You & Your Man

Enter your e-mail address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

By Rebecca Teti


(Join each day’s Coffee Talk discussion: Mon: Parenting; Tues: Open Forum; Wed: NFP; Thu: Marriage; Fri: Education; Sat/Sun: Changing Roles)

Struggling in your marriage? Have some relationship advice to share? Have a marriage success story to share? Have a man/woman question? This weekly thread is the place to do it.

Come on in and join the conversation!

Rebecca Teti

Comments

  • My husband has been hurt recently by my three-year-old's refusals to give him a hug. They have an otherwise-loving and great relationship. We feel she's just testing boundaries (she's saying "no" to lots of things these days), but its also hurting my husband's feelings since she's only refusing hugs to *him.* I wonder how I should handle this? Tell her we hug *everyone* before bed & make her do it? Or just let her "funk" run its course??

    Posted on Nov 29th, 2012 at 7:28 AM by unknown

  • I'd probably just let her go, but I know daddys are sensitive to these things. Do you have other children? Nothing seems to bring a kid around for hugs and attention like seeing one of their siblings getting hugs and kisses.

    Posted on Nov 29th, 2012 at 8:27 AM by Carolyn A

  • My husband recently told me he doesn't care for my style. It hurt, a lot. But I know what he means: he's organized, routine-loving, and keeps things very clean. Scattered and fun-loving should be my middle names. Yet I keep up with laundry (his is my first priority), have dinner on the table within 30 minutes of his arrival home, bathe the kids at least twice a week, and make sure no toys are in sight when he gets home. Clearly its not good enough for him. :( Ladies, I am beyond tired and am getting mad. I honestly try AS HARD AS I CAN to maintain the kind of organization he loves/needs... but I fall short EVERYday. I just don't feel I can give the kids the time and attention I think they need AND keep the house the way my husband wants. (Honestly, I already feel like the house is my "other kid," since I give it so much attention!) HOWEVER... I know the only person I can change is myself (and certainly not him!) so I would love ideas on how to balance preschool-and-under kids & their needs, with my husband's need for dinner on the table, a near-spotless and clutter-free house, and everyone clean and happy when he gets home from work. What am I missing, ladies?!

    Posted on Nov 29th, 2012 at 9:33 AM by anonymous

  • I agree with Carolyn A, to just let it go. The more power you give it, the more it has, KWIM, and then it won't just be an "I'll say 'no' to see if this word works" thing, it will be a power struggle with a lot more emotional weight than it deserves. FWIW, my third baby, now 10 mos, is the first to actively seek Dad time. He sees the older two having fun with Dad and wants in on it, but the older two just didn't see that. My 3-y-o still loudly prefers me to Dad, though if I'm not there, or he has the option of 1-on-1 time with Dad vs. "whole gang" time with me, he's happy with Dad.

    Posted on Nov 29th, 2012 at 9:37 AM by Anna

  • Oy, cross-posted. Mine was for 'unknown.' I know it's being worked on, but this comment system is pants.

    Posted on Nov 29th, 2012 at 9:40 AM by Anna

  • Unknown - When my middle son was 3 he started loudly declaring that I was his mommy and that DH was older son's daddy. Anytime we asked him if Daddy was his daddy, he'd say no, that he was only DS1's daddy, but that I was his mommy. I don't know why, but he insisted this was the case for several weeks. He's 4 now, and doesn't do it anymore. I'm sure it's just a phase.

    Posted on Nov 29th, 2012 at 11:08 AM by MR

  • To anonymous: First off, you are pretty amazing gal! I strive for the same ideals, but find myself falling short often. We have four little ones, 7,6, nearly 4 and 18 mos. You are trying so hard to honor your husband by caring for you home and his needs. Honestly, my husband and I have struggled with this issue as well. I finally got him to realize how difficult it is to balance house and mothering, especially when you have mulitiple little ones who need to play, and often make a "mess" when they are doing so! It is sometimes difficult for spouses to see how much little ones really need your attention and just NEED to play with you. Do you think that perhaps he didn't mean that he didn't like your housekeeping style? Did he mean something else? Is he perhaps just trying to communicate that he is unhappy about something in your relationship? Just asking because this is what happens with my hubby, and it is not intentional, he just isn't great at communicating how he feels. With my hubby, it's usually that he needs me to make him a priority at some point during the day, that we need to connect on a deeper level than planning the days. Anyway, please be encouraged that you are doing a good job, and really have your heart in the right place, trying to help your family be happy and healthy. If you can, maybe try to talk it out with your hubby? He doesn't want you to be unhappy. God Bless, MNS in Oregon

    Posted on Nov 29th, 2012 at 11:15 AM by MNS

  • @anonymous: that does sound like a hurtful comment from hubs! If that was the extent of the conversation, it's too "blanket" to be helpful. Could you tell him that? "Anne", above, didn't sound tactful to me, but there are some valid questions there. Was dh an only child and, by the age he could remember, his household was always immaculate? Was your style more precise prior to kids and the change has surprised him? Is there one specific thing that would make the difference for him (the bathroom being clean rather than toys picked up or some such?) It sounds to me like you're doing a great job, but he might not get just how difficult it is to give the kids what they need - mom attention, unstructured play time, age-appropriate cleaning expectations - while also trying to give him what he needs (but not always exactly what he wants).

