My husband doesn't spend enough time with our kids

When my husband and I come home from work, I cook dinner and my husband watches T.V. He expects the kids to remain quiet, so he can watch T.V. all night. When the kids scream while playing, DH gets mad at me and says that I am making them too loud. I just like to play with them and tickle them in the living-room and DH wants complete silence.

I left the room for a minute last night, and DS banged his head while playing with DD. DH began yelling at DD and I defended her telling him that he should get off his butt and play with them. He then told me that I was an idiot and that I was the problem. DD was trying so hard to get DH’s attention and he ignored her watching T.V. and if she was too loud, he would tell her to be quiet.

DD went off in another room to cry and I consoled her with our live-in nanny telling her that she’s a good girl. Just to keep her away from DH, DD then watched T.V. in my live-in nanny’s room while I bathed DS. DH was only happy once all the kids were gone. He then went and got himself an ice-cream cone. I was sooo mad and I told him sarcastically to enjoy his ice-cream (like he’s some 6 year old!!!).

DH spends his entire weekends renovating our house. We don’t go out as a family anymore and he doesn’t spend any quality time with our kids. I’m getting very fed up with this situation. Last Saturday morning, we were having a very bad snowstorm. When I told him that I was going grocery shopping (hoping he would volunteer to watch the kids), DH instead told me to take the kids with me :eek: Luckily, my live-in nanny stepped in and offered to watch them, so that the kids wouldn’t have to go out in the snow. DH then felt guilty and watched the kids instead, but our nanny played with them as well.

I am so fed up with DH’s lack of involvement or his lack of desire to be with his kids.

I was thinking of a solution - ask him to set a Saturday aside once a month, so we can have a family date. We reserve that day, and go somewhere as a family…the zoo, etc.

I think this goes way beyond needing one day once a month set aside for a family outing that he will probably try to weasel out of anyway. He needs to complete re-prioritize his life and figure out why he does not like or enjoy his family. I think family counseling is in order, because if this keeps up his kids are going to basically grow up without a father and you will probably end up wishing for a divorce.

Do you think perhaps having a live-in nanny is making it too easy for him to neglect caring for his children? Maybe it’s far too easy for him to shove childcare off onto the hired help, and that having a nanny only when you both work would require him to be more involved.

Okay, maybe I’m reading into this differently… but here are my thoughts…

Have you TOLD him DIRECTLY that you think he needs to play a more active role in the family life?
To me, your post sounds like there isn’t a lot of communication between you two. You sound (rightfully) disgruntled and trying to cope with the situation in silence.
I encourage you to open up more communication with your husband.
WHY is he wanting to watch TV instead of spending time with the kids? Is he stressed at work? Overwhelmed with something? Depressed? This isn’t normal or healthy behavior, so something is fundamentally wrong. Can you talk about a plan to address the home renovations? Tackle jobs bit by bit instead of feeling pressured to finish everything at once? Even HE needs a break - maybe you can suggest doing smaller renovation jobs on Saturdays only and then having a family movie night - he can pick out his favorite pizza - but it’s time to spend TOGETHER and not doing housework.
TALK to him about this more openly… :slight_smile:

I think that your family might be pretty young, and, like it was said, need communication as to roles. Is he satisfied with the time for dinner? I would, if I were you, let him set the alone for some period of time in the evening that is most important to him. Don’t crab at him, keep the children away from him. You say “TV”, but, what exactly is he watching, for there is a lot of news on TV, including business news. Fathers need to be able to keep up with their news or their trade, in privacy. Go out with him for the ice cream. The kids don’t need the sweets at night. The nanny’s time needs to be looked to, and, kids can be in bed by 8 pm. I don’t think that babies have to be played with, as you say, by Dad. They may get played with by you, but, Dad will be there for them when they are able to communicate in English. Bring the kids in the room, to say goodnight. Perhaps he can help put them to bed, read a story, prayers. Pray together before your meals, and, other times.

STRONGLY disagree with this. :mad:

WHY can’t dad play with HIS children at all ages? :confused:

This is way off base, imo.

OP, You 2 need to talk; you need to clearly state what you expect and work out some compromise. Maybe he comes home, watches the news, but the sets aside some time with the TV off, giving attention to his children.

What kind of “renovations”?

What are your and his day jobs?

How old are the kids?

What are the nanny’s hours / days?

Some men are not capable of dealing with little ones…just saying…my husband, you would think the world is crashing down when he has to handle the kids.

When my kids where this age, I just accepted that DH wasn’t going to spent lots of time with them or even help me with them. I am not saying this is the right thing to do, because it isn’t.

