May 8, 2009

Trying to Find Balance

When C and I moved in together, we agreed that we would try to maintain some sense of our individuality even though we were becoming "us". That we would take time for ourselves; that we would retain some semblance of "C" and "A" even after we merged as one.

10 years later I will admit that I am struggling with this.

C hunts. No flames on this please, it puts food in our freezer for a substantially less cost than buying meat at the grocery store. I'm grateful for what he does bring home.

Over the last 2 years though, I'm becoming increasingly resentful of the time he takes to pursue this venture. It wouldn't be so bad if he chose to go after a single game animal a year. A 200+ pound cow elk easily puts over 100 pounds of usable meat in our freezer for a $30 tag. I hate to bring up issues with this because of the cost efficiency. Having a freezer full of meat makes my life so much easier.

But then we (translate to read, "HE") need[s] to schedule goose hunting. Then duck hunting. Then turkey season. As he takes phone calls and makes plans to go out for the ENTIRE.DAY to hunt I feel my blood pressure rise. I feel the resentment burn in the back of my throat.

Don't get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work at home. I love that I can be with KT all day long every weekday. It comes with challenges though. I put up the the tantrums, hitting/biting and struggles from 9am until 6pm everyday -- C puts up with it from 6pm until bedtimes (8:30 pm usually). I look forward to hearing the garage door open when he gets home; I look forward to the weekends when he's here to help with her. I need the time to reset my sanity so that I don't completely snap Monday through Friday. I will openly admit that I struggle as a parent, that I desperately need him to help me do this correctly.

When he hunts though, I feel like my workweek is extended. My typical M-F schedule extends into Saturday and Sunday. I don't get the chance to sleep in; I don't get the chance to reset my attitude. I'm "on" all the time -- the weekends are a nice break to feel like I have an extra set of hands to help with the meals, the tantrums, the potty breaks and the challenges.

He works hard. Part of me wants him to have time to himself, so that he remembers who he is and can relax and be 100% when I need him. But part of me is so incredibly resentful. He just makes plans and goes. One weekend here and there wouldn't be a big deal, but the continued hunting weekends are adding up. My frustration is building. I don't know how to approach it without sounding like a mega bitch that doesn't want to let him do the things he wants to do.

So how do I handle it? I've had friends tell me that he's lucky he gets to go at all now that KT is here. That they wouldn't allow their husbands to do such things. But I don't want him to resent me and the family we've built. I want him to still have hobbies and interests. I just need him to be more considerate of the things he does and how they affect everyone else in this household.

Am I totally off base? Should I just shut my mouth and let him do what he wants? How do other moms handle it when their spouse wants to still carry on as though they have no parental obligations?

Being an adult is tough. There are many days where I ponder why we are all in such a rush to get older. I miss the carefree days of my youth.


Sami said...

We've talked about this one before... Maybe he needs to read this post so that he can see how tortured you are by this. That it would be nice if the freedom you give him is returned. Parenting is a partnership and sometimes that means you don't get to go hunting for ALL the animals, or even most of the animals... instead only the animals that are going to provide the most bang for your buck kind of thing or those animals that you can do as a family.

This is of course coming from the woman whose husband rarely hunts because he feels sleep is more important.

I'd start with this post and let that prompt a discussion. A clear, rational discussion of how all this hunting makes you feel.

Flying Monkeys said...

Wait, is he not making sure you don't have plans before he makes plans? Is he asking you if you mind, not for permission but if you need a break or would like to do something else?

Aside from KT, you're married and while you can still function as individuals you are still a partnership and both parties need to be respected in a partnership or it won't last long. I think many marriages have difficulties finding their balancing point, here's where I might be defending him a little, you need to let him know in order for him to understand and modify.

When you add in KT (and any future KTettes) you add a whole other work load and you do work and pull in an income while being interrupted a million times a day by little hands and voices. You deserve a break to.

My impression, which could be totally wrong, is that he's also planning these adventures with people who don't share the same 'duties' as the two of you share.

I had a friend whose husband told her that he should be able to hunt and fish when ever he wanted, he shouldn't have to ask for permission, he should just be able to go. He said look at X, his wife lets him do whatever he wants, look at all the things Y does and his wife says nothing...huh, a year and a half later X and Y are going through VERY ugly divorces.

It's not about permission either, which men (mine) get hung up on, it's about consideration and respect for your partner.

Please find a way to speak up, if you need a night we can watch KT. Don't let it go too far, you both deserve better than that. (Even he who barely tolerates us because I'm your friend.)

