Thursday, May 7, 2009

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

There has been a cable/internet bill sitting on our counter for three weeks that is $28 higher than it should be. It is a point of contention between M and me.

He feels that I have more "free" time during the day and, therefore, should be the one to wrangle with our provider over the incorrect fees that we have been charged.

I feel that I do not have all of the "free" time that he thinks that I do. He gets an hour lunch break. That's plenty of time to call the company.

In case you can't tell, this is about more than a cable/internet bill. This has become more of a battle of wills and principals. I do not feel that I am being valued and I don't think that M sees the "work" that I do as being as important as the work that he does. I feel as if I do a hundred and one things during the day, but he only seems to notice the things that I don't get to.

I feel as if we both are working hard, but I often don't feel as if my efforts are being appreciated. I feel as if I have to justify my time to M (why, for example, I had time to go to a play date but not straighten out the bill) and that makes me feel like a rebellious teenager. I know this is not the mature, responsible way to behave, but I feel as if this is the only way that I can make my point. (For the record, I already tried to straighten the bill out once, and it wasn't done properly and I had to listen to M complain about that for a half hour.)

So the bill has just sat there. Until last night.

M came home, in a bit of a thundercloud mood to begin with, and was already complaining before he hit the door. I hadn't broken the cardboard down before I put it in the recycling bin, I hadn't gotten the mail, blah, blah, blah. So, when he spied the offending piece of paper, still untouched on the counter, it was game on.

What I hate most about our arguments lately is that a lot of them take place in front of Will. My parents rarely fought in front of my siblings and me, to the point where I can actually remember the occasional times that they did arge. I remember the sick feeling in my tummy when they did fight, and I don't want him to have to feel like that. Although, to be fair, he was too busy banging his sippy cup on the tray and stuffing turkey in his mouth to seem bothered. But still!

Looks like the honeymoon phase from our anniversary trip is over.

*Author's Disclaimer: Writing this post has not been part of my "free" time. I have had to stop once to change a diaper, twice to play peek-a-boo, and have held Will on my lap for the rest of the time. A post that probably took five minutes to read took over an hour to put together. LOL!

15 comments:

Nicky said...

It sucks that M doesn't value your work. Is it possible that M is having problems at work right now, and is nervous about being sole money-maker, and it's making him more edgy than usual? Often when S and I fight, it's less about us and more about other stresses that we're each under.

Also, you don't need to feel guilty about fighting in front of Will. Check this out:
http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/fighting-in-front-of-the-kids/
Basically, studies show that it's GOOD to fight in front of your kids on occasion, as long as you "fight fair" and then let them see you make up. Teaches them that it's healthy to disagree, and that everybody has conflicts, but you still love each other. If you never let Will see you fight, he'll grow up thinking that healthy relationships have no conflict at all, which isn't realistic for anybody.

Tracy said...

Sorry you're having a rough time right now...you definitely need the support of your spouse if you're going to stay home to *raise your children*. I put that in asterisk because that is the #1 job you have right now. Not tearing down recycling, not calling cable companies, etc...your job IS to go on a play date!!! It's important for Will to socialize!

It is okay to argue on occasion in front of your children, as long as it's productive...no unfair fighting and they should see you resolve it. That is a life skill they need! It sounds like there's something else bothering your husband...I hope somebody doesn't give me a hard time about this, but as Dr. Laura says, "happy husbands don't nitpick their wives." Time to get to the root of the problem (and it may be something else altogether...not necessarily marital in nature)?

Big hugs, girl.

Katie said...

Thanks, Ladies.

I will check out that link!

Kim said...

We went through this, and I think that everyone does. The first three years of parenthood are the most challenging on a marriage. It doesn't get any easier, you just learn and grow and deal with things better. For a long time, I killed myself trying to be perfect - trying to do everything. And it's just not possible.

I can't say that I took the more mature route. When we went through this, I basically stopped doing everything but the bare minimum. I stopped cooking, doing laundry, etc. Eventually, he realized that I do a whole lot MORE than it seems to keep everything together. It's everything that happens behind the scenes that matters. Now, most of my days are spent bringing B to and from a million places, dragging one or both to a million appointments, going to B's school 3x a day sometimes, balancing a baby while I help kids make ice cream sundaes (today), etc. Things that don't produce a tangible result, but clearly still need to get done. And now R has learned that he would MUCH rather go to work than do what I do every day, he blatantly admits it!

The fact of the matter is that you stay home to take care of your son. You don't just change diapers and feed him.. you love on him, clean up his puke, and teach him things. You're there for everything your husband is not. All of those little moments that you could be missing because he's alone in his crib and you're arguing on the phone with a sales representative. Yes, that's extreme, but has your husband ever tried to make a phone call with a screaming baby in the background? I'm really curious! Not as easy as it seems - I hide in the laundry room if I need to make an important call!

But in the end, you're there to take care of your son. You're not a stay at home maid. You work just as hard, if not harder, during the day - so in my personal opinion, everything after the work day should be split equally. It only gets harder. If I was at this point with two and I had this much going on, and my husband actually expected a spotless house and dinner on the table every night, he would be very dissapointed. I'm not sure that I understand what your husband's vision was before, was it that you would be Mrs. Cleaver? And he could come home to a clean, quiet home and a warm meal, and a wife doting on him? Because that's just insane!

Phew. Sorry!

Tracy said...

