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Drama Queen or right to be disappointed? LONG trivial and probably self-pitying.

(28 Posts)
PaperBagPrincessIsMyIdol Thu 08-Nov-12 09:32:23

I'm posting here because I need to gain a sense of perspective. I don't know if I'm over-reacting or whether I'm right to feel incredibly let down.

I've got a newborn and a two year old. Husband is away from the house working from 7am - 7pm. During the day I don't hear from him until he is on his way home. If he has been delayed at work he doesn't always let me know, leading to an upset toddler when I'm putting her to bed when Daddy still isn't home. I feel somewhat abandoned during the day, have told him this and he said he'd send me a text each day but failed to do so, other than the day after I'd mentioned it.

Last night it was past the latest time that he usually calls me to say he's on his way and we hadn't heard from him. I had both DDs screaming (one having a tantrum because I wouldn't let her put a bucket on her baby sister's head, the other screaming for milk but wouldn't latch on - witching hour) I needed to know when to expect the light at the end of the tunnel. I was also upset that husband hadn't got in touch that day as I'd had to speak to DD1's nursery (in two mornings a week as she previously loved it and didn't want to take her out when DD2 born in case she blamed DD2's arrival for removal of something she loved) about concerns I've got over her care, I'd also had health checks for me and DD2, so although not a big day by anyone else's standards it was for me. I phoned husband and after a couple of unanswered calls over twenty minutes he phoned back. Cue me in tears on phone telling him again how I feel. He was immediately apologetic. He called again a while later to say he was stuck in traffic and this time he was pissed off with me. Apparently he'd lied about where he was as he wanted to go to get me flowers and sweets to treat me but I'd ruined it now as it'd look like he was only doing it because I was upset. He claimed he'd asked me to text him about how the nursery manager was - if he did I can't remember this at all - and said he's struggling at the moment with work and being tired. I calmly told him that it didn't alter the fact that he had promised before to contact me during the day to see how things are going, yet he hadn't kept that promise, nor had he started to ask how DD2 had slept despite me telling him weeks ago that I'd like him to. (I BF and co-sleep with DD2. Husband sleeps with us but doesn't wake when DD2 and I do.) He apologised again, promised he'd do those things "if its important to you."

This morning I've been getting angry and upset. I think I've figured out why. I think he should WANT to know how his DDs and wife are doing. Surely it should be on his mind that wife is alone with newborn and demanding toddler and he'd want to see what we've been doing and show a bit of support and interest. I'm not all doom and gloom when he calls in the evening, and I've never demanded he leave work early even when I had D&V and had to read DD1 stories from the bathroom all afternoon. The same goes for DD2's nights. He isn't disturbed and doesn't do anything for her at night - he should be interested or at least acknowledge that I'm saving him from disturbed nights.

Ultimately, I feel invisible. And unimportant. And taken for granted. If he doesn't think about how we're doing, how I'm doing then how can he genuinely care?

If you've made it through that epic and pathetic OP then congratulations and thank you. Not sure what I'm expecting in terms of responses - kick up the backside probably needed.

PaperBagPrincessIsMyIdol Thu 08-Nov-12 09:35:24

kick up the backside for me, that is, not DH.

beachyhead Thu 08-Nov-12 09:43:19

Unfortunately I think so many people have been there... I know it won't help, but it truly is a stage... Dh probably is getting disrupted at night, so he's tired during the day and trying to do a job... You are tired and need support but he can't do it at the moment. All I can say, it will pass.

Talk to him and see if you can break the circle of tiredness and needing to hear from him. See if there are any random days he can take off before Christmas so you can have some extra time together as a family.

I'm not sure needing a text every day is going to 'cure' this - time will though, and sleep!

AlmostAHipster Thu 08-Nov-12 09:47:59

Oh dear. It sounds to me as if you're raising your babies on your own and that your OH has checked out of family life.

Him saying it was your fault that you spoiled the 'treat' is bollocks though - he shouldn't be lying to you for any reason.

I've been in a marriage like that and it's incredibly difficult to make someone care when they don't act like they do - impossible, really. All I can suggest is that you have some strong words about what you expect from a husband and father and hopefully he'll stop acting like a single man. If he doesn't, then you really should be considering leaving the marriage. Life as a single parent can be hard but I find it much more preferable than living with someone who is emotionally distant.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 08-Nov-12 09:49:39

I think there are two separate things going on. First is work. When someone's at work - and I am this way myself - they have to be 100% focused on work rather than wondering what the DCs are up to and it doesn't mean they don't care about their family. Speaking also as the sole earner there's an added pressure to do your job as well as possible & keep the family ship afloat financially. There are times when fire-fighting is necessary, emergencies happen, but if you're spending too much time getting involved with personal matters when you're meant to be working, it doesn't play well with managers.