In my personally situation: I stopped asking hubby to do anything and just took care of everything myself. I even kept the kids away from him when he first got home so that he could relax and have some down time and yes, that consisted of zoning out infront of the TV. I can’t tell you how many time I’ve had to scream at him to turn the dang thing down: his reason, I can’t hear over the kids and he would turn it up so loud…just stupid!

Anyway, I don’t think I helped much or even contributed to your situation. Sorry.

I’ll say a prayer. :o

Serap, I’ve been worried about you for a long time, since you started posting here about your husband. You’ll create threads about how “awful” he is, and then later back him up and say how wonderful he is. Which is it? I feel like you are talking yourself into what a great guy he is and not allowing yourself to see that he really, REALLY sounds like he needs some serious help.

So far here at CAF, you’ve stated he calls you an idiot, repeatedly.
He won’t help you with the kids, not even so you can get to Mass, and not when you were up all night for months on end with a colicky newborn.
He would tell you that was *your *job, not his, and if you couldn’t figure out how to deal with it then you were stupid.
He says you lack intelligence and you are the source of all his problems.
He used to SHOVE you. Does he still do this?
He spends no time with you or the kids, but wraps up all his time and energy into work, renovating, and TV watching.

I don’t think your issues are isolated problems of “How can I get him to spend more time with the kids?” or “How can I get him to help with the baby?” or “I’m afraid to use NFP because my husband doesn’t trust it,” but a much bigger issue of some serious marital problems.

Every time I see you post on here I wonder about you, worry about you and pray for you and I wish you would be able to see what so many on here already **do **see. I fear you’re in an emotionally, and possibly physically, abusive marriage and I worry about the example your husband is setting for his children. :frowning:

No husband should be pushing his wife and repeatedly telling her how stupid she is.

PS - You said awhile back that he was raised by an abusive father. Has he ever sought therapy/counseling?

I have no idea what your DH’s attitude is and how receptive he will be, but my advise is for the two of you to have a family meeting and discuss the need to spend time together as a family not as some chore but as something to enjoy. It seems to me that the big problem is a problem we have overall in our culture. To deal with stress, we veg out and do isolating activities. It can be watching TV. It can be surfing the net. It can be playing a video game. Everything has become hand-held and personal and this separates us from our families. Typically when this is the only way we know how to deal with our stress from our work lives and responsibilities, we can get pretty rude about people invading our personal time.

So here is my radical advise. Get completely rid of the modes of isolating entertainment resources. If he’s going to watch a sports game, it needs to be a community or family event…something he shares with people and unites him with people. If he’s going to watch drama, comedy, etc, this should not be a regular daily individual veg out, but a family movie night or using your financial resources to actually attend a local play, or to go to the park or the zoo as a family. Or you can have family reading time. You don’t all have to get out the same book, but everyone in the family is required to read. I used to think this would be very isolating, but when I read with my husband, its nice to just lean against him. Sometimes he’ll rub my feet with one hand while he holds open his book with the other.

In all honesty, isolating activities deceive us. They give us the allusion that we are actually relaxing when we’re making our lives a lot more stressful. Currently, my husband and I don’t own a TV. We don’t ever plan on owning one. At this point in my life, I don’t know how I ever found time to watch TV.

When my sister came up to visit a couple of weekends ago with her husband, she saw how full our day was and that not having a TV really didn’t lead to bordom or deprivation. She made a comment about how much time we’re able to spend together and suggested to her husband “Maybe getting rid of the TV is a good idea and will give us more time to spend with each other.” Granted, my brother-in-law didn’t look to keen on the idea.

The TV isn’t exactly evil, but obviously its bringing out vice in your husband and sounds to be an occassion of sin to him. He should be loving his family more than the TV or any other personal entertainment system. His family should not have to tiptoe around his TV time. If he reacts with an unreasonable amount of anger, I’d say he’s got a TV addiction.

Perhaps your DH needs ‘alone/calm’ time for a bit each night before jumping in to family time. Does he come home straight from work and jump into dinner? If so, maybe for 30 minutes after dinner you could keep the kids away from DH while he has some alone time with the expectation that after those 30 minutes are up he joins the family recouperated and helps you with the kids (both the fun and not so fun times).

Based on Sancta’s insightful summary of previous threads, I have to second her opinion. Him tuning out the kids pretty much whenever he’s home and expecting to not have his “me time” disturbed (which sounds like basically ALL the time) is wildly unreasonable.

Just trying to fix the “TV at night” problem would be a band-aid solution to a much bigger problem. Good counseling-- him, you and joint-- is definitely in order.

