41 answers

Feeling Unappreciated

Hi all,

Do you ever get frustrated because you feel unappreciated? I mean, to the point that you're angry about it? I love my family and most of the time I'm very grateful for them. But I work a full-time job that requires attention almost every day of the week, I have three very active kids whose activities and playdates need wrangling and carpooling, and a too-small apartment that's always crowded and messy. My husband works from home most of the time (for about six months now) so he's around a lot, which is great because he's very involved with the boys. But when he's in a bad mood or loses his temper, I get angry because I feel like he never appreciates everything I do.

Part of this is my fault -- I'm used to "doing everything," so I coordinate all the activities, take care of what little social calendar we have (otherwise we'd never see anyone or go anywhere), cook meals when I'm home, arrange doctor appointments, handle the middle guy's special needs services, volunteer at school, do all of the shopping, shlep to Sunday School, handle birthday gifts and parties, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum (literally).

I take a lot of pride in being able to coordinate all of this stuff on top of my very demanding job, and to be honest, I don't know how to relax even if I had the time... all I ask is that once in a while, somebody tell me it's appreciated. It's exhausting keeping up with all of this, and a little "thanks, Mommy," and "thanks, Honey," would be really helpful. I've talked about this before with my husband but he very easily forgets.

Sorry for the depressing rant... I guess I just needed to get it off of my chest!!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Dear J. and all other moms out there with this problem,

Good luck! I have been married for almost 30 years to a wonderful man- my highschool sweetheart- who has never thought all on his own to bring me flowers or say thank you for all that I do. Now that my kids are older my daughter occasionally hears that I am having a hard day and calls him at work to tell him to get me flowers or do something nice for me. (it's good to finally have an advocate) When the kids were yougner I remember occasionally going off the deep end because all I wanted or needed from anyone was a "thank you" or an offer of a little help- even an offer would have gone a long way. In some ways I think we make it too easy for them to take us for granted. Women are the "gatherers" who can do so many things at one time- men arereally good at focusing on one thing (work, the newspaper, the football game), but if you ask them to feed the kids while the game is on, forget it! I have pretty much given up after all these years. I buy myself flowers when I want them and I even buy myself presents, show them to him and say, "Thanks, honey. These are beautiful earrings that you bought me just because you love me"! (I buy less expensive things for those impromptu gifts- I leave the pricier ones to him) I know he loves me and appreciates me but it just isn't in his realm to say it too often, if ever. The part that worries me is I wonder what it taught my kids while they were growing up? What kind of husband will my son be when the time comes? I'm looking forward to other responses...

More Answers

Invisible Mother

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this ? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'To Cha rlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

A t times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Great Job, MOM!
Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know... I just did.
The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

4 moms found this helpful

I was where you are. I am older now and looking back I would have done things a lot differently. You have to be happy first, realize the most important things are your kids and your husband. Don't just do everything yourself and then resent it, get mad, and then tell people what you need (i.e. thank yous, etc.) delegate chores NOW. This will make everyone feel like they are a part of a unit and you will feel like you are all working together not just you doing everything with them sitting back waiting for you to take care of everything. Things won't get done perfectly the way you do them and some activities may be missed once in a while but so what! In the long run it is more important to be able to relax and enjoy your family instead of seeing them as another chore to be done. It will take time and a lot of "letting go" on your part but, in the end what would you like your kids to remember and take forward into thier own familes someday? The idea of a clean house and a full schedule with a stressed out mom or a messy house and schedule of special activities and a mother and father that can laugh and relax and enjoy thier children during the short time they are blessed to be in thier daily lives. They and you need to put the people first and the "things" will fall into place.
I have been married for 28 years and have two grown sons, a fantastic daughter-in-law, and a beatiful granddaughter.

2 moms found this helpful

I totally understand how you feel. I have 5 kids in a too small apt and I also feel unappreciated sometimes. The most important thing is to talk to your husband and also organization. I make sure there is no clutter and everything has a place. The older kids all have there chores which really isnt much make bed, do their laundry, unload 1/2 dishwasher. Ask your husband in help in keeping the house clean I had to ask my husband for 6 months everyday to hang his coat in the closet not throw it on the floor but finally he is getting it... It really helps when things are put away after use. It might be hard at first but before you know it it they will be automatically putting things away and keeping the house clean.. good luck

