New to the board...here to VENT!!!

Avatar for jennhalcyon
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
New to the board...here to VENT!!!
5
Mon, 02-01-2010 - 12:38pm

I hope this is the most appropriate board for my post.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2009
Mon, 02-01-2010 - 2:07pm

The most important question I have for you is, has he always been this way?

If not, when did it start?

Avatar for jennhalcyon
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Mon, 02-01-2010 - 3:33pm

Well, yes to a certain degree.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 02-02-2010 - 1:57am
Welcome to the board, Jennhalcyon ~ It's nice that you're back on iVillage, but I'm sorry it's under these circumstances. I think you absolutely posted on the right board and while it may take some "back and forth" talks before we get there, I'm sure we have good thoughts and suggestions to offer you. As we go along we'll learn more about the dynamics of your relationship and will be able to offer things that fit your specific situation.

First I've just got to say, your husband's "joke" about you being the one to do all the work because you're the one with breasts is offensive. I take it you don't find it all that funny either. Is he kidding? Is this kind of thought usual for him?

He's always been "lazy", but not this bad. Wondering....did he start getting "lazier" after you had babies and started staying home with the kids?

Some of this is the way it is because you allow it. For instance, you don't have to be the designated driver. Tell him it's his turn to be the designated driver and go for it. Let him be the one to be responsible and load the kids up. If he refuses and drinks too, hire a cab. Let him figure out how to get the car in the morning. Sure, a cab will cost money, but the $$ spent on the cab will be worth the lesson he gets.

Why doesn't his life change at all? Because you make the sacrifices so he doesn't have to. Why don't you get your hair and nails done? Make an appointment for this weekend, let him know you're going and leave him with the kids. Don't sacrifice your life, you need to enjoy too. Mostly, you need time for yourself, time that feels like you time. Time off doing for yourself makes you a better mother and a better wife.

Expect him to be responsible, and when he's not, expect him to clean up the mess it created. Kids in your bed? Wake him up and tell him to put them where they belong, don't you do it. Why do you think he drags them all to your bed and falls asleep? Because he knows he can, because he knows you'll take care of it. Why doesn't he take them straight to their rooms? Because it's easier to take them to your room and just fall asleep. No work involved in that. When it becomes a hassle for him, he'll do it right the first time, and if he doesn't, he'll continue to have to get up and fix it. When you tell him what needs to be done (like wake up and put the kids to bed), don't do it angrily, just shake him awake and gently tell him to wake up and get the kids to bed.

Start making time for yourself. Set dates with friends and go, leave him with the kids. You need you time. Expect him to be right there with you when you pay bills. He's a part of this partnership, he needs to be a part of the process. Send him to the grocery store with a list AND the kids. You probably won't get everything you wanted, but you'll have quiet time and he'll learn a great appreciation for what you do both with the kids and with juggling the finances. Best thing - go visit someone for the weekend. Leave him with the kids. When you come back he'll have a whole new appreciation for what you do and will almost certainly be a much more agreeable help. Before you go, don't make sure the laundry's done, there are enough diapers to get through or enough food in the fridge, and for sure don't make meals ahead. The idea here is to let him live as you live, taking care of what needs to be taken care of. What you don't want to do is take care of things for him in any way. A friend of mine had a great come back on the rare occasions that her husband made noise about having to take care of things. She'd look at him and say, "You're a capable guy, are you really trying to make me believe this is too hard for you?" Stopped him cold every time.

