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Please offer advice and comments: my reflection on my first year back in the paid work force - Page 3

post #41 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post


I don't think your problem is your job; it is your unsupportive spouse.

OK he isn't willing to share the parenting; but he is willing to bring home a paycheck. Since that is what he is offering, you need to take that and put it toward what you need, which is some help with your son and with the housework.

If he has issues with this or gives you the "that's why you work part-time" line, I would say that he works 40 h (or whatever) and you work 30; therefore he should be doing 75% as much domestic work as you are. Since he is doing none, you are hiring out his 75% of the domestic burden.



This is unspeakably sad.
Yes, it crushes me.

He once said in an argument "no wonder your dad left you when you were a kid...you're such a b-word." I don't think I can ever forgive him for saying something like that. He loves to bring up my dad all the time because I think he realizes he's hit an emotional gold mine that will bring me near or to tears every time.
post #42 of 57



Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Yes, it crushes me.

He once said in an argument "no wonder your dad left you when you were a kid...you're such a b-word." I don't think I can ever forgive him for saying something like that. He loves to bring up my dad all the time because I think he realizes he's hit an emotional gold mine that will bring me near or to tears every time.
post #43 of 57
OK - THAT is beyond the pale. He said that to you? That is low, and completely untrue.

Don't you look pretty in your suit? That's what he says? That's his criteria for success? Seriously - is this really what you want? Is this really the model you want your son to have? That a successful woman, running meetings AND a household "looks pretty in a suit?"

I think you deserve SO much better than what you are getting. I think you are so sane, and grounded, and such a good mom and you just sound so reasonable online. You just don't need to live this way.
post #44 of 57
Have you told him you're thinking bout leaving? Have you told him how close you are to taking your child and leaving? Not in the heat of the moment, not in an argument, just to let him know where you stand? That you think it might be easier without him in your day-today life? I don't know if that's the best advice or a great idea (maybe check with the Single Moms board?), but it sure as spit would knock my DH for a loop and force him to really look at how I'm being treated here.

Marriage isn't 50/50. You BOTH have to work for it. Housework isn't always 50/50 either, though I'd say if you're working 30 hours and responsible for 100% of the childcare, then yeah, it should be close to 50/50 if not him doing MORE housework than you.

Can you make a couple's appointment with your therapist? So you can have a safe place to discuss this rationally, without him slapping you in the face with your past? And really, your father leaving you as a child has NOTHING to do with you/your attitude/your behavior/your personality, etc. That's on your DAD, not on you. Dredging up your childhood should be 100% off limits during a fight.

Your self esteem seems to need a boost. You seem like you have a good head on your shoulders, smart with a lot of common sense and the sense to realize your family of origin need not define you. But your DH seems to like to prey on any weakness.

I WOH FT, nights, DH is self employed and works days. We have 2 kids. Trust me when I say 2 made things waaaaayyyy more stressful. Getting to work on time is a huge achievement and not one I reach regularly. I'm always 5 minutes behind. I don't get to do the 3 loads of laundry that need to get done, but if I can do 2 loads, that's a huge help and an accomplishment. So maybe I don't get 3 loads of laundry done, run to the bank, take the girls to the library for story time, AND do a quick grocery store trip. But managing to get those 2 loads of laundry done IS important and it IS necessary. And DH does recognize and show appreciation for that.

I wonder if you just have to sort of mentally check out. Realize that you ARE alone with the childcare, the housework, and the financial stability aspects. Anything else you get from him is just a bonus, sad but true. You can and may someday decide to do it all on your own.
post #45 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by _betsy_ View Post
And really, your father leaving you as a child has NOTHING to do with you/your attitude/your behavior/your personality, etc. That's on your DAD, not on you. Dredging up your childhood should be 100% off limits during a fight.
Thank you. No, I know this. I know DH is fighting with low blows. And he knows it too. He's said that...he punches where it will hurt the most. It's deliberate. I'm getting better at not even reacting because of just how ridiculous it is to suggest to an adult woman that they way they are acting now towards a spouse is why their father left them as a child. DH is just full of desperate hot air.
post #46 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by _betsy_ View Post
Your self esteem seems to need a boost. You seem like you have a good head on your shoulders, smart with a lot of common sense and the sense to realize your family of origin need not define you. But your DH seems to like to prey on any weakness.
Thank you. No, I don't think my self-esteem has really suffered at all, or much. I know DH is wrong. I'm still very self-assured with everything about myself and who I am and my abilities. I feel the doubt about the marriage, sure, and about parenting and working balance, but not about myself and my abilities and my self-worth. My DH is just blowing hot air (yeah, it's mean hot air) and he knows this and I know this.