Hi J., I'm T.. I must admit I was shaking my head in complete understanding the entire time I read your message. I am a single mother of two and I work a full time job as well. My daughters are old enough to do things for themselves but they tend to just wait around for me to do it all. I, much like yourself, take pride in being able to "conquer the world". Are you a Leo? There are times when I'm soooo angry because my daughters don't take the initiative and rarely recognize my efforts. One of my daughters has a father who cares and participates in her life although it's one day a week and every other weekend. Thankfully, he includes my older daughter sometimes as well. I've had to sometimes let things just fall through the cracks in order to get their butts in gear. I go out by myself once in a while. Take a little longer at the store. Purposely forget to take something out for dinner. Wait a little longer before I do the laundry. Sometimes you have to practice tough love and give yourself a little more love. You've heard the expression: if you don't toot your horn, no-one else will. Do you ever wonder what God feels like? I bet he feels like us. He does sooooooo much and nobody appreciates. Chin up, chest out, now go ahead and be a supermom. If no-one else says so, I will. Thanks for all that you do. I appreciate the late nights, the worrying over who needs to get where and when, how to make time for groceries and laundry. I am thankful that you take the time to care for your family that you family is one less statistic where the kid has run away and the father is abusive. Thank you for holding it together and making it look easy. You are a genius and there is no-one better at being you than you.

OOOOHH I know. I have half the amount of stuff on my plate and I feel just as unappretiated. I think husbands get so wrapped up in daily life, they just forget how important it is to us. A good support group, outside of this forum!!, helps tremendously. What I mean by support is just a small clan of women in the same boat. Go out for a short lunch or switch off having the ladies over for beverages/apps so you can all vent. It helps knowing there are girls going through the same stuff without much gratuity. One day, when you have big, strong, successful boys, they will come to you with appreciation. But I know it is hardly a self rewarding feat. When I am feeling this way, I treat MYSELF :) A glass of wine, a new book, a nice pair of shoes(from Marshalls of course) or anything that puts a smile on your face.

I know I got so frustrated with my husband when he walked in the door with a bouquet of flowers from Walmart with the price tag still attatched that said $4.88 on Valentines day. And a new pair of work jeans for himself in the other hand. I was so pissed off. But then I realized he thinks he did good!! I had in mind more of something like a weekend away, or a gift card to my fave store. He is just a guy with not a lot of creativity in the gifting area, we're still working on that. That really is his only flaw, other than that he is the greatest husband on earth. I know inside he is grateful b/c of how hard he works too. Maybe giving your husb in on your feelings, I know you said you have before, but let him know how important a thank you once in awhile is to keep you motivated and positive and most importantly, going!! Even a strong hug at the end of the day to say, get some rest your a great mom and wife. It doesn't hurt to initiate the hugs either, letting him know you need some love!!!

I worked full time until last year, we have 2 kids and I just couldn't do it anymore stress wise. I would come home a beast and was yelling and tired all the time. Not for me, so any mom out there that does do it all deserves a huge pat on the back and I admire all that still do.

J.,

Yikes! You've just so accurately described my CRAZY home / work life! I wish I could offer advice, but I'm still not able to get a handle on my own situation. I have 3 rambunctious kids: 11, 3 and almost 2. My hubby stayed home with them for 4 months and CONSTANTLY reminds me how much he did for our little family while I supoorted ALL of us financially during this time period. I think u hit the nail on the head - it's OUR OWN expectation to get all activities done... everyone just ASSUMES we love it and it'll always get done. I have started delegating some tasks to my kids (laundry, toy sorting, etc.) I've finally spoken up about the bathroom getting cleaned and DH has been better about cleaning the kitchen and living room. I'm sure the delegated tasks seem minor to u, but they make a ton of difference as to how much time I'll have to sort thru mail, pay bills, drop a load of laundry,etc.

Best of luck to you.. Let us know how you're holding up!

Oh do I hear you on this! I am a sahm now due to a disability. I get dizzy spells and have since an infant. I am a labor doula too. My youngest is special needs! He is 4. I also have 2 girls. My dh works 2nd shift. He is not that involved and even when I worked he was not. I do almost everything and it is upsetting. He gets crabby and gets nasty sometimes too and I. Hate it. And as he gets older it seems to get worse.
S. bailey cld
Aurora
www.tendermomentsdoula.com

Have you told your husband how you feel? I think that would be a the very first thing to do. Talk about specific things. Warn him that you want to talk about the division of labor for household things. Tell him exactly how big a deal this is. Tell him that you would like to make appreciation a regular part of life. Teach your children to thank both you and your husband.

You should thank each other in front of your children so they can learn by example. When you ask your husband to bring you something and he gets it for you, thank him. Look him in the eyes and thank him for the specific thing he did for you.

