August 25, 2008,
J.S. asks from Pocatello, ID on August 16, 2008
Relationship Overhaul- Share Chores / Go Back to Work / Me Time
Ok my marriage has three areas I am stressing out about. First of all, is it normal for a husband to only help with dishes like twice a month? I don't like to push and nag and keep asking. He even helped design a chore chart with the family, and agreed to do these things daily, but he doesn't. Yes, of course I have asked him in clear, polite, terms many times.
Second, should I go back to work to get some "me" time? Another plus would be that he would be the one to watch the kids while I worked part time. I would love for him to see what it's like. Turn the tables you know, and then I could be the one to come home from work and say, "What have you been doing all day?!!" Yeah, I'm a little bitter. Yes, I have expressed this to him.
Third problem and the second are intertwined. How do you go about arranging a 2-day weekend for "me" time if you don't have any money to "get away?"
I am looking forward to school starting up again so I can decompress a little about all this.
I would like to clarify what I mean when I wrote in the above section "I don't like to push and nag and keep asking." It means I DON'T do it. I never nag because I don't want to be in that position.
Also I would like to clarify a little about his job. He is a sales rep. He sets his own hours. He DOES work very hard, is good at what he does. I appreciate what he does very much, and I tell him so often. Here is what is beginning to make me resentful: he gets up when he wants. He comes home when he wants. He doesn't answer to anyone when he is working because his supervisors are long-distance. He can have lunch when and where he wants. He can (and does) take a break in the middle of his day when he wants and go to a matinee. He can incorporate (and often does) a dayhike into his day when he wants. ALL OF THIS IS FINE WITH ME--or was--EXCEPT THAT HE DOESN'T HELP ME GET THE SAME BREAKS. He drives to different cities and gets lots of alone time that way. He doesn't know what it's like to go through a whole day and never be able to complete a thought because of all the interruptions.
I have been the sole provider for our family before, working fulltime, so I know how much harder this SAHM gig is.
I would also like to clarify that when he says, "What have you been doing all day?!" That comment is preceded by comments about how messy the house is. Why isn't the laundry done. Why aren't the dishes done. Could I please get the dishes done for once.
I would also like to clarify that his mother is a professional organizer. She has all of Don Aslett's books memorized.
The four of us are living in 1,000 square feet. I have never complained about this to him because it would just be complaining and make things worse and make him feel bad that he can't earn more. However, it simply IS more difficult to keep the house looking nice and tidy when we are so cramped.
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So What Happened?™
Thank you, everyone for all of your great insight and suggestions. You made me cry, because I have felt so alone. It is so nice to know that someone understands. Thank you.
C.J. answers from Denver on August 18, 2008
My husband and I have gone to sharing chores and switching weekly. It's an amazing thing!!! Laundry vs dishes. So there's an end in sight for each chore, and not doing it forever!!!
L.H. answers from Salt Lake City on August 18, 2008
I understand how you feel. I have raised five children. I used to whine and complain about what my husband did around the house. One day I realized how much he was doing for our family. Every morning he was up at 6:00 a.m. to get ready for work even when he didn't feel like it. My job was to take care of the children and make a home environment that he would like to return to. I realized that even I wouldn't want to come home to what I had created. I wasn't even the type of person I would want to be a friend with. As I changed things improved. It was interesting to see how much control I had over the situation and how much I was the problem. I had always thought it was his entirely his fault for how things were.
Don't go back to work. It will only leave your children without a mother and you with less time to yourself. He knows you are bitter but does he know that you love him and appreciate what he does do? The more he hears it the more he will do.
I have been married for almost 32 years. Experience has taught me that my husband is as good as I think he is. When I remember that I picked him to be my husband and the father of my children he shines. When I focus on his faults and complain he isn't so great. My behavior controls the mood of our home. Sure, I would love not to do the dishes every meal but he would love not to go to work every day and have the freedom to choose like I do.
You have the power. Be grateful you have dishes to do. My friend that lost her husband in a car accident would love to trade places with you. Good luck!
1 mom found this helpful
L.B. answers from Denver on August 18, 2008
I am sad that so many of these posts aren't more encouraging and that think men are lazy and don't want to be helpful. For the most part, it is just about helping them understand the need, both around the house and for your physical/mental/spiritual well being. Most of our guys grew up in homes where men did NO chores or helped out; their moms did it all. So much of what we, in general, struggle with in our marriages are expectations from our families of origin. It is about helping them learn that there is something different and it gives us all better time at home and with each other. My husband and I have dealt with this and will continue to struggle through it as long as there are dirty dishes and laundry. :) When we first get home, or when he gets home on the days I am home, we get options. I will say "would you like to empty the dishwasher or get the laundry started?" That way he can choose and I didn't force him into it. Once those tasks are done, we move to the next 2. He also picked 2 things that he is always in charge of (okay, I picked the garbage for him but he picked vacuuming). I don't get after him at all about doing those things. But if one of them needs to be done, I make it one of the options. He gets the hint without feeling nagged at. And something that is so important is to find something you love to do; scrapbooking, soccer, reading, sewing, any craft, any workout/exercise activity. Then schedule time to do it. Find someone to do it with. Then encourage your husband to do the same. Encourage him to spend time with friends doing constructive things or being creative. It is a win for everyone. And going back to work is your and your husband's decision. Just make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons and not as a last resort to get some "me" time. If your husband can be home with the kids during that time, that is a great way to build bonds between him and the kids. Dads play with kids in such a differnet way and it is so good for everyone. I would love to scrapbook with you if you are in the Aurora area. Another great resource is "Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs; there is so much good relationship stuff it there. Best of luck and it will get better.
