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Monday Morning Parenting: What About Me Damnit?!

Monday, January 17, 2011

I wasn't sure how to write this post without sounding selfish. Then I realized that is exactly the approach I wanted to take.

You see dear readers, I am at standing at a crossroads. The road ahead of me is an empty, lonely place filled with broken down communications and other marital hazards. The other road forks to the left. It is a challenging road that curves up a mountain because successful marriage is an arduous uphill climb that requires blood, sweat, and tears.

Marriage is also give and take. Some people are naturally givers and some people are comfortable as takers. However, when you are married you have to be both.
I am no stranger to sacrifice and compromise. What I need to work on is demanding more and taking what is rightfully mine. A big part of me feels that I shouldn't have to be so aggressive, that he should willingly give me what I deserve. I could wait passively for him to suddenly change or I can fight for my portion.

If you are wondering why on Earth am I discussing my relationship problems here instead of with the appropriate party, let me provide two simple answers:

#1: My husband reads this blog. There is nothing that I am about to reveal that he hasn't heard from my lips, that we haven't discussed, or that will be news to him. I have tried talking, but I am much better expressing myself with written words.
This is my last resort attempt to get through to him. I hope he will wake up when he sees the evidence of my misery in black and white.

#2: Blogging is what a desperate woman does when she can't get to counseling for some reason...lack of time, money, will. This is my therapy.

So, here's my story. Damon is my husband. He is also Marlie's father. I am not sure he knows how to do both well. He has never been good at the juggling act. Something or another inevitably gets dropped when he tries to multitask. He also sucks at time management, so lots of tasks and relationships get kicked down the road to be dealt with later. Right now, it seems like he is focused on being an excellent father. I am incredibly grateful that he is such an involved dad so I am not complaining about that. My beef is that Damon is so attentively, lovingly, and completely engrossed in Marlie that I am often left feeling neglected. Why does he have to demote himself to the minors as a husband in order to step up to the plate and hit a grand slam as a daddy?

Case in point. On two occasions in Phoenix, I sat (at the breakfast and at the airport) totally ignored by him while he bounced Marlie on his lap and carried on a conversation with the person on his other side. In my head, I am screaming,
WHAT ABOUT ME?!

This has been happening a lot lately. Other examples include him saying that he'd rather spend time with Marlie than do
xyz, his argument that he devotes more time to parenting than most fathers he knows (I am still casting his gold medal for this feat), or the countless times that he grabs Marlie and goes off to play with her without including me. Again, I'll be thinking WHAT ABOUT ME?! What about spending time with me, devoting time to me, playing with me!

To give him the benefit of the doubt, I don't think he realizes that he is excluding me at the moment he is doing it. But I have brought this issue to his attention more than once. He will try to make a conscious effort to be more accessible and available. but it only lasts a short while.

Remember when I shared how he was taking off early on Thursdays so we could spend quality time together while Marlie was at school? That lasted about two weeks! Oh, and he always uses work as an excuse. It really irks me when he throws work up in my face as if it is a free pass to abandon me. Here's a news flash...thousands of husband work, parent, volunteer AND still find time to dote on their wives. It's called time management. It's called work/life balance. Sure, there are also thousands of husbands who constantly neglect their wives. They are called exes. ha ha.

I am not making light of my situation with jokes. Humor is just one of my coping mechanisms. Honestly, I am a very sensitive person prone to emotional breakdowns and depression. The last couple of years have been really hard on me...moving to a new city where I knew no one, being unemployed and not being able to contribute financially to the household, having my husband work long hours with a long commute, giving birth to my first child, dealing with a medical diagnosis after years of unexplained illness, having my brother locked up and facing serious prison time. With all of these struggles my self-image as a woman has taken a hit. There are nicks in my already-thin armor. I am extremely vulnerable right now. It doesn't help when my supposed ally and best friend, the one person who is supposed to understand me and have my back is too busy to notice me, to indulge me, to reassure me that I am still appealing and that he cares.

I'm not totally innocent though. I have been moody and short-tempered because I feel like sh!t, and I feel like a sh!t because I am moody and short-tempered. It's a viscous cycle. Instead of reaching out, however, he backs away leaving me to drown in the ripe tide of my emotional currents. The old vivacious me is buried somewhere under a pile of diapers, laundry, dishes, uncombed hair, untrimmed toenails, sweatpants, and a food-stained t-shirt.

I feel invisible, uninteresting, and lonely.

So what is a girl to do?! I am not using this space just to vent. I am trying to be proactive and come up with some real solutions before we get to the point of no return.

So have any of you mothers dealt with this? What helped get your relationship with your husband back on track?

13 comments:

Janine said...

I'm here too. I don't want to complain because there are men out there who are not awesome dads, but it sucks to come second place. I think that it makes it worse to be doted on while pregnant (by everyone really) and then you're totally forgotten about when the baby arrives. I am not trying to compete with my child but I feel like I do a pretty good job of balancing my husband's needs and my baby's, so why can't he do the same!

- Janine
Alternative Housewife

Alexia said...

I think this must be pretty common because I'm going through the same thing now too. It is so much a part of these first years as parents to find the delicate balance between being parents and being a couple. The only thing that has worked for us so far is counseling. However it's WAY too expensive for us to do more than every six weeks or so. What we learned was that we need to schedule time for me, him and us (since all the rest of the time is Cedella's anyways). The Us time is the hardest. But we need to cultivate and nurture our marriages so that we can teach our children what successful relationships look like. You two have got to get back to your Thursdays come hell or high water! That time is just as important to your family as Damon's time with Marlie. Good luck!

