How to get your husband more involved

Elizabeth - posted on 08/14/2013 ( 11 moms have responded )

2

0

0

Hello everyone. I have been with my husband for 7yrs married for 2 1/2. We have 2 children together ages 5&2. My husband is gone 14hrs of the day so I am home all day with the kids without a break. My husband will come home and run right upstairs to shower then eat and go right to bed. This is pretty much the routine everyday. His children miss him. His son does not even know many things about being a boy because Dad is never here and I keep asking for him on his days off to play baseball with him or teach him sports but he does for a few minutes and gives up. He seems he has other prioritys. On his days off he likes to sit home and play video games. From my eyes it seems we are falling apart and I don't know what to do anymore. I don't sleep, I don't eat, I've been on depression medications. I've tried to talk to him and he puts the blame on me and says I need to make suggestions too and that when he comes home from work he's tired. He must think watching children and cleaning and cooking isn't tiring. I'm just so lost and so upset I don't know where to begin. Someone please help me out

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

"As a stay-at-home mom of two small children, when I say that I need a break, I'm not talking about wanting a vacation or a treat as a reward for doing my job. Needing a break doesn't mean that I'm seeking a respite from my responsibilities or that I want to put my feet up. It means that I need a moment to feel like a human being in the midst of a relentless life where I don't belong to myself anymore; where I give my love and energy away, every moment of my existence, and can't figure out how to keep any for myself.

We're all very aware of men who don't understand the point of giving the mother of his children a break. They go to work all day and they don't have fun at work, do they? When they come home and their wives say, "I need a break," they think, When do I get a break? I just worked all day and now I have to come home and give my wife a break?

The point of a break, when you're a stay-at-home parent, isn't fun, or excitement or relaxation, although breaks that contain those things are great, and we absolutely totally deserve them, because everybody does. When a stay-at-home parent says, "I need a break from being a mommy for an hour or two," they aren't trying to swindle you into doing the work of caring for the house and children so that they can get out for some fun and letting loose. Needing a break isn't the same thing as wanting a vacation.

When you're a father, caring for your kids doesn't count as work. It counts as something you promised to do when you created a life. It isn't the same thing as going to a job. Caring for your children means that you're teaching them how to be people and giving them the chance to be happy. Taking time out of your life every single day to care for your children is absolutely vital to their growth as people. It's not something you grace them -- or your wife -- with. It's not a favor. It's not extra work at the end of a long day. It's part of who you are, because you're daddy. You are absolutely required, by the fact that you made a baby, to spend all of your time and energy being a father to that baby, for the rest of your life, and that isn't bad news. Fathering is about your kids deserving a parent who is engaged and who demonstrates that he loves them, because that is what will help them become happy, healthy, successful people.

When I get a break at the end of my day, I don't use it to have fun. I don't need a break so that I can unwind and have a blast being me, all on my own, finally, without the kids. I go to the gym. I go grocery shopping. I might take a walk or ride my bike. I garden. I might write or read for a while. I do yard work.

I do whatever I need to do, in that moment, to feel like I deserve to exist. I do what I need to do to feel sane and stable and capable of keeping up with the never-ending needs of my beautiful children. My breaks might allow me to think my own thoughts for a few moments. They might allow me to drive a car without being tense and distracted. I might need a break because I want to use the bathroom without someone watching me, or without worrying what might be happening downstairs and yelling, "Mommy is almost done! Are you guys OK?"

I want a break, not because I'm bored or restless or craving some fun, (although I am probably feeling those things a lot of the time.) I want a break because I put absolutely everything I have into staying at home with my kids. From the moment I open my eyes in the morning, there isn't a single second of my day where I'm not engaged and on call. There isn't a single moment where I am alone with my thoughts, where I'm not being touched and needed and where demands aren't being made of me. Not a single moment. Not when I'm brushing my teeth or showering or trying to find something clean to wear. Not even in the bathroom.

As stay-at-home parents, we understand that going to work all day isn't fun, and it isn't easy. We get that we're lucky to spend our days with our children. We've had responsibilities and stresses outside of motherhood, and we understand that life is challenging for you, and for everyone. We know that commuting to and from work and sitting in a cubical all day is not how you would choose to spend your time, if you had a choice. We know that going to work is not a personal break where you can unwind and put your feet up. We totally get that, and we love you and appreciate you for all you do to keep our families safe and cared for. We would be better at saying thank you if we had even a single ounce of energy or sanity left over at the end of the day. We love you. We do. And, thank you.

We still need a break, though.

Not because we work harder than you or deserve something you don't. We just need a few minutes to not be on edge, working our nerves and spirits raw for the safety and happiness and health of our kids. We just need a moment to remember who we are, to not feel worried and harried and invisible. We need a second to catch our breath, to make our own choices, to try to love ourselves, for a moment. We need the opportunity to exist, as a human being with a name and thoughts and ideas; as a person who is allowed to complete a thought. We need to be allowed to drive a car and use the bathroom without being pulled away and pressured. We just need a moment, or we're going to fall apart.

We love you, daddies. We aren't trying to get anything over on you. We're not trying to say that we don't think you work hard. We aren't trying to weasel some fun or excitement out of life, by denying you yours. We just need a second to try to remember who we are."

Jennifer - posted on 08/16/2013

6

8

0

My husband is gone for 11 1/2 hours a day and I am home with my son all day. Even though my husband has been gone all day he still makes sure he does whatever he can to spend quality time with our son. Why can't your husband play video games when your son goes to bed. There is going to come a time when kids do t want to spend time with their parents and he won't be able to make up the time that he doesn't spend with him. At times I get upset because I am the one who disciplines our son and makes sure he is doing his lessons every day and he gets to be the fun parent but I know eventually that my son will realize that it was for his own good. Talk to our husband while the two of you are alone and see if he is even interested in being a parent. If not, it is not fair to keep your kid in that situation.