L.W. answers from Great Falls on August 18, 2008
I first have to say I don't agree with a lot of the feedback you are getting. I am a full time working mom and I would love to be able to stay home with our child more. However, I also enjoy my time at work to relate with other adults and have a sense of accomplishment outside of taking care of our child. It helps me to create a balance in my life which in turn makes me more appreciative of the time I have with my husband and daughter. I also have a husband who works full time and in order for us to get things taken care of around our household it takes both of us sharing the work. As one other responder noted, one person can watch the children while the other cooks dinner. We practice this on a regular basis and take turns doing the chores and watching our 10 month old daughter. It gives both of us one on one time with our baby and also helps to get the work done more timely so we can also have some time for a walk in the evening together. It's all about balance. I think it's great if you want some variety and would like to go to work a couple of days a week. If it helps to change your perspective on your situation and also encourages your husband to pitch in then go for it. As a full time working mom, sometimes I feel husbands get cut too much slack because they work full time. Give me a break. There are plenty of mom's out there that work full time, too, and they're still relied upon to come home, take care of the kids, cook dinner, clean the house, etc. Men can be held accountable to pitch in, too.
C.J. answers from Denver on August 18, 2008
My husband and I have gone to sharing chores and switching weekly. It's an amazing thing!!! Laundry vs dishes. So there's an end in sight for each chore, and not doing it forever!!!
S. answers from Denver on August 18, 2008
I can relate to your current situation. A couple of questions come up for me. How do you go about taking 'me time' now? Would taking a job give you 'me-time' or time away to focus on a career or get you 'away' from your current position?
Does your husband take his 'me time'. does he ask for it or does he take it? if he takes it, you do the same. Let your husband know you made plans for 'x' night or day and he will have to watch the kids. women tend to care take for everyone in the family while avoiding themselves; this is not good for anyone.
the other thing, If finding a job will bring about time away and me time as well as a little extra money; then it seems like a win/win situation. again, what is your motivation or your intention behind getting a job (escape or growth; possibly both)
Are you stating your needs clearly when it comes to house hold upkeep?
your husband's integrity is out of line, he's living up to the 'do as I say; not as I do.' or 'these rules apply to everyone but me.' which sets up a poor example for the kids. How can the family hold him accountable to the tasks he says he's going to do? make it fun and real. what are the consequences for the children who don't participate in daily living? what are the reasons he doesn't do it; do you pick up the slack? what if you didn't do it for him? (assuming you do). why would he do it if he knows you will. Make it clear that you will do your duties and no one elses (otherwise, you build up resentment) Making your boundaries clear can be very rewarding. It may cause some upheaval (change) for a time; but humans are very adaptive. you've got to have 'staying power' in your boundaries and remain consistent.
where does it say that women who 'stay at home' do not get to go out. there is an underlying theme that many women feel because they are not financial contributors. It has been researched that if a mom got paid for the hours she put in, it would be well into 6 figures. How are the guidelines for the family established; are the out in the open or just assumed that you don't get any time b/c you don't make the money? what are the beliefs around money, house, rearing the children? are you and your husband on the same page? just a few things that come up for me. Good luck with this. It also sounds like you are going to school to get back out in the work force soon or at lease get away and grow. good for you.
D.T. answers from Denver on August 18, 2008
You might start with some reading - a little education can go along way. John Grey's Mars and Venus books offer great advice on how to communicate with a man as well as insight into what womwn really need - seriously this man has nailed it. The other is Mama Gena. Regina Thomaschauer is amazing.
The other thing to remember, like it or not you are the one witht the problem - it doesn't sound like he is worked up - you are. What is your division of labor? Does he bring home the bacon? If he is the sole financial provider why does he have to go do his job and then come home and do part of "your" job? I'm not saying he shouldn't help with the kids (they are his too, aren't they?) and the house but probably doesn't get all your bitching and nagging. It won't get you where you want to be so knock that off. Get the books and see what happens.
S.H. answers from Salt Lake City on August 18, 2008
J S, I feel your pain. In the 12 years I've been married, my husband has done the dishes MAYBE 1/2 a dozen times. He isn't big on cleaning bathrooms or sweeping floors. I worked full time (60-80 hours a week) for a long time and the only thing he would do was HIS laundry. Not mine or the kids. Needless to say, I was pretty frustrated myself. Finally, I received some good advice and started to practice looking at the things he did that were good and "right" in my eyes. He loves our children. He doesn't spend hours playing catch or helping with homework, but he listens to them, he tickles them, and he shows them love. He works HARD for our family to provide. He doesn't go out with his friends much, he wants to be home with our family. And, he does take out the garbage. :) It made a huge difference for me to stop looking at all the things he did that would upset and frustrate me and start looking at the things he does that are good and sweet. It was hard at first because I was very bitter. But it was well worth the effort of looking. Also, start complimenting him when he does something you like. He'll be more proned to do it again or even do more to make you happy.
As far as going back to work, don't do it! My kids tell me time and time again that they would rather have me home and not have all the extra money. (They are 16, 12 and 5 and they have had it both ways). And I REALLY miss that I was not there when my older ones were little. I can't get the time back. Only go back to work if you absolutely can't get by financially. Keep your priorities straight... your children and the time you have with them are irreplacable.
