When your husband’s job is your source of guilt

hubs jobToday I’m home with no kids. It’s a work day for me. But due to the nature of being a freelance writer, I unexpectedly have no work to do. I’m waiting for clients to get back to me with comments on drafts, and they haven’t yet.

So in the meantime? Nothing to do.

After five emotionally and physically draining days of rehearsals and recitals, a soccer game, stressful work deadlines, and hosting a big party, I should just enjoy it. I know this. Get a few household chores done, do some yard work, and not stress out.

So why do I feel guilty?

Stop being ridiculous, I tell myself. Let go of the guilt already. What is your issue?

But the stupid guilt remains. And I think I know why. It’s something that’s been weighing on me for a while. I keep thinking about it and each morning, I have to confront it.

I feel bad about Hubs and his job.

He has to trudge off, five days a week, to a job that doesn’t exactly inspire him and bring home (the majority of) the bacon. In the meantime, I’m home today, “getting a break” from my part-time job and my SAHM responsibilities.

And while I have plenty of hard days with the kids and some stressful work deadlines, I generally love my 9-5 gig. While Hubs does not.

Doesn’t seem fair to me.

I see it in Hubs’ eyes each morning. The resigned look of responsibility. He puts on a happy face most of the time because he knows he’s fortunate to have the job that he has, but I know what he’s thinking.

And yes, I know we’re fortunate to have jobs, a house, a nice life. I get it. I really do. Sometimes I feel silly even thinking about our “first world problem” of Hubs’ job. It probably bothers me more than it bothers him.

But I do believe that no matter what your job is – a CEO, a mid-level worker bee, a teacher, a roofer, a policeman – you should get some joy, inspiration, or satisfaction out of what you do. We have to work for the majority of our lives, so our jobs should be fulfilling in some way.

And I want Hubs to have that.

I see male friends of ours beginning to wrestle with mid-life crises, and I get why now: Going to an uninspiring, soul-sucking job over and over, five days a week, for the past twenty years gets to you eventually. So I’ve been ruminating over a plan to help Hubs avoid that.

In 2014, Grace will go to full-day kindergarten. It will create an opportunity for me to bring in more income – and maybe Hubs can do something different with his career. Something that might not pay as much, but be more meaningful work for him.

Or maybe he could work part-time and go to law school – something I know he’s always been interested in doing.

Honestly, I think it simply sucks that we have to spend 40+ years of our lives working so damn much. I wish we had more family time, more vacations, less school, less commitments. But that’s not reality.

So I want to make reality as fulfilling and happy as possible, you know? OUR reality. Not just mine. The fulfillment balance seems way off right now – and I want to fix it.

Are you and your husband/partner in a similar position?

 

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5 Simple Ways I’m Reconnecting with My Husband

There’s this guy who lives in my house.

He’s a great guy. Witty, smart, handsome, caring, loving. And my favorite thing about him is that he makes me laugh like crazy.

But I feel like I barely ever see him.

And that has to change.

Because he’s my husband.

Ever since the kids came on the scene, our relationship has taken a back seat.

I know that’s it natural for kids to pretty much take over our lives while they’re young. Our girls are six and four years old. They need us to do pretty much everything necessary in life for them – or at least help them. The little monkeys are a major time and energy suck, that’s for sure.

Plus, Hubs and I both work. Him full-time, me part-time. He travels for work, too, a few times a month (he claims he’d rather be home, but it’s hard to feel sorry for him when he’s out having a steak dinner and I’m home eating mac and cheese with the kids).

Weekends are busy with kids’ activities, seeing friends and family, and getting chores/errands done. I feel like we haven’t breathed on a weekend since early November.

And on weeknights, we are on opposite schedules. Hubs is tired because he gets up earlier than me to get some stuff done in the morning, so he collapses onto the couch at night. Me? I’m still attacking my to-do list at 9pm.

This all adds up to Hubs and I barely ever having a conversation that isn’t about schedules, kid issues, or something related to the house.

And it worries me.

I think about the friends I have whose parents got divorced when they were older. The biggest reason? The parents had nothing in common anymore. This led to the parents fighting all the time, “falling out of love,” or the worst – someone having an affair.

And scarily enough, I can see how that can happen.

I don’t think anything is drastically wrong with Hubs’ and my relationship. I understand that we can’t focus on each other as much as we did pre-kids.

But if we keep on neglecting our relationship and fall into a major rut, I can see how things could get bad. Really bad. Not unrecoverable, but not fun, either.

So, I’ve been taking some steps to breathe some fun back into Hubs’ and my marriage. Here’s my plan for us to get some quality time together back in our lives:

Eat dinner together – without the kids. Yes, family meals are important. But so is spending time with the Hubs. Once or twice a week, I feed the girls before Hubs gets home. Then we turn on a show for them (the only way to get guaranteed uninterrupted time) and eat, just the two of us, and – gasp – have an actual conversation.

Change up the schedule. Hubs gets stuff done in the morning. I get stuff done after the kids go to bed. This leads to us basically never seeing each other. So I’m going to try to get on Hubs’ schedule. I’m so tired at night, anyway, I’m pretty much sleep-walking through whatever I’m doing.

If I get my butt out of bed in the morning, at least we can drink coffee and (wahoo!) fold laundry together. And this will mean more sleep for me, which is crucial for my mental health.

Go on a date and pledge not to talk about the kids. Easier said than done, I know. But we’ve tried it, and we’ve done it. It’s possible. And it’s more fun than worrying about the kids’ lives while we’re supposed to be chilling out.

I learn more about Hubs’ latest work issues and give him perspective I gained in my last job. He listens to me talk about my work and my blog and gives me post ideas. And we remember – ohhhh, so this is what we talked about before kids!

Take a walk down memory lane. We have a wedding album that we never look at it. I’m going to get that sucker out and we’re going to go through it and relive that day – because we agree, that was the most awesome day EVER. We had so much fun on our wedding day and we used to love to talk about it.

I’m also going to plan to revisit a few favorite places of ours from our pre-kid days. This will take a little planning (like asking Hubs’ parents to babysit) but I think it’ll be worth it. And they won’t be expensive outings – we were poor when we were dating! We had a favorite pub we went to all the time that will be our first stop on the list. And I’m going to get more ideas from Hubs.

Make one night a week tech-free time together. This is hard for me because I’m a bit of a social media addict. And Hubs loves his TV. But once a week, I will step away from the computer. Hubs will turn off the TV. And we will hang out at home together and chill out. No technology. And no chores. It’ll be me, Hubs, some wine, and maybe a board game or something. I have faith it can happen – even if it hasn’t yet.

 

Hubs and I often joke how much fun we’re going to have together when the girls are both in college and out of the house. Well, I don’t want to wait 14 years for that fun to happen. We will have The Fun now, darn it.

Do you need to reconnect with your husband? Do you think these ideas will help? What ideas do you have?

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I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post and am being compensated for writing it, but as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn. And if you’d like, you can read my full disclosure policy here.

photo credit: rogiro via photopin cc

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