Mom Wonders If Expecting Her Husband To Watch Their Child For 6 Hours Alone Is Ignoring His 'Needs And Boundaries'

Raising kids is a constant negotiation, yet it should be equitable for both parents.

dad with toddler Gustavo Fring / Pexels 

A mom wrote into the English parenting forum Mumsnet seeking outside perspectives on an ongoing conflict between her and her husband. Her husband refuses to watch their two-year-old for more than six hours at a time on his own, as he “finds it [to be] too much and he can’t cope.”

The mom wondered if expecting her husband to care for the child crosses his boundaries and ignores his needs. 

Their toddler has only just started sleeping through the night; she described their previous sleep schedule as “2 years of horror [that] has broken us individually and it seems, as a couple.” She revealed that her husband cared for their child alone over the course of one day and one night when she was away, “and it broke him.” 


The mom qualified her grievances by noting that her husband works long hours with a time-consuming commute, though she works full time from home, as well. 

The issue of dividing childcare arose because the mom made plans to go to the theater with friends. Yet as her husband won’t watch their child for more than six hours, they agreed to ask the woman’s mom to babysit, instead. After doing the math on her night out, the mom realized she wouldn’t actually be gone for six hours, “but he said the statement still stands.”

woman watching as baby feeds babyPhoto: Tima Miroshnichenko / Pexels 


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“He doesn’t seem to think it’s fair that either of us should be left alone with [our] child for more than 6 hours,” she said. “We are going around in circles. I don’t even know what we are arguing about anymore.”

The mom reported feeling “disappointed, angry, [and] sick and tired of being sick and tired.” She shared that she and her husband are on the waiting list to see a therapist, and she’s holding out hope that seeing a professional will help them smooth out this conflict. 

The mom played an active role in the comments section of her own post, clarifying certain points and engaging with people’s responses. She added an unexpected detail about her husband that “makes it worse” for her, sharing that “He is really quick to judge other men who he deems to be doing less than what a father ‘should’ be doing.”


“If I told him that one of my friend’s husbands said they wouldn't look after their own child for more than 6 hours, he would call them all the useless names under the sun,” she said. She then explained that aside from this specific issue, he “really does pull his weight — Cooking, cleaning, giving me ‘me’ time, bedtimes, nappies, park, [and] feeding” their toddler.

Some commenters expressed their belief that her husband should take responsibility for their child when needed, noting that just because caregiving is hard work, doesn’t mean he gets a pass. 

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Others took a more compassionate approach, expressing concern for her husband’s ability to cope as a parent.

As one person asked, “Is this a ‘boundary’ or a genuine mental health issue?”

Another person wondered if he’s struggling with extreme stress and anxiety when he’s left on his own for prolonged periods of time with their child. They suggested that both parents “take things slowly and build up the amount of time he spends alone with your child over time.”



“This doesn’t sound like a personality flaw or laziness [or] selfishness, but something a bit different,” they continued. Someone else echoed that sentiment and praised the husband for being able to voice his anxieties, while acknowledging that no situation is permanent, no matter how difficult it may feel. 


“Hopefully as your child gets older, he will find it easier and enjoyable being with his child,” they said.

They were quick to point out that the mom and her husband needed to come to an agreement about solo caregiving that allowed for an equitable division of labor.

They explained, “Ultimately, you need to decide what boundaries work for you both… If you don’t get more than 6 hours at a time, neither does he.”

man sitting with a young childPhoto: Pavel Danilyuk / Pexels 


The mom was grateful for the guidance, recognizing that it was hard for her to have a neutral perspective on the situation. She shared that she can’t help but feel like "he's shirking his responsibility.”

“I think we are both exhausted and depressed,” she said. "I just can't help feeling resentment and anger and I don't know if this is justified or if I am being unfair.”

She illustrated just how complicated caregiving can be, even in a two-parent household. Raising children is a constant give-and-take, an endless negotiation of dividing responsibilities. While her frustration at their current situation is valid, it's important to acknowledge that her husband shared his vulnerabilities with her, which is never an easy feat. Being vulnerable in partnership is a pathway toward mutual understanding and a way to gain intimacy. 


The bottom line is that the mom and her husband are struggling in their own ways. The only way to move through the hard times is to talk openly about what's wrong and establish a caregiving routine that's equitable to both parents. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.