My Partner is Not Being a Partner in Parenting

mom feeling sad partner in parenting

A mom of twins asks:

I have a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and 10-month old twins. My husband has discovered a new ‘volunteer’ group as a hobby. He is away a lot of weekends and it’s HARD. I can’t help but feel this is a way out for him when he gets overwhelmed. Has anyone else experienced this with their husband after twins? Nothing else I can say will make him give it up. It’s causing a lot of stress in our marriage.

Here’s what our community of twin parents had to say…

My Partner is Not Being a Partner in Parenting

I’m a father to 2 yo twin girls. When my wife went back to work after her maternity leave I had issues adjusting. My wife is an RN and worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6pm to 7:30am. With travel and sleeping, she would only be able to help me with our girls maybe 2 hrs a day on the weekends. Having to adjust to solo parenting on what had been my days off was hard. Before kids, the weekend had been for relaxing from my work week. When that time disappeared it was not easy to get my mind around that fact. I have seen fellow fathers push off their parenting duties when it impacted their social lives. I have also seen how a lack of understanding of how much your life changes when children come into your life has broken marriages. Moms, all I can say is that fear and stress are the biggest problems I dealt with and if your husband is not willing to work through that, then he is trying to avoid dealing with these issues.
Don’t give him an easy way out. Schedule some events for yourself and leave him at home with the kids alone. He will have to overcome his fear and make things work. – Hayden L.

I’m an RN as well and also worked 12 hour nights. My husband had a hard time adjusting initially. But we figured it out together and he did an amazing job with the boys. And he never considered it as having to “watch” the boys. You don’t babysit your own children and I think that’s the mentality a lot of the time. And I was with the boys the other 5 days I didn’t work. So my hubby made sure to have me make time for myself. It’s important for BOTH mom and dad to have their own time. The boys just turned 17 on March 14th and I only started working full time in the past year. It’s definitely challenging but you have to do it TOGETHER!!!!!! – Tracy K.

You gotta take time for you too! And just so you know it isn’t just you! My husband is in a dart league and goes every Thursday and on his days off, and finds reasons to be gone most of the day… I don’t blame him…. he works 12 hour days 4 days a week and when he comes home he does his best to help me out before he is so tired he conks out on the couch. However, there are times when I feel like I’m alone in this and we have 5 kids with another coming in May! I just try to make it clear that I do need help on his days off and when I wanna go do something I do not ask for permission. I simply make the plans and let him know he’ll be responsible for the children while I’m gone. Good luck hun! – Christine E.

dad leaving house partner in parenting

Sounds like a bunch of guys get to wear the Dad badge while being a donor. Men, step up and be there for your kids. Being there for your kids also means being there for your wife. – Brad B.

As a father of 4-month-olds, I cannot fathom taking off entire weekends in that situation. I have had maybe 3 hours a month to get out of the house with friends and even then I’ve felt guilty about not being there. He needs to volunteer for his family before anyone else. – Gabe K.

My husband did things like this for a while. Finally, I told him that if he wanted to do stuff like that, he had to take a kid with him. He got a much better perspective on what a normal day is like for me and how hard twins really are. – Jen E.

My thought was to ask him to take the 5 yr old and 3 yr old with him to help volunteer – that it is a great way to teach them the value of serving others. – Christy P.

So he’s busy out “volunteering” but where he’s needed the most by his own wife and kids he can’t do!! Sounds like an excuse for an easy way out of stepping up and being a father and a husband and it’s not on. He made them too. Family comes first before anything else. – Ilona S.

I would say both parents deserve the same amount of time “out” (not counting actual work that pays bills). So if one parent spends 6-7-8 hours out on a Saturday, same should be available for the other. And if you can manage that while all the chores are done AND kids can spend enough time with you both then great. If not – both parents should reduce the amount of time outside work they spend not being home with the family/kids/chores. – Ege P.

family separated My Partner is Not Being a Partner in Parenting

You’re not imagining things, it IS a way out. People deal with stress by either Fight, Flight or Freeze. It’s time for a real, non-accusation, non-confrontational heart to heart. Get a babysitter and plan some uninterrupted focus time (with or without a therapist). Talk about how you see the next 3 to 5 years unfolding and see if there’s any way to get back on the same page. It sounds like you want your family to “grow together” where as he’s leaning more old school (you row your part, I’ll row mine). Good Luck. There are many “hobbies” and volunteer things I loved before twins and will love again after they’re a little bit older. – Traci R.

Give him an ultimatum. He steps up as a parent, and puts his FAMILY first, or give him the boot and sue him for child support. Nothing else should be prioritized above family & work. – Heather S.

You absolutely need to feel like you guys are partners in raising your children. If he is taking time away, especially for a hobby, there should be a balance with that. You deserve a “break” too, one that allows you to feel like a human being and gives you a sense of you being you, not just a mother. So, tell him, “you can do this X times”, but “this” time is my time and you will care for our children while I have time too. If he can’t get on board with that and adjust, then you need to evaluate what you can deal with and what you can’t. Hopefully, he can get on board and you both can have some time. I am a better mom when I have time to breathe too. 🙂 Good luck! – Angel M.

No, and I am sorry – you need to sit him down. Parenting is a two-person job………if you go to a church get some counseling together. These first years with all of your kiddos needing your attention is hard and you need a partner…….. to at least help with the evening feeding and bathing….. Good luck praying for you. – Saundra A.

My twins’ father did that. He wasn’t doing the things he said he was doing and ended up doing things that compromised our family as a unit. Needless to say we moved on without him. He pretended to want to be involved after that for a few months, and now we haven’t seen or heard from him in a year. ??‍♀️ We’re happy for the most part. Adjusting was hard at first. Then once we got used to it, our life was EASIER! My ex was always putting so much energy and effort into avoiding responsibilities that it had been draining my energy. I have loads more without him. – Rheannon G.

10 months is further along than when we had this issue. But from the time the twins were born until about 7 months old, my husband was never home with us. If he wasn’t working, he was hanging out with my father in law. It drove me nuts and nearly ruined our marriage. Recently we talked about that time period, and he opened up that having the twins and the stress of it, and handling me during my PPD, gave him depression too, and that was his only way to distract himself. Talk to your husband about that. Most men feel like they aren’t allowed to have depression or struggle as a parent, and they don’t open up about it, they just hide instead. – Dylan G.

parents fighting with child watching partner in parenting

I went through this and I just found my own thing to do every once in a while (like getting nails done, visiting friends, happy hours, etc) and left the kids with him just to balance it out. I wouldn’t make him give it up completely, but maybe explain that he needs to scale it back a bit, maybe limit his weekends away from home to like once a month or something reasonable. – Jasmine B.

Raising kids is a team effort. It is possible to do it solo but it’s so incredibly hard. Raising twins and multiple kids takes a joint effort of understanding if both parents are in the picture. I think that’s non-negotiable. Kids won’t learn the right lessons on love and parenting if they don’t see a family unit supporting each other. That being said, both my husband and I are only children and we only have our 16 m/o twins and it was and still can be brutally hard. All of you parents with twins and more, you guys are warriors. I can’t even imagine the challenge and sacrifice. – Bridget D.

Related Articles

Twin Parenting Advice: I Have No Idea How We Did It

3 Things You Can Do Today to Help Your Marriage

How I Fell Back In Love With My Husband

My Partner is Not Being a Partner in Parenting