Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: SK, Canada
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|sling dad...are you real?|
Originally Posted by G-Dawg
G-Dawg's husband here.
I want to give a little disclaimer to my comments. I deeply admire and respect the work of a SAHM. I appreciate what Sling Dad said. You have every right to expect more out of your husband. But because you are the one asking, not your DH, my advise goes out to you.
Sometimes men seem to take a bit longer to "buy into" fatherhood. Especially when they have a wife that is so competent. They can be overwhealmed. I know from experience that it is hard to keep up with a MDC mom. They are so proactive and get concerned about issues that I never realized were issues. While my wife's play taught her to love babies and take care of them, mine taught me how to tear crap apart and put it together again. It is easy to watch a competent women taking care of children and think, "why should I get involved, she is doing a better job than I can do. I don't want to mess this up."
I would consider myself a helpful husband, but I am nowhere near the husband and father that I want to be. I would assume that most parents feel that way. Try to see your husband as a work in progress. I have said this before...there is nothing a wife can do to MAKE her husband understand or do what she wants. As humans we are able to CHOOSE the response to a given stimulus. When someone is in a situation like yours, the best bet is to shift YOUR thinking. Ultimately that is all you have control over. I hated to hear that you were considering splitting up over this. From the way you described your husband, I think he has potential. Here are some things I would suggest to try to create the right atmosphere for your husband to change. This approach might give him the psychological space to change for the right reasons.
First, find a time when he is feeling open to conversation. Maybe point out some of the things that he HAS done recently to help. It is important that he knows you notice. Then just ask him what makes a good husband and father. Tell him how you feel about being a wife and mother. Inform him that his recent help empowers you to be a better mom and wife. Then ask what help you could give to help him. More of a returning the favor approach. (I am well aware that you are probably ahead in the favor department, but for the sake of avoiding a confrontation, go with me...). Maybe all of the kids at once are to much. Taking one on a daddy date may help both of you. The more bonding that takes place with the kids, the more he takes an interest in helping them. He needs this time.
My wife is the master of this next approach. Give him options when there is a lot to do. You may end up doing some of the unpleasant jobs, but at least it is help. Would he like to change a diaper, or rock the baby etc... It gets him involved but it doesn't come across that he is your assistant. He has a choice.
The way your husband was brought up can be used as a reason, but not an excuse. I am nothing like my father when it comes to parenting. I have certain predispositions for sure, but I can CHOOSE what kind of parent I will be.
Praise him. I can't say it enough. Just like you wouldn't ridicule a toddler for scribbling instead of coloring in the lines, praise him for making an effort. Make a list of his contributions to the family. I have already heard that he is a good provider, doesn't yell, helps you some (when it is his idea) etc... Thank him for the help. Thank him that his job allows you to be such an big influence on your children. Praise him to your kids. When he plays with them, tell them that they have a nice daddy.
Try to involve him in decisions. Ask what he thinks about things. Open communication about positive things. If he feels negative, he will withdraw, but small progress is still progress. 1% each day means he will be 100% better in less than 4 months.
Hang in there! Forgive him for the past. Don't hang it over his head. Take him by the hand and lead him, but don't push. Bless your little family. They are lucky to have someone that cares so much.