R.S. asks from Jackson, NJ on October 24, 2009
My Husband Is Not Talking to Me, AGAIN...
I have a 2 year old son who I recently pulled out of day care because of concerns I was having with the staff (did not like how they treated my son and other children, ie, not nuturing enough). Unfortunately, I have not had good luck with child care for my son. This is his second day care and I have interviewed nannies and babysitters and could not find anyone I felt good about. So my mother, who is not retired but is not working at this time, has stepped in and is helping care for my son while I work during the day. The problem is my parents do not live near us (about 2 hours away) and having my mom care for our kid means that my husband and I cannot see him every day. This is far from an ideal situation but it is our best option for now. To complicate things further, I work more than 40 hours a week (did not plan for this to happen, got really busy at work without my anticipating, in the process of going down to part time, may happen in next 2 months) so my long and erratic schedule limits my options for care (I have to factor in time to travel to/from care, hours, etc). The problem is my husband -- he works 80-100 hours a week (he's in medicine) and plays no role whatsoever in our son's child care -- yet he is SO angry about my choice to have my mother care for our child that he is not talking to me. He has repeatedly refused to have a conversation about how this can be resolved, only insisting that he wants his son home with him, no matter what the cost. This has now been going on for 6 days.
My husband has a long history of giving me the silent treatment, often shutting me out when he is upset with me. I feel forced to ask him again and again to have a neutral conversation (ie no yelling) only to have him refuse me repeatedly. Even when I apologize for what I did to offend him, he does not accept my apology, preferring to maintain the silent treatment. This has caused us to not speak for weeks at the time (the longest was 3 weeks).
I hate this. It is extremely hurtful to me, it's degrading, and it stresses me tremendously. I want him to start talking to me but I cannot get him to crack. What can I do?
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So What Happened?™
Hi everyone, I appreciate everyone's responses. First, reading to what all of you have said has made me re-think what I was doing. In the past, I have always had all the responsibility of our son's care. That means I find a place for him to stay and I pay for it. I would discuss my option for my husband and his usual response is "OK." He has only once accompanied me to see a day care. I also have the role of everything else he does outside of care -- I arrange for him to go to the zoo, or the beach, or Gymboree, for example. I tell my husband everything that I do with our son, and he has rarely protested. When it comes to child care, like I told Rachel in private, there is a long and complicated story behind it that is too much to put in a letter. Like the SAHM option. By the way, I am in medicine also, and without giving too much detail, the short of it is that I cannot quit my job very easily. In addition, my husband has offered me be a SAHM, but in order for that to happen I need to feel that I am still respected by him, and I am not sure that can happen. I was a SAHM for 6 months after I had the baby (not by intention, a contract glitch for my current position) and my husband expected me to do EVERYTHING at home, from laundry to groceries to getting up for all feedings, etc. I was so exhausted, I became very depressed, crying daily, and he did not seem to care at all, and did not even at least thank me for my hard work. His response was, "you are a mother, that is what you are supposed to do. Why should I thank you for that?" Frankly, I don't trust that my husband will grant me the dignity and respect that I deserve if I become a SAHM and I fear I will become depressed again, and of course that will not help me as a mom or my son. That is the reason for my going instead to part time and finding a care option that fits accordingly. And there's more -- so you see, it is so complicated, and I want to talk it out, but that darn silent treatment always comes back.
Having said all that, though, I understand now that it was really not a good idea to make that decision to keep our child from care, however impulsive, without letting my husband know. I felt that as a mom, I had a strong gut instinct to pull him right away and I did not want anyone to sway me from that choice (I had had a bad feeling about this day care for a long time, my husband was aware of this, persuaded me to "wait it out" a little longer). I have tried to talk to my husband about 5 times in the past 6 (now 7) days, including again last night, but still, he is being defensive and he yelled at me again yesterday (for the third time) over this issue. I felt so down, I cried myself to sleep last night.
My husband and I tried counselling twice, including once at church. I never thought of going to a counselor alone, and I will try that. Thanks for all the advice, and please, I would like to hear more.
