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Dad support

  • 22-10-2021 8:28am
    Registered Users Posts: 5 Pure_HP

    Mod Note:
    Making this into a Sticky as I think it is a useful support.
    Carry on!

    Hi all dads, I couldn't really find anything on here about a support group for dads so decided to start one.

    Firstly, I just want to clear the air by saying, I understand that a mothers job is much more demanding and full on as us dads but it still is tough.

    I'm a first time father of twin boys that are about 2 months old and I'm really struggling at the moment with my partner. I wholeheartedly love her and love our boys as much but I feel like the second I walk in from work, everything I do to help is wrong and that I feel like it would be better if I was totally useless and incapable of anything.

    I know I pull my weight as I do night feeds, clean and prepare bottles before and after work, handle finances and on top of this handling the pressures of building a new house.

    I know that this will get better and everything will be fine but I just wanted a safe zone where dad's can share their stories and issues for support.

    Post edited by shesty on



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,794 ✭✭✭ BronsonTB

    Congrads on the twins.

    I'm a first time dad with a 3 month daughter...

    Was deffo hard in the very begining, wasn't doing anthing right! But has got easier.

    BTB - Be sure to hit the 'Thanks' button please.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5 Pure_HP

    Thanks BronsonTB, congrads to you also on the baby girl. It's life changing for the good! Couldn't imagine life without them now..

    Yeah I've been told that alright and I know it will but sometimes it's exhausting, just going to have to grin and bear it!

    I am lucky that I do get a "break" and go to work but I just know 3 out of 5 evenings I'm coming home to stress and chaos that it seems like I'm getting blamed for or resented for. She does say that she only takes it out on me because she loves me and that she doesn't mean it but it takes it's toll on a fella

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,195 ✭✭✭ irelandrover

    The first few months are tough. The mother really struggles with the feeding and I found my wife was very lonely as she missed the social aspects of working.

    When she went back to work then it was a lot more balanced as even tho she pumped I could also feed the baby. She also had the social aspect back so didn't feel as isolated.

    I don't think it got easier to be honest but you get used to it. You settle into your new life, at least I did as I accepted my life changed. I kept some hobbies so I still played football on a Sunday morning. I felt that was very important as it allowed me to keep a bit of me.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,182 ✭✭✭ Electric Nitwit

    Great idea for a thread OP, hope it takes off

    As you say, we all know the mum's have a much tougher time but that doesn't mean it's not tough for dads. A lot of people overlook that I think, dads themselves and those around them

    I'm sure you're doing great, just make sure you know that yourself. Your partner likely has no one else to vent at, so unfortunately you get both barrels. It's a cliche, but you have to talk as much as you can. The thing is, you're best talking at a calm and settled moment, and they're hard to find!

    As others say, it does get easier, but not quickly. You'll likely get to stage where the kids get separation anxiety and won't come to you. It's hard to take that rejection, and it makes it harder to feel like you're helping, but that passes too. You'll get there, but it is tough. Keep doing what you're doing. Look after the kids, look after your partner but don't forget to look after yourself a bit too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 177 ✭✭ antfin

    Congratulations on the twins, I can't imagine the double effort and stress required but you'll be through the most chaotic parts shortly. It's a great experience but it is indeed one of the most stressful times for a couple, each in different ways.

    With regard to 'not being able to do anything right', I think there's often an element of the Mum being frustrated with the babies but she can't express it other than to take it out on you. It sounds easy to explain it that way and say to suck it up and deal with it in the cold light of comparing it to what she's dealing with... it's slightly more difficult to put it into practice under the heat of battling with nappy changes and feeds and crying after your days at work. I'm sure she appreciates your efforts when she gets a moment without the stress but when she hits peak stress and you arrive on the scene unfortunately you being the stress release is part of the job. That said, you can't be machine either so make sure to have your own method of coping or you risk escalating the situation rather than being a help.

    It will get easier for everyone when you all settle into a routine. Then the only thing that you'll get accused of not being able to do right is coodinating their outfits properly!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5 Pure_HP

    Thanks all for the solid advice, very helpful I must say and some of the stuff seems so obvious but I didn't even realise it!