You need to get this off your chest with your husband in a constructive way. Schedule a date night, a working date of sorts. GO someplace where you can really talk untinterrupted for a while. Tell him ahead of time what you want to talk about, and ask him to prepare and really think about it ahead of time so you two can have a constructive conversation.

You may need to get a counselor involved if he doesn't think there's a problem. Don't minimize this. Make it very clear exactly how upset this makes you, and exactly how you feel when you get the idea that your work is being taken for granted. Perhaps he doesn't have a clue what goes into everything you do. And that's your responsibility. You have to tell him or he won't have a clue. And if he misses the boat on that, that's your shortcoming, not his.

Good luck.

Join the club. I believe that most women who are married and have kids and a full time job goes through exactly what you're going through. I know I get like that from time to time, but I have come to the realization that there's nothing that I can really do about it. I refuse to spend my life being concerned about the way other people (which by the way you have no control over) think. I used to feel like that, but once I realized that I'm just doing my job as a mother and wife, that's when I just let it go. Sometimes you just have to pray and ask God to give you the strength that you need to keep going, even when noone notices or appreciates what you do for them. Think about how God feels. You know how many people in this world will go through life and not once thank God for waking them up, giving them health and strength, providing them with a full time job, a husband, and children. We have to sometimes stop and thank God for what we have because there are people in this world that are begging to have what we have. So, take a moment and appreciate God for everything. You are appreciated even if it doesn't seem like it. Hang in there.

God bless,
A concerned mother
Married 7 years, 3 boys, I'm a Physical Education teacher, and my husband is an IT consultant

I try to teach my kids to appreciate their family and everything they have but I have realized that not everyone expresses appreciation in the same way. I have also learned to look to myself for a good pat on the back! When I look at how good my boys are, and happy my family is, I remind myself that this is why I do what I do! You should definitely ask your hubby and kids to verbalize and show appreciation for you and what you do. But also try to remember that sometimes other people (particularly males) show appreciation in different ways. Those spontaneous hugs and happy faces when they see you...you may not realize but they are huge signs of appreciation! Good luck to you and God bless you for all you do!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

I appreciate what you do. All mommas who've read this do. I know how frustrating it is when you don't hear it from the ones that you should hear it from, though. And I'm even a SAHM, not a Working Outside The Home mom! All your work will pay off one day. And in fact, it pays off every day. Everything you do helps your children grow into good people so that one day, they will be independent, caring, loving young adults. And they'll realize it. I support you. Take care of yourself. If you don't, they're going to notice that things are falling apart around them. :-) Hope this helps!

Oh, J.... I read this and saw myself. :) The thing that finally turned my attitude around was joining flylady.net. Flylady is like having your own personal coach (for free)- it's based on getting your life under control 15 minutes at a time... and she sends regular emails essays to help conquer the "martyr" syndrome and to give you encouragement in what is typically a very thankless job. I'm not doing it justice -check it out yourself. It's not just about cleaning and organizing... it's about changing your attitude. Hope it helps you as much as it helped me.

Hang in there -
I'm sure you can read lots of good advise - remeber your attitude controls much of your day...

The other night after dinner - my 16 year old daughter said - Thanks mom - that was good.

It gets better -

U are doing what good moms and wives do.....most of the work and most of the time it goes unnoticed. Try taking a weekend getaway with a close friend or family member, it will give you time to get away and relax (and to miss your family) but it will also give them time to watch what happens when your gone. without you there they will notice things not getting done and realize how much they need you!!! sounds like you are doing a great job at taking care of everybody and unfortunately your kids won't really appreciate it until they have some of their own. when i was younger i left my clothes on the floor and the next day they were in my drawer folded and washed, i never really knew or cared how it happened.....but now i have my own little ones and i realize how much my mom did without complaining......i tell her thank you everyday and will continue to let her know how much i appreciated her taking care of me....i can only hope to be as great a mom as she was. good luck !!!

For me a way im appreciated is in their actions, words without works dont work, someone doing something for you is an act of love, i think sometimes people dont appreciate it they expect it, most people are self centered, I find if i want to be appreacited i go out by myself and treat myslef to what ever i like, dont do it alot but (appreciate yourself, that will matter the most, i also think its how we are respected will also determine how much some one appreciates us,

I feel your pain. As with most things, communication is key. Don't just tell your husband how you feel, but tell him how you need his help. You are feeling overwhelmed, so you need him to do x, y and z every week. Give him a schedule.

