April 22, 2009,
K.C. asks from Conway, AR on April 18, 2009
Selfish Husband, I Need More Support but Can't Seem to Get It Through to Him...
I have been Married 6 years this month and we have a beautiful 5 month old girl who is the light of our lives. I work from home; I telecommute and literally need to put in an 8 hour day at my desk 5 days a week. We wanted to keep our daughter at home as long as we could- I would love to be a SAHM (I am the main bread winner- and we don't really have enough in the budget for full daycare). Currently I get up at 4 am to start my workday so that I can get some uninterrupted time in before our daughter wakes up. I often end up only getting 5 or 6 hours of my work day completed as she doesn't nap for very long (20 mins 2-4 times a day) and then I end up having to work on Saturday as well. She doesn't really like being in her bouncy seat in my office- she gets bored pretty quickly despite the cute hanging toys she has. I really feel like my husband has no concept of what my day is lke. I seem to always be waiting for her to nap so I can get some work done- thats not to say that I don't enjoy my daughter- I love spending time with her but it's sometimes bitter sweet because i am getting so sleep deprived. He is not interested in putting her to bed so that I can go to bed early. He even acts all put out if I ask him to take responsibility for her so I can work a couple hours afetr he comes home on weeknights. His excuse is that he has worked hard all day- and that leaves me flabbergasted- as I have tried to work all day long too- and tended to our infant daughter as well. I have tried to explain just how much I do all day and it's to the point now whenever I bring up that I need him to watch her more when he is home he gets all frustrated and angry. He made a comment this evening about not being able to take naps at work- and I had to tell him that every minute she naps i try to work at my computer- and that I don't nap during the day. I really think he has this idea that I just lounge around (i do laundry and other househodl chores as well as work and care for our little girl). I have never left her with him for the day as he does not want me to- so he has not seen how much effort it is to take care of a little one and do household chores (or work...) I have tried to say to him- "you don't want to be left with her because it will be quite a bit of work and you won't be able to do some of the things you want to do- well imagine trying to work 8 hours on top of that" but he doesn't put it together.. What should I do? how can I proceed?? My last car payment is in May and I will hopefully be able to afford part time daycare (which he is protesting) I think my husband and i would actually benefit greatly from some therapy- but he flatly refuses.
So What Happened?™
Thank you all for the support and encouragement. The day I posted this I pretty much blew up at my husband- I think he kinda realized I was angry and hurt and that it was affecting our marriage as whole. Each time I spoke with him after that we addressed some of the issues- in little mini-conversations. I think he could deal with the problem better that way. He has made some changes this week in the way he does things when he comes home from work - if he will keep it up it's already a big difference. Without me bringing it up he offered to stay home on Saturdays while I go do something- although he did ask- please don't stay away all day, I'm not sure I could handle that yet. This statement in and of itself helped me appreciate his position a little more- he doesn't usually admit to not being able to handle something, so it was a step away from the manly man image he tries to project. By no means is ths situation resolved but I feel like we've at least made a step in the right direction. With the few things we talked about, my husband tentatively asked me "are we good now?"- to which I responded no, of course. I'm glad he at least knows what's going on- I am sure it will be a work in progress but I think we have a good start. Oh- I think I read this in a couple of posts too- I have created this monster- I enable him. It was fun and made me all warm and fuzzy to do things for him when we were first married- now he expects it. I should have listend- someone wise told me before we got married- don't start off doing anything for him that you don't want to keep doing!
Thanks again ladies- I got the boost I needed to really address this with him, normally I would have brought it up once, and then dropped it when I didn't get the response I was looking for.
J.G. answers from Oklahoma City on April 18, 2009
I would get up one saturday or sunday morning, hand him the baby and say, it's your turn. When he goes to argue tell him you will be back tonight. Give him a kiss, kiss the baby and leave. Stay gone all day doing whatever it is you need to do. I had to do that with my ex husband b/c he never watched our kids and thought all I did was sit at home and nap with them. After I did that a couple times to him, he understood a little more. I am sure some of the women here aren't going to agree but you need to do something drastic to make him help and understand how hard it is. Good luck!
1 mom found this helpful
C.T. answers from Baton Rouge on April 19, 2009
Hi. I am a now 40 year old mom to a 6, 4, and 2 year old. Luckily I do not work, but nothing changed when I was working full-time--I still did everything, was sleep deprived, exhausted, and my husband would always get upset if I asked for help with the kids and said that he had had a hard day at work. Unfortunately, I don't have any advice for you! I can say that I know several women who have the same problem--and these guys are great guys, good dads, but they can't get over the "me's"--they are the most important. AFter getting extremely upset for about a year, we had an incident that led me to realize that he honestly doesn't think he is doing anything wrong, he does "need" his down time after work, and he is not trying to be "mean or hurtful" with his behavior. We have concluded that it is in their genetic makeup to be this way and you can maybe change a little of their behavior, but not enough to satisfy you. I started watching everybody loves raymond and he reminds me soooo much of my husband--he is loveable, but his selfishness is obvious which is just how he is--he doesn't try to be mean and doesn't realize what he is doing. I had to figure a way to work around him to make my life better which included naps on the weekend, watching other kids in the neighborhood for free so that they could reciprocate with mine, joining an all-hours healthclub so that I could work out after they go to sleep (which helps a lot with the exhaustion).