    I don't want this to be all about my post either, would like it to be a place for Dads to rant, look for support, share stories, just basically like a whatsapp group of friends but it's anonymous so you don't feel like you're bad mouthing your family haha

    For example, I had to change one of the twins in the car last week after his bottle, starting to poo like a tap getting on the upholstery, then he started to vomit a bit all while poo was all over my hands....the joys of twins was that my partner was holding the other one so I was on my own! I eventually got everything in order again and to be honest it wouldn't phase me anymore now because I've been through it!

    I also find a bottle of beer while getting the bottles ready, turning off the lights and locking doors at night is a nice stress reliever

  • Registered Users Posts: 109 ✭✭ knockoutned

    For me it was the sudden lack of sleep that nearly killed me! And I believe that his is the hardest part for both you and your wife. So where possible, get as much power naps in.

    Also, give up the beer, it does nothing. Good bottle of whiskey is much better 😁

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,042 ✭✭✭ hardybuck

    I think most fathers will empathise with some of the points you've raised, and as you've noted yourself things will get better.

    I'm nearly 6 months into the role myself. Working from home is a blessing on the one hand as you've no commute and more time on your hands, and you're obviously there at home if your wife/partner needs a hand. But on the other hand, you can find yourself barely leaving the house Mon-Fri if you aren't careful - you finish work and go straight into parenting - rinse and repeat.

    It'll test your relationship, and probably make it stronger in the long run, but communication is key. We've definitely vented at each other at different stages, but I think you've got to sit down when you can find a spare moment and discuss how things are going in a non-adversarial fashion. It's one thing to have the odd vent, but you can't be soaking that up all the time. Remember to focus on the things that are going well, the things that you'd like to get a little better, and remind each other that you have each other's backs.

    From my perspective we got to the stage where we needed to actively build time into our schedule where we got to do nice things for ourselves and as a couple. It could be something as simple as getting out for a visit to the barber/hairdresser, meeting your mates for a drink, maybe a date once in a blue moon if you're lucky - everyone will have things like that which they miss and will feel the better for doing.

    Over a weekend I'll be putting in 'nice' things into my diary for the next few weeks - because if we don't schedule them they won't happen. At least this gives us things to look forward to when we're having a difficult period.

  • Registered Users Posts: 542 ✭✭✭ Joe Exotic

    Hi my twins are 1yr old now and i can completly empathize with you. as others have said its normal to have a bit of tension because everyone is so tired !!

    Try to understand what your wife is dealing with, shes on her own all day and is probably thinking she is a bad mother (even though she is doing a great job) that is normal and most mothers i know think this at one time or another. Add to this the extra load when dealing with twins it can cause a lot of stress. for example if one or both of your twins are cluster feeding or suffering from colic it is a nightmare.

    The key in my opinion is to be there for her and to try and get her to talk about it. If you get out for a coffe try to talk about something else though, often i found my wife could get upset when we spoke about how she was getting on. thats not what you want when out for coffee.

    I used to encourage my wife to go out and meet her friends for at least an hour each weekend when she could. that hour or so break is pricless to just be free for a bit.

    As for the Twins congrats !!! welcome to more than double the work, meerly changing the nappies takes forever.

    The good thing is that when they get a bit older they start to take care of each other, they will play beside each other and won't get upset that your not there.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 88 ✭✭ witzky

    Hi Op. I feel your pain. My twins turned 3 last month. To be honest it was the worst 3 years of my life. Only in the last few months they are going to bed ok without any drama, no naps anymore is great as the stress to get them to sleep was horrendous. They can feed themselves. Potty training is over (I could write a book on how bad it was to get them trained, took MONTHS).

    The stress of trying to get home after work to give my wife a break is gone, I actually went for a pint last week and for the first time didn't feel guilty for leaving her on her own. My wife goes out now too without the dread of leaving me alone with them.

    Luckily we both could snap at each other when needed to get it off our chest, as we knew it was twins induced! Keep talking to each other, try help out as much as you can.