My husband doesn't thank me a lot either. So when I'm feeling like I need a compliment, I do to him what I do to the kids, say "You're welcome" before they can say "Thank you." Or I stare at him with my eyebrows raised, "Uh, don't you think you should thank me?" Of course, I do these things with a sense of humor so he's not put on the defensive. We've been married for almost 13 years and are pretty happy.

I agree with another poster that said your kids will appreciate all you've done once they are a)adults on their own and b) have their own kids.

I just remembered, I also thank my kids and my husband when they do something I want. Not all the time, but enough to make them feel appreciated. In turn, my girls are fairly good about saying thanks (they like to hug and kiss too). My question to you is are you modeling the behavior yourself?

You've gotten some good advice. But I wanted to add something to it: you work full time, as does your husband. That leaves household and kid management up to both of you, 50% each.

While I've never had to use it, my theory is, if you expect me to do all 100% of the household and kid work, then I'm quitting my outside full time job. Otherwise, it's a 50/50 split.

My other thought is if you can swing it, hire a cleaning person to come in twice a month - maybe someone who will do laundry during those weeks in addition to cleaning to really give you a break so you can clean every other week/when needed.

Bottom line, keep open lines of communicaiton with your husband and try to not let the frustration pent up. Make lists, enlist the help of the kids with age-appropriate tasks, etc. Give them a chance to learn how to do things for themselves and help around the house. If there's complaining, you can always tell them, "I can't drive you to practice because I have to do the chores you're not doing." Show them that there is only a certain amount of time in the day, and as a family, it's expected that everyone helps out so you can all do the extras you want to do. Now, take a bath, have a chat with hubby and relax!! Let us know how it went.

I have found that if I want something I start giving it. It never fails and after a while the other person starts to respond in kind. Your husband will start to notice you thanking him and lavishing appreciation on him for some little or even big things he does and soon it'll occur to him that this feels nice and reciprocate. And you won't have to ask him to and it'll be genuine and sincere. WARNING: Don't do it once or three times and then be angry that you haven't recieved yet. Give sincere thanks everyday in some way. "Honey, I know it seems like I take it for granted, but it's so great that I never have to take the garbage out or even think about it, thanks!" It can be that simple! Try it--you might be surprised.

Appreciate yourself. Stand in front of the mirror and practice saying the word "no." Practice saying the word no without feeling the need to explain to anyone why you are saying no because once you begin to explain they will find a way to break you down.
Take mini-vacations by yourself. I used to go to a movie matinee when I was supposed to be grocery shopping. That old saying is true: If Mom is happy, everyone is happy. Remove the words "should" and "guilty" from your vocabulary.
When your kids are older they won't remember most of the things you did for them, but they'll remember if mom was cheerful or resentful. Take baby steps until being good to yourself feels natural. Don't wait for your husband to show his appreciation. He is probably as overwhemed as you. Mother yourself.

WOW! Jodie, you are a very busy woman!

I know how it feels to be unappreciated too... I do not always deal with it in the most mature, effective fashion, I will admit. Sometimes I get so angry and resentful for the little pockets of 'me time' everybody else in the house seems to get! I am even jealous of my husbands commute time - i told him 'you get 2 hours every day where you have no interruptions, and you can just enjoy your ride and listen to music or call a friend and catch up'. When I was a commuter (I stay home now) I completly hated time in the car - it was wasted time spent with chicagoland's worst drivers. I was not relaxing or 'enjoying' my ride...

the point to my example is that sometimes, we need to step back and see things from the other's perspective. maybe your husband doesn't truly see all the things you do and therefore cannot appreciate what he doesn't see happening.
I am a bit of a control freak - I need to do everything myself, my way, and i dont want to bother anybody else with it. I don't delegate very well... and that is something i battle every single day. My life had gotten so hectic, like yours, that I started experiencing anxiety and panic attacks... insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, and significant weight loss - my mother in law talked to my husband about getting me into therapy for my 'anorexia'. i said how about a 2 week vacation because that's going to be my only cure right now!

Anyway, I guess I haven't been very succinct - what i want to tell you is that you cannot be everything to everybody all the time. let go of some of your tasks/duties and delegate them to your husband, drop a few volunteer things (learning to say no is harder than learning Japanese!), have your groceries delivered (PeaPod is great!) - and most importantly, pencil in some time for you! go get a quick manicure (15$ - cheapest form of therapy I know!). If you take the time to appreciate yourself, you will feel less burnt out - and if you delegate some things to your husband (let him be as busy as you!) he will appreciate what you did before, even if it takes you saying 'see..... hard work isn't it? thanks for taking care it for me'.