It's a desperate attempt by him to shut me up, basically, and to shut me down emotionally. In a way, he's attempting to distract from the real issues that pertain to him by focusing on other issues of mine from a bad childhood and attributing that as the reason for my feelings today so that he doesn't have to take a hard look at himself.
post #47 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellien C View Post
OK - THAT is beyond the pale. He said that to you? That is low, and completely untrue.

Don't you look pretty in your suit? That's what he says? That's his criteria for success? Seriously - is this really what you want? Is this really the model you want your son to have? That a successful woman, running meetings AND a household "looks pretty in a suit?"

I think you deserve SO much better than what you are getting. I think you are so sane, and grounded, and such a good mom and you just sound so reasonable online. You just don't need to live this way.

Thank you. I don't think this is what DH really believes, deep down, but he lashes out and then he fumbles awkwardly for words to correct what he said, and rather than saying, I'm really sorry, I acted so inappropriately, and I will not do that again (because he knows that isn't true) he says thinks like "doesn't mom look pretty in her suit?"

I HATE when he tries talk to me and apologize without using the right words or even addressing the real issues and uses a an overheard conversation with our child to convey things to me. But that is just DH's awkward and easy way. DH isn't one to approach the hard route, even if it's the right route. He's a path of least resistence and little effort type of guy, when it comes to emotions and feelings.
post #48 of 57
I'm also a high achiever who grew up in a really messed up family. I have to say that what has saved me is learning to be selfish. I love my family and acknowledge that many of my family members have had hard lives that shape the way they behave today. As I see it now, they had seventeen years during which they tried to make me as crazy as they are, and that is all they get. I am now infamous for my ability to draw boundaries with people. I does take a lot not to engage when you know a family member is suffering. It is also hard to put up with snide comments about how I am not a good daughter, but honestly, nothing I could do would fix these people, and I am so much happier than anyone I know who does try to be a fixer and a good daughter.

I have also been in a relationship where my partner tried to play the "you're damaged goods because you come from a crazy family" card. I know that all those comments came from a place of fear and insecurity, but I left. I didn't live through my childhood to be with someone who would try to tear me down. The day I left that relationship I had the most intense feeling of freedom I have ever had in my life.

You seem smart and self-aware, so I think you can probably find more than one way to improve your current situation and I wish you all the best. It is not easy, and we all go through hard times, but I hope you know that you did not get this far to live an unhappy life.
post #49 of 57


[QUOTE=maryeliz;15099935]The day I left that relationship I had the most intense feeling of freedom I have ever had in my life.
post #50 of 57
I didn't read all the responses & don't know all the details of your current situation but...

Could you rearrange your work schedule so you always have 1-2 days off a week? Might make it feel like you're more "part time" rather than working 5 shorter days. Then you'll have your days off to be a SAHM or to get things done.

Can your DH step it up a notch? You're working nearly full-time so I don't see his job as much more important or demanding than yours...

Can you WAH in the evenings when DH is home to watch the kid? Then you can get more done & have more time off during the day.

Are you truly enjoying this? Is there something else you might enjoy more? Maybe a different job, fewer hours, or a volunteer position in your field? It doesn't seem like the financial benefits are enough to truly make it worth it...
post #51 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maryeliz View Post
I'm also a high achiever who grew up in a really messed up family. I have to say that what has saved me is learning to be selfish.
How did you do this?

