My Husband Doesn't "Get It"

Updated on July 17, 2008
A.M. asks from Bellevue, WA
8 answers

I want to first of all say that I LOVE my husband of 3 1/2 years with all my heart. He is my best friend and a wonderful husband and father. BUT: He just doesn't get it!!!

I know he works hard all day. He is a roofer, not making roofs, but cleaning and repairing them, usually with a professional grade pressure washer or blowing them off with an air compressor that is so big it has it's own trailer he pulls behind his van. The materials he uses are so heavy, probably 100 lbs each and he has to carry them with one hand to take them onto the roof and install them. He works all day rain or shine, heat or freezing, it doesn't matter, he ALWAYS goes to work. He comes home tired.

The problem is this: I am a stay at home mom of 3: ages 11, 21 months and 3 months. I also take care of the children of friends: 3 boys ages 20 months, 19 months and 15 months. My husband thinks all I do all day is watch TV and use the computer. (I know: ironic that I am on the computer now - they are all in thier high chairs right now so I have a sec.) I am tired by the end of the day and he says I am lazy.

How can I get my husband to understand that even though I don't go out every day and break my back working on a roof, that I am still tired after taking care of 4 toddlers and an infant all day while dealing with a pre-teen as well as cleaning the house, cooking, and running all the errands? Sometimes I am so tired during nap time that I fall asleep nursing! Forget bedtime! My husband lately thinks I am not attracted to him because I am too tired for sex. Top it all off: I still have about 35 - 40 lbs to loose from 2 babies back-to-back and I'm too tired to excersize. (Not to mention finding the time.) And my husband is complaining about my weight gain. I think I would be more motivated to work out if I had a work out buddy, but I don't know any one and I'm stuck at home almost all the time. By the time the last of the kids get picked up, it's time for dinner and bed for my kids, and I'm nursing so I don't want to leave the baby and go to the gym since he won't take a bottle.

He is clearly in love with me still and it shows, it's just that this issue is heading toward the arguement stage and I don't want it to come to that.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the great advice! I tried to talk to my husband but he still didn't get it so one morning when he happened to be home, I asked him to come downstairs to the daycare so I could make lunch. I purposely got all the kids "worked up" before doing so and then took a little longer than I needed to cook. I also made him watch "John and Kate plus 8" with me. (TLC) I told him that was what our basement looked like most mornings. And I am making an effort to be a little bit more sexy for him. Things are going good. He is respecting my job as a childcare provider and a mom more now, the only problem is, once he experienced a little taste of my day, now he says he doesn't want any more kids. ;) He'll change his mind. We won't have the next one so close in age to the last one as the last 2 were to eachother. Thanks everyone!

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answers from Seattle on

It took until I was in the hospital for a couple of weeks before my husband really understood. Other times I had been gone overnight I had planned food, etc. This time he had to do all the shopping, cooking, laundry, and child care by himself. After that he was willing to pitch in more around the house to give me a break (because I really needed one by the time he got home from work).

Maybe you also need to cut back more on caring for other kids so you can get some more "me" time for excercise and peace of mind that will improve how you feel.

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answers from Seattle on

Hey A. -
First of all, I understand! My husband and I talk about this a lot because we have a tendency to start down this path. The key is being able to talk it out, though, and always remembering to validate each other and compliment each other as your days go by. Men need respect and women need love (Love and Respect by Emmerson Eggerichs is a great book that helps both strong and flailing marriages). It's hard for you to respect him when he's not showing you love, and of course in your situation and with not being shown the *type* of love you need to feel, you don't want to get friendly in the bedroom. We've all been there!!!
Have you ever read/heard about the Five Love Languages (book by Gary Chapman)? He says we show and feel love primarily in one of five different ways: Gifts, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, and Words of Affirmation. If you can first have the two of you decide what you think your primary love language is, and then what you think your spouse's is, then trade your thoughts it's a great way to spark conversation. Many young mother/wives are in the Acts of Service phase of their love lives (it changes as your life changes). If he comes home and helps you clean and get the kids to bed, chances are you're ready to show him some lovin' in appreciation! ;) And if you have supper on the table when he gets home, a clean non-nursing bra and your makeup done will bump you up a few notches on his love-o-meter! Men physically need attention, but don't get that confused with his love language, it might be something else in addition to physical touch, too. (My husband's is Words of Affirmation.)
I could go on so much longer, but that's the basis of a lot of miscommunication in good marriages, and when left unattended only leads to larger problems. I would urge you to explore these ideas with him and see if it leads to some good conversation. (I'm happy to tell you more if you want it!)

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answers from Seattle on

I had the same problem with my husband when my children were very young and I ran an in-home daycare and even when I started back to work 30 hours a week. I wasn't working as much as he was or earning as much money, so my job couldn't possibly be as difficult as his. I think you both need to take the time to sit and have a heart to heart talk and clear the air. Tell him how you feel and give him a chance to talk. You also need to find time to be intimate with him and connect again so he knows he is still important to you. If you get no where you may both need to take time to see a counselor who can mediate the conversation. This sort of resentment can do a lot of damage to a marriage. It is hard with so many little ones in the house, they are an exhausting bunch. It is also hard to be with that many children without adult contact, maybe you could take a class in the evening to get away from the house a little while and just be with adults. Maybe you and your husband can go for a walk in the evening with the tiny ones in a stroller and have a chance to talk before getting the kids to bed. Excercise and conecting with your husband. Your both tired, but the effort may be worth it in the end.

Good Luck

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answers from Seattle on

It sounds like your husband needs to walk in your shoes for a day or two. have him stay home with the kids one day and do it all by himself. Then he will see that staying home with kids is not a walk in the park. As far as your weight. If my husband ever said anything about my weight I would slap him. He shouldn't make comments on something you can't control right now. If he wants you to get back in shape then he needs to take the kids and let you go to the gym and have some time for yourself.