    And guess what.. she wants another one now!! If that's not a sign it's gets easier I don't what is ;)..

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,584 ✭✭✭✭ fits

    Mum of twins here. I used to be so exhausted by evening time and absolutely hanging for my husband to get home so I could even go to the loo or something. It will get easier and you will both get accustomed to it. Mine are four now and I miss the baby days.

    I actually thought it was less likely to be all mums way with two as everyone needs to do their bit. Anyway best of luck with it all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,100 ✭✭✭✭ Ash.J.Williams

    As a single father of a now 9 yo , get as much time in your own with them as you can , it’s great fun and sometimes partners don’t know as much as they think

  • Registered Users Posts: 5 Pure_HP

    Some lovely comments on this, I have found in the last couple of weeks that I'm confident enough to take them visiting on my own or out for a walk in the buggy and once my partner realised that they didn't die when she's not there it definitely was a moment for her.

    I think I'm a bit more adventurous to take them out as my partner is probably so exhausted from them to be able to get up and go. And also while I'm gone for this hour she does get to catch up on a few things that she couldn't with the babies albeit it's laundry and cleaning (I try to tell her to just relax)

    These are tough times but I think I'm getting over the arguments and outbursts, I know it's not my fault!

    Life is always gonna put you under pressure I guess, we just have to learn that how to deal with it

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,584 ✭✭✭✭ fits

    Well baby twins are particularly intense. And yes get her to nap if she can. That’s what I did. Husband did all the housework in the initial months here so I could focus on the feeding

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,077 ✭✭✭ Tails142

    Have 4 kids, the youngest are twins, they're age 2 now and the oldest is nearly 6 so it has been a hectic few years for us.

    All I can say is it gets easier, there is light at the end of the tunnel (I guess?) - it's a big difference when you get past the night feeds which is what, after 12 months or maybe 18? and an even bigger change when you get them fully weaned, ours just get a bottle of milk going to bed now. We have some time in the evenings again after 9pm that isnt just cleaning the kitchen and making bottles for the next day.

    Next big milestone for us with the twins will be potty training I suppose. We're going through it with the three year old at the minute. It's a total headwreck, I don't mind changing nappies, will do it all the day long but the whole pooping in pants thing, pulling them down trying not to get poop everywhere, poop on the toilet sear, ugh it's my kryptonite. He's got the peeing down no problem, he has never had an accident but he refuses to do no. 2's in the potty or toilet and it doesn't help that he's refusing to eat his dinners the past few months and his diet consists almost entirely of cheese. What he is putting out is foul.

    It used to melt my head walking in the door from work, stessful day, stressful drive home in traffic, and then boom, in the front door and straight into another round of it with no let up. But sure that's the way it is, nobody in the real world comes home to dinner on the table and sits into an armchair while their wife grabs their pipe and slippers. An older woman in work told me that she found out years later a neighbour of hers would park up near the house and take 30 minutes, lol, I guess it's a way of coping but not exactly fair on the partner.

    Anyway chin up, good times will come.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,427 ✭✭✭ Wheety

    I'll echo above, the first few months are the toughest. The lack of proper sleep is a killer. But it all moves on so quickly. My daughter is 2 next month 😮 She's a great little child. Very funny and sociable.

    She has being sleeping around 7am-7pm for what seems like a long time now, hardly remember the tiredness now. Lucy Wolfe's book on sleep is good. She starts sleep training at 6 months. It worked for us.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,427 ✭✭✭ Wheety

    Just to add, it is very tough at the moment but you need to power on and just try your best to help your wife out. She's been through a huge, highly stressful experience. Can you mind the babies some day and tell her to go out and grab a coffee?

    It will get better and that's what you need to keep telling yourself. Just come on here and rant rather then to your wife. Bite your tongue and unload here :-)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,895 ✭✭✭ Colonel Panic

    Nothing wrong with talking to your wife about it when the time is right rather than taking the suck it up forever stance. Sometimes going for a drive or a walk helps, especially if the baby (or babies) sleep for a bit.

