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I recently brought my third child home from the hospital. She has been home with us a week now, and at first I thought my husband was going to be very involved with her since he wanted to be the first person to do just about everything with her. I really thought he would be very involved and stay close to the baby since our last child had died of SIDS before she turned 2 months. There wasn't a single picture of him holding her and he realized he missed out on a lot he couldn't get back. His involvement lasted 2 days after baby #3 got home. Then it was right back to the same thing he has done every time our kids come home, "I need guy time." His idea of guy time is spending every moment he isn't sleeping or working, playing his xbox or having friends stay the night. The first weekend after baby got home he promised to spend the entire weekend as a family with the baby, our 3 yr old son, and me. All weekend he didn't spend 5 mins with all of us combined. I mentioned this to him and he promised yet again this weekend (a 4 day holiday weekend) he would spend with us. Then he got a call from his boss asking him to come in and work, he agreed, but found out a few hours later he wouldn't be working after all. He came and told me he wasn't working and immediately walked out of the room and called his friend over to stay the entire weekend! I've tried to get him to watch our 3 yr old while I feed the baby and take care of her, but his idea of watching him is telling him to sit on the couch and not move an inch while he plays his xbox. I then ask my husband if he could hold the baby while I cooked dinner. I turn around a few mins later to see my 3 yr old holding the baby, which was fine, I just told my husband to keep an eye on him. Again a few mins later I go to check on everyone to find my 3 yr old had covered up the baby and was trying to use her as a pillow. I went off because he was too involved in his xbox game to hold her and then too busy too keep an eye on our son holding her. Then yesterday I had to leave the house for a few hours to pick up some stuff for the baby and had to leave our son with my husband because I couldn't fit everything in my car. I came home 5 hours later and my son was down for a nap, so I laid down with the baby for a nap too. When I got up it was a few hours later and was going to wake up my son only for the hubby to say hes in bed for the night. So I ask okay what did you make for dinner, he replies nothing. So I ask okay what did you feed him while I was out, again he says nothing. So I wake up my son and start making him something to eat, while my husband plays his game and holds the baby only to her her screaming her head off 2 mins later because he was so into his game he had slammed her head into his chair. Does anyone have any advice on how to get my husband more involved with the kids and not his game? Because I can't do much more of this 4hrs of sleep in 3 days.
Honestly, my first response would be to slam an iron skillet against the side of his head. He's not just being a distant dad, he's being a total jerk. He's doing nothing to help you, he's addicted to his video game, and now he's actually hurt your newborn baby and neglected your 3 yr old. Seriously, how did he go all those hours without feeding him? At age 3, my boys had no trouble announcing "I'm hungry."
Truthfully, I had to chuckle a little at the story of the 3 yr old using the baby as a pillow, that was kind of cute. And I think one day you'll see that, too. But, cute or not, it doesn't excuse what your husband did.
I don't know how well it would go over, but one idea is to simply get rid of the video game. Sell it, pawn it, hide it where he can't find/get it, whatever, but just get rid of it. If he literally can't play it, then that will force him to find something else to do, and you can be right there with all kinds of family oriented, helpful things he can do.
Other than that, talking is the only thing I could think of, but it really does look like you've done that to a point, and it didn't help.
Playing video games and having sleep-overs? Is he 12? He apparently has become so addled over Xbox that he can't distinguish between important real-life issues and cyber dragon-slaying. He'd risk giving his baby permanent brain injury just to get a high score on an Xbox game? The Xbox goes. He is so involved in the game he doesn't even feed his own kid? He managed to turn off the Xbox long enough to create these little miracles, he can turn it off to take care of them. I swear, he would come home to find Xbox sold and something nice for the baby in it's place. If I banged our newborn's head because I was too "into" my game, my wife would immediately and utterly destroy the Xbox. I'd just sell it and use the money to get something nice for the baby.
Oh I really thought about smashing the Xbox, but we have roommates who all have one too and he would just play theirs, and theirs I cannot destroy or sell. I tried talking to him this morning but he just went to sleep on me after saying I was overreacting.
Wow, how infuriating. To have your needs and your husband's needs so out of alignment is draining.
On some level this is working for your husband. He is getting what he needs through video game play and through his friends. He is not motivated to change because he is not uncomfortable and in fact may not be taking time to think about what he is missing or wants because in the moment he is fulfilled.
You on the other hand feel a huge sense of disparity and have a vision for family life which includes your husband but he is not participating in a way that is meaningful to you.
Change will only happen when he feels a sense of discomfort. Video gaming is extremely addictive as you are experiencing.
Set a time that suits both of you for a discussion. He will be more apt to participate if he chooses a time that is good for him too. Sit down with your husband and tell him that you recognize that video gaming is a fun outlet for him. You both need some play time - play time with each other, play time with the kids and playtime alone. Can he help you come up with a plan so there is balance with all three of these and is more fair overall. Xbox will be his alone play time so he will not be doing child care at this time - it is is his free hour. Explain how you want your free time and how he can support this, brain storm on how to spend time with the kids together and then share and ask how he wants your time together as a couple to look.
Reconnect with the fun and loving couple inside the two of you so you both desire to meet each others needs.
Leah made very valid suggestions. My concern is that you're dealing with a man-baby, and not a mature man. Those friends would NOT be sleeping over at my house. I would simply tell them to leave. In that many words. Yeah, it's going to make him mad. There are worse things to deal with than someone's anger. When I stopped being afraid of someone getting mad at me was when I took my own power back.
You really need serious discussion with him here. I'm going to assume that you can't ask a family member (like his father?) to intervene on his behalf. I would try the things that Leah suggested. And I wish you luck.
You also are going to have to set some boundaries. If he invites friends over without asking you first, YOU are going to take his credit card and take the kids to a hotel on HIS dime. Something like that.
He has to suffer some consequences. You can't just 'talk' him into caring.
What a neglectful D-BAG! I know he's the father, but it sounds like he shouldn't be trusted with his own children. My husband is totally into video games, but only when our son naps and after he goes to bed at night. I thought mine was bad because his idea of breakfast for the kid is a peanut butter sandwich and a banana, but da**, at least my husband feeds my kid!
My husband plays a lot of videogames too, and has a friend that practically lives at our house, but it's not nearly as bad as your situation, and for that I am sorry.
A while back when I felt like videogames were really taking up ALL of his free time and that he was neglecting other things I started to suggest other things we could do outside of the house. In my case, I told my husband I wanted him to teach me to shoot handguns, and it's actually turned into something we really enjoy. Once a week (usually on a Saturday morning) my MIL watches our daughter and we spend an hour or two at the range.
Of course, I don't know what your husband is into, but maybe you could try using another hobby he enjoys that you could do as a family, or at least a couple. Fishing, hunting, riding bikes, walking the dog, seeing a movie.... you could even talk him into taking you and the kids to the mall by going to the video game shop. (I've done that too, lol)
You never know, maybe if you are able to get him to focus on something other than the xbox he will start to need it less.