As a mother, it is natural for you to wish the best for your children. Apart from meeting their material needs, this also includes providing them with the love and emotional security so that they feel cherished and secure. However while you may be doing all you can to cater to your kids’ needs, you may not find the same kind of parenting input from your husband. Here are a few things you can do when you find that your husband does not spend time with the kids.
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Appreciate whatever he does
While your husband may not be spending enough quality time with the kids on a regular basis, perhaps there are little things he does daily for them. They could range from simple acts like giving them hugs and making them lunch to more responsible ones like driving them to soccer practice, paying the tuition and dental bills. These acts may not make a pretty picture of family togetherness but they nevertheless express his sense of commitment as a father. Taking notice of these acts is the first step to getting your husband spend more time with the kids. verbalizing your gratitude for what he is already doing will make his heart soar and encourage him to take a more active role in parenting. At the same time, this will also teach your kids to appreciate their father. For instance to the little kids you can say “Did daddy pour you that drink? What a nice daddy you have!” Or when around with older kids, you can make a comment like, “I think it’s great that Dad makes time to help you with your math homework.” So come up with words and gestures that build up your husband as a good father and this will pave the way for him to make more effort to live up to the image.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Since mothers do the lion’s share of parenting like feeding, bathing, changing, carpooling and kissing hurts better, it is only natural that you develop a very specific idea of what is and is not good for your kids. However men, either due to lack of experience or interest, do not share your perspective which well nigh approaches the perfect. So for your husband may not see the point of dressing the baby in matching socks and shirt or preparing dinner with exactly the same proportion of salads, pasta and meatballs. He could think his job is done as long as the baby is dressed in something or as long as they get to eat something. Here if you begin to criticize your husband for not being a good father, over time he will want to get even less involved than he is now. His logic will tell him that since he cannot satisfy you anyway, so why bother trying at all; and he would much rather go for a drink at the bar or watch TV at home. So one of the main things you need to do if you want your husband to get more involved in parenting, is to let go of the small stuff. Keep in mind that these are probably not battles that need to be fought. Let go of that pressing need for control and bite your tongue when you feel the urge to criticize your husband’s parenting skills.
Make way for family time
However it may be that your husband is working too hard during the day and by the time he comes back home, he just wants to crash in front of the TV. In such a situation, a good idea would be to look for ways where routine acts can involve the entire family. And one of the most effective among these is having at least one meal together. Usually it is easiest for dinner time to incorporate the whole family when everyone can sit down together and discuss what happened through the day over a nice, hot meal. This not only makes for better bonding between children and parents but helps the latter to be aware of what is going on with their older kids at school, piano or soccer practice. But if your husband works late shifts, you can try the same thing early in the day when the whole family sits down for a quick breakfast. Or maybe you can ask your husband to take over reading to the kids at bedtime and tucking them in, if he is unable to make it to dinner. Doing the weekly groceries together could also be a fun way to interweave family time and domestic routine.
Talk to him
However if you find that your husband is taking increasingly more commitments which keep him away from the kids, it may be necessary to have a quiet talk with him. Find a time when he is free and not busy with work, for instance a Sunday morning, and then express your concerns. Don’t go into attack mode by saying something like, “Your job is more important to you than we are!” Or “If you keep up this schedule, the kids won’t even know you anymore!”, since this will only make him defensive and not address the issue. Rather try a positive stance like “I appreciate how hard you work at your job and the money you earn for the family, but we really miss you around here. Is there something I can do to make it easier for you to come home a little earlier this week?” Such an approach not only differentiates between the person (your husband) and his actions (working too late) but even invites him to come up with solutions instead of fixing the blame on him.
Look for deeper issues
If you have made your point in a calm and constructive manner and still been unable to make your husband see the need for spending more time with your kids, perhaps there could be deeper issues at play. If your husband is not the natural father of your children or if he is unhappy in the marriage, then he may not want to have to do anything with the family. Address these underlying issues and if necessary seek help from a marital therapist. A professional will be able to identify the source of your husband’s disinterest and suggest ways which may help him to feel more connected with the family.