Hi Moms! (10/26/09). Thanks for all the feedback. So the update is...my husband are finally communicating again. I asked for him to discuss the topic again yesterday afternoon and he finally agreed. He told me how hurt he was by my making the decision to have our son stay with nana, and I told him how hurt I was about the silent treatment thing. I apologized, and he did too. That was the extent of our conversation. Our son is coming back into town today with my mom, and she will care for him at our house right now. I haven't yet brought up the other topics of child care options and other things, yet, but I plan on doing that today (yesterday was a rough day, did not feel right to bring up at that time). One of the things that I will demand, thanks to you moms, is that he get much more involved in finding child care options for our kid, so that he feels more included. In addition, I am again going to go to counseling. Now, having said all that, I want to clarify a few things to some of the moms that gave me some harsh feedback. My son was at my mother's home for 1 1/2 weeks only, and at her home instead of ours becuase my mother had preexisting appointments that could not be broken on such short notice (usually, if my mom is caring for our son, she is with us). I do NOT leave my mother with the task of raising my son!!! He was already there at my mom's house, in fact, because my husband decided to go on a vacation to see his family out of the country, and failed to tell me until the week before that he would be gone longer than he anticipated without telling me, and I was on call that week and could not change my schedule. I am a doctor too -- I just CANNOT change my schedule on a fly-by-night basis. I was in the hospital on call on both Saturday and Sunday, all day. I could not change this. I had no other option for child care as I had expected my husband would be home, and my mother offered to care for our son for that week rather than me finding a way to provide at the last minute for additional care outside of day care for him. I accepted her offer. That was the first week. My husband was totally aware that this would happen. In fact, once when he called me the first few days while he was this vacation (that, by the way, I was NOT invited to), he asked "(our son's name) is with mother, right? I thought she was going to help you this week." The following week was this past week, when I decided to pull him out, and you know the rest of the story. This is not a common occurence. I was a little surprised that some mothers seemingly thought I was shirking my responsilibilty as a mom, and one responder even implied that perhaps I was not ready for the "sacrifice" involved with parenthood. Please, I assure you that that is not true at all!! I take my job as a mother very seriously. I am staunch advocate for my son's well being, and that is part of the reason why I am so particular with child care. Perhaps I may be being overly idealistic, but I do have very high standards for my son's child care providers and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. He is my son, and I have every reason to want the best for him. I don't believe I am not being snobbish about it. In spite of my high expectations I have put up with a lot of nonsense from some of my providers, thinking at first, "well, not everyone's perfect," -- for example, the one babysitter who arrogantly showed up 2 hours late without notice (with a bag of McDonald's in her hands!) who I could not get in touch with through her cell (she was screening her calls? her phone died? she just stated she never got any calls), the day care provider who yelled at my son all the time for touching books (yes, books) in her classroom, the day care provider who allowed my son to eat off the floor, the nanny I almost hired who yelled at ME for being late for HER interview (there was a mixup with the agreed time to meet, still not sure how that happened, but are you going to yell at my son that way??), and many others who were very sweet but smoked or had pets (my son has reactive airway disease), watched talk shows all day with my son (my mother in law), had no CPR training and didn't care to get it (sorry, but I am a doctor, I have seen many tragedies, and this is a MUST for me), and so on. I demand a lot but I have put up with a lot as well. I have spoken to day care providers in private a few times about my concerns and they have been addressed, but most of the time only partially. With this day care. I spoke to the staff twice about this child care provider's yelling. They assured me that they are nuturing, and that I was simply not seeing that side of them because I was not in the center for long enough (only in the mornings when I am dropping him off). They told me that I did not know my son well enough, and that he really is just a painfully shy kid, and that clinging to mm and not saying anything all day is NORMAL for him. In my heart, that did not sound right, and I suspected that all that yelling was causing him to withdraw, but I tolerated this for about 8 months, thinking that since they are the experts here, they should know. After seeing my son with his nana for only 1 1/2 weeks, he is a different child. He is happier and brighter, he is more verbal, his aggressive behavior almost totally gone. I had had enough. I could not bring my son into this center and then speak to the staff a THIRD time. I am very grateful that I have a mother who is not only CPR trained but willing to help me and my husband. My husband, even with his silent treatment, knows very well that without my mom's assistance there are many things we never would have been able to do due to our schedules, like the mini-vacay we had at Cancun in August. His side of the family has rarely offer to help with the baby and all work full time anyway, they are genuinely busy. I totally agree with many moms that a lot of this could have been avoided with thorough discussion of the SAHM option with clear expectations from BOTH sides what this will entail. For now, I am working hard to go to part time -- again, as a doctor, this is not easy to do (another person must be hired before that happens, the practice is currently interviewing) -- but I am hoping that I can make this happen in the next 2 months or so. As for me and my husband, I really don't know. What I do know is getting him more involved next time is key, and I do know that I have to set a "bottom line," meaning that, even when I make decisions that he does not agree with, he can be mad but I don't deserve to be made to feel like a piece of poop afterwards. It was a mistake not to include him, but I was also acting in my son's best interest. Thanks for all your responses (even the harsh ones!) and I am glad I had Mamasource to help me sort through this difficult process. R.
