While driving the other day my husband, David, started talking about a recent Ricki Lake show about the imperfect side of motherhood. Some mothers talked about feeling the pressure to be the quintessential PTA mom, losing your personal identity and being stressed about the responsibilities. He was inspired to write a blog about, “A Husband’s Advice on the Top 10 things that stress their wives out!”
Being a blogger and a mom myself – I personally didn’t want to publish his writings. Why? Because most often I detest hearing his viewpoint. LOL. The truth is, we’ve had children back-to-back for the last three years. We haven’t slept alone in a bed together since 2009. While he helps with bath time, I am the sole caregiver when it comes to cooking, cleaning and organizing all their activities. I am also the one that gave birth to all these kids – my hormones, my weight and my self esteem is on a constant roller coaster.
What would he know about what I’m going through?
To be fair, I decided to share what my dear husband thinks of our thoughts on motherhood and depression, stress, low self esteem and more. I can’t say agree with everything he wrote and since my humor is often skewed, I didn’t get a lot of his sarcasm. However, maybe someone might learn something here.
A Husband’s Advice on the TOP TEN things that stress their wives out. – By David Casler
While finances account for the biggest reason for divorce, I’m certain that having kids is a secondary reason why divorce may happen. I’m not saying it’s the children’s fault directly, I am saying that not dealing well with the emotional and physical stress that having children creates can often break a marriage.
I’ve talked to many friends, watched many divorces and have experienced many challenges firsthand in having a wife who gave birth year after year. These are a list of 10 general complaints:
1. Wife: “I don’t get any sleep!”
Lack of sleep is to be expected, especially if you are nursing. If you need help, focus on pumping and we can help you feed the baby! If you are like my wife and fear losing your milk supply because of our help, then realize that with a newborn comes no sleep. It’s just acceptance for a short time. When the boys were young I was in charge of diaper duty and Maria was in charge of nursing. Creating some division of work gave her some relief (and me as well since she complained less!)
2. Wife: “I have no time to myself. I feel like I have lost who I was.”
Losing one’s self is normal when a baby comes along. You are supposed to lose a little of yourself to make way for the NEW YOU. Some people accept their role as parent with vigor and enthusiasm. Others, understandably with shock and horror because they have not embraced it yet. And how can they? No sleep, no schedule, no time. It gets better. Find one thing that you like doing and make time for it.
3. Husband: “She is driving me nuts”
Ladies, I have many male friends that are trying to break out of the house like its prison and they are on death row. We understand your hormones are going crazy, just don’t go crazy yourself. We love you but why are you screaming at us for breathing! Yes, this is some of you and you know it! You are going on a seek and destroy mission because something deep down is bothering you. It’s not the underwear we just left on the floor, it’s something else. Maybe finances are stressing you out, or the baby, or work, or US. Instead of yelling, which makes us tune out, let’s sit down and talk about it. It sounds crazy because we hate to sit down and talk about ANYTHING but when faced with you yelling at us we will take the lesser evil. Did we mention we love you (flinching).
4. Husband: “We don’t make love anymore.”
Husbands, poor husbands. Ladies, we can’t help the fact that we find you attractive even if you don’t. We REALLY can’t help it that after you have a baby that you are not jumping our bones! We REALLY REALLY don’t understand that it has nothing to do with how you feel about yourself or us. You just had a baby! We know! We just watched a bowling ball come barreling out of you. We can’t although we try, forgetting it. Strangely enough, no matter tears or C-section it won’t stop us from being down right horny idiots. No matter how much we cry and complain, don’t give in. The new mother NEEDS the rest. When the baby comes, it’s easy to get wrapped up in it. Just remember that six months down the line, we need some attention to.
5. Wife: “No one helps me”
If help is what you need, ask for it. If your husband is stuck on video games when the baby is crying or needs to be fed, it’s time to set ground rules. In fact, set them before the baby come if possible. Sometimes when we are complaining there are things we can do help ourselves. Husbands get off your butts and assume some responsibility. Divide chores, take the baby and let mommy have some rest. The quicker she gets better, the faster she is going to want snuggle time…with you! If not, have fun with the video games and the cold, long, indefinite sting of resentment.
6. Wife: “He doesn’t pay any attention to me” (I have to mention that if we had a girl, Maria would definitely be complaining)
Both men and women need attention. Sometimes we don’t give it because we are too pissed about not getting. One of the fastest ways to receive love and attention is to GIVE IT freely. Sometimes people are just emotionally ignorant (yes, you also) and you almost have to mentor a person in the ways of affection. (This is another long piece on relationships for the future) Safe to say, that if you show love and affection and are not getting it back then it’s time for a talk and some communication on what both your needs are.
7. Husband and Wife: “We don’t have the cash to do anything or take time out for ourselves.”
Money, money, money. I used to be a former enlisted infantry Marine so I know what broke tastes like. Then I got married and had kids! We live in an era where money equates to happiness in that most people feel as if they don’t have money, then they can’t be happy. With Maria, when she was pregnant with our first child she was anxious, nervous, scared and uncertain about the future. One thing that we did every night was, we went on long walks. It helped her regain the feeling of working out. It gave us “US” time that we could talk about our dreams and the future. We had a cat I adopted that would follow us all throughout the neighborhood like a dog. It gave us something to laugh at. My point; find the small things. I really didn’t want to walk but I knew that we were a team and what is good for one is good for the team.
8. Wife: “I feel like crying.”
If you feel like crying, go ahead. When you’re not looking or yelling at us (husbands) we are crying too, in our soul. Ever notice how when you start crying, we vanish faster than puffs in a toddlers hands?
9. Wife: “I love my child I am just so stressed and need a break!”
Everyone is going to get stressed out. Some mommies forget to claim their own time and MAKE time for themselves. Some husbands need to give birth to an XBOX and feel the pain it is to FEEL like “WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED TO MY BODY and why am I now so tired?” so they can sympathize with mommy. Lord knows birthing an XBOX is going to be much better than where you’re going to place it if they don’t get off and help.
10. Wife: “Since the baby I feel my husband and I have grown apart.”
Growing apart is common, what makes a great relationship is understanding that there is fun is growing together. Finding common ground and building on it. Rediscovering each other. Make time for each other and no matter how stressed you are, complement each other. A long embrace for no reason can be the best kind of surprise. I, like to scare the bejesus out of Maria. I will yell at the top of my lungs in a frantic voice as if one of our children just flushed himself down the toilet and when she comes running in wide eyed and yells “WHAT!?!” I will comely look her in the eye and say “I love you” slyly with a grin.
It’s natural to FEEL at least ONE of these if not something that is not listed here. So, these are just my suggestions as a father with kids who has almost heard it all from friends and even my wife.