K.C. asks from Anson, TX on October 09, 2008
Getting Help from My Husband
I need help! My husband and I have been together for four years, and we have two children (one daughter 20 months, and one son 9 months). I have been working full time for almost a year and a half. My husband works on an oil rig 7 days a week, eight hours a day from 6am to 2pm. He has to travel an hour and a half one way to the rig each day. I work 30 minutes away from home from 8am to 5pm. I come home on most days and he is asleep on the couch and most of the time he has been alseep since he got home. I know that oilfield work is tough and you have to be physically strong to be able to handle it. But I sure could use some help around the house from him, and no matter how I ask I cannot seem to get consistant help from him. I am worn out. I don't make it to bed most nights until 11 or so. By the time I get home from work and picking the kids up from daycare (yes...they stay at daycare until I am off work, though my husband gets home a couple of hours before me)it is 6 pm. Then there is dinner, bathing the kids, spending time with them, and finally getting them to bed at about 9. Then I am trying to get the house in order, and having a small amount of time to myself (maybe thirty minutes) before bed. What gets me is he is able to go back to sleep after I get home and he helps me get the kids in the house and get them situated. And he can sleep on the couch through the noise of the kids. He goes to bed and sleeps all night, without having to get up with the kids (my son is still a sporadic waker through the night). I have always been the one to get up with the kids. Monday I came home and he had bought me a rose and a precious little gift, and he told me how special I am to him and the kids and that they all need me so much (I already knew that part). He did the same thing about three or four weeks ago. On those two days he helped me with everything. Laundry, dinner, bathing...everything. Then the next day things are back to normal, and I get so flustered. I know he is tired, and we cannot afford for him to take a job that doesn't make him so tired, because that comes with lower wages. He gets a day off maybe once a month if that. I understand where he is coming from, but at this point...I am just as tired as he is. I know life is never going to be easy, but I need his help. I need to be able to lean on him and know he is there when I need him. He is missing so much with the kids by sleeping away his life. I am just fed up with it and don't know what to do about it. Any advice would be great.
So What Happened?™
Thank you all for your help and encouragement. I went to the Christian Bookstore today looking for a specific book our church is studying on finances. I could not find it for the life of me, but I did find the perfect Bible study. It's called "Victoriously Frazzled" and I cannot wait to start it! Also, right inside the door was the book "The Five Love Lanuages" and I bought it as well so I can understand a little more along the lines of what my husband REALLY needs from me. I LOVE how God works in mysterious ways!!
E.C. answers from Dallas on October 10, 2008
That is a tough one b/c I don't know if you can ever get anyone to change their behavior long-term. They have to really want to change. I am very lucky that my husband helps out so much around the house. I do most of the kids stuff; however, he helps out with household chores and cooks dinner. However, he is just like that and has been that way even when were were dating. His feeling is that I work too; so in that case everyone needs to chip in. He does not sleep a whole lot or watch tv; however, that is his personality. I guess the best advice that I have would be to go to a marriage counselor or third party so that there is an objective party to listen to both sides. It sounds like you are communicating with him and it does work for a short time but not permantly. No marriage is perfect. In fact, as much as my husband helps out with everything I still feel like he doesn't help enough with the kids on the weekends sometimes. I have come to the conclusion that I will most likely always do the majority of that care; while he does most of the household chores. I think feels more comfortable doing household chores than doing a 100% of the child care. I think it is the mommy instinct thing! Good luck with everything!
R.B. answers from Dallas on October 09, 2008
My husband is a police officer and works 10am to 8pm. He is very helpful around the house as long as I give him something to do. I'll leave little notes around the house asking him to do something so it doesn't seem like I'm nagging him. I'll leave notes on the bathroom mirror "please fold the laundry in the dryer" or "will you please feed the dogs I didn't have time to do it." I get really good response from him with this and he's actually just started doing some stuff on his own. I came home last friday and my car (I had taken his)was shining in the driveway and the inside was even done. I couldn't believe it!!
M.P. answers from Dallas on October 10, 2008
I'm going in a slightly different direction here. Your kids are 11 months apart! That, in and of itself, is a HUGE challenge. Even if you were home all day and he was working out of the house and helpful, that would be hard. I have two who are 15 months apart and that first year with two was...well, I cried alot! NOW it's so easy because they're the best of friends and entertain each other so I can get things done. The problem as I see it is that you have two babies who need you at the same time that your house and your tummy need you. (Fixing dinner, etc.) Add Mommy Guilt in there and you're sunk...and feeling alone. All I can tell you is that it will get better and to please hang in there. That first two years with ONE is tough...with TWO...well...it will get better K.. You're doing a terrific job.
As for your hubby. Mine started helping more with the more praise he got. It was like dealing with a kid. 'HONEY! I can't tell you how much I appreciate you getting the mail. I wasn't going to have time to go and do that. You saved me so much time. Thank you!' Next time he got the mail AND threw away the junk. Now he's doing the bills (instead of me)! Same thing with the dishes. I started with "You brought your dish in the kitchen? Aren't you sweet? Thank you babe." Now he loads the dishwasher. It takes time and PATIENCE. Again...hang in there.
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G.A. answers from Dallas on October 10, 2008
I know this senario. My children were 18 mos apart. I did all the work including mowing the yard and washing the car so when we got divorced and I went back to work full time it was just the same without a man's clothes to wash. I think you need to just think about the things he does do in a possitive way. No not dwell on what he does not do. I worked retail for 5 yrs raising a 5 yr old granddaughter alone and I was so tired all the time. My feet would sting, all week end. I went to College online for a yr. I worked three jobs handled a home and two young children. My ex was a slob. He left clothes everywhere. I was a neat nick. So you can love him the way he is as he will not change and dwell on the negatives that you need help or tell him you really need help and get a housecleaner or babysitter and go play bunco one night a month to enjoy women and give him the kids for that night. Release in excersize or bunco or something and give him responsibilty at least one night a month or week. Make sure you are just out. If you tell yourself you are miserable you will be. If you enjoy the man and love his good traits you will accept more love and understanding. Some week ends if I work hard I just can not get enough sleep. I however did not go back to work until my children were sleeping through the night. Action follows what we think. Change what you are thinking and you can change your life. G. W
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T.S. answers from Amarillo on October 10, 2008
Hi K.. I didn't have time to read all your posts, so I hope I am not repeating something someone has already said. My husband is a field diesel mechanic for Catapillar and his job is high stress, physically demanding, and down right dangerous. He works anywhere from 50-75 hours per week. If he doesn't get enough sleep, it could cost him his life. I don't think, as women, we have any idea what it is like to put our life on the line on a daily basis. When I get frustrated with him, I think back to this concept. I also think of the fact that I am not attracted to a man who puts on pleated pants and penny loafers and sits at a desk. Doesn't sound like you are either. Also, your kiddos are at high maintenance ages right now. It won't always be this tough, in fact savor it, the next thing you know, they will be in 3rd grade. I think you should follow the advice about talking this over with him. If I were you, I would get a sitter and create a situation where he is "all ears" if you catch my drift. Lift him up with honor before you tell him what he is doing wrong. Start out like, "I love you so much, you work hard for our security and I appreciate it. I need to let you know how I have been feeling lately so we can come up with a plan to fix it." Let him be your hero, he really wants to be. Also I think you should cut your hours back to part time or quit all together. When you are "putting the pencil to it," don't forget the less obvious things like convenience foods, your clothes, nails, and hair cuts. I am positive that you will come out better if you don't work. Also, it is really tough to put a price on your quality of life. I promise, you will be so much happier if you get to stay home. In turn, he will probably be happier too and sleep less. Last but not least, some people require more, or less, sleep than others. My husband can get by on 6-7 hours and I need more like 8-10. So, just respect the differences between the two of you and love him for who he is. Hope this helps.
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J.R. answers from Dallas on October 10, 2008
You are living the life of about 50% or more of the american women.....not that I think that makes it any easier for you but it does help in knowing there is a big support group of women who are just as overwhelmed as you are.
To be honest, when I read your note about what your husband does, his commute, and how many days a week he works, I have to tell you I honestly don't think you are as tired as he is. You may think you are because you are angry that you have to do everything around the house and with the kids BUT your job does not require physical labor all day (you are an assistant, which I was for over twelve years so I am pretty sure you are sitting at a desk for a good portion of the day using your brain), you do not have three hours worth of commuting every day, you are not working at a job that causes you to exhaust EVERY MUSCLE in your body EVERY SINGLE DAY, and I would bet you have almost every (if not all) of your weekends off.
I don't mean to sound rude or callous about your situation but I think it is time for you to start understanding the sacrifice your husband is making to his health in order for your family to have what they have. Yes, you make sacrifices too but you can actually function when you get home. Your husband can't....it sounds to me like he is completely exhausted to the point of not even being able to stay up to spend time with his family. He obviously feels extremely guilty about this, hence the reason for the gifts and flower every few weeks with the note telling you how much he appreciates you (most women would give their right arm to hear their man say that!!). It is obvious to me that he is trying to please you because he loves you. To the point that, even through his exhaustion, he has helped you every once in a while with the house and the kids! Do you not see how much of a sacrifice those times must have been for him? Do you not see the danger he could have been in at work because his body did not get the rest it needed?
