If your husband won’t help with baby or the other kids, there are some things you can do to encourage his input. It’s not hopeless, mama.
We’ve all seen the memes and statuses of what life looks like when Dad is on Kid Duty.
Funny outfits, funny hair, junk food, and a messy house.
Truthfully, some moms would be over the moon with that.
Some mothers find themselves married to men who won’t help take care of the baby, the older kids, or the house.
They feel alone and desperate.
I’ve heard from many many women over the years whose husbands are unwilling, seemingly unable, or un-enthusiastic about being on Dad Duty.
What you can do if your husband won’t help with baby (or your other kids!)
These tips won’t help get an completely uninterested husband to help. They may, however, help you get a reluctant husband to help you more effectively.
This isn’t marriage advice, now. If you’re a Type A woman married to a Type B man you’ll likely resonate with a lot in this post.
Write out some lists and notes
The goal is that the children’s needs are taken care of and everyone is okay when we mamas get back, right?
In that case, as long as the basic routine is known then we’re all good. Your husband may keep baby up a bit longer or skip a nap here or there, but having a general guideline available gives confidence.
Especially if your husband rarely watches the baby and needs a bit of help.
Want your kids to learn to independently follow their routines? These visual routine cards do the trick.Learn More
Does he have to follow it? Of course not! Does he want to follow it? For the most part, yes.
Even my husband, a more go with the flow type, finds that the day just floats around if there is no plan.
Keep your expectations reasonable
If your husband isn’t normally enthusiastic about watching the kids, but will do it, don’t be overly critical or nag.
Even if you know that your husband isn’t doing you a favor, and you feel like you should be able to say your piece – you should! – do what you must to get help.
Develop appropriate expectations – even if you are disappointed about the realistic expectations you can have- because then you are more able to enjoy your time away. And not start a fight when you come back.
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Here are some expectations to think about when your husband un-enthusiastically watches baby:
- The state of the house | If it’s a big ask already to have your husband be on child duty, don’t also expect a clean and spotless house. Some husbands are just naturals and get things done, but if you know yours isn’t, don’t expect him to.
- Food served | When I go out of town for a few days, the kids’ diet is not as healthy. My husband chooses easy to prepare meals that are generally lower on veggies than mine are – and that’s how it goes. You can let this go if you want a little help.
Don’t expect your husband to parent just like you do
This is hard for us mothers.
Many of us consider watching the children our “job.” Knowing that, we pretty much think we have monopoly on best practices. However, if we want our spouse to take on a more active role in the childcare, we may need to let him parent in his own way.
As long as harm isn’t coming to the kids.
Prepare beforehand, and control what YOU can control
If your husband won’t help you take care of the baby or older kids then you will have to control what you can control.
On the odd occasion he’ll watch the baby, you can prepare ahead of time. Put out bottles, pacifiers, swaddles, or whatever else needs getting ready. Make it easy enough then let that be it.
The truth is, if you have kids and your partner doesn’t like to help out, it’s time for you to make life as easy on yourself as possible.
You CAN find ways to meet your boundaries even if your husband won’t help
Do you have some long list of qualities a good wife and mom need to have? You probably do. It’s probably really long and even though you don’t have help around the house, you still feel guilty taking care of yourself.
Here are some ways to lighten your load since you’re the only one carrying it.
- Meals | If you’re the only one taking care of the kids and the only one cooking, make it easy. One pan or pot meals. Buttered pasta. Cheese on crackers. Whatever you need to do to make meal times less stressful. If your husband complains, hand him the cookbook.
- Toys and clean up | Does the house always seem messy with toys and kid explosion and no one cleans but you? Get the kids on a chore routine and, if that doesn’t work, remove a lot of the toys. Less toys = less mess, guaranteed.
- Sleep | If you are going crazy with night wakings, don’t delay sleep training. If you’re the only one on night shift it’s time to take charge. You can have fewer night feeds (or none, depending on baby’s age). You can teach your toddler to stay in their bed. Honestly, getting more sleep will help your daytime moods as well.
Too long, need summary?
Some spouses simply are not helpful with the kids.
Unfortunately, this makes life hard on mom.
Help your spouse learn the routine so he feels empowered, make realistic expectations for yourself, and lighten your own load.
Even though we can’t control others, that’s a good start.