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unsure about how to be 'the good wife'forever...........

(26 Posts)
minipoppet Tue 09-Apr-13 08:28:12

where to start? we have been married for 11 years have 4 children,dh works for himself and always has done.I mostly run the house,his business and wash the sport gear each weekend so on and so forth.I put on a very good front locally as we live in a small village in devon so as beautiful as it can be everyone knows your business so can't really talk openly to anyone here about our 'issues' due to the nature of the way we live,it can be very isolating at times.

The issue being that although I have kept all of this together for so long it is waring me thin,I need something else-I decided to give up my chances of a career whilst the children were small as I felt I couldn't put my all into all of it so chose the children (for now whilst they are so dependant).
All this seems to have done is enabled dh to do more as I am always there,always doing always happy outside the house at least which is great for his 'image'....dont get me wrong I occasionally 'explode' at him about how frustrating it can be having a 5th child.

he helps minimally in the house (does jobs around the house that he likes doing and leaves the rest)-having said that I would rather he spent time with the children when he gets home and does leave the house to me really because if he takes that away then I really have nothing to call my own.

sometimes I feel as if we are singing form the same song sheet but usually only when I have had a huge moan at him...he picks up his game for at least a few months then back to normal..I feel a bit of a doormat and my main reason for not liking his behaviour is that I don't expect my children to behave like this when they become independent adults...oh but how to make the change when I have let it go on so long and he is 'kind,lovely,works so hard and never raises his voice'-this is what everyone says about him-I could scream.........

he can make time for hobbies, his friends etc and very rarely plans anything for 'us' he talks a good talk-he always says things to keep me passive like-'you are so lovely', you are beautiful'-sound s great I know but then I usually turn around to see he has left a load of hair in the bath,moaned at the children and then gone out the door until late in the evening.....Is this marriage???I do sometimes feel like the old fashioned way of running a house works but is this how women that do this are meant to feel----how do you keep this up long term??or do the children just fly the nest & I become suddenly free again..... my family live abroad so I don't have any help so to speak or support some weekends I see nobody..I can plan to I know but hard with 4 little ones and most of my friends are usually busy then

Sorry its long confused

ExasperatedSigh Tue 09-Apr-13 09:04:02

Sounds like you need a life.

When do you get to pursue your hobbies? See friends? You have to carve out some time for yourself, otherwise you just get lost under the housework and nappies.

Would you consider going back to work?

BerylStreep Tue 09-Apr-13 09:05:27

Well you need to have equal hobby time, and your DH needs to step up and look after the DC to allow you to have time away from the house.

Could you look at doing a course at the local tech? I do curtain making, and I love it as a way to leave the house in the evening and have a stitch and bitch. Or an exercise class? PT job?

You also need to stop thinking that the housework is 'yours'.

bettycocker Tue 09-Apr-13 09:11:56

I understand your situation. I don't have as many DC as you, but I was in a similar situation with SBXP. I dumped him (but he was also cheating). These days I have a nice DP (although sex isn't great) and I just don't do the "womanly" stuff anymore. I don't want to and I don't see why I should.

Yes, the house is a bit messy and disorganised, but as long as things are clean and clothes are washed etc, bugger everything else.

It's hard when your family live abroad, I'm in the same boat and I moved away from friends to a village. If you have mates in another part of the country, book a train ticket so you can visit them and then tell DH that you are going away for the weekend, and you have already booked the ticket. Tell him that this means he has to after DC that weekend.

You don't have to be the "good wife£, but you need please yourself as well as your family. If DH can't handle it, tell him to jog on. You need to start putting your own needs first a bit more.

minipoppet Tue 09-Apr-13 09:36:08

oh I know the get my own life seems fine,I went out saturday night I do work 2 days a week so its not completely one sided,I just feel it's a little un-equal in that I feel like I do all the hard stuff/time consuming bits I mean ,paperwork,running kids around,ironing,homework -he never cooks,has recently given up washing up,reluctantly reads at bedtime he doesn't even do the outside 'man stuff' car,bins,lawn-I do that too- I even wash the windows which isn't only dangerous its stupid!
I always find myself saying-yes do have hobbies your own business,time to yourself-to enable him to be free of the stressful home I always say the minute the children suffer,me or the finances as you are not concentrating on them then it is time to let something go-meaning to ease up on hobby for a few weeks but again this is kept up for a month or 2 then back to it again and I carry the fort once more.....

