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Where’s baby?

Does this new dad have a right to know where his son is?

Not an unrealistic expectation according to our elder, who offers ideas on how to convey that to mom.

Dear EWC:

My girlfriend and I have been together for over 2 years and we’ve known each other for over 30 years. We were lucky enough to conceive and give birth 3 weeks ago to a beautiful healthy son. A first child for both of us. I am self-employed and am working hard to cut my hours back to a respectable level in order to spend time with our son and give mama a break as much as possible. She is breast-feeding and we have not yet accumulated enough milk in reserve so that I can bottle feed while she is out.

My question is this; I am not a possessive person and I have no desire to know her whereabouts when she is out, I trust her implicitly. However she has, on a couple occasions, left with our son without letting me know she was leaving or informing me of where she will be or when she’ll be back. This last time was for about 4 hours. I explained to her that it seems very inconsiderate of my feelings that she can’t give me the common courtesy of letting me know where my infant son is. She doesn’t understand or believe that this should be an issue. I’ve explained to her that I would never take our son out without first telling her what my intentions were.

Am I wrong to let this upset me? I can, from time to time, overreact but I don’t think this is one of those times. I just want to know where my son is and when to expect him home. I’m new to this site and unsure of its format but I’m hoping by posting this publicly that there will be others who read this and would like to respectfully comment on my concern. After all, it takes a village and I want only the best for my son.

GrannyJ replies:

Thank you for writing to EWC. After reading your letter, I have to say that I agree with you on your wish to know where your girlfriend is going with your son. It’s admirable that you trust her and don’t feel the need to keep tabs on her when she is out alone, but he is your son and you have the right to know his whereabouts. It’s a little concerning to me that your girlfriend does not agree. How would she react if the situation were reversed? Suppose you left for four hours with your little newborn son without telling her anything? What if you made a regular habit of doing this? I imagine she would not be pleased, don’t you agree?

I suspect that because your girlfriend is accustomed to not having to explain her whereabouts to you, she feels she can continue this behavior when she has the baby with her. It’s going to be up to you to convince her otherwise, but I hope she can understand your fatherly concerns, and agree to compromise. I would be concerned about raising a family with a partner who disappears with the kids and doesn’t give any information about where she is going or when she will return.

My suggestion is to explain that it would give you peace of mind to know where your son is at all times, and remind your girlfriend you have always given her freedom in other situations. I also suggest mentioning that, since the baby is yours, too, you have the right to know where he is going and when he will be home. It might help to point out to her that the world is much less safe these days, and by giving you her travel plans, she has someone “watching her back” should she have car trouble, get in an accident, be the victim of a crime, or any of a number of things that could happen. If she refuses, I don’t know what else you can do. Let’s be hopeful that she will come around and see your side of things.

I hope my advice will be helpful. Good luck with this and I hope things work out for you. Please write to EWC again if you need more advice. Take care!

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