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FLmomof1/1ontheway 05-01-2013 07:56 AM

Mother's Day is closing in again.  I am not excited about it.  I have issues with being severely disappointed and depressed over Mother's Day (and my b-day too). As it grows closer I shut down and tell my husband and kids I don't want anything or to do anything.  Of course this is not true.  I feel like I get 2 days a year that are MINE. My b-day and Mother's Day.  I should be queen for those days.  I should get lavished gifts and everyone I know should celebrate ME (more so on the b-day). The reality year after year after year is no one does anything for me.  My husband always has to work on my b-day well he gets off once every 7 years when it falls on Monday his only day off.  I get no birthday cards or calls from anyone but my husband.  He is horrible at giving gifts! He always gets me something I don't like or want and the only way around it is if I tell him what to buy me. What is the point of a gift, if I tell him what to get or pick it out myself? 


My husband works every Mother's Day.  I stay home and do what I always do.  Care for our 3 kids.  I know they are 8,5, and 3, and are kids but they don't put any effort into Mother's Day either.  It's always just another forgotten day. And if I go out, it is awful! I see tons of families and mommies all happy together.  Dressed up nice, going out to eat, getting flowers and gifts.  People say celebrate it on your husbands day off.  NO! I am very against celebrating anything of importance on another day to fit a schedule. That's like celebrating Christmas on another day because you have to work (my dh works Christmas too). Mother's Day is Mother's Day! My Birthday is my birthday! I'm not going to pretend it's on another day then it really is.  


So I feel like I have given my whole life to motherhood.  I do SO MUCH for everyone else ALL the time. I always make my kid's and husband's birthdays super special (father's day too).  How come no one does  it for me? How can I accept that it is the way it is? Husband has to work.  We always ask for the day off and the answer is always NO. How can I soften the blow of getting a crappy gift and staying home to wipes butts when I feel like my family should be taking me to my favorite resort for the weekend, surprising me with gifts I like and want, and making the whole day about and for ME? 

PrimordialMind 05-05-2013 11:53 PM

I understand your pain. I have typically had a hard time asking for what i want, assuming that if they really care then they will give me what i want. The sad reality is, though, oftentimes people dont know how much i want something unless i express it (even then sometimes it can take a few times before it really sinks in). Not wanting to show your disappointment just creates an endless cycle of yearning for the attention and gifts, acting like it doesnt really matter, not receiving them and then hiding inside of yourself. This wont help matters at all. You need to become comfortable with speaking up, asserting what it is you like and being more flexible about when you receive it. I know it sucks to not be pampered on the actual day but that might not be possible. Isnt it better to receive something rather than nothing, even if its not within your expectations? It sounds like you have such high expectations. Maybe it would be best to come down from that mentally and just be open to what your family can offer. You could have your husband or friend work with your kids so that they make or buy you gifts. My siblings and i did that for our mom on mothers day and she liked it. Or ask for breakfast in bed--you might have to wake up early so your husband can do that before he goes to work but i bet it will make you feel good. I just hope you dont go down the road my mom did after years of my dad not doing much on her birthday and anniversaries--she became more and more resentful, not expressing her desires, just assuming that he would shower her with what she wants if he truly cared, that eventually she started yelling at him, making him feel bad in the hopes that he would "shape up". Well, it didnt help. In fact, all it did was make her question his motives every time he'd do something nice for her--does he really care or is he just doing this because i yelled at him? I recommend keeping the requests simple and polite, leave it open to what they choose to do, dont be rigid about it, this will allow you to not feel like you're choosing your own gifts and work on yourself to be more grateful for the little things. Be willing to give input because you cant expect mind readers. Work with your family rather than against them. Keeping these lofty expectations will only create more tension over time rather than less.

FLmomof1/1ontheway 05-07-2013 07:26 AM

Thanks for responding.


That's exactly it! If they loved me then they would know what I want and liked.  I know what they all want and like! I pay attention. I sorta have given up on my husband.  I still surprise him with stuff and always help the kids make or get him something.  However he is very specific with what he wants and actually prefers to buy it himself.  Maybe he thinks I should do the same? 