I,too, am a control freak- I've just recently began to ask my husband for help, for example picking the kids up from school, stopping for milk etc. and he has been very responsive. It's easy to think men should read our minds but unfortunatly, they are just not that bright :) Just kidding- they have a different mindset I think. As far as getting appreciation from the kids, I find if I just come completely unhinged occasionally and start screaming about not being appreciated and stomping my feet the kids really notice and then look at each other, thank me and run out up to their rooms to laugh at me for being a crazy person :) But at least I feel better!

Dear J. and all other moms out there with this problem,

Good luck! I have been married for almost 30 years to a wonderful man- my highschool sweetheart- who has never thought all on his own to bring me flowers or say thank you for all that I do. Now that my kids are older my daughter occasionally hears that I am having a hard day and calls him at work to tell him to get me flowers or do something nice for me. (it's good to finally have an advocate) When the kids were yougner I remember occasionally going off the deep end because all I wanted or needed from anyone was a "thank you" or an offer of a little help- even an offer would have gone a long way. In some ways I think we make it too easy for them to take us for granted. Women are the "gatherers" who can do so many things at one time- men arereally good at focusing on one thing (work, the newspaper, the football game), but if you ask them to feed the kids while the game is on, forget it! I have pretty much given up after all these years. I buy myself flowers when I want them and I even buy myself presents, show them to him and say, "Thanks, honey. These are beautiful earrings that you bought me just because you love me"! (I buy less expensive things for those impromptu gifts- I leave the pricier ones to him) I know he loves me and appreciates me but it just isn't in his realm to say it too often, if ever. The part that worries me is I wonder what it taught my kids while they were growing up? What kind of husband will my son be when the time comes? I'm looking forward to other responses...

J.,

Common complaint of folks who've never really practiced the skills of assertive communication, the stuff talked about quite simply in the book, "Difficult Conversations" by Heen, et.al. and by Mazlish and Faber, in "How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk"...which equally applies to adults.

I'm doing a workshop on this stuff in Evanston, on the first two Saturdays in May at a Church for, I think, twenty bucks...

or just get the books and read and practice...the concepts are simple, the difficult part is practicing and then automatically going to the skill set when needed....

R. Katz, Psy.D.
www.richardkatz.org
###-###-####

Like you, I'm used to "doing everything."
My husband is a consultant and gone all the time!
We have 2 little ones- 2 1/2 and 4 1/2. You're right, running off to playdates, preschool, storytimes, having clean clothes and a clean house, and yummy food, it's exhausting and sometimes it would be nice if someone noticed! So, I will tell you, "Thank You!" from your family.

Here are a few things that have worked for me in this battle of feeling unappreciated:

Our kids have chores--some that are expectations just because they are part of the family (taking a dirty plate from the table into the kitchen sink), some they earn quarters for (helping unload the dishwasher). I'm sure that you can adjust these chores depending on the age of your kids. We have found that not only does it help me out around the house, but we also have the opportunity to talk about saving, giving, and spending money with them.

I am a stay at home mom but do freelance writing and volunteer for wayyyy too many things, teach preschool 1 day a week... Anyway, I have a "mother's helper" that comes once a week for a couple of hours. She is 9 years old, not old enough to leave alone with the kids. During that 2 hours I know that my kids are having fun playing while I can make phone calls, clean the house, whatever I need to do. I always feel a bit refreshed after she has left. I also know that I got a couple of hours of time for me, then I owe a couple of hours to my kids where I'm not answering the phone, picking up, etc. it is totally their time. It works well for all of us. It might work for you, depending on the age of your kids...

"Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" is a fantastic book! I am only half way through it but I feel that it is a book that has already changed my perspective on what I'm doing everyday for my family. I would HIGHLY reccomend it!

Can you get away for an overnight trip by yourself, all alone? That would be my dream. 24 full hours to do what I want to do--sleep, shop, watch a movie, eat and entire pint of ice cream, etc. A real personal retreat. I think you've earned it!

Good luck...

Feeling unappreciated is a sign that you are overwhelmed. Your feelings are telling you something. Can you see a way to make a change or 2 to allow yourself to feel more personal joy? Maybe a hobby, night out or something you can look forward to & enjoy. We often allow guilt to keep us from centering on ourselves. Understand that making time for yourself makes you a better mom & wife. You cant give what you dont have.