Second thing is how you feel about your role as SAHM. If you've explained that you feel invisible, unimportant and taken for granted, and if you've specifically asked and had agreed that he was going to get a message home saying what time he'll be back, then he should be making a special effort to make you feel appreciated and he should be keeping to his promises. But, by the same token, if you've had a 'big day' such as you describe, you're going to have to save it until everyone's home, relaxed and listening...

Who else do you talk to during the day? Do you have friends close by that you can chat to? Is any element of this feeling 'abandoned' because you're just lonely?

PaperBagPrincessIsMyIdol Thu 08-Nov-12 09:50:51

Thanks Beachyhead. The more I think about it (stew on it?) the more I realise its not about text messages, its about feeling that he doesn't care. That scares me because I feel incredibly vulnerable without a job to return to, two young DDs to look after...

CharlotteCollinsislost Thu 08-Nov-12 09:52:47

You know, what, Paper? You are in an incredibly difficult stage of life atm. So firstly, be kind to yourself. It is really hard to look after a newborn and toddler, and nigh-on impossible if you're not getting any support, practical or emotional.

And secondly, a lot of what you say sounds very familiar to my past, when my dcs were younger. And the feeling invisible? Was feeling that only last week. Was wondering about emotional neglect in adult relationships - is that abuse?

Of course, I can't see into your life from one post (even a long one wink ), but you know your situation. You may want to look at the links at the top of the emotionally abusive relationships support thread and see if any of it sounds familiar.

If not, this is a stage and you need to keep on talking to him till he understands better what you're going through. Either way, best of luck.

PaperBagPrincessIsMyIdol Thu 08-Nov-12 10:00:08

Cross-posted with Almost and Cogito.

Almost - I sometimes do feel like a single parent, but with a messy houseguest! I agree, the treat thing is bollocks. He realised he'd fucked up and went on the attack (the "I asked you to text me to tell me about nursery" thing is part of that too - I'd have remembered him taking an interest.) He tends to do this when he knows he's in the wrong.

Cogito - I want to be a SAHM part time and work part time, but not sure if a part time post is possible when mat leave ends. I love being with my girls but do feel the need to work. I hate not being able to make a significant financial contribution, it makes me feel very vulnerable. I do have friends locally who I see regularly. We either see friends and their children or go to a group every day so its not that I'm lonely at home, I think its more that I feel lonely within my marriage. Shit, that's a scary thing to say.

Offred Thu 08-Nov-12 10:03:20

I don't feel like an authority on how this should be handled as I'm still unsure whether I did it the best way. I had a difficult and stressful pg with the twins (although no real medical probs just lots of monitoring at hosp over an hour away and some bed rest at the end) and when the twins were born the older two were 3 and 4. My dh had taken on the burden of childcare and work at the same time during the last few weeks of my pg and had been working from home taking (his step) ds to school and (step) dd to nursery (1-3.45) every afternoon. When they were born he reached his limit and although he took two weeks of paternity leave he was desperate to return to work and when he did I failed to cope, babies had a minor feeding problem and an unsupportive/unknowledgeable HV who ended up threatening ss. It was hellish. I was desperate and felt really angry at him abandoning me but at the time also could see he felt desperate and didnt feel I should complain.

The babies were 3 on Tuesday. I have some perspective on it now and I don't know whether I should have spoken about it with him. I think it is usually the best thing, talking, however know my DH and how things were back then I think he wouldn't have done anything differently an instead would have put himself under more stress trying to comply with everything he thought work wanted and everything home needed.

