When is MY Day Off?

Posted by on November 26, 2006

The Original Perfect Post Awards

I’m finally back to posting after a nice Thanksgiving. The food was good, the company was pleasant and that for which I am so very thankful…the TV remained off the entire time. I have a real pet peeve about TV’s being on at a social gathering. We listened to music all day instead and it was way better.

Since the huz drove us there and I was driving us home, I didn’t drink any alcohol. I was beat anyway. I’d stayed up late the night before and as the day wore on, all standard child-related duties plus the ancillary ones like making sure P didn’t destroy my SIL’s house, seemed to become my responsibility while the huz socialized and partook in the pleasant lubrication of an alcoholic beverage or two. By the time we rolled out of the driveway at 7:30pm, I was so ready to be home.

As soon as we got on the interstate I noticed I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. For an hour and a half I pinched at my arm hairs through my jacket to stay awake. Good times, indeed, and tiny little bruises to boot.

When we were almost home P started to cry and when we got him into the house, we saw that he was COVERED with hives, which terrifies me because my daughter has a deadly food allergy. I gave him some Benadryl and and after he stopped scratching, I reluctantly put him to bed.

The next morning, still a bit testy about the division of labor at my SIL’s house, I wasn’t being very pleasant to the huz who seemed to feel like sleeping in was his destiny and without going into all the specifics, we ended up having a big argument.

It wasn’t about the night before or about any one thing in particular, which is what boggles my mind the most. And yet it’s the same argument we have had about twice a year for nearly all of the 12 years we’ve been married and long before we had children.

I don’t want to misrepresent my husband. It’s not that he’s a bad person, or that he hurts me me in any way. It’s not that he spends all our money on gambling or drugs or stays out all night. He’s a great husband and father and human being in all the ways that really matter and he does help around the house and he does help with the kids. He’s good with all that stuff. But there are issues…

I know going to work every day is a responsibility but it’s OVER at 5pm. My job is 24-7. And EVEN though he takes care of the kitchen, trash, outside stuff and helps with the kids, I still feel like the overall responsibility of making our lives run smoothly is mine and that it counts for just as much as his job.

And it’s not that he disagrees, either, because he knows what I do all day is hard. But it’s something else that goes way beyond whose turn it is to change the next diaper or get up with the baby in the middle of the night. I can and do ask him to do those things with NO problem. I reiterate…doing his part with housework, childcare etc. is not the issue.

The best way I can put it is to say that sometimes I would like him to step up, unsolicited, and just steer the damn ship and be the responsible party and make all the decisions and let me just sit back and be passive and and not have to think or worry about any aspect of our lives for just a little while, now and then. Doesn’t everyone need that sometime? Please tell me this makes sense.

During our argument, I had asked him when MY day off was? When is MY holiday from work? His response was that he is getting paid to not be at work which STILL doesn’t answer my question…when is MY day off? He doesn’t GET that if he had to be “on duty” every second of his life, he’d be resentful, too. In my opinion, he’s the lucky one because he knows that no matter what, I will be in the background making sure everything, as in EVERY DAMN THING, is taken care of. Who wouldn’t want that? Shit! I want a wife, too.

Maybe I’m asking for something he can’t give. Or maybe I’m the one who needs to change. I can’t even tell anymore. But I definitely don’t want to end up as the couple that’s been married for decades and barely speak to each other anymore because they can’t put themselves in the other person’s shoes.

No. I want to be happy. Deliriously, foolishly happy. But I’d settle for just being content. And thus, another argument is swept under the rug while I ponder what to do.

And to tie up my holiday weekend in a nice little bow, I took P to the doctor on Friday and the doctor determined that his recent rash and hives are the onset of a virus (which reared it’s ugly head today with a super high fever) Oh, and TQ developed hives on her stomach when we were AT the pediatrician’s office yesterday so I imagine her own viral illness will kick in sometime tomorrow. This is two weekends in a row of sick kids.

God clearly hates me.