You can totally delete this because it's huge. Sleeping makes me chatty I guess. In case anyone thinks I think I'm a know it all, I don't. We struggle sometimes and we've been to counseling several times. I third neutral party helps us.

Lisa said...

Jess has a great point that you have to let him know if you expect him to modify at all.

I ran this one by Marti and he said if he was out doing all those things, that I should be able to take time "off" and go out for a weekend with friends and do whatever I wanted.

I'm not sure that this is a good solution though. To me, that is "fair," but that really just results in more time apart if you take off as often as he does.

If I had to make a decision for you guys, my gut says he still hunts, but maybe not every season, every year. If he misses duck season this year, then hunt duck next year. Still hunt every year, but limit the number of trips.

I definitely think you should start by talking to him about it as Jess said.

And if this results in wanting to bail out for a day or two to hang out on a beach in San Diego and you need a partner in crime, I've got a few fantasy sports drafts that Marti has taken off for and I have unofficial permission after this discussion to cut loose. ;)

Plant Girl said...

Thanks, girls. As some of you know this is an ongoing "issue" for us.

I've brought this all up to him a handful of times. It turns into an ugly fight that never gets resolved. He just says that I can do whatever I need to get out of the house, when I need to. But it's not as easy as that.

There's so much more to it. I just don't know how to put it into words right now.

Kristin, Rod, and Victoria said...

You know you're not alone on this one, that I think most married couples struggle with this in some form or another. Occasionally Rod will mention that he knows he'd go crazy doing what I do, and that he views going to work partly as his "break". But most of the time we're (read: I) am/are just supposed to be grateful for the fact that we're able to stay at home and raise our child(ren). It's a continued struggle for me as well - he asks and I usually say "fine" just because I, too, don't want to be that wife who says he can't have/do something, even tho I'd love to say no. It is tough when it's not so simple for you to have that same break. Usually around here my "breaks" turn into being able to run to the grocery store alone. Not much of an actual break.

I hope you can tell by the length of everyone's posts on here that you have some incredible friends who are there to talk you through whatever you're dealing with, and I'm sure I speak for all of them when I say call anytime, we don't mind being the ones you vent to. That's what we're here for. I know you use this blog as an outlet for that, too, and I'm glad to see that you've gotten positive feedback and encouragement from the replys. (((hugs))) again, wish I were there.

peter said...

There isn't much I can add to all the wonderful feedback, anything I would have suggested has already been said. I just want you to know that I hear you and understand. I even resent business trips sometimes because it puts me on 24 hour duty while he's doing everything by his blissful self. He would deny anything relaxing to such a trip. Or how things that he plans for work or fun is never with the thought, "And what am I going to do with the kids," because it's just not on his radar. While everything I plan at anytime of day comes with the caveat, "What am I going to do with the kids during this time?" And there is no easy answer. Peter tries to give me some "alone time", but when time together is so short anyways, it often gets pushed to the side until I go off the deep end.

I guess I just want to say, I love you and I wish I could make it better. Kristy

Anonymous said...

Yeah, ok Im a little behind on reading blogs and just catching up on this post...I had a friend that went through the same thing and she mostly would either not say anything or make smart ass comments that turned into a big fight. Needless to say they are now divorced and it was pretty messy. I would hate to see you go through the same thing.

I think the most important thing is to bring up your concerns with him but try to do it in a way that wont cause a big fight. Maybe one night after KT goes to bed take some time to tell him that you need to talk and just explain to him what you feel when he does these things and how you are struggling to cope with most of the responsibilities with KT and the house all of the time. I know I struggle not to sound defensive and shut down when Steve and I have to have these types of talks on occasion. Normally they end up with me crying and him just floored over what Im telling him (guess Im good at hiding things). Maybe you can ask him to be a little more considerate and talk with you before he makes these type of plans where he is gone for a day or so...not that he has to ask "permission" but just take what you have on your plate at the time under consideration. Heck maybe you can even prime the talk by just venting to him about the other things you are dealing with and what you are struggling with. After a few days bring up the hunting thing and see where it goes.

We had one of "those" talks a few weeks ago. Of course it did end up with me crying and him a little upset that I "hid" these feeling/emotions I was struggling with with the m/c. He was going thru some rough times when it happened and I didnt want to add to his stress so I didnt talk much about what happened and what I was feeling thru the Dr's appts and b/w. It all came crashing down a few weeks ago when I realized that I should be planning a 1st bday party, not just attending someone elses. Add the stress of a 3mo old, going back to work, and him losing his job and I just cracked.

I sorry I cant be of more help, I wish I was closer so we could have a girls night out to vent and destress. I really could use one of those!

Wishing you lots of love and luck!