I know you know this: Arguing about this will get you nowhere. The time to discuss problems is when there is no undercurrent of anger. Of course, no one wants to bring up sore subjects when things are going well, but that's exactly the time things need to be talked about. How you talk about it is important to, from setting up the discussion to the actual talk itself. And of course, an important piece that's difficult in your situation, is getting time to talk without the kids being around. You need a block of time that you can be sure you won't be interrupted in. Tough with little ones around. A friend or neighbor who could take the kids for an afternoon is a great way to resolve that -- and it lets him know the issue you need to talk to him about is serious too. In setting a time, tell him you have a problem you need to talk to him about and ask him to set a time, or tell him you've arranged for the kids to be gone on Saturday afternoon so you two can talk about it, if that works for him. Telling him you have a problem you need his help with is good because guys are fixers, he'll be interested in listening and helping. When you talk, use "I" statements. Tell him how you feel, not what he doesn't do. If/when he promises to do his share, ask him how that's going to happen; it hasn't worked so far, so obviously you need a plan to keep it from failing.

I've said way too much, so I'll post a few links on communication that have some great suggestions and leave it at that for now. I'll be checking back for your thoughts ~

Ten Rules For Fair Fighting
Verbal Fencing With Someone You Love

Dos and Don'ts For Fair Fighting
Conflicts - Points to Remember
Managing Anger, Conflict & Tension












"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"

~ Author unknown


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"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2008
Wed, 02-03-2010 - 12:42am

Hi Jenn and welcome to the board. I agree with cl-2nd_life, these are roles you are both playing. I know you don't want him to be your fourth child, but you are asking him and asking him to these things like he is a child. If you can start thinking outside of the box and changing your ways, he might have to change along with you. However, entrenched habits like you have here are hard to change. There is a pull to keep things the way they are, however dysfunctional, it becomes comfortable. And the bottom line is going to be that as long as you play your role of being in charge, he can play his role of not contributing.

The first thing you need is get his buy in that things cannot stay the same. Sit down with him and don't talk about the housework, the shopping or the kids. Nothing he actually needs to do. Talk to him about the real problem - the unbalance in the relationship when it comes to responsibility. Tell him you need a break and ask him and work with him to come up with a plan to give you a break. I agree it's best if you leave the house, because it's just too easy to stay in the same pattern of interaction when you are there. It could be one night a week for a few hours (preferably dinner and bathtime hours) or some time on the weekend. Getting his agreement to do this is step 1.

The next phase is letting it be. He's going to screw it up, make mistakes, that's what we all do when we start something new. He'll feed them the wrong foods, make a mess, put the PJs on wrong and forget the bath. Even if he makes mistakes, thank him for giving you the time to be away, and do what you can to actually enjoy that break. If you have to comment on anything, don't criticize and be aware of things that sound as criticism. He needs to build confidence in his abilities in this area, and he needs encouragement and support to do it. Don't leave him lists either or give him instructions, just let him do it himself. You can make some requests, like if you come home and the kitchen is a mess, next night out you can say 'it will really help me feel like i got a break if I come home and the house is generally in the same condition as when I left, if it's a lot messier then I don't feel it was much of a break because there is more work to do when I get back." But not too much of that.

The last phase is figuring out what works, what might work better, and being aware of things that pull you back towards the way it was. Getting frustrated, nagging, criticizing will all thwart your efforts for him to be a grown up. Agreeing to let him slide, not going out when you said you had planned to, stomping off to load the children up while he relaxes, all keep you where you are. Encouragement, praise, gratitude, treating him like a partner, asking for his input, seeing what you can do to help him (not necessarily with household tasks, but he must have some unmet needs as a partner if you have unmet needs as a partner) - all will be new and different and can help you create change.

If this does not work you have two options. Maybe he won't ever grow up and has no interest in being your partner, in which case staying in the relationship is going to continue to be frustrating, you might decide not to stay eventually. Or if you remain committed to making it work, find a good marriage and family therapist to help you come up with something that will work. Some things you might explore in therapy are where did you learn to compensate for another persons irresponsibility? And is it as hard for you to give up your role of being in charge, as is for your husband to give up his role of not contributing - and if so what is really in the way of you both changing.

"The last of human freedoms - the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances." - Viktor Frankl.



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Ten Rules for Being Human
"The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding."
Malcolm Gladwell Blink

Avatar for jennhalcyon
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Fri, 02-05-2010 - 11:06am

Thank you Harmony and 2nd life.