    It's really hard on everyone - working from home, or trying to, while your wife is struggling is no picnic either. You want to help, you can't help.

    I'm a new Dad too and our lad is 6 months and we feel like we've got a handle on things maybe 25% of the time, but there's been days where he's overtired and not sleeping, my wife is crying with tiredness and frustration while I'm on some pointless call waiting until it wraps up so I can give her a chance to shower where I've been on the verge of a panic attack.

    Then you walk into the room he's rolling about on the floor and stops to look at you and beam the biggest smile and none of the bad stuff matters.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5 Anto17

    Hi, A big congrats for being a dad! Being a father, I can resonate with your experience and anxiety. It is quite normal to be anxious about our way of parenting towards our kids, especially when being a new parent. Try contributing equally to the parenting duties as your wife does. I am sure gradually you will get adjusted to the new environment and changes. All you need to do is love, care and show affection towards your babies from your heart and everything else comes through the way!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,334 ✭✭✭ The One Doctor

    I'm a stay at home dad. It's rewarding and frustrating, amazing and terrible. My wife worked shifts for years so I was looking after my first daughter a lot.

    Child 2 is six months old and the wife is going back to work in March, so that'll be fun since I'm training to be an SNA and volunteering with kids to get experience.

    Its a little bit frightening tbh, as a father you have less tools to use to look after kids (I can't booby feed, for example). But I managed it with Child 1 and she's great, so Child 2 will be fine.

    Its quite the privilege really, and I'm glad I have the opportunity.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,562 ✭✭✭ pajor

    I'd be curious to hear how things are going a couple of months later.

    Our little lad is now 6 and a half months and it's all been.. quite the experience. My wife has MS, so that brings its own challenges. My wife also wanted to breastfeed but he couldn't drink from the breast. Which was probably the result of him being born through unplanned C-section. My wife has since birth expressed all milk for him as formula is and was a no go. This also gave issues with mastitis, for which she had to be operated on 4 times. At 6 weeks she had to stay in hospital for a week. It was scary AF being at home alone with him then, but we got through it.

    I could tell more and I feel like I'm airing my dirty laundry in public, but it does feel good to share this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 44 Laszlo Cravensworth

    I’m a dad to twin boys who are 18 months old and we have a nearly 3 year old daughter also.

    It’s starting to get a little bit easier now, mainly because all 3 are starting to sleep better.

    i knew it would be very hard, but it proved to be much harder than I expected. Honestly, we have had almost 2 years of very very little sleep. It has been so stressful. The relationship between my wife and I had suffered. Both of us work and neither of us have the support of parents. There have been a few occasions where I thought I was having a breakdown due to the stress of it. My mental health is not good after the last couple of years and am hoping to speak to a professional about it soon.

    my wife has definitely struggled too but she seems to have handled it better than me.

    the biggest positive that kept me going was reminding myself that we have 3 healthy children, and that is like winning the lottery.

    like I said earlier it is getting easier lately with the better sleeping but at the same time the 3 children have consumed my life completely.

    I used to have so many hobbies before kids. Golf, surfing, SUP, guitar, tennis and a bit of gaming. All of these are gone aside from some gaming because it’s immediately accessible and doesn’t require planning. My physical health and fitness has really gone downhill and my diet has gone to absolute hell.

    im trying to get back to fitness with some home based weights workouts and am eating better. Also getting out for late night walks helps clear the head.

    It’s been a very tough couple of years but I’m optimistic that the situation is improving, for both of us.

    I wish you the very best OP!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,895 ✭✭✭ Colonel Panic

    Lots of ups and downs since then. The baby had learned how to stand in his cot now and loves doing it over and over so its really disrupting naps and bedtime right now but hanging out with him is a joy!

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,324 ✭✭✭✭ Danzy

    It's a wonderful time being a father but it is very hard, exhausting and difficult but the little hand wrapped around your finger. That's incredible.