67 Comments

  • Tracey says:

    Ah gee, the old division of labour thing… it’s a while back now, but I know exactly what you are talking about. It’s the reason why I haven’t gone back to work yet despite my kids now being 13, 11 and 8, although the 24/7 isn’t anything like when they were little. That’s a hard, hard time, and very few husbands do actually realise what’s involved in the daily grind.
    It’s taken a lot of years, but things have mellowed in the end. I also adopted a few strategies that worked for me over time, plus I ‘got over’ a few things as well. Wish I’d sorted it a bit sooner though!

    I think you have to accept that most dads don’t have that automatic nurture/mothering type gene. (There are exceptions of course, but ours are average.) So you have to spoon feed it to them when you need help.

    At social gatherings, after a time you go up to them and say “Tag” ie. your turn, you’re it. It didn’t take long for him to appreciate what I meant… and to give him credit, he embraced it. (Had to keep my eye on him keeping an eye on the kids at first though!)

    If your hubby gets home at a reasonable hour (unlike mine).. then schedule yourself some recreation time after work hours. Tag. Your turn for some timeout. [I used to get really cheesed off that my husband would just bolt from work to some sport of an evening, and I think he was perhaps just a bit selfish in those early years. Now though I realise that we both need recreation and exercise. Once we accepted and were interested in each other’s recreation time, then things got better. And getting out on the weekends, and vacations, and doing stuff together as a family – just us, not a party or social gathering.. you can’t help but share the load then.

    If I think about it some more, there are probably more suggestions I can come up with if you need more ideas. (Email me!)

    There is this classic email joke I’ve seen about the husband who comes home from work to find the place a mess… the kids in their PJs running riot… He freaks, thinks something has happened to his wife.. runs inside.. finds her in bed reading a book. “What’s the matter?! Are you sick?”.. “No”, she says.. “you know how you wonder what on earth I do all day?.. well today I didn’t do it.”

  • Tracey says:

    (Arrgh, sorry that turned out too long.. you might want to delete or edit it!)

  • theotherbear says:

    Oooh I feel your pain (but mine is probably less as we don’t have kids). I work and bring in just as much to the household budget as he does yet somehow the cleaning and cooking is still my job? Gah! The perfect solution for you of course would be to figure that while he’s at work, you’re at work too, then after he gets home it’s shared – split the workload from then until he leaves in the morning. Of course pigs might fly too…

  • I think Tracey hit the high points. I believe most of us work-from-home moms have gone through this, and to some extent this continues at my house as well. My kids are 10 and 7, but when they were much younger, I had quite a bit of resentment brewing. To make the situation even more tense, my husband used to travel with his job every other week for 3 or 4 days, and when he was home, he claimed to be “sooooo tired.” Yeah, okay, but WHAT ABOUT ME? I did what Tracey did — Tag, you’re IT! At first I had to remind him that he was IT, but eventually it’s gotten to the point that the kids run to Papa while we are at social events and they need assistance. If they do come to me, and I’m talking with someone or otherwise “engaged,” I gently remind the kids to go “talk to Papa about it.”

    When we’re at big family gatherings, like my SIL’s wedding this summer, the kids are just as likely now to seek out their grandparents or even an aunt, uncle, or adult cousin for assistance. I love it! Everyone now has shared responsibility for caring for all of the kids, and the kids get to foster familial relationships. It’s a win/win for all.

    I think if you continue to let yourself foster resentment, then matters will get worse. While your kids are still young, you might think about scheduling one night a month just for yourself. I have a group of gal pals from grad school with whom I have dinner once a month, and each month I tell my husband, “My Girls’ Night Out is scheduled for xxx this month. Be sure you’re home by 5:30 that night.” I state it as fact, and he needs to accommodate me and arrange for the kids to be taken to or picked up from various activities. Once this routine had been established, it was easier to get more time off during the month. But, I had to establish this one when my daughter was young so that now that the kids are relatively “self-sufficient,” it is easier to say, “Honey, I’m going out for a drink/coffee/whatever after choir practice. I’ll see you around 11:00.” Usually his response is, “Okay. See you then. Be careful.”

    Try scheduling one regular free night per month for yourself. Get out of the house, don’t “ask for permission,” and be pleasant when you tell him about it. Give it a try, and let us know if it works for you. Do it for yourself — you deserve it!

