Work, toddlers and stress, oh my!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2008
Work, toddlers and stress, oh my!
2
Sun, 08-05-2012 - 10:04pm

My husband and I have been married for 8 years.  We both work full time (60-80 hours/week for the last three years and continuing for one more year--I'll be done with my residency and switch to working 40-50 hours/week).  And we have almost 3 y/o twin boys.  So, crazy busy household.  My husband and I are typically like peas in a pod: rarely disagree, never fight, love to spend time together.  But the last year or so, he's been having a rough time.  He hates his job, but can't quit because he's in the military and he's about 6 years from retirement.  He's super depressed, always talking about how he hates his life, and we shouldn't have had kids, etc, etc.  I know he doesn't mean these things and he's saying them because he's depressed, but I feel like I'm banging my head against a well trying to get through to him, to make things better.  I always listen when he's ranting, I sympathize, I propose solutions which he quickly discards.  He refuses to get counseling or do medication because it will impact his career/security clearance (he's right on that one, unfortunately). 

I'm just not sure how to help him.  I committed to this marriage and have no intentions of ever leaving him.  He used to be this happy, creative guy who was always doing things to show me how much he loved me, surprising me.  I still see that side of him sometimes when he's playing with the boys, but the rest of the time he's miserable.  I've started to wonder if me being sympathetic is actually making things worse.  Maybe I should acknowlege his feelings and then change the subject? I don't want to drive a rift between us, but it's starting to wear on me.  I work just as many hours as he does, if not more.  And when I get home, I have two toddlers who are all over me, wanting a story, wanting hugs, wanting me to play with them.  And once I get them in bed, I get to deal with him lamenting about how his life sucks and our children drive him nuts.  I know part of my frustration is that I'm not taking care of myself very well.  I've never been good at that and he used to push me to do self care, send me to the spa, etc.  I'm afraid it'll make things worse if I start doing my own thing in the little time we have together in the evenings (I actually proposed this a few months ago and he got really upset and asked me if I was going to leave him--Ugh!).

Does anyone have any suggestions?  I feel like we have a great relationship, but he's so miserable, and I want to help him both for him and for our family.  Neither of us can quit our jobs.  We already have a nanny and someone to come in and clean the house so we don't spend our very little free time doing those things.  I just don't know what else to do...

Gina

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sun, 08-05-2012 - 10:26pm

YOu really can't stop taking care of yourself or you will go nuts too.  Taking an hour off for a mani-pedi or a massage will relax you & put you in a better mood.  I just can't imagine doing a residency & having little kids--do you ever get to sleep?  I don't know, I have 2 suggestions, I don't know which one will work.  The first is that if your DH won't do counseling, will he read a book?  If he enjoys playing w/ the kids, then obviously he doesn't really mean it when he said that he wished you didn't have kids--I mean if you hadn't had kids, how would that be improving his life if what's really bothering him is that he hates his job?  I might tell him that you are tired of hearing that he wishes he didn't have kids because they are going to pick up on that--what if they hear him say it?  The kids are here so he just needs to figure out how to deal w/ it.  You can say that he doesn't listen to any solutions that you propose, so does he just like to vent or is he actually going to do something about it? 

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2008
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 9:12pm

Thanks for the reply!  I took your advice and dyed my hair and took a super long hot shower when I got up today (I'm working nights at the moment).  I do feel better.

My husband loves our boys and is great with them.  He likes to put them on his head and pretend they are hats and they laugh and laugh. :smileyhappy:  I think he just says it because he's frustrated.

I'm starting to think he's trying to get sympathy or something when he complains.  I can't imagine he expects me to solve his problems at work. It seems like when I listen and sympathize with him, he just keeps lamenting.  When I either don't reply or change the subject, sometimes he'll drop it.  Do you think this is a good plan?  Guys like to be left alone when they're upset, right?  I feel like I've been too much "in his wheaties" lately, and maybe he's feeling emasculated by it.  I don't know.  Any thoughts?

 

Gina