J.- FIrst of all I think your a super great mom and wife! Doing all this just shows how much you care for your family. But my word of advice to you is you have to step back and slow down. Most importantly you have to take care of J.. If you don't its just going to get worse and you are going to get very stressed and your family will mostly likely wonder what the heck is with you! And what I mean by that is to at least take a one hour break for yourself each day. Go for a walk, read a book, or go run your errons during that time. Just make sure you do somthing enjoyable for youself oncee a day. You will feel much better trust me. Its important to take care of yourself. If things don't seem to get done ask your husband to help. This will give him an idea how much you do. (which I am sure he realizes but men never say anything) Thats just my opinion. I made sure I gave myself at least break each day for myself and it made my life a lot easier and was appreciated much more!
Hope that helps :)

J. - I don't know if this will help, but I got it in an email lately, and it did put some tears in my eyes:

THE INVISIBLE MOM

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the
>>> way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and
>>> asks to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on
>>> the phone?" Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or
>>> cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the
>>> corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible
>>> Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix
>>> this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
>>>
>>> Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a
>>> clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What
>>> number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30,
>>> please."
>>>
>>> I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes
>>> that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but
>>> now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.
>>> She's going, she's going, she's gone!
>>>
>>> One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a
>>> friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip,
>>> and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting
>>> there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard
>>> not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my
>>> out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My
>>> unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could
>>> actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when
>>> Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I
>>> brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I
>>> wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her
>>> inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you
>>> are building when no one sees."
>>>
>>> In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would
>>> discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which
>>> I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals -
>>> we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives
>>> for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and
>>> expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their
>>> faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
>>>
>>> A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
>>> cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny
>>> bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are
>>> you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be
>>> covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied,
>>>
>>> "Because God sees."
>>>
>>> I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was
>>> almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see
>>> the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No
>>> act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've
>>> baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a
>>> great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."
>>>
>>> At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a
>>> disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own
>>> self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I
>>> keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one
>>> of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to
>>> work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the
>>> book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our
>>> lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that
>>> degree.
>>>
>>> When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's
>>> bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My Mom gets up at 4 in the
>>> morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for
>>> three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean
>>> I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to
>>> come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to
>>> add, "You're gonna love it there."
>>>
>>> As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're
>>> doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will
>>> marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been
>>> added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
>>>
>>> Great Job, MOM!

Maybe you should show your husband how you schedule and do everything and then let him do it for you. You could switch days or weeks were the one of you is doing the shopping, scheduling, etc.

Hi J.,
Your husband forgets to let you know he appreciates you because he is so use to you and so comfortable that it doesn`t enter his mind. when he gets mad about something you did or didn`t get to do,he doesn`t think about what you do accomplish. I have been with my husband for 11 years, married 2 of them. I`m so glad he is caring about my thoughts and making sure he makes things easier for me and shows his appreciation. If a relationship lacks these things it can tear the relationship apart. IF he isn`t willing in his attitude to changes this with you, maybe he would know what it feels like if you told him you would give him the same treatment a few times or for now on and that it would end up bad and maybe end period if you couldn`t live with him not giving you what u need in your marriage.
Sinerely, A.

Hi J.,

I know how you feel mostly because I too am a full time working mom of two great kids and tend to do it all myself. It's hard and what makes it harder is that because I take all the responsibility on myself of keeping our family in check, my husband takes it for granted. I think we do ourselves in my being so efficient.

I wish I could say that just telling our husbands how we feel would change the fact that we feel unappreciated but in reality that's not going to happen. I think the only thing to do is to stop being wonder woman. Recently my husband had to stay home from work to take care of the kids because our nanny was sick and I could miss work (I too work in IT), and when I got home he looked exhausted and tried to put on the "give me pity face." Of course I ignored him and said..."oh well, poor you." I think for a brief moment he actually realized how hard it is to take care of a family all by yourself.

I do believe the only way they have any hope of being enlightened is to make them 'need us'. Stop doing it all (even if it's just for a couple of days) and let him see how much he needs to be thankful for.

I think all mom's go through this at some point. I often feel like I'm unappreciated...but I also realize that even I take things for granted. How many times have I told my husband how great he is? Do I ever comment on how dedicated he is going to work everyday? Most families take eachother for granted and that is a fact.

So how do we get some recognition? I suppose we have to expect it. Ask your husband and your kids if they enjoyed the meal? Then say something like "I'm glad you enjoyed it." When you run them around all day make a point of asking at the end of the night if they like doing all those activities. Then say something like "I really am glad that you are active and I hope you know how hard I work to make sure you stay busy." When your kids go to jump out of the car for an activity..ask for a kiss and tell them how about a thank you. When they go to get up from the table after dinner...suggest how about a kiss and a thank you for mom.