  • mrsderusha says:

    I’m delurking to share that my hubby and I had the same argument yesterday! I had to remind him that I’m a girl and my downtime and day off needs are different than his. We’ve been marrieed almost 10 years and along the way I’ve learned that I have to ask. Obvious, I know….but I wasn’t doing it. Falling asleep at the dinner table and having no energy (or desire) for sex, I thought it was pretty apparent that I needed a little assistance.
    A few years ago we did go into therapy. Not because there were major issues, but to learn how to communicate with each other in a way that the other would understand. Like you, I want to be delirously happy when we’re old and look back at our life. I knew it wasn’t going to happen with the “argue rut” we were in. So, we still get irritated with the other, being human and all that, but we at least know how to share it with the other and really be heard. Being heard is a great thing.

    Good Luck and Hugs to you! Give the little ones lots of kisses (just don’t pick up anything in the process!)

  • chelle says:

    I agree with the other commentors. This argument is THE argument at our house. It usually rears it’s ugly head when I am feeling overwhelmed or sick. I think sometimes in my case I expect too much from my husband. He is a smart man that works really hard, but when it comes to understanding how I am feeling at home, he is oblivious. Not because he is insensitive, rather because if I do not spell it out (and most other things) he just doesn’t get it. I remember when we were going to have our baby. He simply stated that if I make a list he would feel so much better. So from then on I have made him lists. Yes sometimes I wish he would just get it, but I have to accept the things I cannot change and fight the rest :D

    I hope you guys can work this out the best for you. Good luck!

  • mrsmogul says:

    GOD doesn’t hate you, he’s just away on vacation. I feel so overwhelmed at times..sometimes my husband will say, “I have to work!” and I usually shout back, “THIS IS THE HARDEST JOB EVER”. I hear ya sister!

    Sorry this is a short comment but I agree with every one else here.

  • Jerri Ann says:

    Yes indeed, the mental anguish that no one but me ever takes responsibility. That’s what I want too. My husband, like yours, is equally good at many things..but he doesn’t get that running a household is mentally straining! I need a holiday too

  • tori says:

    I feel the same as you. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner, cleaned it all up, etc. I looked at my “to do” list and realized that just because I added extra stuff (Thanksgiving prep and clean up) no one did my “regular” chores, so I had some catching up to do. I spent this whole weekend doing chores while my husband kept asking what he could do to help. I get that I’m lucky that he is asking how he could help, but I sometimes wish someone else could keep everything under control while I just ask what I can do to help. I feel your pain and frustration! I sometimes feel like if I wasn’t here, everything would fall apart. It would be nice if it were more fair, but from talking to my girlfriends, who all have great husbands too, it seems that husbands don’t seem to understand what we need, and there isn’t a great way to make them understand unless we just leave for a month or so and let them try to handle everything. I hope your kids feel better quick! That is terrible to have that added to an already stressful situation!

  • I guess this is one area in which my control freak tendencies actually contribute to family harmony. ;-)

    Seriously though, sometimes I just reply, “I don’t know; I didn’t thaw anything.” Or whatever slacker response is appropriate. I like being in charge, but I’m no cruise director.

  • MotherPie says:

    Vacations and holidays are exhausting, especially for the SAHM.

  • javajabber says:

    Same conversation happened here when the kids were little. I always needed help because I worked a 10-hour day with a two-hour commute. I had to work because The Hubster is disabled. And yet, with him being home all the time with the kids actually made it worse. I had to come home and undo the damage done for the day and be the bad guy making them do their chores instead of having fun.

    After the first six months of this, I had to put my foot down. I didn’t care about my Supermommy Trophy. We sat down and wrote out what we expected in the parental duties and household chores.

    When he read that I needed help with laundry, he was miffed. He said, “But you never let me help with the laundry. You always say, “Don’t touch the laundry.” There was a valid reason for that. The one and only time he did the laundry he put colors with whites. I never told him.

    Once we communicated our individual expectations of parenthood and in each other, the rest was easy.

    The best part was I no longer had to be the bad guy to the kids. I didn’t have to nag or yell or shut myself down seething in anger.

    No, no … wait a minute. The BEST best part was that once a month I got to hire someone to deep clean the house so that I could spend more time being a mom and a wife when I didn’t have to go to work. Yeah, that was the best.

    So, I guess the writing everything down helped us a great deal. It’s easier to put into writing than to say verbally because whenever we tried talking about it a lot of stuff never got said because we were “discussing” it too much.

    Sorry for the long post.

  • Tracey says:

    I just re-read your post, and realised that some of us have probably missed the point a bit.. it’s the bigger picture thing isn’t it? (Although it’s the little stuff like the supervision at parties that tips you over the edge)
    One of the epiphanies I did have along the way (and much later than I should have).. was that, after one big argument, I realised that he was also feeling under-appreciated for being the breadwinner.. and he felt the stress of that quite keenly. I said to him.. ‘maybe we are just not appreciating each other enough’.. and now that I look back on it, it was the turning point, and we’ve really had no more big fights about the ‘division of labour’. It’s still not perfect.. and we both still get frustrated with each other at times, but it’s so much better now that we both acknowledge each other’s contribution to the family.

  • Janet says:

    We have that same argument. I harbor the same resentment… of Mista just being able to come and go knowing full well that I will make sure SF is cared for. When I go out, I have to go when he gets home or when I get a sitter. He goes out knowing I will ALWAYS be there. Seems unfair. There are plenty of other reasons why we argue when it comes to childcare/house duties. You are NOT the only one!!!! I totally get where you’re coming from sistah.

    I find that when we talk (about it all) we feel better about things and the resentment leaves…(for a while anyway). I know that keeping it inside, will only make you feel worse. Tell him how you feel…once you straighten it out in your head…Just be prepared to hear how he feels…after a while, you get used to spewing your mind and things simmer down…(at least that’s how it works in our house) And I must reiterate…it isn’t all always wine and roses….But when we are on the same page I feel like the ‘teamwork’ aspect of the relationship isn’t so stressed.

    I wish you luck. I wish you a nice bubble bath and a glass of wine…

  • julia says:

    Oh boy, I had a very similar argument with my husband just the other day. It’s incredibly frustrating because I can’t express exactly how I feel on the subject and he can’t understand what my problem is. I wish I had a solution, but I don’t. It’s making me a little nutty.

  • This is the classic argument all couples have, and ultimately, I believe it’s less about division of labor than it is the acknowledgement of the labor.

    Really, I don’t mind doing all I do to keep the family on track as long as my husband lets me know, in some way, that he understands and appreciates what I’m doing and doesn’t take it for granted.

    Because it’s the taken-for-granted thing that makes me – and many women, I’m sure – want to disappear for a day or two to clearly get the point across. (not that we would)

    You’re right to feel the way you do, but I’m sure that great husband of yours will see the light and give you a needed break when you need it most.

  • Jenny says:

    I work outside of the home but I still feel the same way. Why am I the one responsible for bath time, dinner, cleaning, etc? Is it because I have a vagina? Must be.

  • jen says:

    oh, wow. we had this exact argument today. i so feel you – and the shit part is that since they ARE good men we also get to feel guilty for writing this kind of stuff…and yet it is so incredibly valid.

    sometimes, i swear, we should all start a commune.

  • Christina says:

    Oh yeah, I work part time, and I’m lucky that my husband does help with taking care of Cordy. But at the same time, I’m still the one who manages everything. If I want him to get up in the morning with Cordy, I still have to get up in order to get him up, and then go back to sleep. I’m the one who does all the forethinking in planning activities, deciding what she’s eating, etc., and I wish that he would take the lead a little more often.

  • You know, I just attended a class about marriage and the reasons why conflict arises. A woman likes to hear that she is loved, and when the man in her life tells her, “I love you,” it can change a her sense of self, emotionally and sexually. Men, on the other hand, while they like to be told, “I love you,” — really makes a difference is when their wife tells them, “I’m proud of you.”

  • Mom101 says:

    I’m sorry you’re having these frustrations. It’s interesting because I see both sides of it (which isn’t to say you’re not right). Since I work and Nate stays home, there are days I just want to come home (later than five), plop in front of the couch and not think about doing anything around the house. Of course he’s ready to hand off the baby and have a few hours of adult time himself. There’s no right answer but to try and talk it out and negotiate the time at home. It’s never easy, whatever position you’re in.

