Wednesday, May 13, 2009

88- Miss Independent

Ok - a little venting folks.

My husband, I love him...but as in all marriages, we have our struggles. I think a pregnancy has the potential to bring some the struggles to the forefront. At least that is how I feel today.

Our biggest hurdle over the almost 11 years of our marriage has been our basic lifestyle - he being gone for about half the month, every month. This lifestyle was at it's toughest when he was gone about three weeks in a row every month...this toughest part lasted for 4 years...and when I say "gone", I'm talking Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong "gone". Things are better now - he is still gone roughly half the month (some months a little less), but the days are broken up into 3 or 4 day increments. It's manageable. I don't love it, obviously, but I've worked out how to live this way...perhaps a little too well.

As a result of this lifestyle, which has just magnified my preexisting stubborn and independent personality, I have learned to function best by myself. I'm use to running the house by myself, making decisions by myself, caring for myself. I've had to learn how to do this. And my dear husband is use to me doing all this as well. But sometimes, just sometimes, I want to be cared for and protected. I think I realized this when my parents and BF were such a great help when I was on bed rest...and I was open to their help (albeit a little "discussion"). When my dear husband and I get into this discussion (which, by the way, is the one we have been having over and over for the last 11 years without much progress...our broken record "discussion"), his response is always "but you are so strong, capable, and independent, I thought you would be insulted if I did so and so for you.". Sometimes I feel that I could tell him that I was going to South America on a safari through the Amazon right now, 9 weeks pregnant, and his response would be "have fun - I know you'll be safe and make good choices". Meant to be a compliment, I know, but then why does it invoke rage in me? I guess it is because it makes me feel even more alone than I already physically am a lot of the time. And now, with a bun in the oven, feeling alone is a scary emotion.

So what brought this need to vent on? Making my husband lunch yesterday after working in the garden, then we went out to dinner last night (my arrangements and suggestion), then I made breakfast for him this morning. Oh then, he makes lunch for himself today without asking me if he can get me anything. And finally, we were suppose to do something fun today - something where I could get out of the house a little after the days of bed rest. I backed off and gave him the reins to let him come up with something and make it happen. Nothing happened. This post is about the only thing that happened today.

Ok, enough. Damn hormones.


Sky said...

I just had to laugh reading this post and I honestly didn't mean it disrespectfully to you. But I had the IDENTICAL problem with my ex-husband (not why we divorced) and with the couple of serious relationships I've had since.

I always wondered how nice it would be to have a man take care of me (sounds so old fashioned, but...) and then something happened. On a trip to visit my awesome aunt ten years ago in her condo in Miami, I got the first pampering of my life (she never had children but practically raised me with my mom). She would ask me what I wanted to drink, eat, hand me the TV remote, follow me around like a hand maid. When I went into the kitchen for coffee, she was next to me as I poured and broke open the Splenda packets and poured them in. I thought I would lose my fricken mind. I finally snapped at her and felt awful.

The truth is, whether by nature or nurture or a combination of both - I am a fiercely strong, independent woman who can balance the checkbook, hold down a big corporate job, change a toilet (3 in the last year :) and still look kick-ass in a gown (if I say so myself ;) hee hee

And that's who I am! Unfortunately, there is a trade-off for everything in life. I could have a coddling spouse but after a day, I would toss him across the room with a plea of STOP BABYING ME!

But I understand girl, I DO understand. And when your beautiful little bouncing bean comes along, your independence is going to serve you very very well as a mom! I'm so damned eager for you to bring this bundle home already. :)

onwardandsideways said...

Oh lordy, lordy, lordy can I relate. In my case, my DH plays this BS game where he's 'afraid' to make a mistake and do something wrong so he either has to have my input to do it, or it won't get done. I see RED sometimes.

I also get the complete inability to plan something for us to do together. He's brilliant and cannot think of a single entertaining thing for us to do, much less plan it.

I got upset that he went ahead and made plans to go out of town (not business, but important family) without the slightest mention of the fact that 1/I could bleed again while he was gone and need bedrest and 2/if I did, how the f*ck am I supposed to manage that on my own?

Mine also seems to think that I am indestructible (or that's how it feels) and it just irks me so. I am not allowed to be weak, I do not get enough of feeling protected and cared for. And sometimes it just drives me BATTY.

I've gotten better about not screaming at him about it and telling him what I need. And he actually is listening. He's making attempts. But it sometimes just feels like not enough. Where is that smooth guy that knows all the right things to say and do?

Well, here's the flip side to that: I was married to Mr. Smooth. And it messed up my life, but bad. It has a lot to do with why I had to do DE to get pregnant. Yeah, he knew what to say and do... but his words and actions were so hollow. He was like a cutout cardboard figure husband.

My DH is so far from that. So wonderfully real and not like that. I will take not perfect and real any day of the week.

Have you tried telling him what you need? Have you tried anything else? There is a great book, His Needs, Her Needs. I actually got him to read some of that, and I think it took. Some of it.