It will seem hockey at first and maybe not very fulfilling because you are having to ask everyone to appreciate you but they will get the hint and after awhile they will understand that everyone needs a little pat on the back once in awhile...even mom. Even suggest that they say thanks to dad when he does things with them...that will come back to you as well.

They just haven't thought about it before.

I still have problems asking my husband to help me and do things for me. Deep down I just feel like he should do some things without me asking because he's supposed to love me...you know...because that's what I do. But men nor children think that way. We have to train them, so to speak, to think that way.

And it isn't going to happen just because you asked one time. I think most of us in this forum know what short memories husbands and kids have....my husband can't remember a conversation five minutes after we have had it. (he tells me that he has too many things to remember so sometimes he has to do a data dump...most of the time that means dumping the wife's data.) You have to make a habit out of it and do it for a long time. It may take a few weeks or even a few months.

The only other thing I would say is you are crazy to take all that on yourself. You are headed for some serious health consequences if you don't start delegating. I know it's hard but think of it this way....you are training your family to be self-sufficient. What if something happens to you? Doesn't your husband need to have some idea how to organize things? Don't your kids need to have some idea of how to cook their own meals, do their own laundry, organize their own activities, fill out their own forms and so on.

It isn't being a lazy mom to ask your family to do some things for themselves.

Maybe you could set up a schedule....Certain days of the week your husband and kids are responsible for cooking the meal, making the lunches, orgainizing the weekend activity.

Sit down with your kids next time there are forms that need to be filled out for an activity, school trip, or so on. They need to know this stuff too...especially when highschool and college comes around.

Ask your kids to help you with the church charity event. It gives them an idea of what it takes to help others. Maybe even ask them to deliver a cooked meal to a neighbor that has had surgery.

Make a chore schedule for hubby and the kids....they need to do their own laundry or something of that nature. Make them pick up their rooms each night before they crawl in bed...ask hubby to help you enforce it. All clothes go in the hamper before you climb in the bed. Survey the living areas and ask everyone to pick up and put away their personal items before they go get ready for bed. Everyone puts their dishes on the sink....maybe give each boy a chore to help get the kitchen clean each night.

Maybe once or twice a month buy yourself some flowers and when they ask who gave them to you...just tell them a secret admirer that thinks you are a great mom and wife.

Once a month make yourself an appointment for a pedicure or something...tell your hubby that Saturday on this date is your day to unwind from the stress of running the show and you won't be home that day until after such and such time.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm still bad about asking my husband and kids to appreciate what I do. We don't have the money for me to go buy myself flowers or get a pedicure, but if you do...I strongly recommend that you do it. I know it is possible to ask our loved ones to do things for us...I have a sister-in-law that does it and it works great for her. I was raised by a mom that did everything and then once in awhile had a meltdown because she was so overwhelmed and unappreciated she couldn't take it anymore. We all thought she was nuts because we didn't get it. If she had a meltdown once a month, it didn't sink in. I've had to really try to convince myself that it is okay to expect love, respect and admiration...even demand it. That men nor children always think the way we do or even notice anything outside their own little worlds. My husband loves me, but he's a typical male...you know, self-centered. He doesn't understand how happy it makes me if he says he likes the meal I cooked or comments on how nice the house looks or even tell me I look nice once in awhile. He has tunnel vision and is typically consumed with his job and own tasks.

Okay enough of that...I hope something I said can help you out. Good luck!!

They DO appreciate you! Just miss dinner or not do laundry for a week. Then you will hear the appreciation come out. Eh, maybe not in the way you want though...We get used to having things done in a certain way and take them for granted. What you do IS important! It just is done so routinely that people forget that it takes effort on your part to make it happen. Being a wife and mother is an incredibly hard and emotional job. But would you trade it for something else? I know I wouldn't. =)
Buy your husband a box of "thank you" notes and put them next to his computer, when he asks you what they are for tell him they are for you, that you want him to keep them in plain sight and every once in a while write in them and give them to you. Sometimes our guys need the sign right in front of their noses to remind them.
Be good to you, take time every day to do something that you enjoy. The true appreciation will come at the end of your life when you can look back and say YES! I did a good job! /cheer!
Anyway...as a fellow mom, I APPRECIATE YOU!. *HUG*

Sounds like you take care of everyone, but no one takes care of you. Can you take one evening a week for yourself - to take care of yourself? I have found taking a class helps because it's scheduled, you can focus on something that interests you, and you don't have to find something to do. Let your husband feed the kids (even if it's McDs) and if they skip a bath one night, no big deal. Maybe after they see you taking the time to take care of yourself, they'll follow suit.