    Hey, that didn’t help a bit, did it! Still, I feel for you. If only we all could afford maids.

  • wordgirl says:

    I get where you’re coming from, Izzy. When what you do all day falls into the gray area category, it’s easy for others to look the other way and let that person (you) do it all. Plus, I’ve always thought that people who get paid sometimes (in their heart of hearts) think that you have to do more of the unpaid (and undervalued) crap to make up for or equal the paid (and very important) stuff they do. It makes me mad, too.

  • Christy says:

    I hear ya, Izzy. We have a strong division of labor here. He works, earns income. I handle the house and he helps if I ask him. Works for us. I run away for a 3 day weekend every 3 months. Wanna come?

  • Izzy says:

    YES! YES! YES to all of the above! You totally get what I mean.

  • Kristen says:

    Even with the huz home, I’m putting her clothes out for her, making sure she eats, etc… There’s no day off unless we go away.

    And that sucks.

  • Izzy says:

    Tracey,

    I\’m sure if I could find in within myself to be that generous, even when i\’m really angry, that it would diffuse the situation and help us to speak more kindly about these things. It\’s just really hard when things have escalated and the only thoughts you\’re having are ones that involve anvils dropping on his head!

    : ) Izzy

  • Izzy says:

    You know, it IS hard to articulate, which is odd for me. And while I’m standing there, fuming because my having a specified day off has probably NEVER even occurred to the man, it’s even harder!

  • Izzy says:

    I don’t think they understand that paying the bills is a burden unto itself. My husband never thinks about money, he just earns it and spends it. He never knows how close we come some months to being in the red. That alone is a huge weight on my shoulders and when I try to tell him, he just doesn’t seem that affected by it I assume because he knows I am a finanical genius (heh!) that always finds a way to work it all out. But the stress of that plus caring for every sapect of the kids’ lives and his and mine and every detail that encompasses is not as easy as it looks.

  • Izzy says:

    Cruise director! I love it. And I pull that “I didn’t thaw anything” routine all the time…lol

  • Izzy says:

    Actually, for all the practical stuff, that’s what we do. His, mine and ours after 5pm, split down the middle. For me, the issue is all the other things that he never particiaptes in. It’s just a huge psychic burden to always make every decision and bear the responsibility of every decision. I just want him to step up a little more.

  • Binkytown says:

    This makes TOTAL sense. I found myself wishing this same thing this weekend- please just notice that I’m drowning here and offer to throw me a life jacket. I’m not asking for a total shift in responsibilities, just take over when you can see I’m close to losing it! It’s not too much to ask to pay attention! Ugh.

  • JGS says:

    I completely hear what you are saying. I think it is very hard for both parents when one is working outside the home and one isn’t. I work outside our home and my wife is with our Okapis all day. I try to get up early on the weekends so she can sleep in and I get extra time with our Okapis. When I am alone with them, I decide on what they’ll eat, I get them ready for bed, or get them dressed or whatever needs to be done. However, when we are together with them I almost always defer to her. Partly because she has a way she likes things done and partly because she is the primary caretaker – she knows more about being with them and about how each day flows than I do. Neither of us really like it and it is why I enjoy the time with my Okapis alone – because I like being the primary caretaker – the one they come to for what they need.

    My wife compares it to if I came to her office, wouldn’t I be the one who knows the most. Well, our house is her office and she knows the most. We can’t be fully equal if she has put in more time, has more experience with them and their daily lives. It’s hard for me because I feel like you, ironically. How can I take a break if I see them so infrequently already? Of course my wife needs a break – she is with them all of the time and she gets her breaks (yoga, a day in the city, etc.). But if I take a break then she has to do more and I see our Okapis less.

    One thing that has helped me about when she takes time for herself is calling it special time with my Okapis. Saturday morning when she goes to Yoga, I get Los Tres Amigos time with my Okapis. Then it becomes special time for all three of us instead of my wife taking a well-deserved break.

    Maybe he would benefit from something like that? Special time with his children while you take some time for yourself?

    I swear sometimes it feels like 75% of parenting is marketing.

  • Lisa G says:

    Boy do I feel your pain. Hope you get a break.

