June 4, 2004

Urbanbabywatch: What Daddy doesn't know

Reading UrbanBaby's acid-filled message boards, so you don't have to:

"Husband's self-centered, clueless and useless"
I just had an epiphany about what it means to be a mother versus a father. A mother will set aside her wishes and whims of the moment and thereafter for whatever is best for her child. A father does not necessarily do this.

My apologies to the husbands out there who are not self-centered. My husband won't even sit and play with his daughter if she wakes up while he is watching a movie or something, let alone think about the bigger picture. Nor will he listen to me, who agreed in his words to stay at home for 6-9 months to care for our daughter, about what she needs.

Today, for example, he was to take care of our 3mo daughter while I went for a run. I told him that she needed a good nap at the time or she would get overtired. Well, guess what. He played with her and she's been miserably overtired and overstimulated all afternoon. Poor thing.

I finally got her down for a nap around 4pm and when she woke up, I fed her. He then changed her diaper and put her down on her gymini alone. After being miserable all day, being alone was the last thing she wanted but he wouldn't listen to me or to her when she started to cry. Sorry, this epiphany turned into a vent! What to do?

Reply 1:
"Similar to above post, my husband was pretty hopeless when our son was younger, but now that he's almost 2 he demands my husband's attention, and he is happy to give it. In the beginning, many husbands just don't bond the way we do. - 05/30/04"

Reply 2:
"I am a father, and find it hard to identify with what you describe. I think your epiphany was about the difference between you and your husband, not between all mothers and fathers. - 05/30/04"

Reply 3:
"My husband would say the same thing. And I would agree with the above posts that he is better with the older ones. I'm sure you're great with the newborns too, but I do feel I'm more intune with them. Later, it's 50/50. - 05/31/04"


"With all due respect, I know this kid and you don't"
"Yesterday I was too tired from short sleep the noght before. Last night, DD had hard time settling. DH and I got in argument about our approach when I should have just been going to bed.

I feel like I've been working hard to figure out what works for our daughter to go to bed, and then when there's any difficulty, he comes along and declares 'she's not tired' or 'I think we should switch things around,' etc. I find it so frustrating!! It feels like he's casually undermining all my efforts, and I'm pissed. He thinks I'm stressing myself out to much, making 'rules' for handling our daughter (I'm not), etc. Just need to gripe..."

Reply 1:
"I hear you. Have you tried asking him how he came to his conclusions? Maybe if it becomes clear that your conclusions are based some amount of observation, he will either put in that same amount of time/work or at least stop being flip. - 05/30/04"

Original Poster: Thanks. I did say that with all due respect, I had been reading up on it and he hadn't, etc. It put him on the defensive, although it's nothing but the truth.... He is trying and feels he does. It's just hard to get past that defensiveness..."
Reply 2:"I know what yr saying. You do all the work and research and it's hard when someone comes in and tells you to change things. It feels so undermining. And I can def relate to a husband who gets defensive when it's suggested that perhaps he doesn't have the background and knowledge that you have."
Original Poster: "Thanks for your post. I just keep trying to keep a compassionate mind frame for all 3 of us!
Reply 3:
"A husband here, unsurprised that your husb. would get defensive, confronted with '*I* did all this research, 'and phrases like 'with all due respect,' 'undermining,' 'I just try to keep a compassionate...'

"If you want his help & support, ask him for it. Ask him to read the same books, to do the research, and to learn your daughter's signs through observation like you did.

"If you just want to be acknowledged as the expert on the baby and to just win the argument, then keep with the passive aggressive, self-righteous, faux-conciliatory 'with all due respect, I'm just trying to be compassionate for all of us here.'"

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