A.F. answers from St. Cloud on October 25, 2009
I am just wondering who gave some of these women the right to come down on you? The judgement seething from them is staggering. And, why did Rachel ask to know your son's name? What business is it of hers?
Your husband is controlling. I can see why you make your decisions the way you do. I am not saying that your decision is right or wrong. I can't know that. What I can see by your post is that your husband is degrading you and I am sorry that you are hurting. I hope you do go to counseling by yourself because you are worth it!
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R.D. answers from New York on October 24, 2009
When I first read the tag line to your post...i thought lucky you, your husband is not talking to you! That is really not funny yet sometimes I do not mind when my husband and I are not speaking as it gives us a chance to get over things in our own ways. We are not the talk it out type of couple. But we are similar in that way and I can understand the difficulty when one party wants to discuss and the other does not.
Here is the thing....I use daycare as well. I am happy with my daycare yet there have been a few times I wanted to leave and look for another yet with a few discussions with the Director, I was able to come to an agreeable solution. I am a working mom as well and ideally my mom would watch my son yet this is not possible, therefore, it is what it is and I have to find inner peace with my decision and the day care I have chosen for my son. You need to look at more daycares. Look at 10 until you find one you love, or say to yourself that you may not love one because there is something there within yourself that is not allowing you to love it yet which place do you think will provide the best and safest care. I only go with places that are recommended by other moms. I always felt more comfortable with daycare than with a nanny or an in an unlicensed in home daycare because there are many people that watch my son throughout the day and they are super strict with center rules. Your situation now does not seem to be ideal for anyone expect for the idea that he is with your mom.
My husband does not deal with any child care either and he knows that he gets away scott free and therefore would never say anything. The way I deal is to say, listen, it is what it is, we both work, things get crazy and are stressful and i call the shots because you are not involved that way and if you would like to be, step up! Ok, so that is probably not the way to go about doing things, yet I seriously do 90% of everything that needs to be done and work. Give me a break! Again, my husband realizes he has it sooooo goood! What I do do though when it comes to something that he really wants to make a decision on is I will give him two choices that I have decided upon and make him choose between those...he is a no research guy so it has to be done. He then feels like he has a hand in the process and ultimately I got one of my choices anyway. God, I sound super controlling after reading this back, but that is way it is when I have no choice but to handle everything. You do need your son home with you and you just need to stop and breathe and figure a way to work this out. My son stays at my parents one night a week to give him a break from daycare and to give my husband and I a date night. Maybe you can do a few days of daycare and meet in the middle with the amount of time your son stays with your mom.
As for your husband, I know you are hurt, yet you need to talk to him when this blows over. You need to address the way he makes you feel in these situations when you are not in one of the situations! Talk when heads are clear and the stress level is down. Marriage is tough and has its ups and downs...please, if anyone is to say they have the prefect marriage..not buying it! We all have something whether people know it or not!
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D.S. answers from New York on October 24, 2009
I think I can understand why he is upset, however not discussing it is not going to help. I think making a decision about childcare should be between both of you. Deciding to leave him with your mother without discussing it will him first is probably what has made him mad. BUT as you said if he has not been involved in the decision making process in regards to your child in the past then that is his fault. Being a parent means he must be present always not only when it is convenient for him. Someone has to step up to the plate and if it is not going to be him then you have no choice. In my opinion he can't get upset when you make decisions without him if he doesn't make any attempt to do so. He seems like he only likes to have a say when things do not go his way. I own a childcare center and I agree with you 100% if you are not comfortable with your son's caretaker then you should get your child out. A mom should always go with their gut. Is there any way your mom can come stay with you maybe on a Wednesday - Friday and then your son can be home most of the week. Right now if you have no other alternatives then I think your husband is just going to have to suck it up or come up with a solution together with you. I do not think you should have to beg him to talk to you. He is acting childish in my opinion. I would turn it around on him and just go about your business. Maybe when he gets the silent treatment he will not like it and stop this behavior in the future. Good luck!!
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H.H. answers from Atlanta on October 24, 2009
Even though we don't really know what you're going through, you came to the right place. I did the absolutely right thing in pulling your child out of child care if you are in any way concerned about the level of care. I have worked in many nurseries and pre-schools and have seen many things. What some staff members can get away with is heart breaking!!!!
I'm so sorry to hear about your husband. That must be very tough on you to try to sort out something so important as you child's care. I must be difficult with him working so many hours. It doesn't give you any time to try to resolve the issue.
All I can say is that did the right thing removing your child from child care. Your child is so important and you could say more important than your husband if that's the way he's going to behave. Just think of all the love you have for your baby. Try to think positive thoughts for you and your son. After all you're doing this for him. You sound like a wonderful mother who wants the best for her son. I hope things start to work themselves out soon, for you your son and your family.
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J.C. answers from Chicago on October 24, 2009
your husband needs to grow up....its ok to say "i am really upset/angry right now, i dont want to discuss this but in a couple days well talk about it".......but 3 weeks is ridiculous either get counseling with him or by yourself.......i usually dont believe in ultimatums but you may need to considet what you will tolerate & not tolerate in this marriage......as far as childcare, how about having your mother come out to your home for a few days & in those few days you and her (& your husband if he can find the time) interview a bunch of daycares & nannies so you can get your home, son & marriage back....best wishes
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J.F. answers from New York on October 25, 2009
I am sorry you are going through such a difficult situation.
It sounds like you have two issues. The first is finding an appropriate child care situation for your son. The second is dealing with your husband's behavior. One thing I have learned is to focus on what I can control and not worry about what I cannot control. So what can you control? You can control looking for more workable and appropriate child care arrangements and you can control how you will respond to your husband. You cannot control whether your husband decides to talk to you, engage in constructive conversations about child care or be a partner with you in caring for your son, but again you can control how you respond to his behavior.
The child care, though challenging may be the easier issue to tackle. You may want to make a list of what is important to you in a child care provider and then see what options exist and keep looking and getting the word out.
As for your husband, it sounds as though one reason he gives the silent treatment is that it works! He gets a response out of you. You start worrying about getting him to talk to you, you apologize repeatedly and you worry. It's a very manipulative, childish and emotionally abusive behavior to be sure, but he gives you the message that you will be punished for not doing what he wants. So what are your options? How about changing your part of the script? How about if you do not apologize anymore, you do not worry about getting him to talk to you? What if you simply go on with your life, do your best to find appropriate child care solutions, do your job, care for your child and get together with your friends? At some point he will have to start talking to you. I have been in many "silent treatment" situations before. I have let my husband know that I will not live with that. If he wants to take some space to regroup, fine, but if he will not engage with me then I have plenty of people in my life who want my company and I do not have to force my presence on someone who professes that he doesn't want it.
So what happens when he eventually breaks his silence? That is when you let him know that you will no longer tolerate silent treatment, and that if he wants to have something to say about child care, or any other topic for that matter, he must engage in a constructive conversation with you. What happens if he gives you the silent treatment again? That's up to you? Can you stay elsewhere for a while? Can you make plans for some of the evenings? Are you willing to insist that he attend marriage counseling with you? The real questions is "what are you ready to do?" The main thing though, is that when he sees that his silent treatment is no longer eliciting the desired response (i.e. he no longer is able to get to you) he probably will stop---and if he doesn't you at least will not be so devastated by it.
Good Luck---and please feel free to disregard anything that does not feel right to you.
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L.S. answers from New York on October 25, 2009
I think you should stay at home ! If you can afford this, I made the decision to stay at home with my children till they are both in school. It can be a financial burden at times but soooo worth it in the long run! I cant imagine missing all the milestones, 1st step, 1st time spitting out solid food, 1st time swimming etc. Again it can be a financial burden at times, but in my opinion worth every struggle.
J.P. answers from New York on October 25, 2009
I think maybe you need to take advantage of the FMLA which is unpaid 3 month leave from work which you figure bout an acceptable childcare arrangement for your son. Yes the silent treatment is immature and that is another issue that you will have to figure out. However if my husband threatened me with divorce for yanking our girls out of our childcare arrangement and sending them to live elsewhere all week without his permission he would be entirely within his rights as a loving father!
Look, one of you just may have to give up your career if no childcare arrangement will ever be acceptable. No one will ever be perfect, I get this. I work fulltime and have a nanny that we like but there are certainly things we don't always agree with. Either you can work with a situation or you can't. Maybe you just can't right now. Good luck and I hope you reach an agreement.