    Lisa

  • Oh, The Joys says:

    The way I see it, you BOTH work all day and because you both have the children, the work that happens after five should be divided equally. Why does the family stuff just DEFAULT to the woman? It’s effed up.

  • Karen Rani says:

    Well I think my Granny was onto something when she used to pull my Papa’s ear and TWIST, hard. :D

    I don’t do that, but your husband sounds a lot like mine, both the good and the bad points. We have the same talk twice a year also – seriously. Me working from home was a transition for him too. He came home to chaos many days. There was a 3 month period of him not here at all because he worked nearly 3 hours away. I actually was a BETTER mom then because I had to take the lead, and do everything, so I was more organized and didn’t have to rely on him to pull his weight. Plus, less laundry!

    When he thinks he is too important to watch the kids (usually at his mother’s house – the MUSEUM), I sometimes say to him, “I’m not your mother. If I had birthed that big fat head of yours, I wouldn’t be able to walk today.” In other words, get off your high horse and look after your spawn. I’m a very direct person and I don’t like to brew anything but coffee. If I need help, I will ask nicely only once. He knows that. :)

    This long answer brought you by the letter I, which stands for “I wear the pants in this family.” (Most of the time)

    As for Daren taking the lead, he does, quite a bit actually. I’m glad for it, but mostly I’m the bossy pants to tell him how to do it all.

  • Momma Bean says:

    Funny, it must be going around. We had this conversation this weekend too. And we have it at least five other times throughout the year. I’ve copied the link for mine to read. Let’s hope he does and stops thinking I’m the only one.

  • Vicky says:

    The “tag” thing really works for us.
    As for the orchestrating…. okay, it used to really get to me, but now I acknowledge that I am simply better at mental gymnastics than he is. Not that he couldn’t do it, but someone has to and it’s actually easier if the person who pays the bills also plans the grocery list which also means planning the meals. That sort of thing. The BIG stuff, like when money is tight, when decisions need making, when I have too many little things to think clearly, that stuff I make sure he knows about IN FULL. Basically, one of us has to be the navigator in terms of household mapping. It may as well be me as him, seeing as how I’m working from home and therefore here more.

    He takes the lead in other things like taking care of the dogs, the car, doing known chores around the house. He also will do whatever needs doing if I note it in my dayplanner, as he checks the “to do” lists I make for myself. I done trained him good.

    Basically, I’ve just gotten used to the idea that I’m the stage director in certain aspects of our life. I used to hate it with a passion, but now that I can tag out on other things like childcare and cleaning, it doesn’t get to me so much. Besides, I’ll acknowledge that I’m a bit of a control freak AND am better at oganising things and formulating a plan so that I don’t lie awake worrying. He simply can’t do that.

    We’ve also learned to recognise when things are over both of our heads and pay a cleaner, take a night out or ask for help from friends. Sometimes mothers who feel overwhelmed don’t realise that the fathers are boggled too.

  • So, so sorry about the sick children. I hate to think of your smiley little kids feeling bad (because it’s hell for the mommy, isn’t it?). Also sorry about the argument with Huz. My Hubby never understands why I get testy about these issues too. Argh.

  • Just yesterday I decided I earned a break so I went shopping (for gifts for HIS family) with my girlfriend. I was gone six hours. In which time, he called me three times, once to know where the nail clippers were, once to tell me we needed milk and the other time to ask what HE should do about supper. Was I going to be back in time to make it????

    I want to know where my day off is too. And I want my day off to be when my kids are feverish and puking and the hubs has a hang over.

    (Oh, and by the way, my snarl must have worked, because when I got home he had supper ready and he even made me a pie. I love that man..)

  • Peetsmom says:

    Having been together with my hubby for 22 years, 17 of those married to him, I have lived this same scenario many times over.

    For myself, I know I take on the “at-home” title very seriously…I’m not making any money, so this is my “job”. I have demanded a lot from myself and in that way I have set myself up by allowing him to expect the best all the time. I should have set the standards a little bit lower from the get go! I should have made sure that I made “vacation time” and “girl time” a priority from the very start! Then it would be “the norm” and part of the routine!

    I can go a long time without a pat on the back or some sign of appreciation…I am not sure that even after all these years he “gets it” that life is better for everyone when I’m fully charged!

