Ways my husband has been impacted by the current circumstances:
- Because I’m working Tuesday through Saturday again, and we only have childcare Wednesday through Friday, he now has to finish working by 2:30pm on Tuesdays, and he is the sole caregiver for our daughter all day Saturday.
- Because I need significantly more rest now, he has been transporting our daughter to and from childcare every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday—a task we used to share. He has also been waking up with our daughter 7 days per week while I average an extra half hour to an hour of sleep each morning.
- Because I have a huge influx in doctor’s appointments (I’ve had three doctor’s appointments and a dentist appointment in the past two months), he ends up having frequent interruptions to his work week to watch our daughter. (The reason my appointments impact his schedule and not mine is because he makes his own schedule and can makeup hours any time throughout the week, while I have concrete appointments with my clients that cannot be moved around.)
- Because I am pretty much running on fumes by 4pm most days, I don’t do anything after that—including make dinner or take a shower. This means that a) my husband has been on his own for dinner every night for at least a month, and b) I have been showering in the morning. Add that to the list of things that have been interrupting his work week.
- Because my daughter can probably sense that my uterus is up to something, she’s undergone a bit of a personality warp and now refuses to nap if I’m anywhere nearby. So, the past few Sunday afternoons, my husband has literally held my daughter in his arms for an hour or two in order to get her to sleep.
For the most part, I think my husband has been coping with having to pick up all this slack for me very, very well. But he’s human, and I can see him breaking down. He’s very careful not to blame me for anything directly, but over the days and weeks I’ve been picking up on some passive aggression. I try not to take it personally, because I see how much he’s doing, and I’ve tried to encourage him to ask for what he needs. I tell him that I can make it happen. He just needs to ask.
This week, I’d been thinking all week that I wanted to give him a nice break on either Saturday night or Sunday. I could watch our daughter, and he could have three or four hours of free time to use however he pleased. He’d mentioned he wanted to do some work over the weekend to makeup for poor performance during the week, and I totally supported that. He didn’t want to do anything on Saturday night, so when he came to bed I told him that I wanted him to take some time today—Sunday.
Today was a really lazy day for us. We always do our grocery shopping on Sunday, but other than that we really didn’t do anything. We just lounged around in our living room, and then I took a nap while my husband held my daughter in the other room. We had discussed the idea of my husband taking the time after this for himself. But then, instead of “taking it,” he passed out on the couch in the living room. Suddenly, it was 5pm on Sunday evening, my husband hadn’t really indulged in any “free time” all weekend, and he hadn’t even caught up on his work that he was planning to do.
I started putting the pieces together. After spending several days believing that he really deserved this time, I began to realize that I was running on fumes and really could not afford to have him running off for three or four hours. I felt fucking riddled with guilt and disappointment. This is exactly the thing that triggers me in my relationships with loved ones. I loathe feeling like I’m the one being catered to all the time, and I have no way of reciprocating. So, naturally, I started freaking out. In this case, it came out in a bunch of blame-y type statements, such as, “Why didn’t you take the time after I took a nap like we had discussed???”
My husband went into passive aggressive mode and was obviously frustrated and blocking me out. I, of course, can’t let shit be, so I poked him until he started talking. What he then expressed was frustration in three categories.
- He’s constantly getting interrupted at work.
- Our house is a fucking disaster and doesn’t bring him any comfort or relaxation on his time off.
- I don’t offer him any affection whatsoever.
He also mentioned that he’s upset that it doesn’t feel like Christmas to him at all.
I just sat there quietly in response to his complaints, because all I could think was that everything he wants are things he can’t get anywhere but from me—and I really don’t think I can give any of it to him.
He asked me what I was thinking, and I, of course, just burst into tears. I told him that my interpretation of what he’s saying is that he needs more from me that I can give him. I also mentioned, with tears streaming down my face, that I just have to accept that. I gestured around our condo with a sense of defeat and said, “this is my best right now.” Things just suck, and there is nothing that either one of us can do about it.
He came over, gave me a big, long hug, and told me that he isn’t blaming me. I said I’ve noticed. He’s been really good about not turning on me (even though I probably deserve it at times).
Luckily, our daughter actually went to bed tonight in under 10 minutes (a HUGE victory for us these days). I took a shower right away, even though I normally wouldn’t do that, so my husband could have the rest of the evening to himself, and so that I wont disrupt his day tomorrow.
Things are tough at the moment, but I feel really lucky that I have my husband. He’s a really good man.
Last updated December 21, 2020