He does not want to stand out or be different or ask for "special favours" or assert himself in any way. He completely avoids anything that involves that. He could have done lots of things to improve his stressors, such as taking family leave to look after me and the children while I was sick, or when twins were tiny, even just asserting himself a bit at work would have been impossible for him though, it still is and so I forgive him for that poor management and the passing of the consequences onto me and the babies. But also I don't think I should fail to recognise that as the result of his failure to manage his stress:

Offred Thu 08-Nov-12 10:05:49

And I don't think he should be let off doing something about it (and he is). I suppose I think you need to do whatever will have the best outcome, mine was ultimately getting other people (his mum/dad) to pick up the slack.

lindsell Thu 08-Nov-12 10:06:37

I'm in a similar position although ds1 is 3.5, I used to pester for texts, ask when he'd be home etc so I knew whether to keep ds1 up to see dh or not, however it meant dh got annoyed, I got annoyed and more often than not ds1 got upset because he thought he'd see dh but his train was delayed or whatever so he couldn't.

Once ds2 was born I couldn't cope with ds1's upset as well so my new way is that the default position to ds1 is that daddy won't be home so he doesn't expect him, dh knows what time ds1 goes to bed and if he can be back by then great if not then there's no upset and I don't need to pester him as I don't need to know for ds1. Dh knows that if he wants dinner he needs to let me know by 7pm otherwise he doesn't get any. I assume and am prepared for doing all the parenting on my own in the week the same way as if dh worked away.

This way there aren't expectations/hopes that then get dashed. It's a shame for dh that he often doesn't see ds1 from sun eve to the following sat am but that's the way it is at the moment.

In my dh's case it's not that he doesn't care but he is v focused & busy when at work and doesn't want to be bothered with house stuff unless it's urgent. When it is tbf he does step up and respond/do whatever's necessary.

It is hard being at home all week doing everything on your own but I do find it's easier now I've changed my mindset and just assume he won't be there rather than waiting for him to text/come home etc.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 08-Nov-12 10:06:39

One particular time I recall having had the day from hell and my DH delayed homecoming to pick up flowers when I just wanted physical help and by the time he rolled in both DCs were asleep and I wanted to shove the roses where the thorns would do most damage.

Give it time you are both tired. Pre- mobiles people didn't have easy means of contact but now I agree it helps having 3 minute input and support and what does it take to make a quick call or text. Far easier to put this point across when you're in the same room and not in tears.

Does he pitch in at weekends?

lindsell Thu 08-Nov-12 10:09:40

X post with your latest post - I guess I feel lonely in my marriage as well sometimes and it does feel as if we lead essentially separate lives a lot of the time but I'm hoping it's just a phase while the Dcs are little.

BillyBollyBandy Thu 08-Nov-12 10:09:43

My very caring, attentive loving DH did this when dd2 was born. He got so used to me "coping", and had an horrific workload, that he stopped letting me know when he would be home. DD1 sobbing because she wanted her daddy, me calling him and getting cross because I was expecting him back, baby crying - yep all sounds very familiar.

I told him I wasn't the hired help and was an equal part of the family. I was not here for his convenience and I wanted some appreciation for also doing a bloody hard job.

It got through and he realised just how shitty it is to be at home constantly with 2 tinies.

He still does it occasionally but now they are 3 and 18 months and I am back at work Idon't notice as much to be honest.

I have every sympathy for you

CharlotteCollinsislost Thu 08-Nov-12 10:10:17

All very good advice from lindsell - this is what I did too, to regain my sanity.

CharlotteCollinsislost Thu 08-Nov-12 10:14:53

The fact that he lied so easily, and made you feel bad about the situation involving his lie, is what worries me the most about what you've said. (Leaving aside entirely that having him at home earlier would've been a much more appropriate present than the ones he was buying.)

Offred Thu 08-Nov-12 10:17:31

And I find all the "I don't know how you do it, I find them really hard work" stuff from DH infuriating because I think "I don't have a choice", I'm aware his choice is constrained too and that this means he can't actually win grin

In some ways he has been taught or learned to communicate poorly and in a manner which is too polite and therefore irritating, like "do you mind if I go to the pub?" When he means "I have arranged to go to the pub - comments please"

Offred Thu 08-Nov-12 10:19:13

I suppose I think you need to decide what you need and discuss it with him properly when you are not desperate.

CharlotteCollinsislost Thu 08-Nov-12 10:24:01

Offred - does he find them harder work than his work? I mean, lots of people have stressful jobs, don't they? Is he just praising you to avoid admitting you need support?

TherapeuticVino Thu 08-Nov-12 10:31:30

The "flowers and chocolates" bit sounds familiar. i had a similar situation and had to knock it into DHs head that I didn't want him to be 20 minutes later as he was buying me stuff - I just wanted him to CALL ME and COME HOME as I really needed a break. Very simple.