    Posted on Nov 29th, 2012 at 11:41 AM by Anna

  • First, let's realize that Anne is Jean and has found this site to troll just like the last one. @Anonymous, I think a frank conversation is in order. What are the most important things to your husband? He has to be told that it can't all be done, but you can prioritize. You mention having everyone clean when he gets home, does he get home early enough to do bath time while you tidy the kitchen after dinner? That might free up some stress. My DH gets home pretty late most nights, so in order to have some time to spend with him, and have time for the kids to spend with him, I have shifted the 3 younger kids' bath times to the morning (2 are at home, 1 goes to school late enough), with only my eldest daughter showering at night. This really eases up on the chaos factor in the evening. Can you develop some simple crockpot meals to have ready to go when DH comes home? I admire you for what you are doing, my house is nowhere near as neat as yours sounds, and it sounds like you are doing a great deal. Please talk it out, let him know his comment hurt, and try to develop a plan together. I will keep you in my prayers this afternoon.

    Posted on Nov 29th, 2012 at 12:08 PM by Danielle M.

  • Thanks, all! @Anne: after 30 I didn't think a lady was expected to tell her age. ;) @MNS: like you suggested, my hubs is not great at communicating how he feels. And I know he's stressed about work... but at the same time, I know that my housekeeping does add stress, due to his discontentedness around messes or clutter of any kind. I try to make our home a stress-free-zone (with pretty plants around and nice music playing when he gets home), but I he just needs more right now. :( I wish I could provide it, but I'm kind-of maxed out right now... @Anna: yes, hubs was an only child and his mom kept (and keeps) home that's neat and clean (without being clean-freak-ish) For what its worth, early in our marriage I know my husband did compare me to his mom quite a bit. My cooking and my ability to juggle my job + all the housework, especially. His mom was a single mom and he constantly said, "Well, my mom did it ALL, and she was all by herself..." He hasn't said that in years (thank goodness!) but I suppose he's likely been thinking it lately. :( ***I tried to create "returns" by putting in a whole bunch of spaces; my apologies if it doesn't work and just looks awful!!

    Posted on Nov 29th, 2012 at 12:32 PM by anonymous

  • I have a few more thoughts for anonymous. First, how much does your husband do around the house, both cleaning and with the kids? If he is expecting you to do almost all of the work, he needs to be helping out more. Giving the kids baths is a great idea. Maybe you could shift the "heavy cleaning" to the weekend, when he is home. When there are too many other things going on in our life, this is what my family does. Saturday becomes cleaning day --- vacuum, change sheets, clean bathrooms, dust, if we're lucky we can even mop. This also gets the kids involved more (though mine sound older than yours at 7,6 and 3). My last piece of advice --- consider cleaning help if it is financially feasible. If this is truly something that is very important to him and causing stress, it is worth it. Perhaps he needs to give up something he enjoys --- cable, movie night? I know this is not financially feasible for many families, but if it is possible for you guys, pose that to him. Maybe he will say yes (great!). Maybe it just challenges him to see that keeping a super organized house with little ones entails sacrifices of time or money or great dinners or reading time or ...

    Posted on Nov 29th, 2012 at 12:43 PM by Andrea

  • @Danielle M, I almost said something about the typo that left the "Je" off the beginning of the "Anne" but thought that might draw further fire... :-) It's like a word search game - spot the Jeanne tells!

