He Never Helps Me

Dear Courage,

I just don’t know what to do anymore. I’ve been married for 10 years. We have a 6 yr old and 2 yr old. I’m a SAHM and my husband is the bread-winner. He’s also going to school part time – so he’s really busy. But we never do anything any more. I feel ignored. He doesn’t help me at all – not with housework, or with the kids. We sleep in separate bedrooms – because he doesn’t want the baby to wake him up. He works from home, which is a major stressor for me, because he’s always here, but he never helps. Even when he’s not working, he’s on his cell phone. Money is really tight, but when he gets a little extra, he spends it on himself, and doesn’t even ask me if the kids or I need anything. I still love him, and I don’t want to split up – but I am exhausted. I feel like I’m carrying the weight of the entire family, and I don’t know how much longer I can do this.

Depressed and Lonely

Dear Depressed and Lonely,

You poor thing! You really need some help! I’m so sorry that you have to go through this, but there is help. First off, you have several issues to deal with. You have no help. You have an immature husband, and you have financial struggles. Let’s deal with them one at a time. First off – help. There are various groups for moms, you should find one and join it. You could use the social outlet and emotional support. You might find other moms with kids the same ages as yours, and going through some of the same issues. Look for MOMS (Mothers Offering Mothers Support), or check with your local library or Chamber of Commerce to see what’s available in your community. Also, if you find a friend, you and she might be able to help one another. Maybe one day a week she would watch all the kids, so you could clean house or go to a spa. Then one day a week you could return the favor. If your husband complains about the noise, just tell him that it’s your house too. He could work in the bedroom, or go to the library.

Second – your husband is very immature. He doesn’t seem to have a clue what it takes to be a dad. You can help him learn, but it’s going to take time. And nagging isn’t going to work. Men are very insecure beasts, and they only do what they feel successful at. Find one small thing that you want him to do – like helping you get the children to bed at night. I know you’ve asked him before, but this time, tell him. Tell him that putting the children to bed with love and hugs and kisses is the most important part of being a parent! They are children for only such a short time – and he is going to miss these precious years one day! Tell him that while you bathe one child, you need him to read to the other one. And then, praise him when he does it. Do not criticize him, and tell him that he’s doing it wrong, or he will never read another children’s book! Just praise him. He’ll get better at it over time. Once reading to the kids becomes a habit, then you can up the ante, and work on the next step – like maybe taking the kids to a playground once a week, etc.

Third – you have financial problems. If you could afford it, you and your husband need marriage counseling, but obviously, that’s going to have to wait. However, not all counseling is expensive. Some programs are on a sliding fee scale, and cost as little as $10 a week. (Catholic Family Services is one.) Also, some health insurance programs cover counseling, because they know that when our emotional lives are out of whack, our health could soon follow. It’s at least worth looking in to. But, if you can’t get the counseling now, just hang in there. Some of these problems will be gone after he graduates. Maybe he’ll get a raise at work. At the very least, he won’t be spending all that extra time studying and going to school. In a few years, both your children will be in school, as well, and you won’t have as much noise and mess in the house to deal with.

So – hang in there! Get support from other moms until your husband can be more supportive. Get your husband to help in a small way. And stick it out for a few more years… hopefully this is just a rough patch, and things will get better soon.

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