    Wonderful things are often difficult.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1 ThompsonYurt

    Pity to see it’s been a while since someone posted but I’m going to reach out anyway!

    new dad well 8 months ago now but have found the whole experience very hard, so much so the thoughts of a second child is just a straight up no!!

    my wife is doing such an amazing job I would be lost without her but I can’t help but struggle when our baby girl gets really upset, I’ve no patience, anxiety levels go through the roof and overall feel useless and out of control

    it comes to be point that I get so worked up knowing that she is going to have a night out or be gone for the majority of it because of the “what if she cry’s uncontrollably” again or gets so upset I can’t do anything to help.

    Has anyone struggle with similar?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,195 ✭✭✭ irelandrover

    This gets better in my experience. Initially you arent around as much as the mother so her way gets accepted and she takes over whenever the uncontrollable crying happens. The baby also gets used to the mother being the comforting parent.

    As you have your child more then you become more familiar and confident, your child gets more used to you and i believe senses you are more confident.

    I realise that this isnt the answer you are looking for as it is basically just wait.

    But when both you and your partner are there then dont hand over the child as quickly if they start crying. I found thats what helped me. It will be hard for your wife but both the baby and your wife need to learn that you can also calm and comfort the child.

  • Registered Users Posts: 915 ✭✭✭ wildwillow

    Your baby senses the lack of patience and anxiety and it causes her to be anxious too. You need to care for the baby when your partner is present but not involved. She may not have allowed you to care for the baby at an early stage, a common problem for new mothers.

    Get into the habit of interacting with the baby and have fun rather than minding her.

    Do you play with her and read to her. Are you part of her bedtime routine? Become more involved and give her your full attention. No phones, no TV, just you and her having fun and building a relationship. Learn control and patience and don't be afraid. It just takes cuddles and comfort from you to become competent and happy with baby.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8 AxelF84

    I'm a father of 4 under 6 with our youngest 6 months. My wife works from home and I'm working from 6 until 3 ish mostly 5 to 6 days a week. Whilst each child was so different and routines had to be adjusted and scrapped we both would not change it for the world. Very few of our friends are in relationships or have kids so it's very hard to bounce ideas and gain advice and I get the feeling the majority of them thought we were crazy for having so many so close together, we had numerous miscarriages in between so we felt we were blessed with what came our way and feel the luckiest parents in the world. My wife and I tend to agree on the majority of things which definitely makes things alot easier and there is no expectancy from anyone of us on the other that one has to do a certain thing. Whilst we were both exhausted we always prioritized what needed to be done there and then and the weekend was for everything else. The most important thing we felt was trying to spend as much time as possible with them which in the end is extremely difficult with such a busy home life. We love including them in cooking and cleaning and they love helping and feel so special in helping us. The only problem was seemed to be nearly spending no time together as a result, I would sleep on a rock and when the kids went to bed I would sit down and would be asleep in minutes, we would try watch something but it would Inevitably lead to me falling asleep which I know frustrated my wife and I completely understood this but felt helpless. The strain of the hectic pace at home ultimately led us to argue so much more about silly things but we would always talk about it and realised it was tiredness, frustration but it kept on happening until we ultimately sat down and discovered that we were both trying to do so much to help the other that we both actually felt like we were weren't contributing at all if that makes any all. Since then especially since out fourth was born we are flying, we both really appreciate each other without taking each other for granted and we both started our own sporting activities outside of the family circle. I suppose the important thing for us was we always communicated good or bad and we never ever set expectations of what both should be doing. We always worked as a team even though sometimes it didn't feel like that. What always got me through was without this amazing woman I wouldn't have these amazing people in my life

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  • Registered Users Posts: 13 dauly69

    I've been there, it's tough. I'm a dad of twin boys who are just 1 now and I know you don't want to hear it but time is the only healer. I was like you from 6 months up until 1 year but it's amazing what just changed all of a sudden.

    I think @wildwillow gave you an excellent answer, try to bond more when Mommy is there as your safety blanket but try not to use her as much as you get more comfortable, attempt to do a bedtime after some time. There's such a sense of achievement and pride when you get a win for yourself in fatherhood.