By the sounds of it maybe i am being ungrateful....I know now you will say 'ask him to do bits-I do and he does but with a roll of the eyes,its like he waits until I am so stressed out and un-supported that I freak out,then he does it all for a few weeks,appeases me then back to normal-I want him to care if I get out of the house,have a bath, have a rest have a break form cooking or more importantly care if i am at breaking point.It all is so much harder not having family around because at least I could have a cuppa and moan if I needed one-I don't like to tell friends as they are mostly his friends and I also think it should remain private because i may feel differently next week when he steps up to the plate plus I don't want the children to hear about anything through local gossips-strong unit and all that >>>>>>

FrauMoose Tue 09-Apr-13 09:39:56


You sound lonely. As if your partner isn't hearing what you are saying. And there aren't people nearby who you can confide in.

minipoppet Tue 09-Apr-13 09:54:09

I speak to my mum daily but she is a little detached from life,she is nearly 70 now and has always had health issues,again she listens but i don't like to put too much onto her at her age plus I need her to feel I am OK as she worries.My dh's side of the family are a little jealous of mine & dh's relationship (when I feel OK) and they seem to be pleased if I tell them of any little issues so I don't let him down like that either-yes as I am writing i feel like I am loyal and may suffer for others happiness sometimes, I need to find a balance but don't know how to get message across to dh without something drastic....I feel also as if there are a lot of women out there who would happily do these things for him without moaning... or maybe not??? I do want to show my children that I wont be walked over but in the mean time keep letting it happen......

minipoppet Tue 09-Apr-13 09:54:58

I am lonely at times yes,I always find company,groups work, I have a few girlie friends but usually people are busy with children too or work..

Mumsyblouse Tue 09-Apr-13 10:00:10

The first problems is definitely that you are lonely and I know what those gossipy villages can be like. It's a shame you can't talk with anyone, is there not just one person, or an old friend not living in the village that you could confide in about all that. Or pay a counsellor (although I think all you need is a sympathetic female friend). Why don't you want to speak with anyone about it, I bet if you did you'd find that quite a few of your friends also have similar issues and you could support each other.

The second, more underlying problem is that in your household, you are second best and that's awful. Your husband doesn't set out to make you feel like this, but by giving you all the drudge work to do, and by not really supporting your wider goals and aims in life, you are living less the life you would like, whereas I'm pretty sure he's happy with the arrangement (I sure would like someone to look after my four kids and do all the housework and enable me to succeed in life, wouldn't you?) I would have a think about this, what you do want to do, and also bear in mind that the children will grow up and you don't have to be the chief bottle-washer for ever- in fact all the better if you model this for them early rather than suddenly withdrawing your labour/leaving when they are in their teens.

I think you need to rebalance the power in this relationship, at the moment you are the support for your husband, so when is the time that your husband has to be the support for you (e.g. doing more school runs, housework, or paying for those things) and what would you like to do with it?

I really think though that it would be worth chatting with friends, so what if they know you are a bit bored and frustrated at home, you don't have to slag off your husband, but I think some solidarity would help.

BerylStreep Tue 09-Apr-13 10:00:56

I want him to care if I get out of the house,have a bath, have a rest have a break form cooking or more importantly care if i am at breaking point.

This is going to sound harsh, but it is your responsibility to look after yourself and put your needs first. If you aren't doing it, why on earth would your DH?

You need to get him to do stuff all the time, not just when you are at breaking point. If I asked my DH to help with something and he rolled his eyes, you can be certain I'd be giving him a bollocking speaking to him about it.

LilyAmaryllis Tue 09-Apr-13 10:10:10

No, I don't think there are (many) women who happily do all this without moaning.

I think what you mean is, you could ask him to do the cooking one day, but he would roll his eyes and act like it was a big deal? But it would be nice if, instead he came home and said, have a rest, I'll do the cooking? (of his own accord.) I guess there's a middle ground of, you do ask him to do the cooking but he does it happily. Many men (and people) are hopeless at taking hints. (I know this is about more than the cooking, its just an example.)

I don't know how to get him to change this attitude, maybe as fraumoose said, Relate could be helpful.

