I have been married to my husband for 8 years. We have a beautiful 4 year old son, and I am currently 9 weeks pregnant. I need some advice please on how to manage the daily stresses of marriage, as they are really affecting our relationship.
We both work all day....both have busy jobs. But mine ends when I leave the office, and my husbands does not, he's always checking in and getting calls from work.
My problem is that I feel like I am running my entire household. My husband is very handy when it comes to fixing things, installing things, he's great. But lets face it, you're not installing and fixing on a daily basis, so his chores come in "spurts". The rest of it falls to me. Sure he'll vaccum once in a while, load and unload the dishwasher "when he feels like it'. But all the regular cleaning is down to me. I do all the "arranging" for this family, meaning, I make sure all the bills get paid, I arrange all the necessary doctors appointments, school stuff for my son.....I plan all the vacations, he just shows up. I'm tired....and now that I'm pregnant, I'm "really" tired. I wish my husband would do more about the house, and show more of an interest in planning our lives. I dont have to be "told" to contact the school and arrange for the first day, or to call the doctor's to arrange for my son's booster shot. I dont have to be "told" to pay the gas bill. Why should I have to tell him all the time? Because as I'm sure someone out there can relate, when you keeping having to tell someone something, it becomes "nagging", and then I get ignored, and then I feel like a witch. I'm tired of this, and it's really chipping away at how I feel about him. Especially when I get "sighs" and "rolled eyes" when I bug him to do something, but then someone from work will call, and he'll just drop what he's doing, and help them with a very pleasant tone.
I cant "stop" doing my chores, because they need to get done.....and I cant force him to change. I just wish he'd do his part because I'm exhausted, and nervous how I'm going to cope throwing a baby into the mix. I have a lot of family stresses on top of everything else, and I could really use his support. He cannot communicate, I've tried pouring my heart out to him, and he basically says "nothing".
Just know you are not alone. I am a hairdresser with the exact same problem. You described my marriage to a "T"!! My clientele is almost all women who are in the saaaaaaame boat! It's amazing, really, that almost all married men are like this. I have soooo many stories from clients and myself that mirror your situation exactly. All walks of life, all different kinds of women basically telling me the same thing.
As far as advice? Weeeel, my hubby and I attempted marriage counseling to little avail. Our sitter went back to college so we don't have anybody to sit with our son while we go, so no more for us. We have no help at all so that adds to our situation.
As far as the laundry, I'll run his stuff through the machines, but then I'll dump it on his side of the bed, forcing him to deal with it. Clean only my side of the bathroom counter and my sink, fill only my car with gas...etc., etc. It's not very effective, but it's all I can manage. Good luck.
Some of the tasks you are talking about (appointments with a doctor, school stuff, etc) aren't typically fulfilled by a man. Men are either too ashamed or too clumsy to perform them. So it is probably "foolish" of you to expect they will do well here. Besides, if men were good at everything, what would there be left for women to do? LOL
As for the other chores, why don't you write down a list? Do you know the saying:
"Spoken words fly away, written words remain?"
It is useless to keep telling him to do this or that (they are also poor listeners, by the way), but when there is a concrete, material list for him to see and follow, things can change. Arrange things for both of you to do together regularly and grant him one or two days off in the week. See how it works.
End the day with a glass of good wine, provided that a pregnant woman can afford to sip a little wine now and then.
And look after our baby, of course. Too much stress at this point may be not good for him or her.
I'm sorry carsam for what you're dealing with.....when I read stuff like this, I'm glad I'm not married anymore, because that's the usual song and dance.....all the man has to do is go to work and come home and the woman has to shoulder all the rest. I was going to say talk to him, but if he doesn't communicate and is unresponsive maybe that's not an option. What about hiring a cleaning lady?
Thanks everyone for your replies....
Rosequartz - thanks also as you have replied to me on another board as well.
I have tried everything, I have tried lists. Pendulum, please know I dont mean this disrespectfully, I really value your advice, especially getting a male opinion. But I shouldnt have to give him lists of what to do, everything is right in front of him. No one makes me a list of things to do.....I dont have the luxury of someone giving me a concrete set of things to do...I have to wade my way through it all. I'm out working all day also.......and come home exhausted also. I could also use a couple of days off during the week, but will never get them. I know that men (in general, not all), are not great listeners, and may not be up to doing alot of the "house duties", but they're not all like that. Some take on their responsilities, and I applaud them for it. But others feed off this notion and use it as an excuse and then we fall for it. My son, is also his son, and he should be as involved in his schoolwork and care as much as I am. We are in this relationship together, and I feel that it should be 50/50.....and I shouldnt be handing him lists of what to do.....I already have a child that I need to teach the value of responsibility. My husband is an adult, and it isnt my job to teach him that.
I also start off by "asking" him to do things......I only get fed up when after the 3rd time he's still not doing anything. That's why I get frustrated.......I just wish he'd recognize that he is as much responsible for running this family as I am. I get tired.....and very often feel unappreciated.
Pendulum, if you have any other advice, I'd really appreciate it, as I'm struggling with him here....
And ladies, keep it coming also...
I like Rose's idea of hiring a professional. If he objects because of the cost, tell him that the other option is for him to do his share. If he refuses, here comes the cleaning service. As far as getting time out, I wouldn't ask permission. I'd let him know a few days in advance, and remind him that morning. He can figure out how to get dinner (the great mysteries of where to locate food!).