It really is a phase and it's shit and you'll be out of it soon, but I empathise.

Offred Thu 08-Nov-12 10:35:38

He finds them harder work than his stressful job yes. He means that he doesn't know how I cope so well with it when it is really hard. He hasn't really got coping skills. I know I would do the financial providing well as well as doing the child caring well. We both agree the solution is for him to learn to cope better with things. He is very responsible and does not shirk childcare or work, the opposite in fact. He does everything that is required of him until he cannot manage it anymore. To me it is a question of him learning to better manage his life which is an important skill for a parent and more important than trying to do everything which is normally impossible. We've been married almost 4 years, together almost 5 and only known each other 5 1/2 so it is an intense situation. I'm happy that he is at least proactive in dealing with things which are problematic, I hope he'll one day be able to express when I'm problematics for him too, his dad was quite misogynistic and made his mum desperately unhappy, her reaction was to teach the children men are not interesting to women. He has low confidence.

Longdistance Thu 08-Nov-12 10:43:36

Op, are you sure you're not me?

My dh never calls during the day. And hand on heart, he can't handle the girls, especially dd1, who's bloody hard work. He seems to antagonize her further, by being the 'man' and 'do as you're told bollocks'.

I rarely here fom dh, and he has days when he's not busy, and still don't hear fom him. He even goes swimming t lunch time. What a luxury.

I too believe that our lives have separated. He's been out several times over the past week, and I have well.......been at home and missed out on two functions as can't get anyone to sit for us.

My dd2 is 16mo, so no it won't get better if you don't say anything. Or in my case, gets ignored.

I so need to go back to work!

Longdistance Thu 08-Nov-12 10:44:33

Flowers and chocolates? What are they?

PaperBagPrincessIsMyIdol Thu 08-Nov-12 10:52:54

Wow, lots of helpful comments and not a kick in sight. It seems there are a lot of us in similar situations / experienced similar.

Trying to respond to some of the points. Apologies for not namechecking everyone - typing one-handed whilst feeding DD2.

DH is very busy at work, just had a promotion and is overseeing a major project so lots going on. He does, however, have lunch every day away from his desk and gets time to go on facebook, etc on his phone so I know he has the opportunity to contact me without pissing off his boss / colleagues, he just doesn't think to / chooses not to. The text thing is actually a huge red herring - I realise now that if I felt he was interested in / cared about how I feel then it wouldn't matter if I heard from him every day.

I think this is a difficult time for both of us. He enjoys work, is making great progress in his career but is frustrated by his long commute and the fact it means he sees very little of DDs during the week. He must feel stress as a result of being main earner and possibly sole earner when my mat leave ends. I am acutely aware of not contributing financially so I put myself under pressure to keep a lid on my feelings, do the nights with DD2, keep the house as nice as possible, keep the fridge stocked up. All whilst trying to play with the DDs and keep them happy.

DH does contribute when he's here. If home for DD1's bedtime we share that out. He gets up with DD1 at weekends now DD2 is here so I can stay in bed dozing and feeding DD2. If DD2 is well and truly full and I'm still shattered, I call him to take DD2 so I can have a hour in bed alone to sleep properly. He isn't proactive, however, with regards to the practical side of parenting. He dresses the girls and changes nappies if I prompt him. He never takes responsibility for getting DD's things ready if we're going out. At weekends, and if he's home before bedtime during the week, I'm always the one who has to tell DD1 that it is time for bed. Ditto with tea time.

I think I need to value what I do more so I'm not so vulnerable to feeling neglected or abandoned. I am going to talk to DH tonight about it not being about a text, its about feeling valued and cared for. I am also going to claw back some self-respect and pride in what I do by trying to approach my role as SAHM as I did my job when working outside the home. I do a lot with my DDs without really thinking about it so putting it on a timetable / weekly overview and keeping a rough weekly journal appeals to my organised working side and will help me to see just what I do achieve and what I'm doing for DDs. A little more structure and treating some housework jobs like games with DD1 may also help me feel like I can keep on top of things without neglecting DDs, and play with DDs without letting the house slide into something like you see on "How Clean is Your House?"

Ultimately I'm angry with myself for letting someone else's feelings for me / opinion of me replace my own self-esteem.

PaperBagPrincessIsMyIdol Thu 08-Nov-12 10:59:03

Oh, and Charlotte, I'm very concerned about the lying too. Not sure I'm ready to go into that just yet though.

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