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Woman refuses to share custody until her baby's dad 'learns how to be a father.' AITA?

Woman refuses to share custody until her baby's dad 'learns how to be a father.' AITA?


"AITA for telling the father of my child that I won’t share custody until I know he knows how to be a father?"

I’m gonna start this off by saying he doesn’t want to go to court to figure this out, but I will if necessary. So I just gave birth to a baby girl a few weeks ago. My ex and I broke up while pregnant (we argued way too much and both agreed that kind of environment is not good for a baby, so please don’t come at me for being a single mom).

We have been working together as a team to be the best parents we can be, regardless of the split. He wants shared custody, but I’m very hesitant because he’s admitted that he doesn’t know the first thing about babies.

I’ve tried showing him how to change her diaper but it grosses him out. He says he can just have his mom do it because he still lives with her. I told him that as much as I love and respect his mom, it is not her responsibility and she is not going to be the one with custody. I’d trust her with both mine and my child’s life, but he is the father and he needs to know how to change her diaper.

Another issue is he works a lot and a lot of the time, he goes away on business trips. I asked him how that would work if he goes away on one of his custody weeks, and again, he said he’d have his mom take care of her. It’s important to note that his mom is a hard working woman and works about 60-80 hours a week.

I think the biggest thing that worries me is that he lives two hours away and I can’t imagine the anxiety it would bring to have my infant that far away from me.He’s been calling me selfish, saying that I’m keeping his child from him, which I understand, but that’s not true.

I have a spare room in my house that I told him he can stay in whenever he wants, so he can stay for the night or literally however long he’d like, or I can come to his place (his mom has a spare room and said that I can come stay if I’d like). This arrangement would work very well because our daughter is exclusively breastfed (we’ve tried breastmilk in a bottle but she won’t latch).

Also, he has not bought a single thing for her (despite having more than enough money). All the baby stuff at his house was bought by his mom. I am so grateful for her love and support, but again, he is the father and he has not shown any sort of responsibility.

He’s pissed at me for “implying he’s not a good dad” but all I’ve been saying is I would like to be sure that the person taking care of her knows what they’re doing. I’ve been trying to show him how but he gets really defensive and doesn’t want to learn.

I told him we can just go to court to figure it out (neither of us want a nasty court battle but it we can do it amicably) but he doesn’t want to so they can’t “order him to pay child support,” which pisses me off because regardless of whether or not you’re ordered to pay child support, you should want to do everything possible to support your child. Anyway, AITA for not “letting him” take care of his baby?


When I say he “refuses” to change her diaper, I mean it. He says “no it’s not my job. You’re the mom.” The one time I told him that I wasn’t going to change it because he needs to learn how, he said “fine I’ll just let her sit in her own sh#t then.” So I just changed it. He refuses.

Also, she is exclusively breast fed. I try daily to get her to take a bottle but she will not latch. But I still try. So unless I am physically with her, she will starve. He doesn’t seem to care at all, and said so himself.

And I am in no way trying to keep him from his daughter or not allow visitation. I want them to have a relationship. In the three weeks since she was born, he’s only come to see her TWICE and has spent a total of 1.5 HOURS with her. He cannot be left alone with her.

And that’s not me being petty. I have tried. I told him I needed to go to the store to get something for her and he called me before I even got to the end of the street, telling me I needed to come back because she woke up from her nap. I am not the one keeping them apart. He is. I am doing my best to make sure they have a relationship.

He insists he wants 50/50 custody but he has absolutely not plan on how to take care of her if that happens. He has said that his mom can assume responsibility, but she works 10-12 hours a day and does not intend to leave her career.

And their shifts overlap quite a bit so who would be there to watch her when no one is home? He hasn’t spent a dime on our daughter, so why would he pay just to have someone else watch her? And if he does hire a babysitter or nanny, why does he deserve 50/50 custody when our child will be in someone else’s care the entire time he has her?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

5catterbrained said:

NTA. He isn't a good dad. He can moan all he wants about how he wants the title of a "good dad", but he has put in zero effort to earn it. If he's calling you selfish for not giving him whatever he wants at the cost of your child, then I guess "selfish" means being a good mom.

Babies are hard work. He's assuming he can get the social credits of having half custody by pawning everything off on his hard-working mother, all the while doing less than the bare minimum of childcare.

Objectively, his plan is not sustainable and is only beneficial for him. His ego is not more important than the health, safety, and security of your child. Do what you feel is best for your baby.

catstaffer329 said:

NTA - go to court! This is not proper behavior and you need a formal, legal agreement in place spelling everythign out or it is going to be 18+ years of torment and arguments. Don't fall for his avoidance tactics.

Asciutta said:

NTA. Even if you're talking about sharing custody one day, you're certainly not going to do it now and not even for a few years. You're not going to separate yourself from your breastfed newborn and move her from one place to another, she needs a single environment and to build her attachment to you.

If her dad wants to see her, he needs to visit AND show a little more enthusiasm to do everything a parent is supposed to do, even and especially when it's gross. If he's not ready to change a diaper, he's not ready to take care of his daughter alone.

InevitablyAtTheBeach said:

NTA but I think you will need the court to make sure everything is clearly and legally spelled out. And make sure he’s paying support.

DkLilith said:

NTA. I understand you completely but I would advise you to get advice from a lawyer. You can find one that will do a free consultation. The only worry I would have is how courts react when one parent restricts access to another and then punishes them for it. So, protect yourself and your child. They may suggest mediation.

Btw, I don’t know where you live, but many places don’t require to go to court to collect child support because the amount is calculated in a pretty standard way. The money would be for your baby, so, I would get it.

DaddyDeagz said:

Stay at home dad here. NTA. He is severely underestimating the amount of work a baby takes and having 'mommy' do it for him is unacceptable. You have every right to be worried and shouldn't let him bully you into leaving her with someone neglectful and a grandma who has a more than full time job.

Left_Adhesiveness_16 said:

NTA. Just take him to court. It's where this is headed anyway, might as well get it going. Sorry he's being difficult. Fathers who don't want to learn to be a dad generally don't improve. He is expecting anyone else but him to step up. He is also letting you do quite a bit of work on his behalf. You should drop the rope.

Everyone was on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for this family?

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