As time for yourself. I used to put my kids to bed and go walking with a good friend at night. It was a great way to get some girl talk and relax without the family. Good "me time". I also would catch a dollar movie here and there. I love to read. Tell your honey to take the kids to Micky D's for and icecream and playland time for an hour and take a hot bubble bath with a good book. (I did this at least once a month). There are ways to get time in for youself.
I am sorry this is kinda long. I do tend to ramble. (smile) In closing, keep in mind that your honey isn't a cleaner. He probably never has been and never will be. It is frustrating, I know. But, love him for the good things he does. It will help, I promise. Good luck and my thoughts and prayer will be with you!
E.B. answers from Fort Collins on August 18, 2008
I am a stay at home mom of a 3yr old, 16yr old and one due in October and I have to say that I do not agree with most these posts. Just because you are a stay at home mom does mean you are solely responsible for the house. Yes your husband works very hard and gets up early to head off to work when he does not want to, but what about you? Do you get to clock out at 5pm and leave it all behind? Do you get to call in sick? Being a stay at home mom is hard because it is a 24 hour a day job without any time off.
If you feel like you need a break then take one. A part time job once or twice a week will not hurt your kids and if you getting a change of scenery helps you mentally cope with the stress of life then it is well worth the changes your kids will have to deal with. It will be good for them to see you take care of yourself. You need to find something for you or you can lose yourself in trying to be everything for your family. Do not wait until you are so lost in your mommy/wife role that you forgot why you wanted to be one in the first place.
I think part of the problem is that your dear Hubby does not realize how hard you work and what all a SAHM does. I made a calendar and wrote out (honestly) what I did each day. He was really surprised at how much responsibility I had each day. I think it finally openned his eyes that this was a job and often a thankless one.
I would suggest that you start a hobby with a friend that is just yours. I would suggest that you meet a friend somewhere other than your house at first. Having someone else count on you makes it easier to not just "skip it until next week" and being out of the house keeps the kids from distracting you.
Pick something that interestes you, I took up scrapbooking, but my best friend took up Roller Derby. We each have our night(s) that is just ours and the kids, chores and dinner are dad's responsiblity. Yes, the kids probably have mac and cheese and ice cream every Thursday, but they will be fine. I love scrapbooking because it can be cheap and it gives me my own time, but it also lets me go through all my old memories to remind of why I love my family in the first place.
If you are in Longmont and want to try scrapbooking with us, let me know we would love to have you.
K.M. answers from Denver on August 18, 2008
I think it is normal for a husband to not help around the house if he thinks he can get away with it. I have to admit that my husband is AWESOME about helping; however, the help really picked up when I went back to work. When I was a SAHM, he did much less around the house and I was ok with that. But when I went back to work he really picked up the pace. My job provides much needed extra income, health insurance, and 401K. I sort of used that as leverage to say "Look, I'm working 40+ hours a week too. I need your help." He responded to the call. I would suggest you have a heart-to-heart with your hubby and tell him how much it would mean to you if he took over, say, the dish duty or laundry. (Be prepared to lower your standards as it won't be done the way you like it, but you will get used to it) That would just be his job. Just because you are the SAHM that doesn't mean that he can get away with doing nothing at all. After all, you are working full-time too.
Also, going back to work was a great thing for me. My 18-month-old loves "school" and he's learning way more than he would be if he stayed home with me. That said, I just had baby #2 on 8/8/08. I will be going back to work in November but I have requested a reduced schedule of 30 hours per week. I will get to keep health insurance and 401K. Good luck!
H.W. answers from Boise on August 18, 2008
Yes, it is normal. You have to ask them over and over againg because they just don't get it the first time. I promise you though, it's more irritating to sit and steam when you see him not doing something than to just asking him for the millionth time. I know you don't want to have to ask, but you do. That's what happens when you're from another planet (I highly reccomend Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus).
If it were me, I wouldn't use work as an excuse for either "revenge" for lack of a better word, or me time. You NEED me time, it is essential. But if one of the kids is going back to school, try figuring something you do to de stress while 8 is gone. Find a friend who is willing to trade kids with you like twice a week. There are many people who make working and mothering work very well, personally that's not the way to go for me, so I would just say think very very hard and consider the extra finances it might require- is it worth it?. I know you feel bitter, but harboring bitter feelings will only hold you back. Remember that he would rather stay home with you, but instead is a responsible man who is trying very hard to provide for his family. His work isn't nearly as fun (or hard, I know) as yours is. Consider he may feel left out at home, or mabye doesn't know what to do. Try talking to your husband about it. He'll hate talking about feelings and stuff, but it's something he's going to have to learn how to do-like helping with the dishes:)
As for the two-day get away, if you figure it out let me know. Good luck and hang in there, it gets much better and it's worth holding on to. You're doing a GREAT job. This too shall pass!