Here's a bit more flip side: the DH and I are together 24/7. We work together, sleep together, eat together. We do have some time apart, but even less now that I can't do my dance classes. And it's too much. We both know it. So I'm actually looking forward to him being gone for a bit, possible bleeding scare and all.

Some dudes just suck at expressing themselves. I bet he cares about you deeply, and would worry his head off if you hustled off to anywhere, now or any time. It's really easy to make up stories about what they are thinking/feeling when they don't express themselves. But I am quite sure he cares very much and probably thinks about you a lot when he's gone. Maybe he could learn to show you that more.

Sorry to hog your comment section. Hope you feel better soon.

DAVs said...

Oh my. I'm sorry your DH isn't being attentive. That SUCKS. I guess I feel lucky that mine is so OVERLY a fault sometimes. Not that I'm complaining, but he keeps saying: just get pregnant and I'll wait on you hand and foot. As long as you don't ask for it by name! And he's serious--if I say: I'm pregnant so I need to be treated like a queen, it would all disappear. Funny the little games we play,right?

Anyways, I don't think I'll actually get to test him out on this one...but still, 'tis nice to dream.

I hope Alex shapes up!

coolcapmom said...

Hey, it is always the same argument either. We already discussed but I will add, that, now raising a lovely young MALE child, it is interesting to see the differences. Although he loves and is protective of his baby brother, he has never seen a big need to hold/rock/cuddle/fuss over him. Yet, when I go to the preschool to pick him up with said baby, the girls are over him like flies on honey (especially when he was littler and more helpless). I used to be a big nurture believer, but I tell ya, nature is hard to deny. And yes...I bought my son baby dolls...I'll work on training him and my hubby to be nurturing and you keep working on Alex...but call me if you need lunch dropped off :)

Jill M. said...

I didn't marry till I was 29 so I totally get the miss independent thing! I was so used to only worry about me and taking care of everything myself. But wow, your situation, with your dh gone that much, I don't know how you do it. That's tough! I commend you for hanging in there. I'm sorry to hear that it has resulted in dh being less attentive. I would definitely bring it to his attention, maybe he just doesn't realize it. Hugs

Not Your Aunt Bea said...

Is it bad that my first thought was- it is only going to get worse? And not due to his fault necessarily, but when you have a kid, mom seems to be the one who runs the show while dad waits for direction. I think it is because most men are nervous about babies and then you get into that routine where mom is the pro on the kid and dad helps out.

I know, I know. NOT what you wanted to hear. We have had this same discussion- our solution is him trying to be more considerate/thoughtful and me telling him when I need help or want him to take over. It has helped over time, but we still have that discussion.

Hope you and baby are doing well.

nishkanu said...

One of my best friends is in a similar relationship to yours (from what I can tell from this post). And I have to echo Not Your Aunt Bea, unfortunately, and say that you better work out beforehand and really, really carefully and clearly how you expect to share the duties of raising a child. Once you have a kid, the each man for himself philosophy doesn't really work anymore, because baby can't be for him/herself, so SOMEBODY has to take care of him/her.

In my friend's case, this means *all* the work of childcare falls on her shoulders. My friend's DH (who is always off travelling for work) basically does not care for their child at all - he feels unsure, and because he is never home the child feels more secure with the mom anyway. For example, when my friend was thinking about switching to bottles at night, her DH said "but then *I*'d have to get up to feed her." He was serious. Or if the baby falls down in front of her DH, he will run to get my friend instead of comforting her himself. This situation is fine if you are comfortable with it, but it's not what my friend wanted - she says she is basically a single mom. At the same time, it is not her DH's fault that the situation is like it is, both of them drive the dynamic and my friend has never put her foot down that things have to change.

I only know what I read here so I could be totally off-base but my friend's situation has made me very, very careful about my own.

Retro Girl said...

Thank you all for your very helpful comments...they were actually helpful to us both (DH reads the blog and comments). Not Your Aunt Bea and nishkanu - you echo what I have been saying all will only get worse if we don't bite this in the butt now. Our effort as a united front will have to be so much greater due to the logistics of our situation. It is going to take huge efforts on BOTH our parts. DH is really in denial about that. But I think your comments make him realize that it's not just me who believes it....ahhh, the beauty of the blog world.

And I do agree with Sky and onwardandsideways....I would much rather have "real" over perfect, and I would go bonkers if I had someone babying me 24/7...but I think I could handle maybe 2/3 or something like that :-).

Oh, BTW onwardandsideways, after my DH read the post, he said to me in reference to the South America comment "You know, I don't "think"
I would say that to you right now, but if you weren't pregnant, I could see saying those exact words to you.". Ah well, at least he has some self awareness...I guess that's the first step in sorting this out :-).

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

TOTALLY. Isn't that sort of the point, sometimes, about choosing to be in a relationship? That sometimes you get to sit back and let someone else take care of things? I think so. And when you're pregnant and hormonal and totally freaked out about what's happening to your body and your life, then it's extra nice if you partner can do something, however small, to make you feel special and loved. I totally get it. Sorry your man didn't come through for you. That sucks.