It really comes across to me that they don't put any effort into it.  My husband is always asking me 2 days before mother's day or my birthday what I want.  My kids have good attentions to make me cards yet say they didn't have the time or forgot, and my husband is not there helping or planning with them. Like yesterday we were at Sea World and I showed my daughter a cup I liked with a mommy and baby polar bear on it and said "this would be a good mother's day gift" She said "when daddy comes in the store you have to leave mommy" Yet when my DH walked in she ran to show him the toy she wanted instead so I showed my DH the cup and he said "YOU (my emphasis not his) should buy it".  I did leave them alone in the store after that however I know they didn't buy me the cup. 


My DH and I have already reached the cycle of me questioning everything he does for me.  I'm not one to hold my feelings inside forever.  He use to write me poetry and do sweet things for me in the beginning.  He has not done that for 10 years.  I guess it was only to woo me.  It has always be the biggest thorn in our relationship.  He is very selfish.  He spends every second of his free time looking at things for him or doing things that interest him. I will say we don't have much free time (like using the bathroom is our free time).  For years he has not seen a problem with it.  I guess that is why he is reluctant to change? However my "free time" is spent doing things for others, not with my own interests.  It's unfair! 


Yes my expectations are WAY too high, but I could be happy with less.  If my DH payed attention that I like the silicon spatula in Whole Foods and the thousands of times I said "I need a new spatula" and got that spatula I would be thrilled.  If my kids asked me for crafting supplies and locked me out of the classroom and made me cards on their own free will, I would be thrilled.  None of that ever happens thought and after time has gone by and I'm having a tough day it always comes out.  I tell my DH "we were at the mall together a week before my birthday and instead of hanging with me to listen to what I want, you went off to look at things for yourself!!!" "I ALWAYS help the kids make you something or take them to get you something.  Why don't you ever help them do anything for ME?" This never really brings change and if it does, it just makes me feel crappier bc I had to yell or cry about it in order for it to happen.  It's not from the heart.  


I don't know if I can ever accept that they are just not going to do the things I do for them-for me? I told my DH - I guess that is just what motherhood is.  It's a life of selflessness.  You care and give your children EVERYTHING and Mother's Day is not an exception of that life.  It's just another day to remind you - your a mother now. This is the life you choose and love so be a good mother, bc it's not about YOU. 

mamapigeon 05-07-2013 07:45 AM

hug2.gif  That sounds really rough. I'm not really sure what to offer in the way of advice, just some sympathy. It would hurt my feelings too if my husband put so little thought in to recognizing me just a day or 2 out of the year.


I don't really think there is much you can do about your husband, but from the sound of it you homeschool? If your husband is dropping the ball, your kids won't really learn that Mother's day or your birthday are important. I think you're going to have to "assign" them the task of making you cards and little presents as a school activity. I remember doing that in public elementary school (cards, painting a small flower pot, etc). It's not fair, but your children would benefit from it. They would be able to recognize the importance of celebrating YOU, and keep them from keeping the trend going when they are adults.


Again, I'm really sorry that you're going through this!

PrimordialMind 05-07-2013 03:45 PM

Your DH really does sound quite selfish. I'm sorry he doesnt pay attention to what you'd like or need. It sounds like he doesnt get the importance of him, specifically, buying you things. Like you said, he prefers to buy his own gifts because hes so specific. So when he suggested you buy the cup you liked, that was his way of saying that you should get yourself a gift like he does for himself. To him its reasonable and even preferable. Have you had a serious talk with him about all this?

Also, as harsh as this may seem, maybe its time that you stopped getting gifts and doing special things, at least for your DH. This might be good for your kids since they will learn the lesson as well. Just stop. See how long it takes for them to notice and care. The kids will probably notice first. By doing this, you'll be teaching them how it feels to not be appreciated and you also get a sense of how grateful they are for what you do. You put a lot of your energy into trying to please them, its about time you figured out if its worth it or not. Doing all of that for them is just going to make you feel more and more resentful if they never reciprocate. That is a normal, human response. Just because you're a mom doesnt mean you have to swallow down normal human emotions. And it also doesnt mean you have to give and give and give, especially if they're not appreciative. I see mothers day as a day of appreciation. This doesnt mean you get showered with gifts but, at the very least, you feel appreciated and honored for who you are and what you do. If that never happens then theres a problem. If they wont appreciate you then stop catering.