Oh, Katie, I wanted to add...we went through this a few weeks ago, and I finally sat down with Scott and basically asked him "what is your problem?" But I said it nicer. :) I told him that he hadn't been acting very nice towards me, and that I was feeling stressed out because of how hard my days are, and how hard I have to work, and I felt like he didn't appreciate it.

Turns out, he didn't feel like he had enough time to himself, and in particular, he wanted to start working out again. OF COURSE I support him doing that, so we talked about it and I now no longer depend on him in the mornings at all, and if he's going to be past 5pm he tells me earlier in the day so I cope with it better (I find myself counting the minutes towards the end of the day.)

Anyway, he got what he wanted, and he's been sooooo much better. In exchange, I asked for one thing. I asked that he take the babies from first waking until after 5pm one Saturday, and that he also had to tidy the house and keep up with the basic chores. Shortly thereafter I came down with the flu for two days and he was forced to do it again! He told me after I felt better that he was glad to go back to work so he could get a break.

Don't want to put any ideas into your head, but.... ;)

Katie said...

I know that M feels that he doesn't get any time for himself, but I really don't know how to help him with that. He works really long days (leaves at 7, usually returns home between 6 and 7). I take care of the mornings 100% already and in the evenings, I do mealtime, bath time, make the bottle, get him in his jammies, and all M has to do is feed him the bottle and put him to bed (which takes about 20 minutes or less). Will is usually down by 7:30/8:00, but it M wants any time at all with him, he has to be part of the bedtime routine.

On the weekends, I feel as if most of Will's care defaults to me. And I had to laugh a bit, because if he is paying bills or whatever, he can't have "ANY" distractions, so I have to watch Will while he does that. I am fine with that, because paying the bills is a huge job, but he can't manage doing that and watching Will, but expects me to be able to multitask!

Looks like I am not the only one who has had this issue. Thanks for weighing in and the support. . .

Amy B said...

I feel your pain. My husband & I are going through the same thing. The only difference is I have a 4 year old a 3 year old and a 5 week old. I have been a SAHM for 4 1/2 years & it has gotten worse. I am also nursing as I type this. Another thing we have the exact same anniversary as you & M. May 3,2003.

Hang in there, I am trying to!

Joy said...

Daniel can be like this sometimes. I feel it is his responsibility, as the head of the household, to take care of such matters.

I understand about fighting in front of the baby, too. We fought a LOT our first year as parents in front of Elaina. Thankfully she was too young to notice. Now that she's almost 4 yrs old (and her sister is 2 yrs old) we excuse ourselves. And we always try to show them that we made up.

*HUGS*

Sorry you're going through a rough patch! I do sympathize and understand completely!!! The first year with a baby can be the hardest on a marriage.

Mel said...

For once in my life, I am thankful my Husband works from home so he can see what hard work it really is. And I have to confess I used to roll my eyes at my SAHM friends when they would tell me how busy they were all day. It is HARD, in my opinion, WAY harder than going to an office all day. And it doesn't stop... there is no 8-5. You are on 24/7. I feel you completely.
Sigh.
I laugh to think of people who think having a baby will save a failing marriage.
HA.
Thinking of you... *hugs*

Katie said...

You are so right about that. It is definitely the hardest job that I have ever had. I had so many SAHM-friends before that I *thought* I knew what I was getting into and what a hard, full-time job it would be. I had no idea. One of my IRL friends suggested that I "get sick" so M had to take Will's care on for a few days. While I would never fake an illness, I do think that there has to be some ways that he can see for himself what actually is involved.

Fertilized said...

Katie- I hope you feel loved and supported and most of all Normal!

Jen said...

I don't know if this is at all helpful, but I actually feel like M these days. I find myself coming home pissy because after working all day I come home to a messy house and a hubby who is home all day. I often end up blowing up over something totally unimportant and losing all perspective. I KNOW he is busy all day. He has the baby. He is trying to re-model the house (his mom watches her while he does that). But I'm exhausted and find it hard to be reasonable when I want to relax and not cook dinner and bathe Jillian.

This does not make my reaction right. Quite the contrary. I feel awful over it. I'm not quite sure what the solution is either.

Katie said...

Actually, I find your perspective interesting, thanks for chiming in. If you have any ideas, be sure to let me know.

Amanda said...

It's like you looked through my window and posted about my household right now. They just don't get it. I take 100% of the night feeds (and there are a minimum of 2 wake-ups per night right now), do 100% of the housework, 100% of the cooking, 99.9% of the bottle making and baby bathing, and 98% of the baby care on the weekends. If I leave him with the kids to go to the store (literally a 30 minute trip sometimes) I get a minimum of 2 phone calls and more grief than reasonable when I get home.

Tim even thought it was reasonable to ask me to call and sort something out with the mortgage company (which I am completely ignorant about all things mortgage related) and to go to the DMV with the boys to transfer a plate. Luckily I got out of both things because my name wasn't on either. But still! Twins at the DMV? A long drawn out phone conversation with the mortgage company?

I know he gets stressed out about finances since he is the sole bread winner. I know he gets stressed out when things get hectic at work. I also know that he has no idea what all is involved with taking care of the boys 24/7. He knows how fun it is to play with the boys one at a time when he gets home. He knows how sweet the boys look when they're sleeping for the night.

As far as fighting in front of Will, I wouldn't be too hard on yourself. I like what everyone else said about it.

Tim and I have learned we can't use harsh voices around Jack (even if we're just recounting a story) because it upsets him to monumental heights. I guess that will help us use our words when we're around the kids. Ha ha!

I think the whole I-work-harder-than-you thing is something that every couple goes through when one stays at home with the kids. Bleh.

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