Not that I want to learn to be selfish, but I want to learn to, I guess, focus more on my own life without feeling guilty or like I've abandoned someone who needs help.

I am certain part of my feelings about not abandoning those in need come from the fact that I was abandoned and basically neglected, and it was awful, and so I just can't stand to see suffering. I'd rather work 80 hours a week, take new jobs that pay more, and earn more money to end the suffering, or at least attempt to, than feel that helpless and guilty feeling.

I have given so much in my life - financially mostly, but also emotionally - to a family of, well, ungrateful users save one or maybe two.

It's so tough for me to see how I put so many of my resources into these people and not one of them would do the same for me, if the life circumstances were reversed. When I had a baby, and needed help, and not one person was there, I just realized then and there that no one in my family really cared about me at all, and they would never have done for me what I had spent years doing for them.

And my DH is all too quick to point that out. Part of him is probably realistic and part of him is just trying to use it against me for some leverage, I'm sure.
post #52 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
or a volunteer position in your field? It doesn't seem like the financial benefits are enough to truly make it worth it...
Someday I would like to volunteer, and I hope to do that in my retirement. I feel it is very important.

However, now really isn't the time. Unfortunately. I wish I could.

But financially, I need to work. As I said, my husband is never going to support the idea of SAHPhood, and my marriage is just too rocky and my support system non-existent to even try to encourage DH to reconsider.

And I'm sort of a career person. I don't have a long term vision for myself to be a SAHP. I like working.

I'm just tapped from working and raising a child. I'm sure others are too if they are single parents or parents without true partners.
post #53 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
Someday I would like to volunteer, and I hope to do that in my retirement. I feel it is very important.

However, now really isn't the time. Unfortunately. I wish I could.

But financially, I need to work. As I said, my husband is never going to support the idea of SAHPhood, and my marriage is just too rocky and my support system non-existent to even try to encourage DH to reconsider.

And I'm sort of a career person. I don't have a long term vision for myself to be a SAHP. I like working.

I'm just tapped from working and raising a child. I'm sure others are too if they are single parents or parents without true partners.
That's what I was trying to get at, I couldn't tell from your OP if you really wanted to work or not. As long as you're happy working!!

I hear you about being tapped out... I DO have lots of help from my DH, he is wonderful, but we are both working full-time with no childcare for DS so we are perpetually stressed & exhausted!! I think it's just really really hard work being a parent. I have a whole new appreciation for my own parents now, especially my mom!!!! I'm sorry to hear that your marriage is rocky & I hope you guys are able to smooth things over, and that your DH comes around a bit. That's got to be so hard to have a partner but still feel like a single mom!
post #54 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
but we are both working full-time with no childcare for DS so we are perpetually stressed & exhausted!!
Wow, I give you a lot of credit. I can't even imagine doing that! You would have to have a pretty good partner, and be a pretty good partner, to pull that off!



In a lot of ways, I have it pretty easy. I'm pretty good in my career, and some days I slip and I have to focus on my kid, and yeah that sort of looks bad at work, and I'm not the ideal employee. But I always pull all nighters when I need to, and I pull off projects well. So, while I can't be on the ball all the time because I have to jump off for parenting things, I seem to be able to jump back on the moving ball - yeah, it's stressful and I have trouble managing the stress - but I haven't missed the ball yet so something I do must be OK.

It just doesn't really feel that way until I take a step back and say, wow, I'm pretty proud of myself for juggling all this. Even just keeping on the ball is an accomplishment.
post #55 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
That's what I was trying to get at, I couldn't tell from your OP if you really wanted to work or not. As long as you're happy working!!
Oh, yes. I like having a job. It's something I'm proud of. I like that I get paid well, I get to interact with really interesting, smart, competent people doing amazing things in the field. I like learning new things, and I find a lot of the work very stimulating and exciting. Yeah, there are the doldrum days, too, where it's routine and grind.

