded with everyone and will actually choose other people's company over mine- a first! I think it really hurt him- he has up until now attributed O's lack of interest in him to his personality and the fact that he was gone for so long, and now he knows how he has bonded to 2 people he has never met before in the course of 2 days more deeply than with him. I told him how I felt about it, that he hasn't stepped into his real role as a parent yet, he doesn't put any thought or effort into their interaction and bond, that I feel he does two things with DS, and those are short bursts of uncreative play (basically tossing and stuff- you know, dad play) and disciplining when he feels he needs to step in. He really does not seem happy to see him or be with him ever. I hope this will change when we are all back home- he says he has realized the error of his ways and repeneted.... :)
Oh also he hates baby wearing. He waited so long to try it (for a whole 30 seconds maybe, in the only carrier I have that DS hates) that O did not want anything to do with being held by him and screamed. Never tried it again. Sorry for the vent but it does feel nice to rage a bit
OP, I can remember when my first was a baby that the constant argument I had with DH was that I was always the "default parent". If he wanted to go out with a friend, he told me he was going and he did. If I went to do an errand or had an appointment and took longer than planned, I started getting calls. I would walk in and DH would be frantic and holding the screaming baby. It seems like it started to change once ds1 could have solid food. DH really felt he had no recourse for comforting ds1 because he had no boobs. Once he could give him food, their relationship started to change. As ds1 became more verbal, their relationship changed even more. Ds2 was born when ds1 was 20 months. I *needed* DH to "man up" then and he did. Even moreso when ds1 finally weaned at 27 months and didn't need me to fall asleep. Now they are inseparable. Ds2 weaned a few months ago (also around 27 months) and is likewise MUCH more attached to DH now that he doesn't need me to fall asleep.
As for babies, DH was really scared and nervous with ds1. As each babe has come along, he has gotten better and bonded earlier. Dd had him wrapped around her finger by day 2.
I felt your pain and frustration, though. I guess I don't have any advice (certainly don't think I'm telling you you should wean!) - just trying to share how we worked through it.
"So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton
Sounds like a very hard situation to be in. I went through a period somewhat like this with dd2, but she was having issues and I ended up burnt out and depressed b/c dh wouldn't/couldn't take her for like 15 minutes when he got home from work. things are better now though =). FTR, it was before I figured out she had allergies and she was basically just crying all day and nursing every 45 minutes (even at night).
OP have you tried asking him to take her along to something he likes? or doing something together you all like-like wearing her during a hike, going for a bike ride (if she is big/stable enough for a helmet), going to the beach, the local baskerball court, etc. My dh loves sharing his interests with our kids-even when they are really little. It might jump start things and if that works he may start to be more involved int he day to day stuff.
I also agree that when you leave for work, you should maybe turn your phone off. That 20+call business when you are at school/work is not cool or, imo, normal. Plus this puts stress on the relationship between the two of you. I also second making sure the two of you are getting enough couple time. Otherwise he may start to feel resentful that the baby stole his partner =). This is often easier said than done, esp when one is so in love with their baby =).
I totally get that you go out not because you feel like going out, but to give them time alone together, and that makes perfect sense. I also get that you are afraid that he will be on the computer the whole time. My thought on that is, well, just stay out long enough that she WILL need something! At some point she's going to need a diaper change or a nap or a bath or food, or she may even demand attention. To me, that is part of letting him come to the his own relationship with the baby. If you leave, but tell him what he has to do while you're gone, then he's just following your instructions. If you just leave, then he has to figure out for himself what works and what doesn't and what needs to be done.
I think it would be a great idea to give a time you will be back, and refuse to answer the phone before that.
Edited to add: Then, if he is getting one-on-one time with the baby while you are out, nothing wrong with all of you being together when you are home, i.e. all three of you in the room for bath time, or all three taking a walk together. Add to that the fact that you have started putting DD to bed in her crib, giving you and DH some time alone together, it looks like you'd have a great balance going on of mom&baby time, dad&baby time, whole family time, and husband&wife time!
Sounds like he isnt sure that he has the ability to be a good parent.
That may change.
Some fathers are excellent hands on parent right from then get go. Some take time to warm up to something they consider so completely dependant on them.
Some are just crappy fathers.
It doesnt sound like he is tho. More unsure and unwiling to take the risk and fail.
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