11 Comments

View replies by

Sylvia - posted on 09/07/2013

19

0

0

some guys feel that paying the bills and working like a dog is enough and it very well could be his idea of a perfect husband. Does he work that much because you guys need the money?
Guys always look at us like we have all this free time so why do we complain? I get that they are tired and not willing to do what they don't like to do and whatever free time they have, they spend on their own pleasures. I am a mom and I HATE playing with my kids, I would rather be left alone and feel that taking care of my kids, feeding, dressing them, providing them with independent activities and driving them around should be enough. So I get your husband in a way. BUT I find that if my husband and I do things together as a family, I am more than willing to participate. So like the other ladies said, instead of "nagging" your hubby to play with your son, plan a little trip and play together. My father in law never played with my husband a day in his life but it didn't mean that he didn't love him. It just wasn't his thing. He was always tired and just wanted to watch TV in his spare time. But when my hubby grew up, he started playing golf, as that was his dad's only other passion than TV and that's when they finally started spending quality time together. So just give it some time. Not everybody knows how to handle toddlers, he might be one of those. Pretty soon your 5 yr old will be able to play video games and that might become a father/son "quality time" :) don't give up.

Paula - posted on 09/02/2013

34

0

0

I went through the same thing too. But I have a few twists on my story. Too much to put on here but my brother and his partner are going through the similar story. Long story short, try to keep the communications going. Keep encouraging the days off at home for quality time. But more importantly try to suggest going to couples counselling or date nights out with or without your kids. Try not to get into negative vibes and topics, focus on the positives of Everything. Got out as a family on a weekend, either movies or shopping or a sport they all like.
Good luck and keep it up!

Kim - posted on 09/01/2013

203

0

126

Don't fret too much. I have a similar situation. My husband works night shift, and we barely get to see him. But when he does have time off, I can't begrudge him a little time to relax and do his hobbies. even if i find it irritating. I find that making plans, even a simple trip to the park where there aren't the typical home distractions leads to a pleasant family time, even when I let them know I am staying behind. Just tell him what the plans are and when. He will hopefully have no trouble going along with it. Maybe after a few woutings, he will have some ideas of his own, and see you are a happier momma with your alone time, too.

I find also that telling them they are doing too much of whatever- laptop or tv- leads to confrontation. Instead of saying you do too much of this, ask if he is willing to do that instead.

And don't forget- working all the time stinks, and everyone needs a break to veg out. He doesn't do that to hurt you!

Sally - posted on 08/27/2013

963

14

9

What Elizabeth Miller said. Very few husbands have any idea at all what SAHM's do all day. As much as it hurt me to leave my baby with him, being the breadwinner for a year while my husband was unemployed was the absolute best thing that could have happened to my SAHMness. He knows EXACTLY why I need him to take the kids elsewhere for an hour when he gets home.
One of the more reasonable suggestions I've seen to make timed list of everything you do all day for a week. Ask him to do the same. Most husbands are horrified at how they've assumed their wives have it easy when they find she actually does much more at home than he does at work.
If that doesn't work, you may have to bring out the big guns. On is next day off, you play "work". Hand him a copy of the kids schedule and menu and disappear for 8-10 hours. Turn off your phone so he can't guilt you into coming back and do something fun for you. When you come back, point out every singly thing you take care of that he didn't and ask him why the children are unfed and the house is a mess. When he tries to defend himself, remind him that if it's such a hard job for one day why don't you need a break after doing it every day.

[deleted account]

@ Elizabeth Miller that has got to be the most beautiful way of putting it. Thank you. Intend to have my husband read that. :-)

Melynda - posted on 08/18/2013

95

0

1

Force the family fun on him. It's gonna take some major pushing on ur part. You can do it!! Start a family pillow war or let them squirt squirt guns in the house. Whole family game of hide and go seek. Me and my husband will get the flash lights out when it gets dark chase the kids around in the yard. Then let the kids have lites to try and find mommy and daddy. Be silly and get everyone involved. Live laugh love

Cherie - posted on 08/17/2013

9

0

6

Awww I'm sorry your going through this:( But I know how u feel.. My boyfriend and I have 2 young boys and when he does get home from work, he's either on his laptop or on his iPhone all night.. It bugs me and I tell him straight up and he gets all defensive.. Ugh.. I think it's a man thing. They just don't understand how to function properly when it comes to family! I say you really need to set a alone time and speak to him regarding your thoughts. Tell him what would he do if he was in your shoes.

Caroline - posted on 08/15/2013

2

0

2

My husband also is gone for about 13 1/2 hours a day, so I understand about that. It sounds like you both need to sit down and talk about what it is that you need from one another on a day to day basis, what your children need from each of you, and what you need for yourself. I think it is very important to take time for yourself whenever and wherever you can get it, but it is also important to try to understand his side of it. It is not easy going to work all day long dealing with all sorts of different people and problems then going home to children. Just like it is not easy being the one who has to be home all the time and to deal with everything. My husband tends to have a very short temper with the kids (which he got from his father) so he needs a little more space and for things to come at him slowly when he gets home. So I try to make sure that the kids give him a quick hug and say hello then back away for a little bit in order for him to catch his breath and adjust to being home. Marriage is all about compromise and communication. I hope that you and your husband can communicate in a way that helps you see each other's point of view and work it all out. Good luck. God blessing.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms