How do I get my husband to understand that I don't have any free time to myself? I have a three-year-old daughter who demands all my time. I work full-time and my daughter goes to preschool. By the time I get home from work I am tired and have to make dinner, clean up the dishes and get my daughter ready for bed. I don't even have time for myself except on the weekends, if that.
He tells me I don't love him like I did before I had my daughter because I spend more time taking care of her then spending quality time with him. He never helps me with her at all. I have told him if he helps me more often with her and things around the house I would have more time for him but he just keeps complaining I don't love him and don't want to spend time with him. What should I say to him or do? HELP!!!!!!!!
Frustrated and Confused
We hear your strength, but also your anguish. We hear that you not only feel that you have no time for yourself, but that your husband makes demands on you that you can't fulfill, and that he accuses you of not loving him because you cannot seem to make time for him.
Becoming parents is not easy. It is, as you know now, time consuming, demanding and emotionally and psychologically very rewarding but often also very tiring and confusing. Becoming parents changes everything. By "everything" we mean to say that you take up new roles, which change the way you related to one another.
There are different kinds of mother and father roles that you can take upon yourself. It appears that you have taken on the role of the over-functioning mom who is responsible for everybody's welfare. You are the Big Giver who has to satisfy your child and your husband. The Big Giver is in a perpetually losing position. You just can't satisfy all the people all the time.
Your husband has taken the complementary role to the Big Giver. He is the Dissatisfied Man/Child. He still wants to be mothered by you and has probably not completely realized his role as a father. The child role he keeps holding on to is the "mother doesn't love me" role. This makes him compete with your daughter.
To resolve this issue you might want to do a number of things:
- You might want to join a parent's group that discusses the problems you and your husband have so that he can identify with his new role as a father and find out how he can let go of being "the unloved little boy."
- You might want to get help at home -- help in cleaning and babysitting, which could give you some time to spend with your husband.
- You might want to take time for yourself. Do things you enjoy, have a hobby, anything that really makes you happy and satisfied.
The most important thing is for you to find satisfaction as a mom, as a wife, as you.
Be strong...but enjoy it!!
Marc Gelkopf, PhD, psychologist and Elisabeth Belais-Gelkopf, SW