    Here’s hoping your hubby had an epiphany and realizes that he can’t function without you and therefore should walk on his knees to keep you happy!!!

  • Kristi says:

    You do make sense, you really, really do! What doesn’t make any sense is M-E-N. You are not alone.

  • Tracey says:

    Believe me, I didn’t come to that conclusion, or say anything, when we were in the middle of a big spit at each other… Took till the next day, at least… and I’d stewed so much about it. It took guts, but I was able to say ‘Look.. I feel like you don’t recognise what I do.. bla bla bla… And I guess, at the same time, I don’t let you know I appreciate what you do… I guess we are both taking each other for granted a bit…”

    Mind you.. I didn’t say it was perfect now. Just better. And I have the fridge magnet to prove it: “Nobody notices what I do until I don’t do it.”

  • I could so totally have written this. Every word. EVERY WORD.

    No advice, just deep, deep sympathy and understanding and vigorous, vigorous head-nodding.

  • Kim says:

    We have that argument all the time! I completly understand where you are coming from. My husband comes home at 8 and wants to sit on the couch and veg, and I still have aout 4 hours of work to do. I do wok at home, but someone still has to do the laundry, and dishes, and all the other junk that the mommy fairy has to do. Oi!

  • Momish says:

    OMG! I just had a similar conversation with my husband about this whole thing. It was over hiring a housekeeper. All I said was I wanted the same luxury he had. To walk into our huge, big, lovely bathroom and enjoy it instead of seeing it as the hour of misery it takes to clean. I mean, what DOES it feel like to live in a house for three years and never clean a bathroom? Oh, how wonderful it must be! I think it might have finally hit him! My fingers are crossed. I definately feel for you. And, I hear you loud and clear. It is a scary feeling to think something like this could get in the way of your life and love, but everyday eats away at you, its so hard to ignore. So, its good to vent and be heard! I hope he heard.
    I hope the everyone is back in good health realy soon.

  • mrsfortune says:

    I could have written this post! Of course. And I feel extra guilty because my husband often works until past midnight and then is up at 7:00 AM to do it again. :(

    I’m sorry about the sick kiddos and I hope they feel better really soon. And there’s lots of stuff swept under my rugs.

  • TB says:

    I think you have an incredibly valid point about never getting a day off. I wish I had a solution or even a suggestion, but I fear I’m going to end up in the same position in a few years.

  • I haven’t read all the comments but you’re not alone Izzy! Speaking from experience, all men are clueless, it’s us women who have to constantly remind them what our needs are. I know we don’t want to but that’s just it…they are clueless but they don’t mean to be though.

    Hope the kids will be better soon.

  • Buffy says:

    I’m the world’s worse at leaving the t.v. on.

    I know it’s bad taste and impolite…but I get nervous when I don’t have background noise. Everything always settles into an annoying quiet. I just choose the easy way out I guess. Last week it was parades and football.

  • I think the most frustrating thing for me is that my husband seems to think that things “just happen.” For example, I sing in the church choir, and he doesn’t understand why I need to be at church at 8:00 am when church doesn’t begin until 9:00 am — why can’t we just show up at 9:00? When the kids were babies, he thought it was great that the diaper bag always had diapers, changes of clothes, snacks, and toys, but it never occurred to him that he should check the damn thing once in a while to restock it. Women are the planners because we have to be; men just take it for granted. Whenever we have to be somewhere, I have the kids and myself ready 30 minutes early. He jumps in the shower as we’re supposed to be leaving, then yells at all of us when we’re late! AAAARGH!!!! I want to be the one who doesn’t have to think and plan and map out the logistics: just shows up and doesn’t have to worry about who’s going to watch the kids and who’s going to tell the kids it’s time to go home. I don’t want to clean up or make sure the kids have their jackets/basketball/tae kwon do mitts, etc. For once, I want to be the Dad.

  • Izzy says:

    YES! That is EXACTLY what I mean.

    • Food magically appears in the fridge.

    • Bills pay themselves.

    • Repair people show up and fix things automatically.

    • Lunches pack themselves and permission slips are signed by fairies.

    • Holiday plans settle themselves.