B.W. answers from Oklahoma City on April 19, 2009
Perhaps he needs to be having some father time with her more often, so that he gets an idea of how much work a baby is. It is obvious that he isn't too compassionate about your job duties as well as your motherhood duties. Even though he refuses marriage counseling, go yourself. It will help you formulate how to better deal with a husband who wants to have it all...... a wife who stays at home, cares for the kids and ALSO makes money. It is totally unrealistic of him and he needs an objective person telling him that. Also, why don't you offer to let him take the baby to his office for a day or two? How much work would he be able to get done? He really needs to grow up, he is a father now!
R.S. answers from Tulsa on April 19, 2009
I believe the only way to get empathy from a spouse is if they literally spend a day in your shoes. Would he be willing to switch places with you for just a day? I bet he wouldn't even make it through half a day and it would open his eyes to reality.
S.S. answers from Honolulu on April 22, 2009
I don't have any advice for the non-supportive husband so many women are having that battle in their marriages. As far as your daughter try to skip the first morning nap, entertain her a little more and keep her awake. When it homes time for her nap she should sleep a little long. Her taking short naps indicates that she is not completely ready for a nap. By extending the time between naps it should make he sleep longer. You can also try spacing out feedings a little longer or introducing cereal she may be waking up because she is hungry. I would skip the first nap when she shows evidence of getting sleeping sleeping give a warm bath (even doing the day it will relax her) then a bottle and rock her till she falls a sleep. She will be completely relaxed and should sleep longer.
M.B. answers from New Orleans on April 19, 2009
Make him watch her! Even if it's just while you run to the store. Men sometimes think we have no choice but to parent as a mom, they want to wait until the time is right for them. Stress bonding to your husband, he should have aone time with her to play and get to know her. All else fails do like I did simply remind him she was not created alone, and that you both wanted to be parents, it's time to step up. Good luck! this is a very common prob.
L.P. answers from Jonesboro on April 20, 2009
Wow. He kind of sounds like a cave man. My suggestion is to leave her with him for an entire saturday and give him a reality check. if that fails to work, either quit your job or put her in day care. He shouldn't be able to make decisions about daycare or you quiting if he is not participating in her raising.
C.G. answers from Huntsville on April 19, 2009
I think you need to tell your husband it's time to step up and BE her father (in a nicer way if you think he will get defensive if he thinks you are jumping on him).
I am guessing that he Wanted her here and that's why you 2 have her-he needs to take some responsibility for her.
I am (Thankfully) a SAHM but my husband had the same mindset-I work hard all day and you should have the baby ready for me to play with, dinner ready and house spotless...
I told him that our daughter WAS my job so -Imagine what it would be like if he were are work 24 hours/day 7 days/week and the only time he got away from his "job" was to take a poop!! :-) Of course after our girl started crawling that was out of the question too!
I said imagine if you got a call (like a Firefighter) and no matter what time it was he HAD to go-even if he'd just worked a 9 hour shift and they call at 2:00am.
(Our daughter is the best thing in our lives-after our marriage.)
I told him that if he didn't step up and be willing to do something other than hold her and change her (which he has always done :-). That we weren't ever going to have any kind of marriage. Also, that if the marriage isn't healthy and strong the child suffers most.
I felt it was time for him to decide how his future would be. If I was going to be our girl's sole caretaker, and didn't have energy for the fun married stuff-I might as well be single. That's how my future looked at the time and it scared him into action.
Now he keeps her for a little bit each week for me to run errands if needed and if we have to go someplace "big" on the weekends (Walmart, Sam's) we double team her or one of us keeps her and the other goes alone.
She is now 3 and an even bigger handful than as a baby (she is into Everything :-). Daddy is a much bigger help even though he works 8 hrs a day and has about a 40 minute commute 1 way.
I told him we needed to work on our marriage and that included trying to be sensitive to the other person's needs and we needed to be honest about what those were.
In short-Talk to him tell him how stressed/sleep deprived you are and if he wants the household to stay the way it is, You NEED him to help with the baby.
Also-is there a MDO program locally (some go during the summer) you can take your child? Most of them about 3 days/week for somewhere near 100 dollars/month.
I started our daughter in one of those when she was 2-my husband was skeptical about it at first, but then he stayed with her for a few hours on a Saturday for me to go to Walmart and when I got home he was singing a different tune ;-). Some weeks her days in MDO are the only days I can go to the store/get my haircut/see the Dr/dentist...
Also, if you want to tell him this-what will He do if You got so run down you got the FLU and he HAD to stay home and take care of your daughter b/c YOU Can't!!!
Just something for him to think about. I also told my hubby he needs to know how to take care of her (baths/bed time/making meals for her/how to make her juice etc...) in case I fell and broke my leg it would probably be a week or more before I could do stuff again..Plus you need some time just for You-I Promise if you get it (even if it's just 20 minutes a couple of times/week ) You will be a better Mom and Wife!
I hope this helps-sorry it is "rambly" I just get irritated at men who think being a Mom full-time is "easy" and act like their wives sit around home all day and eat bon bons or some such b/c they can't see them. :-)
Good Luck let us know what happens ok?