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answers from Seattle on

Leave your husband alone with as many of the children as possible for as long as you can. Even if its a weekend he might gain a whole new appreciation for you and what you do. I find this works well with my husband when he forgets what I do all day. If you can try to leave him a shopping list for groceries or something so he has to deal with that too. Don't worry about all this, it happens to all stay at home moms at some point. I know it has happend to my husband and I. We also get the reverse where I feel like he goes to a quite office drinks coffee and blogs all day long. Its hard to remember that there is more to our mates lives then what we see. Good luck and your doing everything just fine. Also I don't know if it helps but digital cable, Comcast, has exercise programs on demand (you can play them whenever you want) Also the YMCA has 'free' childcare with a family membership.

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answers from San Diego on

Hi A.,

Undoubtedly this is all going to come out wrong and I apologize in advance for offending you. ;)

Wow, that's a bit harsh of your husband. I only have a 20 mo old and I'm exhausted after a day with her, I can't imagine having 3 and then others. I would recommend he stay with the kids (even just your three) a full day while you go out to the spa and then tell you you are "lazy" at the end of the day.

Is there a financial reason that you are taking care of other people's children? It seems to me that you have enough on your plate with your own 3. Two under two years old can keep you worn out and you are still getting over the birth of your last one! Holy cow, what does he expect? I'm flabbergasted. (Not trying to diss your hubby but he obviously hasn't a clue).

I better go back and read your email and see what you were asking before I get really ticked off...Oh, how can you get your husband to understand? Honestly, like I said at the beginning, let him spend a day with the kids, without you around. You can try and express some milk for a week and leave a bottle (the baby will take it if he's hungry enough and if he's not and he screams the whole time, it will be good for your husband to experience). lol

As far as exercising goes, give yourself a break. Although I know that exercising can give you more energy,you can try to do some videos (rent from library - you could take the kids on a trip to the library) or something when the kids nap, or even get them to try and exercise with you. Any kind of movement should be good for all of you. I just don't know any way to get your husband to understand other than hanging out with the kids and doing what you do for a few days. I guarantee that will do the trick!!

Sorry I could not be more help. Please take care of yourself. I don't care how sweet he is and how much you are in love, if he isn't listening to you, he isn't being your "best friend".
Best friends would listen to you and try to understand what you are going through. They would try to help you. I know he is tired too but a marriage is a partnership and that does include child rearing. Maybe counseling? (But my guess is that he would not go).

I'm sorry again. I hate to be this way but I'm just being honest based on what you've written. He does not sound supportive.


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answers from Seattle on

The only suggestion I can come up with is having him stay home 1-2 days and do what you do. We had a situation early on, where my husband had to stay home for 3 days with my (then) 5-month old while I was at work. He has had a deeper appreciation for what I do ever since then. While being honest is best, you may need to "invent" a reason to have him stay home at least one day - like having 2 dr appointments back to back on one day, visiting a sick relative, or just that you need a break. Make sure it comes across as a necessity, not just as a "challenge" to see if he can do what you do. Plan it way in advance if necessary! Good luck!!!

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answers from Seattle on

Hi A....
I think we women have all gotten this from our husbands at some point or other - we all understand you!

I ran across this blog the other day that seemed to address the sex issue quite well!
Clearly, men and women have different sex drives...she addresses this nicely and helps us to understand it's a real need for men, and when we give...we usually get more help on the home front as the husband feels satisfied and happy. Tricky part is giving without expecting the help at first! You may also just have to have a heart-to-heart talk with him.

The only advice I have is that...I know that if I leave my husband alone with my kids for even a few hours, he "gets it" again when I come home! He won't even venture out of the house with all three of our kids (heaven forbid five kids when my stepkids are over!) My attitude is that he's a guy, so that's his perogative...he's not female and he's not a mom, so he's not going to "get it" all...and I am not going to let 3 or 5 kids stop me. I pile them in the car, and off we go. (Otherwise, I'd go nowhere and have no fun!)

A few years ago, when it was absolutely necessary for us to juggle schedules due to finances and husband bonded with our middle son very well. He is so proud now, when he looks back, that he could do a mothering role all by himself! It seems silly because we women could do it all blindfolded, underwater, in a straightjacket... But I let him revel in his parenting victory!

As for your weight, I am also struggling with this. I joined Weight Watchers recently, and they make it easier to address the weight loss issue by focusing on just losing 10% of your body weight. Doesn't losing 20 pounds sound easier than losing 40? Try to get some exercise in (even just walking), figure out what time of day works best for you. When I wait til the end of the doesn't happen. If I do it early, I have energy and am still in a peaceful and upbeat state of mind! My husband also cannot understand why I just can't wait til 6pm or 8pm and do a workout with him. I can and I have...but it's a struggle for me with dinnertime, evenig activites, bath and bedtimes. So early it is, and he has to work out alone sometimes.

I also decided to join WW because exercise alone was not doing it for me. I am ready to reclaim my body and I guess in order to do that, it needs calories cut as well. Basic principle, I know...but hard to put into practice. I am on week #2 and doing well, it's not as hard as I thought it would be!

I did join the gym. I asked for a membership for my birthday in December. My hubs did not get it for me, but I signed myself up in January at a gym with childcare. He said he did not understand, the childcare was too extravagant, etc. I said forget it, I'm going and I'm paying! (I do bring in some money altho it is not as much as he earns.) And he has been ok with it now, he also joins me. It's like an exercise date, we both get out without kids at least once a week!

Best of luck to you!

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