I’m a college graduate, 34, who took maternity leave from a good job in my field when pregnant with my daughter, now age three, then my son, now 15 months.
I’m now part-time elsewhere. My husband’s working full-time.
I love my kids but when I’m stuck at home and both are crying, and making messes, I’m overwhelmed.
My husband gets home after they’re fed and bathed, sees them for ten minutes, then has a leisurely dinner while I’m usually rocking a crying child.
He goes out with his friends but I’m usually too tired.
Is this my life now?
Not My Expectation
This is your life, for now, but only part of it.
I get your letdown feeling about time spent with the tiring tasks of baby cleanups and care.
But that time is also when you calm and comfort your child, and transmit the security of your love.
However, you may be experiencing some post-partum depression. The adjustment from working full-time in a chosen field to feeling stuck at home with small, fussing dependents, isn’t easy.
See your doctor to check your health and for depression, it’s not uncommon, and can be treated with medication and support.
Early child care isn’t a lifetime sentence.
The more you model your own adaptability, the more they’ll learn to adapt to their growing stages.
Your education and work/life experience have hopefully given you the ability to be creative in raising them and also find time for your own needs for friendship and other interests.
Staying fit is equally important for your well-being, so take those kids for walks, try mommy-and-child yoga, and fit in whatever exercise you can.
My husband of seven years and I have been together for 13 years. His children, now 17 and 20, live three hours away with their mother.
He’s visited them every other weekend for 15 years, staying at his parents’ house.
He also works nights four days on and four days off, while I work full-time Monday to Friday.
I’ve never interfered with his visitation and stay home when he goes.
I love him dearly but am becoming increasingly lonely.
I understand his guilt for not being the custodial parent but am seeking advice for a potential arrangement where I’m not feeling so lonely.
His kids work and have social lives so when he stays for three days he’s waiting around for minutes of their time, while I’m home alone.
I'm feeling he should be spending more time with me now, and perhaps less time with them or less often.
Your desire for his company is completely understandable.
You should express it and talk about scheduling his visits positively, not blaming him for leaving you on your own.
Remember, you’ve both long accepted that the kids are his territory only.
Also, you could’ve filled that time with friends, hobbies, interesting courses, etc., and still can.
Just because these children are older and busy doesn’t mean his connection to them isn’t still important.
However, a three days’ stay may now not be as necessary.
Also, make the “off” weekends when he’s home more important.
Ask if his busy kids could try a tighter time frame for when they’d definitely be free, e.g. Saturday after their weekend job and before they go out, and Sunday brunch could perhaps become their “regular” time slots.
He can then be home in three hours.
Change may take time and patience, but these near-adult children, will soon also want some schedule changes.
FEEDBACK Regarding the drunk cousin who ruined a wedding guest’s dress with angrily spilled wine (Nov. 27):
Reader – “He hasn’t apologized yet but he may yet do so.
“If he joins Alcoholics’ Anonymous and follows the 12-steps program, he’ll come to Step Eight: "Make a list of all persons we had harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all."
“He has made at least partial amends to the guest by paying for the dress.
“I am sure he will apologize to the bride, but it may take time for him to reach that step.”
Ellie – I’m hoping that your positive attitude and reminder of the important steps to sobriety strike a chord with that man and any readers who also struggle with alcoholism.
It’s a disease that ruins friendships, relationships, and the alcoholic’s health.
But entering a sobriety program has to be a commitment made by the alcoholic.
Tip of the day:
If baby-care feels burdensome, see your doctor regarding post-partum depression and health issues.