    • Birthday gifts are bought & delivered by elves who also sign all our names to the card

    • They also send all the party invitations AND the thank you notes

    lol…I wanna be the dad, too!

  • jaelithe says:

    You post does make sense, far, far too much sense to me. I too have a good husband who is a good father who helps around the house but still doesn’t get the fact that my job is never-ending, and still doesn’t seem fully capable of taking over for me, even in an emergency.

    Once when I complained about this to a friend of mine who is getting her PhD in psychology, she said to me, “Wow, it sounds like you are very reliable. It must be really great for your husband to have such a reliable person to constantly rely on. I wonder what he would do if you stopped being so reliable all the time?”

    Those psychologist friends are sneaky, aren’t they? So, I have started just insisting that my husband do some things, not leaving him any choice in the matter by simply abdicating my duties and letting him try to figure out how to deal. For instance, over Thanksgiving after staying up baking until 2 a.m. the night before and spending the morning cooking more food, getting our son ready, and cleaning the kitchen, when we arrived at my in-laws house, I talked to all the relatives and completely ignored our son, leaving my husband to watch him.

    (Of course this move requires that one’s husband be able to recognize the fact that an unwatched toddler or pre-schooler needs watching. From what I have seen, that does take some several months of training for most WOH dads– meaning reminding one’s husband clearly and forcefully every single time he forgets this fact, in much the same way as one might train a puppy to consistently retrieve the newspaper– but I have found it is possible to instill this idea over time).

    My husband got a bit annoyed when I did this at Thanksgiving, especially considering it was his relatives we were visiting, but then I reminded him about my baking HIS favorite dessert until 2 a.m. the night before, and he backed off quickly when I threatened to cut him off from his cheesecake supply ;)

  • Of course you’re making sense.

    It’s hard to live where you work, i.e. at home. It is constant, it never ends, there is no change of scenery or change in level of production. Constant, sometimes mind-numbing, sameness.

    It does stink to be responsible for everything, all the time. It’s exhausting! Men who work don’t understand it, even if they say they do. NO ONE can understand it until you do it. I didn’t!

    I hear you. I totally get it. Wanna get hitched? :)

  • julia says:

    AGREED!! We have the same issue. I stress over money, and he buys whatever, wherever.

  • callie says:

    INITIATIVE. That sums it up in our family. I have a great husband, always willing to help. But I have to force myself (and him) to get over the feeling that he is doing me a favor by helping with the children and the house. It’s not a favor, it’s a family. Sometimes I am so tired of asking for help or directing that it seems easier to just do it myself and wallow in my martyrdom. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live trying to tiredly explain how and why you can’t live with ‘em.

  • SeaBird says:

    Hello! I found your blog through Blog Soldiers… finally a blog worth reading :)

    I appreciated this post (and all the people who commented) as my husband and I have gone through similar rows since our twins were born 10 months ago (and have been crying and puking from reflux ever since).

    Keep up the good writing and see you around Blog Soldiers! :)

    SeaBird

  • Eric says:

    Just found your blog – so please forgive commenting on an old post as I catch up. I noticed that the stay-at-home-dad demographic was rather under-represented in the comments here. While I don’t want to speak for all SAHD’s, I would like to say a big a-men. For my wife and I, the arrangement made sense based on whose individual nature would be more suited to the at-home role vs. the at-work role. And yes, that means I’m the always-on, 24/7, parent. Since I’m with our daughter all the time, I just ‘know’ what she needs … so yes, my wife often checks in with me … should the drink be juice or milk … etc. We also share the household chores. Things like laundry and dishes that just need to get churned through the machine I take care of during the day. And I give the bathroom and kitchen a scrub down, a little bit at a time (like just the kitchen countertop one day, and the next day sweep the floor, and the next day clean out behind the microwave, etc). My wife does a separate set of chores …

    But I’m still the one who has to put together the ‘plan’ … when we go camping … when we go on a day-trip … when we are just hanging out around the house … but its just the pattern that works for us. My wife isn’t the planner … she has other strengths. But oh have there been many moments when I have had that exact same mental cry – the ability just to release the planning and managing responsibility to someone else … but then the control freak in me takes over.

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