I hate to say it but I have a bad feeling that you being upset with him about everything is probably driving him to depression. He is working his rear end off for YOU and your kids and all you can do is complain.
If I were you, I'd go in there and give him a big hug and thank him for the hard work HE does for your family. Sometimes a little encouragement goes a long way at helping an exhausted man function....it sounds to me like he deserves some encouragement!
You will live through the tiredness you are experiencing right now and in a few years your children won't need so much assistance and things will get much easier for you. As your life gets easier, your husband's will still be just as rough as long as he is at this job and especially while he faces your disdain.
Pick your chin up and just be grateful for what little he is able to offer you right now. You could be single and struggling to pay the bills on your own and be just as busy as your are now!
Sorry to be so straight forward but my intentions are good ones. Looking at the situation differently can be good for you and help you to see that things are not as bad for you as you think they are.
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T.M. answers from Dallas on October 10, 2008
talk to anyone about that line of work and you'll probably get the same response. it's freaking hard! and i bet not only is he is physically exhausted but he's probably depressed that he's missing out on so much. the only question i see you have to ask yourself is would i rather have my possesions or my husband? pick up a book by suze orman if your answer is time with your husband. downgrade house, car, utilities, entertainment, etc.. and then you guys can afford to get him into a better suited job.
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S.S. answers from Wichita Falls on October 10, 2008
He has 10 hours at home, including sleeping eating and chores. Do you get up to see him off? Do you fall asleep afterward?
1. Does he snore. If he does, has he been checked for apnea? If that is a part of his issue, a CPAP machine will let him get twice as much rest with his sleep. I speak from husband experience.
2. Can you afford to have someone help you? i.e. can you hire someone to come in once a week and clean the house?
3. Get friendly with your slow cooker. There is very little that one can make in an oven and not a slow cooker. Lasagna, pot roast - which can work three nights, pot roast, bbq, and burritoes, Red beans and rice, chicken and rice, chicken and dumplings...
Please don't think I'm saying your husband shouldn't help. Believe me - as a mom, I know I start work from the minute I open my eyes until I go back to bed. And even then, it's a 24 hour on call job. I'm just saying that if you want 4 years to become 10 - get used to the fact that you're going to do 80% of home and family. You may also find it helpful to have your husband do certain chores that he doesn't object to. Examples include: Loading and unloading the dishwasher. Sorting the laundry. Putting up the laundry.
Watching the kids for 30 minutes when you get home so that you can put dinner together. Running the vacuum twice a week (or how ever often you need to, especially with a crawler - but pick days).
Talk it over without any YOU always or YOU never statements and agree on some things that won't take more than 20 minutes total without kids.
The reason I suggest such specifics is the fact that 1. He is used to knowing what is expected of him at his job. 2. If it isn't done, wake him up - or interrupt his tv time - and remind him to do it. If necessary, do it every 10 minutes until it gets done. If you are reasonable in your requests, NICE about it, and consistent... it will only take a month.
You might also look at downsizing your standard of living. My husband and I live on 2,000 a month (take home) with 2 full time kids and 2 stepchildren. If you moved closer to his job and found a part time job - perhaps even doing what you are now - you would both have more time with the kids and with each other... with the cut in gasoline costs he might even be able to take a day off a week.
(I couldn't stay home. I tried very hard - it just wasn't for me, and living on $1000 a month is darn near impossible. Working part time rocks, though - despite the fact that I had to give up a big house and a new car.)
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L.F. answers from Dallas on October 10, 2008
My husband doesn't have the commute and physically damanding job yours does, but still our arrangement with our daughter was whoever got off work first picked her up from daycare, (frequently it was him.) He also took over giving her a bath. It seemed to help us having him take over a specific task rather than just helping me with something. If it's his job it got done, if it was help me out, it was when I asked or, like you found, for only a couple of days.
Sit down on a weekend, maybe get somebody to watch the kids and draw up a list of chores and how they get split. Get this figured out now because once they get older you're still busy trying to get them where they need to go and attend their events!
L. F., married to a great guy and have an almost 13-year-old daughter.
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A.B. answers from Dallas on October 09, 2008
Sounds like you are both exhausted. He works 7 days a week? No days off? Not much of a life. I'd seriously consider putting an ad in the paper for part time help around the house. A high schooler or college kid that needs some extra money really may fix a big part of your problems. I don't think you are mad at him, probably just the situation and it's hard not to take it out on him, but really, working 7 days a week and then being expected to basically work a second job? I know you feel like you're doing that (working 2 jobs), but at least you get days off. Is there no way to cut back in the budget and you work less? I just feel for you and think there are always crafty ways to handle things like this, you just have to get creative. He sounds like a good guy and you both just sound tired! I hope you get some good ideas!
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