Post # 1
Hey bees, so remember a month or so ago when I posted all excited about how Darling Husband and I had decided to start TTC sometime around the beginning of next year? Well, I’m finding myself having a lot of doubts about that plan right now..and honestly, kind of about my life in general. I could use some help.
Last night Darling Husband was complaining about being tired (which he does a lot, but hey, the man works 60 hour weeks, I understand). We hadn’t really brought up our TTC timeline since our last conversation about it, but I made a comment about how he better see about going down to working 5 days instead of 6 once we (hopefully) have a baby next year, cuz we’ll be tired a lot with a little one in the house! He promptly informed me that was my job (EXCUSE ME?!) and isn’t it better to let them cry it out anyways? Yeah, not so much when they’re a freaking infant! I know he isn’t a baby expert, after all we don’t have kids yet, but really?!
This prompted a conversation about me being worried that everything would be left to me when we have a child, and I work full time too. I was feeling kinda sensitive about the kids subject that particular day because we’d been around our nephew, and as usual I was up and playing with him while Darling Husband barely paid any attention to him. I also brought this up, because when our nephews were little Darling Husband always said he just wasn’t comfortable holding them because he was afraid he’d hurt them, and it would be different if it was our kid…but now they’re 2 and 3, and Darling Husband still doesn’t ever play with them. And DH’s response was not very reassuring…he told me that he just doesn’t really like playing with kids, he doesn’t get them. And that we’d have to figure something out with the middle of the night stuff because he would get super crabby. I told him how much his answers worried me, and he said sorry…and then went to sleep.
Now I’m home from work the next day, and I can’t stop re-playing everything he said in my head. I want my kid’s to have a happy life with two involved parents who love them and show affection and play with them. And obviously I want to have them with my husband, I’m in love with and married the guy with both of us agreeing that we want one or two children! And suddenly I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me, and he doesn’t even care or want to talk about it, assumes we’ll just figure these things out as they come up. But I’m really worried. A couple of hyears from now I don’t want to be an overworked mother with no help from my husband, and kids who feel like their dad doesn’t care. Now I’m terrified i’ll end up like that, and be kicking myself thinking of this moment. But I love my husband. I just feel confused right now.
Post # 3
Yeah I’ve raised two kids and can tell you that this needs to be worked out first. Does he like or want kids? Does he understand the level of commitment needed? Is he really young and immature or is he lazy? All of those questions I would urge you to consider. Mom is mostly relied on in the very best of circumstances, but if dad has already told you he won’t be participating I would believe him.
Post # 4
@Wonderstruck: Oh man….that is….cause for concern, in my opinion, so I really understand why you would be upset.
I think that you need to talk to him about this and tell him that what he said made you rethink having kids. This sounds like a fundamental difference in..well…everything to do with kids. If he’s not going to help you out (and really, that’s what it sounds like) I would not want to have kids with him. His comments make him sound like he wants to be a benevolent father-figure, who comes home from work and the kids are already in bed, fed, and quiet. He has children, sure, but he’s not the one interacting with them.
The fact that he doesn’t interact or play with your family’s kids would be huge for me…because then it’s not just about a fear of holding small babies. He’s actually showing you what he’s like around kids….and it’s not how you want him to be.
You definitely need to get this worked out before you start TTCing.
Post # 5
Maybe he’s not ready yet. Have you asked him why he wants children? For example, Fiance says he wants children so he can coach their little league team – stupid reason at face value, but it says he’s interested in developing shared hobbies and actively playing a role in their lives. Maybe see what your husband’s answer reveals about his intentions.
Post # 6
Oh yikes. Iwish there was a better phrase than “RED FLAGS”
Big honest conversation about whether or not you want children and what each of your expectations are for your parenting role and each others parenting role.
I might also suggest some counseling or at least a mediator.
Post # 7
before people start throwing around words like “divorce” and “counseling”, is it possible you just asked him at a bad time? You said he was tired and had been working long hours. Or is this how he has always acted when you bring up TTC/kids?
Bring it up again when you’re both in a good state of mind to be discussing the future. And like a PP said, ask why he wants kids or what he looks forward to about it.
Post # 8
I think your husband is really overwhelmed right now!
When you have been worked to the bone, stressed and as he said very tired-The thought of sleepless nights, and a brandnew baby to be responsible for financially, phsyically, emotionally etc is probably just overwhelming right now. His words to you may have been more of a protection mechanism type response, rather than his true feelings.