Hiring a professional (or machines) isn't perhaps the perfect solution: not only a good, reliable professional is so very hard to find, but also hiring them wouldn't even touch on the fundamental question, that is, your husband's non-commitment. He would be getting away with it, as it were.
The fact is you are dealing with a problem that is essentially cultural (ancestrally cultural, by the way) and then maybe individual (your husband is not a helpful type). Men are not taught to help at home; they may not have the genetic predisposition for it, either; many find that doing chores kind of emasculate them, you know. I am sorry to say it, but it seems that you are alone on a island.
You have to break a deep-rooted pattern, and it is not easy. Perhaps a confrontation will make things even worse. Maybe being firm and diplomatic will prove to be a better approach. However, you shouldn't expect that he will do 50%. If he does say 35-40% without grumbling, then you can consider yourself to be a winner.
Ask him what of the usual chores (cooking, washing, shopping, cleaning, child care, etc) he thinks he is (at least) passable at - he must choose at least two - or alternatively ask him to choose at least two days in the week when he will rule the house. Whatever he chooses, that will be his territory from now on. Speak seriously and calmly. Say you have reached a threshold. Show him the possible consequences of his withdrawal: the house will become uninhabitable. Tell him that chores aren't really supposed to give you pleasure (though you can even acquire a sense of achievement when you concentrate on them and do them well) but they must be done. Tell him that you will be there to help him in the first days or to tell him about the easiest ways of doing things, but allow him to find his own style, as well. In fact you will also be there to praise him for the small things that he does passibly well. If he makes mistakes, don't criticize. Just show him how to do it...
If writing down a list feels unworthy of you (or him) or too obvious, you can try again this way: it is verbal rather than written. I know it feels like being his teacher or his mother, but there's no other way to do it, as far as I can see, and possibly this feeling will fade away over time.
Carsam, you are not alone in this. I don't know many men who will do the things that you ask. Yes, they will help, but you are still the one who has to direct. It is a pain, and basically you have two options open to you (actually four, if you count divorce or murder, LOL): firstly, you maintain the "perfect" situation of everything organised and administered to your personal satisfaction, and resign yourself to being martyred on the principle of this; secondly, opt out of the things you want your husband to take on. Grit your teeth and let him have the consequences, eg, bills not paid, no ironed shirts, whatever. It will get ugly, but it is not life-or-death, is it? Write up a division of duties, and post it and STICK TO IT! Accept that it will not be settled soon, shut your eyes and ears to the things that do not get done and keep up your side of the bargain. Why not??? Don't be a martyr, it is only housework. I gave it up some time ago, and if he sees a mess, or a need he does it now, but he took a while to actually notice things like dust and stuff. Don't get mad, don't nag, if it is really important, then remind him. Men CAN be trained, but we are too hooked into house-pride to let it happen. Sera.
I think you need to sit down with your husband and tell him exactly how you feel. You both work outside of the home and therefore everything inside the home should be divided.
I suggest you make a list of the typical things you do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Pick a couple of things you want to be responsible for (like perhaps bill paying if you are affraid that won't get done as bills are important) and allow him to do the same. Then decide between the two of you who does the rest and when. Tell him straight out that if does not keep up his end of the bargain then you will hire a cleaning person at his expense to pick up his slack. Do not accept his laziness! I know you shouldn't have to make lists and such and he should know what to do but lets face it, he doesn't. Men are not wired the way we are and they may need a little "training" in that area. Think of it as a good investment.
This is an ongoing debate in so many households carsam. I am a SAHM so I accept the home being my responsibility. But when I do go back to work you bet your bottom I will be expecting my husband to do his share.
Thanks so much for all of your advice, and I will really think hard on what you've said. The thing is, the idea of "directing", or running everything doesnt bother me, I'm happy to do it for my family. It only comes up when I get really exhausted or he's not pulling his weight.
I'll try this list and see what happens, because obviously telling him isnt cutting it.
Thanks guys, this is a good place to come for advice...
The only thing I have against the "going on strike" thing is that more than likely, it won't work or as in my case....it will hurt you worse than it does him. Once, my husband told my MIL that I didn't do anything around the house....like cooking or cleaning or laundry. Now, she knew this was a lie (and I had a wonderful MIL!) but it still irked me that he said it. So I went on strike! I did no cooking, no cleaning and no laundry. You know what he noticed? The cooking. He didn't even notice the clothes piled up in the laundry room....nor the dust all over. BUT he did begin to complain that there was no food. So, I repeated what he said to his mom and told him I didn't want to make a liar out of him so I stopped these normal things that I did and if he was ready to apologize I would go ahead and do them. He did, so I started trying to get the house in order and you know after a week that was no small feat. Laundry was piled to the ceiling and dust everywhere....took me days to get it back, and I begin to think that I cut off my nose to spite my face.
I may be breaking the rules of the board by posting this to you rather than to Carsam, but I just couldn't help myself. I had to laugh as I was reading your post, even if you didn't mean to produce anything laughable. That is just so typical of men. I was able to see a part of myself in your words. We, men, seem to be really incorrigible. Thank you for this reminder.