May I ask, what were his stated expectations before you married/had children? Did you get the sense that he pretty much thought he would continue living like a college kid in terms of not being responsible for anyone besides himself?



^^^ Ditto. Third. :o

Well I haven’t been here long enough to read your previous threads, but this sounds like a man who doesn’t want to be a father. Yeah, I know men aren’t as good with babies, but aren’t your kids more like toddlers and preschoolers? Those ages can play some wrestling games with Daddy, or Daddy can read to them, give them a bath, etc. Even help them clean up the mess in the living room. My husband is very noise-sensitive when he is under stress, and that most of the time since he puts himself under stress voluntarily in order to get his adrenaline fix. Yet I used to clean up the kitchen after supper so he could take the boys in on our king-sized bed and wrestle around with them. They made up their own games and just went crazy. One of them was “Johnny, Take Off Your Socks.” The boys would try to get Daddy’s socks off while he tried to keep them from doing it, grabbing them and tossing them around on the bed, etc. My husband really enjoyed this and I am 99% sure he never had this kind of fun with his own father and would have loved the same experience.

Your husband sounds like he is lost in his own world and is more like an unwilling roommate than a spouse and a father. I think it’s time for counseling to figure out what is going on, and he might need to go alone too. Well, no, he DOES need to go on his own. If he is so angry at you that he is punishing the kids with that anger, he is in trouble and needs help. Please tell him that you will not put up with him calling you stupid and being rude, and if he gets physical, take the kids and leave.

Fourth! Very good points were brought up. I was unaware of the long history behind all this.

The original poster said…
When my husband and I come home from work, I cook dinner and my husband watches T.V. He expects the kids to remain quiet, so he can watch T.V. all night.When the kids scream while playing, DH gets mad at me and says that I am making them too loud. I just like to play with them and tickle them in the living-room and DH wants complete silence.
I left the room for a minute last night, and DS banged his head while playing with DD. DH began yelling at DD and I defended her telling him that he should get off his butt and play with them. He then told me that I was an idiot and that I was the problem. DD was trying so hard to get DH’s attention and he ignored her watching T.V. and if she was too loud, he would tell her to be quiet."

I think if you reread this part of her OP, you can tell pretty easily what his attitude is and how receptive he’s going to be to any changes never mind radical ones like giving up t.v.

He called her an idiot, gets mad at his children for acting like children and blatantly ignores them…

Personally I think it’s going to take a lot more than having a monthly scheduled outing, or giving up t.v. It’s going to take some serious counseling for her dh to understand why he is acting the way he is and hopefully come to the realization and accept the help he’ll need to make some major changes.

That’s if he even wants to change. Did he even want to be a dad. Is the husband actually Catholic, or just the wife?

Realistically not every father is going to enjoy hands on playing or wrestling with very young children, but they should at minimum at least enjoy being with their children, not blatantly ignoring them and certainly not calling their mother an idiot in front of them (at least it seems like it was in front of them from what was written)

Father of 4 here, (8,6,4 and 2… all boys) my wife and I both work full time but often I work 50+ hours per week or more.

I like TV, I like Ice Cream and I like it quite from time to time… but more importantly I LOVE my children… and yes young children NEED their father playing with them and being a part of the life from the moment of birth.

We take turns getting the little ones to sleep, baths, medicine etc… My wife went out this weekend with her cousin who is expecting, I took care of all the boys. Is it frustrating at times? You bet but as a father that is what I signed up for.

I believe the same applies to all fathers (and mothers). When we become parents we chose to give up part of ourselves for our children. That doesn’t mean we completely give up our life, what it means though is that we do give up part of us so that we can impart that to our children, to teach them, to play with them and to love them so that they can grow up to be healthy fully functioning adults. As Catholics we also agree to raise our children in the faith, if your husband won’t play with them, how much time is he doing fulfilling his spiritual duty?

I’m not sure how much he will listen to you on this but perhaps you guys could talk to your Priest in regards to what is expected.


Sadly, Serap, I have to agree with the others. You are in total denial of what’s going on here, and you are focusing on putting bandaids on a wound that is ever so much more serious.

I strongly recommend you see a good counselor - you can ask your Priest for a solid recommendation - most Priests have contacts. I wouldn’t even attempt to talk you husband into attending other than to say this is where you are going in 2 days and he’s invited. Stop. End of story.

Your husband has some serious problems, but so do you for entering into a relationship with him and putting up with this for so long. Your kids need you, and they need you to be strong and healthy. What they are seeing modeled by you is not a whole lot better than what they are seeing from their Dad.

I hate to be so cruel, but your problems are so much bigger than posting on a public board can ever address.