Not every guy comes with built in desires to “play ” with kids or be experts especially since all they have had contact with was a child that was not their own! I think things change completely when the baby actually comes, and you see the life you created before you. ( I know I’m generalizing as some men are 100 % wanting children and there are plenty of dead beat disinterested parents as well).
Id say take a few days to collect your thoughts and then just try talking about it again but from a different perspective.
Post # 9
First, he made a comment about being tired and you responded by saying that once you have kids, he will be even more tired. Instead of sympathizing, this negative comment probably rubbed him the wrong way.
Second, many people do not grow up around kids or babies, have no idea what its like to have a little one around the house. The comment about “crying it out” might stick out to you, but if he really knows nothing about babies, he is just repeating something he heard somewhere and I would take it with a grain of salt.
Third, not everyone likes or enjoys or is familiar with all stages of childhood. I love my nieces and nephews but I don’t know what kind of games to play with a two year old. Or even a baby. I feel really silly trying to play with them. Most 2 or 3 year olds are hard to understand, and they don’t like to do anything interesting. It’s not always obvious how to entertain them.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t be concerned but I don’ think you need to be alarmed. Your Darling Husband may just need time to get familiar with babies and little kids.
Post # 10
The whole “that’s your job” comment is what really put me off – do you think that he honestly sees parenthood as the mother’s job? That would really bother me, especially if you’re working full time and are expected to be the only parent at home.
If you’re working FT, taking care of the baby, cleaning, cooking, etc. while Darling Husband recovers from being tired, you’ll end up with nothing but resentment and you’ll get burned out fast. You’ll need to figure out how to compromise, if you want to have kids with him.
Post # 11
@ArwenBride: I think that you need to talk to him about this and tell him that what he said made you rethink having kids. This sounds like a fundamental difference in..well…everything to do with kids. If he’s not going to help you out (and really, that’s what it sounds like) I would not want to have kids with him. His comments make him sound like he wants to be a benevolent father-figure, who comes home from work and the kids are already in bed, fed, and quiet. He has children, sure, but he’s not the one interacting with them.
What you described is pretty much exactly what his childhood was like, and I’ve made it clear in the past (pre-engagement and marriage!) that it is not what I want for my family. But the fact that it is what he sees as normal definitely scares me.
@redheadem: That is a good idea, I think I will ask him that and see what it says, I’m praying for a good answer.
As for the comments about me bringing it up at a bad time, because he was tired and working a lot…he is ALWAYS tired and working a lot. It is a family business and he works 6 days a week, 10 hours a day. He is supposed to have a discussion with his parents about changing that once we have children. But he is really never one to comment about things he wants to do once we have kids, and when I do he doesn’t contribute much to the conversation. When I press him on this he just says he isn’t much of a planner and doesn’t get too excited for things until they’re happening (which is true). Tonight he could tell something was bothering me, and when he asked what I was honest and told him I was still thinking of his comments from last night and was very bothered by them. He kinda blew me off, just saying he doesn’t really mean that and he’ll help and it’ll be different once it’s our kids. But considering that he did grow up in a household where his mom did 100% of the work (and criticizes anyone who does differently), I’m afraid once we have kids it will turn out he did mean what he said about not helping.
I think I might need to just mull this one over for a bit and wait till his day off to discuss it again.
Post # 12
This is a really terrible conversation to have with someone who’s very tired, so I think you have to consider his tiredness as part of the reason for how this went down.
The “it’s your job” bit? That would concern me (and piss me off, quite frankly). The other things? In terms of the crying it out, a lot of people who don’t have kids and don’t know a lot about them tend to just repeat things they’ve heard other people say about childraising. Most people who don’t have experience with small children have *really* vague ideas about what is actually involved in caring for them. But all parents learn, so I wouldn’t hold that against him. My partner still on occasion makes random comments about issues related to our daughter that leave me puzzled, until I realise he saw or read something somewhere that made him think that.
The part about not getting kids and not really enjoying playing with them? To be honest, I still (with an almost 9 year old) don’t really enjoy kid things. And I *really* don’t enjoy things with other people’s kids. Some people aren’t kid people, and I personally don’t think it means you can’t be a great parent (although I could be biased here). There is a big difference, to me, in saying “I don’t like children” vs. “I don’t get kid things.” By all means, some people should not have children, if they don’t like them or aren’t at all comfortable with them, etc, but not being a ‘kid person’ isn’t necessarily a reason not to become a parent.
I think your best way to move forward is to wait until he is feeling more alert and can concentrate on a conversation with you to bring up your specific fears/concerns about having children together. Give him a chance to talk about how he feels about having kids and really how he envisions parenting. You may well be right in that his vision of parenting doesn’t go with yours (and with what would be more egalitarian and involved parenting), but it might be that his exhaustion and having been caught off guard resulted in him saying things he didn’t express properly.
