Inconsistent Father

by ALucas
(Chicago, IL)

Hello. I have a daughter who will be 9 months old November 8th. Her father and I no longer live in the same household nor are we together for about 2 months now.

He is inconsistent in spending time with her and makes excuses for it. He will come and see her once a week and while here he will play with her for maybe 20 to 30 minutes and then be more attentive to his phone on social media than to our daughter. He usually stays for 2 hours.

On 2 occasions he was to spend the night to help out with her, as I usually raise her by myself daily while holding down a full-time job.

But while he is here, all he does is sleep and wants me to keep getting up with her, he's no help. I get very upset and angry because he really feels as though he is helping and I'm over dramatic.

He works as a transit bus driver as of now. He chose to move to the other side of town and his job route is maybe a 15 min drive from where he stays so he uses that as another reason why he does not come to see her too often because he is so tired, and doesn't want to drive the 25- 30 min it takes to get to where we live, as he says.

I feel as though he creates unhealthy situations for us. He makes decisions not thinking about his child first and we argue and scream at one another mainly about his lack of parenting and the fact that he also doesn't contribute financially.

I'm just sick and tired of the situation. I'm up here and there throughout the night with our daughter, I'm up early mornings with her, I drop her off at the babysitter about 1:45. I work from 3pm to 11pm. By the time I get home after picking her up its 11:45pm.

I get home I feed her play with her for a while sometimes if she isn't asleep then get back up and do everything all over again by myself. I'm usually exhausted to the max and I don't get a break.

I don't complain because I am a mother first that's my number one priority. I ask for his help in raising her to no avail. He will pretend he will be there more but every week its the same thing.

I love my daughter to the end of time but I feel as though she doesn't deserve to be treated this way. I shouldn't have to argue with or beg her father to see her and be there for her more often.

Before he moved out there were problems. He always complained about not being able to go out on the weekends I work. My job requires that I work 2 weekends a month, consisting of every other week.

Usually he would only have her for 3 hours after getting her from the babysitter before I would be home and he would still call me at work frustrated complaining about our baby does nothing but cry or she won't go to sleep and he's tired.

He would get mad at me, leave the house knowing I have to work and he is off work and is supposed to watch her and I would have to hurriedly find someone to watch our daughter so that I could get to work on time because he wouldn't return.

He didn't want to pay his share of rent and bills because he figures since I made more money than him I should pay the majority of things.

I let him know that he would pay his share or could get his things and move out and that's what he did. I know that I have a tendency to get angry quickly, especially regarding mistreatment of my daughter but it's as if I'm semi justified to do so because I get no help.

I go to him calmly and nicely to communicate about our daughter and he does his best to try and bait me to create an argument then plays the victim. One minute he says that he didn't expect parenting to be like this, and that he wasn't ready for all this then the next minute he loves us and will do anything for us.

He is immature, needs to grow up and be a real father and man and stop being so selfish. I beat myself up because I honestly didn't see this coming. I try to figure out signs I might have missed before we even had a child. Not to mention she was planned. We planned our pregnancy.

I'm to the point where I want nothing to do with him BUT I still reach out to him to keep him up to date with what's going on with his daughter. I'm honestly thinking about just letting him decide whether or not to even come around at all since its only 1 day a week.

He texts me saying I drive him to a point where he wants to physically put his hands on me so he will go through my mother regarding our daughter.

I had to call the police on him just tonight as he was upset because again he came here and didn't want to help out with her and I told him to sleep on the couch and just leave me be because he was not helping. He got up went into my kitchen and bathroom knocking things over in front of our daughter. That was the last straw.

I blocked his number from being able to text and call me and I also blocked him from social media. I need help? I just don't know what else to do at this point.

Comments for Inconsistent Father

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by: ALucas

Thank you so much for your thorough response. I needed this. Now I can put forth the steps you spoke on and hopefully this will help the situation get on the right path.

Inconsistent Father...and so much more
by: Sara

Hi! Thanks so much for writing!

Holy cow you have a lot going on over there!

Let's start at the beginning...breathe...breathe...

Ok! Let's do this. I'm going to be high level here. I would LOVE to work with you on this one on one, but here's where to start.

First...listen to him. He is telling you how he feels. He didn't think it would be like this. He isn't sure what to do. This isn't fun. He has less time to play. Right or wrong, this is how he feels. And it's great that he shares these feelings because you know what you are dealing with.

Validate him. Every parent feels this way. These are perfectly normal feelings. He probably has no idea.

Structure his time with his daughter. He likely has no idea what to do with a 9 month old girl. Give him tasks. Tell him what she likes. Teach him how to interact with his daughter.

Stay calm. You must stay calm. He is acting out because he is embarrassed, frustrated, and conflicted. Do your best not to add to that, and not to give him an excuse to bail. Have conversations with him as you would someone at work. No whining, begging, or insulting. Tell him how you feel, and what you need him to do, but don't "go there" emotionally. It doesn't help.

Come up with your own backup plan so you feel less overwhelmed yourself. You mentioned your mother. Can your daughter spend a night or 2 there every now and again to give you some downtime?

Get child support, and do not sleep with him unless you are in a committed relationship.

The bathroom thing was a temper tantrum. Set the rules on that stuff. He is already feeling like he can't manage this, and he is creating excuses to validate those feelings...simply because he doesn't know what else to do.

Never tell him he is not a father or a man. It's painful, and creates barriers. You can identify his responsibilities without insulting who he is.

Remember that he is trying. He doesn't have to be there at all. He's trying. He's feeling lost, and he's not doing well, but he's trying. Encourage him when he gets it right, or even gets close. See if he begins to respond.

You got this!

Hugs and love!

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