And no, I don’t buy that baloney about some men not getting the whole nurture your kid thing. A real man steps up to the plate and opens up his heart. A real woman chooses nothing less in a man. A Catholic family is a sacred unit - with undying love and undying sacrifice shared by everyone. My husband and most Dads on this board consider their offspring their highest calling, and the delight of their heart. Some men may be better at knowing how to play with little ones, and some have trouble letting their inner child out, but all are called to be fathers. If they are shutting out that call from God almighty, then there is something wrong.

My experience is that in healthy families, the supper hour and the time in the evening before the children go to bed is supposed to be “family time.” The TV remains turned off at this time, unless there is a show on that the whole family wants to watch.

The family eats dinner together, washes up together, and then plays together until it’s time for prayers. Then, the whole family prays together, and then the younger children are put to bed with a bath and a story.

After this, the parents and teenagers relax, do homework, watch TV, take the dog out, or whatever, until it’s time for them to go to bed.

Hmmm. I’m a big believer in parents presenting a united front and mutually coming to ways to get each other’s needs met and to mutually decide how to best meet the needs of their children. I don’t see this happening under the current rules of communication that operate at your house. If you both felt it worked for you, that would be your business, but that doesn’t appear to be your take on things. The status quo is not working for anybody.

I don’t think it is a good idea to communicate about things like this in real time in front of the children. In real time, in front of the kids, I feel you ought to have their father’s back. You ought to be in a position to teach respect for him by example. This is particularly true when you walk in on him disciplining the kids. Even if you suspect he’s out in left field, show him the respect that even a principal ought to show to a teacher if she walked into the teacher’s classroom. Unless there is an immediate need to prevent what is unquestionably abuse, you don’t correct your husband’s parenting in front of the children. Your kids will feel more secure if they think you are both meanies, but meanies who are devoted to each other, than if you fight in front of them and take their side against their father.

It is very important that you complain to him directly, but privately, where you are not undermining his authority and standing in front of the kids. When you do talk to him, though, I’d suggest that you learn to state your complaints in a way that does not make them into personal attacks. How you complain to each other makes a huge difference in the quality of your marriage and your ability to parent as a team. It is also a good idea to learn to reject abuse and personal comments coming at you outright: that is, to insist that the rules of fair complaining apply to him as well as to you. You teach him how he may treat you.

This is the kind of thing you can work out when you are calm and have private time. If you have a live-in nanny, then calm private time ought to be something you can find.

The problem with my advice is that I see too much of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse” than I’d like. I mean the four habits that most often lead to divorce: criticism (you always, you never), defensiveness (making excuses and meeting a complaint with a cross-complaint), contempt (idiot, stupid, “I hope you enjoy your ice cream”) and stonewalling (removing himself from the situation instead of communicating with his wife about her anger).

Yes, I said divorce. You are reporting a very bad scenario, and it worries me that you seem to imply it is a habitual one. I suspect that your parenting issues are best addressed by addressing your marital issues first. Addressing his parenting problems could be re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic if you don’t change how you two talk to each other.

If you don’t rebuild your relationship with him as his wife before you confront him about his fitness as a father, it is not realistic to expect a successful outcome, is it? You gotta be talking to each other before he’s going to hear you. You two may be yelling, but you ain’t talking. I suspect you haven’t done so in quite awhile.

John Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last, and/or Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage are titles that you can commonly find at a library. You might want to check one or more of them out. If the books help you, great. If not, a marriage counselor might not be a bad idea. They are far cheaper than divorce attorneys.

Reminds me of when I was small. My Dad was very affectionate and demonstrative. He came home happy most of the time (except for the time the store was robbed at gun point). We’d have dinner and talk, tell funny stories.

This is a silly example, but he liked the movie, Legends of the Fall. There is a scene when Tristan climbs into bed, while his wife is nursing the baby. He would always comment, “beautiful” at that scene.

My FIL on the other hand wanted dinner on the table, kids needed to be quiet, then he’d lie on the couch, and watch TV, kids had to be quiet. Even now, too much noise from the grand-kids irritates him. He has never wanted to hold the grand-kids prior to the age of 1…even if asked, he’d say, “No.” then ad that he was afraid he’d drop them

I think about what the difference was in the 2 men…I know my dad grew up with a very devoted, affectionate dad. Fil lost his father at the age of 3 in WWII.

My DH tries very hard to be doting with the kids…I appreciate the effort, because I know it does not come very naturally to him…but thank God *both *DH and I are reverts…and I know his spiritual life (confession, communion, prayer, repeat) give him the graces he needs. If not…we probably would be divorced by now. :frowning:

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