Secondly, do you currently have any hobbies of your own? Activities where you leave him in charge of the children while you go off and do it? (Do you actually want a hobby or just a bit more "me-time"). I think you are highly justified in saying, I want to start going to this thing that happens every tuesday evening. How many nights a week does he go out? The other thing is, you could suggest: I want every Friday night to be US doing something together (film/curry/DVD on the sofa...)?

Dahlen Tue 09-Apr-13 10:35:06

What you need is this book which will help you understand why you feel as you do and how you can explain this to your DH in a way that leaves no room for misunderstanding. If he still refuses to step-up to the plate consistently after that, I'd seriously reconsider the relationship.

minipoppet Tue 09-Apr-13 12:25:52

oh thats very useful thanks guys-ummm he goes out 2/3 x a week at the moment but one day of that is slap bang in the middle of the weekend-I think because it is only for a couple of hours he thinks it fits in but it means I can't plan anything for that day with him at all so that leaves us Sunday as a family day (Once a week) which is where I tried to say I need that day to get bits ready for school -plus by then he is fully exhausted and not good for much Sundays anyway so I gave up trying to go far then- uniforms,homework,reading,packed lunches etc...dont get me wrong i can ask him not to go -again get a bit of eye rolling.
I think I am cross because i tried to say yesterday that he hadn't washed up or cooked ALL weekend and I have picked up all of his dirty clothes this morning-this was to be met with rolling eyes and he says 'right' as if to say here we go again....I will get that book and yes i know I need to look after my own needs if I am going to expect him to follow but i don't know why I guess i feel guilty if he has worked all week-it is how I was brought up.Yes I would very much like to break that cycle for my children!!!
I don't have a regular hobby but do like to excercise which helps my stress levels lots-I am post op so can't go back just yet-I will when I can.
Any suggestions as I can't imagine being great at curtain making!
Thanks for letting me rant it feels better already.
i am scared that I will go from all of this to asking him to move out for a bit as I feel pushed into a corner.....yes I have told him all of this and cried my eyes out about it....I was naturally fuming when he asked if I had taken my pill!!!!!!

piratecat Tue 09-Apr-13 12:34:45

hiya, i'm in devon too. lets have coffee!!

minipoppet Tue 09-Apr-13 12:36:00

I haven't put you off then!

hellsbellsmelons Tue 09-Apr-13 12:44:42

If I was you I would make a list.
Of everything I do. Every little thing.
Then I would sit DH down and talk it through.
I would have ticked the ones I want him to do and then come to some agreement or compromise. A few tears thrown in helps no end.
Put the list up on a wall.
Ensure he looks at it morning and night to make sure he is doing his share.
If he doesn't step up then stop doing things for him.
You are not his slave. He is a grown man who is quite capable of doing his own cooking and washing up and laundry etc.....
Then it should sink in - fingers crossed!
You really need to sit him down and have a full on, honest chat with him about how you feel.
He won't know if you don't tell him.
Men don't do guessing or pre-empting!

BerylStreep Tue 09-Apr-13 12:48:55

I find calmly sitting at the computer MNing while the DC become fractious from lack of food usually gets the point across that it's DH's turn to cook. grin

oldtoys Tue 09-Apr-13 12:50:53

i understand your frustrations with him

i would absolutely take running the home down a level, lower your to do list each day, turn down your engine so to speak.

i only clean for max 1 hr each day - i dont expect DH to do much as his job is so demanding and he works abroad lots, so i have changed MY perspective, that it is up to ME how I run the HOME of our kids, i dont particulalry care anymore how much or little DH does, as it is now a source of pride in my home that I have found.

plan yourself something for just YOU in the mornings when kids are at school, sitting on sofa, drinking coffee watch tv show. dont tidy until children are around in the afternoons?

i do a rough schedule for the week
- floors, tues & fridays
- bathrooms tuesdays
-laundry load once a day
- spray & wipe kitchen throughout the day

dont know what else to suggest, apart from declutter your home as a project so you have less stuff to pickup and change your perspective that your DH doesnt do enough. YOU start doing less, and thinking of ways to live each day without the resentment of housework building up. What age are your kids? Do they understand tidying up etc can you teach them so you have less to tidy?

oldtoys Tue 09-Apr-13 12:52:57

agree with the list idea from Hellsbells

i find if i 'forget' to iron his shirts or launder them, he WILL do them himself


read books instead
go for walks
listen to music
go for drives in the car

will try to think of other things to do instead of housework....