FLmomof1/1ontheway 05-07-2013 06:32 PM

Yes, he is very aware of how selfish he is.  I don't want to make my husband out to be a monster.  He is a good guy and a great provider.  He loves the kids and I with all his heart and would do anything for us.  He just doesn't get it!  He doesn't understand doing special things takes time, motivation, and paying attention.  I think he is scared to disappoint me.  Funny bc he continuously does it??  He always has an excuse about time and money.  He works 6 days/80 hours a week and I control all the finances. He can find time.  He finds time to look at things for him and he can simply take money out of our account and say it's for a gift for me.  He just doesn't put any effort into it.  We go round and round in this circle.  He may have finally accepted that it is wrong for him to always focus his time and attention on himself but has yet to correct the behavior.  He got to go to NY to work once.  On his day off he went into the city to sight-see and eat at all the famous restaurants he reads about.  I wasn't happy about it but didn't expect him to sit in his hotel room.  I spent the day painting our bedroom as a surprise for him.   I thought he would get the kids and I gifts.  He did not.  He bought himself a NY hat though.  He said he felt bad having fun in the city while I was home and didn't want to get us anything to remind us of it, yet he got himself a hat!!!!! He even heard it from the kids on that one!


I have pretty much stopped doing very special stuff for him.  It doesn't seem to bother him one bit.  As for my kids they are young. 8,5,and 3. I don't think I could stop fussing over them on birthdays and Christmas.  My dad died when I was 8.  He spoiled me rotten.  Every birthday and holiday was super special.  When he died my mother never cared for birthdays or holidays.  My oldest sister would make me a cake bc she knew my mother wouldn't get me anything.  Sure she bought me some stuff but it was never a big thing.  She didn't even wrap the stuff half the time and would just hand it to me in a plastic bag.  It hurt.  I felt very unloved and insignificant. Maybe that is why I have such a soar spot when it comes to people celebrating and caring about me. I could never let my kids feel the way I had to feel as a child. 


We will just have to see what happens this Mother's Day.  It's funny I want to make cards for all the mama's I know and family members, but I stop myself bc I know how hurt I will feel that no one sends me a card.  I always want to do nice things it's a shame others don't. 

pek64 05-07-2013 06:44 PM

Does he work on Father's Day?

If he really can't change his schedule, and puts forth the effort the first day off after Mother's Day and your birthday, I bet you would be able to enjoy it. It sounds like he is very selfish. And that hurts! I know from personal experience.

I used to buy myself something I wanted for those days. It doesn't really solve the problem, though. Maybe counseling?

PrimordialMind 05-07-2013 07:51 PM

I feel like i keep giving you crappy advice. ::sigh:: i dont know, its difficult to make people understand how importand it is to show appreciation. I like what the PP said--therapy. Couple's therapy would probably help a lot. It sounds like he has good intentions but he gets scared. A therapist would probably be really useful for helping him not feel so scared.

It sounds like it might help you, too. You could be subconsciously wanting your dad's attention and gifts, which is totally understandable. It might be why you have high expectations--no one can compare to your dad and his love. Maybe thats why your DH is scared to try to please you, which hes probably not aware of, either. I dont know, just putting that out there in case it resonates.

skinnyloveBC 09-17-2013 10:06 AM

Super late reply, but I wanted to mention the 5 Love Languages book by Gary Chapman as a possible resource:

It sounds like your primary love language is gifts, but maybe that's not how your DH and kids feel so it's not their natural response. The book is a really easy read, so maybe you could read it with DH in the evenings? Or buy two copies... Or just share the one.

Another thought about the selfish behavior... My DH and I had our first baby a year ago. We dated and were married 5 years prior. All of the birthdays and other holidays were more planned and romantic than they have been this past year. We had a heart-to-heart about this specific topic a month ago when I was feeling particularly forgotten. He said that all of his time was taken up by working (I'm mostly a SAHM) and helping with our high needs DD. so when he gets a spare hour in the evening, all he wants to do is try to reconnect with his own likes and hobbies. DH's emotional tank is so low right now that he can barely give me the bare necessities, much less romance, gifts, etc.

Of course, this sounds perfectly reasonable until you think "Wow, an hour here or there would be wonderful! I (as the mom) don't even get that!" I haven't tackled that stage yet, so I don't have any insight.

And I can empathize with you about holidays on different days! I used to hate celebrating them any day but the actual day! Six years later, I'm realizing that my DH's schedule won't change. Ever. So the thing I can change is my mind. To me, Christmas celebrated on December 12th last year (because that was when we could all get together) felt WAY more special than the actual day because we spent it together.

All I know is that if one child is this consuming, then three must be really tough on your marriage! Maybe check out the book because it's an easy first step toward better understanding and empathy.

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