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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone. My husband and I unfortunately are having major marital problems. There are many problems we have, which I won't go into for time sake, but one issue that we disagree often on is his involvement with our daughter. When she was a baby, I thought he would be doting over her...he wasn't. Friends told me "wait until she is more interactive!" Well, she is now 13 months old and he still is not very involved. He works nights in the medical field, so with his schedule he does not get to spend much time with her (or I for that matter) as it is. His schedule changes weekly, but he often works weekends, so his "weekends" may fall during the week. During his days off, he takes her to our daycare at least 95% of the time. It really kills me because I am at work and wishing I could be with her. He could be with her but he chooses to take her to daycare instead of spending time with her. When I bring up that this bothers me he gets angry and just says that we pay for daycare either way and that he is going to take time for himself. Well, when is his time with our daughter? Seems like never. Then he gets frustrated when she never wants to go to him & always comes to me. Does anyone else have this problem or any advice? It just really saddens me how little time he wants to spend with our daughter. The situation has gotten pretty bad, so any advice, opinions, or stories that may help would be greatly appreciated!
 

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If you have daycare, it makes some sense to use them even for days off. Little kids get thrown all kinds of out of whack by disruptions in routine, and if he often works nights, it's hard to switch to a day schedule for two days. I don't think your husband using the daycare that you pay for is really the issue.

Him being a generally uninvolved parent and partner, though, that's a pretty major issue. Can you address it without telling him to stop taking the baby to daycare the days he's not working?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you have daycare, it makes some sense to use them even for days off. Little kids get thrown all kinds of out of whack by disruptions in routine, and if he often works nights, it's hard to switch to a day schedule for two days. I don't think your husband using the daycare that you pay for is really the issue.

Him being a generally uninvolved parent and partner, though, that's a pretty major issue. Can you address it without telling him to stop taking the baby to daycare the days he's not working?
Some weeks that is his only time with her though, so how would he be more involved if he isn't spending any time with her? Those weeks he basically chooses to only spend a few hours for the entire week with her. I understand schedules being important, but she does wonderfully with me when I work from home, on the weekends, vacations, etc. Last week, his mother was in town and they took her in two days in a row! I couldn't believe they would not want any quality mother/son/granddaughter time.
 

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Maybe he's just not a baby person? I can sort of relate to that.... I recently babysat a friend's 1 yo for a couple weeks while their nanny was on holiday and I had forgotten how EXHAUSTING they are at that age, so busy and needy. Not trying to justify his lack of involvement, but I'm thinking if you understood why he's acting that way maybe it'll be easier to find ways for him to participate as a parent without being in constant conflict. Have you tried marital counselling to try to understand what's going on there? You mentioned there's other issues, so that might be a good idea anyway...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies & support. Yes, I have wondered if he just doesn't really enjoy spending time with her at this age. It still makes me sad though. Feels like he doesn't care to be involved in her growth and development, which I cannot comprehend. It gives me such pride watching her grow and pick up on things I am teaching her. We went to counseling in the past and I am thinking it is definitely time to start back up.
 

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I can see his side of it. I'm not a baby person either. I find the teen years much more rewarding. And working nights isn't just something that you can shrug off on your days off. Your body needs to keep to that schedule even when you are not working. Our son started daycare when he was 6 months old because he no longer slept enough for my husband to get enough sleep. My dh worked a 6pm to 2 am shift with Wednesdays and Sundays off. He needed to keep to that schedule all 7 days a week if he was going to function either at work or at home. I got Sundays off as well but my other day off rotated from week to week. Our son was home on my weekday off and at day care on dh's weekday off. It didn't mean that he didn't love his son any less than I did. Everyone is different and you can't expect your dh to act the same way you do. He is not you and trying to turn him into you is going to end your marriage. Btw, I didn't enjoy the infant/preschool years either. I much prefer the teen years.
 
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I understand the need for "me-time" but it does seem weird to me that her grandmother didn't want to spend time with the baby. My mom gets upset when I hire a sitter. I wonder if he comes from a family that just doesn't value hanging out with children?
 

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Having worked nights, let him sleep during the day, every day. He should stay awake at night even when he's not working. He can do stuff like meal prep, housework, besides fun him-time stuff. Then the hours where you're all awake and home can be just focused on doing family things.

But changing schedules will drive him to depression-levels of exhaustion. Absolutely not worth it. And absolutely not conducive to him being a good parent.
 

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Marriage counseling. It took my husband and I longer and a second kid to get to that point, but it has really been a marriage saver. Also read 5 love languages. We also worked different shifts, but on his account, he was much more involved as a caregiver, because we only had part time daycare to save money. It was a little easier when he got to the 2-10 shift. And it was only weekdays, overtime weekends only a couple times a year, so we did have weekends together. Since counseling, we really do try to 'speak each other's love language' and 'fill each other's love bucket' more consciously. We're busy working with two kids, so we are both aware of how little time we have for each other sometimes, so the current goal is minimum once a week. Once a month, we have a quick lunch date, on the day my son is at school and the other is at daycare. I get home as quick as I can, he calls in 10-15 minutes late to work. He has lunch ready and waiting and we check in with each other. Sometimes it is logistical conversations: what is our vacation budget? where should we take the kids? We really need to do this project, how when will we do that? Sometimes, we have a deck of conversation cards and we pull one out and answer it: What was your childhood fear? Which was our most memorable date? etc.

He would not have been onboard for that type of thing before counseling, but during counseling, we both found how similar we really were, but were just missed each others "love languages" and since really consciously trying, we are much more satisfied with our relationship. We WANTED to stay together and parent together, so that also helped. Best of luck.
 

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It is impossible for us to control others, though. If he doesn't prefer to hang out with his baby, that is his choice. I would just focus on your relationship with your baby--which you enjoy and she seems to enjoy. If he doesn't have the same preference, he will get a different relationship with his child and he will 'reap what he sows.' It took me a long time to make peace with the fact that my partner's relationship with his children is different than my relationship with my children.
 
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