Post # 13
I think this might be something you’ll need to have several conversations about over the coming months. If he grew up in that type of household, then no matter what he says to allay your fears, it’ll be easy for him to fall into the familiar territory of how he grew up. He may feel complacent in you doing majority of the child rearing, even if that’s not what his intentions are or a conscious decision on his part.
The other thing is, changing work habits like that are difficult to break (I’ve noticed even moreso in men). Ones who are very career/work driven will have a harder time cutting back, because that’s how they define themselves or how they feel they contribute in the most helpful manner. I know not all men are like that, and you know him best, but you’ll need to evaluate the reality of if he truly would feel comfortable working fewer hours, doing more domestic chores and sharing in the child rearing.
It sounds like it would be a huge leap of faith to have children with a man who states he “becomes more excited about an idea as it’s happening.” Once you have kids, you can’t really go back if he doesn’t become as excited about being a father as you’re hoping he does.
Again, none of us know him like you do, so use your gut instincts and some logical thought as you proceed with these talks. Good luck, and I hope you both are able to come to a good decision together!
Post # 14
I hope this works out for you. I echo the sentiments of others who have suggested it may not have been the best time to bring this up. However, it may take some counseling to get over the wayhe grew up. I’m betting his mom didn’t work? Key difference!
I go back and forth with my SO about this a little bit. I maintain that I will likely end up doing most everything around the house as well as the childcare during the first 2 or 3 years of the kid’s life. I just feel like that’s what I hear from virtually every mom I know and there’s no escaping it. My SO insists he’s “not that kind of guy”, but I don;t think it has anything to do with what kind of guy he is. I think that’s just the way the chips fall pretty much no matter what. I already do the majority of work around the house AND work, so why would it change?
Perhaps it’s not a popular point of view, but I’m just counting on having to do a lot more than my husband when we have kids. I’m trying my best to ready myself for that in my mind and thinking of ways I can look for support elsewhere besides my husband. Thankfully, there’s family close by. I love my SO and can’t imagine not having kids with him and he might pleasantly surprise me. But I plan to let that be just that, a surprise.
Post # 15
@Wonderstruck: The fact that this kind of attitude is “normal” for him would be a concern for me too. Mainly because, as someone else mentioned, that’s going to be his default setting. He has to consciously want to change that.
My BIL (a good guy) is SORT of like this. He is always tired. He was always tired before my sister had my neice. For him, work always comes first. He loves his daughter, but my sister is extremely concerned that daycare is going to be an issue when she goes back to work next winter. He will have to be the one to leave work to get my neice if she is sick and he will have to pick her up on time. He has a difficult time doing this stuff normally and doesn’t seem to understand that if you’re late, daycares will get super pissed off. In his family, his mom did everything. My sister is the breadwinner and works far away from their home. It’s not a good situation and has everyone concerned because of the stuff that he is saying now.
I get where people are thinking that you’re overreacting to this or that you picked a bad time to bring the conversation up…but if your Darling Husband is always tired, there isn’t going to be a good time. I also think that there is a difference between “not getting kids” and “not trying to get kids”. If you want to interact, you try…even if it’s awkward. Some people have very different reactions to their own children…this is true (I’m not a baby person, but can’t wait to meet MY baby, for example), but to me, his comments (especially the whole “that’s your job” comment) combined with his unwillingness to interact means that further discussions are called for.
If you were cool with taking on 99.9% of the parenting role, that would be different…but since you’re not and you want a team approach, you’re going to have to make that clear to him. I’m going to be a Stay-At-Home Mom, so once my Darling Husband goes back to work, I’m going to be on point for pretty much all the nighttime stuff…to me, that’s fair. However, since you’re both going to be working, you guys both need to pitch in.
How is he now about helping out around the house?
Post # 16
I’m not really sure where the confusion comes in, unless he’s done a complete about face from other conversations with regard to this. Sometimes people only say what they think others want to hear to keep the peace, so are you sure you didn’t really ever hear his thoughts on child rearing before or did he change his tune more recently, knowing you’ve had the conversation about TTC?
Most people learn what they live, so he very well may be thinking this is how your lives will proceed. I’d believe him, and plan accordingly. It’s no secret that most women do a a lot more than men with regards to kids, so if his mindset is that he’ll always have you to fall back on so his involvement is minimal because he’s ‘too tired’, prepare yourself as best as you can. Go into TTC with your eyes wide open, and decide if its something you can live with or not.