A.P. answers from Omaha on August 18, 2008
Well as far as the husband helping with dishes, twice a month is better than nothing ;) My husband is in graduate school and I don't think I have seen him in six years, not really but he is always gone studying or at school so I'm pretty much a single mom. He tells me he will help and I'll ask him nicely and he says he'll do it i use to nag but he would complain that I nagged and then I stopped now when I bring it up that he didn't do it when he said he would he tells me I should have reminded him, you can't win! We had marriage therapy and we got some really good advice you can't change anyone but yourself so don't waste your energy on trying to change him just change the way you look at it, you choose how to react to people so choose to feel the way that would help you be happy, it takes a lot of thinking changes but once you have it down you are a lot happier. It will take a lot of stress off of both of you to not worry or keep score on who does what and if you change even though you can't change your hubby he can't react to a way you aren't acting so in turn he will change. They also told us that if something needs to be done and you want it done then do it, don't wait for someone else to do it if you don't have time don't do it and don't worry about it. I've given up on asking anymore i just do it and if he helps it's a plus. As far as taking time for yourself with no money school will help but I will take walks go to a park and read a book just go on a drive and ck out areas around me that I've never seen before grocery shopping alone gives me a break there are alot of things if you like to swim and are a midvale resident they have free swimming every night ,almost, at the middle school so i'm sure your area might have something like that. I know how it is to be a mom and give up so much to take care of a family but I think alot of us lose our selves find something you love and do it, if it costs money save up and do it but find out who you are and something you would love to do and find a way to do it! life is too short to worry about who does the dishes if you want them done do them and if you can stand to leave them do and hopefully you know who will do it just don't nag him about it and don't complain he will wonder where his wife went. enjoy your children while they are around and don't worry so much about having the house too clean, that was my problem. Good Luck I hope this helped I am a happier person because of some of the things I told you to do so I hope you will try them out!
C.E. answers from Provo on August 18, 2008
yeah, i feel the same way with my husband sometimes. i think there are a few rare husbands who enjoy cleaning or at least do it regularly and willingly. but ours are not them. even so, i'm not giving up. i just keep telling him what i need him to do, when, and why. i remind him that one of my biggest "love languages" is service, so when he cleans anything, i'm super happy.
keep in mind that even when you leave the kids with him, he's going to do things his way, not necessarily what you would do if you were there. i know that when i leave my kids with my husband, they most likely will not eat balanced meals, might not get to bed on time or take naps on schedule, and will watch too much tv and things i probably wouldn't let them watch. but he's good about getting them to clean up their toys, he might vacuum, and he often takes them to a park or wrestles with them. so it's a trade off.
as far as getting away, i'd go to a relative or female friend's house nearby. it's free and you get companionship too. check out the city's websites for inexpensive things to see and do. my mom and sister and i recently spent a nice day together. we drove to a nearby ski resort and rode the ski lift up the mountain. we walked on a mountain trail, stopping to eat a picnic, and rode the lift back down. it was simple, but so refreshing and beautiful. i want to do it again. also, if you are into scrapbooking, many of the scrapbooking stores will have a project room that you can use at certain times to do your own projects. Archiver's is one i've used before and it's free as long as you use some of their paper and purchase it when you're finished, which can cost you less than 50 cents.
take a deep breath and pray for some help. good luck!
H.M. answers from Denver on August 18, 2008
Have you ever thought about joining a MOPS group? It sounds like you need a place where you can find some support, encouragement, fresh ideas, other moms in your same situation, some much needed adult conversation, etc.... I am super excited about our upcoming year, as we have some great speakers lined up to talk about building your child's self esteem, having a play-date with hubby, a comedian of sorts, sanity savers for moms, how to make your marriage sizzle, a workshop day, panel day, and my favorite - our MOPS SPA DAY, where moms get to completely pamper themselves!! Last year, we had someone cutting hair, threading (hair removal), eyebrow waxing, a chiropractor, massage chairs, paraffin hand treatments, facials, manicures, foot massage tubs, chocolate fountains, etc.... It was such a destressor of a day!!! We even extended the time on that day!!! We meet the first and third Tuesday of each month, starting in Sept. from 9:15-11:30 at Jubilee Fellowship Church (JFC) at Lincoln & Lonetree Pkwy. Let me know if you want any other information, as we would love to have you! We love supporting and helping moms!!!
K.E. answers from Denver on August 18, 2008
Hey there J S you sound like you need some nurturing for yourself. It is hard when you feel like all the house and kidos are all your responsibility. My hubby and I use to fight all the time about that. I think most of the time our hubbies dont realize how much a helping hand is appreciated. Most guys come from a background of seeing mom do all the work at home and dads day is done when he gets home. Sit down and have a heart to heart. Let him know how frazzled you feel and how much you need him to help more. It also helped to encourage my hubby when I would heap on the praise and make him feel like a night in shinning armor when he would help me. It is hard at first when you feel so bitter but I think they want to help when they know how much it means to you. If your hubby feels old fashioned about roles it may be hard but keep talking because the bitterness can take over. I dont know if it will help and I always hate suggesting books, there is a book called The five love languages. If both of you could read it and use it as a safe discussion it might help communication.
As for work, do what you feel it is right for you. I know a lot of moms say that our job is the kids but I found that some moms have healthier and happier lives when they find a life outside of the home. It doesnt mean you dont love your kids, but some people need jobs to feel balanced. Dont do it if it is just to turn the tables because you may find some extra work at home that didnt get done while you were at work. It is good that the kids get time with dad and my daughter and hubby bonded great when I was working because I needed to get out of the house. But ultimately you will find new demands and challenges at work so if you do not go to work for yourself it is only going to feel even more overwhelming.
Finally as for me time just explain you need some alone time and set a date. I always asked if there were any plans then if not I would put "mom out"on the calender. Do make sure you honor his need to go out by himself too. As for things to do, go to libraries, walk the mall, if you have a friend or family member meet them for a picnic or coffee. If you like museums check them out online. A lot of them will have free days occasionally. But leave the house.