I hate to tell you honey but being proud of being a "do it all mommy" is what keeps you driving yourself! You need to share those daytime tasks with him. Leave him a list each day of make dr. appt, lunch, take jr. to practice, etc. A lot of men don't realize all your responsibilities until they start doing them. That's when they understand..they have to go through it themselves. On weekends, you make the plans. Let him shlep the kids to Sunday school. You take a hot relaxing bath then you pick them up and all of you go out for breakfast. There's nothing like being waited on and coming home to a clean kitchen. You'll feel better. By the way, if men don't know how to appreciate, how will children. Maybe daddy can thank you in front of the kids once in a while..remember, it works both ways. GOD enabled women to handle most things because men can't. (don't tell him that) Good luck

Hi J.! I am M., young mom with 3 boys. The oldest is 3, and baby is 4 months. Between them we have 19 months "showman". Just wanted to tell you, that I may be wrighting very similar story to yours in 10 years.
With appreciation from men-boys I feel like, .. /they remember it longer/, ... "you appreciat what you have, when you loss it!" I know, easy to say, hard to do it. I let you be creative. Openly, my husband is good to talk to/so he is listening and remembers/, when he is not getting "what he wants" for a "while".
And about relax, for me a few hours with good girlfriend works great.
Without any offence, I have to say, in tough times, I got closer to God The Father. And I have to praise Him, He is Amazing! Once you step in relationship with Him.
Hope you feel stronger and better all ready. Bay. M.

lol. we all have days or even weeks we feel like this. our lives are busy. I talk to my husband when I feel like this and just go downstairs to my den and close the door to shut everything out. As I get older I am learning to let go- so what if things are dirty- it will still be there later. I use to do everything and was really busy. Like I had to be to be happy but I have now made some new friends and joined CHRP, I am in a book club and scrapbook. It feels great to take some me time- schedule some for yourself. I feel like a better mom and wife. I am then able to look at my husband and realize I have not appreciated him. The more I compliment him the more he feels good and then he in turn compliments me. However, I am still waiting for the kids to appreciate me. I do lose my cool but I try hard to breathe, relax and let it go.. Good luck!

J.,
You got a ton of responses already but I just wanted to say I think most women feel this way. Typically it's the wife/mom/woman who is not only expected to work, take care of the kids, keep the house in order but we also take on the task of event planner/social coordinator. If you haven't read I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids, I highly recommend it. It's nice to read about others who feel the same way you do. I go thru this same thing, I only have one 13 month old but I do work full time downtown and my husband travels so it's just me, our 100 pound rottweiler (who's like another kid himself) and my son. It can certainly be overwhelming trying to be all things to all people. Sometimes you just have to say this is all I can do and say it's good enough. I also think asking your husband and kids for help will save you a little sanity.
Good luck!

I would say print your posting and show it to your husband.
: )

J., I know how you feel. Believe me Ive been there myself. I have 3 children, a part time job and I am a full time student at NIU. All my husband has to do is work, he does very little around the house. What I do to relieve the frustration is appreciate myself. I will go out shopping and treat myself to a little something, it doesn't have to be expensive. I go out for a treat, maybe ice cream. For all you do you still cannot change your husband's reaction. He does appreciate how much you do I'm sure. But he just doesn't verbalize it. So just learn to appreciate yourself and take pride in the fact that you can accomplish so much.

J.,
I too was shaking my head while reading your post...my kids are only 8 and 6....my husband and kids have start helping me clean the house...now my boys clean their own rooms my husband helps with laundry and the familyroom and I do the kitchen and livingroom and we have a dishwasher so I really dont count that....everyone needs to chip in..and both of my boys do sports for every season as well so I know what that is like plus I work outside of the home like you do so I do understand...put up a chore list and switch out the chore they have to do every week..have them help you, even your hubby. There is no reason they arent helping you. Reward them with going out to eat every friday night and letting a different person pick every week...Good luck to you...and try to relax..and take a you time every week as well....

I thought maybe I wrote your story. It can be so incredibly frustrating sometimes to feel unappreciated and overused. And my hub is the same way--sometimes he gets it then seems to forget. You need to just walk out one day and take a little time for yourself. i did it once and it worked for a little while. They were all shocked. I guess they didn;t think I would really do it. They have missed social activities because I decided that if they wanted to, they needed to be more involved and they didn't

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