Kim said...

It's a terrible time - this first little while after the baby is born. It's isolating, lonely and suddenly, it's soooooo much harder to get a little time for yourself. I'm sorry you're going through this. I have no words of wisdom, I can commisurate with you a bit. Sending you hugs and lots of love!

ape2016 said...

I feel bad for you, because you miss what you had. But, raising 3 kids on my own, I would give anything to be ignored long enough for my kids to have a dad. But (huge BUT), it shouldn't be that way, either. You shouldn't have to choose one or the other, but I can tell you that it is hard for anyone to give their all to everyone. I think it is good you realize that you need to be proactive. I think even if you feel funky, you need to do more for you. Get dressed nice, do some stuff alone and ask your husband on a date. You can't change your husband's behavior. Only he can and it doesn't sound much like he wants to. Maybe he feels so comfortable neglecting you because he assumes you will always be there or maybe, just maybe, he doesn't care if you are. I think you should really dig deep into this with him. You don't sound happy and he doesn't sound 'married'. I truly hope it all works out and please don't think anything I said was out of malice. I am just an old veteran of relationship implosion.

AccidentalMommy said...

I'm sorry you are having to go through this. I think part of it is growing pains. Marriages need to adjust to all the different things that happen in it and often the 2 parties don't adjust at the same time.

My prayers are with both of you...

Teresha@Marlie and Me said...

Thanks ladies for your advice and words of support! It means so much to me!

Mrs. K said...

Hey lovely Teresha. Thanks for sharing and for being so open and honest. I'm not a mommy yet but from what I've read and heard it is not uncommon for women to be experiencing these things.

There's no manual to be a good husband or a good father but it sounds like Damon is a natural in the daddy department. That's awesome. So many of us (including myself) wished we had a good father. Damon may need some help in the husband department but we all are imperfect and have stuff we need to work on.

This seems important to you so I hope that he reads this and realizes how serious the situation is. We all have bumps in our marriages and other relationships. Continue to pray about it, communicate effectively, don't blame and do your part also.

As I said, there's no manual but when two people are working together towards a common goal, the situation gets easier. I will be praying for you guys too lady :)

Lynn said...

Oh sweet mama I feel your pain. Sadly, I think here is some truth you may have to face. This is your new life. Husbands and fathers and wives and mothers ALL go through these phases. Sometimes we coast the easy trails of marriage and have no desire to put forth effort and sometimes we tackle that Goliath of a mountain hand in hand. Always allow that underlying current of love to flow though. Never feel like it's a lost cause. You might have some residual pregnancy hormones I believe and he's still adjusting to being a dad. Give it time. Remember no ones perfect and in the meantime, do some housework in heels to get that sexy back, get a babysitter if you can and hit up a happy hour with your man, read the Bible together and pray together. I know you're a spiritual woman and know how powerful that can be. Hugs to you mama.

My best, Lynn

Help! Mama Remote... said...

Wow! If we did a wife swap, you'd run to your husband so fast when the limo pulls up.LOL Honestly, it's rare that a man can juggle it all. Don't know if they just can't?! I think they don't want to.Often it's the husband upst with the wife because she focuses more on the kids. Either way someone suffers.

Marriage is WORK!!!!!!!!!! Serious work! Your hubby is going to have to make a effort of catering to you needs. Making an effort to cater to you atleast 5 times during the day. You've probably heard of marriage exercises like those.
As well as you, catering to his needs as your husband. I know it's our life but stroke their ego first puts us at a greater advantage. Txt him during the day and other small efforts. They need our help! We can yell on the mountain top & they'll say, "did you say something?"

Maureen said...

I have to say that my husband never neglected me for the kids. Work and his projects, yes. One thing that has helped for us is to have date nights every Saturday night. Even if we can't leave the house, once the kids are in bed, we focus on us. It might not be as spontaneous as one would like, but it keeps the connection alive until you get through the rut.

Maureen said...

I have to say that my husband never neglected me for the kids. Work and his projects, yes. One thing that has helped for us is to have date nights every Saturday night. Even if we can't leave the house, once the kids are in bed, we focus on us. It might not be as spontaneous as one would like, but it keeps the connection alive until you get through the rut.

Christa Terry said...

I am so sorry to read that this is going on in your life. Sometimes I think that the reason monogamy is so big in so many cultures - and let me say I am ALL about monogamy but I'm cool with people making other choices - is that people have such a difficult time devoting themselves to more than one person. Your man may not realize that he's been doing the either/or thing. He may just be feeling like the world's best dad, and he's wondering why you aren't seeing that. Which isn't to say he gets some license to neglect you. NUH UH. You're obviously great, and you deserve to get the attention and love that a wife should. So, right on, step up and DEMAND IT. Good luck, and *hugs*

Quiana said...

I wish I had advice to contribute, but I've only been married 1 1/2 years and DH and I are new parents so for now we're trying to juggle both together and are constantly joined at the hip trying to figure it out.

One piece of advice I took away from our pre-marital counseling was to have a non-negotiable date night; not to necessarily go anywhere, but to have weekly scheduled time, sans baby, to be together as a couple. Perhaps you can do the same?

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