Give yourself permission to not have a clean house, take care of yourself. If you can, try to join a moms group or a play group. It will get you out of the house. Its really hard to see the light sometimes. I have been there it took a whole meltdown because I waited too long to voice my bitterness effectively. Things are much better now and my hubby helps more and I dont feel as overwhelmed even though I still pretty much take care of every living thing in our house, but I am being nurtured too, by my husband and myself. Keep telling yourself that school is starting and you will have a break from your oldest and your youngest can be put down for quiet time. Heck my 5 year old still gets to go read in her room for an hour because mommy needs quiet time. Good luck and best wishes.
D.W. answers from Boise on August 18, 2008
Make a list of what you would like to do, to accomplish, etc. Have that be what you do on your one night out a month, or week, etc. Make a list of everything you are thankful for, and read it every night or morning. 5 minutes of meditation is really helpful too, and at least 30 minutes of aerobic-type exercise to get those endorphines to start your day off. If you make time for that, it's amazing how much time you have left for everyone else.
Set at least 2 dates a month -- one for you to have a night out alone, which is also a great time to have a "daddy-daughter date". Then, the most important one, a date for you and your hubby. I would personally rather come up with a time for you and your hubby to have a 2-day weekend together instead of by yourself. It's a great way to get the TLC that you are really needing, and nothing compares to rekindling the reason you started your family.
Start making dates out of the house with your kids too -- park, library, etc. You'll be amazed how much getting fresh air can make the difference too, and it helps you to enjoy your kids that much more.
Maybe ask him to help you do the dishes, and offer to help him with something else if he does. I love to have my husband's help with cooking and cleaning up. It's not any fun to do any of it by yourself.
Try to tell yourself that he is asking "how was your day", instead of interrogating you on what you feel guilty about not getting done yet -- "what have you done all day".
Best wishes, D.
M.B. answers from Denver on August 18, 2008
Well you are not alone girlfriend, being a stay at home mom can be hard because people can tend to think that means you do all the domestic duties 24 hours a day! We need a break sometimes too! If you think you would like a part time job and it would give you a break and energize you then go for it! If you are trying to show your husband something he still may not get it. Is he a good husband otherwise? Does he take good care of the lawn and yard, take out the garbabge etc.? As far as the nagging this probably should stop, he may be tuning you out at this point. Maybe if he does do something reward him with you know what. Remember we teach people how to treat us. SO is he getting all he wants? As far as a weekend get away maye just start with baby steps here, like going for a walk by yourself every day for a week( and don't ask him, tell him in a matter of fact emotionless voice you are going. If you need to get up in the am before the kids or in the evening when he gets home. Your right, you do need a break! Maybe a job will help you earn a little cash so you can do your weekend, save up and also plan on hiring a sitter as well maybe once a week for some decompression time. Good luck to you!
K.M. answers from Missoula on August 18, 2008
I would never begrudge a woman in having a career, but I would have loved to have been one of the lucky ones that got to stay at home with my children until they got into school. There are alot of way to have me time, but lets address the stress and the hubby chores. First of all does your husband work away from the home full time? If no, then nagging is possibly aloud. If yes, then excuse me, when my husband and I come home from work and our minds and bodies are tired from the day, the first thing I want to do is do dishes, wash clothes, clean house. If I were a SAHM, I would have it done, and do the evening dishes later after time with the family. If he is spending time with the kids while you are doing the kitchen or whatever, then GREAT he is helping. Maybe he could watch then on a Saturday while you go to the park and walk, run, or just sit and watch the sun come up. If he helps you two times a week with dishes and works outside the home, then he's doing GREAT. You actually hit it on the head, You are stressing about this. I'm not so sure that the time you are seeking is ME time, but rather time with him when he is home. As mothers life is not all about "ME". Do we need quiet time, yes, but when it become memememe, then we need to rethink what we are really needing. Our ME time can come when the 8 year old is playing in the yard and the 2 year old is taking a nap. It could be in a bath tub when our kids have gone to bed at night. All of which are free and precious. It could even be early in the morning when they are still sleeping. You could even take them to the park and let them play while you sit and talk with other mothers about their day. You could trade babysitting after you got to know them. If you want to just go somewhere and spend money, even if it is a little amount, then plan it out. BUT if you are stressing just because you want something done then all you are doing is nagging in the wind and he'll tune you out faster than your children will grow up and go off to school. I know this sounds harsh, but think why and what you are really needing and then reason it through. Staying at home is your full time job and how rewarding when they are happy and ready for school and they reflect what you have taught them. These little moments are the "Mother's Thank Yous'". No man or woman likes to come home to a NAGGING spouse.
A.P. answers from Denver on August 18, 2008
You are not alone, honey! You have to TAKE me time. It doesn't happen magically. Mine is taking a bath every night and reading a book --- after the kids are in bed. The husband bit is and always will be an ongoing challenge. Men don't get it and I doubt they ever will. I think it's a good idea for him to walk in your shoes for awhile. He'll get it temporarily. But he'll forget. Our challenge as mothers & wives is to not get angry. This is something I'm dealing with right now. Is his behavior something you want to get divorced over? No. Are there supermen out there that are better? Doubtful. Will he change? No. So, we've got to learn to get a sense of humor about it. Easier said than done, I KNOW. My theory is the more ME time we get and the more outlets we have --- the better. I'm reading A NEW WORLD. It talks a lot about the big picture. Is this REALLY a big deal in the whole scheme of things? No. Nevertheless, you feel the way you feel. So, we all need to find a way to deal. Me? I'm going to try to fit in exercise every day. I'm also considering counseling to help with my anger management. Because when it comes right down to it --- even though my husband irritates me with our domestic relationship --- I love him and wouldn't trade him for anyone else. I would hate to lose him. I've been with him for 13 years. He hasn't changed. So, I need to figure out how to let it be. You are doing the right thing by decompressing with us. The answer is within you. Good luck.
S.B. answers from Denver on August 18, 2008
This is a tough one. the thing the most helped my relationship with this is my husband getting into reading lately: Eckhart Tolle (ThePower o Now), the Secret, emotional intelligences, the Five Love Languages... We can now talk about this stuff I have known forever as i grew up this way. I too expected my husband to help as my father always did. I learned this is not the way of most families. So...talk with your mother-in-law. Ask her to be honest and see what chores he did as a kid. what was expected to contribute and how. I found mine only mowed his lawn for two years and he had maids or lawn people the rest of his life...aka: he didn't know how. So i have taken a teacher role when necessary and taught him...when he was willing. He has also discovered giving me ten mintues of dish time hee and there to go take my shower gives me more time with him later. It is occassional and I don't know how working women do it. My sister said that the house simply doesn't get as dirty when everyone out of the house all day so that helps. Lastly, make a schedule. I do main cleaning every sunday through out the day in parts so the hubby is at least there some to entertain children. Then we all work together. It is also helpful if you clean while your husband is watching TV and get the kids involved. Eventually, they will ask him why he isn't joining the fun? Maybe he just doesn't know how. Just urn up the oldies and have fun together. Use peer pressure from the kids, and eventually, hopefully, he will see that he ets more of YOU when he helps out. We call it Love Buckets...contributing to our Love Buckets. We laugh about it and make silly jokes...but it is acknowledging that we are filling each other's love Buckets... stop the negative and only do the positive. You will feel frustrated as you will feel like you have you to relie on, but surprisingly, he is watcing and he will join in to fill your Love Bucket as long as you fill his. give what you want to get, be patient, and you will get returns!
D.B. answers from Salt Lake City on August 18, 2008
just a note about using work as me time... i know whenever i return home from my fri night and sat double shift the house is a complete disaster. either that or it seems like if my son & husband have been gone for the weekend, my three year old gets a couple of days full of candy candy & more candy... oh, pizza, too. i do enjoy the break away from the house for the weekend at work while earning some extra funds... but i typically have just as much work (or more) to do at home after a weekend away! :D
i think a lot of men just look at child rearing a little differently than most women. this is one reason children can benefit from a balance of male & female influence. whether that be from a married couple or otherwise.
as far as a two-day-get-away i recommend a sleep over for the kids @ a grandparent or other relative's (who your children know well.)
as far as what's normal for housework... everyone is different. i've heard some of my friends talk about how their husbands do absolutely nothing... as if the man's workday ends at 5pm while the women's workday never really ends. we often hold jobs, manage the family budget & bill paying, yard work or gardening, take care of housework, rear children, even wake up in the middle of the night with kids when it's necessary. :D we do this often because we want things to be just right or maybe because we're afraid it won't get done otherwise. there are endless jokes about the differences between males & females. some husbands on the other hand do their 'fair share' of bedtime story reading, bathing kids, dishes, clothes folding, etc in addition to their everyday work schedule. then, of course, some men do nothing at all with the kids regarding monetary support or housework or anything.
hope any of this bantering helps. :D
S.S. answers from Colorado Springs on August 18, 2008
I know exactly what you are saying, I have an eleven year old and a year old, after I had gotten my eleven year old established in school, I went back to work fulltime, had a good job, friends, my time, so forth, we shared housework and things to do with our son, then out of the blue, I got pregnant after ten years, due to medical reasons I had to quit my job, for my pregnancy, and didn't feel comfortable going back after she was born, because I wanted to be home with her, so I decided to go back to school online. Needless to say, my friends who work and have older children are too busy, I am at home, so I am responsible for everything once again, I can't afford to go anywhere, except home, and if I go back to work, between gas and daycare its just not feasable. I feel your frustration and wish I could offer better advice, but I feel exactly the same way you do, if only they understood that talking with adults and all the frustration that they feel throughout the day at their job would sometimes be welcomed, compared to four walls, laundry, cleaning and fighting children. I love my children and am thankful to have them, in the same breath, oh what it would be to work again and have money, and an adult conversation that didn't include, well I cleaned, washed or seperated ten arguements today would be a blessing.
C.H. answers from Denver on August 18, 2008
Presuming that he's working full-time and earning the income that the family needs to survive, you might not have a leg to stand on on the "chores" issue. Try reading "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" by Dr. Laura.
The real problem is that the women's movement "invented" the way they thought the world should work, i.e., everything centers around the woman, and they sold it all to you, and your parents didn't intervene and tell you that the women's movement was living in la-la-land.
You're never really going to get help with the chores. Unfortunately, the chores are "your" job. (I don't like them either, but I do admit that they are my job if I'm the stay-at-home mom.)
M.H. answers from Denver on August 18, 2008
Hi. You have gotten a lot of good advice here, but I thought I would go ahead and weigh in as well! For the me time, there are lots of things you can do that don't cost much. Find a friend and visit a park with the kids. The kids play on the playground with minimal supervision, and you and the friend can chat, go for a walk with the kids in a stroller or wagon, take a bath during nap time, take some time do your nails or hair, so you feel pretty. I have a two year old that I stay home with, and it is super challenging at times. I find that if I get some adult interaction during the day, I am more relaxed and nicer to be around when dh gets home. Take some time for you--I try to for at least 20 minutes every day during nap time. And, I make sure I use nap time for chores as well--so that there aren't a bunch to do when hubby gets home. That way he doesn't feel bombarded with a list when he walks in the door, and I am not having to do a bunch of chores when I am tired at the end of the day. If I use my time wisely, I can get laundry folded and put away, dinner planned, and the house picked up during nap time, in addition to some me time. It makes evenings much more enjoyable. I also try to remember that I can't change him, I can only change my attitude and/or actions.
L.B. answers from Provo on August 25, 2008
Just a couple of comments. I don't know how typical your husband's chore patterns are. My sisters' husbands are not like that and they have very successful marriages. My former husband has comparable chore patterns to your husband. These patterns were one of the nails in the coffin of our marriage that no longer exists. I found that my body was failing from working full time and doing virtually ALL of the housework, child care, yardwork, and errands while he watched TV, read, and played with his friends.
Believe me, taking on an outside job will NOT give you additional time for yourself. It will simply add to your stress and result in less time for yourself.
Your husband is very selfish and infantile, and needs to grow up. He may not want to, however.
To be honest, I don't have any solutions for you. You could try talking to him, going on strike, counseling and everything else, as I did, but if he wants to continue to act like that, you are not going to change him. You will either have to accept him the way he is or leave him.
E.B. answers from Denver on August 18, 2008
Personally, I went back to teaching part-time (night classes) and it has done wonders in a couple of areas:
First, I do get some me time. My commute to school is 20 miles each way and even if I get my me time in the car, I get it nonetheless. I also get the satisfaction of working and making the little bit of money that teaching gives me.
Secondly, my husband has started to solidify a better bond with our daughter. He has to feed her, bathe her, play with her, console her, etc. He has become much more confident in caring for her, much more willing to share in those responsibilities when we're home together and MUCH more appreciative of what I do all day long. Recent comments have been, "I don't know how you do this all day long" and "You do way more around here than I do and I really appreciate it."
I've found that I have to be very specific with my husband about what I need him to do to help me. Saying, "I need help" isn't enough. I need to say things like, "I have grading to do ... I need you to help me by feeding and changing the baby." He admitted that he'd like to help but is often oblivious to how he can help me at that particular moment unless I spell it out for him. He just told me the other day that he is grateful that I've been more specific with him. He's willing to help, he just needs to know how.
I think that might be part of the key: You may need to say, I'm doing X and I need you to do Z. That way it's clear that you're both doing something to care for the kids, the home, etc.
K.P. answers from Boise on August 18, 2008
You have gotten many great points of view on this, so why not one more? You sound pretty resentful that your husband doesn't do as much as you would like him to do, and that he "gets" to leave every day and you are left with the strains of the house and kids. Being resentful is not a good thing for you, your marriage or your kids. Here's how I see it...Your husband gets up every day to go off to a job he may or may not like so that you can stay home and raise his children. He has to answer to a boss, go to lunch and break when he is told, he is probably on a stressful schedule that he doesn't like all day. He doesn't have the luxuries that you are failing to see that you have. For instance, you can to get on the computer anytime you want, watch news in the morning if you want, play games with the kids, have a pic-nic, go to the park, take a walk or ride bikes with kids and girlfriends if you want, you can even go out to lunch with kids and friends if you want. You only have to manage laundry, cleaning and grocery shopping in between all of the freedoms you have during the day. I guarantee your husband would love to be home with you guys instead of working, but you married a MAN. He works his butt off to take care of his family, and for you to go back to work I think would be a blow to his ego. He is probably very proud of you for what you do to take care of the kids and it would be better if you made the effort every day to enjoy what you do so that he can come home to a happy wife and happy kids. And really, if there are dishes in the sink, or folded laundry on the counter when he walks in, it won't matter if he sees you(the mother of his children)playing, laughing and enjoying your kids. It is far better to have love in the home than a clean home. Yes, clean is important, but you can let some stuff slide for a day and catch up the next. If you make the choice every day to wake up happy and thinking of your husband when you are folding his underwear or cleaning his favorite glass you will begin to feel less resentment and more power over the vibe of the household. I know you have heard the term, "if mamma ain't happy, nobody's happy." Well, it's true. I bet your husband has come home lately to an unhappy, nagging and complaining wife. That's enough to make any man unhappy and unwilling to come near you to help with anything. Change your attitude and his will change too. As a woman, you have that power. Your kids also feel the anger, and you don't want to put that on your kids. Now, decompression and "me time" is important, but being a SAHM, you have to be creative about it. It can be just a quick walk around the block with a girlfriend when your husband gets home from work, or locking yourself in the bathroom for a quick 20 minute bath and a few pages of a good book, or something that has been suggested, and I do from time to time, put the kids to bed and go for a walk with a friend. Signing up to be mommy comes with sacrifices, and when your kids are grown, you will have all the free time you can stand, and will probably miss the hectic selfless schedule you have now. By the way, I agree with one of the other posts that going back to work will only take more of your time, and putting your little one in daycare would more than likely take all of the money you would earn at that job where you will have to answer to a boss, deal with people you may not like on a daily basis, and when you get home, there will still be the stresses of dishes, laundry, dinner, kid's homework etc. Look at your work as doing your part to help the family instead of looking at it as something you hate to do every day. Do it all with a smile on your face, and eventually that smile will become how you really feel, and your home will be a happy and loving place that your MAN will want to come home to. Unfortunately, when your home is not one that your husband loves to come home to, that is when some husbands find other things to do after work, or other women who will stroke their egos and make them feel good. I would avoid that at all costs. I'm not saying your guy would definitely do that, but I do listen to Dr. Laura, and usually when women call in about their husband's having affairs, it is because of the angry, bitter, unloving way the women have been acting toward the men they are supposed to love. Of course, this is all just my opinion, but you should know, I have been where you are, and as soon as my attitude changed, my husband's did too, and after 8 years of marriage and two kids, we have never been happier and never appreciated each other more. We now have a great understanding that he is working hard for us and I am working hard for us. Marriage is about taking care of each other, not competing and fighting about who does more.