But I also like the model of a working woman I'm showing my son. Yeah, it's stressful, and yeah, we never seem to have clean laundry, and yeah I miss way too many of his activities at school, but I love that he knows where I work, and what I work on, and he likes talking about it to me. That will probably only increase as he gets older. He often pretend plays that he is going to work and he mimics me..."I have to write this report, mom." Or, "I have a conference call right now...let's see, what do I need to do to prepare. Mom, can you be quiet, please? I have a conference call." He cracks me up.

Sometimes he makes me sad, a little bit, because if I ask him to do something, he sometimes says "Sorry, I can't. I am very busy today." That's him repeating back to me what I often say to him. So, there are definitely two sides.

But, what it really comes down to is that we have no real support system and so the safety net I have in life for my son and I is my career.

But there are a lot of really great things about working. And some major not so great things now that I have to be a parent, too.
post #56 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by That Is Nice View Post
How did you do this?

Not that I want to learn to be selfish, but I want to learn to, I guess, focus more on my own life without feeling guilty or like I've abandoned someone who needs help.

I think this is exactly the problem, that drawing reasonable boundaries is going to feel bad and selfish, but that is only because the people you are dealing with are selfish. You should be able to expect a reasonable amount of reciprocity in your life and at the very least you should be able to expect that people you sacrifice for will be there when you really need it. This suggestion may be hard to undertake since you have very limited time and energy, but I would suggest trying to take some of the energy you have been expending on your family and putting it into relationships that will have more payoff. A religious community, neighbors, a mom's group, a book club-these could all be starting points for a support system that will actually be there for you.

In my case, I realized a pretty young age that my parents were crappy parents. They not only gave me little emotional or financial support, but they actively endangered me. Throughout my teen years I worked, had money in the bank, and was ready to leave at any moment. So I think that is the point where I broke those bonds of guilt. After I moved away from home I didn't always call, I didn't always answer the phone or even open mail. After a few years my parents go the message that if they couldn't observe basic boundaries, I would not have any contact with them. In the intervening years, they have come to be doing a lot better, so I do have a decent relationship with them now, but they know not to call me in the middle of the night or drive hundreds of miles so they can rant on my doorstep, because I will not tolerate that behavior.

I think creating physical distance and screening your calls can be the first step to creating healthy emotional distance. I think you mentioned in one of the early posts that you have done some therapy. I think therapy can be really helpful, not to relive the past, but to work on these issues in a very concrete way, so you can start training your mind with exactly what you say to mom or dad or whoever when they start giving you a hard time.
post #57 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by maryeliz View Post
I think this is exactly the problem, that drawing reasonable boundaries is going to feel bad and selfish, but that is only because the people you are dealing with are selfish. You should be able to expect a reasonable amount of reciprocity in your life and at the very least you should be able to expect that people you sacrifice for will be there when you really need it.
Thank you. It's helpful to discuss with someone who understands through experience.

Some of my family members are indeed selfish. But others, the ones I still help, are really not selfish and simply not in control of their actions (alcohol and drug addictions).

I have one family member (parent) who is homeless, chronically, and in very bad shape. There have been times where had I not been there to pay for food, hotel, or medical care, that family member would have starved for several days, slept outside in frigid, below freezing temps, and had a medical issue continue that could have been life threatening.

So, it's so very hard to turn my back because I know what I am providing is necessary.

It would be nice if at some point there was someone to help shoulder some of the responsibility.

Actually, this is a bit of a departure from my original point, but this aspect of my life certainly has framed parts of my work-life balance, my resources I have for my own family, and DH's and my relationship. I think DH harbors resentful toward me and some classism about where and how I grew up and my background in general.

He really looks at supporting me as a SAHM as "making up for my childhood." He has said that more than once. I really think - on some level - he thinks he needs to teach me a lesson about working and work ethics because my parents never held down a job...ever. He has said this multiple times in our marriage - that he does not trust my work ethic because my parents never held down jobs. And yet, I worked in a really great career for about a decade between college and having a baby. I also worked throughout college and often loaned DH money when he ran short. I put myself through college. And now I'm working part time professionally and parenting. DH is still suspicious of my work ethic. It's an issue in the marriage. I feel I have nothing to prove to DH and he feels I have everything to prove to him.
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