oh and MN helps too

Yardley Tue 09-Apr-13 12:53:02

I am reading this with interest... Im in a similar position...Found myself so bored and dissatisified for the last year or so and very resentful of DH who has his dream job, is out alot, seems to have alot of creativity around the time he spends with others but not me etc etc.In fact got so fed up that I very nearly did something I would have regretted with someone very unsuitable.I didnt recognise my own thinking at the time and am quite shocked at myself for even considering going there.
Instead of doing that Im going back to work full time and Ive started going out more with my friends and doing the things I want to do a bit more.Most of the challenge for me in doing this is guilt-should I be at home with the DC's, (rather than at work?), should we spend as much time as we've got as a family, (rather than be out with friends etc).Everyone's different, but ulitimately I have concluded that I have to have some part of my life thats for me-and that it wont kill the kids if I go out once a week, or go back to work.But it might kill me if I dont!Also im hopeful that it will actually help my marriage.If im in a better place then hopefully I can be in a better place with DH...

BertieBotts Tue 09-Apr-13 12:57:47

He sounds like he's quite sexist in an old fashioned/traditional way (rather than an overtly hostile way) and that manifests as your entire identity being wife/mother/housekeeper with little room for anything else. He probably literally doesn't realise that this is hard for you, if it's the way things have always been in his family and the way he was brought up, to see women as these kind of half-beings who can be fulfilled by a clean house and looking after children! He probably is genuinely confused when you ask him to do jobs in the house - to him that would be as strange as him asking you if you could do him a favour relating to his work - necessary sometimes, nice to offer, but not really your job and so it isn't expected.

I am not saying this is okay or that you have to put up with it. I don't think it is, and I think you should talk to him and just say - look - your mother or whoever might feel fulfilled by this, but I don't. Please see me as a human being and not just a wife. Explain what you actually want - I'd say in most relationships these days it's more common to both take responsibility for everything, bringing money in, sorting bills, DIY, housework, childcare, cooking, shopping etc - which doesn't mean that everyone does exactly 50/50 on everything but that there's a kind of "tag team" approach where the task/need comes up and the person most well equipped to deal with it right that moment does so rather than a "I don't need to worry about that - that's her job" kind of mentality. It means that everyone gets equal leisure time and everyone is equally capable and valued.

bottersnike Tue 09-Apr-13 12:59:34

It sounds like you have different ways of showing your love for each other, and the way he thinks he shows you (working hard, "providing" for you and your children) is not the way that would mean the most to you.
If I have understood correctly, you would like him to do more things for you, those little "acts of appreciation" that mean so much to some women.

Have you heard of the Love Languages book? It's excellent at explaining why we can all be at cross-purposes with our partner because we don't understand how they give and receive love. It's worth a read, even if you decide afterwards that what your husband really needs is a swift kick up the backside smile

I hope you work something out that fulfils both of you.

Hedwig06 Tue 09-Apr-13 13:02:53

Also watching with interest, sounds like you are describing my life OP.

I am also lonely and only just acknowledged it.

I seem to have made a rod for my own back, as in I have always done everything and now its the norm. Even when I'm ill I get on with things, and don't slow down.

I have tried to think of a hobby, interest etc but nothings shouts out at me, plus it would be no good in the holidays, bank holidays, endless teacher training days that I have to cover also.

monkeytennismum Tue 09-Apr-13 13:07:42

Probably re-iterating what has been advised already but here are a few things to try:

Book 3 weekends over the rest of 2013 where you go and visit your friends on your own. Just Sat morning to Sun evening, but he will be expected to childcare. You will ALL benefit from this, and so will your friends.

Chose a couple of jobs that you will not do anymore and stick to it. E.g. I will not pick DH's dirty laundry off the floor. He soon moves it when he runs out of clean things. If you need to hoover, just pick the pile up and put it on his pillow. And/or from Fri-Sun if you cook you don't wash-up. If DH refuses to play ball then simply order take-aways - he won't like seeing his money going that way. Tell your DH very calmly that you will be doing this and then walk out of the room. No need to discuss or get emotional.

Think of a friend/relative who is in a bad place at the moment and write them a note to say you're thinking of them. This will make you feel more fortunate and you'll also feel good that you made contact.

Small steps OP, small steps.

BerylStreep Tue 09-Apr-13 13:13:26

Learn a language?
Cake decorating?
Basic plumbing?
Pilates (good for post op if you go to one run by a physio)

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