J.N. answers from Salt Lake City on August 18, 2008
Guys don't think the same as women. He probably doesn't realize he's not helping out so much. I had to sit down and have an honest talk with my hubby and tell him that I need a lot more help. He really plans to, but then forgets, so I just tell him I need him to do it NOW. (he argues but I remind him I know it won't get done otherwise and he gets it). I'm betting your hubby doesn't mean to squirm out of housework, but doesn't have the skills you do for organizing your work and getting things done. And he probably doesn't mean to imply you havent been doing anything all day. He just wants to know how your day went when he asks 'what have you been doing all day.'
But it sounds like you need some time 'off' from being the mom. You may want to try a direct sales something, like Lia Sophia, Pampered Chef, or Mary Kay. You get some time out with the girls to be an adult, and may even earn a bit of extra money. You can also arrange your schedule so hubby is home with the kids when you are gone. Find something you love and give it a try!
M.W. answers from Fort Collins on August 18, 2008
First off J S is yes, all men are like this!!!! With very few exceptions unfortunately.
I wouldn't go back to work unless you have to. That is not alone time.
But you could tell "Mr. I will help" that you appreciate all the help he has been giving, but it is just not enough.
Then tell him that twice a week you are going to be gone for several hours, and the kids are his chore to handle.
Then grab a book and go to the park. Take your compaque cd player with you so you have some relaxing tunes.
Or go to restaurant, like Denny's, grab a boothe order something to drink and sit there and read your book, write a letter, do some studying.
I used to go to Denny's about 10:30 on a Tuesday night and write letters and read. It was usually quiet and they had plenty of coffee or soda.
I know how it is to have small kids and no money to do anything.
But it sounds like to me that you need a few nights away a week to just decompress. If you love this man, believe their are worse things than not helping.
Men are pigs, and at 59 years old, and being married 4 times I know. They are all pigs, and present husband is included in the group. LOL
Right now, when you read this, I want you to close your eyes and take 4 or 5 really deep breathes. The deep breathing helps with the boxed in feeling. And you will probably have to do it 7 or 8 or more times a day. But it does work.
Anyway, good luck in school and at home.
S.M. answers from Casper on August 21, 2008
you don't need to go back to work, it is normal for men not to do chores (not appreciated, but normal), and you need to express your concerns about the money. We live in an 800 sq ft apartment and I do tell my husband it is too small (not too often bc he already knows) and we have a plan we are working on to get out of here. every time i say it's too small my husband can say "that's why i'm going to school, and watching training videos for maya". it really gives me a lot of hope.
If you are comfortable invite the MIL over to help organize. If not, attack it yourself. I don't mean make it perfect, but one secret to organizing is to put everything in a container. Sort. You almost can not have enough bins, boxes, etc. Then you can grab an 18 gallon bin, haul it in the living room, fill it with clutter and take it... Okay, I am often tempted to throw it away, but at the very least I can put it upstairs and get to it later or out in the car. Teach your kids to clean up. Ok, you have the chore chart. that's a start. I hate chore charts. I love telling my kids - put this away, put that away, and my 3 year old loves to fold washcloths and help me.
Meanwhile, tell him to go live with his mommy if he wants the house clean. Families with young kids and lazy husbands have messy homes. Have the two year old do the dishes, have the 8 year old do the laundry. Get real mean and wash everyone's clothes but his. Say "8 year old, get all your dirty white clothing. help 2 year old get his too. put it in here. put soap in. put softener in." then tell hubby "we washed our own clothes. you do yours." okay, maybe that won't fly very well, but it would be funny, right?
I don't have money either. No really, my husband is on disability and last year I watched raw sewage come through a 6 inch incision in his belly because his intestines ruptured. gross. anyhow, have you seen the Corner Gas episode where Brent goes on 'staycation'? Watch it. My vacation this summer was playing games on Facebook, and giving advice to people I don't even know. It was fun. This is kind of fun.
C.S. answers from Salt Lake City on August 18, 2008
Take a deep breath...slowly release it...awww that feels better.Repeat often!!! I know being a SAHM can be tuff at times. I notice when I focus on the negative it only creates more so I focus on as many positive things about the day as I can. Have you read or watched "The Secret"? Strongly suggest it. As far as your husband goes...when was the last time you complimented him and let him know how much you appreciate him? Find something good about him and tell him, you will be surprised how much more willing he will be to help around the house or with the kids. Let go of that anger and resentment, it's poison. Focus on what you do want and you'll be delighted with the outcome. I wish you all the best!
K.J. answers from Salt Lake City on August 18, 2008
if you're in school, it sounds like you'll have time away. If it's your kids going back, understand. Explain to your husband how you feel. Set a time when he'll be off work, or he can take a day off, and have him do your jobs while you go play. For "me time," think of the things you like to do, write them down, and do what is free--hiking, going for a walk, go to a park, window shop and plan out interior or exterior decorations or designs, or try on a bunch of clothes at the store, go to a museum, library, friends house, joy riding, etc.