    Posted on Nov 29th, 2012 at 1:57 PM by Anna

  • @anonymous I'm in a somewhat similar boat. I have 9, 4 and 1 year-olds and am 7 mos. pregnant. We have a (too) small house, so cleaning should be manageable, but the clutter makes it very difficult. When I'm not pregnant, I keep up pretty well, but when I'm pregnant and tired/sick, forget it. I take care of bills, correspondence, meal planning, shopping & prep, dishes, laundry, changing sheets, and child care (incl. homework help, scout activities) and do the errands and getting kids to activities. At night, my husband expects me to spend time with him. I can't seem to get to anything else, which you can see from that list means CLEANING. I can't tell you when this house last had a thorough cleaning. Probably seven mos. ago. The clutter and dirt bother both me and my husband, more him b/c he considers the cleaning my job. He works maybe 50 hrs./wk. and provides for us. He cuts the grass. That's pretty much his end of things. He occasionally makes weekend breakfasts and helps with the kids a bit when he's around. I've suggested getting some cleaning help temporarily, and he says he's "insulted" by my asking. So, basically it's still dirty here, and other than the occasional spot clean here and there I don't expect it to get much better until at least six weeks postpartum. He's just going to have to live with it. I'll try my best. So, I can only offer you sympathy, for what it's worth. I probably need to get my 9-year old helping more, but there's some limitations on that, too.

    Posted on Nov 29th, 2012 at 3:28 PM by Carolyn A

  • One thing I LOVED about F&F and hopefully it will continue here, is that there really ISN'T an emphasis on going to Latin Mass vs. Novus Ordo Mass, on who can quote more CCC, etc. We are a bunch of moms who are helping each other out with PRACTICAL tips, ideas, inspiration, etc. Dontrinal issues aren't debated... really not much of anything is debated at all! When I posted on F&F I felt I was running something by a group of best friends. Maybe you have not been around the F&F forum for very long, Anne. It is a breath of fresh air!! You may be getting it mixed up with a couple other Catholic forums I could name... but I don't see the need to name them and I will just say again that I'm a SO GRATEFUL for the group of wonderful people I have been blessed to connect with on F&F and hope they all wander their way over here. :)

    Posted on Dec 2nd, 2012 at 3:16 PM by jen

  • By the way, I have never head of the concepts of "detachement" and "doing it your way" used in the same sentence. That made me smile. Off to go mortify myself with a handful of heresy kisses that are supposed to be hiding in the fridge until after dinner... ;) lol! ;)

    Posted on Dec 2nd, 2012 at 3:20 PM by jen

  • Sigh, yes, "Anne" = "the j in the fla" and all other names she used. But the comments were easier to ignore when they were mainly giving examples of Floridians being more laid-back than Northerners... @anonymous, my point in bringing up the "only child vs. more kids" thing was, first, that if you have, say, 4 kids, that's triple the number of people acquiring possessions, using bathrooms, tracking dirt, dropping crumbs, and generating laundry and dishes than the number of people in his home growing up. So you can acknowledge that his mom did yeoman's duty (sounds like she did!), but that, from a purely logistical standpoint, it's simply a different ballgame. And her struggles were real - but didn't involve other kids continuing to live in their home (i.e. make a mess) every time she sat down to nurse the baby. Second, he only remembers what he was old enough to remember. So if his mom said "meh" to the mess he made from 6 mos. to 4 years - and then had different expectations of him the older he got - he only remembers the expected orderliness, not the time he spent emptying bookcases and cupboards. Just thought that might give him a new perspective on his memories vs. current expectations. :-)

    Posted on Dec 2nd, 2012 at 3:52 PM by Anna

  • @Anna: yes, I completely agree with everything you said here! There are different types of burdens to face in life. My mom-in-law's were real: single mothering, working, etc. But as you mentioned they did NOT involve multiple kids, with the extra messes, bickering (which is exhausting just to hear, let alone intervene and mend!), etc. that come with a bigger family. If we only had one child, I think I would be able to handle the house no problem at all!! But its multiple little ones that really makes things sticky (literally and figuratively, eh?) I have never considered this perspective, though, so I really appreciate you suggesting it. I will try to gently work it into a conversation with my husband next time the time arises when its appropriate... Again, thanks. :)

    Posted on Dec 2nd, 2012 at 9:01 PM by anonymous

  • Jeanne, I'm so sorry for your situation! Please don't dis others or suggest they have not suffered similarly, though. The worse trauma my husband has suffered was just about sawing off his finger last weekend... we have been blessed! No long hospital stay for that... and he was even able to go back to work soon after. BUT my son has has 5 specialists he has been seeing since birth. Our holidays include an MRI. And really, I STILL feel blessed because my son does NOT have a shunt draining his brain 24/7, as my best friend's newborn son does. SHE is in NICU with her son as we speak because he is on his 5th surgery (at 4 months old) and he will be in the hospital for 14 days. Did I mention he has a permanent feeding tube? See... you're not the only one suffering or spending lots of time at the hospital. We just may not all talk about it/ I was a calmer, kinder, more humble person once I learned that everyone has big suffering in their life even if I do not know what it is. Everyone. (Or if they don't today, the did yesterday or will tomorrow...) I will give you my address if you send the chocolate, lol. ;)

    Posted on Dec 4th, 2012 at 7:48 AM by Jen